The Black Books
- Nov. 1913 61
With inner resistance I approach this book.
I ceaselessly devalue it and yet something forces me to dive into it, actually into myself. Why?-
It wants to follow this way. Strange- .
I did not think that my soul is a desert and yet it seems to be the case- a barren, hot desert, dusty and without drink.
The journey leads through hot sand, slowly wading without a visible goal to hope for.
It seems to be necessary that way. In former times I would have revolted against these thoughts, but since I know that you, my soul, always know better, I follow you.
How eerie is this hot wasteland. It seems to me that the way would lead so far away from mankind. I do not dare to ask for the Where to?
It would be useless anyway. Why look ahead? I could not recognize it anyway. I only saw the sad and ugly and the beautiful came to me.
Why should I lament over this? I take my way step by step not knowing how long my journey will last. Why is my self a desert?
This thought has never occurred to me. Have I lived too much outside of myself in men and events?
It almost seems to be the case. 66 Why then did I avoid my self? Was I not dear to myself?- What a deception!
I have avoided myself, no, actually my self, the place of my soul, where she dwelled and lived.
I have never returned to this place except while dreaming. I was my thoughts, after I was no longer events and other men.
But I was not my self, confronted with my thoughts.
I was still in my thoughts whereas I should even rise up above my thoughts to my own self, the place of my soul.
And this my self is a desert, unwatered and untended.
My journey goes there and that is why it seems to lead away from men and events into solitude with myself.
Is it solitude, to be with oneself? Solitude is true only when the self is a desert.
I hear the words: “An anchorite in his own desert.” The monks in the Syrian desert occur to me. My dream?
Should I make a garden out of the desert?
Should I people a desolate land and make it inhabitable, because all the inhabitable lands are flooded with humans and stormed by the uproar of life?
Should I open the airy magic garden of the desert71 for all those, who want to escape the dense bustle of outer life?
I am clueless. What leads me into the desert, and what am I to do there? Do I play hide and seek with myself? Do I not want to see it?
What deception can I not trust my thoughts to handle?
Only life is true. And only life leads me into the desert, truly not my thinking, which would like to return to thoughts, to men and events, since it feels uncanny in the desert.
I ask you, my soul, my life, what am I to do here?
I hear the cruel word “Wait.” This is the devil’s most horrible punishment of hell, he lets people wait.
Torment belongs to the desert- I actually know it, but I didn’t want to know. In the desert- waiting- ~ and for what?
Nothingness surrounds me, without an echo, and yet the feeling of events crowded behind the far-away horizon, occasionally conjuring up a fata morgana.
But reality is: waiting. I think of Christianity in the desert. Physically, those ancients went into the desert.
Did they too enter the desert of their own self? Or was their self not as barren and desolate as mine?
There they wrestled with the devil. I wrestle with waiting. It seems to me not less since it is truly a hot hell. I am tired, release me!
II. Dec. 191375
After a hard struggle I have come a piece of the way nearer to you.
How hard this struggle was! I had fallen into an undergrowth of doubt, confusion, and scorn.
Only the Love of those, to whom I gave love, saved me from the darkness. No faith helps, nor does any dogma, but only the living thing,
the relation oflove the love of those to whom we have given love.
I have gained an insight from this struggle: I need to be alone with what seemed most valuable to me, my spirit, and must give what seemed cheapest to me, the human, to men.
This curious reversal is new to me. But this necessity thrusts itself upon me. I come with empty hands to you, my soul.
What do you want to hear?
“If you come to a friend, do you come to take?”
I knew that this should not be so.
But it seems to me that I am poor and empty and I would like to sit down near you and at least feel the breath of your animating presence.
My way is hot sand. All day long- sandy path. My patience is sometimes weak, and once I despaired of myself, as you know.
“You speak to me as if you were a child complaining to its mother.
I am not your mother.”
I do not want to complain, but let me say to you that mine is a long and dusty road. You are to me like a shady tree in the dry desert. I would like to enjoy your shade.
“You are pleasure-seeking. Where is your patience? Your time has not yet run its course. Have you forgotten why you went into the desert?”
My faith is weak, my face is blind from all that shimmering blaze of the desert sun. The heat lies on me like lead. Thirst torments me,
I dare not think how unendingly long my way is- and above all, I see nothing in front of me.
“You speak as if you have still learned nothing. Can you not wait? Should everything fall into your lap ripe and finished? You are full, yes, you teem with intentions and desirousness! – Do you still not know yet that the way to truth [37/38] stands open only to those without intentions? Do you still not know that fulfilment comes only to the one who does not desire, to the one who is not greedy.”
