Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
April 1995 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
The Thelema Lodge Astrology Study Group meets as usual on the last Friday evening of the month --- on 28th April from 7:00 to 9:00 at Grace's house in Berkeley. The theme of "Cycles within Cycles" will be the keynote for our next several meetings. This month we will explore the variable cycles of planetary dispositors. Be sure to bring your own chart or birth time, because our discussion will be dramatically illustrated, revealing your personal planetary picture to you through your individual cycles of dispositors. Please call ahead if you plan to attend; Grace can be reached at (510) 843- STAR.
Thelema Lodge will host Father Richard, a local Anglican priest working with the Grace Institute for Religious Learning, to deliver a lecture entitled "The Story of Birth as the Birth of Story" on Tuesday evening 25th April at 8:00. The subject is identified as the Perinatal Paradigm, an examination of the mammalian birth process as a symbolic narrative structure. Patterns of attribution to the solar and lunar cycles of nature, as well as correspondences with spiritual and historical processes, will be expounded in connection with the "archetypal fractal" (self-iterating pattern) of the birth narrative. O.T.O. initiates pursuing the work of the First Degree will be especially interested in the structures being explored in this talk, which is open to all.
Aleister Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice is a work we return to again and again without exhausting, and as it therefore is revealed to multiple perspectives, it is especially rewarding to study it as a group endeavor. Brother Bill Heidrick leads a monthly series for Thelema Lodge, reading and discussing M.T.P. The series is currently focused on the closing appendices of the book, and upon the expanded text of the entire work as included in the definitive edition of Book Four recently published by the O.T.O. April's class will commence after Liber Reguli. If you missed March's class, you will probably have to wait another few years for your IXth; but the Magister Templi stuff still awaits! We meet at Bill's house in San Anselmo at 7:30 on Wednesday evening 19th April. Students attending for the first time are especially welcome, and should call Bill at (415) 454-5176 for directions.
The Grady McMurtry Poetry Society is our monthly communal reading circle for sharing verse of all sorts, meeting in the library at Thelema Lodge on Saturday evening 29th April at 7:30. Bring poetry to read, or select material from the extensive collections available at the lodge. When he originally proposed this series, Frater P.I. named it in honor of our founder, who often associated his poetic craft with his designation as Crowley's Caliph, although Hymenaeus Alpha understood that his military experience had been the real foundation for that appointment. "I belong to that vanishing breed known as the 'Warrior-troubadour'", Grady once wrote, recalling especially some of the poems we have lately been reprinting in this newsletter to commemorate his role in the final European campaigns of the second World War, fifty years ago. "When the battle is over you take off your piss-pot (which is what we call our helmet) and sit down in your muddy combat boots and write a poem about it." Recent readings by this group have included Russian poetry from the siege of Leningrad by Anna Akhmatova, who like Grady (in his best work) rejected the vague, high-blown rhetoric of traditional war poetry in favor of particular authentic details. Selections from the medieval Chinese verse of the ecological anarchist T'ao Ch'ien (365-427), the alcoholic romantic Li Po (701- 762), and the Buddhist politician Po Chu-i (772-846) --- Thelemites all! --- have also been enjoyed by the group.
The Section Two Reading Group meets at Oz House on Monday evening 17th April at 8:00, when Soror Phoenix will lead us in a discussion of the philosophical poem by Gnostic Saint Sir Richard Francis Burton, The Kasîdah. Published pseudonymously in 1880, these couplets are written in the Sufi style of meditative verse for which the Arabic term is qasida. Burton probably wrote the verses over an extended period, beginning in 1853 while in recuperation from his daring pilgrimage to Mecca, and they express a unique syncretic religious attitude combining elements that Hâjî Abdû El-Yezdî --- Burton's magical name as a Yezidi Abdullah (leader) and Islamic pilgrim (hajji) --- had explored in his many and varied encounters with spiritual communities and sacred writings. The poem, in its author's description, presents "an Eastern Version of Humanitarianism, blended with the skeptical, or as we may now say, the scientific habit of mind."
Sirius Oasis of Ordo Templi Orientis meets in Berkeley on the second Wednesday evening of most months. To attend, contact the Oasis Master at (510) 527-2855. The coming meeting, on Wednesday evening 12th April at 8:00, will feature a discussion of the original violin music selected by Crowley for The Rites of Eleusis as performed in 1910 e.v., which the Oasis has recently been researching and reconstructing. Musician-magicians, and those looking forward to this summer's performance cycle of the Rites, will be especially interested to attend. The Oasis will also look ahead to next month's Ancient Ways Festival at Harbin Hot Springs, and to O.T.O. initiations scheduled in the coming weeks.
Library Nights at Thelema Lodge offer the use of our extensive research and temple facilities for individual study and practice. Members may request particular dates to suit their needs, in consultation with the lodge officers. Suggested dates this month are Wednesday evening 5th April and Monday evening 24th April, beginning at 8:00. Please contact the lodge a day or two ahead whenever planning to make use of the library.
Thelema Lodge now holds a monthly Sunday luncheon meeting for members and friends to focus informally on the business and play of the lodge community, over a communal meal hosted by the lodge officers. Those who take part in Thelema Lodge activities --- or would like to --- are invited to drop by the lodge about 12:30 for a Beaster Sunday lunch at 1:00 in the afternoon on Sunday 16th April; please call ahead.
by Aleister Crowley
This is the funniest story in the world. I first came across it in the Green-room Club. Beerbohm Tree was present; also Nat Goodwin. He offered the following:
In a small town of the remoter districts of the Middle West a young man was standing, shuffling his feet on the sidewalk. Presently he saw coming towards him a stranger --- a God-fearing, clean-living He-man, a hundred per cent. American. This man he stopped, and said, "Excuse me, Stranger, but can you tell me the way to the Post Office?" "Yes," said the other, and walked on. But he had not gone fifty yards before his heart smote him, and he said to himself: "I allow that was pretty smart of me just now; but was it Christ- like? Was it Service? I dare say that young man is a God-fearing, clean- living He-man, a hundred per cent. American, just the way I am myself, and I dare say he has not had a letter from the old folks in their lonely cottage for a long, long time, and he has tramped all the way in from the farm where he is working in the hopes of a letter, and I have to be rude to him! No Sir! The least I can do is to go back and put him right."
So he went back to the young man, who was still shuffling his feet on the sidewalk, and said to him: "Say, brother, I guess I was rude to you just now. You want to know the way to the Post Office, don't you?" "No," said the young man, and walked on. That is the story.
There were some Americans in the Club; they all laughed, but none of the English moved a muscle. At last, however, somebody asked Tree point-blank whether he saw anything funny in the story, and Tree, after due consideration, could do no more than pronounce in his inimitable drawl: "I think they were both damned rude."
|The warrior drums across the seas|
|Have rolled another war;|
|Embattled Britain stands at bay|
|Still proud above the roar,|
|As keel on keel the sharks of steel|
|Are sliding down the way,|
|The hawks of death in airy sleath|
|Are pouncing on their prey.|
|And once again America|
|Is gathering her strength|
|To hold the arteries of life|
|Across the ocean's length;|
|To turn the tide, at Britain's side,|
|To smash the pagan Hun,|
|And when the peace of battles cease|
|To right that which is done.|
|For this I must be merciless|
|For this I must be brave|
|For this I know the arts of war|
|For this I face the grave.|
First published in Red Flame #1 (1994 e.v.).
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
There are many ways of making sense of the Tree of Life diagram. It can be divided up into groups of Sephirot by an approach called Methequella or the Balance. Each Sephira is seen in a balance with two others. Consider Keter, Binah and Chokmah (1, 2 & 3). This trinity of Sephiroth is abstract. It's very distant from the sense of the physical world down in Malkut(10). Keter says something, Chokmah denies something, and Binah works out the difference. One says; "I have an idea". Two says; "That idea may not be right." Three says; "How is the idea right and wrong; how is it worked out?" Hearkening back to our last installment, Keter could be a 13, Chokmah could be an opposing 13 and Binah would try to 26 them. This is a principle in many philosophies. Dialectic is common as a way of interpreting trinities. Idea, or Thesis as it's called in the Hegelian system, is opposed by Antithesis. The joining of those two is Synthesis. It's a nice, clear pattern; but such simple patterns can be very difficult to apply in any practical way.
