Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 1996 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for March 1996 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, 1996 e.v.

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

March 1996 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Vernal Equinox Greetings

      Thelemites observe the Equinox of the Gods in celebrating the turn of the year at the vernal equinox, and we will mark the 92nd anniversary of the aeon of Horus as Sol enters Aries on Wednesday 20th March. Attributed in Crowley's style to the major atus of the Book of Thoth, this will put us in IV4, the year of the Emperor. The lodge will gather for a ritual of the equinox, beginning that evening promptly at 7:00, with a communal feast to follow. Late-comers will be welcome until 9:00. Please contact the lodge and arrange to contribute to the meal, and to the ritual as well.

Gnostic Catholic Church

      Thelema Lodge offers an open celebration of the gnostic mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica in Horus Temple every Sunday evening beginning at 8:00. Please phone ahead at (510) 652-3171 for information and directions if you have not attended mass here before. Members are invited to contact the lodgemaster to schedule mass teams for the temple. (We like to think about six weeks ahead for the mass schedule, though more immediate dates may occasionally be available.) A descriptive outline of the essential workings of our liturgy was recently prepared by gnostic bishop T Dionysus, which he has kindly allowed us to quote.
      "We still use Crowley's ritual as our regular communion service. Not every O.T.O. group performs these services regularly, or even at all. Thelema Lodge is the only one I know of which has them every week, a custom going back well over fifteen years now. The format of the mass may be somewhat briefly described: the Temple consists of a shrine in the 'East' wherein is an altar, to the 'West' stands an upright tomb, in a line between them are two small altars, one for fire and air (nearer the shrine) and one for earth and water (nearer the tomb).
      "After the People (as the worshippers are titled) have assumed their seats, the Deacon performs a banishing ritual. Then he or she greets the People and leads them in recital of our creed. Then the Priestess enters, circumambulates the Temple, coming to a halt before the tomb in the 'West' where she summons forth the Priest, who she then purifies, consecrates, and adores. At that she is led to and enthroned upon the altar in the 'East' by the Priest, who then purifies, consecrates,and adores her. Then she is veiled within the shrine, and the Priest circumambulates the Temple, until, halting before the veiled shrine, he slowly approaches it through an invocation of the archetypical trinity of infinity, divinity, and unity. Finally, at the bidding of the Priestess, he pierces and then sweeps aside the veils, revealing her in all her glory, as he declares a litany of divine names. Then he falls at the Priestess' knees while the People rise to hear the Deacon intone the collects.
      "When the Deacon finishes the People sit and the Priest rises and consecrates the elements; that is, a cup of wine and a host (our host is a homemade cookie called a 'Cake of Light'). Then our anthem is recited or sung (music has been written by a number of different composers, but no tune has ever caught on at Thelema Lodge). Next the Priest and Priestess together perform the 'mystic marriage' of the elements, followed by the Priest's consumption of the sacraments (at the hand of the Priestess); he then declares himself to the People, who rise and, one by one, come up and take communion, similarly declaring themselves. When everyone present has communicated (nonparticipators are not supposed to attend the Gnostic Mass) the altar is veiled, the Priest blesses the People and then retires to the tomb. The ceremony is ended, the Temple is opened, and the People dissolve into socializing or departure."


      For those contemplating entry or advancement in O.T.O., applications are always being accepted by the lodge for initiation to the Minerval through the IV°. Candidates may submit the completed form to the lodgemaster, who will forward it to the US Initiation Secretary. The ceremony will then be scheduled, at least forty days after the application has been posted. It will be necessary for the candidate to maintain good contact with the lodge during this waiting period, while the preparations are being made.

Classes and Events

      The Section Two reading group is back with The Shaving of Shagpat by George Meredith, which we will be discussing and reading together on Monday evening 18th March at 8:00. Join Caitlin at Oz House in Oakland for this amazing Oriental adventure, as the barber Shibli Bagarag of Shiraz endures the ordeals of pain and passion -- interrupted by many a tale along the way -- in his quest to shave the hairiest and supremely bristling, most luxuriantly piliated Shagpat, whose face has never known the blade.
      Also, for next month's Section Two session, get an early start on our text for April, Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, one of the greatest works of narrative art in our language, and the recension in which the Arthurian mythos has most completely survived into our own imaginations.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

The "Angelmas" Enochian Liturgy group meets for an evening devoted to the theory and technique of scrying, at the lodge on Saturday evening 23rd March at 8:00. Call Michael Sanborn for information at (510) 601-9393.

      The John Dee reading group at Thelema Lodge, led by Clay Holden of the John Dee Society, meets on Monday evening 11th March at 8:00 in the lodge library. Continuing through Liber Mysteriorum Secundus this month, we will see a virtual parade of angelic hosts as they were described by Edward Kelly in Dee's crystal sphere.

      Grace leads our Astrological Cycles workshop series, which will devote an evening to the planet Mercury on Friday 29th March from 7:00 to 9:00. All thelemic students of the stars (ourselves) are welcome, but please contact Grace beforehand to attend, by calling (510) 843-STAR. The group will meet at the Grace Astrology Center in Berkeley. Bring your chart and/or birth data, and we will explore how Mercury manifests in your life.

