Thelema Lodge Calendar for November 1992 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for November 1992 e.v.

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, 1992 e.v.

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

November 1992 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


November Events

Unless otherwise noted, events are at 544 31st St. in Oakland, the new location of Thelema Lodge. 63rd St. events are at the old location: 588 63rd St., Oakland.
Gnostic Masses every Sunday at 8pm this month at 63rd Street.
Lodge Meeting 8pm November 2nd at the Lodge on 31st St. Initiations (21st), LOP & Lodge Advisers meetings (1st) and the II° Workshop (25th) are limited to O.T.O. Members in the appropriate degrees.


Lending Library

Thelema Lodge's Lending Library is officially opened as of October 1st. The catalogue of books and manuscripts available can be purchased for 50 cents at the Lodge or you may call one of the Lodge Officers for details on how to become a member.


Buttons Galore

Thelema Lodge is offering hundreds of button/pins based upon OTO, Thelemic, and occult themes. These can be purchased only at the Lodge at the low price of $ 1.00 each. Be sure to check the display when you stop by as it will be updated often to allow all the buttons to be viewed.


Breathing and Meditation

This practice oriented class will be offered every Thursday evening by Dushan. It is comprised of a practical survey of the of breathing exercises from the following: Hindu-yogic, Shiva Samhite, Tantra, Taoism, Crowley, and various Western traditions.
Each class/session will be composed of three parts: preparation, breathing, and meditation. The preparation is optional and will consist of physical exercises in the 30-40 minutes before the class proper, this is planned for approximately 6:30pm. The breathing stresses pranayamic techniques lasting 30-40 minutes including breaks and begins at 7:00pm. The 30-40 minute meditation will begin only after the breathing session is completed approximately 8:15pm.
All classes will be held at 6100 Adeline St., Oakland. Call Dushan for details (510) 658-9438.


Planetary Magick

Mark's Planetary Magick "a la Agrippa" continues with a ritual for the full moon in Taurus (ritual only - no class) on Monday, November 9th, 6:30pm at 588 63rd St.


Jerry's Logorrhea

Jerry will be showing a "special" video on the night of November 27th. All we can say is that you may not want to miss this one! Call for details. Popcorn not supplied, donations are requested to help support the Lodge.


OTO Raid Workshop

This continues twice this month; see the calendar for the appropriate dates. Again this is not an open discussion, you must be an OTO member and preferably directly involved with the lawsuit. Call for details.


Astrological Analysis

Grace continues to offer this instructive and interactive class in a practical approach to the meaning of the stars. Come and attempt to name the mystery chart (hints will be given as needed). This month's class will be held on November 11th from 7pm-9pm.


Esoteric Film Night

On Friday the 13th there will be an esoteric film festival offered at 542 31st St. beginning at 7:00pm. If you have requests, videos to offer, or just desire more information call Jewel at 654-9110.


Samhain

Jewel is interested in coordinating a Samhain event for all interested. Please contact her at 654-9110 for details.


V & V

The Vision and the Voice Readings will commence November 14th, 8:00pm. Please call Caitlin at (510) 654-3580 for further information.


A Greater Feast

We fondly commemorate the passage of the soul of Frater Stephen Alexander O.T.O., E.G.C. to the Celestial Heavens. We are pleased to state that our Brother had a conscious, painless transition after a long struggle to hold his present incarnation. In this past year, on three separate occasions he lived through breakdowns that would have taken the life of any other person with AIDS; the doctors had no explanation. We must mention our grateful appreciation to the East Bay AIDS Clinic and Alta Bates Hospital for the finest medical care; also for extensive State and Federal funding which made his last year possible.
Stephen was known to have come through a rough background in his youth, becoming a self-realized Aquarian Magician - surely an indication of resilience. His commitment to the Order was steadfast and enduring. We were the closest thing to a family that Stephen experienced. He was known for his expertise in archiving and obscure literature - however, he also worked arts and graphics with very fine results. His first creation was (perhaps) a quality in his state of being: an exemplar of dedication. It is also of note that at the time of Stephen's passing he endured with extraordinary strength of Will to stay in his body until he received the last rites and Final A A briefing during which time Soror Lilith held his hand and Frater Drax read aloud the first chapter of Liber AL ... within the following half hour Stephen relaxed his will and ventured forth on to his next great quest.

-oOo-

(an excerpt from one of Stephen's writings)

 ...the hand of Diana lets the curtain fall
    and universal darkness covers all
    the path that you take is the path you choose
the days that you waste are the days that you loose ...
    looking here and there with burning eye
          at all the years passing by ...

 The sand of time I did not change
    Nor though the same to rearrange
 In falling down they did depend
    On how above they would suspend ...

 Grapes in a bottle creating illusions
    The elixir of youth, informed delusions
 Secrets that none could discover
    Nor the effort to perhaps uncover
 That time and Space, a single Lover
          Are a perfect match for one another
-- Stephen Alexander     


In Memory of a Friend

We have decided to purchase a wooden plaque in honor of Stephen Alexander who has recently celebrated his Greater Feast.

This will hang on the walls of Thelema Lodge from this date forth that his memory will not be forgotten. Donations are welcome to help with the cost, all who contribute will have their name engraved on the back of the plaque. Contact the Lodge for details.


Crowley Classics

"The Palace of the World" was first published with Crowley's raw notes in O.T.O. Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 4-7, March 1978 e.v.; previously, without notes, in The Soul of Osiris, pp. 103-106, 1901 e.v. and with the edited notes in The Works of A.C., Vol. 1, pp. 204-205, 1905 e.v., as part of "The Temple of the Holy Ghost". This selection is constructed from Crowley's marginal numbered notes in a copy once in the possession of Fr. Achad. The notes are in the form of advice to a future editor and are therefore unpolished. All of O.T.O. Newsletter Vol. I, Nos. 1-4 is presently available on diskette from OTO. Ask for the catalogue of "Texts available for IBM PC Computer on 5 1/4' diskettes" at O.T.O.; P.O.Box 430; Fairfax, CA 94978 USA. Over 16 megabytes of Crowley material are available for research purposes at cost. The ASCII version of O.T.O. Newsletter Vol. 1 has been augmented to include notes from Crowley's diaries to match mentions of visits and letters between Crowley and Fr. Hymenaeus Alpha. - ED.
{Note to Web Edition: No longer available on diskette, but still available by email attachment.}

The Palace of the World.1

THE fragrant gateways of the dawn2
   Teem with the scent of flowers.
The mother, Midnight, has withdrawn
   Her slumberous kissing hours:
Day springs, with footsteps as a fawn,
   Into her rosy bowers.

The pale and holy maiden horn3
   In highest heaven is set.
My forehead, bathed in her forlorn
   Light, with her lips is met;
My lips, that murmur in the morn,
   With lustrous dew are wet.

My prayer is mighty with my will;
   My purpose as a sword4
Flames through the adamant, to fill
   The gardens of the Lord
With music, that the air be still,
   Dumb to its mighty chord.

I stand above the tides of time
   And elemental strife;
My figure stands above, sublime,
   Shadowing the Key of Life,5
And the passion of my mighty rhyme
   Divides me as a knife.

For secret symbols on my brow,
   And secret thoughts within,
Compel eternity to Now.
   Draw the Infinite within.
Light is extended.6 I and Thou
   Are as they had not been.7

So on my head the light is one,
   Unity manifest;
A star more splendid than the sun
   Burns for my crownéd crest;
Burns, as the murmuring orison
   Of waters in the west.

What angel from the silver gate
   Flames to my fierier face?
What angel, as I contemplate
   The unsubstantial space?
Move with my lips the laws of Fate
   That bind earth's carapace?

No angel, but the very light
   And fire and spirit of Her,
Unmitigated, eremite,
   The unmanifested myrrh,
Ocean, and night that is not night.
   The mother-mediator.8

O sacred spirit of the Gods!9
   O triple tongue!10 Descend,
Lapping the answering flame that nods,
   Kissing the brows that bend,
Uniting all earth's periods
   To one exalted end.

Still on the mystic Tree of Life
   My soul is crucified;11
Still strikes the sacrificial knife
   Where lurks some serpent-eyed
Fear, passion, or man's deadly wife
   Desire, the suicide!

Before me dwells the Holy One
   Anointed Beauty's King;12
Behind me, mightier than the Sun,
   To whom the cherubs sing,
A strong archangel,13 known of none,
   Comes crowned and conquering.

An angel stands on my right hand
   With strength of ocean's wrath;14
Upon my left the fiery brand,
   Charioted fire smites forth:15
Four great archangels to withstand
   The furies of the path.16

Flames on my front the fiery star,
   About me and around.17
Behind, the sacred sun, afar,
   Six symphonies of sound;
Flames, as the Gods themselves that are;
   Flames, in the abyss profound.18

The spread arms drop like thunder! So
   Rings out the lordlier cry,
Vibrating through the streams that flow
   In ether to the sky,
The moving archipelago,
   Stars in their seigneury.

Thine be the kingdom! Thine the power!
   The glory triply thine!19
Thine, through Eternity's swift hour,
   Eternity, thy shrine -
Yea, by the holy lotus-flower,
   Even mine!20

Notes:
1. Describe the spiritual aspect of the "Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram" which we append,

with its explanation. The abstruse nature of mastering poems is well reflected in this one.

(I) Touching the forehead, say Ateh (unto Thee)
(II) Touching the breast, say Malkuth (the Kingdom)
(III) Touching the right shoulder, say ve-Geburah (the Power)
(IV) Touching the left shoulder, say ve-Gedulah (and the Glory)
(V) Clasping the hands upon the breast, say le-Olahm, Amen (to the ages, Amen)
(VI) Turning to the East, make a pentagram with the desired weapon. Say Yod-Hay-Vau-Hay -- Jehovah
(VII) Turning to the South, the same, but say Aleph-Dalet-Nun-Yod -- Adonai
(VIII) Turning to the West, the same, but say Aleph-Hay-Yod-Hay -- Eheieh
(IX) Turning to the North, the same, but say Aleph-Gimel-Lamed-Aleph -- Agla
(X) Extending the arms in the form of a cross, say
(XI) Before me Raphael
(XII) Behind me Gabriel
(XIII) On my right hand Michael
(XIV) On my left hand Auriel
(XV) For about me flames the Pentagram,
(XVI) and in the Column stands the six-rayed Star

Repeat (I) to (V), the Qabalistic Cross

Those who regard this ritual as a mere device to invoke or banish spirits, are unworthy to possess it. Properly understood, it is the Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise.

2. This ritual was given to Neophytes of the Order of the Golden Dawn.
3. The moon, as before, signifies Aspiration to the Highest.
4. For the "Flaming Sword" is the "Pentagram unwound".
5. The arms being extended, and the magus being clad in a Taw-shaped robe and a nemmes,
his figure would cast a shadow resembling the Ankh, or "Key of Life."
6. Khabs am Pekht, Konx om Pax, Light in Extension. The magus's words which seal the
current of light in the sphere of the aspirant.
7. Cf. Omar Khayyam the Sufi.
8. Binah, the revealer of the Triad of Light.
9. Ruach Elohim (See Genesis I) adds up to 300 = Shin = Fire.
10. Shin by shape hath a triple tongue.
11. These archangels are at points on the "Tree of Life" which cause them to surround
as described one who is 'crucified' thereon.
12. Raphael dwells in Tiphereth, Beauty.
13. Gabriel, dweller in Yesod, where are the Kerubim.
14. Michael, lord of Hod, an Emanation of a watery nature.
15. Auriel, Archangel of Netzach, to which Fire is attributed.
16. The path of Taw, or Saturn and Earth, which leads from Malkuth to Yesod indeed,
but is dark & illusion. This first step upward attracts the bitterest opposition
of all the Enemies of the Human Soul.
17. As asserted in the ritual.
18. It flames both above & beneath the magus, who is thus in a cube of 4 pentagrams
and 2 hexagrams 32 points in all. And 32 is Aleph-Hay-Yod-Hay-Vay-Hay, the sacred word that
expresses the Unity of the Highest and the Human.
19. As in ritual.
20. Supreme affirmation of Unity with the Highest in the Lotus, the universal
symbol of Attainment.

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Primary Sources

Crowley, the Days After:
Here are three letters to and from Frieda Harris within the days following Crowley's Greater Feast. Owing to the volume and complexity of the extant correspondence and the limited space here, a criterion of selection was necessary. Much interest has recently been shown on the question of Gerald Gardner's OTO connection, and these letters have all been chosen for passing mention of Gardner. The Editor dedicates this column to the memory of Brother Stephen Alexander, whose recent Greater Feast brings to mind that of his namesake. - ED

Ltr 12/7/47 F.Harris to Frederic Mellinger:

WEL. 1090
3, Devonshire Terrace,
     Marylebone High St.,
          London W.1.

Dec. 7th, 1947.

Dear Mr. Mellinger,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

You will have heard the sad news, I know how distressed you will be. I do wish you had been able to come to the Cremation. It was so impressive & dignified. Louis Wilkinson read Io Pan & then portions of the Book of the Law & then the Collects from the Gnostic Mass. The press has been frightful, not one decent word & no understanding. It makes me so angry.
Louis Wilkinson, John Symonds, Germer & myself were his Executors & we are trying to find & sort his papers which are chaotic. Did he give you any unpublished M.S. as we are trying to collect at least one complete collection of all his work which will not be understood by this generation.
Most of the documents & his ring are to be sent to the O.T.O. in America.
He was well taken care of. I made him have a nurse about 3 months ago as he was dirty & neglected & he had Watson who was most devoted & the Symonds were as nice as they knew how to be. At the last Mrs. McAlpine & the boy1 were there. I saw him the day he died, but he did not recognize me. I think Mrs. McAlpine was with him but she says there was no struggle, just stopped breathing
I shall miss him terribly
An irreplaceable loss

           Love is the law, love under will

    Yours Sincerely
                     Frieda Harris

postscript in the same hand:

Are you the head of the order here or was Gerald Gardner I can't find him, I fancy he died?

-oOo-

Ltr 1/2/48 F.Harris to K.Germer.

3, Devonshire Terrace,
      Marylebone High St.,
          London W.1.

January 2, 1948.

Dear Mr. Germer,

Thank you very much for your letter of 26th December. Before coming to the extremely involved matter of A.C.'s finances, may I answer the other points you raise?
The printers' address is Guy and Sons, 82 High St., Hastings, and a Mr. Jones is dealing with the matter.2
The Watson you refer to is Mr. H. Watson, the Ridge Stores, The Ridge, Hastings. I'm sure he would be very grateful for any token of appreciation you might care to make, but I would suggest either a cheque or a gift, as you think most suitable, to the value of, say, £15.
A.C. had among his affects a sum of about £400, which he regarded as a kind of trust fund.3 It may be that this money belongs to you, and if so, it would be well for you to claim it, as otherwise the Official Receiver will get it, A.C. being an undischarged bankrupt. This is the only substantial sum of money to be found. The debts outstanding at the moment are: Funeral expense, £50, Nurse and Watson, £17, Doctor's fees £50, Hotel bill £50. There will also be legal expenses. Some of A.C.'s belongings are in store, and the bill has accumulated to the tune of some £45. It is questionable whether it is worth while paying the bill in order to get them, or whether it would not be as well to abandon them. John Symonds has been to see them and says that there is very little there.
The £104 you mention as owing to the printer does not include the cost of binding the book, nor does it include the cost of the dust-jacket which A.C. was anxious to have done.
There is very little we can do until probate of the will has been obtained, and the legal position is a bit clearer, but would you be good enough to let me know, by return airmail, anything you may know about the £400. If it is yours, you might be ready to allow me to use it to meet the outstanding debts.
With kindest regards, and best wishes for 1948,

Yours sincerely,

F. Harris

The letter continues in F.H.'s handwritten postscript. Irregular punctuation and name misspellings left unchanged:

I think I am a member of the O.T.O.
I used to get the Word of the Equinox.
G.B.Gardiner, 282 Strathmoore Circle Memphis 12 Tenn. is head of the O.T.O. in Europe - Dr. W.B.Crow, 227 Glenfield Road Western Park Leicester has authority from A.C. to work the O.T.O. & the Gnostic Catholic Church. Would you write to him. also G. Waal4 Fitzgerald 24 Belsize Road N.W6. seems to have been asked to initiate Mr. Gardiner & may be a member Pat McAlpine is a dignified young woman, generally attached to A.C. She is separated but the husband has disappeared. She had money but I think she has quarreled with her Mother & may not have much She has 2 children by her husband and an adopted little girl They are all nice children but I found Aleister5 very charming He refuses to learn to read, he has his own ideas, he complained of dark forms around the house the 2 days before Aleister6 died. It shows the child is lovable but I think for the moment the less he is confused by his origin the better. He should be more normal Mrs. McAlpine, c/o Mrs. Valentine. Woodside House. Woodside. Coupar{?} Angus. Scotland She is not the kind of woman who would ask for money even if she needs it.

-oOo-

Ltr 1/19/48 K.Germer to F.Harris.

January 19, 1948

Dear Lady Harris,

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

Thanks for yours of Jan. 10th with Mr. Bailey's address. I had in the meantime obtained this from another source, and have written him. - As to my remarks about Gerald Yorke,7 I may have been too harsh and premature. I have just received a more complete letter from him which is very cooperative to say the least. I had not heard from or about him for 11 years and had to be cautious about where he stood. I hope I have not done any harm by my letter. Not being able to be on the spot, and feeling a rather heavy sense of responsibility in matters of the Work and the Order, I felt the danger acutely that his intimate knowledge of many details might not {sic} induce the executors to lean too strongly towards his help. The way I see the matter after his reassuring letter, I cannot find an objection for the executors to accept his help wherever it is useful.
I regret it not having had the time to write a personal letter to Mr. John Symonds.8 Letters are piling up on my desk in a way that I don't know how to cope with this work.
No: the refusal of my visa by the British is final; I won't make another application.9
Thanks for the copy of the Funeral Service.10 (There are a few mistakes which should be corrected if it should be multigraphed.) Please do not overrate the numbers of the group that have been supporting A.C.11 on the side. What is more, they are all poor. I think your idea of printing a Memento accompanied with your painting excellent.12 I hardly think we could dispose of more than 20 or 25 copies at the most over here, but I would have to consult the people on the West Coast to make sure. - Could you tell me how much the production of the whole would cost? Or, do you care to tell me the cost of the block?
I had a letter from E. Noel Fitzgerald whom I remember having met, but that is really all. I hear from him the idea of making a lecture tour through the U.S.A. to show the original of the Tarot paintings and lecturing on them. This is certainly a welcome thought. But I, personally, cannot at the moment give it too much attention. My mind is exclusively occupied with the involved situation of A.C.'s affairs in general, and the attempt to bring it to a somewhat satisfactory solution; and solving the financial difficulties going with it. And they are not small.
If you have thought of doing your lecture trip in September, or the Fall: would you have to be able to make arrangements with a literary, or artistic agency with a sound financial basis. I have yet to make copies of your letter for my associates13 in the West to hear their views; but I am sure they all would welcome it. But they could not assure a financial backing, while I hear that if an agency handles the tour, there is bound to be money in it.
Your tour might well help start the production of a proper pack of the Tarot cards. Some years ago, after I received the first set of samples of these cards I negotiated with a number of firms. It was then impossible to think of doing it here. Also the price, and quality of available cardboard, prohibited it. Fitzgerald says the price of the blocks in England would be £760. If an edition of a 1000 packs in a short time were assured - which I doubt - and a base price of $5.00 for a pack (of which dealers here ask 40%) it would hardly pay the cost as far as I can judge.
A proper, and beautiful, pack will be done, I know, at some time later.14 I am sorry, really, I cannot be more encouraging to you for this time. Also, I am not in a condition to burden my mind now with problems that are not immediate. -
I expect to see my lawyer either to-day or to-morrow about the long letter received from Mr. Wilkinson on Jan. 17th. He asked me for a copy at once, of this and previous letters, to have leisure to think it over, and then discuss it. After that I will have more to say, and write, to Mr. Wilkinson.
I have written to the printer, no reply yet.
I received to-day a letter from Mr. Gerald Gardner, who says he is sailing from New York on March 19th and would stay in New York for a few days. I may either see him then, or, if I would have to go to the West Coast on a several months' trip, I might arrange to visit him on my way there. Did you ever meet him?

Love is the law, love under will.

With kindest regards,    
sincerely yours
          {Karl Germer}

Notes:
1. Crowley's natural son by P.McAlpine, Aleister Ataturk McAlpine.
2. Probably the book in question is Crowley's last, Olla, but others were in preparation.
3. This was the "Aleister Crowley Publication Fund", collected from the donations of members

of Agape Lodge in California and supplemented by the Germers.
4. SIC, should be Noel.
5. Crowley's natural son by P.McAlpine.
6. Crowley.
7. Germer had written some rather anxious letters in an effort to keep Gerald Yorke at a distance
from the Estate proceedings.
8. Symonds had apparently not taken a very active part in the Estate at this point, Wilkinson mainly
acting at first in the role of literary executor. Later Symonds took custody of Crowley's
papers for shipment to Germer, and Germer wrote in protest of delay while Symonds wrote
his Biography.
9. See this column in the TLC for May, 1992 e.v. for more on this point.
10. Re-printed with corrections in OTO Newsletter #7-8, May 1979 e.v. as "The Last Ritual".
11. Mostly the members of Agape Lodge in California, but there were other OTO members on
the East Coast of the USA at the time.
12. This painting for "The Last Ritual" was subsequently published in 1969 e.v. by Louis Culling
in his The Complete Magick Curriculum of the Secret Order GBG. Typically, he
printed it up-side down!
13. Agape Lodge members for the most part.
14. It took about a quarter century, until the 1970s. Even then the quality wasn't good enough
until the late 1980s.

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from the Grady Project:

Convoy Rolling

Along a winding city street
The dusty convoys roll,
Across the downs a laden fleet
Is roaring to its goal;
We're hauling bombs that will defeat
The Hun; we take our toll.

The boys who roll bomb laden trucks
Through blinding English fog
Or claw their way in six wheel drive
Across the Burma bog
With nothing for protection
From the strafing bombers' dive
Are just as much our heroes
As the boys who lead the drive.

Have we ever tasted battle?
Do we lose our share of men?
Our dead line Stuka Valley
On the road to Kasserine!

Do we stop for mud or mountain?
Do we need the Engineers?
We build our road and flat-top
Where there are no Hairy Ears!

What if the map is hopeless
And the fog as grey as slate?
We roll those trucks on schedule
For the Bomber Boys can't wait!