Let's get back to legend for a moment. According to the story of the fall of Adam and Eve from Paradise, the whole universe was created in a three-stage process. The divinity initially manifested the universe as a primal idea. This became a perfect series of forces, no longer simply monadic but extended. Something of a balance was struck, and Creation continued through a series of processes. That brought Adam and Eve to living in the Garden of Eden. They were twiddling their thumbs a lot because everything was all done. What do you do when you are the product of a perfect creation? You sit around and you stare a lot. There's really nothing to do. After a while Adam and Eve decided that they needed a hobby, something to occupy their time. What better hobby than to copy the process of creation. They looked around, saw the principal of Idea, Opposite, Final Result, and said "we could do that too". Adam and Eve went ahead and fashioned a little idea of their own, began analyzing it, and came up with another level, another world. This became so interesting that they tried it again. About to try it another time, they found that they had run out of ideas. The primal force of the pattern that was resident in them from the beginning had been used up. The legend goes on to say that the descendants of Adam and Eve (all of us) are stuck down at Malkut (10) in an exhausted state of mentality. All the power of the perfect world has been spread throughout seven lesser worlds, two sets of three in balance and a single one in isolation. Until we can gather our wits and add these diminished worlds together, we can't get back up to the original state of perfection.
Here's another entrance to Merkabah: There are seven humanly accessible levels. Everyone has some experience with them:
The sensory world (10).
The world of dreams (9).
The world of practical thought (8).
The world of emotional reaction (7).
The world of "where your head is at, what you feel like, what's home, what you think yourself to be (6).
The world of morality, "what should it be", "how to make it better" (5).
The world of openness, the world of peace and of religious experience (4).
All humans have these awareness, scattered into seven isolated modes or states. Through Qabalah, one studies and works with these categories and tries to draw them together into a more perfect form of human consciousness. The story of the fall from the garden of Eden is the story of the loss of enlightenment. Kick it over a little bit, and it becomes the story of the growth of a child to adulthood. Home was pretty nice. There may have been a few troubles with it. It was boring at times, but it would be nice to create a perfect home again, to find that perfectly comfortable space where there is no fear and everything is provided. We all struggle with these levels in our lives. Malkut: What do we have physically? Yesod: What do we dream about? Hod: What techniques of living do we know? Netzach: What do we desire? Tipheret: What is our comfortable state? Geburah: What can we perfect? Chesed: What is the ideal in our life and beyond it? All these are gathered together and the fragmented knowledge is added up to make one Knowledge --- called Da'at on the Tree of life and sometimes diagramed as a little circle midway between No. 1 and No. 6. Until that is done we can't truly attain and hold enlightenment. Keter is enlightenment.