      Share ideas for future events at Thelema Lodge and assist with temple and library maintenance, as well as helping to prepare this monthly newsletter and sharing your voice in response to some of our lodge correspondence, at our monthly Sunday afternoon lodge luncheon meeting on 10th March. The lodgemaster usually cooks for all, and afterwards we try to get some work done together, from about 12:30 until 2:30. Please give word in advance of your intention to participate, so that preparations may be efficiently handled. Those contributing to the calendar are requested to provide notes for a description of their events, which are to reach the lodge no later than the date of this meeting.

      Our proposed library nights at Thelema Lodge this month are Monday 4th March and Wednesday 27th March, from 8:00 until 10:00. Additional arrangements for library use can often be made by consulting with the lodge officers, and those intending to utilize the scheduled library nights are also requested to confirm these dates in advance.

      Sirius Oasis meets on Monday evening 25th March at 8:00 in the home of the Oasis Master in northern Berkeley. Call ahead for information and directions at (510) 525-2855. We will be looking ahead to the Ancient Ways Festival, which is scheduled this year for 5-9th June at Harbin Hot Springs, Middletown, Lakes County, California. Also, plans are underway already for this year's Rites of Eleusis cycle, which could be scheduled to begin late in the spring- time if an immediate interest is shown. One set of dates being discussed would open with the Rite of Saturn on 18th May, which is a Saturday in the dark of the moon, and proceed at twelve-day intervals through Luna on 29th July when the moon is full.

Crowley Classics

      While traveling in this country during the First World War, Crowley found that "in America, however far one goes, the same hideous homogeneity disappoints one. The relief conferred by the old quarter of New Orleans threw me instantly into an ecstasy of creative energy" (Confessions, p. 777). Later on, Crowley could "not clearly remember . . . my reasons for going to New Orleans almost immediately after returning from Lake Pasquaney." (ibid., p. 817). He arrived on 9 December 1916 e.v., the beginning of his third year in America, a time when later it seemed to Crowley that his mind had become clouded in misery. One of the great loves of his life, Jeanne Foster, had become alienated from him, his financial survival was very doubtful, with only debts to return to in New York, and he needed new clothes and a secretary so that he could write efficiently.
      New Orleans suited Crowley very well, and he stayed several weeks; "the old French-Spanish quarter of the city is the only decent inhabited district that I discovered in America." He lived on Dauphine Street, taking "a room conveniently close to the Old Absinthe House, where one could get real absinthe prepared in fountains whose marble was worn by ninety years' continual dripping" (ibid., p. 817). That first week he twice received sums of money "when I was within a dollar or so of actual starvation." By 27 December he counted only seventy cents to his name, and a recent "passionate appeal" from "the Monkey" in New York began to sound very inviting (A.C. diary, quoted John Symonds, 1989, p. 220-1). Crowley journeyed next to Florida for a visit to some American cousins, the Bishops (including "poor little sixteen-year-old Alma"), where he kept busy completing his novel Moonchild, and the series of Simon Iff stories (both substantially written during seventeen very productive days in the French Quarter), and recovering from the Ordeal of the Magus and "The Beatific Vision" of Tiphereth with which his stay in New Orleans had culminated. By springtime he was back in New York City.
      Crowley was proud of this article, which (along with his essay on Russia) he considered his best travel writing. "My best essay was 'The Green Goddess' written in the old Absinthe House itself, and adorning its main theme the philosophical reflections suggested by absinthe with descriptions of the inn, its guests, and the city" (Confessions, p. 778).
      This second half concludes the essay, begun last month in these pages. Copyright © O.T.O.

Absinthe - The Green Goddess

by Aleister Crowley


      She is a woman of no more than thirty years of age, though she looks older. She comes here at irregular intervals, once a week or once a month; but when she comes she sits down to get solidly drunk on that alternation of beer and gin which the best authorities in England deem so efficacious.
      As to her story, it is simplicity itself. She was kept in luxury for some years by a wealthy cotton broker, crossed to Europe with him, and lived in London and Paris like a queen. Then she got the idea of "respectability" and "settling down in life"; so she married a man who could keep her in mere comfort. Result: repentance, and a periodical need to forget her sorrows. She is still "respectable"; she never tires of repeating that she is not one of "those girls", but "a married woman living far up-town," and that she "never runs about with men."
      It is not the failure of marriage; it is the failure of men to recognize what marriage was ordained to be. By a singular paradox, it is the triumph of the bourgeois, who is the chief supporter of marriage, that has degraded marriage to the level of the bourgeois. Only the hero is capable of marriage as the church understands it; for the marriage oath is a compact of appalling solemnity, an alliance of two souls against the world and against fate, with invocation of the great aid of the Most High. Death is not the most beautiful of adventures, as Charles Frohman said, for death is unavoidable; marriage is a voluntary heroism. That marriage has today become a matter of convenience is the last word of the commercial spirit. It is as if one should take a vow of knighthood to combat dragons -- until the dragons appeared.
      So this poor woman, because she did not understand that respectability is a lie, that it is love that makes marriage sacred and not the sanction of church or state, because she took marriage as an asylum instead of as a crusade, has failed in life, and now seeks alcohol under the same fatal error.
      Wine is the ripe gladness which accompanies valor and rewards toil; it is the plume on a man's lance-head, a fluttering gallantry -- not good to lean upon. Therefore her eyes are glassed with horror as she gazes uncomprehending upon her fate. That which she did all to avoid confronts her; she does not realize that, had she faced it, it would have fled with all the other phantoms. For the sole reality of this universe is God.
      The Old Absinthe House is not a place; it is not bounded by four walls; it is headquarters of an army of philosophies. From this dim corner let me range, wafting thought through every air, salient against every problem of mankind; for it will always return like Noah's dove to this ark, this strange little sanctuary of the Green Goddess which has been set down not upon Ararat, but by the banks of the "Father of Waters."


