Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 1994 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for March 1994 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, 1994 e.v.

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

March 1994 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

90 = IIII2

    Greetings of the Vernal Equinox from Thelema Lodge, and Happy New Year to Thelemites in the aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child! The year 90, celebrated as the year of the Priestess, will be welcomed in at Thelema Lodge with an Equinox ritual on Sunday 20th March, beginning promptly at noon. Be here to cheer on old Sol as he makes his entry into the Ram at 12:28 pm. Contributions of wine, bread, cheese, and fruit will be welcome, to be shared during the ceremony.

    The Equinox ritual will be preceded by O.T.O. initiations, beginning at sunrise. These are scheduled to be under way by 7:00 am. A festive breakfast will follow the initiations. Members should ask ahead about attending initiations.

    The Gnostic Mass will be celebrated in the evening around 7:30, as it is every Sunday in Horus Temple. Our weekly Gnostic Mass is an open communion ceremony, at which we welcome all who wish to participate with us. If attending for the first time, please call ahead to the lodge for information and directions.


De Cultu

Now, O my Son, that thou mayst be well guarded against thy ghostly Enemies, do thou work constantly by the Means prescribed in our Holy Books.
Neglect never the fourfold Adorations of the Sun in his four Stations, for thereby thou dost affirm thy Place in Nature and her Harmonies.
Neglect not the Performance of the Ritual of the Pentagram, and of the Assumption of the Form of Hoor-pa-Kraat.
Neglect not the daily Miracle of the Mass, either by the Rite of the Gnostic Catholic Church, or that of the Phoenix.
Neglect not the performance of the Mass of the Holy Ghost, as Nature Herself prompteth thee.
Travel much also in the Empyrean in thy Body of Light, seeking ever Abodes more fiery and lucid.
Finally, exercise constantly the Eight Limbs of Yoga. And so shalt thou come to the End.

Following the Vernal Equinox, the Aleph Group will be meeting every Tuesday at 7:30 pm at Thelema Lodge. The focus of the group will be on the practice of Magick and Mysticism, and on fulfilling the curriculum De Cultu. There will also be detailed study and discussion of Liber Aleph vel CXI, The Book of Wisdom or Folly by The Master Therion. For further information call: (510) 601-9393.

Sustaining Membership

    A group of Sustaining Members has been recently organized at Thelema Lodge to provide additional financial support and to arrange special events for the Lodge. Although the continued contributions and support of the whole Lodge community is essential to enable our activities to continue, Sustaining Membership is open to volunteers able to contribute $30 monthly on a regular basis. Sunday brunch meetings early in each month, and other exclusive benefits, are being planned by participants. For information call Michael Sanborn at (510) 601-9393.

    On Sunday 6th March at 2:00, the Sustaining Membership Guest Salon Series is pleased to present an afternoon with Otter Zell, founder and primate of the Church of All Worlds, the oldest officially recognized Pagan church. Zell has been a highly influential figure in the Neo-Pagan community for the past thirty years, the publisher of Green Egg magazine, and the originator of the Gaea Hypothesis. He will present a slide show based on his work in Pagan consciousness, followed by an open discussion. All members and friends of Thelema Lodge are welcome to attend Otter Zell's presentation; the salon will be preceded by a special brunch for Sustaining Members only.

Classes and Workshops

    Events at Thelema Lodge are usually open to the public and are free of charge. Always call ahead for confirmation before setting forth to attend. Donations are requested at events to help cover the rent on the lodge facilities, and to purchase a few necessary supplies. Members of the lodge are encouraged to share their studies and interests by offering classes and workshops for the lodge community, and arrangements for such events should be handled at Lodge Meeting.

    The monthly Egyptian Magical Workshop offered by Ebony at Thelema Lodge meets Thursday evening 10th March at 7:30 in the temple. Discussion will continue to focus on the gods of Egypt in the age of Thelema, and upon our modern magical work with ancient deities. Qabalistic analysis of god-names and references to them in the Holy Books will augment our investigations into archaeological and hieroglyphic materials, and particular attention will go to the metamorphoses of such deities as Nuit, who take on new attributes and powers with the new aeon.

    Aries marks the beginning of another annual cycle, and will be the subject discussed at this month's Astrology Workshop, on Thursday evening 30 March, beginning at 7:00. This group meets with Grace at her home in Berkeley, so please phone ahead for directions, and to let her know whom to expect: (510) 843-7827. Astrology is essentially the study of the cyclic dimensions in the universal current, and the workshop will study upcoming transits as well as some of the major cycles which are currently effecting all of us.

    The Gnostic Mass Seminar meets with Bishop T Dionysus on Tuesday evening 15th March, beginning at 8:00 in the lodge library. Our study of Liber XV is well under way, and has already begun producing hagiographic reports and analysis of performance techniques, which are shared among the group for revision and organization before eventual publication. This group welcomes the participation of new members, and also the correspondence of celebrants and researchers who are not able to attend the monthly coordinating meetings. Write or call the lodge with any offer to share ideas and participate in this project. The Gnostic Mass Seminar offers an opportunity for enthusiasts to direct their energies into a non-dogmatic enterprise of both spiritual and scholarly significance.

    Bill Heidrick leads the Thelema Lodge Magick in Theory and Practice Series, meeting on the middle Wednesday of each month at his home in Marin. Gather at 7:30 on Wednesday evening 16th March at 5 Suffield Avenue in San Anselmo; newcomers should call (415) 454-5176 for directions. This group works its way through Part 3 of Book Four, taking time to explore details and to appreciate the many layers of meaning in Crowley's great work of the 1920s e.v. An advance review of chapters X through XIII in MTP would be the best preparation for this month's meeting.

    Our late beloved King, Grady L. McMurtry, was a life long lover of verse. It is to honor him and to entertain ourselves that we meet every month at the lodge as the Grady L. McMurtry Poetry Society. Join Frater P.I. in the library at Thelema Lodge on Saturday evening 26 March at 7:30 for an open evening of poetry reading, with all welcome to bring their own work, or any other verse they would enjoy reading together.

    The Butterfly Net information project at Thelema Lodge meets with Ebony on Thursday evening 31 March at 7:30. Members of this "computer club" are preparing to purchase platform hardware for Internet access, with inexpensive monthly "mailbox" subscriptions available. Free software is now being exchanged among members, including Ebony's wonderfully simple "Time Machine" astrology program (for calculating "the right time to ritualize"). When running, this system will offer opportunities for participation by remote members via computer net.

    This month's Lodge Meeting will be held on Monday evening 7th March at 7:30 in the lodge library. Members are encouraged to be on hand to help plan next month's events, and to arrange the readings of the Book of the Law for the Holy Days in April. Classes should be scheduled with the lodge master either at this meeting or beforehand, and class description notes are requested for all events within the following week. We will also be discussing plans for a new altar in Horus Temple, and other improvements in our mass equipment and temple furniture.

Other Thelemic Activities

    Sirius Oasis meets in Berkeley on Wednesday evening 9th March, and on the second Wednesday in every month. The topic for this month's meeting will be the symbolism and meaning of the Minerval Degree of O.T.O. Participation will be limited to Minerval initiates. Call the Oasis Master for information at (510) 527-2855.

    "Thelemic Celebrations" is the title for this month's open house, hosted by Jerry & Marlene Cornelius and Henry Herndon on Saturday afternoon 5th March at 328 Forty-Ninth Street in Oakland. Gnostic Mass will be celebrated at 2:00, with a lecture on the Holy Books of Thelema by Brother Jim Graeb to follow at 4:00. Afterwards a pot-luck Mexican feast is planned for around 6:00. Phone ahead to attend any or all of these events, and to coordinate contributions to the dinner: (510) 658-3280

Crowley Classics

    This little review of an 1896 volume of verse by Lord Alfred Douglas was read before the Dilettante Society, and much later Crowley included it in a pamphlet which he had privately printed for Gwendolin Otter, circa 1913 e.v. The pamphlet was entitled The Writing on the Ground: Notes on a Speech made in the course of a Debate on "Honesty in Love". Crowley's review was considered libelous, and was omitted when the pamphlet was reprinted. Aside fromunresolved questions of truth or falsity in the review itself, it would appear that Crowley was either "Outing" a hypocrite or faking such an exposure to bring pressure against intolerance. Needless to say, the attitude of stuffy horror in the piece is intended for effect.

A Galahad in Gomorrah

by Aleister Crowley

IT is very fortunate that even in times when the greatest laxity of morals prevails, in England at least there is always found some austere and noble soul to protest against decadence; to be a witness in the midst of corruption, that there is a standard of pure and lofty thought, a City of the Soul, fortified against all evil, and whose artillery can overwhelm the savage hordes of impurity.

    We do not think any one will accuse us of flattery in saying that Lord Alfred Douglas is just such a person, and this is the more striking phenomenon as it is so rare to find true moral greatness associated with poetical genius. We write this in order to direct his attention to a little book published some years ago in Paris, but reprinted in an expurgated form in England; a book of so abominable a character that I am sure it is only necessary to direct his Lordship's attention to it to raise a very considerable turmoil. We quote one or two passages:---

"Their (men's) eyes for beauty are but sightless holes,
Spurned in the dust. Uranian passion lies.
Dull fools decree the sweet unfruitful love,
In Hellas counted more than half divine,
Less than half human now."

    And again:---

"O, food to my starved eyes
(That gaze unmoved on wanton charms of girls),
Fair as the lad on Latmian hills asleep."

    There is a good deal about Perkin Warbeck, a poem called "Jonquil and Fleur de Lys" of a very unhealthy character, and really very little else in the book.

    Then there is a poem called "Prince Charming," incredibly sickly and sentimental; but, worse than all, the poem called "Two Loves," beginning with the celebrated quotation from Shakespeare --- "My better angel is a man right fair, my worse a woman tempting me to ill." In a vision the "poet" sees two people; the first is joyous, and sings; the second walks aside:---

"He is full sad and sweet, and his large eyes
Were strange with wondrous brightness and staring wide
With gazing; and he sighed with many sighs
That moved me, and his cheeks were wan and white
Like pallid lilies, and his lips were red
Like poppies, and his hands he clenchéd tight,
And yet again unclenchéd, and his head
Was wreathed with moon-flowers pale as lips of death."

    This poem ends with a controversy between these two persons:

". . . . I pray thee speak me sooth:
What is thy name? He said, 'My name is Love,'
Then straight the first did turn himself to me
And cried, 'He lieth, for his name is Shame;
But I am Love, and I was wont to be
Alone in this fair garden, till he came
Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill
The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.'
Then sighing said the other, 'Have thy will.
I am the Love that dare not speak its name.'"

    But the great joke is a tragedy in one act entitled "When the King Comes He is Welcome." There are two characters in it, Giovanni and Francisco. Francisco cannot sleep, having a presentiment that something unpleasant is about to happen. Then there is a knock, and at his private door. It cannot be Giovanni, for "that honey-bee is hived in Florence." It is Giovanni, however, and they slobber for several pages. It turns out that Giovanni had written to Francisco, but the letter had miscarried. It was an important letter. Giovanni had written to say that he was betrothed unto a noble lady. On learning this, Francisco remarked:---

"Blood of Christ --
Betrothed! -- What word is that? Curled flame of Hell!
Thou art betrothed? Giovanni I thou, my friend!
O! five red sounds of God and Mary's mouth!
How hast thou dared it?"

    A mock-terrible scene follows, in which Giovanni tries to persuade his friend that it will make no real difference to their relations. Francisco pretends to be convinced, but determines to poison himself and his friend. So Francisco proposes to drink the health of Death as a kind of joke, saying:--

Giovanni: "I will drink our love and Death, and thee."
Francisco: "Nay, nay, I favour not that toast, Sweetheart,
What have we two to do with Death?"
Giovanni: "Sweet feather!
How soon hast thou forgot thy troth of faith!
Consider, chuck, the toast has but this weight,
That thou and I are friends, and that King Death
Is friend of both, and will not harvest us
Before the time of our ripe harvest comes."

    We have surely said enough to establish clearly the abominable character of this book. We are sure that the moment it is brought to the notice of Lord Alfred Douglas he will take the proper steps to crush the perpetrator.
    The title-page discloses, as might be expected, both the title of the book and the name of the author.
    The former is "Poëmes," and the latter is Lord Alfred Douglas.

Previous Crowley Classics                   Next Crowley Classics

from the Grady Project:

Some One Behind You?

He glances neither right nor left
       At He-Who-Walks-Behind
His mouth is sealed, his sense bereft
       He stumbles as though blind
For he is summoned by the Eft
       And he was hard to find.

The Eft have Things to do their work
       As He-Who-Walks-Behind
Android or formless they may lurk
       Where shadows fog the mind
For they thrive best in sluggish murk
       And tight their tendrils bind.

Implacable and mute as stone
       Is He-Who-Walks-Behind
He is not flesh, He is not bone
       He is not cruel or kind
He walks by night, but not alone
       Is He-Who-Walks-Behind.

No matter where you hide or pray
       From He-Who-Walks-Behind
Someday He'll find you, yes, someday
       He'll come and stand behind
The head you cannot turn away
       The eyes you cannot rind.

And then your terror, white or fane
       To He-Who-Walks-Behind
Will make no difference, for pain
       Both horrible and blind
Will dip into your cringing brain
       And clutch your shrieking mind.

The icy touch of the embrace
       Of He-Who-Walks-Behind
Is cold, is colder than the trace
       Of shadow undefined
That wakes you, screaming in the face
       Of He-Who-Walks-Behind.

And when they see your vacant stare
       Your white eyes, dead and blind
Beyond which mask unfocused there
       Is crawling blackness twined
Take care, then, mortal man, beware
       Of He-Who-Walks-Behind.


Published in The Grady Project #3 (March 1988 e.v.).

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project

Book Review

Kabbala of the Golden Dawn
by Pat Zalewski

    Llewellyn Publications' book, Kabbala of the Golden Dawn, is the latest of Pat Zalewski's eruditely composed works, giving students of all levels a rich and thorough journey into the disciplines of the Kabbala. Beginning with a detailed description of the Hebraic Alphabet with each letter's magical attributions and designations, the author delves into a magnificent account of the 72 angels of the Shem-Hamphoresch. Included in this chapter is an abridged version of a paper written by Macgregor Mathers for Golden Dawn members. Each angel is given a personal index which includes the name, sign, planet, degree, and meaning, along with the corresponding biblical psalm.

