Thelema Lodge Calendar for September 1993 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for September 1993 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.

   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.

Copyright © O.T.O. and the Individual Authors, 1993 e.v.

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

September 1993 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers.

Thelema Lodge is Relocating!

    Thelema Lodge Meeting will be held on Monday evening 6th September at 7:30, at Ancient Ways, 4075 Telegraph Avenue (at 41st St.), Oakland. The store's phone is (510) 653-3244. The Lodge will be re-organizing and moving this month, so the advice and assistance of all interested members is especially important at this meeting.

Other Events of September

    The annual cycle of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis (Liber DCCCL) concludes this month with performances of the Rites of Mercury and Luna. Produced by O.T.O. members in Northern California for nearly fifteen years now, this extended planetary ritual (disguised as a series of programmed parties) has always been organized through a cooperative effort of various local groups within the Order. This year we are grateful to Sirius Oasis for taking the lead in facilitating the Rites.
    The Rite of Mercury will begin at 7:00 Wednesday evening 1st September, hosted by Sirius Oasis in northern Berkeley. Come around to the back yard, bringing appropriate wines and juices. For directions, call the Oasis at (510) 527-2855.
    For the Rite of Luna we will be the guests of Grace, on the other side of Berkeley. The performance will begin at 7:30 Monday evening 14th September. Call (510) 843-7827 for directions.
    A closing ceremony for the Rite of Earth at the full moon is tentatively planned late in September. There may still be time to become involved in this ritual by promptly contacting Sirius Oasis or the new Thelema Lodge Master.

Rite of Luna

    The Gnostic Mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is scheduled only once this month, on Sunday evening 26th September at 7:30. Mass will be held at Sirius Oasis in cooperation with Thelema Lodge. Members and friends of the Order are welcome to this open communion ritual. Call the Oasis for directions.

    O.T.O. initiations have not been scheduled at the Lodge during September. Our principal challenge in re-organizing the Lodge in the coming months will be the establishment of new temple and initiation facilities. Prospective candidates for initiation should apply to the new Lodgemaster for applications. Suggestions regarding facilities for October initiations (and Gnostic Masses) will be most welcome to the Lodgemaster.

    Burmese Astrology with Kathy meets twice this month, on Thursday evenings 9th September and 23rd September at 7:30. Maha Bote, a Burmese system of Astrology, is based on the day of the week and year the subject was born. It is an introduction to Astrology for the new comer and a different (never conflicting) perspective for the advanced student. This class will be moving to Marin this month, at 5 Suffield Ave., San Anselmo. Call (415) 454-5176 for directions.

    Also at this same San Anselmo location, Bill Heidrick's legendary Magick in Theory and Practice series begins this month with a class on Wednesday evening 15th September at 7:30. Bring a copy of Magick in Theory and Practice, along with any questions or observations you may have on the introduction through the first few chapters.

    Grace will organize a discussion group entitled "Perspectives on the Magical Planets of Antiquity", which will likewise meet at the San Anselmo address, on Thursday evening 16th September at 7:30. We will examine the astrological forces and patterns celebrated in the Rites of Eleusis.

    "The Tantra of Gnosis" with Bishop T. Suleiman will make a new beginning in San Francisco this month, beginning Tuesday evening 28th September at 8:00. Introducing the historical roots of sex magick as symbolically represented in Crowley's Gnostic Mass (Liber XV), this series of classes will study Hindu and Buddhist Tantrism, original Gnosticism, ancient goddess worship, western European chivalric traditions, Sufism, alchemy, cults of the Virgin Isis, and various traditions of Solar religion. Meetings will be at the temple of Jim and Jewel; call the Bishop at (510) 654-3580 or his hosts at (415) 221-6540 to attend.

    A new seminar this month offers an "Introduction to the Hermetic Texts", organized by Michael Sanborn and John Brunie. The body of Greco-Egyptian writings attributed to Thrice-Greatest Hermes survives in texts dating from the early centuries of the past era, and was highly esteemed by Ficino and other magicians of the Renaissance because of a mistaken attribution to remotest antiquity. We will explore the original context of the Corpus Hermeticum, its historical importance, and the ritual potential of this material. The seminar meets at 7:30 Tuesday evening 27th September, at a location to be arranged. Call the Lodgemaster to attend.

    The Invertebrates, a Thelemic band long associated with Thelema Lodge, performs at the Starry Plough on Shattuck Avenue on Sunday 19th September. Call the venue for information.

Thelema Lodge

    Beginning in September, our Lodge embarks upon a new course at the behest of the O.T.O.'s Electoral College. As the new Lodgemaster, I will be organizing and directing the lodge community in this transition. With the Bay Area now increasingly rich in Thelemic culture and O.T.O. activity, we will be making a fresh start and defining a new role for Thelema Lodge. Already much preliminary consultation and exchange of ideas has been undertaken, and the Lodge meeting on 6th September will provide a forum for all members to share aspirations, plan for the future, make suggestions, and voice concerns.
    For the first time since the re-organization which followed Grady's death eight years ago, the Lodge sets forth with no established facilities: we presently have no temple, no initiation space, no place for our library, no central headquarters for meetings and classes, and no substantial funds in the treasury. The September calendar has been organized informally, with generous assistance from members who have agreed to host events in their homes. This is the reason for our repeated request for participants to "call for directions," in order to avoid publishing residential addresses. With a bit of effort at keeping in touch, I trust we can avoid confusion during this transition. It may take a month or two before we have a permenant new home for Horus Temple and Thelema Lodge; there will certainly be plenty of work to be shared amongst us in this process.
    I live in Oakland, and my phone number is (510) 530-3923. There are certain to be many questions which I haven't yet addressed, and I invite anyone concerned to contact me as we face these challenges together. If I am out when you call, please suggest a specific time when I might reach you back, as my own schedule is sometimes quite full. I thank the many members who have already offered support, and look forward to working with all members in the great work ahead.

