Note to update: the addresses and phone numbers in these issues of the Thelema Lodge Calendars are obsolete since the closing of the Lodge. They are here for historic purposes only and should not be visited or called.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
November 1990 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
Gnostic Masses proceed every Sunday at 8 pm with the exception of the 18th at Gilman Street - the customary Lodgemeeting will be November 29th at 8 in Horus Temple; the Lodge Of Perfection meets on the 15th; and a caravan will leave the Lodge @ 7:30pm November 7th to attend Samhain with the N.R.D.N.A.
There are no Bill classes this month - a single class on Liber 777 will take place December 12th at 8 pm: and his Tarot series begins in January. (If you'd like Bill to do Magick in Theory and Practice again, Write and tell him so! P.O. Box 430, Fairfax, CA 94930.)
Initiation Workshops this month: Second Degree 11/2, Third Degree 11/16; both at 8 pm in Horus Temple. Contact Mordecai for information. November's Initiations will be on the 24th.
"Angel Beach": an Enochian meditation and discussion. Horus Temple, 8 pm, November 6th and 27th.
The Magick Theater offers a premiere this month: Crowley's full-length stage-play, The Three Wishes. Written in 1919 e.v., it's one of the last of his dramatic works. Three American business-men are presented, first as boys, then at critical stages of their careers, in order that their various attitudes toward magick may be studied. Crowley may have finished this play in hopes of an American production, but it was neither staged nor published, and appears now for the first time from the archives of the Order. (Soon to be) rare first-edition copies of this previously unknown work will be available to readers on 20 November, beginning at 7:30 in Horus Temple.
The Scarlet Women's Celebration Coalition sponsors the next Lodge benefit: at least two Jello Wrestling matches will take place November 23rd after 8 pm, at the Lodge...call for further info.
Liber 418 returns! Thelema Lodge celebrates the 81st anniversary of Crowley's desert journey with Victor Neuberg. We will read the text of each Aire in Horus Temple on the day Crowley received it. Thirty through Twenty- seven will be read in Horus Temple at 8 pm; we will follow the schedule given below thereafter. (Times given are for the desert and will be used UNCORRECTED for local Bay time.) Some Aires may be read at more convenient times as well- call me for current information. (Note: 29 may go to the PanThelemic Kultur Fest...)
The Sagittarius Birthday party's at 4:18 pm the 25th- and a formal announcement for Rites '90 is in this Newsletter. -C-
|So has it come to this|
|The Hour of Peril|
|When Armageddon roils the storm of war|
|And kilted Mars bestrides a crumbling world|
|Of armor plated dragons belching flame,|
|Of slant winged harpies shading through a haze|
|Of incandescent fury|
|And of monstrous eggs|
|Ovum of a world gone mad with fear|
|And rationed thought|
|Such is the fate of gadget minded man|
|Who planted his faith in mechanistic thought|
|And sought no higher good than pleasure-pain|
|That now he finds his logic's fatal flaw|
|In skew-wise reason|
|And his need for love|
|Is smothered in the coils of The Machine|
|Upon whose altar lies his lilted soul|
|Till Moloch's triggered fingers arc the arms|
|That feed the flames|
[previously published in Kaaba #4 (4/79 e.v.) and The Grady project #1 (10/87 e.v.)]
RESOLUTION 456 (old index number)
Confirmed sales or solicitation for sales of illegal substances at a place and time (including time to arrive and depart on the occasion of a meeting) of O.T.O. is grounds for expulsion; and, in the event of complicity by officers of the O.T.O. body, automatically closes the body. In addition sales of illicit substances or solicitation for sales at a place used solely by O.T.O., regardless of the time of meetings, or by any person so acting as to convey either expressly or otherwise the impression that such sales or solicitation for sales is in any way a part of official O.T.O. activity, shall also fall under the strictures and remedies of expulsion and closure as may be appropriate to the actual status of the person or officer of the official body involved. 8/25/84 e.v.
Resolution 456 is still very much in effect. It should be prominently posted at all O.T.O. Camps, Oases and Lodges. Considering what happened to Thelema Lodge, a clear notice to inform casual visitors would be most appropriate. Donations to the legal fund continue to be needed. Please make out your donations to "O.T.O." and mail to Ordo Templi Orientis; P.O.Box 430; Fairfax, CA USA.
