Thelema Community Calendar for May 2004 e.v.

Thelema Community Calendar for May 2004 e.v. Abbreviated web edition.

Volume I, Number 2: The Tradition Issue.

The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.

Copyright © O.T.O. and the Individual Authors, 2004 e.v.

The Origins of Tarot

by Nathan W. Bjorge

What are the origins of Tarot, the mysterious deck of images so central to the Thelemic tradition? Aleister Crowley's understanding of Tarot derived initially from a document circulated within the Second Order of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, called the Book T. Written by S. L. MacGregor Mathers, this text presents the Golden Dawn system of Tarot correspondences. These correspondences were presented as a restoration of the esoteric attributions intended by the creators of a supposed original tarot deck predating the 15th century, or "Ur-Tarot."

Shadowy Beginnings

Curiously, there was no speculation at the time of Tarot's first appearance in the 15th century as to its meaning. This suggests the possibility that its meaning was obvious to everyone and needed no explanation.
It is often assumed that the traditional deck of playing cards (with four suits and no Major Arcana) is derived from Tarot, but the reverse is actually the case. Playing cards are a medieval Indian creation, like chess, and were imported into Europe probably no earlier than the 1300s, when the first references to them begin to appear. These 14th century allusions do not mention the Major Arcana, and could simply refer to playing cards in general. The first surviving written references to the trumps postdate the earliest surviving cards from circa 1445. These earliest cards are all from Italy. Therefore, we may hypothesize that early 15th century Italy is the place of the origin of Tarot. Any background logic informing the original Tarot will therefore come from this milieu, rather than from a romanticized notion of Egyptian wisdom.
The earliest surviving Tarot decks are the so-called Visconti-Sforza Tarot. These were created around 1445 and are elaborately hand painted on large cards. They were art objects, possibly not intended to be played with. The artist was Bonifacio Bembo of Cremona, whose patrons, the Visconti family, were lords of Milan. The Tarot decks, three of which have partially survived, were possibly wedding gifts for Francesco Sforza, who married Bianca Maria Visconti, daughter of Duke Filippo Maria Visconti in 1441. The cards contain heraldic devices for both the Visconti and Sforza families worked into the designs.
The Major Arcana in these decks are unnumbered. As these are the earliest surviving decks, there is no way to prove the order of these cards. However, they may well have possessed an implicit order identical, or nearly so, to the later numbered decks.
THE DEVIL, THE TOWER and two Minor Arcana cards do not survive. Also, six of the Major Arcana are replacements by a later artist circa 1480-90 from the miniature painting school of Ferrara. These six are FORTITUDE, TEMPERANCE, THE STAR, THE MOON, THE SUN and THE WORLD.

I Trionfi

One of the strongest theories put forward as to the meaning informing the original Visconti Tarot (which may or may not be the very earliest Tarot) is that put forward by art historian Gertrude Moakley. This theory, henceforth called the Moakley thesis, is that the earliest Tarot are illustrations of an important poem by the medieval poet Petrarch called I Trionfi, meaning "the triumphal chariots."1 I Trionfi is a courtly love poem in the Troubadour tradition, sharing a number of similarities with Dante's Divine Comedy and La Vita Nuovo. These include the theme of a wanderer and guide searching for a divinized love object.
Written around 1340, the poem consists of six parts:

1.The Triumph of Love. In which the poet wanders in search of Laura, his love. He encounters a guide, and together they perceive a triumphal procession of the captives of love led by Cupid. Within the train are the heroes and rulers of the world.
2.The Triumph of Chastity. Laura now appears, riding in a chariot. She explains that the poet has overcome captivity by his higher Platonic love of her.
3.The Triumph of Death. The poem becomes more abstract. Laura dies, depriving the poet of her physical presence.
4.The Triumph of Fame. Laura's death is overcome by her fame.
5.The Triumph of Time. Then her fame is overcome by Time.
6.The Triumph of Eternity. Then Time is overcome by Eternity. The poem ends with vision of the heavens and the Last Judgement.

There are several clues that show the relationship between the Visconti Tarot and Petrarch's Trionfi. The Visconti family were patrons of Petrarch. Also, I Trionfi was the most famous poem in Italy in the early 15th century, more so than even Dante's work at that time. Within a century, the poem had lapsed into obscurity, especially outside of Italy. Today, usually only Literature majors have even heard of it, much less read it.

There is a significant history of Italian engravings on the themes of I Trionfi. The craft of engraving reached Italy in 1460 (after the creation of the Visconti decks), and I Trionfi soon became the most popular secular theme for the new art form. Many of these are strikingly similar to Tarot designs, so much so that there has been frequent speculation by art historians as to the influence of Tarot on the tradition of Italian engraving art. But what if the reason for this similarity is not direct influence of one on the other, but rather a common ancestor in Petrarch's work?
The Tarot sequence and design correspond strongly to the pattern of the poem. The engraving tradition of I Trionfi shows an interpretative approach to representing the poem's ideas. General themes are illustrated, with classical or popular motifs not directly mentioned in the poem introduced frequently. The Tarot images follow this tradition. The wandering Fool encounters his guide, THE JUGGLER or magician, represented as a stage performer. THE POPE, THE POPESS (an allusion to the popular legend of Pope Joan), THE EMPEROR and THE EMPRESS are prisoners in the train of THE LOVERS, which depicts Cupid in the Visconti deck. These first seven cards correspond to the first part of I Trionfi, the Triumph of Love. Then Laura appears on her chariot. In the Visconti deck THE CHARIOT carries an enthroned female figure. The images then shift to the more abstract themes of the second half of the poem. JUSTICE is the next card, with a knight errant in the background, perhaps showing the balanced disposition of the poet's courtly love for Laura. Then images of death and judgement: THE HERMIT with his hourglass, THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE, THE HANGED MAN, DEATH itself, THE DEVIL and THE TOWER struck by lightning. (The image of STRENGTH is missing in its original form. The surviving card was painted forty years later and inserted into the original deck.) The poem ends with cosmic themes of heaven and the Last Judgement. Likewise, Tarot concludes with trumps for the heavenly bodies, THE SUN, THE STAR and THE MOON. Finally, THE LAST JUDGEMENT itself appears, and then THE WORLD. THE WORLD, again, does not survive in its original form. The replacement image, however, depicts two angels supporting a globe within which is the New Jerusalem of Revelation.
Finally, and most crucially, Tarot was not originally called by this name. In the 15th century Tarot cards were called Trionfi, the same name as the title of Petrarch's poem. The word "Tarot" is a shortened form of the Italian "Tarocchi," a term which refers simply to playing cards in general, inclusive of --- but not limited to --- Tarot decks. The original name of Tarot is retained even in English, however, in the word "trump," shortened from "Triumph," meaning a Triumphal Chariot (in Italian, trionfo; plural: trionfi).
This also explains why there was no speculation at the time of Tarot's appearance as to its meaning. It was simply obvious that the Trionfi were illustrations of I Trionfi.
It is certain that another influence on Tarot, indeed on Petrarch's poem itself, is the tradition of Mardi Gras floats. This medieval and renaissance (not to mention modern) survival of the Roman custom of the Triumphal parade featured popular images such as Death and the Wheel of Fortune, as well as classical themes and representations. These floats were also called trionfi. Triumphal parades with such floats were performed at weddings of nobility, often at great expense, well into the 17th century. It makes sense that the Visconti decks, created as wedding gifts, were illustrations of the images of these floats. Even if the Moakley thesis of Tarot origins is wrong, it is certain that this tradition of float images is a source for Tarot.