John Brunie
Frater Leoviridis


Positive Changes
in the Bay Area

    New changes will be happening in September. Ordinarily I would have liked to call a special Lodge Meeting to personally express all the positive actions but unfortunately things have been moving really fast so I can only give a brief extract. Minimal time has been afforded me to explain all the details for which people might yearn. On September 1st 1993ev I personally made the decision to step down as Lodge Master along with Henry Herndon our Secretary and Marlene Smith, Treasurer. Regrettably this is my last Editorial for the Thelema Lodge Calendar as of September. Enthusiastic changes are a foot along with a stiff upper lip and a positive attitude.

    Hopefully these changes will benefit the entire Bay Area and of course Thelema Lodge. Everyone who has supported our efforts and greatly appreciated all that we have achieved over the years shouldn't be distraught or feel thrown to the wind by our actions today. I have applied for another Lodge Charter here in the Bay Area with complete blessings of our beloved Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta and we should be receiving such by mid-September, this I affirm. Despite some obvious changes all should be business as usual by November 1st with only one slight excursion. Regrettably this excursion will occur in the month of October when Marlene and I will be on our honeymoon in total elation. Is there any question to which you might like a reply? Call anytime, (510) ... .... and we'll attempt to address them forthwith. Keeping with tradition, the changing of a Lodge Master will prompt misunderstanding so let's keep in touch with earnest.

    Basically we began planning this transition in July knowing it would occur eventually. Until now we have kept it quiet, but with the nomination of the new Lodge Master by the Electoral College we feel that everyone should be informed respectfully. Luck and the best of it, we offer to John Brunie the new Thelema Lodge Master who I feel as the choice to be the finest. Let us throw our total support behind him enthusiastically. So with my departure I ask everyone in the Bay Area to give the same love and support to Mr. Brunie as you have given to me regularly. Help and volunteer your services whenever asked. In time both our Lodges will be working together to establish a greater Thelemic Community with much more diversity everywhere. Thelema Lodge is sailing off under new leadership and I extend the best to John Brunie willfully.

signed Frater Achad Osher 583 VIII°

Sabbatical in September
for Old Lodge Master

    For those that haven't heard the news, Marlene Smith and I are getting married in early October. My future wife and I would greatly appreciate a 'solemn moment' of a few weeks to reflect and think about our future. With so many weekly visitors under foot as is usually the case we feel it is extremely difficult to make any serious wedding plans or needed decisions. So it is my decision to close our doors at 49th Street for the entire month of September. You will notice that I have scheduled no Masses, or any study groups, classes or Initiations during this period at the old location.
    The ONLY exception to this Sabbatical is a 'Uahabra Psemthek Special Lodge Meeting' that I'm planning for Saturday September 25th 7:30pm at the 49th St.location (510 658-3280) where I'll attempt to explain all the new changes in the Bay Area regarding the OTO and what they mean for 'All' of us. If you've got any questions, or if you're feeling lost, or confused, you should definitely attempt to be present for this important discussion and bring a list of those questions. This will be the time to voice your concerns. This meeting is open to all, even the concerned public and nonMembers. If you want to make this a really positive OTO evening then please help by bringing munchy types of food and drink.
    Further, we request that everyone honors this period of Silence for the rest of the month. We further regret any inconvenience that this might cause to any individual but it can not be helped. Thank you. AO583 VIII°

Wedding Bells in October

    As noted in June's Calendar we announced that Lodge Master J. Edward Cornelius and Lodge Treasurer Marlene Smith are planning on getting married in October. At first we scheduled the date for Tuesday October 12th for numerous reason but mainly because astrologically it was perfect for what we wanted to achieve. However the Fates intervened and we changed the date to the Sunday before, or October 10th. Luckily it is still a great day astrologically for both of us to begin our new life together on.
    Another twist which was unforseen is the number of people who have contacted us requesting to be present for the Wedding. A basic list of such individuals borders somewhere over a hundred people, which is of course impossible to accommodate here at 49th street. Regrettably this means we are forced to closed the doors and can not allow an 'open invite' for all to attend. What this implies is that many close and dear friends may not be able to attend due to very limited space. This is the difficult part of any wedding this size. Figuring out who can and who can not be present without offending too many. It is requested that if you have not been contacted or received a formal invitation in the mail, please do not show up unannounced the day of the wedding. You will be turned away. We wish to thank everyone who has been helping to make this day really special for both of us.
signed Fr. AO583 VIII°

New Bay Area Lodge
Pending in October

c/o J. Edward Cornelius
Uahabra Psemthek Lodge
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 11667
Berkeley, CA 94701-2667
      phone (510) ... ....