THE HALF LYRE:
|People put too much value on reason|
|There's more to life than bread alone|
|The sun must pass through every season|
|A pinch of salt can season a soul|
|There's a time to arise|
|There's a way to go on|
|There's an end to the night every dawn|
|People take too much time out from living|
|They're hiding away from their nightmares and dreams|
|The moon revolves through infinite phases|
|Imagination finds a face in the wheel|
|People fear too much fear in each other|
|They learn to hate from Dad and Mom|
|The stars will shine maybe forever|
|Burnt out at last, their light still travels on|
THE VISION AND THE VOICE
|11/14||TEX||(30)||no time given||12/4||ZIM||(13)||2:10 to 3:45 PM|
|11/17||RII||(29)||no time given||12/4||LOE||(12)||11:30 PM to ...|
|11/23||BAG||(28)||between 8 & 9 PM||12/5 ||LOE ||(12) ||... 1:20 AM (cont.)|
|11/24||ZAA||(27)||8 to 9 PM||12/5 ||IKH ||(11) ||10:10 to 11:35 PM|
|11/25||DES||(26)||1:10 to 2 PM||12/6 ||ZAX ||(10) ||2 to 4:15 PM|
|11/25||VTI||(25)||8:40 to 9 PM||12/7 ||ZIP ||(9) ||9:30 to 11:10 PM|
|11/26||NIA||(24)||2 to 3:25 PM||12/8 ||ZID ||(8) ||7:10 to 9:10 PM|
|11/28||TOR||(23)||9:30 to 10:15 AM||12/9 ||DEO ||(7) ||8:10 to 10 PM|
|11/28||LIN||(22)||4 to 6 PM||12/10 ||MAZ ||(6) ||7:40 to 9:40 PM|
|11/29||ASP||(21)||1:30 to 2:50 PM||12/12 ||LIT ||(5) ||7 to 8:12 PM|
|11/30||KHR||(20)||9:15 to 10:50 AM||12/13 ||LIT ||(5) ||8:15 to 10:10 PM|
|11/30||POP||(19)||10 to 11:45 PM||12/16 ||PAZ ||(4) ||9 to 10:30 AM|
|12/1||ZEN||(18)||2:30 to 4:10 PM||12/17 ||ZON ||(3) ||9:30 to 11:30 AM|
|12/2||TAN||(17)||12:15 to 2 AM||12/18 ||ARN ||(2) ||9:20 to 10:05 AM|
|12/2||LEA||(16)||4:50 to 6 PM||12/18 ||ARN ||(2) ||10:15 to AM 10:52 (cont.)|
|12/3||OXO||(15)||9:15 to 11:50 AM||12/18 ||ARN ||(2) ||3:10 to 4:35 PM (cont.)|
|12/3||UTI||(14)||2:50 to 3 PM||12/19 ||LIL ||(1) ||1:30 to 3:30 PM|
|12/3||UTI||(14)||9:50 to 11:15 PM (cont.)||12/20 ||ARN ||(2) ||8:35 to 9:35 PM (cont.)|
The O.T.O. is, in true Freemasonic tradition, a secret society. But a secret society may be almost anything, from a social club or a college fraternity to a business conspiracy or an international terrorist group. What exactly is our Freemasonic heritage as a secret society? And how valuable are these traditions? In my opinion there are three obvious and distinct types of secrecy which the O.T.O. has inherited from its Freemasonic forebears. For the sake of convenience I call them the mysterious, the ceremonial, and the conspiratorial classes of secrecy.
The first class is the one which separates us most clearly from any of the usual kinds of secret society (which more resemble the four types mentioned above). We take it for granted that the so-called real secrets are mysteries which cannot be expressed in words but only suggested by them, which cannot be taught but may perhaps be demonstrated. This search for the true light of interior illumination, which at least a few of Freemasonry's founders must have shared, is quite properly given, in our Order, the highest priority among all secrets. Most initiates know that the real ordeals are not prescribed by the Order or its rituals, but rather by the necessities of our individual progress in illumination. This individual experience is something we share not only with some Freemasons, but even more so with other secret societies which might be termed mystery schools, e.g., the priesthood of Thebes, the inner school of the Templars, the Golden Dawn. Much has been written in the attempt to uncover the common threads in humanity's omnifarious mystical wardrobes. Most often this writing has been of a polemical nature, attempting to suggest, persuade, even indoctrinate; of course this results in volumes of contrary tendencies. All the endless arguments seem to me to boil down basically to this: arguments about questions of taste in esoteric practices are the same as all other arguments about questions of taste, that is, endless. Discovering what is truly to your own personal taste is far more important than convincing anyone else to share that taste (unless, of course, it is a taste for two-for-one dinner specials!). It is far more profitable to discover what the great mystics have in common than what divides them. That essential unity is a key to the true mysteries; however, I cannot by my design reveal the secrets of your Holy Guardian Angel in this paper. Therefore I will proceed to discuss the second type of secret which we derive from Freemasonry.