I know that all of these are also my thoughts. But I hardly live accordingly.
“How, tell me, do you then believe that your thoughts should help you?”
I confess that I have not a few, but many thoughts that I do not live, and from which nevertheless I expect help and efficacy.
I would always like to refer to the fact that I am a human being, just a human being who is weak and sometimes does not do his best.
“Is this what you think it means to be human?”
You are hard, my soul, but you are right. How little adept we are at living!
We should grow like a tree that likewise does not know its law. (As the lilies of the field.)
We tie ourselves up with intentions, not mindful of the fact that intention is the limitation, yes, the exclusion of life.
And how much childish, shortsighted egotism lies in an intention! We believe that we can illuminate the darkness with an intention, and in that way aim past the light.
How can we presume to want to know in advance from where the light will come to us?
Let me bring only one complaint before you: I suffer from scorn, my own scorn.
“Do you think little of yourself?”
I do not believe so.
“Then, listen, you think little of me. Do you still not know that you are not writing a book to feed your vanity, but that you are speaking with me? How can you suffer from scorn if you address me with those words that I give you? Do you actually know who I am? Have you grasped me, defined me, and made me into a dead formula? Have you measured the depths of my chasms, and explored all the ways down which [39/40] I am yet going to lead you? Scorn cannot challenge you if you are not vain to the marrow of your bones.”
Your truth is hard. I want to lay down my vanity before you, since it blinds me.
See, that is why I also believed my hands were empty when I came to you today.
I did not consider that it is you who fills empty hands if they just stretched out willingly to sacrifice.
Yet they do not want to. Because I thought that l have to offer it and forgot about you, as if I did not know that I am your vessel, empty without you but brimming over with you.
Impatience is tearing me apart, what is this all about? Where does this road end? No sound, no answer?
I2. XII. 13.9°
I know and acknowledge this style. I have learned that one must give one’s heart to men, but one’s intellect to the spirit of humanity, God. Then its work can be beyond vanity, since there is no more hypocritical whore than the intellect when it replaces the heart.
“I am falling,” a voice said in me. “Where to? What do you want?” others shout. I need to entrust myself to this vortex. Torrents of doubt rush down on me.
Should I entrust myself to this confusion? I shuddered. It is a dreadful deep.
Do you want this sacrifice from me? To leave myself to chance, to the madness of my own semi-darkness, is that what you want from me?
Whither? Whither? If I have confidence in my soul, I must dare to do it.
How difficult it is to trust in yourself to the extent that you can quietly~ yourself down in an abyss!
You fall, and I want to fall with you, whoever you are.
I fall with you along gray rocks into whirling depths, pillars of steam shoot up, hissing and roaring noises-descent into hell.
I see a black cave, a leather dwarf protects the entrance-heaven help, what a torture. The ground is black dirt up to my ankles.
I hesitate to enter. Shadows scurry alongside me- forwards-I am seized by fear, it is narrow and hot, or cold-I don’t know- inside- I crawl
through a narrow crack in the rock-a bright-dark cave, the ground covered with black water, on the other shore a luminous red stone.
I wade knee-deepit is cold-to the stone. Do not stop me, you heckler. It has to be, this needs to be conquered.
The stone of the torment, of the red light. The light is cold, a crystal, I raise it, a dark hole underneath, what shall it be?
The cave reverberates with many human voices, but no one is here. I stand with the stone in my hand, peering around inquiringly-seeing only one-I do not want to listen to the voices, they keep me away.
This dark hole-I want to know where it leads and what it says? An oracle?
Is this the place of Pythia? You shall not keep me away!
Ancient and eternal things want to be uttered-be quiet with your yelling, ridiculous shadows, castaways of the upper world-the site of an oracle?
Could it be? Shall I place my ear to your opening?
I hear the far and near roaring of underground waters-the bloody head of a man on the dark stream, someone wounded, who swims in horrible depths.
He does not know-or is he numb-frozen in the icy cold in the posture of a swimmer-an immensely large black beetle floats past-like a scarab-from the deepest reach a sun is radiating through the water-I cannot grasp it curled up serpents on the dark rock, striving toward the depths, where the sun shines duller.
A thousand serpents crowd around, veiling the sun-deep night the water rushes. I stand exhausted, noise from a thousand voices is echoed from the walls of the cave.
How noisy is this upper world. Too much hustle that destroys the vision.