Crowley Classics

    Crowley was a long-suffering victim of notesitis, an infectious complaint more common in Victorian times than today, but still as pandemic as carpal tunnel syndrome among modern writers. Epidemiologists believe the disease was contracted through the explorer Richard Francis Burton, but it could easily have resulted from exposure to sources of contagion common throughout Crowley's youth. Some of the punctilious pustules among A.C.'s favorite authors are as sinister as they are small, notably one that erupts from within the "Dedicatory Epistle" of Bulwer Lytton's The Last of the Barrons: "... Hume has truly observed, 'No part of English History ... Wars between the two Roses.'" -- footnote: "Hume." -- followed by a resumption of the same text and the footnote: "Ibid." Symptoms include a tendency to use optically hazardous type, spastic sprinkling of little symbols and numbers about an otherwise normal page, great obscurity, strange alphabets or languages, pathological aversion to substantial rewrite of text after first publication, and soiled margins in books found in the library of the invalid. There is no known cure once the disease has reached the tertiary stage -- marked by the victim paying to get his own stuff in print.
    For the prurient paper fetishist, these disgusting irruptions cannot be passed over in demure aversion. They demand being squeezed and poked. The remainder of this column is only for those who have abandoned themselves to this odious vice. The bell of the leper has rung "unclean"; touch now at your own risk.

    Here are two consecutive notes to "Pentecost" from The Works of Aleister Crowley, Vol. II, pp. 203-205, 1906 e.v. edition. The Poem itself has marginal notes to the outside of pages, footnotes at the bottom of pages, notes to those notes within subcuts, end notes (these examples) which are referenced to marginal line count notes in the poem and number tags within text. These end notes also have footnotes, as do the marginal notes, &c. Please note: in the notes which follow, the first number notes the line number of the poem, which is too long to include here as a quote, while the second number notes the number noted in elevated small type in the text to annotate the notation point of the note among the end notes which are notably noted here below as noteworthy notations from the notable A.C.'s poem.
    The first example provides us with a Crowley essay on Magick, originally used to introduce The Goetia. The Goetia is actually a small part of the Lesser Key of Solomon, and deals with the spirits legend says were sealed within a brass bottle by Solomon, son of David. In the Arabian Nights, these same spirits are called "Genies" or "Jinn" and Solomon is called "Suleman ben Daud". See also Magick in Theory and Practice, especially part 2 of Chapter XVI, and Book 4, part II. The second example will be enlarged upon in, what else, the end note to this column. See also the column on the "Writings of the Saints", premiering in this issue, for additional notes on the philosophy. To avoid overkill, original notes to the notes noted below have been elevated to parenthetic notes in the text. The present editor has abstained from appending his own notes to the notes on the notes in the notes, but has instead noted these notes, &c., before and after the:


    23. Levi.{#2} -- Ceremonial magic is not quite so silly as it sounds. Witness the following masterly elucidation of its inner quintessence: ---


    It is loftily amusing to the student of magical literature who is not quite a fool --- and rare is such a combination! --- to note the criticism directed by the Philistine against the citadel of his science. Truly, since our childhood has ingrained into us not only literal belief in the Bible, but also substantial belief in Alf Laylah wa Laylah, (A.C. Note: A Thousand and One Nights, commonly called Arabian Nights.) and only adolescence can cure us, we are only too liable, in the rush and energy of dawning manhood, to overturn roughly and rashly both these classics, to regard them both on the same level, as interesting documents from the standpoint of folk-lore and anthropology, and as nothing more.
    Even when we learn that the Bible, by a profound and minute study of the text, may be forced to yield up Qabalistic arcana of cosmic scope and importance, we are too often slow to apply a similar restorative to the companion volume, even if we are the lucky holders of Burton's veritable edition.
    To me, then, it remains to raise the Alf Laylah wa Laylah into its proper place once more.
    I am not concerned to deny the objective reality of all "magical" phenomena; if they are illusions, they are at least as real as many unquestioned facts of daily life; and, if we follow Herbert Spencer, they are at least evidence of some cause. (This, incidentally, is perhaps the greatest argument we possess, pushed to its extreme, against the Advaitist theories. --- A.C.)
    Now, this fact is our base. What is the cause of my illusion of seeing a spirit in the triangle of Art?
    Every smatterer, every expert in psychology, will answer: "That cause lies in your brain."
    English children are taught (pace the Education Act) that the Universe lies in infinite Space; Hindu children, in the Akasa, which is the same thing.
    Those Europeans who go a little deeper learn from Fichte, that the phenomenal Universe is the creation of the Ego; Hindus, or Europeans studying under Hindu Gurus, are told, that by Akasa is meant the Chitakasa. The Chitakasa is situated in the "Third Eye," i.e., in the brain. By assuming higher dimensions of space, we can assimilate this fact to Realism; but we have no need to take so much trouble.
    This being true for the ordinary Universe, that all sense-impressions are dependent on changes in the brain, (Thought is a secretion of the brain [Weissmann]. Consciousness is a function of the brain [Huxley]. --- A.C.) we must include illusions, which are after all sense-impressions as much as "realities" are, in the class of "phenomena dependent on brain-changes."
    Magical phenomena, however, come under a special sub-class, since they are a special sub-class, since they are willed, and their cause is the series of "real" phenomena called the operations of ceremonial Magic.
    These consist of
(1) Sight.
    The circle, square, triangle, vessels,
    lamps, robes, implements, etc.
(2) Sound.
    The invocations.
(3) Smell.
    The perfumes.
(4) Taste.
    The Sacraments.
(5) Touch.
    As under (1).
(6) Mind.
    The combination of all these and reflection
    of their significance.