      Ah! the Green Goddess! What is the fascination that makes her so adorable and so terrible? Do you know that French sonnet "La légende de l'absinthe"? He must have loved it well, that poet. Here are his witnesses.

Apollon, qui pleurait le trépas d'Hyacinthe,
Ne voulait pas céder la victoire à la mort. Il fallait que son âme, adepte de l'essor,
Trouvât pour la beauté une alchemie plus sainte.
Donc, de sa main céleste il épuise, il éreinte
Les dons les plus subtils de la divine Flore.
Leurs corps brisés souspirent une exhalaison d'or
Dont il nous recueillait la goutte de -- l'Absinthe!

Aux cavernes blotties, aux palais pétillants,
Par un, par deux, buvez ce breuvage d'aimant!
Car c'est un sortilège, un propos de dictame,
Ce vin d'opale pale avortir la misère,
Ouvre de la beauté l'intime sanctuaire
- Ensorcelle mon coeur, extasie mon âme!1

      What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? The effects of its abuse are totally distinct from those of other stimulants. Even in ruin and in degradation it remains a thing apart; its victims wear a ghastly aureole all their own, and in their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister perversion of pride that they are not as other men. But we are not to reckon up the uses of a thing by contemplating the
      wreckage of its abuse. We do not curse the seas because of occasional disasters to our mariners, or refuse axes to our woodsmen because we sympathize with Charles the First or Louis the Sixteenth. So therefore as special vices and dangers appertain to absinthe, so also do graces and virtues that adorn no other liquor.
      The word is from the Greek apsinthion; it means "undrinkable" or, according to some authorities, "undelightful." In either case, strange paradox? No; for the wormwood draught itself were bitter beyond human endurance; it must be aromatized and mellowed with other herbs.
      Chief among these is the gracious Melissa, of which the great Paracelsus thought so highly that he incorporated it as the chief ingredient in the preparation of his Ens Melissa Vit‘, which he expected to be an elixir of life and a cure for all diseases, but which in his hands never came to perfection.
      Then also there are added mint, anise, fennel, and hyssop, all holy herbs familiar to all from the Treasury of Hebrew Scripture. And there is even the sacred marjoram which renders man both chaste and passionate; the tender green angelica stalks also infused in this most mystic of concoctions; for like the artemisia absinthium itself it is a plant of Diana, and gives the purity and lucidity, with a touch of the madness, of the Moon; and above all there is the Dittany of Crete of which the eastern Sages say that one flower hath more puissance in high magic than all the other gifts of all the gardens of the world. It is as if the first diviner of absinthe had been indeed a magician intent upon a combination of sacred drugs which should cleanse, fortify, and perfume the human soul.
      And it is no doubt that in the due employment of this liquor such effects are easy to obtain. A single glass seems to render the breathing freer, the spirit lighter, the heart more ardent, soul and mind alike more capable of executing the great task of doing that particular work in the world which the Father may have sent them to perform. Food itself loses its gross qualities in the presence of absinthe, and becomes even as manna, operating the sacrament of nutrition without bodily disturbance.
      Let then the pilgrim enter reverently the shrine, and drink his absinthe as a stirrup-cup; for in the right conception of this life as an ordeal of chivalry lies the foundation of every perfection of philosophy. "Whatsoever ye do, whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God!" applies with singular force to the absintheur. So may he come victorious from the battle of life to be received with tender kisses by some green-robed archangel, and be crowned with mystic vervain in the Emerald Gateway of the Golden City of God.


