Thelema Lodge Calendar for April 1997 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for April 1997 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, 1997 e.v.

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

April 1997 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Three Days of Liber AL

    A series of workings in Cairo performed ninety-three years ago this spring by Frater Perdurabo with his assistant Rose generated the text of Liber AL in three chapters, recorded from a kind of preternatural dictation -- as Crowley later attempted to understand the circumstances -- during the second week of April in their Egyptian hotel room. Liber AL came gradually to be recognized by its scribe as the great pivot of the ages, establishing a new aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child. During these three feast-days we will gather to listen anew to the 220 verses of this proclamation, in celebration of the notion of a shared language for the secrets of our own times. Readings of the Book of the Law are conducted ceremonially on 8th, 9th, and 10th April in the evenings, and are hosted for us this year by Rosslyn Camp, Oz House, and Horus Temple (with thanks also to Sirius Oasis for coordination and scheduling assistance).
    Join us for the first chapter on Tuesday evening 8th April in Hayward at Rosslyn Camp, located at 1471 "B" Street. Arrive by 8:45, with transportation being provided from BART by the camp until that time, and the reading scheduled to begin at 9:00. Call ahead and make contact at (510) 886-9642 for information and directions, or to offer a contribution to the dinner feast which will close the celebration.
    The following evening, Wednesday 9th April, we will hear the second chapter in Nu Temple at Oz House in Oakland, beginning at 8:00; call (510) 654-3580 for directions. This lovely little temple, now past its eleventh year of being kept charged as a gnostic and thelemic ritual space, has sometimes packed in its biggest crowds for the Holy Days.
    Chapter three will be read in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge in Oakland, on Thursday 10th April at 8:00.


    Initiations in the Man of Earth degrees of Ordo Templi Orientis will be held here on Saturday 19th April through the afternoon and evening. In order to attend, please confer ahead of time with the lodgemaster for details concerning the degrees being worked that day, and the specific times for which they are scheduled. The day's activities will conclude in a grand dinner feast for all involved.

    Writing about his organization of the O.T.O.'s Man of Earth triad, Crowley describes IV° and P.I., the remaining degrees after III°, as "but pendants to it." This is sometimes mistakenly believed to imply that these initiations are not as significant as III°. While this is not in fact the case, still there is a distinction between I° and II°, or between II° and III°, that does not exist between III° and IV° or P.I. The title of the III° initiate is Master Magician, and it implies that the initiate has mastered him/herself well enough to take on the full responsibilities of membership in the Man of Earth triad of O.T.O. The Master Magician may even, under a charter granted by Grand Lodge, initiate others into 0°, I°, II°, and III°.
    In recognition of the importance of the III° initiation, Thelema Lodge will offer an evening of lecture and discussion designed especially for III° O.T.O. members (though "higher" degree initiates are also welcome). There will be a review of rituals, of the signs, grips, and words, and study guidelines for those who aspire to IV° initiation. We will assemble on Saturday evening 12th April at Thelema Lodge and begin our meeting at 7:00.

Springtime Events at the Lodge

    As always, the members, friends, and guests of Thelema Lodge will be gathering in Horus Temple each Sunday evening as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica in celebration of the Gnostic Mass. All attending will participate as communicants, and should be here with shoes off by 8:00, ready to enter through the outer veil when the deacon calls in the masses at nightfall, or shortly thereafter. The lodgemaster, who keeps the temple schedule, is especially appreciative of our membership this season for the rich and varied list of mass teams which has swelled our kitchen calendar lately (and for the amazing masses we've been enjoying). Special thanks also to our musicians and percussionists. Those attending for the first time may obtain directions by calling in advance at (510) 652-3171; come help heat up the Temple of Horus, and find out about communion in the gnosis.

    Our reading group devoted to the AA Section Two curriculum meets at Oz House in Oakland on Monday evening 21st April at 8:00. Caitlin will lead our discussion of W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Magician, originally published in 1908 e.v. For some samples from the text of this work, and an analysis of the author's method in plundering standard occult studies and Victorian novels of the marvelous for authenticity and "atmosphere," written indeed by the dominant character of the story, see Crowley's own review and our editorial note on this page.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

    Join the Thelemic Choir, recently established at Oz House, and meeting there this month on Monday 7th and Monday 14th April 8:00 in the evening. We hope to establish a fortnightly rehearsal schedule this Spring. Call Jen at (510) 654-3580 for information.

    Grace opens her Temple of Astrology in Berkeley to Thelema Lodge for the series on the Houses in Astrology, meeting on Friday evening 25th April to explore the eleventh house and its role in the horoscope. This workshop lasts from 7:00 to 9:00, and all with an interest in attending are requested to call ahead at (510) 843-7827. Bring your own natal chart for use in illustrating the discussion, or leave your birth-data with Grace at the time you call, so that a chart can be cast for you in time for the meeting.

