Thelema Lodge Calendar for December 1995 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for December 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.

   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, 1995 e.v.

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

December 1995 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Gnostic Mass

    Every Sunday night Thelema Lodge offers a performance of Aleister Crowley's ritual of the Gnostic Mass in Horus Temple, with the celebration open to all whose will it is to participate with us. Call ahead if attending for the first time, and arrive at the temple by 7:30, although there may be a short wait thereafter for some mass teams to get going. The lodgemaster is especially trying to encourage earlier starting times for masses this season, with a number of communicants driving considerable distances home afterwards, and little to be gained from delay in the long nights. Mass teams are invited to reserve dates now for the month of January to serve communion to the lodge. Inexperienced officers will be directed to one of our four bishops for training and advice, and when they feel prepared they may consult with the lodgemaster regarding the temple calendar.

    The Gnostic Mass is featured this month in a unique public exhibition of photography entitled "Sacred Window: Expressions of Worship in Oakland," which can be viewed free of charge at the Pro Arts gallery in downtown Oakland. The work of Christina Koci Hernandez (who is also a staff photographer with one of the major daily newspapers), this show consists of several dozen large monochrome photographs, offset by a series of abstract and symbolic polychrome paintings by Carl Angel. Christina's photos utilize extremely fast film- speeds, and all are authentic depictions taken in existing light of spontaneous religious responses. The range is wide, including Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Buddhist, and several other traditional practices, in addition to our Thelemic entry. Christina took communion with our lodge at half a dozen gnostic masses last summer to familiarize herself with the ritual as celebrated by a variety of officers, and then we organized a private mass during which she had complete photographic freedom. The view selected for her exhibit is certainly one of the essential images of our Gnostic Mass; the Priestess, "bare and rejoicing . . . calling forth the flame of the hearts of all in her love-chant," is incarnated in our sister Casey (the Vicar of Thelema Lodge), on the altar of Nu Temple at Oz House.
    The "Sacred Window" exhibit by Christina Koci Hernandez and Carl Angel is open through 23rd December at Pro Arts, 461 Ninth Street in Oakland; telephone (510) 763-4361. Hours are Wednesday & Thursday from noon until 6:00 PM, and Friday & Saturday from 11:00 AM until 5:00 PM.

Winter Solstice at Oz

    Our lodge extends greetings of the Winter Solstice to Thelemites everywhere. This year the sun enters Capricornus at seventeen minutes past midnight in the early morning of Friday 22nd December, and Thelema Lodge will gather that evening at Oz House for a feast and ritual beginning at 7:30. All who plan to attend are requested to consult ahead of time with Caitlin regarding contributions to the communal dinner, and may call Oz at (510) 654- 3580 for directions and information. Caitlin will also be directing the ritual afterwards, for which if you would like to prepare in advance, consult Liber A'ASH vel Capricorni Pneumatici.

The Vision and the Voice

    Caitlin's ritual reading series concludes Liber 418 at Oz this month, with Aethyrs nearly every day (and sometimes twice a day) through Wednesday evening 20th December. Each of the upper eighteen Enochian Aires will be visited on the schedule of Crowley's original Algerian workings with Victor Neuburg in 1909 e.v. All are welcome to this exploration of the Enochian spiritual cosmology, with each Aire falling on the date and time indicated in Crowley's record of The Vision and the Voice. Some inconvenient day-time aethyrs may be available for evening repetition by request. Give Caitlin a call at Oz -- the number is (510) 654-3580 -- before setting forth to attend each of the Aethyr readings, in order to enable her to anticipate the crowd which she will be accommodating.
    The December reading schedule for Aethyrs 18-1 will be as follows: Friday 1st (ZEN at 2:30 PM), Saturday 2nd (TAN at 12:15 AM & LEA at 4:50 PM), Sunday 3rd (OXO at 9:15 & UTI at 9:50 PM), Monday 4th (ZIM at 2:10 & LOE at 11:30 PM), Tuesday 5th (IKE at 10:10 PM), Wednesday 6th (ZAX at 2:00 PM), Thursday 7th (ZIP at 9:30 PM), Friday 8th (ZID at 7:10 PM), Saturday 9th (DEO at 8:10 PM), Sunday 10th (MAZ at 7:40 PM), Tuesday 12th (LIT at 7:00 PM), Wednesday 13th (LIT, continued at 8:15 PM), Saturday 16th (PAZ at 9:00 AM), Sunday 17th (ZON at 9:30 AM), Monday 18th (ARN at 9:20 AM), Tuesday 19th (LIL at 1:30 PM), Wednesday 20th (ARN, continued at 8:35 PM).
    The Algerian resort towns of Bou Saâda and Biskra, in and around which most of this month's Aires were scryed, were inexpensive and easily accommodating to francophone tourists under the French colonial administration of the time. Bou Saâda (meaning "place of happiness"), one of the chief towns of the Médéa province, is a true oasis just north of the Sahara desert, with an Arabic "hsar" or old walled quarter of narrow winding alleys and archways, adjacent to the newer section of French commercial developments. A speciality of the markets there are the long tapering bousaadi knives, used alike by Arabs and Berbers.