      And now the café is beginning to fill up. This little room with its dark green woodwork, its boarded ceiling, its sanded floor, its old pictures, its whole air of sympathy with time, is beginning to exert its magic spell. Here comes a curious child, short and sturdy, with a long blonde pigtail, with a jolly little old man, her slave, who looks on, sly and sidelong, as if he had stepped straight out of the pages of Balzac.
      Handsome and diminutive, with a fierce moustache almost as big as the rest of him, like a regular little Spanish fighting cock, Frank, the waiter, in his long white apron, struts to them with the glasses of ice-cold pleasure, green as the glaciers themselves. He will stand up bravely with the musicians by and by, and sing us a jolly song of old Catalonia.
      The door swings open again; a tall dark girl, exquisitely slim and snaky, with masses of black hair knotted about her head, comes in; on her arm is a plump woman with hungry eyes, and a mass of Titian red hair. They seem distracted from the outer world, absorbed in some subject of enthralling interest; and they drink their apéritif as if in a dream. I ask the mulatto boy who waits at my table (the sleek and lithe black panther!) who they are; but he knows only that one is a cabaret dancer, the other the owner of a cotton plantation up river. At a round table in the middle of the room sits one of the proprietors with a group of friends; he is burly, rubicund, and jolly, the very type of the Shakespearian "Mine host." Now a party of a dozen merry boys and girls comes in; the old pianist begins to play a dance, and in a moment the whole café is caught up in the music of harmonious motion. Yet still the invisible line is drawn about each soul; the dance does not conflict with the absorption of the two strange women, or with my own mood of detachment.
      Then there is a "little laughing lewd gamine" dressed all in black save for a square white collar; her smile is broad and free as the sun, and her gaze as clean and wholesome and inspiring. There is the big jolly blonde Irish girl in the black velvet béret and coat, and the white boots, chatting with two boys in khaki from the border; and there is the Creole girl in pure white cap- a-piè, with her small piquant face and its round button of a nose, and its curious deep rose flush, and its red little mouth, impudently smiling. Around these islands seems to flow as a general tide the more stable life of the quarter. Here are honest goodwives, seriously discussing their affairs, and heaven only knows if it be love or the price of sugar which engages them so wholly. There are but a few commonplace and uninteresting elements in the café; and these are without exception men. The giant Big Business is a great tyrant; he seizes all the men for slaves, and leaves the women to make shift as best they can for -- all that makes life worth living. Candies and American Beauty Roses are of no use in an emergency! So, even in this most favored corner, there is dearth of the kind of men that women need.
      At the table next me sits an old, old man. He has done great things in his day, they tell me, an engineer, who first found it possible to dig Artesian wells in the Sahara desert. The Legion of Honor glows red in his shabby surtout. He comes here, one of the many wrecks of the Panama Canal, a piece of jetsam cast up by that tidal wave of speculation and corruption. He is of the old type, the thrifty peasantry; and he has his little income from the Rente. He says that he is too old to cross the ocean -- and why should he, with the atmosphere of old France to be had a stone's throw from his little apartment in Bourbon Street? It is a curious type of house that one finds in this quarter in New Orleans; meagre without, within one comes unexpectedly upon great spaces, carved wooden balconies on which the rooms open. So he dreams away his honored days in the Old Absinthe House. His rusty black, with its worn red button, is a noble wear.
      Black, by the way, seems almost universal among the women; is it instinctive good taste? At least, it serves to bring up the general level of good looks. Most American women spoil what little beauty they may have by overdressing. Here there is nothing extravagant, nothing vulgar, none of the near-Paris-gown and the just-off-Bond-Street hat. Nor is there a single dress to which a Quaker could object. There is neither the mediocrity nor the immodesty of the New York woman, who is tailored or millinered on a garish pattern, with the Eternal Chorus Girl as the Ideal -- an ideal which she always attains, though (Heaven knows!) in "society" there are few "front-row" types.
      On the other side of me a splendid stalwart maid, modern in muscle, old only in the subtle and modest fascination of her manner, her face proud, cruel, and amorous, shakes her wild tresses of gold in pagan laughter. Her mood is universal as the wind. What can her cavalier be doing to keep her waiting? It is a little mystery which I will not solve for the reader; on the contrary --


      Yes, it was my own sweetheart (no! not all the magazines can vulgarize that loveliest of words) who was waiting for me to be done with my musings. She comes in silently and stealthily, preening and purring like a great cat, and sits down, and begins to Enjoy. She knows I must never be disturbed until I close my pen. We shall go together to dine at a little Italian restaurant kept by an old navy man, who makes the best ravioli this side of Genoa; then we shall walk the wet and windy streets, rejoicing to feel the warm subtropical rain upon our faces; we shall go down to the Mississippi, and watch the lights of the ships, and listen to the tales of travel and adventure of the mariners. There is one that moves me greatly; it is like the story of the sentinel of Herculaneum. A cruiser of the U.S. Navy was detailed to Rio de Janeiro. (This was before the days of wireless telegraphy.) The port was in quarantine; the ship had to stand ten miles out to sea. Nevertheless Yellow Jack managed to come aboard. The men died one by one. There was no way of getting word to Washington; and, as it turned out later, the Navy Department had completely forgotten the existence of the ship. No orders came; the captain stuck to his post for three months. Three months of solitude and death! At last a passing ship was signalled, and the cruiser was moved to happier waters. No doubt the story is a lie; but did that make it less splendid in the telling, as the old scoundrel sat and spat and chewed tobacco? No, we will certainly go down, and ruffle it on the wharves. There is really better fun in life than can be got by going to the movies, when you know how to make art with Reality.
      There is beauty in every incident of life; the true and the false, the wise and the foolish, are all one in the eye that beholds all without passion or prejudice; and the secret appears to lie not in the retirement from the world, but in keeping a part of oneself Vestal, sacred, intact, aloof from that self which makes contact with the external universe; in other words, in a separation of that which is and perceives from that which acts and suffers. And the art of doing this is really the art of being an artist. As a rule, it is a birthright; it may perhaps be attained by prayer and fasting; most surely, it can never be bought.
      But if you have it not, this will be the best way to get it -- or something like it. Give up your life completely to the task; sit daily for six hours in the Old Absinthe House, and sip the icy opal; endure till all things change insensibly before your eyes, you changing with them; till you become as gods, knowing good and evil, and this also -- that they are not two but one.
      It may be a long time before the veil lifts; but a moment's experience of the point of view of the artist is worth a myriad martyrdoms. It solves every problem of life and death -- which two also are one.
      It translates this universe into intelligible terms, relating truly the ego with the non-ego, and recasting the prose of reason in the poetry of soul. Even as the eye of the sculptor beholds his masterpiece already existing in the shapeless mass of marble, needing only the loving-kindness of the chisel to cut away the veils of Isis, so you may (perhaps) learn to behold the sum and summit of all grace and glory from this great observatory, the Old Absinthe House of New Orleans.
      V'la, p'tite chatte; c'est fini, le travail. Foutons le camp!2

1.           The Legend of Absinthe

Apollo, who weeps for Hyacinth's demise,
Had not the will to yield this victory to Death.
It must be that the soul, adept in flight,
Has found for beauty the most holy alchemy.
Then with her starry hand exhausted, has used up
The most subtle gifts of the goddess Flora.
Their bodies struggle through the golden gloom
From which we carefully let drip -- Absinthe!