    Next comes a discussion of early Hebraic literature. This includes the Sepher Bahir. (The Book of Brilliance by Rabbi Nechunjah ben Hakana, 75 b.c.e.) Here, the author takes the view of making distinction of the elements of the Bahir in relation to the Zohar. Noting that Dr. Westcott used the concepts of the Bahir in relation to the Kabbalistic schemata of the Golden Dawn, Zalewski makes a leap of faith by bringing the theory of creation expounded in the first division of the Bahir as being allied to the Taoist viewpoint defined by Lao Tzu. The remaining divisions of the Bahir deal with the etymological origins of the Hebrew letters: The Shemamphoresh, discussion of the seven voices heard by Moses, descriptions of the Sephiroth, functions of the Kabbalistic soul, and the making of a Golem. Other early works discussed are the Hekhaloth Texts, both Lesser and Greater; (The Heavenly Palaces) and the method of the Merkabah in the Journey through the seven heavens. Modern methods of inner space meditational techniques are included, as well as modes of astral projection for the advanced adept. In the Sepher Yetzirah (Book of Formation) valuable insight is given as to the origins of the book, and how this Sepher turned the tide of anti-kabbalistic thought and the prevention of its teaching in Jewish doctrine. Theories of ascending Jacob's Ladder are mentioned, with a published table of the 231 permutations. Lastly, the Zohar (Book of Splendor) is discussed, explaining the formation of the manuscript, and commentaries are given for the first five books of the Bible.

    Zalewski's work has a definite Judaic flavor, as he expounds from a variety of ancient Rabbinical scholars. However, his research is based on solid ground. One example is his illustration on the Veils of Negative Existence, where he uses the lecture given by Mathers in the introduction to The Kaballah Unveiled. Noting that Mathers made the observation of abstract mathematical concepts to the Sephiroth, Zalewski gives a modern dimension on how the Supernal Triad could be equivalent to a DNA chain. He then extrapolates on the dichotomy of the Tree of Life, and the manipulation of positive as well as negative influences. The ten Sephiroth and the 32 paths of wisdom make use of translations from Westcott, Rittangelius, and Kircher. Extra dimensions of the Tree include the Parsufim theory, the Four Letters, the face of the Second Adam, and insights into the Kabbala Denudata.

    The book is profusely illustrated and annotated, giving the four color scales, the divisions of the soul (including the Guph, or physical body lower than the Nephesch), the seven chakras and their manifestations. A thorough examination is given to the Qlippoth --- the adverse powers of the Cherub, the princes of the months of the year, and the Evil and Averse Sephiroth. An understanding is also given of the Garden of Eden before and after the Fall. Other chapters explain the Shekinah, or feminine face of God, the Seven Heavens of Assiah, Yetzirah, and Briah, Alchemy and the Kabbala, the Twelve Tribes and their astrological and angelic structures.

    Zalewski ends his work with detailed explanations of Literal Kabbala with examples of Gematria, Notaricon, and Temura (the nine chambers of the Mark Masons). His appendix is a complete reproduction of the 72 seals of the Shem- Hamporesh. And interestingly enough, the author notes that Kenneth Grant and his "Typhonian O.T.O." (not ours) reflect the old mystical ways in adopted modern magical practices.

---- Frater Riotimus, K.E.W.

An Abramelin Ramble,

with visits to roadside attractions along the way
and sundry personal advice.

Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick


    A class on The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage was requested by Thelema Lodge members and friends. At the time of presentation, there were two or three editions of the book in print, including a Dover paperback. The book itself is ostensibly derived from a 14th century source. There are several manuscripts of some age. One or more of the inferior MSS is in the Bibliotecque d'Arsonal in Paris. There are other manuscripts in London which were not mentioned by the so-called translator, Mr. McGregor Mathers. He asserted that he translated it out of the old French edition in Paris, but he was a frequenter of the place where the manuscripts were kept in London. One of the London MSS is in English. Gershom Scholem mentions a translation into Hebrew. Our favorite plagiarist of the last century, Mr. McGregor Mathers, put a little bit of a shine on his work. He published a lot of magical books in the last century and co-founded the Order of the Golden Dawn. Most of his books were sold as translations for fee, and virtually all of them were copied out of English sources. We read pompous stories about the difficulty of the translation in many of Mathers' books. Perhaps he should have complained instead of "how bad the handwriting was." Mathers' notes to the names of the spirits in the Abramelin Book were probably copied or adapted out of the Hebrew manuscript in London. He only got half way through the notes on the spirits and then probably got an advance from his publisher. The antecedents of the book are clouded for that reason. There are false statements made about the source MS.