    Every Sunday evening at 7:00 (shortly before the Gnostic Mass) all interested students of Thelema are invited to join in an ongoing group reading and discussion of The Law is for All, which meets upstairs at the lodge. Crowley's dense and wide-ranging "new comment" upon the Book of the Law may well have set the tone for the philosophical analysis of Thelema, and this tradition lives anew in the Thelema Lodge "den."

    The Tarot series, with Bill Heidrick, will not be meeting in April due to business of the Order which will be keeping our Treasurer General occupied this month. The thirteenth meeting will be held in May, up in San Anselmo on the third Wednesday evening as usual, when we will examine the Moon XVIII and Sun XIX trumps.

Crowley Classics

    This essay originally appeared in Vanity Fair, which was edited in London by Crowley's friend Frank Harris, on 30 December 1908 e.v. (pages 838-40). It has been recently reprinted in a scholarly collection of reviews edited by Anthony Curtis & John Whitehead, W. Somerset Maugham: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987), 44-56.
    William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) qualified to practice medicine, but gave it up for literature on the promise of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), somewhat in the urban "realistic" style of French writers like Maupassant. Prior to Maugham's first great theatrical successes in 1908, he had to struggle to find a career in letters, and the inexpensive artistic life of Paris attracted him for a few months early in 1903. Here he saw much of Gerald Kelly, a painter whose older sister Rose was a close friend of Maugham's sister-in-law; Rose would meet and marry Aleister Crowley in Scotland later that same year. Kelly knew Crowley, and took Maugham to his regular restaurant, Le Chat Blanc in Montparnasse, where an upper room had become the resort of artists, writers, and students, forming what Crowley described as "a witty and high-thinking informal club that met nightly" in the "Introduction" to Snowdrops from a Curate's Garden (1904; reprinted 1986, p. 8). At the Chat, Crowley would have been pointed out to Maugham, and some of the usual gossip about the magus repeated; the two men may even have become slightly acquainted.
    Although anxious to condemn Crowley, and too frightened of his reputation to form any objective evaluation of him, Maugham was fascinated. "I took an immediate dislike to him, but he interested and amused me," Maugham explained in a memoir prefaced to the 1956 edition of The Magician. "He was a liar and unbecomingly boastful, but the odd thing was that he had actually done some of the things he boasted of" ("A Fragment of Autobiography," reprinted in the 1967 Penguin edition of the novel, p. 7). Back in London a few years later and needing to work out the subject for a sensational new story, Maugham collected a publisher's advance and set to work on his occult thriller early in 1907, exploiting his impressions of Crowley and his notes on Kelly's reading in works Crowley had suggested to him. Although the original publisher considered The Magician either too racy or just too silly to bring out, Maugham's plays were by the following year so extraordinarily popular that nearly any book became marketable under his name, and the novel appeared in November 1908 from the firm of William Heinemann.
    In Confessions, Crowley tells the story of picking up the book when it first appeared, and being at first pleased to think that Maugham had produced an occult volume. But immediately many familiar elements in the work were apparent: "the Magician, Oliver Haddo, was Aleister Crowley; his house 'Skene' was Boleskine. The hero's witty remarks were, many of them, my own" (p. 570). In fact, he "found phrase after phrase, paragraph after paragraph, page after page, bewilderingly familiar; and then I remembered that in my early days of the [Golden Dawn] I had introduced Gerald Kelly to the Order and reflected that Maugham had become a great friend of Kelly's" (pp. 570-1).
    Crowley might with some justification have considered the novel a violation and an insult as well as a slander. "Maugham had taken some of the most private and personal incidents of my life, my marriage, my explorations, my adventures with big game, my magical operations, ambitions, and exploits . . . . He had added a number of very absurd legends of which I was the central figure. He had patched all these together by innumerable strips of paper clipped from the books which I had told Gerald to buy. I had never supposed that plagiarism could have been so varied, extensive, and shameless" (p. 571). In later years, he might have taken Maugham to court over the matter, but on this occasion "I was not in the least offended by the attempts of the book to represent me as, in many ways, the most atrocious scoundrel, for he had done more than justice to the qualities of which I was proud; and despite himself he had been compelled, like Balaam, to prophesy concerning me. He attributed to me certain characteristics which he meant to represent as abominable, but were actually superb." Usually prepared to appreciate attention of any sort, Crowley lavished praise on this third-rate re-hashed science-fiction story in terms which make a wonderful joke to those who know the novel. "The Magician was, in fact, an appreciation of my genius such as I had never dreamed of inspiring. It showed me how sublime were my ambitions and reassured me on a point which sometimes worried me -- whether my work was worth while in a worldly sense" (p. 571).
    Some response did seem called for, however: "Maugham had had his fun with me; I would have mine with him. I wrote an article for Vanity Fair . . . in which I disclosed the method by which the book had been manufactured and gave parallel passages. Frank Harris would not believe that I was serious. He swore I must be making it up. He could not believe that any man would have the impudence to publish such strings of plagiarism. I had to bring a little library round to the office to prove my proposition, and Harris sat and stared, and gasped like a fish at each fresh outrage. He cut down the article to two and a half pages, but even so it was the most damning exposure of a literary crime that had ever been known. No author of even mediocre repute had ever risked his reputation by such flagrant stupra" (pp. 571-2).
    According to Crowley, "Maugham took my reposte in good part. We met by chance a few weeks later, and he merely remarked that there were many thefts besides those which I had pointed out. I told him that Harris had cut down my article by two thirds for lack of space. 'I almost wish,' I said, 'that you were an important writer'" (p. 572). But of course Maugham could not afford to respond publicly to the accusations of plagiarism leveled by Crowley's review, so in print -- and years later -- he told a different story. "I did not read it," he says of the article in his introduction, "and wish now that I had. I daresay it was a pretty piece of vituperation, but probably, like his poems, intolerably verbose" (p. 9).