Development and Mystification

There exist a number of surviving decks or fragments of decks from the 15th century, all later than the Visconti family decks and all very similar to them. An especially interesting and very early variation is the so-called Mantegna Tarot of 50 cards. Major Arcana only, these illustrate scholastic categories of knowledge, arranged in a particular order so as to assist in the memorization of information about them. The series is distinct from traditional Tarot, though several of the images overlap. The Mantegna Tarot shows early development of a connection between Tarot and the art of memory, the latter an important area of study for the Renaissance Magi.2 In later times, the Book T system will become an important revival of the art of memory as a Hermetic spiritual technique, with Tarot as its symbol set. The 15th century Mantegna Tarot shows that this use of Tarot is not foreign to its early Italian context.
In the 16th and 17th centuries there is a gap in the record of the development of Tarot, as comparatively few examples survive. This is largely due to the cheap materials decks were made of, usually woodblock prints on low quality paper. These were popular decks, not made for the wealthy or respectable, so they were not considered "art" and were not preserved.
The next important phase in the development of Tarot was when it emerged from obscurity in the early 18th century in a popular standardized form of the deck found in Western Europe and called today the Tarot of Marseille. This style of Tarot remained the standard default form of Tarot until the Rider-Waite deck (published in 1910) surpassed it in popularity.
The Marseille Tarot became the basis for speculation on the occult meaning and origins of Tarot in the emerging French school, as earlier decks were not readily available. These early speculations cannot be considered rigorous in their scholarship or philology by any but their own standards.
In 1781 Antoine Court de Gebelin first advanced the thesis of an ancient Egyptian origin of Tarot in his books Monde Primitif and Du Jeu des Tarots. This interpretation was inspired by the European occult hieroglyphic tradition, which was at its height in the 18th century.3 Egyptian hieroglyphs were widely believed to be a kind of symbolic cipher script, encoding the lost magical and occult secrets of the universe. Egyptian was thought to be a picture language, like Chinese, each symbol representing a concept or idea. (In fact, Egyptian script is phonetic, with a few exceptions.) Gebelin's theory was that the images of Tarot were surviving examples of an ideal Egyptian picture language, elaborate hieroglyphs encoding the initiated mysteries of the ancients. This is wrong, of course, but this fact may blind us to the truths its error conceals. The images of Tarot are powerful cultural archetypes and as such do encode initiated mysteries. Furthermore, the use of Tarot as a philosophical machine within the context of the art of memory, especially as set forth in the Book T, is an aspect of the Hermetic tradition, which does derive in part from Egypt. Therefore, while Tarot was not originally a direct expression of the Hermetic Egyptian wisdom of the Western Esoteric tradition, it has become it.

Tarot as We Know It

The next major contributor to occult Tarot theory, as well as the major representative of the French school per se, was Eliphas Levi. In two main works, The Dogma and Ritual of Transcendental Magic (1855) and the shorter posthumously published The Magical Ritual of the Sanctum Regnum (printed in English by G.D. founder William Wynn Westcott), Levi re-advanced Gebelin's theory of an ancient Egyptian origin for Tarot. But he went further in invoking an explicitly Kabbalistic content to Tarot. Specifically, he related the 22 Major Arcana to the symbolism of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet as described in the Sepher Yetzirah. This French correspondence system maps the trumps to letters in alphabetical order, beginning with the MAGICIAN, and inserting the unnumbered FOOL card between JUDGEMENT and THE WORLD.
There are problems relating the symbolism of the letters as described in the Sepher Yetzirah to these correspondences. In particular, the implied elemental, planetary and zodiacal symbolism of the Mother, Double and Single letters of that text do not correlate well with the Tarot images in the French system. Fixing this became the goal of the founders of the Golden Dawn system of Tarot, accomplished by making THE FOOL correspond to Aleph and reconfiguring the correspondences on that basis. STRENGTH and JUSTICE are also inverted in their order in the deck to conform to the order of Leo and Libra in the zodiac. This is the Book T system. It proved simple, elegant, effective and profound in its symbolic spiritual implications.
With regard to the French system, there is a frequently repeated myth, originating in Golden Dawn circles, that Eliphas Levi knew the "real" (i.e., Golden Dawn) attributions, but concealed them with blinds so they would not be learned by the uninitiated. It was a common story, told within the Golden Dawn and spread from there, that Levi had in fact been a continental member of the Order, and knew the Book T attributions directly from them.
However, modern scholarship has conclusively demonstrated that the Golden Dawn was created by Mathers, Westcott and Woodman, and does not predate them as such. Therefore, Levi could not have secretly learned this system from the Order of the Golden Dawn, which did not exist during his own lifetime. There is a real lineage of British and Continental Rosicrucian groups that directly informs the Golden Dawn, including the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia and ultimately the German Masonic/Alchemical "Gold und Rosencrutz" society of the 1700s (from which the Golden Dawn degree system originates), but none of these orders included the Book T system as part of their teachings.
Secondly, there is no evidence that the writers of the French school, which included but were not limited to Levi, did not fully believe in the published versions of their system.
The first appearance of the Golden Dawn system of Tarot correspondences that can be identified is the so-called Cipher Manuscript, the alleged founding document of the Order. The Golden Dawn Tarot system is integral to the outline of the initiatory rituals presented in that text and is implied throughout the document. Exactly who created this document has not been clearly established. R. A. Gilbert has tentatively argued that it slightly predates the Mathers/Westcott/Woodman collaboration and derives from notes of Kenneth McKenzie's towards a never-realized new order that he had conceived along the lines of the degree system of the SRIA.4 Or the Cipher Manuscript may be a direct forgery by Westcott, Mathers, Woodman, or some collaboration of the three. Regardless, whoever penned these Cipher documents likely is the inventor of the Golden Dawn system of Tarot. It is hoped that future scholarship will be able to discover the identity of this individual, especially as more and more papers and documents become publicly available to scholars from this period of time.
Aleister Crowley was exposed directly to the Book T Tarot system at its source while an initiate of the original Golden Dawn. Its system forms the basis of his Thoth Tarot deck, with the addition of the final tweak inverting the attributions of the letters Heh and Tzaddi. With this, possibly the greatest accomplishment of his later years, the mysteries of Tarot were brought solidly and profoundly into the New Aeon.