    It does appear that The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abra-Melin the Mage is a 14th century work. The book is divided into three parts. There is a narrative part, probably fictitious: a story about where this Magick originated, why it is important, and why it was written down. There is a portion of the book with strange squares and notes about their significance written below them. The middle part of the book has a rather interesting description of how to go about learning to work Magick. The Abramelin approach is almost unique in that it's written to enable students to pick their own method. The 14th century context creates problems for modern readers. We don't have much stuff around here like they had then. To bring this book up to date, these questions need to be addressed: How can you apply these things? What are the limitations? Where can you find equivalent things? 14th century Europe was quite sparsely populated by modern standards. There were many cities and villages, but life then was very different from modern life. You could live outside the town. It would cost next to nothing to find a piece of land that was no good for farming. Maybe someone would offer you a place to stay. No one would bother you. You could set up a little house and be by yourself for an indefinite period. You wouldn't have to worry about hiring servants; they were inexpensive. Feed them, and that's pretty much it. All essential things could be taken care of without any complications: no tax forms, no television, no radio, no temptations. It takes too long to travel anywhere, so there would be few interruptions by visitors.
    In the magical portion of the book, there are many strange diagrams and a lot of moral remarks along the lines of: "This is evil." "This is ambivalent." "This is dangerous." "This is safe." A person reading that would tend to think the notes are simple and understandable warnings. It's not that way. Cultures set definitions as to what is proper and improper in the general sense of Good and Evil. Just a few centuries ago, ordinary things that we now do would be considered capital offenses. It was even questionable to own a mirror. A mirror could be an instrument of Black Magic. It shows something that isn't really there. The reflection in the mirror is not right. There's nobody back there. It's an illusion, and illusion was considered evil magic. So, modern television is black magic. Movies are black magic. Make- up is black magic. A lot of the moral qualifiers in the Abramelin book are based on that sort of thinking. On the other hand, dealing with the Devil, by the Christian definition of such a thing, was not always thought to be black magic. It's perfectly natural. If a creature is evil, it must obey God. Holy people can control it, and they should. That's 14th century thinking. It was considered ordinary that certain religious practitioners, priests and the Pope, should have the power to command the Devil and make him do works. There are legends from that time held up as moral examples that suggest such practices (see The Golden Legend). Realize, when reading these older books, that quite a bit of explanation of terms and usage is needed. Some things that look terribly arcane and impossible to do are not that at all. What's virgin parchment? It's just unused paper. Paper in those days was mostly animal parchment, made of treated leather. Later centuries used a variety of vegetable fibers, and now we commonly use wood pulp. "Virgin parchment" simply meant that nobody had used it for something else and later erased it or scraped it. With virgin parchment there are no half visible remains of funny writing.
    The story of the book makes an interesting bit of mythology, very like that of the Rosicrucians in that the author claims to have learned the magical art in Arabia from a wandering sage named Abra Melin. The Abramelin book is supposed to have been written by a person named "Abraham the Jew". Nowadays we don't like to talk about people in such an ethnic way, or perhaps don't notice it when we do. The intent in this book was to say that the author was very special, perhaps because Abraham was the legendary precursor and patriarch of all sorts of modern religions, including Judaism, Islam and Christianity. I say "legendary" because there are odd stories about Abraham in the Old Testament. Consider the story of the sacrifice of a ram in place of his son, Issac --- that was how the god Marduk was worshiped, not Jehovah. Marduk required his worshippers to pass a male child through the fire, usually the first born, or, in this instance, the first born to a wife as contrasted to an earlier child of a concubine. Terah, Abraham's father, is said to have come with Abram (Abraham) from the city of Ur of the Chaldees, a Babylonian city state. Terah was simply a Babylonian who couldn't get along in Ur. He wandered off in the wilderness with his family and continued doing whatever he used to do. Maybe he had a falling out with the neighbors and their gods. Abraham's father left Ur and ultimately settled in the land of Haran. He may have gotten down to just one god, because it's impractical to travel with a bunch of them. Gods in those days weighed up to 40 or 50 pounds, for a good one. The small ones could break if bundled all together in a bag. They were comforting to talk to and would keep you company, but it's nice to have some room for food in your backpack. Abraham (Abram was his name at first) had his own time of wandering, and any spare gods his father may have managed to keep were evidently too much to carry. Perhaps Abram just inherited one idol from Terah with the others divided among the family. Anyway, "Abraham" had only one god and his name was quite a good one to drop, being the Great Patriarch and all. In case they missed the point, it was "Abraham the Jew" --- That one! Heavy duty Abraham. Later on the book disclosed that this wasn't old Abraham, but a modern one, a typical 14th century wandering Jewish person. That's not to be confused with "The Wandering Jew", an entirely different Christian story.


    The Author begins by dedicating the book to his second son, Lamech, another biblical name. He goes on to say that his first born son received his best inheritance, following a simplified tradition based on the more complex story of the patriarch Abraham in the Bible. That earlier Abraham had several boys. The sons of his concubines were to get second best and Isaac, son of Sarah, the prime heritage. The best was usually supposed to go to the eldest son of the chief wife. Our Abraham's oldest son got the Sacred Qabalah by which the World may be made and unmade. All things may be changed, created, destroyed, given mastery of the powers above the earth and below the earth. That's not just a vague reference, but a part of Qabalah called M'asseh Merkabah, older than the Christian period and possibly older than the Jewish ancestors.