It takes more than being reckless,
It takes more than gift of gab,
When there's five tons of explosive
Riding right behind the cab

And that box of fuses sitting
Right beside you on the seat;
But "Operations" doesn't give
Its medals to this fleet!

So we do our job in silence
Giving service to the line,
We roll by day, we roll by night,
We roll come rain or shine

And when the road's a target?
Rack'er back and let'er buck!
Through hell and high explosive
Rolls the Quartermaster Truck!

Then when we're through to "Bomber"
We can stop and take a rest,
Behind the wheel as like as not-
May "Operations" be unblessed!

And we dream of trucker's heaven
Where the wheeling convoys roll
On paving blocks of marble,
Where there is no mud or toll

Where the Jerry planes are never
And the highway's broad and straight,
Just dynamite that throttle
And we'll highball through the gate!

Till we wake to hit the trailway
And shuttle back for more,
Ours is a job that's never done;
Until the war is o'er
We're in there rolling with the punch-
The Quartermaster Corps!

-- Grady L. McMurtry    
4/6/44 e.v.       

Previously published in The Grady Project #2 (December 1987 e.v.).

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From the Outbasket

Recently the leader of a friendly rival organization challenged me on the issue of Thelema being a religion. He argued that Crowley didn't consider it so. Well, we can't let that pass! Here is my answer, substantially abridged and edited for publication. The quotations from Crowley are all © O.T.O. and available from Crowley's works on diskette at the address given above in the heading of the "Crowley Classics" column. Some are limited in distribution and courtesy of New Falcon Press. Using these computer texts and a XYwrite word-processor Macro, over 500 citations to Crowley's use of the word "religion" were found and automatically documented in about an hour. People who haven't gotten into computers yet would be advised to give it some thought. Nothing is better for managing research.

PARAPHRASED POINT AT ISSUE: Does the following citation show that Crowley held Thelema not be a Religion:

Call it a new religion, then, if it so please your Gracious Majesty; but I confess that I fail to see what you will have gained by so doing, and I feel bound to add that you might easily cause a great deal of misunderstanding, and work a rather stupid kind of mischief.
The word does not occur in The Book of the Law.
                     -- Magick Without Tears, Letter #31
I see two things to our point in this citation:

1) ... Crowley's correspondent for the letters in Magick Without Tears, is allowed by Crowley to call it (Thelema) a new religion, but he fails to see the advantage for her doing so.

2) The word "religion" does not occur in The Book of the Law.

Taking the simpler first, it is true that the word "religion" does not occur in Liber AL, but that doesn't stop Crowley from using it in his commentaries on Liber AL in several instances, as I will show below. On the first point: calling Thelema a "new religion" is not the same thing as simply calling it a "religion". A question thrown against the merits of calling a thing "new" does not stick of necessity to the thing apart from newness.

In the context of the greater part of this MWT letter Crowley discusses the definition of "religion", issuing a trial definition of: "A religion then, is a more or less coherent and consistent set of beliefs, with precepts and prohibitions therefrom deducible." Crowley goes on to say that he often ( not always) uses the word "religion" in the sense of Frazer in opposition to "science" or "Magic." Crowley then develops for a bit the idea of influenceable deities or similar beasties in contrast to his ideas of "Laws of Nature" both for Science and Magick. He concludes this preamble with the paragraph just before our citation:
To sum up, our system is a religion just so far as a religion means an enthusiastic putting-together of a series of doctrines, no one of which must in any way clash with Science or Magick.
I fail to see that this can in any way be held to be a denial of the qualifier "religion" to "Thelema".

Now, this is not enough to decide what Crowley thought of the matter one way or another. More of a body and weight of evidence is necessary. Even in the face of a direct denial of the qualifier "religion" to "Thelema", which denial is not here, the weight of other references by Crowley would have to be taken into account. Following are selected citations from Crowley's Opus on the point. It will be seen that Crowley uses different implied definitions of "religion" at different times, but the body of the text leads to a common conclusion that Crowley freely considered Thelema to be a religion in general; A A and O.T.O. to be particular religions in practice. Here are a few of Crowley's expressed views, among very many to the point:

COMMENTARIES TO LIBER AL-major points:

To AL I,63:
I wish here to emphasise that the Law of Thelema definitely enjoins us, as a necessary act of religion, to "drink sweet wines and wines that foam". Any free man or woman who resides in any community where this is verboten has a choice between two duties: insurrection and emigration.

To AL III,19:

But that apart, the proof of any discarnate intelligence, even of the lowest order, has never before been established. And lack of that proof is the flaw in all the religions of the past; man could not be certain of the existence of "God", because though he knew many powers independent of muscle, he knew of no consciousness independent of nerve.