What is the nature of this business and how does one do this? One does this by conversation. Here is Chesed (4); loving kindness is a word for that, comfort and peace and a sense of rightness that doesn't involve any flaws. Here is Geburah (5) the sense of complaint, fighting and trying to make things come out right, the stickler, the harsh mind. These two hold conversation. People try too hard. They exercise the force of Geburah, and repeatedly have trouble. Such folk always fall short of their goals because it is the nature of that state of mind not to allow the possibility of completion. Geburah is someone who says "you've got to be better." "If you do this wrong, your are wrong!" Chesed is the state of mind that says "Everything is right because it exists, that's enough." Geburah makes rules and Chesed relaxes them. Here is a physical action1 which shows the relation between these two states of mind: Find somebody's parking meter that has expired. Put a coin in it. Think of the ramifications of that. What does that mean? There are a lot of up-tight people in the world, people thinking in the mode of Geburah. If they see you running down a whole row of parking meters and putting coins in them, they are going to say: "What the Hell is that! Those meters are there to hurt the people who aren't taking care of their obligations. You're supposed to get a ticket on your car if you let the meter run too long." Those people can get awfully angry. They may talk to you about it, or worse. What is happening? It's a conversation between Chesed and Geburah. If that conversation reaches a satisfactory conclusion, you may convince the mind of the person of Geburah that helping is not a bad thing to do. Then you get a dose of energy up at number three, Binah. The Geburah mind gets a new concept: that of helping, rather than hindering. So the natural course of energy is this: Binah sends guidance to Chesed. Chesed receives that guidance, and becomes strong inside and gentle outside. Chesed knows the right order of things, because it receives knowledge of this order directly from Binah, the place of clear and perfect understanding. Chesed then goes around being gentle and kind to people. Geburah only learns from Chesed. Geburah sees someone being gentle and kind, and doesn't understand the strength that is behind gentleness and kindness. This makes Geburah fearful inside. Geburah mentality --- "Ah, I've got to hold this world together or all the good people are going to be hurt." Geburah makes rules and punishes people until Chesed taps him on the shoulder or does something like putting coins in the parking meters for free --- "You know, it's not so serious." Geburah says: "You Idiot! You're going to be punished for doing that". They have a big "to do" until finally CLICK! --- Geburah gets a touch of insight. This is a conversation between two states of consciousness. Every possible combination of these must be gone through before they all the states can be unified. That is just an example of one of them.
Here's another Berashit dose on the Tree. Suppose a creative itch: You feel the need for something. You want to make something. You don't know what it is, but you do feel an imprecise need for something. That's Keter, number 1. If that's as far as it goes. It does nothing. If you also feel the energy to work on that need, then you are at Chokmah. If you get an idea about fulfilling that need, you've reached Binah. For the sake of this example, let's say that you need to put things somewhere in your home, near your favorite place to sit. Next, get up enough focus to say: "I need to make an end table." That's the need, the energy to fulfill it and the idea that holds both the need and the energy in one chunk. Chesed receives this idea, a plan for the design of an end table, and knows all the things that are needed to make it. The wood to use, the size and the various measurements, are clear to the mind of Chesed. Geburah gets to work cutting wood and pounding nails. Geburah destroys something that already existed. Geburah says: "This piece of wood is too long. I will take this saw and kill this part." It is violent. It damages, but through damaging it ends up with what is desired. In human society we find some people who are excessive in Geburah, and who are also, unfortunately, given great power. Such people try to destroy human society so they can get the pieces to make a perfect society. That sort of thing is more a matter of the Qlipot, which we will discuss later on. We are not looking at such an extreme in this example. Getting back to our end table, all the pieces are ready. They are assembled in Tipheret. You now have an end table, but it isn't painted. It isn't sanded. The mind at Netzach looks at it and says: "We have an end table. What a delight." At that point there is a danger. You have shifted down into another world. At each shift into another world, another trinity of Sephiroth, there is a risk of failure. Your end table currently looks like an apple crate. You stick it in a corner. Nobody cares. It works. That's enough. Eventually somebody makes a wise crack about how junky the thing is, and the end table gets thrown out. Endurance is the word that describes the state of consciousness called Netzach, when it works properly. Netzach is usually translated into English as "Victory". This is wrong, an old translation, an error that was made in the Renaissance time. The proper meaning of Netzach, translated from Hebrew, is "Victory through Endurance", not just "Victory". So, what's endurance on an end table? It's sanding. It's finishing. It's finishing again. Diddle with the thing until it's just right. With Hod you've got your end table painted, sanded, finished and polished. Put it where it is going to belong. Then you have fulfilled Hod. You have found a place for it in the World. At Yesod, the object dwells in that place. The original idea begins to relax. If you just leave it there, perhaps from concern about marring it through use, it does no good. One more stage is necessary. You must use it. That is Malkut. The creative process goes from the primal idea, the energy, what to do with it and through all these other stages. The final process is forgetting about it, treating it as though it has always been there, using it and letting it's life or it's existence act itself out.