O.T.O. Initiations

    Initiations for advancement in Ordo Templi Orientis will be held on Saturday 16th December, beginning at noon. As usual at Thelema Lodge, attendance at O.T.O. initiations is open only by prior arrangement to active initiates of the requisite degree. A feast will follow the ritual at the close of the afternoon; these initiations have been scheduled on purpose to leave participants with the evening free afterwards, since there is a musical jam scheduled at Oz later that night. Please note the early opening at noon and arrive on time, as we will have a busy oasis all afternoon.
    Initiation in O.T.O. is available to all who are free and of full age, and of good report. Forms can be obtained from the lodge with which applicants may declare their candidacy. There is a probationary period of forty days (minimum) following the submission of an application to the O.T.O. Initiation Secretary, so prospective candidates are urged to plan well in advance when contemplating admission or advancement; additional time is sometimes required by the lodge for scheduling. Our calendar is organized by the lodgemaster, with whom all candidates are responsible for maintaining contact. Consult before or after most lodge events, or call (510) 652-3171 for information. Payment of dues and fees is to be made by candidates immediately before initiations are performed; neither early nor late payments is acceptable at Thelema Lodge.

Study Groups, Workshops, and Events

    Thelema Lodge proudly offers our new series of "Yoga for Yahoos" with instruction by Ann, which meets fortnightly in Horus Temple on Saturday afternoons at 1:00. This month's meetings will be on Saturday 9th December and Saturday 23rd December. The exercises, which follow the traditional pattern of a Salutation to the Sun and sequence of asanas, proceed fairly rapidly in the system Ann has designed for us, which is adapted from practices of Astanga yoga in widespread use. You can be assured of a fairly good workout, but this is a style of yoga especially adapted towards dissolution into bliss as the session closes. Participants bring loose flexible clothing, and Ann supplies floor-mats which work even on the polished hardwood of Hours Temple.

    Grace Astrological Services of Berkeley offers the Thelema Lodge Astrological Cycles workshop this month, with a focus on the movements and patterns of the planet Mars. Join Grace on Friday evening 29th December from 7:00 to 9:00 at her home for an evening of energy and active desire, including competition and antagonism, but also engagement and accomplishment. Mars, man and soldier, combining discipline and carelessness, organization and resistance, the partisan, adventurer, and thug, will be seen in all his splendor and vulgarity to be much more than just "the planet with a hard-on." It is particularly requested that all who attend should contact Grace in advance at (510) 843-STAR. Bring your own natal chart for comparison as we track the Cycles of Mars.

    The John Dee Reading Group with Clay Holden meets at 8:00 on Monday evening 11th December in the Thelema Lodge library. We will be completing our study of Mysteriorum Liber Primus with this meeting, after last month's exploration of such topics as Soyga, the Holy Seal and Table, the spirit Lundrumguffa, the strength and mighty hand of God, the Angelus tuae professionis, and the PELE seal ring, in Dee's scrying conversations with the angels Uriel and Michael recorded in March 1582. Next month this group will continue through the second book of this earliest series of Dee's angelic diaries, in reproductions of his own manuscript with Clay's scholarly transcription on facing pages for easy reading.

    The first performance of the Enochian Liturgy Project's "Angelmas," still in preliminary form, will be held at 3:00 on Sunday afternoon 10th December, at Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar Street (one block east of Shattuck Avenue) in Berkeley. There will be live music, a Renaissance eucharistic ceremony, and an abundance of Enochian, all rolled into one original and experimental ritual event! Everyone is welcome to participate, and to join in our planning for future performances of this rite.

    Caitlin leads our "Section Two Reading Group" in an evening with Le Comte de Gabalis on Monday evening 18th December at Oz House, beginning at 8:00. First published anonymously in Paris in 1670, bearing the subtitle The Extravagant Mysteries of the Cabalists, expounded in Five pleasant Discourses on the Secret Societies, this oddly unbalanced satirical treatise touches upon elemental sex magic, and was quickly banned in France after selling out several editions in its first few months. Written by an obscure cleric called the Abbé Nicholas P. H. de Montfaucon de Villars (born 1635, ordained 1667, assassinated 1673), who had come to Paris from Toulouse, The Extravagant Mysteries of the Comte de Gabalis became popular again in English translation early in the following century. Along with several imitations and related works, it created a popular interest in erotic contacts with elemental spirits, which continued to raise eyebrows as these ideas were absorbed back into the folk-tale tradition.

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    Sirius Oasis holds its monthly meeting in Berkeley on Wednesday 13th December at 8:00. Call the Oasis at (510) 525-2855 for directions and information. Entertainment of a Siriusly Science Fictional variety is planned for most oasis meetings this season, with a few practical arrangements also to be discussed as initiation plans and occasional rituals are scheduled.

