Peter O'Leary


seventeenth amanita ode  Moly

syrian rue african rue
esfand harmel
turkish red haoma
moly moly moly
moly ylom

peganum harmala

ruta graveolus

wild rue

for abortifacience
for alternativity
for ambecide
for anodyne
for aphrodesia
for diuresis
for emesis
for emmenagogery
for intoxication
for lactogogery
for narcosis
for soporesis
for stimulation
for sudoresis
for vermifuge

In moly there is an incantation, and in its steam there is a remedy for seventy-two diseases.

For shivering, write these things into a scroll and bind them to yourself.

For a molar that hurts, say: You are Axis, you are Abraxas, the angel who sits upon the Tree of Life

its surface redolent crimson

pocked with the tatters of its veil of birth.

For the treatment of a wound, together grind cumin, fennel, parsley, mastic, coriander, bayberries, almonds, pennyroyal, salt, and vinegar to mix with the mash from the fruit of a cypress. Boil it and then apply it.

For deception, lead your friends far from your secret stash, claiming the moly is just ahead.

For strain, take a coin of bronze, catch an iridescent fly. Write on a chit the first name in your prayer. Tap spores atop. Fill the eyes of the fly with drops of aged vinegar. Let it go. Coin under your tongue for a day.

For a quarrel, utter it over oil.


For a man, fill your right hand with crystals of salt to present before the sun. Cast them over your head and sprinkle with honey water.

And for a second spell, for a week from when the moon is full: molasses-juice of the “panacea weed,” hartshorn, storax, mastic, calamus extract.


Uproot the magical spells akramachamari

Moly, spell-breaker. Beta-carbolines harmine and harmaline. A tonic. Extracted from the seeds.

Sedative. Narcotic. Mildly visual.

Good for the joints. Hazaian powers—drunkenness of a dancing ecstatic.

Binder and encompasser.

Oneirophobia. Bearing the dream to the rhapsodic line.
Properties of drunkenness. Or mandala drawing.
Apotropaic ward of the evil eye.
Wild rue. Syrian dragon.
Mercurius. Feeling the intoxication of the demiurge.
Live embers. Obscure presentiment.
Like an imperfect metal plucked from the ground. Great
lobes of flesh. Black tangle of the roots.
Milky whiteness of the cap. Seen from a distance,
like a flower. Moly. Hard
for mortals to extract without breaking
but for a god like nothing.

twenty-first amanita ode  To the Night

Night. Lord of all the Earth. Spreading from the left side of the


From whom the human image emerges. Noctivagitous
embracer of all images.

Light first radiated on the right side, darkness
on the left. Consummate radiance, high depth
of the issuing light. Angelophanic umber, shadow
of death, sponginess that the light slows into—
the expanding scribal matrix

like an awesome ice,
like a horrible crystal
nighttime colors.

Listen: lurid ear of the earth.
Watch: Earth burying earth.
Watch: Earth piling earth

under an undular crease
the cream of a storm pours down

blots of rain bruise.

Here is a mystery in detail. When darkness aroused, it aroused


Arrayed in an array, sacronymic amanites
micronic power-white spores shake down from.

Human beings are new every day.
The world below their striding limbs seethes
with fiery-liquid darkness.
With sealed concealments of threaded extensiveness.
Who revives the dead? Night, collector of the darkness waters.
Who controls the Moon? Night, through whom darkling fruits all

the networks


After the radiance of the night’s great light has faded,
after the density of primordial night has been treasured away,
a form coheres from the earthen fabric,
a catacosmic egg
all concealed within.

Night detonates an emanationism theurgic earth encloses
up through shadow
rung to run


This speech
deriving from the side of darkness
reveals depths.

And every soul of the living beings, who glides
who swarms
six wings—

Who is she? Night.
And what were you doing? I was gazing
upon the secrets of creation.

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PETER O’LEARY is most recently the author of Phosphorescence of Thought (Cultural Society), a book-length poem about the evolution of consciousness, and editor of a new edition of Ronald Johnson’s masterpiece, ARK (Flood Editions). He lives in Berwyn, Illinois and teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago.