Thelema Lodge Calendar for July 1995 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for July 1995 e.v.

The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.

Copyright © O.T.O. and the Individual Authors, 1995 e.v.

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

July 1995 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Summertime at Thelema Lodge

Thelema Lodge gathers every Sunday evening for our celebration of the Gnostic Mass, beginning at nightfall in Horus Temple. The communion rite of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is open to all who are willing to participate with the lodge in this exhibition of the concepts of Thelema, representing on many levels the basic teachings of Ordo Templi Orientis. Those not in current contact with the lodge should call ahead for information and directions at (510) 652-3171. All members are encouraged to become involved in the performance of our mass, and we have several gnostic bishops offering guidance to novice officers working to organize mass teams. Temple scheduling is handled with the lodgemaster, and we like to focus ahead about six weeks. Most other lodge events are likewise free and open, but mass is the time the lodge is working most closely together, and one of the best opportunities to visit for those seeking contact with our community.

Talking about the mass is not much like being a part of its celebration, but once a month Bishop T Dionysus leads a discussion group which explores a variety of textual, historical, and sacramental topics relating to the advancement of our understanding of Liber XV, the canon of E.G.C. ritual. Join this group in the lodge library on Wednesday evening 26th July at 8:00, bringing your questions, observations, and techniques to share.

Bill Heidrick leads the lodge's on-going discussion group covering topics in theoretical and practical magick, which will meet on Wednesday evening 19th July at 7:30 in Bill's home in San Anselmo. Our focus this month will continue through the A A instructions set forth in Appendix vii of Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice. This material includes some of the most significant elements of the magical training prepared for Crowley's students, often couched in terms not immediately apparent to readers of today, and calling for additional information which Crowley sometimes challenged those whom he taught to obtain independently. First time attendants should call (415) 454-5176 for information and directions.

The Thelema Lodge "Section Two" Reading Group will be meeting at Oz House to discuss selected passages from The Song Celestial, Sir Edwin Arnold's Victorian blank-verse translation of the Bhagavad-Gita. Join Caitlin at 8:00 on Monday evening 17th July for a look into one of the earliest popularly available English versions of the basic text of Vedanta, excerpted from the Sanskrit Mahabharata. Following his earlier success with a poetic retelling of the life of the Buddha in 1879 (providing the first popular exposure to those doctrines among English readers) he repeated the same strategy over the following decade, producing poetic versions of Hindu and Islamic texts which had been little known except among linguistic specialists and esoteric groups. The Song Celestial appeared in 1886, and has been frequently reprinted as a curiosity, but as it does not seem to be currently in print, the lodgemaster will have some xerox copies available for readers unable to turn it up in the used book shops. To attend, call Oz at (510) 654-3580 for information and directions, or contact the lodge.

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Join Grace for the Thelema Lodge "Astrological Cycles" Workshop on Friday evening 28th July, which meets at her house in Berkeley from 7:00 until 9:00. All attending are requested to check in ahead of time by calling (510) 843- STAR or speaking with Grace directly. Consider how we might formulate the meaning of astrology for the aeon of Thelema. Crowley recommended it primarily as a system of meditation, especially in Liber DXXXVI, an instruction for the Practicus of the A A, who is taught to maintain a mental scale-model of the planetary system in his mind at all times. "Let him then add a comet to the picture; he may find, perhaps, that the path of this comet may assist him to expand the sphere of his mental vision until it include a star. And thus, gathering one star after another, let his contemplation become vast as the heaven, in space and time ever aspiring to the perception of the body of Nuit; yea, of the body of Nuit."

Our monthly reading group for the sharing of verse aloud will be held in the library at Thelema Lodge on Saturday evening 29th July at 7:30. Frater P.I. organizes the Grady McMurtry Poetry Society to further our skills with the oral delivery and aural reception of rhythmically charged language. Ritual and literary creativity overlap in the traditions of the O.T.O., and if magick has been defined as control over meaning, then these two ways of working run closely parallel. To read with this group, bring poems of your own choosing, or select some from the lodge collections.

Open library nights are scheduled at the lodge for Thursday 13th July and Monday 31st July, from 8:00 until 10:00 in the evening. Please contact the lodge ahead of time when planning to attend. Other library arrangements may be made on an individual basis with the lodge officers.

Thelema Lodge conducts business and projects future work at our Sunday luncheon meetings early each month, with all members welcome to take part. Please call ahead so we know how many to prepare for, and join us on Sunday afternoon 9th July from 12:30 to 2:30. Officers of the lodge serve the meal, and discussion is open thereafter. Calendar business needs to be concluded by this date, so those offering events who are unable to join our luncheon should call their descriptive notes in to the lodge answering machine over that weekend.