    Thelema Lodge Library Nights are scheduled to facilitate the use of our extensive reading and reference collections by members and friends of the lodge. As usual, the proposed library dates this month are tentative, and must be confirmed with one of the lodge officers in advance; they are subject to revision according to the needs of our members and the availability of our librarian and other officers. This month's dates are Monday 4th December and Wednesday 20th December, from 8:00 until 10:00 in the evening.

    Our "Lodge Luncheon" and business meeting will be held early this month, due to mailing difficulties at the close of the vulgar year which necessitate an early deadline for all calendar and events descriptions and other newsletter submissions for next month. Join us at Thelema Lodge for lunch served by the lodge officers on Sunday afternoon 3rd December at 12:30, with open discussion to follow. All attending please contact the lodgemaster in advance so that we can plan the meal efficiently. Bring your ideas for future classes and events, descriptions of recent activities for publication in the newsletter, and initiative for further developing our facilities. Last month's temple improvements have made it much easier for us to organize our vestments for the mass, and the installation of special friction strips under the temple carpet has also given our rituals a more firm foundation.

Crowley Classics

    Originally published in the December 1917 e.v. issue of The International (New York), 366-7.

Pax Hominibus Bonae Voluntatis

by Aleister Crowley

    THESE words, "Peace to men of good will," have been mistranslated, "Good will towards men." Christ said that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword; that he would divide mother from son and father from daughter, careless of the effect of such remarks upon the feelings of Dr. Sigmund Freud. There is no warrant to suppose that Christ was any kind of a Pacifist. On the contrary, he not only prophesied the most terrible wars and disasters to humanity, which, by the theory, he had absolute power to stop, but he threatened eternal damnation to the great mass of men. Billy Sunday's presentation of Christ is a perfectly scriptural one. Christmas is therefore a season of peace to men of good will, and to them only. But who are these men of good will? Only those who happen to agree with us for the moment.
    We have the most artistic photographs dating back not so long ago of Mr. Roosevelt with his arm around the Kaiser's neck. Immediately before the war Mr. Erbert G. Wells published a book in which he said that Germany was the one country in the world worth living in. German science, German manners, German morals, German everything was the only love of Mr. Erbert G. Wells. No sooner did war break out than he published another book to prove that Germans were raving maniacs hypnotized by Nietzche. It is evident from these shining examples that our humanitarianism, like all other forms of thought, is strictly limited by time and space. The circumstances of the moment must rule our deepest beliefs. In other words we must be opportunists. The idea of moral character is outworn and ridiculous. Herbert Spencer has shown that the animal which adapts himself to his circumstances is going to survive longer than those who resist their environment. Away then with all considerations of principle! Good feeling, honor, truthfulness are merely false ideas. They are liable at any moment to get you into a mess. We must do as Mr. Pickwick said, "Shout with the largest crowd." One of the most dangerous things that we can do is to think for ourselves. Archimedes lost his life through being intent upon a geometrical problem when he ought to have been reading the newspapers so as to see the proclamation that his life was to be spared. His business was really to identify himself, and claim the protection of the conquerors. We hope that no reader of this paper is so foolish as to try to think for himself. What are papers for, but to save all this trouble? The only problem that can possibly present itself to us is this, "Which is the largest crowd?"
    The idea of resisting repression is a totally wrong one. Christ submitted willingly to what is generally admitted to be the greatest crime ever perpetrated, although, as he himself explained, he had twelve legions of angels actually mobilized, which would have made as short work of the Romans as the angels of Mons did of the Germans in the early part of the war.
    I have never been able to understand, by the way, why the angels contented themselves with a single victory. It would have been much nicer for everybody if they had marched straight on to Berlin. I have, therefore, the highest authority for submission to any kind of tyranny. Christ said once again, "Agree with thy adversary quickly while thou art in the way with him, lest he deliver thee to the officer and the officer deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the jailor, verily I say unto thee, thou shalt not come out till thou hast paid the very last mite," or words to that effect.
    It is sometimes a little awkward to draw one's morals exclusively from the teachings of Christ. They sometimes lead apparently to contradictory conclusions; and, being equally bound by both, contentions arise in ourselves which are only too likely to lead to a neurosis; and that, as you know, leads to a kind gentleman asking us about what happened when we were three years old. The Australians have a better way of explaining these things. They say truthfully, "Oh, you are all right," and then as a sort of after thought, sadly, "It is a pity the tree fell on you."
    Religion is in some respects a difficult if not a fallacious guide. Quot homines tot sententiae;1 or, as the Indians say, "A new language every eight miles." Our true guide is certainly the biological indication. Now, as explained above, biology counsels adaptation to circumstance. We shall save ourselves knocks if we do what the other man tells us without any grumbling. We may go so far perhaps as to say "brute" or "pig" when he is not within an ear shot, but even that is a little dangerous, tending rather to the calamity of thinking for ourselves. However, there are certain animals whose idea of biological adaptation is not quite so simple. There is the tiger, who adjusts his environment, or himself to his environment, by means of tooth and claw. The question is whether man is a savage brute like a tiger, or a dear little caterpillar whose highest aim in life is to look like a dead twig. It depends very largely as far as I can make out whether one happens to be a vegetarian or otherwise. It is a remarkable fact that this article appears to lead absolutely no where. The biological test of conduct breaks down in very much the same way as the religious test. What are we to do?
    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law!