To AL III,22:

Our religion therefore, for the People, is the Cult of the Sun, who is our particular star of the Body of Nuit, from whom, in the strictest scientific sense, come this earth, a chilled spark of Him, and all our Light and Life.
COMMENTARIES TO LIBER AL-minor points:
To AL I,52:
Therefore, the Love that is Law is no less Love in the petty personal sense; for Love that makes two One is the engine whereby even the final Two, Self and Not-Self, may become One, in the mystic marriage of the Bride, the Soul, with Him appointed from eternity to espouse her; yea, even the Most High, God All-in-All, the Truth.
Therefore we hold Love holy, our heart's religion, our mind's science.

To AL I,56:

All religions have some truth.
We possess all intellectual truth, and some, not all, mystic truth.

To AL I,63:

All those acts which excite the divine in man are proper to the Rite of Invocation.
Religion, as understood by the vile Puritan, is the very opposite of all this. He - it - seems to wish to kill his - its - soul by forbidding every expression of it, and every practice which might awaken it to expression. To hell with this Verbotenism!
FROM CONFESSIONS:
It is possible to base a religion, not on theory and results, but on practice and methods.
Chapter 49 of Confessions deals with "The Claim of 'The Book of the Law' in Respect of Religion".
...
The history of mankind teems with religious teachers. These may be divided into three classes.
1. Such men as Moses and Mohammed state simply that they have received a direct communication from God. They buttress their authority by divers methods, chiefly threats and promises guaranteed by thaumaturgy; they resent the criticism of reason.
2. Such men as Blake and Boehme claimed to have entered into direct communication with discarnate intelligence which may be considered as personal, creative, omnipotent, unique, identical with themselves or otherwise. Its authority depends on "the interior certainty" of the seer.
3. Such teachers as Lao-Tzu, the Buddha and the highest Gnana-yogis announce that they have attained to superior wisdom, understanding, knowledge and power, but make no pretence of imposing their views on mankind. They remain essentially sceptics. They base their precepts on their own personal experience, saying, in effect, that they have found that the performance of certain acts and the abstention from others created conditions favourable to the attainment of the state which has emancipated them. The wiser they are, the less dogmatic. Such men indeed formulate their transcendental conception of the cosmos more or less clearly; they may explain evil as illusion, etc., but the heart of their theory is that the problem of sorrow has been wrongly stated, owing to the superficial or incomplete data presented by normal human experience through the senses, and that it is possible for men, by virtue of some special training (from Asana to Ceremonial Magick), to develop in themselves a faculty superior to reason and immune from intellectual criticism, by the exercise of which the original problem of suffering is satisfactorily solved.
"The Book of the Law" claims to comply with the conditions necessary to satisfy all three types of inquirer.
Firstly, it claims to be a document not only verbally, but literally inspired. "Change not as much as the style of a letter; for behold! thou, o prophet, shalt not behold all these mysteries hidden therein. ... This book shall be translated into all tongues: but always with the original in the writing of the Beast; for in the chance shape of the letters and their position to one another: in these are mysteries that no Beast shall divine. Let him not seek to try: but one cometh after him, whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all."
The author claims to be a messenger of the Lord of the Universe and therefore to speak with absolute authority.
Secondly, it claims to be the statement of transcendental truth, and to have overcome the difficulty of expressing such truth in human language by what really amounts to the invention of a new method of communicating thought, not merely a new language, but a new type of language; a literal and numerical cipher involving the Greek and Hebrew Cabbalas, the highest mathematics etc. It also claims to be the utterance of an illuminated mind co-extensive with the ultimate ideas of which the universe is composed.
Thirdly, it claims to offer a method by which men may arrive independently at the direct consciousness of the truth of the contents of the Book; enter into communication directly on their own initiative and responsibility with the type of intelligence which informs it, and solve all their personal religious problems.
Generally, "The Book of the Law" claims to answer all possible religious problems. One is struck by the fact that so many of them are stated and settled separately in so short a space.
...
The existence of true religion presupposes that of some discarnate intelligence, whether we call him God or anything else. And this is exactly what no religion had ever proved scientifically. And this is what "The Book of the Law" does prove by internal evidence, altogether independent of any statement of mine.
Continuing on the issue of Freemasonry as concealed Religion:
There is, therefore, no reason for refraining from the plain statement that, to anyone who understands the rudiments of symbolism, the Master's degree is identical with the Mass. This is in fact the real reason for papal anathema; for freemasonry asserts that every man is himself the living, slain and re-arisen Christ in his own person.
It is true that not one mason in ten thousand in England is aware of this fact; but he has only to remember his "raising" to realize the fundamental truth of the statement.
More to the point of Thelema:
I claim for my system that it satisfies all possible requirements of true freemasonry. It offers a rational basis for universal brotherhood and for universal religion.
FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE ORDER OF THELEMITES (1920s)
12. The Order of Thelemites is categorically opposed to:
(a) All superstitious religions, as obstacles to the establishment of scientific religion; ...
FROM BOOK 4:
What is the curse upon religion that its tenets must always be associated with every kind of extravagance and falsehood?
There is one exception; it is the AA, whose members are extremely careful to make no statement at all that cannot be verified in the usual manner; or where this is not easy, at least avoid anything like a dogmatic statement.
FROM THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. BERNARD SHAW:
... I agree with practically every word reported of the Yogi Jesus, and nearly every word of the Essene. True, I reject Salvationism, and the Jewish element of prophecies fulfilled, and the praise of the Law of Moses; but trust humbly that any deficiency in these respects may be more than made up by superfluity in another. For not only do I hold the cult of John Barleycorn to be the only true religion, but have established his worship anew; in the last three years branches of my organisation have sprung up all over the world to celebrate the ancient rite. So mote it be.
FROM THE EQUINOX, VOL.I, No.1, p. 146:
In the West religion alone has never issued from chaos; and the hour, late though it be, has struck when without fear or trembling adepts have arisen to do for Faith what Copernicus, Kepler, and Newton did for what is vulgarly known as "Science."
FROM MAGICK IN THEORY AND PRACTICE, Ch.4:
Professor William James, in his "Varieties of Religious Experience," has well classified religion as the "once-born" and the "twice-born"; but the religion now proclaimed in Liber Legis harmonizes these by transcending them. No more room here, but many more citations are available.