Sirius Oasis will be skipping its July meeting while its mysterious master takes off on vacation. We encourage everybody to anticipate this season's cycle of The Rites of Eleusis, which will proceed (like the past couple cycles) at twelve-day intervals, beginning with the Rite of Saturn in the dark of the moon on Saturday evening 26th August. Jupiter and Mars are scheduled for the following month; then Sol, Venus, and Mercury in October, to conclude with the Rite of Luna at full moon on Monday evening 6th November. Locations and times are still being arranged, with some of the Rites not yet fully cast; those interested in taking part or otherwise assisting may contact this year's god-forms through Sirius Oasis at (510) 527-2855, or Thelema Lodge at (510) 652-3171.

May the simplicity of the shoemaker take root within your heart. This past May a forty-eight hour shrine was observed in honor of the Silesian peasant cobbler, "god-taught" philosopher, and gnostic saint Jakob Boehme (1575-1624), held at Oz House up in the red and black rooms. An intricately constructed altar of flame-illuminated emblems focused the visitants on readings from Boehme's elaborate mystical works, accompanied by an alchemical communion administered on Paracelsian principles. Brother Lew was the guiding force for the event, welcoming a stream of pilgrims all weekend. May you also behold the light of the Gnosis in its baroque splendor.


Crowley Classics

The United States entered the First World War by congressional declaration, signed by President Wilson on 6 April 1917 e.v., after a month of belligerency against our previously neutral ships by German submarines. These two editorial statements were published in The International (New York) at the close of that year, by which time the country's mobilization had preceded as far as voluntary efforts could take it, with overseas action still very limited. Real war, with the home-front oppression of rationing, nationalizations, and totalitarian sedition laws, was just around the corner, and occupied America through nearly all of 1918 e.v. This first piece is notable for its seemingly unambiguous reference to the Christian "Saviour of Humanity," in a public appeal to conventional spiritual sensibilities (directly above the bold "ALEISTER CROWLEY" byline) which is nearly unique inhis works. It may be contrasted with the parallel appeal to classical pagan cultic "salvation" in the second piece. His prized volume of Adonais mentioned there is the original 1821 edition of Shelley's elegy on the death of Keats.

Two Wartime Editorials

by Aleister Crowley

I.
Humanity First
(November 1917 e.v.)

IT MAY be that one day the gold plate with its diamond inscriptions may be stripped by some vandals --Macaulay's New Zealander or another --from my sarcophagus. It may be that centuries later still the learned archaeologists of some nation yet unguessed, excavating the ruins of Westminster Abbey, may find those bones and send them to anatomists for examination.

The report of these anatomists may be something in these terms: "These are the bones of a mammal, a primate, homo sapiens. The skull is not prognathous; this person was probably a Caucasian."
In such a judgment I acquiesce with pleasure. It would be limitation to be described as "this German," or "this Japanese." Man is man, and in him burns the mystic flame of Godhead. It is a blasphemy to discriminate further, to antithesize the Russian against the Turk, in any matter more serious than national belief, custom, or costume.
All advanced thinkers, all men who realize the divine plan, desire and intend the solidarity of humanity; and the patriot in the narrow and infuriated sense of that word is a traitor to the true interests of man. It may be necessary, now and then, to defend one's own section of mankind from aggression; but even this should always be done with the mental reservation: "May this war be the nurse of a more solid peace; may this argument lead to a better understanding; may this division lead to a higher union."
"A man's worse enemies are those of his own household," and the worst foes of any nation are its petty patriots. "Patriotism is the last resort of a scoundrel."
The deliberate antagonizing of nations is the foulest of crimes. It is the Press of the warring nations that, by inflaming the passions of the ignorant, has set Europe by the ears. Had all men been educated and travelled, they would not have listened to those harpy-shrieks. Now the mischief is done, and it is for us to repair it as we may. This must be our motto, "Humanity first."
All persons who generalize about nations: "Germans are all murderers" --"Frenchmen are all adulterers" --"Englishmen are all snobs" --"Russians are all drunkards" --and so on, must be silenced. All persons who cling to petty interests and revenges must be silenced. We must refuse to listen to any man who does not realize that civilization itself is at stake, that even now Europe may be so weakened that it may fall a prey to the forces of atavism, that war may be followed by bankruptcy, revolution, and famine, and that even within our own lifetime the Tower of the Ages may be fallen into unrecognizable ruins.
We must refuse to listen to any man who has not resolutely put away from him all limited interests, all national passion, who cannot look upon wounded humanity with the broad, clear gaze, passionless and yet compassionate, of the surgeon, or who is not single-minded in his determination to save the life at whatever cost of mutilation to any particular limb.
We must listen most to the German who understands that England is a great and progressive and enlightened nation, whose welfare is necessary to the health of Europe; and to the Frenchman who sees in Germany his own best friend, the model of science, organization, and foresight, which alone can build up the fallen temple anew. We must listen to the Englishman who is willing to acquiesce in the Freedom of the Seas; and to the Russian who acknowledges that it is time to put a term to the tyranny of arms and the menace of intrigue.
The yelping Press of every country, always keen to gather pennies from the passions of the unthinking and unknowing multitude, will call every such man a traitor.
So be it. Let the lower interest be betrayed to the higher, the particular benefit of any given country to the Commonwealth of the whole world. Let us no more consider men, but man. Let us remember who came from heaven and was made flesh among the Jews, not to lead his own people to victory, not to accept that partial dominion of the earth, but to bring light and truth to all mankind.
Had the Saviour of Humanity deigned to accept the patriotic mission of driving out the Romans, he would have united his nation, but man would not have been redeemed. Therefore, his people called him traitor, and betrayed him to their own oppressors.
Let those who are willing, as He was, to accept the opprobrium, and, if need be, the Cross, come forward; let them bear the Oriflamme of the Sun for their banner, for that the Sun shineth alike upon all the nations of the earth; and let them ever flash in the forefront of their battle this one redeeming thought: "Humanity First."

