Symphonie Fantastique

Diablerie in Four Movements or a Symphony in Words

By J Michaud PhD

This most unusual book, subtitled a 'Diablerie in Four Movements or a Symphony in Words', is unique in occult literature. First published in 1949, by the Uma Press, in London, it is almost completely unknown. In publishing it here in HTML format, we hope to introduce a new generation of seekers after Truth to the elevated occult and metaphysical teachings it contains.

Publisher's Introduction to the book

The dictionary tells us that a 'Diablerie' is "a representation in words or pictures of black magic or of dealings with the devil." But this 'Symphony in Words' is much more than a fantastic tale of the machinations of the devil, though you will find plenty of devils in it. Like all the author's books, Symphonie Fantastique abounds in rich and complex multi-layered symbolism, allegory and metaphor, which only deep study and meditation can reveal. That is not to say that the general reader will not enjoy the book, but rather that its deepest truths and teachings lie well below the surface. The grand theme of this 'Diablerie' is Redemption and Regeneration through suffering. It has much in common with Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, but whereas Milton's stated purpose was to "justify the ways of God to men", Dr Michaud explains God's ways, by unveiling some of the greatest occult mysteries, so far as these may be revealed.

Although the author was an accomplished musician and the narrative closely follows the structure of a classical symphony of four movements (see 'musical terms' in sidebar at right), this is emphatically NOT a book about music. When the British composer, Sir Granville Bantock (1868-1946), was shown the MSS of the book by the author in 1942, he exclaimed "This is magnificent and will create a sensation!" The book is certainly magnificent in the sublimity of its themes, in the beauty of its language and in the wealth of occult knowledge it contains. Yet it created little sensation upon its publication and is now almost completely unknown and unread. This is not surprising when we consider, as we point out in many of our articles, that Truth is a most unpopular product. Not that this matters. Appreciative readers will find the same beauty, inspiration and profound occult truths in Symphonie Fantastique as in the author's other books, creating a 'sensation' of joy and feelings of the deepest gratitude for the wisdom, warmth and humour which shines forth from every page of this sublime Symphony in Words.

The momentous events described take place some 427,000 years in the future, at the close of the Kali Yuga or 'Black Age' which you can read about in The Book of Sa-Heti, by the same author. The principal characters in this metaphysical drama are Iambus, the Prince of the Nether worlds, or Hell and his demonic ministers; Madelon and Sebastiano, two advanced souls, and Mizella—a wise old Gipsy woman—who imparts some of the hidden secrets of Nature to Dolce and Farni, two children who are the lower Selves of Madelon and Sebastiano. You will find a complete list of all the characters in the book below, together with the Ballets and Dances which are interwoven so beautifully into the narrative.


In no other book do we find such clear and correct explanations of what body, mind and soul really are, as well as 'astral' projection, 'fallen angels', and the conditions to be found in the lower astral planes. Nor has a more revealing portrait ever been drawn of the 'devil' in the shape of the proud and haughty Prince of Hell, Iambus. In the Second Movement Iambus reveals the tools and wiles employed by the dark forces to sow their seeds of evil on earth. Such occult truths have never been so openly stated before, but the time is now ripe for their wider dissemination, so that the good may profit from this knowledge and the not-so-good learn what awaits those who turn away from the Light and embrace the darkness . . .

One could read a thousand so-called 'occult' books by well-known authors and not find a fraction of the great truths and sublime wisdom contained in this slim volume of just 101 pages (this refers to the printed edition). This magnificent drama reaches its climax during the Fourth Movement when the personified planets and their Rulers wage war against Iambus and his Hellish legions. Before that final encounter there are too many incidents to mention, some of great joy, virtue and beauty, others of surpassing sorrow, sin and ugliness. Each of them reveals some nugget of truth or jewel of wisdom; heavenly treasure that cannot be found in any books by any other author.