These secrets, the so-called ceremonial secrets, consist of what we call the signs, grips, words, and rituals of the various degrees. Of course the details of our signs, etc. are quite different from those of other groups (there is even some dispute about these particular details within the Order!), but rather than speculate as to what any particular sign or ritual might symbolize (and therefore limit our audience to initiates of a particular grade) I suggest we examine the question - what purpose, if any, does this entire class of secrets serve? On the surface it might appear that such things as secret signs would be singularly useful to the Order in times of persecution and warfare. But in fact, the grips & signs of a publicly avowed organization as easy to join as is the O.T.O. would often prove worse than useless in a real emergency. Certainly a covert group would need signs and passwords, but these would have to be frequently changed and used only by those with a need to know rather than by all those of a particular ritual rank. A much more apt purpose for our kind of ceremonial secrets is the knowledge which may be conveyed by their symbolism to those who undergo, study, and/or perform the ceremonies of the Order. There is plenty in these ceremonies for us to ponder with our minds and feel with our hearts. By keeping the ceremonial secrets, we concentrate our attention upon them, which leads us subtly to an ever deeper appreciation of their various levels of meaning. This silence is also a service to those who have not yet undergone a particular initiation, for it holds out to them at least the possibility of that special sort of surprise which discloses a real illumination. The ceremonial secrets can also help to nurture a special fellowship between all the initiates of a particular degree. These secrets, once shorn of the melodramatic misconceptions of both our enemies and our fanatics, are seen to have purposes both reverential and educational rather than shameful or malicious. The ceremonial class of secrecy is therefore definitely not a mere appendage of my next, and final kind, conspiratorial secrecy.
This last type of secrecy, which I believe we have inherited from the Freemasons, is probably the least important in our present-day O.T.O.; however, it is the type which, outside of being picked as scapegoats, is perhaps most likely to embroil us in the machinations of mass politics. Anyone who has studied the history of the Freemasonic movement is well aware of its political implications. In the later eighteenth century numerous attempts were made to use an initiatory secret society to promote political philosophies. The most visionary attempts, by men like Adam Weishaupt or the Comte de Mirabeau, sought to seize freedom of opinion, religious toleration, and equality before the law for all citizens from the anachronistic, feudal grip of the monarchs and noblemen of Europe. But there were many also who toiled among the Masons as secret police for their local oligarchy. The fact is that the secret society structure is one that lends itself equally well to the dissemination of political or social revolution as it does to the exercise of terror or corruption by the ruling classes. In Freemasonic history we have the example of Mazzini and Garibaldi who brought about the liberation and unification of Italy, as well as the example of the Emperor Napoleon's use of Freemasonry as a state-controlled club for officers, civil servants, and influential civilians; in our own hemisphere we have a vision of Freemasonry as a home to the political activities and philosophical speculations of men like Washington, Franklin, or Jefferson alongside the almost entirely charitable and philanthropic projects of a modern day North American petty bourgeois social club. Outside of the strictly Masonic tradition one need only mention the SLA, the KKK, and the B'nai Brith to get an idea of the diversity of reasons that sociopolitical groups might have chosen at one time or another to use this particular class of secrecy. The thing which binds all groups of this kind is the secret nature of some or all of their decisions, governance, and actions. In most cases such secrecy has innocent motives of personal privacy, group solidarity, and the like. But it can never be overlooked that secrecy is a primary cover of both corruption and revolution.