II.
We Stand Above
(December 1917 e.v.)

IT IS a somewhat invidious task: but we suppose that some one has got to do it, and it seems as if that some one had to be ourselves.
In normal times art and literature take care of themselves. Wisdom is justified of her children. Before we have been dead three hundred years somebody is almost sure to notice it. The great mass of people is a homogeneous mass of brainless idiocy. Men are dumb animals, and women only quack. In times of peace the hack journalists are as inconspicuous as they are insignificant; but when war breaks out the hysteria natural to weak minds becomes vocal, and everybody wants to "do his bit" on one side or the other, by squealing when much the best thing to do would be to bury himself.
These little minds have no conception of the great ideas which distinguish man from mannikin. They imagine that Rodin was a Frenchman, and Wagner a German. They do not understand that these persons were not men, but Gods. They do not understand that the creations of such men are in the nature of that image of the great Goddess Diana which came down from heaven for us men and for our salvation. They do not understand that Rheims is as sacred as Cologne; that the Kremlin should have been protected from the maniacs, who are trying to translate Bernard Shaw into action, as Jerusalem (if there is anything of artistic value therein) from the British. As a matter of fact, I believe there is nothing but a lot of faked historical monuments camouflaged by the wily Syrian for the exploitation of American tourists of the Chautauqua brand. If this be so, Allenby, go to it!
But as for us, we stand alone. I do not know whether Bulgaria is at war with England; but if so, it is evidently the duty to God and man of every Bulgarian to knock the block off General Haig. At the same time, if that Bulgarian does not respect Kings College Chapel, or uses my first edition of Adonais for pipe lights, I will knock his block off if I can catch the Bulgar at it. We are warring for Democracy, but also for civilization, apparently owing to our inherent love of paradox. We have here a war within a war. We have not only to fight the foe without, and the foe within, but also the foe that is the worst of all, the overzealous friend. We feel rather as the President feels about the Vigilantes. If well-meaning asses were only mules how useful they might be in batteries! We are out to break the political will of another group of nations, and our worst foes are those of our own people who are giving the show away. We go to war to defend the rights of little nations, and we imprison Irishmen who can not forget that their mothers were raped by British soldiers. We are particularly strong on Belgium, and her representative complains that there is to be no seat for Belgium on the Allied war council. The Germans go to war for Kultur, yet they cannot find an expedient for contracting out of the shelling of cathedrals. And if these things are done in the green tree of the people in power, what shall be done in the dry tree, and withered sticks of the mediocre. We have our attention taken away from the business of fighting by the miserable grunts of these self-advertising pigs, who are only guinea-pigs in so far as they can always be counted on to sell their souls for a guinea. It is not only useless and stupid to refuse the benefits of those who at the very lowest estimate were our friends, but the absolute destruction of the whole principle of civilization.
Art is long and political life is short. If we are enraged with the Germans for shelling St. Mark's, which they have not yet done, we ought certainly to declare war upon the French because of what Napoleon really did do to St. Mark's a hundred years ago. In order to carry out this program still more effectively, we can destroy the statues of Lafayette, and burn our Shakespeares on the ground that the English burnt the Capitol at Washington. It is only the pettiest minds that perceive national qualities in works of art. At most, national schools form a convenient classification. If the Dutch, as at times has seemed likely, decide that the German cause is that of liberty, civilization, and progress, and determine to fight on their side, will some patriot immediately discover that Rembrandt did not know how to paint? Would it not be better to make up our minds about it now? Will Mr. Roosevelt decide to change his name to something less compromising? And shall we destroy the institution of marriage because the inhabitants of the Old Kent Road speak of their wives as "my old Dutch"? Shall we turn the feminine of duke into Americaness, to be quite safe, and rather true, anyhow?
I cannot say how deeply I feel about this matter. The insensate screams of the mob threaten to deafen even those few ears which were attuned to the still small voice of wisdom. The danger is enormous. Even defeat would be preferable to a universal iconoclasm. It is not a new story. Again and again the most priceless treasures of antiquity, to say nothing of the structure of the civilizations whence they sprung, have been destroyed utterly and irremediably in the most miserable religious and political quarrels. Was not the library of Alexandria worth more to mankind than the whole Roman Empire? Were not the stained glass windows of the churches of more importance than the entire struggle between Protestant and Catholic? The people who do not understand this are Huns.
This paper is not primarily political. So far as it is so, it is and will be loyal: but it will resent the thesis that in order to be loyal one must be insane. "Battle, murder, and sudden death" is excellent sport, and it is extremely necessary at this moment. The excretory system of nature, pestilence, has been constipated by the misguided efforts of medicine and hygiene. We had to get rid of the surplus population, and we chose our own foolish way instead of Nature's wise way. So not a word against war! But the treasures of art, of literature, of music, must this time be preserved for humanity; and we are determined to resist to the death any attack upon those treasures. We are --for the moment --fighting the Germans: but Faust and Siegfried and Zarathustra, the achievement of Kant in philosophy and of Helmholtz in physics, must be put "out of bounds." We stand above.