    Now perhaps we shall get somewhere. If we conceive of each individual (with his heredity and environment complete) as a machine constructed to serve one definite purpose and one only, we relieve ourselves at once from all difficulty about moral judgment. We can justify the existence of President Wilson in keeping us out of war, making the world safe for democracy, and all these nice things which he does so splendidly; and we can also justify the existence of the monster, tyrant, assassin and religions maniac invented by the New York papers and labeled William. The economy of nature provides for all types. You cannot feed a horse on rabbits or a snake on grass, in spite of Mr. Swinburne's remarks about "the chewing of some perfumed deadly grass." At the same time, we have a perfect right to take sides with either the horse or the snake. If I were a machine made in Germany, I have no doubt that I should shout, "Hoch der Kaiser" whenever there was a slight lull in the conversation. Even so, if I had been born in a cannibal island, I should have been constantly agitating for a regular supply of missionaries, and cursed my local Hoover if the distribution was insufficient or the price prohibitive. So long, then, as we are true to ourselves, it is as with William Schwenck Gilbert, "You are right and I am right and everyone of us is right." At the present juncture my righteousness consists of being an animal of such a nature as to wish the power to pass into the hands of those people who are reasonable. I do not quarrel with any one for being insane. I think he is perfectly right to maintain that he is a poached egg; but I also think that it would be more generally convenient if he airs that belief in seclusion. He will probably disagree with me; and we shall then proceed to submit the issue to various methods of arbitrament, ending with that of arms. But let there be no mistake about it, both sides are absolutely in the right. Even if I prove that the other man is dishonest in his belief in the righteousness of submarine warfare of whatever it may be, the situation is not changed at all. He has a perfect right to be dishonest if he wants to. I may dislike this quality in him so much that I am willing to kill him as the only cure; and he is equally right to kill me if he dislikes the color of my necktie. How many people were killed because they wanted to spell "Homoousios," "Homoiousios" with the iota? But one thing seems evident to me: that unless we get rid of our hypocritical Anglo-Saxon plague of Pharisaism, we shall never be fit to live with.
    The other day I came into a fortune, and went to buy a necktie. The young man (or should I say gentleman) who accommodated me in this matter was English, and remembered me in those days of glory when I wandered in Bond street, and bought as many as three neckties on the same day. Having purchased my tie and wept together about Bond street, we began to talk about the war. I said to him: "If I had come into this shop (or should I say store) with the firm conviction that you were a dangerous maniac, thirsting for my blood, that you were insensible to every feeling of humanity, that the fiercest and most malignant wild beasts had nothing on you (I believe that is the correct phrase) in the matter of atrocity, I do not think we should have settled this matter of the tie (or should I say neckwear) with the philosophic calm which has characterized our interview up to this point." I regret to say that this person was so lost to all sense of patriotism as to agree with me.
    It is necessary in many circumstances to fight; and, in order to fight well, one needs certain quite definite qualities. In olden days I did a good deal of fencing, by which I do not mean receiving stolen goods. I mean the play of rapier and small-sword. I learned that I must be entirely concentrated on the business on hand, and that elaborate arguments purporting to prove that my opponent was a Chinaman or a heretic, were out of place. I learned also that my best chance of defeating him was to know what he was going to do before he did it; to read his mind in his eye and his wrist. I think it will be clear that in order to read the man's mind, you must put away from you anything like emotion. You are there to kill him efficiently, and you should practice the detachment of the surgeon, who does not wring his hands and wail when he sees the patient on the operating table.
    Whether we want to fight Germany or come to an amicable understanding with her does not matter. In either case, we are handicapping ourselves by hating her. We are failing to see her point of view. The Germans are under the monstrous delusion that God is with them; that they are fighting for their hearths and altars. It is none of our business to cure that delusion. We must accept it in estimating their minds. We can tell what they will do as soon as we can tell what they are thinking; if we make any mistake as to what they are thinking, we can no longer tell what they will do. Just so long as we hate them, we blind our eyes and confuse our minds. Now, with regard to German atrocities, they may be perhaps a little more systematic than atrocities on the other side; but that is evidence of more system, not of more ferocity. I think, therefore, that we do wrong in blaming either side for any atrocity that they may have committed, whether it is the murder of an English nurse or a Javanese dancer.
    And surely the rape and murder of a single Frenchwoman by one of the heroes who are saving France may outweigh a thousand such crimes committed by avowed enemies.
    The mildest of animals, if it feels itself cornered, will resort to every means of defense. Queensberry rules were not invented for men who are scrapping in a life and death combat. How is it that the sentimental stay-at- home, domestic German becomes Giant Blunderbore? It is not a miracle. It is not an outbreak of collective sadism. It is simply the feeling that he is cornered. All Germans feel this. It may be a delusion on their part; but they have it; and we have to act on the assumption that they have it. Now what is the proper way to deal with people in this situation? There is only one sensible thing to do. We must remove the cause of their belief. Until we do this they are assuredly right in continuing to believe it. We should, therefore, say, "My dear friends, you are quite wrong in supposing that you are cornered. We do not wish to hurt you. We wish to come to an agreement with you on the points in dispute." This may be a little difficult, as we have all forgotten what those points were; but at least we can try to come to some arrangement as to what is best to be done. In other words, let us quit fighting for a few weeks or months, and have a conference. If nothing happens, we can go on fighting again with renewed zest. Speaking as an Irishman, I might go further and suggest talking and fighting at the same time -- an ideal state of affairs! Now one cannot help saying that the Germans have shown their good faith in this matter very clearly. They are always proposing "peace conferences," thereby indicating that we are not, as some of their publicists maintain, "a gang of enraged millionaires bent upon destroying German liberties as American liberties have already been destroyed," but a set of sensible people who want to settle down and live happily ever after. We reply, "Certainly not, you are monsters. On with the revel!" In such circumstances the German can hardly be blamed for thinking that we are set upon their utter destruction, and this thought is bound to destroy in them all considerations of mercy and kindness, or even ordinary reasonableness. They must argue that we who will not even discuss the question of peace can be none other than Huns. (Now I've said it!) I am told that the German officer is not sincere. Then call the bluff by agreeing to the principle of conference. We need not be afraid of an armistice; time is on our side, not theirs.
    Where such ideas are pushed to the limit the results are utterly abominable. We need only refer to the destruction of one of the finest races of the world, the American Indian, which was due to nothing but the conviction that he was a remorseless and treacherous savage. The American Civil War would have resulted in the utter ruin of the whole country had it not been that Grant, in the moment of victory, forgot all about Simon Legree, dismissed the whole howling of the wolves of the press as nonsense, and observed succinctly: Let us have peace.

1. "however many people, there are as many meanings" (Terence, Phormio, line 454), trans. ed

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from the Grady Project:

The Cynic

The passions of my youth have burned me dry
And unrequited dreams stand in my eyes.
They were my hopes, and now they ill disguise
My futile gesturings. They pass me by.

I would admit no mystery so high
As to be sacred from my questing pries,
Nor would I seek defeat in compromise
But stood athwart the sky-winds; such was I.

The bright-eyed dreams of youth are dead and gone,
My destiny is done, my die is cast.
Perhaps there will be surcease with the dawn;

Perhaps, but I have thought that in the past.
The wheeling universe grinds on and on
Insensible, insatiate, and vast.

-- Grady Louis McMurtry

Originally published in The Grady Project 1 (Berkeley, CA: Thelema Lodge, O.T.O., October 1987). This poem, written at Chartres in France after the Normandy invasion, was what Grady himself later described as "sort of a real downer trip," although when he sent it to Crowley a few months later it was singled out to his surprise for special praise.

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Quotations Related to Symbolic, Philosophic,
and Historic Doctrines of Ancient
and Accepted Freemasonry,
selected by Frater Drax

    The most widely disseminated of the ancient worships were those of Isis, Orpheus, Dionusos, Ceres, and Mithras. Many barbarous nations received the knowledge of the Mysteries in honor of these divinities from the Egyptians, before they arrived in Greece; and even in the British Isles the Druids celebrated those of Dionusos, learned by them from the Egyptians.
    The mysteries of Eleusis, celebrated at Athens in honor of Ceres, swallowed up, as it were, all the others. All the neighboring nations neglected their own, to celebrate those of Eleusis; and in a little while all Greece and Asia Minor were filled with Initiates. They spread into the Roman Empire, and even beyond its limits, "those holy and august Eleusinian Mysteries," said Cicero, "in which the people of the remotest lands are initiated." Zosimus says that they embraced the whole human race; and Aristides termed them the common temple of the whole world.

-- General Albert Pike 33°
A.A. Scottish Rite, Morals
and Dogma
(new and revised
edition, 1950), 352-3.