From lowly hovels and from sparkling courts,
Alone, in pairs, come drink of this magnetic fluid!
      Because it is a charm -- as one might say --
The pale opal wine which interrupts all misery,
Manufactured within the secret sanctuary of beauty
-- Bewitch my heart, and captivate my soul!

[trans. ED., with thanks to Frater Valentinus, Soror Anna Perenna, and Frater Majnun, for contributing to our understanding of this poem. We have not succeeded in identifying its authorship, with the obvious suspicion being that the pen was Crowley's own. It does not appear to be the work of any of the major French poets of the nineteenth century, although resemblances to Henedia, Chenier, and Gautier have been suggested. Any critical attention to this poem, and to our efforts at translation, would be very much appreciated.]

2. "There, little kitty, the journey's done; we'll camp here!" -- trans. ED.

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from the Grady Project:

      The Unicorn

I saw the god Harpocrates
Stride forth into the glow
Of cloud bank suns, whole galaxies
Their stars like drifting snow
I saw the wide eternities
Of dust stars sift and flow.

    O Lady Ishtar lift the bowl
    And drain the Life that is our Blood
    O Wine, Illusion of the Soul,
    Be Nectar of the living flood!

O hollow god Harpocrates
Writ large upon the rift
Of space-time continuities
Thy bloodless Saints adrift
Between the walled realities
Have felt the space tide's lift!

    O Lady Ishtar lift the bowl
    And drain the Life that is our Blood
    O Wine, Illusion of the Soul,
    Be Nectar of the living flood!
-- Grady L. McMurtry                  
5/18/61 & 6/11/61                   

Originally published in O.T.O. Newsletter 1:4 (March 1978), then in Ecclesia Gnostica 1:4 (1985). Grady attributed this poem to the Lust Trump in the Thoth deck.

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Book Review

The Egyptian Book of the Dead: "The Book of Going Forth by Day" translated by R. O. Faulkner, introduced with commentary by Dr. Ogden Goelet of New York University, prefaced by Carol Andrews, and with a foreword by Jim Wasserman. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1994, 175 pp.

      I was quite impressed with this book in many ways. I think it must have been a monumental task to arrange for all the permissions to bring this to market. It's quite beautiful.
      The artwork is one of its strengths. Using Photoshop they restored this work; a much better presentation than I have ever seen before. The plates are wonderfully presented. Larger scenes are not broken up for the convenience of the bookmaker, but the book is made to conform with the intent of the scene, even where fold-out pages are needed. Color is restored from the E. A. W. Budge reproductions of the Papyrus of Ani, and damage repaired, to complete and restore images.
      The translator is R. O. Faulkner. Faulkner wrote the book on translating material such as this -- literally, his Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian is the standard reference. As is his translation of the Coffin Texts, and also the Book of the Dead. I have found him to be an excellent translator, but I enjoy the freedom to be able to refer to the scroll itself on some of the references. Great combo, that artwork and this translation!
      I also particularly liked the commentary in the back of the book by Dr. Goelet. His history of this class of literature places the papyrus of Ani in context; we get a good idea of its evolution. For those of us who practice magick his section on the vocabulary of Magic will be of especial interest:
      "The number of words in the Egyptian language which could be translated as 'magic' is an indication of the complexity of their thoughts concerning magic. The most common and important of these words is heka, whose Coptic equivalent was later used to render the Greek word magia in the Coptic New Testament. In Egyptian texts the word was virtually interchangeable with Heka, the deity personifying magic."
      "In the realm of Egyptian magic, actions did not necessarily speak louder than words -- they were often one and the same thing. Thought, deed, image, and power are theoretically united in the concept heka."
      At a list price of only $25 or so I would recommend this book to anyone within reach of this review. After all, the deities might have chosen Egyptian images for our Holy Book on purpose! And if that is the case it would behoove us to become familiar with this work. After all, the Stele of Revealing quotes from it, and there are more than a few of the rituals of the Argentum Astrum that use it. So run right out and get a copy! Thanx, Jim; intense concept, well done! Thank everyone involved.

-- Fra. 137

An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XIII -Spirits and Family in the Four Worlds..

