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To: personal email and Usenet
From: (Joe Cannon)
Subject: Dwarf (I also posted this..)
Date: Mon, 29 May 1995 15:35:21 -0500

In article <3q7h3b$>,
(Hsi Wang Mu) wrote:

> 49950527
> Do as you please, for that is my Law.
> |In magical terms it is possible to identify Lam with the Dwarf Self,
> |the Silent Self, Harpocrates, Hadit, and perhaps most significantly,
> |the Babe In The Egg. 
> From where does this Dwarf Self idea originate?  In Egypt?  Is the
> Babe InThe Egg mentioned above any relation to the Babe of the Abyss?
 I do not know where the dwarf idea originates, but I remember being
surprised and edified in finding reference to it in Crowley's commentary on
the Book of the Law. During a course I took on Arthurian Literature, I had
the pleasure of reading "Tristan" by Gottfried von Strassburg, wherein a
strange character named "Dwarf Tristan" is encountered by Tristan after he
has been exiled from King Marks court for his love of Isolde. In the
presence of this Dwarf Tristan, Tristan, up to this point the ultimate
trikster and much like Ulysses "never at a loss", loses a great portion of
his mettle and first balks at an adventure to save Dwarf Tristan's lover,
captured by a Giant (Estult l'Orgillus of Castel Fer - I can't find my
french dictionary but if I remember correctly this name means Stupid Pride
of the Castle of Fire or something along those lines.)

Tristan is shamed into attempting this adventure immediately by Dwarf
Tristan who invokes Tristan's reputation as 'the Amorous' and courageous
and claims he must have the wrong man. Tristan accepts the adventure and
fails, recieving a mortal wound from the giant's poisoned spear. It is a
wound that only his lover Isolde can heal. 

All of this takes place in exile, after he has entered into an affair with
a woman named Isolde who is not his real lover. In her jealousy she informs
him that Isolde is not coming and he dies of despair (Using the Black
sails/White sails trope also found in the story of Aegeas in greek
mythology.) Isolde arrives soon afterwards and dies of despair herself. 

This Dwarf was the one character in the book I had no self-satisfying grasp
on, no foothold. (I wrote a long Alchemical/Depth Psychological account of
the story for my final effort in the class.) After reading it more times
and encountering the tradition of this character in Crowley's writing a few
footholds seem to have been gained.

   This all (and I apologize for the long windedness) seems to point to the
Dwarf self as possibly an Abyssmal self image or doppleganger whose purpose
is to facilitate the destruction of the personality, the ego. Taking us
byond the archaic Sun God and into the mystery of despair. The self as the
will to death (related to the will to love). The death that is inspired by
this character, could be seen as removing the alchemical love to a more
rarefied air. 
 The Dwarf uses Tristan's love of his own reputation to drive the hero on
to destruction. One could possibly see Tristan as the giant and the false
Isolde as Dwarf Tristan's lover. (These falsities being truth.) Various
threads of idea stream off of this butI seem unable to follow them as

I don't know how much of this will make sense without familiarity with the
story. It's a rather amazing and deep tale, well worth anyone's time,
however. It is a 13th century retelling of a tale by one named "Thomas"
from the late 11th or early 12th century. (As I look again, the section of
the story with Dwarf Tristan comes directly from Thomas, Gottfried did not
get that far in his reworking. In the Penguin Classics version Thomas'
version picks up where Gottfried leaves off.)

I hope this is helpful.


Joe Cannon/Rent To Own Records 
Po Box 1138
Notre Dame, IN 46556
 (after my e-mail account closes, you can e-mail Doug for Rent To Own Info.
His address is )

   ...the set of all sets....

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