1. Moakley, Gertrude, 'The Tarot Trumps and Petrarch's Trionfi,' Bulletin of the New York Public Library, vol. 60, no. 2, February 1956.
2. Yates, Francis, The Art of Memory, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1966.
3. Iversen, Erik, The Myth of Egypt and its Hieroglyphs, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1961.
4. Gilbert, R.A., "Provenance Unknown: A Tentative Solution to the Riddle of the Cipher Manuscript of the Golden Dawn" in Küntz, Darcy (ed.), The Complete Golden Dawn Cipher Manuscript. Holmes Publishing Group, Edmonds, WA, 1996, pp. 17-26.

John Brunie became Master of Thelema Lodge in the Fall of 1993 e.v. Ever since, he has fulfilled his post with total dedication, fierce loyalty, unparalleled integrity, and much hard work. Under his editorial hand, the Thelema Lodge Calendar achieved literary standards never before seen (and unlikely to be seen again, try as we may). His "Section II Reading Group" collaboration with Caitlin Wildermuth opened whole new realms of history and letters to many of us. Nor can we forget the many seasonal rituals, feasts, and festivities he's led; the picnics, the gatherings in the park, the poetry readings. But above it all shines John's passion for the Gnostic Mass. Whether as officer to the congregation, or as congregant to the officers, John not only expresses, but genuinely communicates, an enthusiasm for our central celebration that is truly enduring.
No less enduring, though, are the countless small kindnesses and courtesies, usually unnoticed and unsung, he has performed for those of us in the community over the past decade. I have never known anyone who cared so much about his friends, or worked so tirelessly on their behalf.
As of Spring, 2004 e.v., the Electoral College of O.T.O. approved John's recommendation to name me as Thelema Lodge's new Master. To start with, then, I'd like to ask everyone to join me in expressing great thanks to John Brunie for his many years of outstanding service.
Michael Sanborn

If You've Received This Issue by Mail...

...then you've gotten it fairly late in the month. Apologies! We're gradually resuming the bulk mailing program followed by The Thelema Lodge Calendar for many years, but it's taking a little while to get up to speed. Please bear with us; we hope to provide timely delivery in the very near future.

Thelema and Growth: 3 Views

Paul Suliin started this train of discussion with an early draft of his essay printed below. Before long, contrasting articles were offered up on the same subject from Michael Sanborn and Gregory Peters. We decided to publish them all, in the interest of providing a wide spectrum of opinions on a controversial subject.

Thelema and the Marketplace of Ideas
by Paul Suliin

Since its inception, Thelema has wrestled with the issue of becoming a well-known major religion. Aleister Crowley worked very hard to bring public attention to himself and to his new revelation. To the extent that he succeeded the results were not always positive. Modern Thelemites face many of the same questions that Crowley dealt with: How much influence, how much public awareness, is it practical and wise for Thelemites to seek? Can we realize the ideal that "The Law is for all" without gaining such influence? Is remaining obscure a form of cowardice, or perhaps of elitism? Is it even possible for Thelema, with its emphasis on personal experience, to become a religion of the masses?

I hope to address these questions in this essay. I believe that there are two deadly threats to all true religion, much more deadly even than persecution, because they kill religion from within by suffocating its roots. These threats are orthodoxy and social power. They are related and codependent, each supporting and partaking of the other. But social power is the more dangerous of the two, because without it any attempt to impose orthodoxy is mere bluster. I hope to show that obscurity has served Thelema well by protecting it against these two dangers, and that the risks of becoming a widely known major religion far outweigh the advantages.
I have long believed that social victory is the worst thing that can happen to any religion. The philosophical decline of Christianity can be dated from Constantine's Edict of Tolerance. Orthodoxy was an issue for the Church by the middle of the Second Century e.v. By the last decades of that century the bishop of Rome (the office that would one day be known as the Pope) had already invoked excommunication against dissenting eastern churches in a dispute over the date of the observance of Easter.
But at that point the true power of the church of Rome extended not far beyond the city's walls, and the edict of excommunication had little or no practical effect. The banned churches simply ignored it. It was not until Constantine made it legal to be Christian, and the Church parleyed that into a Christian mandate, that the church's opinions on matters of orthodoxy became a life or death concern.
That gradual accumulation of power also began drawing people to the Church who had no particular interest in Christianity for its own sake. As it became politically advantageous to affirm the Christian faith, Christianity naturally became the religion of politicians and bureaucrats. When conversion later became mandatory, many people professed their faith merely to avoid legal consequences. Then with the passing of generations people came to the Church out of tradition, or because it was death to refuse, or simply because they knew nothing else. The sad tale of that history is too well known.
Religion, in its deepest essence, is the expression of an individual's personal experience of the Divine. To the extent that a religious community is formed through common experience, it becomes and remains vital and strong. When a religion achieves social status people begin to embrace it without coming to it by experience: because it offers social or political advantages, or because of family tradition, or for similar cultural reasons. When that happens religions seem to ossify, to become vicious, conservative, power-hungry.
This is to be expected: any animal seeks what feeds it --- that is, whatever helps it to maintain and to grow. Communities behave like living creatures in many ways. A community (religious or otherwise) that grows through common experience will seek to support and sustain that experience, and will seek out people who share that experience. A community that grows through tradition or cultural power will look to support and sustain those things. But tradition and cultural power are not the essential foundation of religion, so a religion that gains these things inevitably begins to turn away from its spiritual base.
All of this is doubly or triply true for a mystical religion, because these are sustained less by scripture (if they even have one) and more by that intense personal experience that is the core of all religion. For mystical traditions, that core is laid almost bare, and if it is lost then there is little or nothing left.
I very much doubt whether it is even possible for Thelema to become a mass religion, given its central focus on individual experience. The essential lessons of mysticism can be learned, but cannot be taught, least of all en masse. The best we could hope for from the attempt would be simple failure as most people turned away from the responsibility of the Will. The appearance of success would be even worse, because it would lead to the dilution of the Thelemic current in a sea of people for whom it held no personal value.
The question for Thelemites then becomes, how can we collectively pursue the Great Work and transform the world if we remain small and relatively unknown? Or to put it another way, how can Thelema go forward "as a strong man that rejoices in his way" without taking a path that will poison the roots of the religion?
Thelema has maintained itself so far by not actively recruiting, but rather making itself known in a low-key way and allowing seekers to come to it. The Internet may offer the best opportunity to carry that process forward to a wider audience. Thelemic bodies and individual Thelemites can and should develop informative sites to make Thelema easy to find once the seeker knows what he or she is looking for. And of course individual Thelemites should stand ready to discuss Thelemic principles fairly and frankly with anyone who asks.
Broadening the number of Thelemic bodies and the range of information and ritual offered by each will also help. Increasing the frequency and availability of rituals such as the Gnostic Mass and the Rites of Eleusis, and classes in magical subjects will make it easier for those who wish to experience Thelema directly to find the opportunities to do so. This will require active involvement by the members of every body to develop the necessary teachers and ritual teams, and greater organizational efforts as well to encourage the establishment of new Thelemic bodies.
Last but not least, each and every individual Thelemite is a Magician. To be a Magician is to be a center of transformation. The Great Work transforms the world by its very nature, through the transformation of everyone who participates in it. But it is laziness to rest on that effort alone. Every Thelemite can and should work to uplift those around him or her. The Law is for all, whether they know its name or not. Every Thelemite who makes the Law the basic reality of his life brings it to every person he contacts. By so doing we will not only make it easier for those who need Thelema to find it, but we will shape the lives of many, many others in accordance with the Law. That is how a Magician creates a Thelemic world.
It is a good thing to seek to spread the understanding of the Law of Thelema and the experience of the Will. But this should be done on an individual basis. It is a slow process. It may never equal the scope of the major world religions, but the cost of resorting to marketing is far too high.