    These unusual impressions (1-5) produce unusual brain-changes; hence their summary (6) is of unusual kind. Its projection back into the apparently phenomenal world is therefore unusual.
    Herein then consists the reality of the operations and effects of ceremonial magic, (Apart from its value in obtaining one-pointedness. On this subject consult Bereshit, infra. -- A. C.) and I conceive that the apology is ample, so far as the "effects" refer only to those phenomena which appear to the magician himself, the appearance of the spirit, his conversation, possible shocks from imprudence, and so on, even to ecstasy on the one hand, and death or madness on the other.
    But can any of the effects described in this our book Goetia be obtained, and if so, can you give a rational explanation of the circumstances? Say you so?
    I can, and will.
    The spirits of the Goetia are portions of the human brain.
    Their seals therefore represent (Mr. Spencer's projected cube) methods of stimulating or regulating those particular spots (through the eye).
    The names of God are vibrations calculated to establish:
    (a) General control of the brain. (Establishment of functions relative to the subtle world.)
    (b) Control over the brain in detail. (Rank or type of the Spirit.)
    (c) Control of one special portion. (Name of the Spirit.)
    The perfumes aid this through smell. Usually the perfume will only tend to control a large area; but there is an attribution of perfumes to letters of the alphabet enabling one, by a Qabalistic formula, to spell out the Spirit's name.
    I need not enter into more particular discussion of these points; the intelligent reader can easily fill in what is lacking.
    If, then, I say, with Solomon:
    "The Spirit Cimieries teaches logic," what I mean is:
    "Those portions of my brain which subserve the logical faculty may be stimulated and developed by following out the processes called 'The invocation of Cimieries.'"
    And this is a purely materialistic rational statement; it is independent of any objective hierarchy at all. Philosophy has nothing to say; and Science can only suspend judgment, pending a proper and methodical investigation of the facts alleged.
    Unfortunately, we cannot stop there. Solomon promises us that we can (1) obtain information; (2) destroy our enemies; (3) understand the voices of nature; (4) obtain treasure; (5) heal diseases, etc. I have taken these five powers at random; considerations of space forbid me to explain all.
    (1) Brings up facts from sub-consciousness.
    (2) Here we come to an interesting fact. It is curious to note the contrast between the noble means and the apparently vile ends of magical rituals. The latter are disguises for sublime truths. "To destroy our enemies" is to realise the illusion of duality, to excite compassion.
    (Ah! Mr. Waite, [A.C. Note: A poet of great ability. He edited a book called Of Black Magic and of Pacts, in which he vilifies the same.] the world of Magic is a mirror, wherein who sees muck is muck.)
    (3) A careful naturalist will understand much from the voices of the animals he has studied long. Even a child knows the difference of a cat's miauling and purring. The faculty may be greatly developed.
    (4) Business capacity may be stimulated.
    (5) Abnormal states of the body may be corrected, and the involved tissues brought back to tone, in obedience to currents started from the brain.
    So for all other phenomena. There is no effect which is truly and necessarily miraculous.
    Our Ceremonial Magic fines down, then, to a series of minute, though of course empirical, physiological experiments, and whoso will carry them through intelligently need not fear the result.
    I have all the health, and treasure, and logic I need; I have no time to waste. "There is a lion in the way." For me these practices are useless; but for the benefit of others less fortunate I give them to the world, together with this explanation of, and apology for, them.
    I trust that the explanation will enable many students who have hitherto, by a puerile objectivity in their view of the question, obtained no results, to succeed; that the apology may impress upon our scornful men of science that the study of the bacillus should give place to that of the baculum, the little to the great --- how great one only realises when one identifies the wand with the Mahalingam, (A.C. Note: The Phallus of Shiva the Destroyer. It is really identical with the Qabalistic "Middle Pillar" of the "Tree of Life.") up which Brahma flew at the rate of 84,000 yojanas a second for 84,000 mahakalpas, down which Visnu flew at the rate of 84,000 crores of yojanas a second for 84,000 crores of mahakalpas ---yet neither reached an end.
    But I reach an end.

    23. The criptic Coptic. {#3} -- Vide the Papyrus of Bruce.

    Editor's comment to the second example: This is the remarkable "Codex Brucianus" MS. 96. Bod. Lib. Oxford. It contains the single most important text surviving on Gnosticism, with the exception of specialized texts found in the Nag Hammadi Library, and the latter only in a more obscure sense. This Codex includes: a presentation of Valentinian Gnosticism, on a par with Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos (Astrology) for depth and completeness of the treatment of its subject; an exposition of the entire mysticism of the Greek Alphabet paralleling the treatment of Hebrew in the Sepher Yetzirah and possibly ofolder origin; perhaps the most ancient surviving Grimorie of spirits, predating the Picatrix and many other texts. It is only partly translated and published in European languages (e.g. Charlotte A. Baines A Coptic Gnostic Treatise Contained in the Codex Brucianus, 1933e.v.), and Crowley would not have been able to do more than look at it; assuming that the note here is not simply an echo of brief references in Mead's Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. The direct influence of this Codex on Western Magic(k) is nil, since it was only recovered during the 19th century. None-the-less, the Codex Brucianus contains source documents of a clear and complete nature from the beginning of mystical traditions only imperfectly passed down in modern Western traditions.

Previous Crowley Classics                   Next Crowley Classics

from the Grady Project:

Definition: Goddess



Published in McMurtry: Poems (London & Bergen: O.T.O., 1986 e.v.), and in The Grady Project #3 (March 1988 e.v.).


Isaac in the burning bush
Fair Lady in the Tower
Aries in a Cloud of Flame
Danae's golden shower
Eleven in Her holy name
Flora is Her bower


"But before you can know Rama
you must first see The Devil."