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

      "Pantheons" of spirits are assigned to the Tree of Life by hierarchy. Atzilut is the realm of the deities, the highest spirits which ultimately are One Spirit. These may have different names as understood below, but up above they are all one. Briah is said to be the realm of the Archangels. The angels are assigned to Yetzirah. Down in Assiah are the spirits that confuse, the nervous-breakdown angels and archangels that are considered demons and arch-devils. This is how the hierarchies go in the four worlds. The elemental attributions are: Atziluth-fire, Briah-water, Yetzirah-air, and Assiah-earth -- by correspondence to the letters in the Hebrew name YHVH. To Yod, the first letter of Jehovah, is fire; to Heh, the second letter, is water; in their mingling we naturally get steam, Vau and air, the third letter; and finally Heh, the last letter, corresponding to earth. We will return to this spiritual ordering in later installments, but it is necessary to look at something else first.
      Here is one of the things that is difficult to understand in Qabalistic works. Such writings speak of Macroprosophus, or the Great Face, the Vast Countenance; Abba, the Father; Aima the mother; Microprosophus, the Lesser Countenance; and the Bride of this Lesser Countenance, Malkah. This is an attempt to explain things in a nice simple family relationship on the Tree of Life according to the way Jewish families lived perhaps a thousand years ago. There was a grandfather, the Vast Countenance with a white beard. There was a father and mother. The eldest son had to find himself a bride. That's seeing the Tree as a family allegory, but what else is it? The idea of many, a multiplication of essential unity, is symbolized by the firstborn son. The first born of an old style family is the number one hope for the future. Even grandpa, although vastly respected, is not given as much attention as that first born son. The family will try to analyze every fragment of his beliefs -- everything he says and does is subject to close scrutiny. If you live in such a family or know such a family well, you don't have to think about the pattern; but you will understand what all of this upon the Tree of Life is about. If you do not understand the pattern of such a traditional family, you will need some help. To do that, we must descend to the third level on the Qabalistic system, to the level of symbols instead of the world of Briah (the world corresponding to allegory).
      The symbol of the Great Face, the Macroprosopus, Keter up on the Tree is the archetype of the whole universe. That's why it's called the Great Face. It is the whole show as a single symbol, the perfect being. We can explain this with an allegory of Briah: Grandfather is the one that made it. If there hadn't been a successful grandfather there wouldn't be a mother and a father and a child. Everybody looks back to what Grandfather did. He's the one who earned the wealth and provided the home. His son, the Father of the next generation, had to work for a living, but the Son in the third generation can be given an education and other advantages. The beginner, the mystery beyond all things, is Keter. Grandpa may even be dead by now, out of touch, or just hard to talk to; but everybody knows that if it wasn't for Grandpa, if it wasn't for Keter, there wouldn't be a family at all. The Father (Chokmah) and the Mother (Binah) have an understandable role. If there wasn't a Father and a Mother there wouldn't be a Son. Father and Mother probably would have had a rougher time of it if it hadn't been for Grandpa's money. Who is the Son or the Daughter? -- remember that sexual symbolism to the Tree is often more a matter of tradition than essential to the ideas.
      The middle six Sephirot on the Tree are You, your awareness, all of the states of consciousness a person may reasonably expect in mundane Life. There is an essence beyond those Sephirot that is like a mother in a family. There is some aspect behind "her" that is like a father, and there's a vast essence behind that like grandpa and grandmas' days. The main thing is the set of six Sephirot inside you. Yesod is your awareness of fantasy. Hod is your reasoning ability in practical terms, Netzach is your emotional pattern and Tipheret is the sense of who you are and the answer to the question: "What do you do?" Geburah is the higher reason, the sense of what should be. This is the moral sense, but not a memorized set of do's and don't's. Chesed is the sense of expansion, of religion, of mystic enlightenment and of ecstasy. All those are the proper constituents of a normal human being. If that person or Microprosophus has a good relationship with the environment, there is a marriage to the earth. That bride or bridegroom is Malkut. In this, Adam Kadmon is a celestial model of a human being; the senses and faculties unite with a mind reaching back to the founding generations, like a grown child with the spirits of the ancestors carried upon his or her shoulders. The Egyptians represented this as the young Horus, carrying the dwarf god Bez.

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Primary Sources

Achad after Crowley:
Here's an example from a series of lessons prepared by Fr. Achad for his group, possibly after some decline in his relations with Crowley. The approach at first seems completely apart from Thelema and Magick, but careful reading will turn up traces of those matters.


First Binobligate Tablet


On the Necessity of Action


      Labor of any kind, especially when rightly performed, or directed towards a proper end, results in the creation of values. There is no real value of any kind which has not some reference to labour. The nugget picked up by chance near a mine has value only because it shortens the term of labour of the possessor and thereby brings him nearer to that which he desires and labours for. Even the universal benefits which come to every man, like sunshine and fresh air, result from the Giant Labors of the Macrocosm, beside which the total labours of all men from the beginning of the human race are negligible.
      Value creates esteem, esteem begets desire, and desire evokes effort. Thus whatever is esteemed as valuable is thereby considered to be worth working for, and the effort and labour to obtain it will be a measure of the value attaching to it.
      Conversely, that for which no effort is made must be considered as not desirable or of no value, to him at least who refuses the effort.
      Thus it is seen that the value of anything is extrinsic rather than intrinsic. A laurel wreath in ancient times could evoke the greatest physical efforts of men and induce them to submit to a long course of self-denial and preparation.
      Thus too it is seen that a Great Cycle is in motion; for the necessity of action, of which the issue is work, is itself the offspring of value, which is created through labour.