One more gaze into the depths99-a red stream like blood springs up, like thick red blood, surging for a long time, then ebbing.
What did I see? What a night! Everything viewed as if in flight, swirled down and then up again.
Heal the wounds that doubt inflicts on me, my soul. That too is to be overcome, so that I can recognize your supreme meaning. How far away everything is, and how I have turned back! Fear and doubt have torn me away.
Oh, could I lie hour after hour at this innermost and lowest place, at the site of the oracle, watching and listening, so that you, my soul, would speak in your words and not in mine.
My spirit is a gadfly, it tears asunder my contemplation, it would like to dismantle and understand everything, rip it apart and put it together again, tear it down and rebuild it. I am still a victim of my thinking.
When will I be the master of my thinking?
When can I order my thinking to be quiet, so that my thoughts, those unruly hounds will crawl to my feet?
How can I ever hope to hear your voice louder, to see your face clearer, when all my thoughts howl?
I live first in the upper world, but in your inner world, my soul, I am like a shadow without substance, trembling and blown away by
I am stunned. I want to be stunned, since I have sworn to you, my soul, to trust you even if you lead me through madness.
Many dreams of the recent time told me about it, I know.
But I am willing. Because the divine light shines bright for us in the greatest darkness.
How shall I ever walk under your sun if I do not drink the nightly bitter draught of slumber to the lees?
Help me so that I do not choke on my own knowledge. I piled it up, not out of greed, ambition, and vanity only, but for the sake of truth and to come closer to you, as I realized later.
The fullness of my knowledge threatens to fall in on me.
My knowledge musters an army of a thousand orators, with voices of lions; the air trembles when they speak, and I am their defenseless sacrifice.
They claw at me and drag me away from your silence and from the blessed depths, where only truth wells up and deepest contemplation, where past and future converge rustling and where I see, in dark puzzling images, the future in the images of the remotest past.
Keep interpretation far from me, that bad prison master of science who binds the soul and imprisons it in a lightless cell, but above all protect me from the venomous serpent of critique, which is a healing serpent only on the surface, yet in your depths is infernal poison and
hero I could not understand at all.
The beetle of course I knew to be an ancient sun symbol, and the setting sun, the luminous red disk, was archetypal.
I want to go down cleansed into your depths with white garments and not rush in like some thief, seizing whatever I can and fleeing breathlessly.
Let me persist in divine astonishment, so that I am ready to behold your wonders, which emerge from the eternal depths.
Help, help, let me lay my head on a stone before your door and wait for you, so that I am prepared to receive the light of your glory.
- XII. 131,
Book of my most difficult experiments, open you with inner resistance!
Everything in me balks at the immediacy of this experience! I want to coax myself like a nervous horse.
I shy away from myself as if I were a nocturnal monster. The “subjective” is still the horrible and terrifying.
As if through this
word everything became devalued and superfluous.
As if the “subject” were nothing in the events of the world! This is what I must overcome.
- XII. 13112
But on the fourth night I cried, “To journey to Hell means to become Hell oneself.” It is all frightfully muddled and interwoven.
My soul, on this desert path there is not just glowing sand, but also horrible tangled invisible beings who live in the desert.
I didn’t know this. The way is only apparently clear, the desert is only apparently deserted and empty.
But it seems inhabited by magical beings who attack me and daimonically change my form.
I have evidently taken on completely monstrous forms in which I can no longer recognize myself.
It seems to me that I have become a monstrous animal form for which I have exchanged my humanity.
This way is surrounded by hellish magic, invisible nooses have been thrown over me and ensnare me. “Climb down into your depths,”
you say. How shall I do it?
How can I sink? This is the hardest and highest art, to let yourself sink. Teach me.rrs I am unable to do it by myself.
“Sit yourself down, be calm.”
How frightful, forgive me, it sounds like nonsense. Do you also demand this of me? Can you hear the uproar of outrage in me?
You overthrew the mighty Gods who are powerful and mean the most to us. My soul, where are you?
Have I entrusted myself to a stupid animal, do I stagger like a drunkard to the roadside ditch in order to sleep off a wild intoxication?rr7
Do I stammer mangled nonsense like a lunatic? Is this your way, my soul?
Forgive me, forgive me, but the blood boils in me and I would strangle you if I could seize you.
You weave the thickest darknesses, my soul, and I am like a madman caught in your net. But I yearn, teach me.
“My path is light.”
Do you call light what we men call the worst darkness? Do you call our day night? Guide me, give me light, your light.