-- Grady L. McMurtry

Published in McMurtry: Poems (London & Bergen: O.T.O., 1986 e.v.), and in The Grady Project #3 (March 1988 e.v.).

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project

Writings of the Saints

Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam St. Alban, Lord Chancellor of England under James the Ist.

    Bacon was born at York-House, in the Strand, on 22nd January 1560 o.s. and died in the arms of his friend Sir Julius Caesar early in the morning of Easter Sunday, 9th April 1626 (April 19th in the modern Gregorian Calendar. England was using Julian in Bacon's time, with the start of the new year in mid March.).
    Crowley placed Francis Bacon in the Gnostic Collects among "these also", the miscellaneous Saints. Bacon was chiefly renowned for his political ascension, writings tending toward the "scientific method", and his influence on British philosophy. He was an intellectual genius, but his practical skills in human affairs often fell short outside oratory and literature. He lost his place in public life through inability to practice what he preached; although, in fairness, he wouldn't have ascended in the first place without the hypocrisy required of courtiers. Bacon's sacrifice by King James and Buckingham on charges of judicial bribery opened the chapter that was to continue through regicide and civil war to the modern disdain of royalty exemplified by such rude sayings as: "ribbon cutter" and "an I.Q. about room- temperature." Bacon took bribes in the tradition of his predecessors; but, unlike Dr. Samuel Johnson a little over a century later, he consistently failed to perform the tasks implied by the gifts. Perhaps that too is a mark of his unworldliness, and a contributing cause to his fall from the Chancellorship.
    Crowley drew on many sources for his Little Essays and his philosophy. Bacon's Essays Civil and Moral are one such source. The style is similar in both essayists: epigrams are expanded into brief text and padding of pious platitude is usually avoided. Crowley never finished anything, always revisiting his works with footnotes and commentary. Bacon never considered any of his works complete, always rewriting and augmenting as long as he lived. Crowley planned in such complexity that his system of organization went generations beyond his practical trials. Bacon outlined each of his major works and seldom managed to flush out half the outline of any of them. The late 16th and early 17th centuries allowed Bacon a more open treatment of Religion and Atheism than was possible after the Stuarts. Following the IIIrdGeorge and the French Revolution, Atheism was confounded with neo-classicism, and pietical hypocrisy became a choking cloud on such opinions as are freely expressed in this selection. Levi could not write in the 19th century as disinterestedly as Bacon did in the 16th and 17th. The modern rise of neo- paganism is a further development of this historic process. Neo-paganism is often denounced as Atheism by those who have forgotten that Atheism once signified little more than a denial of personality and upper-case letters to the supreme being. Of the simpler type of Atheism, indifference to deity and denial of the existence of order in the ultimate, there is no human possession of such a concept beyond trivial application. Avowed atheists make a religion of the ultimate No-thing, thus jumping to the final goal of Religion in its denial. Such a view issues from the highest attainment of spiritual progress, when union with supreme being is obtained, AL II,23: "I am alone: there is no God where I am." Without the intermediate growth, this high affirmation of Buddhism and Thelema alike is as futile as taking the Oath of the Abyss before its time; a thing meaningless from the mouths of children. As well attempt the secret of the IXth Degree without initiation.
    Other themes common to Crowley's philosophy and this essay include abhorrence of false beliefs, independence from cultural trends in piety (superstition of the masses), a distinction between changes introduced by "noble intellects" in contrast to "the people", general distrust of popular movements and of hide-bound attempts to save out-worn traditions. Both Crowley and Bacon used metaphysical argument to disavow metaphysics -- a contradiction partly justified by Crowley through ecstatic experience and Bacon through loyalty to the razor of William of Occam. Both used an idealized form of "Scientific Method" to test beliefs and perceptions. Bacon spoke out at the dawn of Free Thinking. Crowley shouted in rebellion against the stagnation of the same philosophy.
    Bacon's collection of Essays or Counsels Civil and Moral was augmented and edited throughout his life, this particular essay being introduced in his 3rd edition of 1612 e.v. The spelling was modernized in the early 19th century; and this selection is from The Works of Francis Bacon, Lord Chancellor of England, Basil Montague, 1842 American edition, Carey and Hart, Vol. I., p. 25. The preceding essay was "XVI. Of Atheism."

XVII. Of Superstition.

    IT were better to have no opinion of God at all than such an opinion as is unworthy of him; for the one is unbelief, the other is contumely; and certainly superstition is the reproach of the Deity. Plutarch saith well to that purpose: "Surely," saith he, "I had rather a great deal men should say there was no such man at all as Plutarch, than that they should say that there was one Plutarch, that would eat his children as soon as they were born:" as the poets speak of Saturn: and, as the contumely is greater towards God, so the danger is greater towards men. Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation: all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men; therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further, and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Caesar) were civil times: but superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new "primum mobile," that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people, and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order. It was gravely said, by some of the prelates in the council of Trent, where the doctrine of the schoolmen bare great sway, that the schoolmen were like astronomers, which did feign eccentrics and epicycles, and such engines of orbs to save phaenomena, though they knew there were no such things; and, in like manner, that the schoolmen had framed a number of subtle and intricate axioms and theorems, to save the practice of the church. The causes of superstition are, pleasing and sensual rites and ceremonies; excess of outward and pharisaical holiness; over great reverence of traditions, which cannot but load the church; the strategems of prelates for their own ambition and lucre; the favouring too much of good intentions, which openeth the gate to conceits and novelties; the taking an aim at divine matters by human, which cannot but breed mixture of imaginations; and, lastly, barbarous times, especially joined with calamities and disasters. Superstition, without a veil, is a deformed thing; for as it addeth deformity to an ape to be so like a man, so the similitude of superstition to religion makes it the more deformed: and, as wholesome meat corrupteth to little worms, so good forms and orders corrupt into a number of petty observances. There is a superstition in avoiding superstition, when men think to do best if they go furthest from the superstition formerly received; therefore care would be had that (as it fareth in ill purgings) the good be not taken away with the bad, which commonly is done when the people is the reformer.