    Tons Brunes, who dedicated his The Secret of Ancient Geometry to the Fraternity of Free Masons, shows that the Great Pyramid, like most of the great temples of antiquity, was designed on a basis of advanced but Hermetic geometry known only to initiates . . . Brunes shows how the ancient Egyptians used the basic design of a circle inscribed in a square to divide both circle and square geometrically into equal parts from 2 to 10, and all their possible multiples, without recourse to measuring or arithmetical calculations, with the aid of nothing but a straightedge and compass . . . common emblems, along with the Pyramid, of Masonic orders of yesterday and today.
    In Brunes' reconstruction of secret geometry, the cross emerges as the first geometric addition to the circle and square, and is the key not only to the solution of geometric problems but to the development of numerals and alphabet . . . . [He] demonstrates how the circle inscribed in a square and quartered by a cross enabled the ancient Egyptian geometer to inscribe in a circle the basic figures of pentagon, hexagon, octagon, and decagon. Of these the pentagon with its five-pointed star is perhaps the most important: it automatically produces the Golden Section and the Phi proportion in the simplest geometric manner. Furthermore, the side of a pentagon inscribed in a circle whose circumference is equal to the perimeter of the Pyramid will be equal to the apothem, or slant height of the Pyramid, which will be the value of Phi.

-- Peter Tomkins, Secrets of
the Great Pyramid
(New York:
Harper and Row, 1971),
261-2, with reference to The
Secret of Ancient
Geometry by
Tons Brunes (Copenhagen:
Chronos Press, 1967).

    Editorial references: "this circle squared in its failure is a key also," Liber AL, ch. III; compare the hand written circle-cross glyph on manuscript "grid-work" page, where all the writing "squared." The circle containing a cross is the Egyptian hieroglyph that represents a walled city, the circle being the wall surrounding cross-roads, thus this glyph translates as "community, communion, common purpose." Also, the Circle containing a five- pointed star is the Egyptian hieroglyph for "Heaven," and the most traditional design for circles used in ceremonial ritual.

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L V X in Extension

In wings of spirit I take flight
And shift my shape throughout the night.
The breath of wind is ever still
Felt throughout this holy hill.
I fall three times to rise anew
Serpents' poison healed by dew.

Phoenix rising on this path
I feel the strength of storms and wrath.
Enflamed by fires of true will,
O holy angel, my heart is still,
For I have fallen and died in flight
Almost blinded by thy sight.

I rise and stand before the veil
Of mystery and silence on this trail
A gift of breath and visions bright
Floods the pyramid with holy light.

-- Firebird 397          

Inspired by Crowley's HHH, MMM I, with poetic license.

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part X - The Rose and the Scales.