-oOo-

If Crowley felt that "Religion" did not always adequately apply to Liber AL and Thelema, it appears to me from the above that the only reason for such hesitancy would be the abuse and limitation of the word "religion" by others. He clearly thought that Thelema was a perfection of "Religion" or, at least, more of the same gone farther in the same direction.
Since the question of Thelema as religion can also be addressed from witnesses contemporary to Crowley, I quote a letter from Frieda Harris during Crowley's last years of life. This letter is mostly filled with Frieda going on about Crowley's asinine behavior, but she does state on page 2: "I have no quarrel with him. I don't much care if he wants the copyright (to the Thoth Tarot) but I do care if it gets into the hands of the religious body he mis- conducts in California, & that is what he imagines is his duty to do. They are a collection of exotic idiots..." That is of course Agape Lodge. Speaking as a late-comer to the collection aforesaid, I do submit that Crowley thought of OTO as a religion, and so did at least one of his Executors.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for November 1992 e.v.

11/1/92Lodge Council & LOP 3:33 PM
at: 544 31st St.
Thelema Ldg
11/1/92Gnostic Mass 8 PM
at: 588 63rd St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/2/92Thelema Lodge meeting 8 PM
at: 544 31st St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/5/92Breathing & Meditation with Dushan
6:30 PM at 6100 Adeline, Oakland
Thelema Ldg.
11/6/92Samhain, call Jewel for detailsThelema Ldg.
11/7/92OTO Raid Workshop #2 7:30 PM
Members only, Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
11/8/92Gnostic Mass 8 PM
at: 588 63rd St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/9/92Planatary Magick a la Agrippa with
Mark. Lunar Ritual, 6:30 PM
at: 588 63rd St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/11/92Astrological Analysis w/Grace 7-9PM
at: 544 31st St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/12/92Breathing & Meditation with Dushan
6:30 PM at 6100 Adeline, Oakland
Thelema Ldg.
11/13/92Essoteric Film Might 7 PM w/Jewel
at: 542 31st St. (downstairs)
Thelema Ldg.
11/15/92Gnostic Mass 8 PM
at: 588 63rd St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/19/92Breathing & Meditation with Dushan
6:30 PM at 6100 Adeline, Oakland
Thelema Ldg.
11/21/92Thelema Lodge initiations
Call to attend
Thelema Ldg.
11/22/92Gnostic Mass 8 PM
at: 588 63rd St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/25/92IInd Deg. Ritual Workshop 7:00 PM
at: 544 31st St.
Thelema Ldg.
11/26/92Breathing & Meditation with Dushan
6:30 PM at 6100 Adeline, Oakland
Thelema Ldg.
11/27/92Jerry's Logorrhea, CALL TO ATTEND.
at: 544 31st St. 7:30PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/28/92OTO Raid Workshop #3 7:30 PM
Members only, Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
11/29/92Gnostic Mass 8 PM
at: 588 63rd St.
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.

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

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

Production and Circulation:
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Internet: heidrick@well.com (Submissions and circulation only)

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