The O.T.O. must therefore carefully consider its own use of secret proceedings, because they necessarily entail at least the appearance, if not the fact, of a conspiracy. And after all, do we not in fact represent a very real sociopolitical philosophy? Do we not threaten the interests of those who would enslave mankind? Luckily or not, our philosophy of pride, shamelessness, and uniqueness does not seem to easily lend itself, under present-day conditions, to the successful creation of an effective engine of intrigue. But still, the growth of the O.T.O. under our current Caliph, though minuscule in absolute numbers, has yet at least doubled the size of the Order. At the same time the size of the Order's theoretical governing group has increased perhaps fivefold. I say theoretical, because during this time the actual work of running the national and international offices was probably not distributed to even twice as many people as before. Presumably, however, this situation will continue to change with time and the O.T.O. will have four extremely dynamic governing bodies to assist the National Supreme Council in its work of governing the U.S. branch of the Order. They cannot, of course, remain entirely secret. The Electoral College, the Grand Tribunal, the Supreme Grand Council, and the Secret Areopagus all have constitutional duties which call for decisions which when made must then be promulgated in some way. But that way could be rather indirect in many cases, open only to the inference of those who know the final outcome. It seems quite possible to make all the deliberations of the governing bodies secret, and in matters which touch on the private affairs of any individual this secrecy may be absolutely essential (though whether "priestly immunity" could be successfully invoked depends upon the courts and the nature of the specific case). Secret deliberations can be justified on the grounds of confidentiality, but can the same be said for secret decisions? It all depends upon the nature of the decisions. The secret expulsion of a member is self-defeating on the very face of it. It could allow someone to masquerade as a member quite easily and continue whatever got them expelled in the first place. On the other hand, the knowledge of the removal of a member of the Secret Areopagus could easily be confined to those VIII° and beyond. In principle secret decisions on many procedural issues could be kept within the governing bodies themselves (along with any appropriate superiors). It may well be feasible to keep the Man of Earth Triad entirely unaware of the upper level decision-making process by filtering any necessary announcements through the Electoral College (though anyone with a copy of the bylaws should be able to figure out what bodies made which decisions). At present public policy statements emanate from both the National Supreme Council and the Electoral College, and the nature of the N.S.C. is such that it is likely that it will continue to make important statements from time to time. On the other hand, there is no real need at present for the secretaries of the Secret Areopagus, the Supreme Grand Council, or the Grand Tribunal to report their activities to the Order in general (though that could change radically in the case of the Areopagus should the Parliament of Guilds ever be implemented). Still, though a good deal of secrecy could perhaps be maintained, have we any reason other than confidentiality to engage in secret deliberations and decision-making? The obvious alternative rationale is a conspiracy to violate some kind of legal stricture. In some societies the possession or publication of Thelemite holy books would of itself involve illegal conspiracy. Fortunately we live in a nation founded by Freemasons and we are able to promulgate the Law of Thelema openly without fear of arrest on those grounds alone (though there is still plenty of room for persecution in our Supreme Court's interpretation of the Bill of Rights). Of course there are many types of behavior classified as crimes by American society which many of us, as Thelemites, consider to be inalienable human rights (e.g., drug possession, public nudity, and polygamy). But that is a personal matter for Thelemites, and in my more than a dozen years as a member of the Order I know of no instance when the O.T.O. as an organization has acted illegally. Of course that is merely my personal experience, and some people might even think me a liar (the fools!) while the enemies of the Order might easily think me a dupe of some secret inner conspiracy. But to that I can only reply that, as I have been fortunate enough during my entire period of membership to have had the personal acquaintance of the acting O.H.O., I have been in an excellent position to pick up any hints of a conspiracy to commit the heinous acts about which our opponents love to fantasize. Of course the Sanctuary of the Gnosis might be thought of as a conspiracy, but unless some Pope or Imam takes over the American bedroom it could not be considered an illegal conspiracy. Organized criminal activity, political or mercenary, has never, to my knowledge, been used as a rationale for O.T.O. secrecy. But in addition to confidentiality there is another more subtle justification for administrative secrecy; namely, that it helps to keep the members of the first two Triads from becoming embroiled in the political processes of the Triad or Triads beyond them (though of course it would be impossible to entirely remove the political involvement of Men of Earth members in the Electoral College and, potentially, the Areopagus). This kind of "depoliticization" is a reasonable justification for secrecy, as long as it is recognized that this secrecy is not intended to eliminate gossip, nor should it be. Gossip as a source of information and social bonding can be innocuous and even beneficial. Slander and malicious rumors are particularly destructive forms of gossip which are best combated by the refusal to participate in their dissemination, and by offering a chance to the victims of smear tactics to refute any such attacks upon their reputations. (Kibtiz: What's the difference between harmless gossip and malicious slander or sour mumbling? Gossip is funny. --- Ed.)
Still, while the conspiratorial class of secrecy may serve well the interests of personal privacy and political harmony, it is not usually an effective means to promote feelings of fellowship. One need only consider the C.I.A. or the Mafia in order to see what depths of doublecross and dishonesty can be reached. Without any checks on administrative secrecy the O.T.O. would be in danger of "capture" by a faction or clique. With the examples of groups like the Teamsters and the K.G.B. in mind we should be able to easily keep conspiratorial secrets within their properly delimited place in the Order.
I hope that this short discussion of the different types of secrecy, and the various justifications for the applications of secrecy in our Order has been helpful to those who might be concerned about secrecy's more sinister connotations. I hope I have demonstrated that there are many well-meaning and productive uses for secrecy in an occult sodality, as well as many obvious reasons to be on guard against its abuses.