Hunchbacks of Fortune
by Micheal Sanborn

Clearly, dogmatic religion has been one of the most destructive forces of human history. To become attached to a doctrine, and to be dedicated to opposing anything or anyone contrary to that doctrine, is inherently an act of hate. We have seen this in every land, at almost every time. People make claims about a higher truth; these claims get endowed with a sense of absolute importance; people fight, and ultimately kill, to uphold these claims.

Even when the founders of religions attempt to take measures against such abuses, their best intentions are bypassed. Jesus is supposed to have said, "You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life... yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life." (John 5:39-40) Has this done anything to avert textual fundamentalism? I've read that the Buddha forbade the worship of images. But within a few generations, Buddhists were worshipping images of the Buddha's footsteps, and shortly after that, the prohibition was forgotten altogether. Flash forward to the 1300s, and images of Maitreya Buddha are being used to incite bloody revolution in China.
To me, the central issue is this: is Thelema an enterprise of the same order as organized religion? If so, I believe Paul's concerns are quite valid. It doesn't matter whether "the answers" that are being proffered are "Old Aeonic," "New Aeonic," or "None of the Above." Simply by holding them as answers, the enterprise becomes Old Aeonic. Inescapably.
But that is not the only way that Thelema may be approached. Thelema and Magick are outgrowths of Hermeticism. Our patron, or at least one of them, is Thoth, the Great Magician. And his way is not a matter of answers, but of questions. Investigation. Inquiry. Curiosity. Discovery?
Crowley himself discusses this in his essay, "The Soldier and the Hunchback." Certainly, revelations --- answers, exclamation points, soldiers --- happen. But they must be alternated with inquiries --- questions, question marks, hunchbacks --- if the mind and soul are not to become stagnant.
Inquiry is not self-limiting. (Is it?) It is an endless opening of the mind to the cosmos, the mind to the mind, the mystery to the I-don't-know-what. It is not an invitation to Holy War.
If an enterprise dedicated to inquiry were to become popular (which hasn't happened much in our culture), perhaps some participants would be lured to the promises of power and conformity. But if the spirit of inquiry remains alive at all, these trends can be questioned. What is needed is the willingness to keep investigating, amongst ourselves and within ourselves.
Is such a perpetual inquiry so far out of reach?

A Call to Return
by Gregory Peters

While it is true that the growth of a religious movement generally signals its decay, as institutionalization takes over and real gnosis is left behind, it is my opinion that this is part of the larger plan and ties in with the idea of Aeons.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Buddhism alike (to name some of the bigger players) all came about in their times to refresh the Gnosis and vibrate to the Word of their particular Magus. Each served a role. Each, as well, ignored the natural tides of Aeonic progression; instead of accepting that they were to fit a need for a particular time and place, they were presented as the answer for all time --- the end game.
Thelema takes a completely different approach. The Aeon of the Child recognizes its own temporal authority; the clock is ticking, and the hourglass will run out of sand when the Aeon matures and transforms again. Thelema, and its Prophet, recognized that what was needed at this time in planetary evolution was a transformation of all the old ways --- a renewal by fire of the "old and dying world." Thelema is alchemical Sulphur. It is here to transform consciousness, transform society. Thelema is here to route out all of the old moral restrictions, superstitions, and unnatural structures of the world. It is a call for a return to Self, that is required at this juncture in time, at this moment in our evolutionary path. Thelema is not eternal, and it does not pretend to be the final answer. It is a means to an end.
With this in mind, I think the spread of Thelema is a necessary function of the progression of the Aeon. The old and dying structures of society, our moral sickness, must be rooted out and destroyed. Thelema must enkindle a fire that covers the world with its purging flames.
Will the majority of humanity ever accept the Book of the Law? Probably not, and this may not be a realistic goal. Still, is it realistic that in 500 years or more, societies of the world may be transformed by this New Law, whether they accept it by name or no? Is it possible that with the progress of some, the consciousness of all may be raised? And that those "few and secret" working fully in accord with the Word of the Law may be able to transform society, and completely restructure it?
While most will never be conscious magicians, or even interested in Thelema, it *does* seem likely to me that the core idea of the Law will spread and effect this transformation. A society based on True Will and Self, as opposed to outdated and ineffectual moral codes and religious nonsense.
Give Thelema 1000 years... 2000 years... The Aeon will mature, and after having accomplished Its Task, the next step will commence. Thelema too will fall by the wayside; it will atrophy, be institutionalized, no longer serve any effective purpose, be cut off from the Gnosis. This is, I think, as it should be.
For now, let it grow and spread like wildflower, so much as it is able. The Gnosis is beyond any one system, or religion, or philosophy. Thelema, and before it, Buddhism in its purest sense (Theravada) came closest to this ideal of pure Gnosis. Yet once the system is put on paper, it has already lost some of the original impulse and luster. Still, it must run its course, and now is the time of the Aeon of Horus, the Crowned & Conquering Child. That Child must grow into adulthood.
We are only 100 years into this Aeon. The world must still be renewed in a baptism of blood and fire. This is true compassion, the vice of kings; when the sickness of the earth may be weeded out of our consciousness, and the next level of evolutionary consciousness is striven for, allowing us each, in our own way, to grow and evolve.

Show your pride! Call (510) 601-9393 to find out how you can help the Thelema Community.

Coming to the Web in May:

The new Thelema Lodge website
The Thelema Community Calendar (PDF) (HTML)
(Sites may still be under construction in the earlier parts of the month.)