“My l*ight is not of this world.”
I know of no other world.
“Should it not exist because you know nothing of it?”
But our knowledge! Does our knowledge also not hold good for you? What is it going to be, if not knowledge? Where is security? Where is ground? Where is firm land? Where is light?
Your darkness is not only darker than night, but bottomless as well. If it’s not going to be knowledge, then perhaps it will do without speech and words too?”
“No words either.”
I could not have dreamed of a more horrendous destruction.
Forgive me, perhaps I’m hard of hearing, perhaps I misinterpret you.
Perhaps I ensnare myself in self-deceit and hellish monkey business, and I am a rascal grinning at
I myself in a mirror, a fool in my own madhouse. Perhaps, my soul, you stumble over my folly.
“You delude yourself, you do not deceive me. Your words are lies to you, not me.”
But I could wallow in raging nonsense, which like a breaking flood will swallow you and me. I could hatch absurdity, perverse monotony-
“Who gives you thoughts and words? Do you make them? Are you not- my serf- a recipient- a beggar who lies at my door and picks up my alms?
And you dare think that what you devise and speak could be nonsense? Don’t you know yet that it comes from me and belongs to me?”
But then my indignation must also come from you. Then in me you are indignant against yourself. My soul then spoke the ambiguous words:
“That is civil war.”
Oh, a catchword I have often heard from myself applied to others.
“How painful, my soul, to hear you use catchwords. Are you neurotic? Are we neurotic?
I feel sick- comedy and drivel.
But I yearn, I yearn. I also crawl through the stinking mud, the most despised banality.
The devils on the desert path shall not catch me and fell me. I can also eat dust, let it rain filthy cliches.
The banality is also part of Hell.
I do not yield, I am defiant. You can go on devising torments, spider-legged monsters, comical, hideous, frightful theatrical tabloid monsters.
Come close – I am ready, ready, my soul, you who are a devil, to wrestle with you too.
You donned the mask of a God, and I worshipped you.
Now you wear the mask of a devil- woe- a monstrosity- the mask of the banal, of the dunghill of words and phrases.
Only one favor! Give me a moment to step back and consider! Is the struggle with this mask worthwhile? Was the mask of God worth worship- ing?
I cannot do it, the lust for battle burns in my limbs. No, I cannot leave the battlefield defeated. I want to seize you, crush you, buffoon, monkey.
Woe, it’s an unequal struggle. My hands grab at air-but your blows are also air, and I perceive-trickery.
I find myself again on the desert path-a desert vision-a vision of the solitaries who have wandered down long roads.-Ha, a work of art!-Damned stab, that arrow hit the target. Where did it come from?
In this street lurk invisible robbers and assassins-and shooters of poison darts.
Suppose the murderous arrow is sticking in my heart?
Its poison burns. Bloody mist blurs my eyes. Someone loads lead on my shoulders- But I want it, I want it.
r8. XII. 13. 129
The following night was terrible. I soon awoke from a frightful dream:
I was with an unknown youth, a brown savage, in a mighty mountainscape before daybreak. The Eastern sky was already light.
Then Siegfried’s horn resounded over the mountains with a jubilant sound, and we knew that our mortal enemy was now coming.
We were armed and lurked beside a narrow rocky path to murder the hero.
Then he came high across the mountain on a chariot made of the bones of the dead, in a white garment with black mystical
figures and drove with unbelievable boldness over the steep rocks and arrived at the narrow path where we lay in wait.
As he came around the turn, we fired at the same time and wounded him fatally.
My companion left me in order to attend to the hero one last time, that, is to finish him off
Thereupon I turned to flee. A terrible rain swept down. I bounded up nimbly an incredibly steep path and later helped my wife, who followed me at a slower pace, to ascend. Some people mocked us, but I didn’t care, since this showed that they didn’t know that I had murdered the hero.”
But after this dream I went through a mental torment unto death. And I felt that I must kill myself, if I could not solve the riddle.
I knew that I must shoot myself, if I could not understand the dream.
Gradually it dawned on me that the highest truth is one and the same with the absurd.
In this moment the enormous tension was released and like rain it swept away everything that was tensed, too highly strung. And soon sleep returned and brought with it a curiously beautiful image:
Forms walked clad in white silk in a colored atmosphere.
Each surrounded by a strangely fragrant, glowingly tinted aura, some reddish, the others blueish and greenish.
A magical, spiritual, and sensual feeling radiated from this image and I fell asleep like a convalescent.