One of the Masses at Thelema Lodge was disrupted. A member, who had been instructed to keep away pending resolution of a problem, emerged from behind the veil strangely garbed. He received the cake of light and departed in the same manner. This somewhat soured the experience for many of those attending.
When asked to explain his conduct in writing, the miscreant simply supplied a copy of Liber OZ. He also implicated another in the deed and stated that he had sworn an oath of secrecy regarding any others who may have known about it.
Well, what are we to make of this? Liber OZ is the Thelemic Bill of Rights, after a fashion. More explicitly it is a statement of the rights of Man (capital "M"). The liber lists a series of explicit rights, mostly of a creative or free-action nature, and cites that "Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights." To me that means that nations are bound to defend the rights of their citizens to the extent of extreme judicial punishment and war. It also implies that people need to respect the rights of others. Do I have those rights? Certainly, as long as I support their universal application to all others. Do I have the right to kill somebody or unnecessarily breach their rights if I think they breach mine? Not in a civilized and well ordered society, that's for sure. So, what did he mean? Did he mean to apologize for disrupting the rights of the people at the mass? Did he mean to state that he resigned from O.T.O. because O.T.O. does not countenance such a one-sided interpretation of Liber OZ as "my rights are all that matter."? Did he mean something else? Damn if I know. This gesture was meaningless as far as I am concerned, meaningless and incoherent.
There was another point in this odd business that should not be over-looked. What was that about being pledged to secrecy? Could it be that this somewhat precarious brother has forgotten "I most solemnly promise and swear that I will not allow myself to fall unduly under the influence of any person whereby my free will might be impaired ... to obey the Laws of the Order in general, and in particular the rulings of the Superior of the Order or his duly appointed substitute ..."? Over the years certain individuals in O.T.O. have been caught trying to establish a cult of personality through exaction of personal oaths to the general detriment of the oaths of initiation, the internal order of O.T.O. and the rights of the members. I suspect such has happened again. For the record, the oaths of initiation preclude taking such other oaths as superior to those of initiation. Any swearing to keep secret some matter to the general detriment of O.T.O. is nullified by the oaths of the early degrees. Any swearing to a person rather than a duty is greatly to be suspect. The oaths of initiation forbid drug abuse or any other practice which may impair free will or full consciousness. To be a Thelemite is to ascribe to the highest possible standard of conduct and circumspection. You are yourself. You do not stand as a slave to someone else, no matter how much you may respect such a person. To serve is honorable. To bind your will as less than another's is ignoble. To actively cooperate and recognize a greater in skill and knowledge is common sense. To subordinate yourself to the caprice of another is animal. No oath can bind beyond the discovery that it is contrary to nature, but bondage is not cast off without price. It is nearly always foolish to make an oath to person and a very serious matter to make one to duty. If the brother had simply stated: "I do not agree with you, I depart in peace;" applause would be merited. This business smacks of "my master told me to make an ass of myself".
Any resemblance of the foregoing polemics to whatever is actually going on may be purely coincidental. I think, however, that points like these need to be occasionally raised. If I have misinterpreted what happened in a particular instance, I invite the truth through calm discussion.
|11/2/90||Initiations Workshop 2nd Deg 8 PM||Thelema Ldg|
|11/4/90||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/6/90||"Angel Beach" at the Temple 8PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/7/90||N.R.D.N.A. Samhain, call for info||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/11/90||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/14/90||Liber 418 begins. (TEX -- 30)|
|11/15/90||Lodge of Perfection||LOP|
|11/16/90||Initiations Workshop 3rd Deg 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/17/90||Panthelemic Culture Festival at|
Gilman St. (RII -- 29)
|11/18/90||Panthelemic Culture Festival||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/18/90||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/18/90||Lodge Cleanup||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/20/90||Magick Theatre reads Crowley's|
3 Wishes 7:30 PM Temple
|11/22/90||Sun to Sagittarius 5:47 AM|
|11/23/90||Thelema Lodge Benefit||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/23/90||Secret Meeting (BAG -- 28)|
|11/24/90||(ZAA -- 27)|
|11/24/90||Initiations (call for information)||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/25/90||Sagittarius birthday party 4:18 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/25/90||Gnostic Mass 8 PM (DES -- 26) &|
(VTI -- 25)
|11/26/90||(NIA -- 24)||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/27/90||"Angel Beach" 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/29/90||Thelema Lodge Meeting 8 PM (ASP--21)||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/30/90||(KHR -- 2-) and (POP -- 19)||Thelema 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.
Note to update: the addresses and phone numbers in these issues of the Thelema Lodge Calendars are obsolete since the closing of the Lodge. They are here for historic purposes only and should not be visited or called.