The Unknown God:

W. T. Smith and the Thelemites

by Martin P. Starr
Bolingbrook: Teitan Press, 2003.
432 pp. 1st Edition, Hardcover, $49.95.

ISBN 0-933429-07-X

Review by Gregory Peters

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

As Thelema celebrates the dawn of its first centennial, we are in a position to evaluate our growth to date and look into the formative years of such a young movement with modern eyes. Ironically, other than studies of the prophet Aleister Crowley, little has been available in the way of histories that cover in detail the several personalities that carried the movement forward in the early years. Happily, this trend has recently begun to change with the arrival of a few new books. First among these is Martin Starr's highly anticipated offering, The Unknown God. Starr's work gives the determined tale of Wilfred Talbot Smith and the small group of dedicated Thelemites that kept the flame of Thelema alive in California in the 1930s. After fifteen years of research, Martin Starr's study is a scholarly, and oft times brutally honest work that gives the tale of these pioneers of Thelema. It is a well written, entertaining and critical exploration of many of the key players who maintained the Thelemic current in the face of overwhelming obstacles. Focused on the previously obscure story of Wilfred T. Smith, the book also encompasses the host of personalities that were active in the O.T.O.'s formative and struggling years in America, including such notables as Jane Wolfe, C. F. Russell, Jack Parsons, Louis T. Culling, Grady McMurtry, Karl Germer, and Paul Foster Case.

As a close friend and confidant of the late Helen Parsons Smith, Starr had access to the entire corpus of Smith's diaries and letters, as well as the literary material of many of Smith's contemporaries on the scene. From Starr's preface we even grasp the subtle hints of a closer connection to the events reported in this book, where we are informed that Helen Parsons Smith had stated that Wilfred "promised to reincarnate and help Helen spread the Word of Thelema in a new human vehicle." It is largely from his friendship with Helen, and her many stories of Smith, that Starr was led to writing the book, and we may now reap the benefits of his in depth research and work. Starr is an active and professed Freemason, as well as former student of Marcello Motta. He thus offers a perspective of the O.T.O. from outside its pale. The story that unfolds is one of dedicated persistence and devotion that is matched only by the endless bickering and machinations of ego from all parties involved.
Filled with copious quotes from primary material --- a comprehensive appendix that includes the first formal publication of Liber Apotheosis, Smith's magical diaries, correspondence with Crowley, and an extensive bibliography --- the book is a treasure trove of new information. The plate section alone is worth the cover price, including among its gems never before seen photos of the Gnostic Mass officers and temple in Hollywood.
The quality of the book is superb, and like all publications from Teitan Press, will be worthy of a place of honor on the collector's bookshelf. It could have used a more thorough proofreading, as at times the typographical and other small errors make a distraction to the contents, however, overall the book is finely presented and reads well.
In addition to giving voice to the untold story of Wilfred T. Smith, The Unknown God also offers a new depth of insight into the life and work of Charles Stansfeld Jones (Frater Achad), who was Smith's primary teacher and was eventually replaced by Smith as O.T.O. X° for North America. The picture painted of Jones helps to shed light into this enigmatic character who was central to the birth pangs of Thelema.
The glimpses we are given of Crowley's remote yet "hands-on" administration of O.T.O. is fascinating. The code of ethics which the disciples courageously strove to embody included absolute frankness with one another in all their dealings, and so with regularity letters were copied to all concerned parties containing in detail their grievances to one another. Crowley would then dash off his responses to individuals, giving at times conflicting information, insinuating dark underlying motives and often wreaking havoc with daily operations. Still, one must truly admire his attempt to cut to the core of human relations, and his fearless, indefatigable march into the depths of human consciousness for the liberation of the Will. An example given in the book is Crowley's instructions to the small Rose Croix Chapter regarding Liber AL's guidance on matters sexual:

II.24 meansEnjoy yourself.
II.52 meansEnjoy yourself as you will.
I.41 means Let any one who wants to enjoy himself do so.
Do not allow anyone to hold you to any compact.

After directing everyone to have sex with each other, and then breakfast together, without "losing the sense of sacramentalism," Crowley suggests that "all will be well. It's all Point of View" (Crowley to Jones, August 2, 1916). From Starr's examples it would seem that the disciples were not able to fully overcome their ingrained sentimentalities and moral upbringings. One must nevertheless applaud their repeated, and frequent, attempts to break the chains of the slave mentality.
Contemporary initiates are given an interesting inside view of such core practices as the O.T.O.'s central ritual, private and public --- Liber XV, the Gnostic Catholic Mass. In discussing the vision of the O.T.O., Starr quotes the 1913 Manifesto of the M M M:

It also possesses in every important centre of population a hidden Retreat (Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum) where members may conceal themselves in order to pursue the Great Work without hindrance.
These houses are secret fortresses of Truth, Light, Power, and Love, and their position is only disclosed under an oath of secrecy to those entitled to make use of them.
They are also temples of true worship, specially consecrated by Nature to bring out of a man all that is best in him.

The last three paragraphs quoted above do not refer to a material house but rather to the services offered by a "consecrated priestess" or sworn whore akin to the properly trained Priestess in the Gnostic Catholic Mass of the O.T.O. Crowley warned that there was a great danger "in the tendency to cheapen and vulgarize the whole proceeding, and any blasphemy against this force of nature does lead to the most shocking degradation of character" (Crowley to Grady L. McMurtry, July 14, 1943). (p. 27)

The letter to McMurtry referenced by Starr is worth looking at in more detail:

[...] in the old days, when these matters were seen clearly and cleanly, when they were properly understood, she would have been a consecrated priestess. (This is implied in the Gnostic Mass, Section II, lines 3 and 4, and is secretly indicated in the Manifesto, Liber LII, Section IV last three paragraphs --- "The hidden retreat where members may conceal themselves.") These "Temples of true worship, specifically consecrated by Nature to bring out in a man all that is best in him" should have suggested something to a poet of your perspicacity. [...]
Jealousy is obviously a plain breach of the Law of Thelema --- "There shall be no property in human flesh." As Voltaire said: "I hate your opinions, but I will fight to the death against anyone who wishes to suppress them." It is the most outrageous arrogance to presume to arbitrate on the most sacred functions of other peoples' conduct. What you can and should do is to enlighten the ignorance of such as have little or no experience, by telling them of the various dangers with which this voyage is fraught; dangers of shipwreck, dangers from piracy. It is particularly important to instruct people in the real importance of this side of life; more than in any other department of the factory, immense quantities of energy of the highest possible potential are developed and expended; it is extremely important that none of this should go to waste; if nothing else is it so important for people to remember "It is my Will to eat and drink (or whatever it is), that my body may be fortified thereby, that I may accomplish the Great Work".
Of course, it is by no means natural for everyone to become a consecrated priestess; there are, in fact, very few women who have the strength of character necessary to pursue successfully such a career. One of the greatest dangers lies in the tendency to cheapen and vulgarize the whole proceeding, and any blasphemy against this force of nature does lead to the most shocking degradation of character. [...]