    Here's our first "road-side attraction". We will return to the main subject in later installments of this "Ramble." It will be useful to learn something about magical books and the Sacred Qabalah before we return to this particular magical book. Merkabah is not the familiar sort of thing usually discussed in books about Qabalah with numbers and all. M'asseh Merkabah is quite something in itself. There are evidences of it in the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The same kind of stuff is in there, the same kind of rituals, same kind of descriptions. If there was a historical Moses or Mosha, M'asseh Merkabah may be what was brought over from Egypt through the wandering in the wilderness. According to the Qabalistic legend, there was first the Torah before the creation of the World, the Torah of the Void. It was not a written book. It was the Living Spirit. Christianity may have used this idea and called it "The Word" or "Logos", but it seems to have been a common conception among ancient people. In the stories of Qabalah, the Torah contained all that could be, would be, will be, was. All these things existed as thought exists in the mind. This is said to be the content of the mind of the creator, the primordial pattern, similar in some ways to the archetypes of Plato. "The Invisible Torah" is the term used in modern and Qabalah. This Invisible Torah contains the utterance that issued forth to create all things in the Universe. It was called a book, because it holds knowledge. If you can gain a bit of that knowledge, you have that much power. Moving around, thrashing about, howling in the wind or checking the motion of the planets and all such is unnecessary. It just takes knowledge, "no touch necessary". Take that idea, generalize it a little bit and modernize it. There's always a tendency to put down these stories as: "Oh yeah." "Back when." "Wonder what it would be like." "Isn't that marvelous," and other rationalizations to avoid serious consideration. The concept is perfectly valid and perfectly modern. What do you think science is? In this way of speaking, one can say that it is simply the attempt to recover the language of the Invisible Torah, the ways of thinking and knowing that can create and uncreate the world. A Hydrogen Bomb is the same thing that happens in the Sun, not something vaguely like that. It is the same thing. The only difference is size. The people who developed the Hydrogen bomb learned the word for "sun" in the Invisible Torah. They learned the word for the power of that. One of the scientists watching the first explosion of a nuclear weapon was minded to quote from the Bhagavad Gita, and said; "Now I am come, the destroyer of worlds". These things are the true magical book. The language in which that book is written is not any one human tongue, but the pure language of thought. A principal purpose of magical training is to acquire facility in that language, the language that is spoken in appearance of things, in ideas and in what is truly seen, rather than in sounds and writings.

To be continued

Primary Sources

   666 to 777:
    Here are a few letters sent by Crowley to Grady Louis McMurtry, a miscellany to share their relationship with our readers. Sometimes A.C. would call Grady by his middle name, Louis. According to Grady, this was out of a fondness for the history of the French kings. The "is" error in the opening to the first letter may be a typo by a secretary, in that this is the only typed letter among those below. It may mean something else to O.T.O. members of a particular degree.

The Bell Inn,
    Aston Clinton,
22nd August, 1944.

Dear Louis,
    Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law.{!!sic}
    I have been anxious at not hearing from you. I hope all is well, and that you have received your copy of the Book of Thoth, unless it was impounded to drop on a couple of retreating German Divisions; if so, I have several more that I could send you for this purpose.
    I have heard nothing from Jack, and Karl's Cable has not come through to me as the Bank Staff is on holiday and nobody knows what to do with the money, so I do not know whether your July and August remittances are included.
    This delay more or less has upset my Budget very seriously, and I hope that by September 1, some means will have been found by which you can transmit directly.
    If, however, you can use the money to put over La Gauloise, that is a first priority.
    Things here are moving very quickly and favourably. Several groups in various parts of the country have been approaching me; and if I had a second in command with some organizing ability I should within the next month or two be at the head of quite a considerable number of people. There are groups in Yorkshire, Lancashire, Warwickshire and the West Country who could all be roped in; but, not knowing how to do it, I am as helpless as a cowboy who does not know the use of a lasso or a broncho.
    I hope that if you get leave you will make a point of dashing here, and if the surrender comes make a point of visiting England for an indefinite period.
    I was going to write you an official letter about your position in the Order; but it would have to be drafted carefully, so I will try to give you the gist of it in a few simple but well chosen words.
    You are the only man from the U.S.A. of the younger generation who has been properly blooded, and you know me personally with a remarkable degree of intimacy considering the shortness of our association.
    You are also quite the most serious and intelligent of the younger lot. This singles you out as the proper man to take charge of affairs when the time is ripe. It is supremely important that you should understand fully the 9th degree, if only because you are at an age, and have the ability, to make full use of the powers which if confers.
    It is therefore most important to regularize your position. You must be able to say that you have fulfilled punctually all the obligations which are undertaken in the course of your passage to the Sovereign Sanctuary. The details of this pertain to the official letter which I think I shall be able to send you in the course of the week.
    I think that is all for the moment; so I will close with sincere affection and every good wish.
    Love is the law, love under will.

