So we're reading surrealist painter Ithell Colquhoun's enigmantic novel Goose of Hermogenes
and were delighted to encounter the Hermetic secret of drawing a straight line all the way to the horizon. Before revealing that, here's the novel's official description: "The heroine of this story (described only as 'I') is compelled to visit a mysterious uncle who turns out to be a black magician who lords over a kind of Prospero's Island that exists out of time and space. Startled by his bizarre behavior and odd nocturnal movements, she eventually learns that he is searching for the philosopher's stone. When his sinister attentions fall upon the priceless jewel heirloom in her possession, bewilderment turns into stark terror and she realizes she must find a way off the island. An esoteric dreamworld fantasy composed of uncorrelated scenes and imagery mostly derived from medieval occult sources, Goose of Hermogenes might be described as a gothic novel, an occult picaresque, or a surrealist fantasy." (By the way, we disagree with the word "uncorrelated" in the description.) (50Watts has discussed the novel and author here
Back to the Hermetic secret, from page 53:
And he dying near by, dying in life, living in death, spending and wasting and dying each time he was with me, each time a step nearer death and death a thought dearer. He was hungry once with that phosphorescent look about him and asked to be kept alive and I gave him stony gifts; I heaped those stones above him, I laid him in that bed of boulders. We were held together at last by slanderous bonds, by ridicule, hatred, contempt, but there were older bonds than those, the sulphur, the phosphor, the salt. Now lying in a small graveyard near bones of kings and beaten gold, he is learning the length of the horizon and drawing perhaps where the worms twine a straighter line than ever before; drawing perhaps the straight wand of Hermes, with the snakes making spirals around it to right and left, the red and the blue, gyres that I must try to compas. Lying there far from the shrine of a pillow, he is echoing that distant day when the first words he spoke were Listen to me! And crying a far cry out of a six-foot cradle he is saying again Listen!