It seems reasonable that Crowley had a few levels of interpretation in mind when writing up the description for the Manifesto, and that it is likely he intended both physical buildings (compare Liber CXXIV, Of Eden and the Sacred Oak, for just one example of this dual meaning) as well as the special class of "sworn Priestess." The instruction appears applicable on both levels in these documents, and certainly gives a level of meaning to both the Gnostic Mass and the organization of the O.T.O. that is worthy of deep contemplation.

Further along in discussing the choice of Saints in the Gnostic Catholic Mass, Starr writes that

Unlike its Theosophical counterpart, one would look in vain through the volumes of the Acta Sanctorum for the lives of the Saints of the Gnostic Catholic Church, which include Doctors Gerard Encausse and Theodor Reuss and Sir Aleister Crowley. Crowley's choice of saints was pragmatic and poetic. His professed lack of interest in history, as well as his skepticism about it as a discipline, led him to state that the denomination of "Saint" in his Mass was "a rhetorical flourish --- little more." (Crowley to William Bernard Crow, April 4, 1945) (p. 72)

It is difficult to know what Starr had in mind when characterizing Crowley's choices as "pragmatic and poetic," and other than the small quote from a letter to W. B. Crow, there is no elucidation on this point. While it is true that the gnostic saints of Liber XV seem to be drawn from a significantly different sacerdotal tradition than those of Christianity, there is certainly much to be gained from a study of the lives of the Saints, as has been undertaken in detail by our current Patriarch. Rhetorical or no, the true motivation of Crowley's selection of Saints may remain unknown. An underlying intent was at least expressed by Crowley to his disciple Norman Mudd, and recorded by the latter in notes which stated that the "Communion of saints equals religious value of copulating with your magical partner."

Starr comes forward with a negative picture of the disciples after the great "coming of the World Teacher" debacle of the Theosophical Society, which had aborted due to Krishnamurti's rejection of the role. Starr writes that Crowley

had achieved his victory and in yet another sphere ruled sole and supreme. The change marked a major shift of focus inward in the world view of himself and his followers. All the battles for occult hegemony had been won. Crowley's disciples now had no potential rivals for their attention. With the departure of Jones, there were no intermediaries or colleagues of stature even remotely on a level with The Master Therion. Henceforth Smith and the Thelemites concentrated their attention on Crowley as the fons et origo of all wisdom; if one was working with Crowley, one certainly would not have time for other teachers. The emphasis on Crowley's absolute position hastened the development of insularity among the Thelemites and fostered an uncritical reverence for his opinions. Their religion had a single, living source and those outside the Thelemite fellowship or in conflict with the leader were in error. Their desire for doctrinal purity in the context of Crowley's understanding of Thelema increased their alienation from the mass of their uninitiated contemporaries, whom they privately termed the 'troglodytes.' (p. 166)

The beginning of any new movement must have an incubation period, a time of building and collecting force, which may be viewed as myopic in the extreme. The true testament is the fruit of such labor, and it is a pleasure in this first century of Thelema to be witness to the many creative and unique explorations of the Thelemic Gnosis that have risen out of such humble beginnings. While during the time in question those outside the Order may have been considered as "possessing no rights of any kind, since they have not accepted the Law, and are therefore, as it were, troglodytes, survivals of a past civilization" (Liber CI, Seventh House, section 28), current policy of the US Grand Lodge has made it clear that this anachronism is no longer supported or encouraged.
Crowley's remarks about the future of the O.T.O. are also touched upon. In a letter to Karl Germer, he writes:

I shall appoint you my successor as O.H.O. but on special terms. It is quite clear to me that a complete change in the structure of the Order, and its methods, are necessary. The Secret is the basis, and you must select the proper people... The broad base of public association is the Gnostic Mass. I hope, before I die, to get this put on en grande terme by trained screen artists, so as to have a "sealed pattern" for future reference. The other rituals will have to tail along as best they can. I feel doubtful whether the time will ever return when there is either need to use such methods or leisure to cultivate them. Of course, the minor secrets in them have their special magical value, so that they will always maintain a certain use to certain types of mind. Also the actual magical effect on the candidate may be of the greatest value to him, and the training and discipline are always useful. (Crowley to Germer, March 14, 1942).

Crowley clearly never got around to reforming the Order along such lines, even dropping the idea of re-writing the higher rituals to take out overt Masonic references after the Detroit Working fell through. The current organization of the Order, under the leadership of Hymenaeus Beta, is working towards seeing the vision of O.T.O. as originally laid out by Crowley fully implemented along the lines of the founding documents in the Blue Equinox. While some have stressed that radical changes are necessary in order to fulfill the Prophet's vision of the O.T.O., it seems that being able to preserve the system as designed and imagined by Crowley is a priority; this is a laudable goal and one that continues on from the tradition of the early protagonists of Thelema. Crowley never had the opportunity to see his system running and implemented as such; for the most part the movement was small, scattered, and suffered repeated economic and other setbacks. It is only today, with a much larger body of initiates that spans the globe, and the building of a solid foundation, that the O.T.O. is slowly coming of age. Only time will tell what the system may produce as it continues to implement the greater plan and build itself up in the world.

Starr's work is an excellent study into a piece of occult history that has been neglected for too long. As a still evolving, growing movement, it is essential that we are familiar with our past and our beginnings, so that the course of our future may be defined clearly and effectively. The Unknown God is required reading for all Thelemites, whether they be members of O.T.O., A A, or working independently. An illuminating, thorough, and well researched book, this is a truly sobering account and an irreplaceable resource for anyone with an interest in Thelema. This book is not for beginners, but rather assumes some familiarity and understanding with the history of the movement. One only hopes that it will mark the beginning of a new trend in Thelemic scholarship and research, and that the second century of Thelema will be rich with such studies.

Love is the law, love under will.

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The Cabal of the Jackal

by Ebony Anpu

(circa 1983 e.v.)

It has been five years this month since our brother Ebony Anpu, known to the world as Charles Lee Reese (6 September 1950 to 7 May 1999 e.v.), celebrated his greater feast. Ebony continues to be very much missed here as a ritualist, a teacher, a friend and brother, and also as a writer and publisher. By way of renewing our celebration of Ebony's life and work, we present here a prefatory note to one of the earliest private editions of The Book of the Jackal. This text was prepared during the years when Ebony held the O.T.O. charter for Stellar Visions Chapter in San Francisco (from late 1981 until the middle of 1985 e.v.).

To you I have chosen to reveal secrets of my work and study in the Arts of Magick.