                         Yours fraternally,

{signed: A.C. Aleister Crowley}


   The Ridge                                      {OTO Lamen}
       Susssex England

April 11, '45 e.v.
This is to certify that Lieut Grady L. McMurtry is a fully paid-up member of the IX° of O.T.O. and owner of 25% of the copyright of "Aleister explains everything" (or "Magick without Tears") with first priority on royalties. He has first priority on any copies unsold of "The Book of Thoth" as collateral on sums advanced to the Order. {small 11-fold cross signed: B.}
{11-fold cross. Signed: Baphomet X° O.T.O. Edwd Alex Crowley.}


Ex castris
Netherwood                                   {OTO Lamen}
   The Ridge

Feb 8, '46 e.v.
Thrice Illuminate, Thrice Illustrious and Very Dear Brother
Do what thou will shall be the whole of the Law.
    We are much gratified by the serious and thorough spirit in which you have carried out your mission in New York and California.
    It is still Our great hope that you may be able to reside with Us for a period as a preparation for further high enterprise.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in the Bonds of the Order
    {11-fold cross. Signed: Baphomet O.H.O.}


Netherwood                               {Mark of the Beast}
   The Ridge

April 7
1947{other hand}
My dear Grady
I hope you and yours are well. Here we had a really awful winter. March 8th I came within an ace of cashing in my chips! I am still rather groggy. That is one good reason why I am worried at not having heard from you for so long: in case of things happening you will become a man of very great importance and responsibility. You ought to keep in close and constant touch with me. -- one never knows -- at least, without inquiring, and death is a subject which I do not think it right to be inquisitive.
    Well, I hope to hear from you soon -- with some good news
    93 93/93 Yours {Signed: Aleister}


    Yours to hand this A.M. No time to seal it till to-night!
    Found a "Magick" better than the 4-vol, as it's convenient to have them all in one. But it reduces the selling value, when you're through with it, if ever: So I've knocked £1.1.0 off the regular price.
    Haste! Haste!
    93 93/93 {Signed: A.C.}

Previous Primary Sources                   Next Primary Sources

From the Outbasket

Here are excerpts from Grand Lodge correspondence, edited and commented for publications.

Sister L.A. of CA wrote with questions about the Illuminati, inviting the answer in this column:

    Regarding the Illuminati, that's a real can of worms. The word "Illuminati" refers to at least seven things.
    1) Those who have attained illumination --- i.e. who have accomplished the great work, reached high levels of meditation, &c.
    2) 18th century revolutionaries, chiefly in France. --- the practice was for rioters to set fire to any house that wasn't "illuminated" by candles placed in the windows to show support during the hot and heavy days of the French revolution.
    3) The Masonic order started by Adam Weishaupt in 1776 e.v. in Bavaria. Weishaupt was a correspondent of George Washington, and there was at least a paper connection with the American Revolution. Weishaupt's order reached a maximum size of about 2,000 members in several European countries before it was suppressed by the government. This is the "traditional" group that O.T.O. claims without benefit of documentation to be a precursor. The Weishaupt Illuminati were political, and were often blamed by contemporaries for various atrocities, including the assassination of the King of Sweden in the 18th century. O.T.O. derives "Minerval" from this group as a name for a degree of membership, and the way of representing Masonic Lodges by the use of a small rectangle is said to have originated with this group. Read about this in any good Masonic encyclopedia or history.
    4) Psychotic trivia ranging from delusions about the Tri-Lateral Commission to evil thoughts emanating from the TV set --- this is the froth on the top of the cup of conspiracy mania. It is stark, raving lunacy, and usually what gets into the media.
    5) A connected series of fantasy novels written by Robert Anton Wilson and others.
    6) An unknown number of drunken politicians and/or unhospitalized maniacs who have either watched too much television or who have gotten too deeply involved in role-playing games. Not to be confused with the "Old Boy Network," even if the O.B.N. does meet at Bohemian (not Bavarian) Grove about 50 miles north of the Bay Area and conceivably may have arcane rites and games using/not using the term "Illuminati". All I really know about Bohemian grove that isn't covered in the media is what a former waiter told me.
    7) A board game published by Steve Jackson Games, uniting much of the above into a harmless pass-time.
    Is there really a secret conspiracy like the true Illuminati? Yep. But it's invisible. It's just the brotherhood of the Temple of the Holy Ghost, as Crowley called it in his teens. The only sense in which it is a conspiracy is that people try to better the world by teaching and giving good example in their lives, not through clandestine meetings. It's invisible because there is no actual membership in any earthly sense. Call it the Great White Brotherhood if you wish, but that name has been damaged through appropriation to racism by people who had no clue to what it meant. If there is a historic origin to the term "White Brotherhood", it probably comes from the practice of Sephardic Qabalists attending Synagogue in 16th century Palestine in white robes. Similar ideas include the "Hidden Masters", the "Secret Chiefs", the "Tzadikim" and the "Lamid-Vavniks" of the Hassids.

For those who simply won't believe the above, here's a bit of O.T.O. related history that might seem stranger than fiction. It's odd how the conspiracy buffs fasten on the absurd and miss the real so often.