How to Write a Novel!
(After W. S. Maugham)

by "Oliver Haddo"
(Aleister Crowley)

    Not every successful author would be generous enough to give away his method for the benefit of the rising generation. Yet in Mr W. S. Maugham this nobility of nature is found in overflowing measure -- the give-away is singularly complete in The Magician.
    Yet so dull -- we regret to say -- are some people that it will not seem impertinent in us to analyse and explain. The first essential is to choose a vague subject -- one on which everybody is curious and almost nobody well- informed. For example, we might take "magic" and "art." It will thus be rather difficult to catch us out. Anyway, we can insure correctness by making a photographically-accurate portrait of somebody great with whom we have scraped acquaintance -- "the spider taketh hold with her hands and is in kings' palaces." Thus we find on pages 29 and 30 an exact sketch of one of the five or six really great landscape painters the world has ever seen, with every finest physical and moral quality particularised with exquisite accuracy. Add the slur, "very nearly a great painter," and we may -- so you think -- get back at him for his cutting contempt of us. And so on through the book. We have hastily collected some seventy personalities of this kind.
    Unfortunately this method will not carry us all the way. But if we happen to know one well-educated man, the task of writing is not so difficult as it may seem to the beginner. Get invited to his house -- possibly some cosy vicarage -- read in his library a few of the works dealing with our subject and copy them wholesale into our book; sometimes verbatim, sometimes altering words here and there -- for in the case of well-known authors it is best to make a pretence of not having copied verbatim.
    We give examples of both methods, italicising only identical words and phrases.

Mather's Kabbalah Unveiled, "Introduction" [p.6].

The Magician, p. 72.

    "Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into the Qabalah in the land of his birth, but became most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness, when he not only devoted to it the leisure hours of the whole forty years, but received lessons in it from one of the angels. By the aid of this mysterious science the law-giver was enabled to solve the difficulties which arose during his management of the Israelites, in spite of the pilgrimages, wars, and frequent miseries of the nation. He covertly laid down the principles of this secret doctrine in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from Deuteronomy. Moses also initiated the seventy elders into the secrets of this doctrine, and they again transmitted them from hand to hand. Of all who formed the unbroken line of tradition, David and Solomon were the most deeply initiated into the Kabbalah. No one, however, dared to write it down, till Schimeon Ben Jochai, who lived at the time of the destruction of the second temple . . . . After his death, his son, Rabbi Eleazar, and his secretary, Rabbi Abba, as well as his disciples, collated Rabbi Simon Ben Jochai's treatises, and out of these composed the celebrated work called ZHR, Zohar, splendour, which is the grand store-house of Kabbalism."

   "This, then, is its history. Moses, who was learned in all the wisdom of Egypt, was first initiated into the Kabbalah in the land of his birth; but became most proficient in it during his wanderings in the wilderness. Here he not only devoted the leisure hours of forty years to this mysterious science, but received lessons in it from an obliging angel. By aid of it he was able to solve the difficulties which arose during his management of the Israelites, notwithstanding the pilgrimages, wars, and miseries of that most unruly nation. He covertly laid down the principles of the doctrine in the first four books of the Pentateuch, but withheld them from Deuteronomy. Moses also initiated the Seventy Elders into these secrets, and they in turn transmitted them from hand to hand. Of all who formed the unbroken line of tradition, David and Solomon were the most deeply learned in the Kaballah. No one, however, dared to write it down till Schimeon ben Jochai, who lived in the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; and after his death the Rabbi Eleazar, his son, and the Rabbi Abba, his secretary, collected his manuscripts and from them composed the celebrated treatise called Zohar."