    This column on the writings of the Saints will be occasional in the TLC, and might include some "saints" or similar persons not selected by Crowley or otherwise not official EGC saints.

Book Review

The Family Wicca Book
by Ashleen O'Gaea, Llewellyn Publications

    The Family Wicca Book tells of the transformation of Ashleen O'Gaea and her family from her past association with the Unitarian Church to full fledged members of the Craft. Having been influenced by Starhawk's books, Drawing Down the Moon, and The Spiral Dance. The author and her husband took their first degree into the Craft in 1988, and formed a Coven in their home in Tucson, Arizona. O'Gaea received her third degree initiation in 1990.
    The book gives a charming recollection of events in the lives of O'Gaea, her husband Canyondancer, and their son nicknamed the Explorer. Rituals and Sabbats belonging to the Wican tradition of Goddess Worship are explained in detail, along with helpful guidelines in raising children with the lifestyle of the Craft. The author gives her insights on why people think members of the Craft are Satanists, her theories on Death and transformation, and the advantages of Public Television to augment knowledge of Wicca. The book is well illustrated, with black and white photos of actual rituals and Wiccan celebrations. It comes complete with two appendices on correspondences and catalogue sources, and a glossary of Wiccan terminology.

Frater Riotimus, K.E.W.


I follow my heart
To the Sacred Well
Where the ancient spirits dwell.

I forge my will by molten flame
Love and courage I do claim.
My attatchments I impale
As I reach for the Holy Grail

Flames of Love inspire my heart
I pull the sacred veil apart.
I accept the challenge. I know I must
Love under will in perfect trust.

-- Firebird                  

Previous Firebird poem                   Next Firebird Poem

Primary Sources

   Gerald Yorke:
    A friend of many decades standing and literary admirer of Crowley's work, Gerald Yorke was by blood a close relation of the Royal House of York. Since his heritage placed him between a dozen and a half-dozen steps from the throne of England, he was very leery of being identified with Crowley's reputation, but the Yorke acquisitions now in the Warburg Institute in London form the greatest surviving collection of Crowlyana and Golden Dawn papers. Yorke's manner of dealing with this material came on two levels: As a collector, he was always on the watch for new material, eschewing only "letters where Crowley asks to borrow money"; and this selection shows Yorke hot on the trail of more information for his collection. As a bibliographer and historian, Yorke was more than suspect; some of his letters admitted deliberate deception to prevent a clear claim to the Crowley copyrights and others frequently made either distorted or absent minded misstatements of fact. The collection was the thing, and what the documents said was less important to Yorke than preservation of the Crowley Opus. From deliberately misleading Germer by exaggeration of the importance of survivors of the Reuss O.T.O. through simple mistakes of memory when referring to documents not before his eyes, Yorke's writings need to be given little more "weight than Waite's". But that is no mean load. Even Gershom Sholem, premiere expositor of the traditional Qabalah to modern times, cannot be relied upon in detail and conclusion. In this selection Yorke is writing, just a few months after Crowley's death, to the leader of one of the many contentious "Rosicrucian" organizations in an attempt to close gaps in the paper trail of the O.T.O. history. Symonds and Wilkinson were still holding the documents and archives prior to shipping them off to Karl Germer in the USA. Yorke sought to impress Clymer with his knowledge in order to pry loose some important materials. Clymer had acquired many publications and documents from the early Reuss years in O.T.O. and from a substantial part of Crowley's time as O.H.O. in an effort to blacken the reputation of Louis of AMORC through association with yellow press accounts regarding Crowley. Except for some obvious errors, it is difficult to measure the accuracy or lack of accuracy in the notes that follow, but these at least give a starting point for serious historians of the Order. Dates and quotations are very likely reliable; but sweeping statements of what happened, conclusions and opinions are very doubtful, if not outright contradicted by documents unknown to Yorke at the time of this writing. Some of Yorke's statements below can be directly contradicted by Crowley material in this very column, published earlier this year. This letter is a typed copy from Germer's archives.