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THE CORNERSTONE

Quotations illustrating opinions about the essential meaning of freemasonry.
selected by Frater Drax

"It is the WILL that is free: though sometimes that will may be ineffectual. The power to do must not be confounded with the power TO WILL. The former may be limited: the latter is SOVEREIGN. The EXTERNAL EFFECTS may be prevented: THE RESOLUTION itself cannot. Of this sovereign power of will we are conscious. We feel in ourselves, before it becomes determinate, the force which can determine itself in one way or another. At the same time when I will this or that, I am equally conscious that I can will the contrary. I am conscious that I am the master of my resolution: that I may check it, contain it, retake it. When THE ACT has ceased, the consciousness of THE POWER which produced it has NOT. That consciousness and the power remain, superior to all the manifestations of the power. Wherefore free-will is the essential and ever-subsistine attribute of the will itself."
-- General Albert Pike, 33° Grand Commander, A.A. Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A.
Morals and Dogma (1871; new and revised edition, 1951), p. 723.

"Politically, it was the Mason's prime desire to spread knowledge, confident that once understanding and tolerance gained ascendancy in men's minds, they would condemn and reject narrowly enslaving dogma. Believing that only by free debate, without censorship, could society develop, Masons aimed at the establishment of complete freedom of worship, freedom of speech and association, freedom of the press and freedom from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment without trial. They wanted every man to have the right to choose his type of employment and place of residence . . . entailing the abolition of serfdom still binding in Europe . . . and envisaged an eventual government controlled by public opinion, subject to a representative parliament. They believed that humanity, if it so desired, could attain to a social order, such as that of the ancient Egyptians, reflecting the order of the Cosmos."
-- Peter Tomkins, The Magic of Obelisks, (Harper Row, 1981), p. 110. The period referred to is the eighteenth century of the past era.

"On May 1, 1776, in Bavaria, Dr. Adam Weishaupt, a professor of Canon Law at Ingolstadt University and a former Jesuit, formed a secret society called the Order of the Illuminati within the existing Masonic lodges of Germany. Since Masonry is itself a secret society, the Illuminati was a secret society within a secret society, a mystery within a mystery, so to say.
"Some claim that Weishaupt didn't even invent the Illuminati, but only revived it. The Order of the Illuminati has been traced back to the Knights Templar, to the Greek and Gnostic initiatory cults, to Egypt, even to Atlantis. The one safe generalization one can make is that Weishaupt's intent to maintain secrecy has worked; no two students of Illuminology have ever agreed totally about what the 'inner secret' or purpose of the Order was (or is . . .).
-- Robert Anton Wilson, Cosmic Trigger (Falcon Press, 1986), p. 4.