-- --

      Action deliberately performed is Work.
      The popular fallacy of distinguishing as work only those actions which are reluctantly or of necessity performed is due in part to an imperfect apprehension of man's ultimate ends, from which results an imperfect co- ordination of subordinate aims and an absence of pleasure in the performance of work. To the wise man all right work is pleasurable.
      There are three kinds of Work: the Work of Thought, the Work of Transmission and the Work of Production. Although distinct in kind, these are not necessarily dissociated in any particular branch or sphere of labour.
      Included in the Work of Thought is nearly all that work commonly classed as mental, and in particular the Work of Contemplation of any kind, such as that of a Christian monk, a Sufi or a Aannyasi, or that of a philosopher or scientist, whether or not such work is popularly considered of any value, and the work of enlisting the services of others more powerful than oneself, such as prayer or canvassing, irrespective of whether such work is successful or not. The Work of Thought also includes the Work of Direction of every kind, such a kingship, presidency, generalship, managership, inspection, development, etc.
      Included in the Work of Transmission are all the labours by which knowledge and traditions are transferred from place to place, from age to age, and from generation to generation, and especially the Work of Pedagogy or Education.
      Included in the Work of Production is all the work connected with the manufacture, distribution and exchange of material goods, all forms of manual labour, and in particular the Work of Husbandry, which is the production of wealth from the fertility of Nature, and the Work of Defense of the social organism from its enemies.
      The Work of Thought is more honourable than and hierarchically superior to the other Works, and those whose lives are devoted to such work usually have the direction of those engaged in the lesser tasks.
      The Work of Transmission is more honourable than and hierarchically superior to the Work of Production, and normally carries with it a corresponding authority.
      But even the humblest form of the Work of Production, when honestly, cheerfully and efficiently performed, is more honourable than the most exalted Work of Thought if this be done badly, grudgingly or carelessly. And since all three labours are necessary, he whose work is in a lower grade must, as far as possible, be preserved and assisted in that work, as certainly as must he whose work is in a higher grade.
      The dignity of any work depends also upon the dignity and personal merit of the worker; and on the motive which actuates the worker or the end for which the work is done.

-- --

      Whoever does no work is socially inefficient.
      The same is true of every man whose work during his years of activity does not restore to the community not only what it costs the community to keep him during those active years, but also what has been expended on him during his years of growth and training and what will be expended on him during his retirement. It is not necessary that his own work should be directly productive of these values; it suffices if by any means he enables others so to increase the value of their labours that the results may be attributable, in part at least, to him. He is then socially efficient.
      Whoever makes it his aim to do as little work as possible, or, having the use of faculties fails to employ them to their proper extent, or greedily seeks only to gain from the community as much as possible, is as a contemptible slave to the Commonwealth of the Race wherein he might be an honoured co-operator, and is deserving of economic ostracism under the law that "he who works not, shall not eat". This is as true of the wealthiest and most powerful of "renters" as of the meanest tramp, if either of these performs no service to the community.
      There is a vast amount of work for every man of independent means to do if he is willing, without thereby lessening, but on the contrary largely increasing, the chances of employment for others. In like manner there is a great deal of work to be done which is quite within the range of, and even especially suited to, the capacities of even the most nomadically inclined of men. Much of this work in our present-day social organism is necessarily unremunerative, and for that reason should be more readily undertaken by those to whom an immediate remuneration is not an urgent factor in their toil, or to whom some accident of birth or circumstances has brought the means which makes them independent of such toil.
      No man has ever deserved, or could deserve, all the benefits which accrue to him from his birth in a human society already well developed. Even if he were to produce values all his life from birth to death he would not repay his debt. Whoever says, "I am in no man's debt; I pay in full for everything I receive", knows neither what he has received nor what he is paying and deceives himself or his neighbours or both. The same is true of any one who claims to be a "self-made" man. Such vain talkers show themselves to have no real idea of what the world and society into which they are born has done for them, and so feeling their general indebtedness less than other men they are more prone than others to sink below the level of social efficiency and to become a burden instead of an asset, to the community in which they live.

-- --

      There is no contradiction between the statements that man can never repay the community for what he receives , and that the socially efficient man must pay the community for all that it expends upon him, for by far the greater part of the benefits received by the individual are not thereby "expended" by the community, since they are not in the nature of "consumables" and are therefore incapable of being expended by communication. Many, indeed, such as for example the affection bestowed by parents upon a child are even nourished and increased by communication, rather than expended.

-- --

      There are some who imagine that this universe is ruled by fate, and that consequently "what will be, will be" independently of whatever effort they may make. Such a belief reduces all action and inaction to absurdity, for no deliberate action or deliberate refraining from action can be rational if no result is thereby produced or avoided. The extreme fatalist who, curbing his natural appetite for activity and speculation, sits on a river-bank waiting for what the fates may bring, whether it be a kingdom or a crocodile, is taking a course which by his own philosophy is no more to be recommended than any other, and which is certainly much less pleasurable and much more inconvenient than many another. Thus those who vehemently defend the doctrine of fatalism do but thereby show their own inherent disbelief in it, for if blind fate ruled all, there would be no sense in defending any doctrine.
      There are others who imagine that because the Divine Providence rules all things it is unnecessary for them to do anything. But a belief which does not issue in action of some sort is not a real belief at all, but only a mere notion tentatively held, and such people, refusing by inaction to become willing co-operators in the Divine Work, flout the Divine Providence as impudently as he who openly and deliberately sets out to oppose it.
      Again there are others who say to themselves, "I am only one amongst so many, so nothing that I can do matters". Such people are generally in a certain sense right, for no man can do as a rule what he believes himself to be incapable of doing. But it is only their own pusillanimity and sloth that makes them right, and whatever rightness there may be in their views is of no credit to them, but on the contrary is very much to their disgrace.
      Those who openly and consciously hold such extreme doctrine may be few in number, but there are very many who allow such ideas to influence their actions, thus diminishing their efficiency and destroying their hope of success in life.