You who are Visitors in Stellar Visions Chapter, or are Officers of Ordo Templi Orientis, have chosen by your own free Will to aid in the immediate task: the Establishment of Thelema.
We bring to bear our Power in these times when the forces that would enslave men walk abroad with so much bravado.
I am, in so far as may be explained, ANPU. I am the opener of the ways of the North, and yet I am said to personify the Summer Solstice. As A<NPUAT I open the ways of the South, and yet I am said to personify the Winter Solstice. These Gods are known otherwise as Anubis and Wepwawet.
The Goddess Asi or Isis, and the Goddess Nebthet or Nepthys, are both said to be my mother by the ancients. Ast in her robe of blue, Nebthet in her robe of scarlet red. They are the Daughters of Nuit, Mother of the Gods. Isis presides over all the Known Universe with her Words of Power, in the last Aeon, the great Enchantress. Nepthys presides over the Universe of the Unknown, and in the Aeon the Scarlet Woman is blessed.
I am the Circle that bounds the Known and borders upon the Unknown; known as "He who sits upon his Mysteries." Kerux of the Gods, guide of those who are in the Desert. Or so it was said in the Aeon Past.
Understand me clearly, ye, the priests and priestesses who have come with me of old; I have come to do this. I Will set up my Temple anew in the Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child!
Though you may remember it Not, this we have done these many Aeons past and this we will do in the many Aeons to come. We will do as we did in the Aeon of Osiris, called Asar; and as we did in the Aeon of Isis, called Asi. Hearken well unto my words; before ye were witches ye were priestesses in the Temple of the Goddess my Mother. Before ye were Gnostics ye were Priests in the temple of the God my Father.
As one has said in the Jackal's Address to Isis:

Grant Anpu's children this:
To howl with you, Queen Isis,
Over the scattered limbs of wronged Osiris.
What harder fate than to be a woman?
She makes and unmakes her man.
In Jackal-land it is no secret
Who tempted red-haired, ass-eared Set
To such bloody extreme; who most
Must therefore mourn and fret
To pacify the unquiet ghost.
And when Horus your son
Avenges this divulsion
Scepter in fist, sandals on feet,
We shall return across the sand
From loyal Jackal-land
To gorge five nights and days on ass's meat.

My path is long, I have seen the coming and going of many times. Come; we will set our house in order, as it is written, "Ra-Hoor-Khuit hath taken his seat in the East at the Equinox of the Gods and let Asar be with Isa who also are one. But they are not of me. Let Asar be the adorant, Isa the sufferer; Hoor in his secret name and splendour is the lord initiating."
Beware therefore, as Heru-em-Anpu I am Light and Dark, LUX and NOX. Death and Terror am I as well as Opener of the Ways.

By the spring of 1966 e.v., Grady McMurtry had spent four years in Washington, D.C., working as a "management analyst" in various departments of the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, comfortably established as a mid-level bureaucrat of the Great Society. He was still a Thelemite, but hardly in touch with any of the remaining initiates of the O.T.O. in California, and still not aware that Karl Germer had been dead for over three years already. Grady had separated from his wife and son in California, and was now living as a bachelor. He became acquainted with a woman named Maxine, and with several friends of hers who were involved in an effort which they called Kerista. This group was discussing schemes for a group marriage arrangement, and hoped to gather financial supporters to sustain a "swinging" retreat in Central America where they could put their ideas into practice. Kerista was establishing a "colony" on Roatan Island in what is now Belize, where contributors could pay to take working vacations while they helped to set the place up. When his new friends departed thence, Grady volunteered to put out the next issue of their irregular typewritten newsletter, the Kerista Swinger, calling itself the "Hippest Paper in the U. S. A." He produced the April Swinger (first issue of volume 3), using as many

of the group's buzzwords and favorite phrases as he could, and trying to establish the newsletter as "a community project in the good old American frontier tradition of the communal barn raising and the husking bee." Perhaps he didn't feel completely involved or altogether convinced, and so offered his efforts as part of a "write your own" paper where all interested contributors could share their ideas. His own article, reprinted here, gave a brief survey of the notions of millennium and utopia, and then brought in Kerista as their successor. Unfortunately his friends didn't much care for the attitude he projected, and wrote from the Kerista Colony that his "trite semblances of wit" and "major diversification of interests" made him seem like "an alienated scatter-brained person" who was not "really into Kerista on the interior." They were going to be "happy... through being mentally healthy" and Grady could take it for granted that the "way to do this is to concentrate on Kerista, the all encompassing masseur of vitality" [sic]. Whatever they meant by this, Grady soon passed on to other things, and within a few years would make his way back to California, where the O.T.O. awaited his committed efforts to effect the revival upon which its present establishment has been based.

The Millennial Utopians:
Nostalgia for Eden and the Forest Primeval

by Grady L. McMurtry

(April 1966 e.v.)

There is a recurrent phenomenon in the western world deriving its name from the year 1000 a.d. (Latin mille, thousand) and an interpretation of the Christian Bible which led people to believe that the Second Coming would manifest at the time. As the Second Coming was to be a utopia or "happy time," especially since its manifestation would mean the end of an impossibly "worldly" world, this attitude of hopeful expectation concerning the possibility of a heaven on earth is referred to as "millennial utopianism."
While we take the name from that particular time, the idea itself is a dominant theme in western thought. We only need remember the Biblical Eden and Biblical Heaven, or look to Plato's The Republic, St Augustine's The City of God, Samuel Butler's Erewhon, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, Rabelais' Abbey of Thelema, More's Utopia, Thoreau's Walden, Aldous Huxley's Island, Skinner's Walden II, and Bellamy's Looking Backward, to define the main outlines of this tradition. For that matter, it is not being exotic to consider Voltaire's Candide and Rousseau's New Helios to be along the same line.
When we look at these fabulous literary creations, we discover that they have certain elements in common. It is perhaps a matter of individual definition as to which is the most important, but one overriding element in all of them is a sense of romanticism by which a "happy place" is visualized, whether in the future or in the past, and then generally some program of activity is recommended for either achieving this "new earth" or else returning to the happy time of the past.
Kerista falls into this general tradition by virtue of its millennial utopian set of expectations which hopes to achieve a "heaven on earth" in an "exotic" out-of-the-way place (British Honduras) in which certain elements of individual self-determination and gratification will be realized in a "happy" atmosphere of idealized communal-family relations. Due to the wide open acceptance of heretofore undeveloped techniques concerning the liberation of subjective psychological phenomena, some seem to think this is a totally new approach to civilizing the human animal. On the contrary, just as America is the epitome of the utopian dream of freedom as expressed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, so Kerista is "as American as apple pie." As Schneider says in A History of American Philosophy (Columbia University Press, 1946):

The youngest part of America, the ever-reaching frontier, generated a type of social philosophy quite different from either nationalism or individualism; it might be labeled communalism... Little bands of pioneers felt "called by God or fortune" to leave the old, decaying world and to venture upon a new life, a new society in a new world... The stream of pilgrim communities, congregations, and families that left Europe for America with the vision of a promised land guiding them is a familiar theme of American history. Here must arise the kingdoms of God foretold by ancient prophets. These were the latter days, the end of man's pilgrimage on earth.
The hope of building perfect little societies took both secular and religious forms... Platonic republics; "phalansteries" or "associated" men... pilgrim congregations, missions, "millennial dawn" groups, "Latter Day Saints," etc. (pp. 144-60).