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from the Grady Project:

Requiem

We leave this earth, this earth that is our pride,
This is our worth, by death of worlds we died,
Our hopes, our loves, we leave, our heritage
Of faith, to you who come across the stellar bridge.
Yours is the flame, the flame of truth and light,
Above the shambles of our hopeless fight,
Grieve not that we and all our kin are gone;
We lived by grace which has been long withdrawn.
You are an alien race that will abide
Within the halls that we have been denied.
Hold fast the fire; this is our requiem,
Our peace be on you now and we with them;
God grant that you may know what this betide.
Yours is the slow task that we have defied;
Accept our hope although we cannot guide,
For who may stand when suns and worlds collide?

-- Grady L. McMurtry
12/6/1941 e.v.                   

Author's Note: Hymn for largo of "Finlandia" re. the lost race of planet Bronson Beta.

Published in The Grady Project 2 (Berkeley: Thelema Lodge, O.T.O., December 1987).

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Primary Sources

Crowley's Ancestor's Reply:
(That was quick! Here's an answer to the question raised.)

SECONDARY ENDS
by Barbara Villiers

In last month's TLC we read in a letter from Crowley to F. Mellinger (2nd paragraph):

"Please disillusion the local nobility and gentry about the name Crowley. It is DeQu(?)rouaille -- a Dukedom in Brittany. It was Alys of that ilk who was the great Monarch's ambassadress to Charles II. We came over with the Duke of Richmond (later Henry VII) to fight the Battle of Bosworth and settle down in England by stealing abbeys and becoming Sherriffs of London and Bishops who wrote highly improper poetry and all that sort of thing."

The '(?)' represents a letter which our noble editor was unable to ascertain "[o]wing to the poor quality of the copy". It turns out that the missing letter is an 'e' (or more properly, an 'é'), as we can see from the following Crowley quotes;

from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (Chapter 1, 2nd paragraph):

"The Crowleys are, however, of Celtic origin; the name O'Crowley is common in south-west Ireland, and the Breton family of de Quérouaille -- which gave England a Duchess of Portsmouth -- or de Kerval is of the same stock. Legend will have it that the then head of the family came to England with the Earl of Richmond and helped to make him king on Bosworth Field."

from Genesis Libri AL (Chapter 1, 2nd paragraph):

"This branch of the family of Crowley has been settled in England since Tudor times, but is Celtic in origin, Crowley being a clan in Kerry and other counties in the South-West of Ireland, of the same stock as the Breton "de Querouaille" or "de Kerval" which gave a Duchess of Portsmouth to England. It is supposed that the English branch -- the direct ancestry of Edward Alexander Crowley -- came to England with the Duke of Richmond, and took root at Bosworth."

Many people, like Symonds in the introduction to The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, are under the impression that Crowley is claiming the Duchess of Portsmouth as an ancestor. Careful reading of the above shows that he is actually claiming her as a distant relative -- quite distant indeed if his ancestor was truly an Irish soldier who came to England with the army of the Earl (not Duke) of Richmond in 1485 c.e., since Louise (never Alys, as far as I know) de Quérouaille was from an old, but poor noble family of Brittany, and came to England (as mistress for Charles II, and spy for Louis XIV) in 1670 c.e. All this is picturesquely romantic enough without adding in impossible claims of ancestry which, in all fairness, Crowley doesn't even make. However, he does make a few other claims whose soundness is perhaps worth investigating. Simply put, he says that 'Crowley' is from an Irish name, and that its Celtic root is cognate to the root of the Breton French name 'de Quérouaille'. Unfortunately, he gives no sources for his information. When speaking of the putative founder of his family in England he says "Legend will have it" and "It is supposed", which implies the origin for his statements may be family tradition. Checking a modern-day reference book, A Dictionary Of Surnames by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges (Oxford University Press, 1988), we find the following:
"CROWLEY (1) English: habitation name from any of various places so called from OE crawe crow + leah wood, clearing. (2) Irish: Anglicized form of Gael. O Cruadhlaoich descendant of Cruadhlaoch, a personal name composed of the elements cruadh hardy + laoch hero."