I have stridden across the depths and see light. But it seems to me that I am in a new world. 141
Where am I?
Through painful guilt, a new man, a newborn?
I don’t know the way or the wherefore, I have-I assume-not yet learned how to walk in this new state. [58/59]
Shall I grope my way, or crawl? Or will something attach itself to me, that leads and shows me the way further?
Certainly this is an animated world, a world of the simplest things.
No world of will-be or must-be, it seems to me, rather a world of maybe with entirely undetermined possibilities, a world of colorful twilight.
It seems as if there are only modest waysides here, close at hand, no distant targets, no broad straight military roads.
No heaven above, no hell below.
A strange world in between-everything merges in soft shades-a colorful painting, harmonically fused in itself.
- XII. 13. 143
There are many uncertainties, not least of which is whether to keep this new life or this new world.
A new world is weak and artificial-artificial-a bad word, but I have learned that weak artificial beginnings, unsightly put together semi-unrealities developed into horrible realities.
The mustard seed that grew into a tree, the word that was conceived in the womb of a poor virgin, became a God with a two-thousand-year-old history.
1 have received your sprout, you who are to come,
I have received it in deepest need and lowliness, I covered it in shabby patchwork and bedded it down on words of straw, and the mockers grinningly worshippedt it, your child, your egg wondrous child, the child of one who is to come, who should announce the father, a fruit that is older than the tree on which it grew.
In pain were you conceived [60/61], lust glowed around your birth.
The air shook with the anthem of blaspheming souls, when the God plunged you into my heart.
Fear was is your herald, doubt stands to your right, disappointment to your left.
We shrank together in our ridiculousness and senselessness when we caught sight of you, most strange, miraculous child.
Our eyes were blinded and our knowledge fell silent when we received your radiance.
You new spark of an eternal fire, into which night, into what kind of mud were you born!
Fires of madness are blazing toward you as sacrificial fires Ice-cold hands of steel murderously grasp after you and they will melt helplessly from your glow.
They will mix the venom of treacherous thoughts into your food, and they themselves will pine away because of it.
The lustful and heavenly beauty ** will approach your camp.
One would like to slobber over you in heat and the other would like to trample you arrogantly.
But they will powerlessly worship you and lay their hands under your feet.
You will wring truthful prayers from your believers, and they must invoke your glory in tongues that are atrocious to them.
You will fall on them in the hour of their disgrace and humiliation, and will become known to them in what they hate, fear, and abhor.
Your face, Oh child, will be found in the hideous features of mighty beasts in the remotest ground of our souls.
Your voice, the rarest pleasing sound, will be heard amid the horrible stammerings of wretches, rejects, and those condemned as worthless.
Your realm will be touched by the hands of those who also worshipped before the most profound lowliness, and whose longing drove them through the tide of evil.
You will give your gifts to those who pray to you in terror and doubt, and your light will shine upon those whose knees must bend before you unwillingly and who are filled with resentment.
Gh-Your life is with he who has overcome himself and who has disowned his self-overcoming.
Oh I know that the salvation of mercy is given only to those who believe in the highest and faithlessly betray themselves for thirty pieces of silver.
Those who will dirty their pure hands, cheat on their best knowledge against error, and take their virtues from a murderer’s grave are invited to your great banquet.
The constellation of your birth is an ill and changing star.
These, Oh child of what is to come, are the wonders that will bear testimony that you are a veritable God.
As much as I resist, still I must descend into the depths again, to the place of torment. Everything points to that.
I shall not be concerned with what I will carry up. I know why I have pathetic fear-the sleepless nights, the shredded state of my own heart, that is what I shy away from. It is an almost physical nausea that holds me back.
Oh, all this darkness, black mists encompass me-I sink-woe already, I lie propped against a rock in dark depths-boulders all around-an old man.
to my left with a gray beard and wearing an Oriental robe-probably an old prophet.
His right hand is stretched out as if he were teaching-a big black serpent lay at his feet (I obey-no resistance) in the background a house with columns, a beautiful young maiden steps out the daughter of the old man-she walks up to his side-is she blind?
I look in astonishment-and rise- she takes my hand-we walk to the house at the foot of sheer rock walls.
The serpent creeps behind us-obscure darkness inside-a carpet in a bleak hall, on a small black table a bright water-colored crystal the size of a fist that attracts me.
Gleams of color radiate from it. (Now it gets difficult.)