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

    Colors are useful in that they have a system to them. One might think perhaps that a study of colors might be more appropriate for Netzach or even for Tipheret, but in this approach colors are rationally obtained to teach particular relations between Hebrew letters and Sephirot. Such a method is appropriate to Hod. The device shown here is the Golden Dawn rose of letters, the center part of the elaborate Rose-Cross intended to be the back design of the Crowley-Harris Thoth Tarot deck. That device was developed by the G D as an emblem for use in their work. It is derived in part from a crucifix illustrated in a collection of early Rosicruciana variously titled Cosmology or Universal Science. Cabala. Alchemy. containing the Mysteries of the Universe, regarding God Nature Man, the Macrocosm ad Microcosm, Eternity and Time explained according to the Religion of Christ, by means of The Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Franz Hartmann, Occult publishing Co., Boston, 1888 (reprinted by Health Research of Mokelumne Hill, CA in 1969 e.v.) or, more simply and less colorfully, Secret Symbols of the Rosicrucians of the 16th and 17th Centuries, AMORC popular edition, 1967. The Rose itself is apparently an addition by the G D. Recall that in the rainbow there is a color sequence: Red at the top going down into violet at the bottom of the arc. This is the essence behind assigning color to the Hebrew letters in the King Scale, the one that is most often used for the paths on the Tree of Life. This arrangement does not make much sense there, because it is based on this diagram rather than the Tree of Life itself. In the Sepher Yetzirah the Hebrew letters are divided into three types: Three Mother letters, seven Double letters and twelve Singles. This is the way the colors are obtained. In the middle of this diagram are Aleph, Mem and Shin. Aleph is yellow, Mem is blue, and Shin is red. Those are the three primary colors. From them all other colors can be derived by mixing. Aleph has the property of air in the Sepher Yetzirah. Mem is Blue and corresponds to water in the Sepher Yetzirah, and Shin corresponds to fire. The sounds of the Mother letters mimic these elements: Aleph is a breath of air with hardly a sound to it. Mem is a hum like water coursing or rolling. Shin is the hiss of fire. These things are chosen by signature, mimicry of nature and given corresponding colors. That borrows a little from Netzach, where the natural element comes in, but the choice and structure goes to Hod thinking. The ring just outside the inner ring has the seven double letters, colored with the seven colors of the spectrum and corresponding to the seven ancient planets. Their order is not systematic, but the colors are in sequence. The outermost ring is for the twelve signs of the Zodiac and the twelve Simple letters or single letters that match them. An extended rainbow of primary, secondary and tertiary colors runs around it in order, with crimson or violet-red closing the gap for Qoph and Pisces to complete the circuit.
    The origin of the Golden Dawn color scales varies from old to new source material. The King scale for the letters comes from color theory and 19th century color wheels like this one. That's a fairly recent innovation. There was some knowledge of it in the distant past, but it's only in the last 150 years or so that people have been working with this kind of device. Oddly enough, without too much jiggling a lot in it matches very old systems. The seven prismatic colors do match many of the old ways of referring to the 7 planets. The red of Mars is there, but some of the others are a little less obvious. Yellow for Mercury is not that common; orange is a little more common. Orange for the Sun is acceptable and Green for Venus is quite old. Blue for Jupiter is known from old tradition and Violet for the Moon can be seen in chloride of silver. There is a pattern here that is almost the same as a common ancient pattern of coloring these planets, a good compromise. That's probably why the Golden Dawn insisted upon this system being used for the colors of the paths. It seemed a powerful device, an impressive discovery. The Queen scale lists a collection of alternate colors that have been used: Air -- like the blue of the sky, so Aleph is sky-blue in the Queen scale. The vapor of mercury is purple or violet in color, so Beth, which corresponds to Mercury, can be assigned to purple. The second-string opinions were put in the Queen scale. The Emperor scale is a simple mixture of the colors in the King and Queen scales. There are one or two exceptions, but that is the basic method. For example, Bright Pale Yellow and Sky Blue mix to give a form of Green. Some of the names for these colors are a bit odd; e.g. blue-emerald-green and new yellow leather. Those names come from a color set available in the 1890's and made by Winsor-Newton Ltd. Many of them are still sold as opaque water colors (WN Designers Gouche) in tubes. Some of the members of the Order of the Golden Dawn apparently insisted that certain colors were still being left out. The Empress scale is the funk section but also has a system. This system reflects back to the rose diagram. The three mother letters that are in the middle of that diagram and, in the King scale as yellow, blue, and red, are flecked in the Empress scale. Aleph in the Empress scale is emerald flecked with gold. Mem is white flecked purple. Shin is vermilion flecked crimson and emerald. The 7 double letters are rayed. The 12 single or simple letters are plain, just one pure color, with an unusual instance. This was the letter Qoph, attributed stone color in this scale, but light translucent pinkish brown in the King scale and buff flecked silver white in the Queen scale. Ordinarily flecked colors are not in that scale at all. They are over in the Empress scale normally for the mother letters. So why is this done? Look at the zodiacal sign attributed to Qoph: Pisces. This flecking was the Golden Dawn's way of calling attention to the fact that they were in the Age of Pisces. In the Aquarian Age this color should now be changed, if we are to be consistent with the system underlying the G D attributions. It's a question of what to do with Aquarius and Tzaddi as well. A flecking is probably appropriate for that instead of Pisces and Qoph in the Queen scale. Crowley did some manipulations with the Tarot cards, moving the Emperor and the Star around to reflect the astrological world age. These kinds of things, although they are not primarily Qabalistic, involve thinking and do flow into the use of Qabalah. Astrology and other disciplines do play a part in Qabalah, as the Sepher Yetzirah shows by mentioning them.

    Note: The Sepher Yetzirah was serialized in the Thelema Lodge Calendar in the January through July 1993 e.v. issues. A separate ASCII file is also available on 93 Net BBS's and at some Internet FTP sites.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah, Part IX    Next: More on Sephirot color correspondences.

Primary Sources

   Small Burdens
    In this letter from 1946 e.v., Crowley recounts some of the limitations of his last year, incidentally giving a bit of insight into details of OTO. As this letter shows, Crowley had neither abandoned the idea of OTO as it presently exists nor had he decided to change the initiation rituals structure. Despite claims in some quarters, it is clear that Crowley intended OTO to continue to have lodges and similar historic structures.


         The Ridge,
  Hastings, England
         {14 March '46}

Dear Grady,
    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

    Yours of Feby. 19th came in this morning. There is something the matter with my eyes, but anyway you have been using a weak ribbon in your typewriter and the letter is difficult to read. It is not altogether your fault; I am going to tackle an optician to-morrow. I think I must have my glasses changed, it is 5 or 6 years since I had any. Anyway it makes it awfully difficult to read such complicated letters as yours.
    I do not really know what is happening with Jack{Parsons}. He wrote me the sort of letter that would have been useful if I had only left him a fortnight before; he always expects me to know what the actual position is down there without any sort of information whatever. It makes it very difficult to answer him.
    I do not think you need fear the competition of AMORC. People who fall for that bunk about learning to play the violin in 6 easy lessons are not going to have anything to do with us, however simply we may try to put things.
    The financial position of the Lodge with respect to Grand Lodge has never been properly understood, I think, by any of you. The idea was that all fees and subscriptions from any of the Lodges should be sent to Grand Lodge and re- distributed to the several Lodges in accordance with their needs. I see now that this plan was really only practicable in an "era of abundance", because it makes no allowance for the time lag.
    Anyhow, I cannot see any sense in it; for one thing, Jack clamors for the 5th degree, but as noone has yet put on the Minerval the way it should be put on, this is nonsense.
    I think it is a great mistake for any one to write to me for advice. I am altogether too far away. I know too little about the situation, and I have not the sort of mind that is needed to organise things properly.
    I have not been through your report properly yet. I have been out of sorts for the last few weeks; and every time I pick up a long serious document I just sigh and put it down again. I think I shall be better after I have finished with the dentist, which should only be 2 or 3 weeks from now.
    Forgive me if I break off here; my eyes are really bothering me so much that I feel totally unable to deal with your letter as I should like.