It should be noted that the present-day Crowleys and O'Crowleys of southwestern Ireland took on (or more likely, were given) a previously common English name. It is also possible, though not certain, that an Irishman who came to England in Tudor times would have Anglicized his name in the same way. Thus, Crowley's claims of Irish ancestry are possibly true, but not certain or necessarily probable. As for the other claim regarding his supposed French relationship we find things a bit more problematic. In my superficial research I was unable to find any references to the Celtic Breton name which was Gallicized as 'de Quérouaille', nor did I find a modern French spelling of it. During the lifetime of the Duchess of Portsmouth her name was spelled quite variously in English (the usual practice in the 17th century). A brief list of variants would include: Louise de Quérouaille; Louise de Kérouaille; Louise de Querouelle; Louise de Kéroualle; Louise de Keroual; Louise-Renée de Quérouaille; Louise- Renee de Keroualle; Louise-Renee de Kerowalle; Louise- Renee de Penancoet de Kerouall; Louise-Renee de Penancoet de Keroualle; Madame Carwell. This last name is the only Anglicization I found, and it indicates that the connection between 'de Quérouaille' and 'Crowley' was obviously not self-evident to people in Stuart times. Once again we must say that the relationship which Crowley claims may be possible, but is certainly not proved, and may be highly improbable. This is not to say that AC consciously set out to romanticize his origins, by forging a connection to both Celtic and Continental aristocracy; such forge work was performed by most English families as they entered the bourgeoisie, and who knows! there may even be actual truth to some of it. But that Crowley was more interested in the mythic connections may be seen in this entry in his diary for An. XVI (1920 c.e.), 27 June, 12.15 p.m.:
"I haven't got my own name right yet; there's something in Crowley, de Querouaville, de Kerval, if I could trace the original form. The 'Ker' is honorific; is 'Wal' for 'val'? at least there's the AL ending. KR is a root implying horns, I think, in Latin, Greek and Sanskrit."

Here the linguistic analysis is approached qabalistically rather than philologically, and ends up telling us more about Crowley's horniness than about his pedigree; however, I did find one reference to an actual ancestor of our beloved Prophet in Modern English Biography edited by Frederic Boase (Frank Cass & Co., 1965):
"CROWLEY, ABRAHAM. Head of brewing firm of A. Crowley and Co. at Alton, Hants.; many refreshment houses were established in London and other places which especially supplied Crowley's ales; built and supported a British school for 150 girls at Alton 1845. d. Alton 6 May 1864 aged 70. Hampshire Chronicle 14 May 1864 p. 5."

Not very romantic, it's true, but could Aleister have afforded to be a prophet without him?!

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part V -Four World Tree exercises..

Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick

In Qabalah, the Four Worlds provide an approach that may be combined with other things. We will revisit this matter later, but for now we'll have a look at some exercises from my booklet Qabalah #1, provided in the class series from which this column was drawn. These exercises touch on the various parts of the Tree of life diagram in four different ways, one way per group of exercises in each set.

I. Meditations for
ATZILUTH.

These are rationalistic definitions of consciousness for each the traditional parts of the Tree of Life. Consider them as abstractions.

10.Sensory awareness.
32.Development of intuitions from #10.
9.Dream, Imagination, astral travel.
31.Rational analysis of #10 awareness.
30.Rational analysis of #9 consciousness.
8.Logical, practical understanding of how to deal with the physical (10) and the mythical (9).
29.Emotional reaction to #10 awareness.
28.Emotional reaction to #9 consciousness.
27.Union of rational, material understanding (8) with emotional, material wisdom.
7.Emotional, practical wisdom concerning the physical (10), the mythic (9) and the analytic (8).
26.Realization of the limits of #8 material consciousness.
25.Unification of the elements of dream, imagination and astral awareness into a full conception of Life.
24.Feeling that something must be beyond simply physically induced emotion (7).
6.Consciousness of the patterns and goals of Life.
23.Thinking about the methods of day-to- day living (8) and their effects on others.
22.Thinking about the patterns and goals of Life (6) and their effects on others.
5.Consciousness of better patterns and goals for life -- rational moral planning.
21.Feelings of a less selfish sort begin to override the more self- oriented, material reaction emotions of #7.
20.The perspective on one's own life (6) gradually shifts to include the lives of others.
19.Ideas of how to live better begin to change into ideas on how to help others to reach a better life.
4.Contentment with personal existence is one with consciousness of, and love for, other existences.
18.Rational methods are abstracted from #5 consciousness.
17.Patterns of social existence are abstracted from #6 consciousness.
3.The highest, most abstract rational consciousness.
16.Emotional feelings become unified.
15.Consciousness of life becomes abstracted into consciousness of vitality.
14.Rational consciousness (3) seeks a higher state of consciousness.
2.Awareness of great power and vitality in all.
13.The perspective on life changes into awareness of the totality of existence as One.
12.Rational awareness rises into unquestioning appreciation of the One.
11.The vital essence of emotion (2) rises in recognition of the One.
1.All existence is One -- Beyond this are the three veils of negative existence. These three pass the extreme limits of human comprehension of infinity.

Those ideas are so abstract that they may mean little just yet. Remember them for now. They will serve as markers for breaking through to ideas later.