    In February of 1993 e.v., Grand Lodge received a letter from Dr. Ivan Martynov of the New York based Cultural Center for Soviet Refugees. Dr. Martynov asked if we were the Main Lodge of American Rosicrucians and expressed an interest in reaching the parent organization of the Rosicrucian Order that existed at St.Petersburg in the early part of the 20th century. This Order had been established by a "Dr. Papyus" under the Mastery of Count Orlov and the patronage of Tsar Nicholas II. The Order had become quiescent in the years since the revolution, and the widow of the last Grand Master died in recent years without any further succession being attempted. I consulted with the Grand Master of our Order just on the Russian point of history, and the following is edited from my response to Dr. Martynov.

    O.T.O. does not represent itself as the "Main Lodge of American Rosicrucians". There are approximately 150 independent organizations in the world calling themselves "Rosicrucian" or "Rosecrucian". None of them are known to be connected to the original Rosicrucian movement of the 15th to 17th centuries. The original movement, as depicted in The Fama Fraternitatis, was a society of medical doctors who took their Hippocratic oath seriously; that is to say, they advocated curing the sick without fee or payment of any kind. The world being as it is, this organization did not last. Owing to the mystical style of writing in the Fama, many pretenders to and imitators of this organization arose. After the 18th century development of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism became a term associated with some of the degrees of Royal Arch Masonry. Independently, many mystical and religious groups associated themselves with the mythology that had developed around "Rosicrucianism". The revolutionary "Illuminati" of 18th century Germany further complicated the usage of the term "Rosicrucian". Some "Rosicrucian" organizations are actually Astrological study societies, most are fraternal organizations, some are just private clubs of a few people, and a few are religious organizations inside or outside the Judeo-Christian context.
    I do not know of any survivals of Freemasonry or Masonic style Rosicrucianism in Russia. When Dr. Gerard Encausse (called Papus, the same Dr. Papyus you mentioned) was active in O.T.O. in the first decades of the 20th century, he set up branches of our Order in French speaking countries. He did establish something along these lines with the Russian Court, being an acquaintance of Tzar Nicholas1; but I do not know if he did it as an O.T.O. X° or through one of his many other involvements. Typically, when suppressed or disrupted, Occult and Masonic related traditions tend to go underground in families. O.T.O. is fortunate in that there were still four older members alive in 1977 e.v. to guide the re-starting of the Order. We have come back to more than 2,000 members. With a longer dormancy, there is probably no continuity left from one chartered Master to another for the Russian Rosicrucians. 30 years of dormancy almost broke the line of chartering in O.T.O., with only one individual left at the end of that time in possession of valid credentials. If Russian Rosicrucians exist today, it is likely they are only the children of children of the original, chartered and initiated members. Many traditions of dormant secret societies continue in families, often skipping a generation so that a grandparent will teach a grandchild. In that way traditions can endure over centuries, but they mutate greatly in the process. A tradition will sometimes continue in a family for generations, only to re-surface as a membership society when a more active individual reaches majority in the family.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

Note to the Web edition:
1. See The Fall of the Dynasties: The Collapse of the Old Order 1905 -- 1922 by Edmond Taylor,
         Doubleday and Co., Inc., Garden City, NY, 1963, p.67

Previous From the Outbasket                   Next From the Outbasket

Events Calendar for March 1994 e.v.

3/5/94Open House at 328 49th St. with
Lecture at 4PM, Gnostic Mass 2PM
and Mexican Potluck at 6PM
in Oakland.
3/6/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/7/94Thelema Lodge Meeting 7:30PMThelema Ldg.
3/9/94Sirius Oasis Meeting 7:30PM
"Symbolism of the Minerval Degree"
Sirius Oasis
3/10/94Egyptian Magical Workshop 7:30 PM
with Ebony.
Thelema Ldg.
3/11/94Minerval Initiations 8PM, call firstThelema Ldg.
3/13/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/15/94Gnostic Mass Seminar w/Bp.Dionysus
Thelema Ldg.
3/16/94Magick in Theory and Practice 7:30PM
with Bill Heidrick in Marin County
(5 Suffield Ave., San Anselmo)
Thelema Ldg.
3/20/94OTO initiations at Dawn 7AMThelema Ldg.
3/20/94Vernal Equinox ritual at noonThelema Ldg.
3/20/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/22/94Liber Aleph Series 7:30PM
with Michael Sanborn
Thelema Ldg.
3/26/94777 Poetry Society 7:30PM w/Fr. P.I.
3/27/94Gnostic Mass 7:30 PM in Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/29/94Liber Aleph Series 7:30PM
with Michael Sanborn
Thelema Ldg.
3/30/94Astrology of Aries with Grace 7 PM
in Berkeley. Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
3/31/94Butterfly Net computer meeting
7:30PM with Ebony.
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.

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:
P.O.Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

Internet: (Submissions and circulation only)

Home away from Home