        28 Feb. 48.5 Montague Square
        London W.1.

Dr. R. Swinburne Clymer

Dear Sir,

    Aleister Crowley died some months ago and I have been helping his literary executor to sort his papers. The executor, John Symonds is writing a life of Crowley, and I am trying to see that his references to Crowley's G D and O.T.O. connections are accurate. Neither Symonds nor I are followers of A.C., though at one time I was a neophyte in his A A, but then fell out with him.
    My object in writing is twofold, first to get some information from your records, second to correct some minor errors in your book The Rosicrucian Fraternity in America. In this connection let me say that I support you{sic} main thesis wholeheartedly, but think that if you ever issue a second edition it will be stronger if you incorporate the facts which I will give you. Moreover, on general grounds I would like to record the facts for Rosicrucian and Masonic records in general.
    Reuss' charter to Crowley as X O.T.O. has not survived among Crowley's papers, but a number of years ago, when it was temporarily in my possession, I allowed a friend to photograph it, and it is reproduced as an Appendix in vol. 2 of Occult Theocracy by Lady Queensbrorough, privately printed in Paris, no date. The contents of these 2 volumes are valueless historically except for the documents reproduced in the appendices. Reuss' charter is dated 24 Apr. 1912 and is made out to Aleister St. Edward Crowley 3390 95 X. It makes him National Grand Master General for Great Britain and Ireland of Mysteria Mystica Maxima (M.M.M.) and is signed "Theodore Reuss 33 90 96 X Fra. Superior and Outer Head in Mundo of the Ancient Order of Oriental Templars" etc. In the same year Reuss made G.M. Cowie VII. Crowley than called his house at Boleskine a Profess house of the Order, and founded a lodge in London, while Cowie founded another in Edinburgh. Both lodges were closed by the police owing to the German connection with Reuss during the 1914 war. No lodge has operated subsequently in England.
    IX O.T.O. was sexual before A.C. joined the Order. In 7th Sep. 1914 he wrote to Cowie (the original is in my possession)

"I did not know until June 1912 the tremendous importance of the knowledge held by the O.T.O., and even when I knew it I did not realise it. It has taken me practically 2 years hard work to assimilate the instruction then received in three short words. I have not even yet done a tithe of what is to be done to conclude a thoroughly scientific investigation."

    It was not until after Crowley was given the IX secret by Reuss that he wrote and published "Energised Enthusiasm" in Equinox I,9, "The Ship" in I,10 and the "Gnostic Mass" in III,1. By this time he had devised his private O.T.O. Seal of a dove descending and his Baphomet cock. He enthused Reuss with his "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" formula, and Reuss accepted it for the O.T.O. Reuss also published a garbled version of this Mass in German, as a result of which Bricaud quarrelled with him. Reuss in turn asked Crowley to put the extant O.T.O. rituals "in proper shape". A.C. writes "I did so. They incorporated in nine degrees the whole of Masonic knowledge, as well as that of other orders, but I found when I visited America that rituals thus prepared as far as degrees one to three were concerned were held by Masons to clash with their . . . rights . . . I prepared three new rituals which contained the knowledge but did not imply the symbolism to which objection was taken." These rituals were worked in England, South Africa, Australia and U.S.A. They are not being worked anywhere to my knowledge at the moment.
    10 May 1921 Reuss as Peregrinus issued a charter to C. Stansfield Jones (at that time Fra. Achad in Crowley's A A) giving him as Parzival X, and a charter covering the United States of North America. I have not actually seen the original, only references to it. This is prior to the document given to Lewis of which you reproduce a photograph. Crowley then sent Jones his rituals.
    3 Sept. 21 Reuss issued a patent for Denmark to O.W. Hansen-Kadosh, who was succeeded by Grunddahl Sjallung (see 2nd edition of Hartman's Who's Who), but did not send him any of Crowley's rituals.
    Crowley only rewrote the first six degrees in ritual form, the others being in the form of lections. The IX in Crowley's series does however begin "Merlin by the Grace of God Triune, and by the favour and appointing of the Secret Master, called to the service of Mankind, and exalted among ye as the Outer Head of the Order, unto Baphomet, Summus Rex Sanctissimus X O.T.O. of Ireland Ionae and all the Britains . . .". The key degree does therefore remain as written by Reuss but presumably translated (and possibly altered) by Crowley from the German.
    Before leaving the subject of Crowley, he was never expelled from U.S.A. or refused admission to England. He was expelled from Sicily by Mussolini, and the French refused on one occasion to renew his permit de sejour --- I possess the original document. He was never technically expelled from France. He was never in difficulties or trouble with the English Home Office. He did, however, die an undischarged bankrupt.
    Now as to H. Spencer Lewis and his family. Crowley was unaware until your publication of the document issued by Reuss and published by you. He was surprised to find that one of the seals on this document was a copy of his private seal. He never met Lewis or corresponded with him{sic -- Correspondence survives -- Ed}. Lewis was not a disciple or even an acquaintance. He did, however, as you point out, plagiarise some of Crowley's work in his lectures.
    On Reuss' death Jones (Parzival) as the Grand Master of the O.T.O. for the United States of North America, and the Grand Master for Germany (whose name and motto I do not know) met and concurred in proclaiming Crowley (Baphomet) as O.H.O. Crowley did not therefore succeed automatically as the only surviving X as you state.
    Now for Tranker (Recnartus) and his Pansophia. from papers in my possession Recnartus was acting as some sort of agent for Crowley in Germany in July 1925. In 1924 Karl Germer, who was associated with A.C., financed the first numbers of Pansophia, and supplied German translations of the Crowley material which was used. Germer's association with Tranker went back to 1922. In 1926 A.C. stayed with the Trankers and as a result of this stay and the financial transactions with Germer he broke off all connection with Tranker, writing (a copy is in my possession)
"I went to Germany at the Summer Solstice of 1926 at the urgent invitation of Tranker, who had somehow obtained credentials serious enough in their appearance to demand immediate investigation. I found this man ignorant even of the language of magic and mysticism . . I found further that in his dealings with other people he was mean unscrupulous and dishonest . . . His conduct was so outrageous that it was necessary to make a formal complaint to the police . . . He has now taken a list of some of the orders which I represent from a published volume of mine and proclaims himself to be the Grand Master . . . He cannot produce a single document of any kind in support of these absurd claims. I publicly challenge him for example to give me any of the signs of Recognition in the O.T.O. or Hermetic Society of the G D"
From the above I think you will agree that there was no direct relation between Crowley and Lewis, though the latter certainly obtained by bluff his document from Reuss in the Latter's old age. The sexual basis of the O.T.O. also antedates Crowley, but in his own words "the secret as at that time expressed by the Order was in a very crude and unscientific form and there was no explanation of the conditions which had to be brought about to get it to work. I spent many years of work finding out what those conditions were". He then rewrote the rituals and all the lections with the exception of the last for IX, incorporating into many of them symbology and ethics from his highly questionable Book of the Law.
    I have written the above partly in the interests of historical accuracy amongst Rosicrucian and Masonic circles, and partly in the hopes of obtaining the following information
           1. Could you possibly have typed out and sent to me those parts of the
              1906 Constitution of the O.T.O. which you do not reproduce in
              your facsimile reproductions Nos. 55 to 55G in volume 2 of your
              Rosicrucian Fraternity.
           2. Can you give me any indication of the history prior to Kellner's
              founding the O.T.O. of the sexual side incorporated in IX.
              I can find no trace of it in the Scottish nor Memphis and Mizraim
              Rites of Masonry, nor in the Soc.Ros. in Anglia, nor in the
             Hermetic Society of the G D. Does this strain come in through
              Reuss' Illuminati with their presumable connection with Weishaupt,
              or through oriental theories brought in by Franz Hartmann through
              his connection with Madame Blavatsky?