II. Meditations for
BRIAH.

Answer these thirty-two questions (the numbering of the questions is the same as in I, a key to the diagram rather than a simple count.) Your answers are less important than the state of mind you enter while trying to answer.

10.If you just felt from your senses, without thinking, what would it be like?
32.When you look out a window, what do you day-dream?
9.If you could be anybody, what kind of person would you like to be?
31.When you last made a mistake, what did you learn?
30.What have you learned from a dream or day-dream?
8.How do you get from your house to the nearest beach?
29.How do you feel when you pick a rose?
28.Did you ever cry or get angry while reading a book or watching a movie?
27.Have you ever gotten confused by your head wanting one thing and your heart wanting something else?
7.What was it like the last time you felt just plain happy.
26.Do you know any unjust laws?
25.What was your latest wish that came true?
24.What was it like when you last thought about something very private?
6.What do you do?
23.Why do people sacrifice themselves for ideals?
22.What about slavery?
5.What is a holy war?
21.Why do parks exist when city land is so valuable?
20.Have you ever given directions to a stranger?
19.If you could speak to everyone, what would you say?
4.When you feel happy, how do you want others to feel?
18.What is the difference between thinking and Logic?
17.How many religious books do you know that are biographies?
3.What is mathematics?
16.What is crowd consciousness?
15.Have you ever gotten stage fright and gone on talking anyway?
14.Have you ever made a mistake that worked out better than what you wanted to do?
2.Have you ever been so excited that you forgot where you were?
13.Did you ever think that the whole world was your home and everybody liked you?
12.Why is a collection of skills often called a single discipline?
11.What is excitement?
1.Why do we have words like "Universe"?

If you can come up with a precise answer to any of these questions you've missed the exercise. They're to be intuited only. For example: "When you look out a window, what do you daydream?" If you reply, "I'm daydreaming swans, geese, etc.", you've missed the question. Strain at identifying the quality, "What is daydreaming?", but do so without resolution into final words in your mind. Just taste with your mind the quality of thought evoked in response to the questions.
Let's take another example, #27. That's for the path between Hod and Netzach on the Tree, the one linked with the Tower in Tarot. "Have you ever been confused by your head wanting one thing and your heart something else?" Again, to answer is to miss the point. Your head wanting something is Hod. Your heart wanting something is Netzach. The mental state of that confrontation of desires in heart and mind relates to the 27th path. This process is carried throughout all the paths of the Tree for the Briah exercises.

III. Meditations for
YETZIRAH.

Obtain a "Thoth Tarot Deck" by Frieda Harris and Aleister Crowley. Visualize each of these images.

10.A young woman crowned and veiled.
32.Thoth Atu # XXI, The Universe.
9.A beautiful naked man, very strong.
31.Thoth Atu # XX, The Aeon.
30.Thoth Atu # XIX, The Sun.
8.A hermaphrodite.
29.Thoth Atu # XVIII, The Moon.
28.Thoth Atu # IV, The Emperor.
27.Thoth Atu # XVI, The Tower.
7.A beautiful naked woman.
26.Thoth Atu # XV, The Devil.
25.Thoth Atu # XIV, Art.
24.Thoth Atu # XIII, Death.
6.A majestic king.
23.Thoth Atu # XII, The Hanged Man.
22.Thoth Atu # VIII, Adjustment.
5.A mighty armed warrior in his chariot, armed and crowned.
21.Thoth Atu # X, Fortune.
20.Thoth Atu # IX, The Hermit.
19.Thoth Atu # XI, Lust.
4.A mighty crowned and enthroned king.
18.Thoth Atu # VII, The Chariot.
17.Thoth Atu # VI, The Lovers.
3.A dark and pregnant woman wearing a crown of black pearls.
16.Thoth Atu # V, The Hierophant.
15.Thoth Atu # XVII, The Star.
14.Thoth Atu # III, The Empress.
2.A black bearded man sits astride a great gray horse.
13.Thoth Atu # II, The Priestess
12.Thoth Atu # I, The Magus.
11.Thoth Atu # 0, The Fool.
1.An ancient ruler seen in profile.

You should not try to make rational sense out of these images in this exercise. Although they can be studied to considerable advantage, this application is for visualization. The Sephirot images are traditional, combining planetary and older Qabalistic correspondences.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah, Part IV                   Next: Example meditations for Asiah.


From the Outbasket

G.O. of Israel expressed concern about the stages of study of Magick, on the matter of dealing with gods and on getting by using a pantheon. Here's an edited overview of some thoughts on the question.