-- --

      That is most worth working for which has the largest and highest aims. In the case of an organization of which the aims are universal, which moreover imparts the Integral Truth and produces an Integral Beauty and Integral Goodness, the man of real intelligence and goodwill perceives that he has found that which is more worth working for than anything else in the world. When he has fulfilled his primary social duties, he is eager to lend his aid in every way possible, and to be an effective collaborator in the Great Work in whatever way is permitted to him.
      And even though knowing that he can never work so hard as to actually repay human society, the Macrocosm and its Source for what has been given him, and that no amount of work he ever does can be considered as a full and complete compensation for what he receives, he should realize that the spirit in which it is done and the nature of the aims he cherishes have their due effect upon the value of what is accomplished. Therefore, whether he can give much assistance or little, he will give it with joy and delight and with the satisfaction of knowing that its value to the world is multiplied many times by reason of the exalted nature of the aims towards which it is efficiently directed.



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From time to time new revelations are announced or otherwise proposed. Recently, on one of the online services, a discussion folder was opened about a new book, arguing for a new revelation. This is a pretty common occurrence, and the proponents for this particular book have indicated that they don't want exposure in the TLC. Still, an issue of the testing of revelation came up, and I thought our readers would like to ponder the question. Here is a substantially edited cut from my discussions over there (wherever "there" may be!).

      One of the proponents took exception to my observation: "all revelation depends on ideas and vocabulary already present in the receiving mind."

      He described how he had a vision involving a mystical passage and meeting with an individual claiming to have been E____. There was a promise that he would remember what he needed as he came to need it.

      I responded that his experience was not incompatible with my observation. The matter of remembering is particularly important, since it is not possible to remember without either complete images or tags to existing memories. He had described an experience of death, rock, passage, meeting the equivalent of people and similar things that can be associated with daily life.

      The gentleman further remarked that he was told about various things, giving some familiar mystical terms to characterize the experience.

      I replied that all those things are common elements in the present culture, including the 19th century and earlier. Some of those terms were either coined or very popular from 75 to 150 years ago. In a completely non-mystical venue, as a child, I began talking about an animal called a "platypus". My parents denied that such an animal existed. A year later, there was an article about that Australian monotreme in the local newspaper -- the first instance of my consciously knowing from external sources that such a creature existed. There are many unprovable theories about transmission of terminology and ideas intangibly in society. There are also theories about accidental observation and unconscious imprint from sight of books, sound of conversation and similar things -- usually raised in efforts to de-bunk claims of reincarnation with memory of events and languages from previous lives.

      In my studies, all revelation takes a cultural or countercultural form. One uses ideas and context from life either directly contemporary or from modern ideas about the past. New ideas can be formed by seeing connections between apparently disconnected contemporary ideas or by making moral or other decisions about various things. The future is sometimes prophesied. Random elements of image and name can come in, but rarely with more than a labeling or summarizing quality. Examples would include the entire Bible and, more recently, Crowley's Liber AL -- in the latter, various ideas and entire phrases about Thelema and Egyptian deities can be traced to printed books from contemporary authors back to about the year 1500. New ideas do come in, but always from the garden of the modern day. Revelation can provide entirely alien or novel concepts, but to write them down and communicate them requires contemporary language and ideas.

      A test frequently imposed is to the predictive, innovative and "living" nature of the revealed texts. By this standard, the text must pass three tests to be considered revelation.

      1. It must predict events which have not yet come to pass, do actually later come to pass and cannot be imagined based on present knowledge and ideas.

      2. It must disclose knowledge not only absent at the time from the person receiving the revelation, but utterly impossible to come from the environment of that person in any fashion.

      3. It must be impossible of narrow interpretation to exclusion of other interpretation -- having the quality of talking to each earnest reader uniquely and leading to further revelation.

      Unfortunately, #1 is always challengeable by some argument in every instance and #2 is always a matter of proving a negative. Application of these two standards is to an extent subjective. In practice, #3 is usually the deciding factor.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for March 1996 e.v.

3/3/96Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/4/96Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
3/10/96Thelema Lodge Luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
3/10/96Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/11/96John Dee reading group 8PM w/ClayThelema Ldg.
3/17/96Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/18/96Section 2 reading group w/Catlin
Geo. Meredith's The shaving of
8PM at Oz house
Thelema Ldg.
3/20/95Vernal Equinox ritual 7PMThelema Ldg.
3/23/96Enochian Liturgy Group Workshop
on Scrying at 2PM
Thelema Ldg.
3/24/96Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/25/96Sirius Oasis meeting 8:PM BerkeleySirius Oasis
3/27/96Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
3/29/96Astrological Cycles workship 7PM
with Grace in Berkeley
Thelema Ldg.
3/31/96Gnostic Mass 8:00PM 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.

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