            Yours sincerely,
                                G. J. Yorke.

Previous Primary Sources                   Next Primary Sources


Nothing moved,
So something happened.
Something could be anything,
So nothing became something,
Yet we still know nothing
About anything ...
... or something like that.
-- Frater Aleph-Nun-Yod

From the Outbasket

    For a change of pace, here are some edited responses to questions from folks in their first correspondence with O.T.O., adapted from letters answering initial enquiries to Agape Grand Lodge.

    About the myths connected with O.T.O. to the effect that we are involved with Satanism and drugs: There is no such thing as the Christian Devil; that's a myth, and a psychotic one it is! Over the last few years a number of right wing Christian groups have been selling lectures and literature to police agencies and the general public. Those people are simply out for profit via the "blood libel" once used to persecute Jewish communities. O.T.O. and Crowley both use dramatic ritual with mythological elements, but it is a gross mischaracterization to identify these rituals with actual belief in absolute evil and great harry critters. On drugs, O.T.O. does hold that very limited application of drugs in mystical studies can lead to advancement; but we do not sell or give away such things, do not advocate the use of illegal drugs and do not condone abuse of drugs, legal or not.

    O.T.O. does not practice medicine.

    It is not necessary to be introduced by a member in order to join O.T.O. (unlike the regular Masons). {Note to Web Edition: However, sponsorship by two members is required for initiation}

    There is no way to determine how many orders and similar organizations exist. The number of small and large, old and young groups of this type would be in the high thousands. Only a relatively small percentage of them survive for more than ten years.

    Initiation in O.T.O. consists of a ritual ceremony intended to start or initiate the candidate on a definite course of development and to bring the candidate into a specific degree or grade of membership in O.T.O.

    If you are 18 or older, you may apply for initiation --- otherwise, Associate Membership is available.

    On average we receive one or two letters a month from people who have something to say about the cryptic verse (AL II, 76) in Liber AL. One fellow even went so far as to say that his name was "R.P.Stoval", so it must refer to him personally. Since O.T.O. is an Outer Order, it is not our place to recognize claimants in this matter, nor to definitively make or accept interpretations of Liber AL. Crowley himself had problems with accepting such claimants, according to his commentaries on this and other verses in the light of subsequent developments.

    Regarding the CD with the song about Aleister Crowley "sucking the food from his intestines", that's a new one! Frankly, I think that it's impossible. Crowley was far too much overweight to bend that far.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

Previous From the Outbasket                   Next From the Outbasket

Events Calendar for September 1993 e.v.

9/2/94"Astrology of Virgo" with Grace
7 to 9 PM, Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
9/4/94Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/5/94Thelema Lodge Meeting 8:00PMThelema Ldg.
9/7/94Rite of Mercury 7:30 PMThelema Ldg.
9/11/94Thelema Lodge Sustaining Members
Lunch 1 PM
Thelema Ldg.
9/11/94Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/12/94Reading: Undine with "Section 2"
and Caitlin at 8 PM (OZ House)
Thelema Ldg.
9/13/94Library Night 8PM Call to attendThelema Ldg.
9/14/94Sirius Oasis Meeting 8PM BerkeleySirius Oasis
9/17/94Initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
9/18/94Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/19/94Rite of Luna (Sunset) at Battery
Alexander on the Marin Headlands
Thelema Ldg.
8/21/94Magick in Theory and Practice class
with Bill in San Anselmo 7:30PM
Thelema Ldg.
9/22/94Autumnal Equinox Feast & Ritual
in Horus Temple Sunset to 11:19 PM
Thelema Ldg.
9/24/94777 Poetry Society 7:30PM w.Fr.P.I.Thelema Ldg.
9/25/94Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/26/94Butterfly Net Computer Group 8:00PMThelema Ldg.
9/28/94Liber XV Study Group w. Bp. T
Dionysys 8:00PM
Thelema Ldg.
9/29/94Library Night 8PM Call to attendThelema Ldg.
9/30/94"Astrology of Libra" with Grace
7 to 9 PM, Call to attend.
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.

Home away from Home