But while Kerista participates in American communalism --- remembered historically as the husking bee, barn raising, and frontier hospitality --- it would not be American without that loose, "swinging" style of individualism that "plays it cool," hangs flexible, and always insists on the individual's right to detachment from the group.

Swingers are wingers. They reject the rigidities of dogma and ideological fixation. They insist that it is possible, through inner growth, to realize multitudinous possibilities within the individual. They reject caste, but they welcome the person. They assert that individualism is achieved by application of an inner discipline to clarify the meaning and significance of our lives. They realize that the criterion of civilized behavior is reciprocity.

Classes and Events

Tuesday, May 4, 8:00PM: Beltane Ritual and Potluck. Join us for a celebration of the height of Spring, the spear, the dance, and all that May brings. Please bring food and drink to share. In association with the Companions of Monsalvat.

Thursday, May 6, 8:00PM: Air Meeting.* The Air Meetings focus on planning: deciding on long-range goals, public relations, scanning for relevant trends outside the community and in the future, and analyzing whether current practices are consistent with our objectives.

Sunday, May 9, 3:00PM: The Rites of Eleusis Planning Meeting. Yes, it's that time of year already. (The next Rites cycle runs from July 17 to September 27.) Everyone interested in helping out is encouraged to attend.

Monday, May 10, 8:00PM: Double Current Enochian. An exploration of Michael Sanborn's increasingly quirky system of Double Current Enochian, based on a theory of eight Kabbalistic worlds (four descending worlds akin to those of traditional Kabbalah, attributed to Ra, plus four ascending worlds attributed to Maat). First in a series of eight. Keywords: Quest and Acceptance.

Thursday, May 13, 8:00PM: Fire and Earth Meeting.* The Fire and Earth meetings have two parts. In the first (Earth), the focus is on the day-to-day operation of Masses, classes, events, publications, the library, etc. In the second (Fire), the focus is on scheduling and synergy between areas of operation.

Saturday, May 15, 10:00AM --- 5:00PM: Interfaith Pagan Pride Parade. Not strictly a Thelema Community event, but great fun, nonetheless. Note that this year, the festivities take place in and around Berkeley's Civic Park (in front of Old City Hall), and not in People's Park as before. Visit for details.

8:00PM: Taurus Birthday Bash. A tribute for the Tauruses (Taurae? Tauri?) and those who love them. Sacred Cows welcome, but Papal Bulls need not apply. Featuring the oven-fresh goodness of Caitlin Wildermuth.

Wednesday, May 19, 8:00PM: Water Meeting.* The Water meetings focus on connection: sharing, relationship, feelings, warmth, and coziness.

Friday, May 21, 8:00PM: Meditation Class. An evening of meditation practice with Michael Sanborn, to be followed by a Friday night out.

Monday, May 24, 8:00PM: Double Current Enochian. (See entry for May 10.) When an Edwardian recension of Elizabethan angel magick is no longer exotic enough... Second in a series of eight. Keywords: Projection and Forgiveness.

Friday, May 28, 8:00PM: The Great Work --- Fun and Games with Your H. G. A. The first of a series of explorations with Marium Lange regarding the nature of the Great Work, the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel --- one of the core mysteries of Thelema. The first meeting will include a short meditation, sharing of personal experiences regarding the Great Work, and an overview of future topics, including Abramelin, variants of the Bornless Ritual, and associated Crowley writings.

Saturday, May 29, 11:00AM: O.T.O. Meeting. For initiates only. Call (510) 601-9393 to attend.

* One of three monthly organizational meetings. Pick the one or two that most interest you, or come to all three.

Thelemic Word Hunt

by Matthew Demattei


Find each of the following words:


The letters O.T.O. stand for ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS --the Order of Oriental Templars, or Order of the Temple of the East. The O.T.O. is dedicated to securing the Liberty of the Individual, and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power. This is accomplished through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood. The O.T.O. is in sympathy with the traditional ideals of Freemasonry, and was the first of the Old Aeon orders to accept The Book of the Law.

Many aspirants to the Great Work have a genuine need for information, guidance, fellowship, or the opportunity to assist their fellow aspirants and serve humanity. Such aspirants will find welcome in the O.T.O.
The structure of the O.T.O., like that of Freemasonry and the ancient mystery schools, is based on a graded series of initiations, or Degrees. In these Degrees, the O.T.O. seeks to instruct the individual by allegory and symbol in the profound mysteries of Existence, and thereby to assist each to discover his or her own true Nature.
Every man and woman of full age, free, and of good report, has an indefeasible right to the introductory Degrees of the O.T.O.
The O.T.O. also includes the Gnostic Catholic Church (Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica), whose central public and private rite is "Liber XV," the Gnostic Mass.

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Thelema Lodge--the oldest continuously

operating lodge of the O.T.O.--has been

regularly performing "Liber XV," the

Gnostic Mass, in the San Francisco Bay

Area since 1977 e.v. Friends and guests

are invited to join us any Sunday evening

by 8:00 pm for the celebration, which

begins shortly after nightfall. If attending

for the first time, please call ahead and

speak with the lodgemaster for additional

information and directions to the temple.

Love is the law, love under will.

5/2/04Gnostic Mass 8:00PM in Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/4/04Full Moon in Taurus 1:35
5/4/04Beltane Ritual & Pot-luck 8PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/6/04Air Meeting -- Planning
open to all 8:00PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/9/04Gnostic Mass 8:00PM in Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/10/04Double Current Enochian
with Michael 8:00PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/13/04Fire and Earth Meeting
Operating & Scheduling
Open to All 8:00PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/15/04Taurus Birthday Party 8:PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/16/04Gnostic Mass 8:00PM in Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/18/04New Moon in Taurus 9:25PM
5/19/04Sun enters Gemini 9:59AM
5/19/04Water Meeting -- Harmonizing
Open to all 8:00PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/21/04Meditation Class with Michael 9:00PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/23/04Gnostic Mass 8:00PM in Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/24/04Double Current Enochian
with Michael 8:00PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/28/04The Great Work with Marium 8:00PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/29/04OTO Meeting -- initiates only
(Call to attend) 8:00PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/30/04Gnostic Mass 8:00PM in Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.

Thelema Lodge
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA

Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)