A colored wreath of rays surrounds my entire field of vision-in it Eve under the tree, the serpent before it- now a wonderful
bluish black sea, a rocky coast-a ship with red sail passes by-Odysseus and his companions-(frightful-but it must be) a poster picture behind it, an old man with a child-(disgusting-survived) I peer into the hall, glittering things, weapons? Gemstones?
On the walls-in the background a beautiful garden with gleaming sunlight, we step outside-blossoming bushes of pomegranates-
a shady fountain -the old man says: “Do you know my landr”‘
I am a stranger here and everything seems strange to me, anxious as in a dream. May I ask who are your
“I am Elijah and this is my daughter Salome.”
The daughter of Herod. The bloodthirsty woman.
“Why do you judge so harshly;? You see that she is blind- and my daughter, the daughter of the prophet.”
What miracle has united your
“It is no miracle, it was so from the beginning. My wisdom and my daughter are one.
I am shocked and I am incapable of grasping it.
“Consider this. Elijah, the prophet, and Salome, the murderous and infamous dancer-her blindness has made us companions since time immemorial, father and daughter.”
Forgive my astonishment, am I truly in the underworld;:>
“This is the house of dreams, or better-do not give it a name.”
Salome (turned to me) : “Do you love me??
(I get scared, all the blood pushes to my heart) :
How can I love you? How do you come to this question? I see only one thing, you are Salome, a tiger, and your hands are stained with the blood of the holy one. How should I love you?
“You will love me.”
(Horror grabbed me by the throat.)
I, love you? Who gives you the right to such thoughts?
“I love you.”
leave me be, I dread you, you beast.
“You do me wrong, Elijah is my father, and he knows the deepest mysteries, the walls of his house are made of precious stones, his wells hold healing water and his deep eye sees the things of the future-And what wouldn’t you give for a single look into the infinite unfolding of what is to come? Are these not worth a sin for you?”
Your temptation is horrible. I long to be back in the upper world, it is dreadful here. How oppressive and heavy is the air.
I look for Elijah. Mighty brows shade his eyes. He says:
“What do you want? The choice is yours.”
But I do not belong to the dead, I live in the light of day. Why should I torment myself here with Salome? Do I not have enough of my own life to deal with?
“You heard what Salome said.”
I cannot believe that you, the prophet, can recognize her as a daughter and a companion. Is she not X* engendered from heinous seed? Was she not vain greed and perverse lust?
“But she loved a holy man.”
And shamefully shed his precious blood.
“Do not interrupt me, my son/ she loved the holy prophet of God, who announced the new God to his world. She loved him- do you understand that? For she is my daughter.”
Do you think that because she is your daughter, she loved the prophet in John, the father? Do I understand you correctly?
“By her love shall you know her.”
But, how did she love him!? Do you still call that love?
“What else was it?”
But I am horrified, because who wouldn’t be horrified if Salome loved him?
“Are you a coward? And besides-I and my daughter-have been one since eternity.”
You pose dreadful riddles. How could it be that this unholy woman and you, the prophet of your God, could be one?
“Why are you amazed. But you see it, we are together.”
What my eyes see is exactly what I cannot grasp. You, Elijah, who are a prophet, the mouth of God, and she, a bloodthirsty,– horny’monsteryou are the symbol of the most extreme contradiction.
“We are really together and are not symbols. We are real and together.”‘
The black serpent writhes up the tree, and hides in the branches.
Everything becomes gloomy and doubtful. Elijah and Salome’ rise, he leads her by the hand, I stand hesitating. Elijah leads, waves with his hand and we go back to the hall.
The crystal shines dimly. I think again of the image of Odysseus, how he passed the rocky island of the Sirens on his lengthy odyssey.
Should I, should I not?
Elijah and Salome are silent. We come beneath the columns at the entrance. ‘
Doubt tears my heart apart-I don’t know. It is so unreal and yet a part of my longing remains behind. Will I come again?
Will I find the way back to the house of that riddle? The way that I did not seek and never expected?177 Salome loves me? Do I love her?
I hear wild music, a tambourine-a sultry moonlit night- then the bloody-staring head of the holy fear seizes me-I rush out, I am surrounded by the dark night, I am in the midst of boulders, in the distance water cascades over cliffs-who murdered the hero?
Is this why Salome loves me? Do I love her, and did I therefore
murder the hero?
She is one with the prophet, one with John, but also one with me? Woe, was she the hand of the God?
I do not love her, I fear her. My knees tremble.
A voice says: “Therein you acknowledge her divine power.” Must I love Salome?