We have other ways of working on the Tree. Everyone should try to feel the full strain of intellectually staggering across this strange diagram, if only to see the sheer necessity of multiple approaches. There is a certain stage at which the work of the mind simply runs thin. There is too much effort in thinking with the head. You can't get anywhere with it. Your mind wears out. It staggers with the load of trying to keep track of all these things. Let the mind rest. Use the body instead. The body is just as much a part of thinking as the mind is. Consider a body stretched out on the Tree diagram. Just as the ten Sephiroth are resident in thought, they are also resident in the human body. Some drawings that show a body "crucified" on the Tree are reversed left to right from the usual diagrams of the Tree alone. That points out a simple problem in reading books on Qabalah. Certain books talk about the evils of the things on the left-hand path. Some talk about the evils of the things on the right-hand path. They confuse the mind, because: "Which is which, left or right?" You'll generally find that it's very difficult to make sense of different Qabalistical books because of this problem. There is a simple solution. You can look at the Tree as we have been doing, and you can speculate about it. That's the way of Berashit, worshipping or observing. The way of Merkabah is making yourself one with the Tree, uniting with it. Instead of looking at it, you back up and flatten yourself right on it. This is the art that we will investigate next.
1. From the booklet Qabalah #1 by Bill Heidrick, a set of meditations and exercises provided with the original class from which this text derives. Available in ASCII on diskette for IBM PC's.
Crowley to H.A.:
In this letter to Grady Louis McMurtry, Crowley discusses his theory of poetic inspiration, lost writings and Magick Without Tears.
| The Bell Inn.|
Ashton Clinton, Bucks
November 13th, 1944
Here are the annual demographics of the O.T.O. from Agape Grand Lodge. These membership totals have been obtained from Grand Lodge accounts at the end of February 1995 e.v.: 2,546 all, 2,213 of which are initiates.
No figures were available for Bosnia, and the figures for Serbia are inaccurate.
Known OTO member addresses by regions at end February 1995 e.v.
(Associates and initiates both) Total: 2,234 in 40 countries.
|(North Cal: 178)||New Hampshire||6|
|(South Cal: 134)||New Jersey||15|
|Dist. of Columbia||2||Ohio||24|
The Grand Lodge O.T.O. financial statement for fiscal year 1994-1995 e.v. will be available toward the end of April. For a copy, enclose an SASE and write to: O.T.O. Annual Financial Statement, Ordo Templi Orientis, P.O.Box 430, Fairfax, CA 94978 USA
Detail of February 1994 e.v. Demographics (last year)
|4/1/95||Feast of All Fools|
|4/2/95||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|4/5/95||Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM|
(call to attend)
|4/8/95||Feast of Liber AL, chapter one|
at noon in Horus Temple
|4/9/95||Feast of Liber AL, chapter two|
at Oz house
|4/9/95||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|4/10/95||Feast of Liber AL, chapter three|
at Ancient Ways.
|4/12/95||Sirius Oasis Meeting 8:pm|
"Music of the Rites of Eleusis"
|4/15/95||Full Moon in Libra 8:05am|
|4/16/95||Lodge Luncheon Meeting 12:30pm||Thelema Ldg.|
|4/16/95||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|4/17/95||Section 2 reading group, 8PM at OZ|
The Kasidah by Richard Burton
|4/19/95||Magick in Theory and Practice class|
with Bill in San Anselmo 7:30PM
|4/20/95||Sol enters Taurus 6:22am|
|4/23/95||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|4/24/95||Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM|
(call to attend)
|4/25/95||Outreach Lecture by Grace Inst.|
|4/26/95||Liber XV Study Group w. Bp. T|
|4/28/95||Astrological Cycles with Grace|
7 PM, Berkeley. Call to attend.
|4/29/95||777 Poetry Society 7:30PM w.Fr.P.I.||Thelema Ldg.|
|4/29/95||New Moon in Taurus 10:36am|
|4/30/95||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||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.