Love is the law, love under will

                     Yours fraternally,
                         {signed} Aleister

Capt. Grady L. McMurtrie{sic}
1661 Sacramento St., Apt. 3
San Fran. 91.

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From the Outbasket

Here are some selections from online services, Internet and email discussion, edited for publication:

M on AOL asked about racism in the Order and in Crowley.

    To some extent that would depend on which "order" you are discussing. Most groups drawing on Crowley's work or leadership are not as racist as the general public, in my opinion. There are a great many such orders, most of them modern. I can speak for O.T.O., but others would have to tell you about the other groups.
    In O.T.O., race and gender does not matter. However, Crowley's sense of humor can be a problem. He lived in the last part of the 19th century and down to the mid 20th. Although he was radically tolerant by the standards of his time, his time was 50 years ago; and "tolerance" is not the same as "relaxed acceptance". "Insensitive" would be a good word to qualify Crowley's usage regarding race and gender. He made jokes about Jews, Christians, Hindus, Chinese, Afro-Americans, Arabs, English, Irish and practically every other ethnic group, focusing the most negativity on his own family connections. One of his chapters in a larger work would be an instant turn-off by title alone: "Niggers and other Monsters" -- however, when one reads a little way past that inflammatory heading, it turns out that Crowley is denouncing racism as sick delusion, the "Monsters" part being a reference to social hallucination and the racist term being treated as an insane label. Perhaps Crowley's occasional crudeness accounts for it, but there are fewer members of African descent in O.T.O. than are represented in the general population. We have had and continue to have O.T.O. groups led by Afro-Americans here in the US, as well as marriages between different races. Malicious racial prejudice in action is grounds for expulsion from O.T.O. membership. The deities of Liber AL are north African, for that matter.
    If you have ever seen the old Benny Hill Show on television, you have an idea of the sort of attitude Crowley had toward races. It is characteristically British and derived from Music Hall comedy. It can be a turn off.
    To put it another way, AC was not PC (politically correct). Thelema and O.T.O. are not racist by nature, but many of the members need exposure to other races to get their heads straight. The more variety we have in O.T.O., the better for everybody. Exposure to other races means persons of every race and culture are benefited by encounters with persons of every other race and culture -- no matter which is which. Some are insensitive to the impact of their casual words. Some are oversensitive to idiotic remarks made without forethought or understanding. The only way to work those problems out is to get together and relax about it.

Q on AOL stated: "Sex has to be the basis of Thelemic Magick."

    Only in the sense that sex can be considered the basis of all religion, psychology &c. -- in other words, it's possible to think from this point of view, but it's not necessary. I agree that contemporary sexual views need a lot of work, if one is to be able to accomplish much.
    O.T.O. does use kundalini yoga elements, hence also sex to an extent. A A uses sexual imagery in some of the Class A libers, but it's much less intrinsic than in the O.T.O. approach. Thelema itself uses sexual roles in Liber AL, but does not mandate anything about sex magick per say.

S.B. described an inscription in a copy of Liber AL:

    "To Fra. Scire P.I. from ... Baphomet X° O.T.O. on his affiliation"

    The details of the inscription are strong evidence that Gardner entered OTO via affiliation from co-masonry or regular masonry and that the copy was presented in May of 1947 e.v.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for December 1995 e.v.

12/3/95Lodge Luncheon Meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
12/3/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/4/95Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
12/9/95Class: Yoga for Yahoos w/Ann 1PMThelema Ldg.
12/10/95"Angelmas" Grace North Church 3PM
12/10/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/11/95John Dee reading group 8:00PM
with Clay in the Library
Thelema Ldg.
12/13/95Sirius Oasis meeting 8:PM BerkeleySirius Oasis
12/16/95O.T.O. Initiations Noon
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
12/17/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/18/95Section 2 reading group, 8PM at OZ
Comte de Gabalis.
Thelema Ldg.
12/20/95Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
12/22/95Winter Solstice Ritual at Oz House
7:30PM (Sol ent. Capricorn 0:17AM)
Thelema Ldg.
12/23/95Class: Yoga for Yahoos w/Ann 1PMThelema Ldg.
12/24/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/25/95Lesser Feast of the Aeon of Osiris
12/29/95Astrological Cycles workship 7PM
with Grace in Berkeley
Thelema Ldg.
12/31/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema 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.

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