Before we conclude this brief and very inadequate introduction, we feel compelled to reiterate that this is not a book about music! Nonetheless, the classical musicians among our readers may find even more layers of meaning to discover and explore, not least in the huge number of quaint and archaic instruments, musicians and dancers introduced in the Third Movement's Scherzo Diabolico. We have attempted to count their number, but gave up after we reached several hundred! This is probably the reason why, to the best of our knowledge, Symphonie Fantastique has never been performed on the stage. It would be almost impossible to find the exceptionally talented producer and enough gifted musicians who were brave (and foolhardy) enough to even try!

Having said that, the book, or play, or symphony, call it what you will—for this book is all of these and so much more—would make a most magnificent musical drama such as this world has never seen before, creating the 'sensation' Sir Granville Bantock predicted when he first read the MSS more than 70 years ago. Who knows, perhaps you who reads the book and falls in love with it, as we did long ago, will be the one to bring this 'Symphony in Words' to a wider audience? Now that would be a truly noble endeavour and a splendid tribute to the author's immortal genius.

Dramatis Personæ

DOLCE, a young girl, twelve years old
FARNI (ente), a young boy of fourteen
MADELON, the higher self of Dolce
SEBASTIANO, the higher self of Farni
MIZELLA, an old Gipsy woman
IAMBUS, Prince of the nether worlds, or Hell
EVEN TENOR, his Ambassador
ROTUNDO or General Bass, his Field Marshal
CROCHET, his Minister of Propaganda
QUASI, the semi-human valet of Iambus
QUAVER, a frightened, trembling devil
FERMATO, a lazy devil
QUINT, the five-eyed Watchman of Hell
SCORIA, the conductor of Hell's Orchestra
STACCATO, Leader of the Orchestra
PHONASCUS, Chorus Master
CACHUCO, Maestro de Ballet
POLYCARP, the fruitful vintner of Hell
ZOPPO, the syncopated Ape
RABBIA, First Torturer
TORTUM, Second Torturer
JUBAL, Father of Harpists
FIRST MARTYR, a Christian Hermit
SECOND MARTYR, a Hindu Ascetic
The Voice of the Spirit of Cosmos
The Great Breath of Evil
The Easter Island Priests
The Pilgrims of the Serpent
The 'Weak in Evil'
The Priests of Hell
The Heavenly Spirits
The New Arrivals in Hell
The Hexameter, a six-footed poetical monster, but twisted.
The Planetary Warriors
The Troopers of the Thundercloud
The Barbarian Fighters of Iambus
The Procession of Asses
Servants; devils and demons; servers of wine; soldiers; trumpeters; priests; war-pipers; slaves; musicians; singers; male and female dancers; Ancient Hebrews; Chaldeans; Assyrians; Egyptians; Greeks; Turks; Hindus; Brahmans; Burmese; Chinese; Japanese, etc.
The Monsters of Hell
The Choir of six-and-sixty Jew's Harps

Ballets and Dances

The Spirits of the Trees and Flowers
The Dance of the Peacocks
The Passe-Rue
The Bergamasca
The Welsh Dancers
The Polichinelle Dance
The Chilean National Dancers
The Italian Peasants' Ballonchio Dance
Danse Macabre of the Shrouds
The Zapateado
The Bohemian Redowak
The Scotch Dancers
The Black Moresca
The Egyptian Ceremonial Dance
The Russian Peasants' Dance
Various ancient and exotic orchestras and musicians, performing on the instruments of their Nations and times.

Time of action:427,000 years hence

MSS begun May 7th, 1942. Finished, June 30th, 1942.
World Copyright 1949 — The Uma Press, London.

The following dedication appears in the printed book:

To the glorious star—————
That shone above the slender, pointed Spire that Eve,
When, seated on the hill beneath the royal oak,
Imagination's grand Flambeau
Was placed into uncertain hands.
O! May the messenger prove worthy of that Trust,
And may the luminous lights of Inspiration blaze
In Star-like Splendour . . . . . .
When sounds the CALL!

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FIRST MOVEMENT — Proasma Sylvatica

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