The hazard in avoiding these deities is in getting abstract too early in the course of the work.
From an ordinary mode of life, approach the study. That requires a focus on the literature and on the ideas in the literature. Soon, it becomes necessary to examine earlier ideas and to focus more narrowly on such ideas, defining them further by introspection and comparison with other ideas presented in the literature. At that point, patterns are required. A study of the gods and other traditional religious ideas furnishes such patterns. The deeper the involvement with those patterns, the more readily they can be understood and used. In the course of development as a magician, most of the work will be in the area of increasingly precise definition and experiment, alternating with very brief insights and enjoyment of results. It is no exaggeration to say that 99% or more of the work is in "perfecting the incarnation" or grounding one's thought in precision, not unlike honing a knife to sharpness. Abstract ideas predominate before entry into the study, being at that time vague ideas about Magick. During the work, those preexisting abstract elements are eroded away by advancing knowledge. One generalization after another is taken up and supplanted as the study goes on. Most of these new abstractions gradually become very sharply limited to defined terms. In time, experiences will occur that lead to sweeping generalities and insights, more often cryptic and nonverbal than can be defined in normal language. These will be represented by formulas (magical words or mottoes, objects, symbols, a lamen &c). Ultimately, a series of break-throughs will occur, culminating in stages with token names like "Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel", "Crossing the Abyss", "Completing the Great Work" &c. Each of those stages is a common experience for all who proceed that far, but each is also unique to the individual in terms of how it is experienced and how it is remembered. The details are personal and differ according to the individual.

If one remains as abstract about the subject as one was at the beginning, throughout the effort, there will be no sharpening and transformation by refinement. In the latter part of the work, all previous ideas about religion and magick must be abandoned. Almost the whole of the work up to that point will be concentrated on identifying and refining those ideas, one by one, so that they may be rooted out and set aside later. That process is the actual Great Work. It doesn't matter which particular ideas are dealt with in that fashion, so long as it is exhaustive and thorough. This experience perfects the mind of the magician for the ultimate experience, union with a great abstraction. In the course of the work, many skills will be learned, which will be needed in the latter stages of the experience. To refine the ideas, it is necessary to enter fully into them, as does a simple believer in all manner of crude things -- these are after all the Qlipot that linger superstitiously and in darkness beneath the minds of every person. They must be fully confronted and rooted out. To pass over them by casual unbelief is like covering over with a napkin. The crumbs are still under there. As an abscess, they will fester and break out unexpectedly at the times of crisis.

For a variation, consider these parallels in the lives of St. Augustin (345 to 430 e.v.) and Aleister Crowley (1875 to 1947 e.v.). This comparison was occasioned by a passing discussion on the Compuserve Religious Issues Form, dealing with Augustin's "Love God and do what you will" and Crowley's Liber AL versicles "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."; "Love is the law, love under will."

It's interesting to compare Crowley and St. Augustin. Both had very strict Christian mothers, who survived the fathers. Both went bonkers after being sent to the big city for education. Both wrote works titled The City of God. Both were libertines in youth. Augustin gave up sex before becoming a bishop. Crowley became a bishop, but didn't give up sex. Both made an issue of "Do what thou wilt..." and "Love...". Both were pivotal in establishing a religious expression, Augustin in what became Roman Catholicism and Crowley in Thelema. Both were strongly influenced by wars of conquest. Both expressed an acceptance of the idea of evolution of the species, Augustin considering it unimportant in terms of religion, but Crowley considering it the goal of religion in a mystical sense. Did Crowley borrow from Augustin, consciously or unconsciously; or did the similarities in their lives and times produce these similar patterns?

Observation:

"PC", Political Correctness, is the most intemperate excess of temperance, a virtue which more than any other must be applied to itself. It is bigotry raised to the highest degree to insist that no word may be used to express felt alienation. The white intolerance of forbidding offense to all minorities is in essence a denial of the right of all minorities to address grievances by objecting to actual wrongs, past and present. Tolerance itself is a sometimes necessary evil, to be endured until the foulness of hate can be rooted out and universal acceptance of difference can be found.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for July 1995 e.v.

7/2/95Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/9/95Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/13/95Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
7/16/95Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/17/95Section 2 reading group, 8PM at OZ
Sir E. Arnold's The Song Celestial
Thelema Ldg.
7/19/95"Magick in Theory and Practice"
7:30PM in San Anselmo with Bill
Thelema Ldg.
7/23/95Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/26/95Liber XV Study Group w. Bp. T
Dionysys 8:00PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/28/95Astrological Cycles with Grace
7 PM, Berkeley. Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
7/29/95777 Poetry Society 7:30PM w.Fr.P.I.Thelema Ldg.
7/30/95Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/31/95Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(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.

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