From Franz Hartmann's The Life of Paracelsus," p. 257:

From The Magician, p. 112 (note Mr Maugham's accurate translations of "the" and "of" into "die" and "von"):

    "In a book called 'The Sphinx', edited by Dr Emil Besetzny, and published at Vienna in 1873 by L. Rosner (Tuchlauben, No. 22), we find some interesting accounts in regard to a number of 'spirits' generated by a Joh. Ferd. Count of Kueffstein, in Tyrol, in the year 1775. The sources from which these accounts are taken consist in masonic manuscripts and prints, but more especially in a diary kept by a certain Jas. Kammerer, who acted in the capacity of butler and famulus to the said Count. There were ten homunculi -- or, as he calls them, 'prophesying spirits' -- preserved in strong bottles, such as are used to preserve fruit, and which were filled with water; and these 'Spirits' were the product of the labour of the Count J. F. of Kueffstein (Kufstein), and of an Italian Mystic and Rosicrucian, Abbe Geloni. They were made in the course of five weeks, and consisted of a King, a queen, a knight, a monk, a nun, an architect, a miner, a seraph, and finally of a blue and a red spirit. The bottles were closed with ox-bladders, and with a great magic seal (Solomon's seal?). The spirits swam about in those bottles, and were about one span long, and the Count was very anxious that they should grow. They were, therefore, buried under two cart-loads of horse-manure, and the pile daily sprinkled with a certain liquor, prepared with great trouble by the two adepts, and made out of some 'very disgusting materials'. The pile of manure began after such sprinklings to ferment and to steam as if heated by a subterranean fire, and at least once every three days, when everything was quiet at the approach of the night, the two gentlemen would leave the convent and go to pray and to fumigate at that pile of manure. After the bottles were removed the 'spirits' had grown to be each one about one and a half span long, so that the bottles were almost too small to contain them, and the male homunculi had come into possession of heavy beards, and the nailes of their fingers and toes had grown a great deal. By some means the Abbe Geloni provided them with appropriate clothing, each one according to his rank and dignity. In the bottle of the red and in that of the blue spirit, however, there was nothing to be seen but 'clear water'; but whenever the Abbe knocked three times at the seal upon the mouth of the bottles, speaking at the same time some Hebrew words, the water in the bottles began to turn blue (respectively red), and the blue and the red spirits would show their faces, first very small, but growing in proportions until they attained the size of an ordinary human face. The face of the blue spirit was beautiful, like an angel, but that of the red one bore a horrible expression.
    "These beings were fed by the Count about once every three or four days with some rose-coloured substance which he kept in a silver box, and of which he gave to each spirit a pill of about the size of a pea. Once every week the water had to be removed, and the bottles filled again with pure rain-water. This change had to be accomplished very rapidly because during the few moments that the spirits were exposed to the air they closed their eyes, and seemed to become weak and unconscious, as if they were about to die. But the blue spirit was never fed, nor was the water changed; while the red one received once a week a thimbleful of fresh blood of some animal (chicken) and this blood disappeared in the water as soon as it was poured into it without colouring or troubling it.
    "By some accident the glass containing the monk fell one day upon the floor and was broken. The poor monk died after a few painful respirations, in spite of all the efforts of the Count to save his life, and his body was buried in the garden. An attempt to generate another one, made by the Count without the assistance of the Abbe, who had left resulted in failure, as it produced only a small thing like a leech, which had very little vitality and soon died."

    "It was called 'Die Sphinx' and was edited by a certain Dr Emil Besetzny. It contained the most extraordinary accounts I have ever read of certain spirits generated by Johann-Ferdinand, Count von Kuffstein, in the Tyrol, in 1775. The sources from which these accounts are taken consist of masonic manuscripts, but more especially of a diary kept by a certain James Kammerer, who acted in the capacity of butler and famulus to the count. The evidence is ten times better than any upon which men believe the articles of their religion. If it related to less wonderful subjects you would not hesitate to believe implicitly every word you read. There were ten homunculi -- James Kammerer calls them prophesying spirits -- kept in strong bottles, such as are used to preserve fruit, and these were filled with water. They were made in five weeks, by the Count Von Kuffstein and an Italian mystic and Rosicrucian, the Abbe Geloni. The bottles were closed with ox-bladders and with a magic seal. The spirits were about a span long, and the Count was anxious that they should grow. They were, therefore, buried under two cart-loads of manure, and the pile daily sprinkled with a certain liquor prepared with great trouble by the adepts. The pile after such sprinklings began to ferment and steam, as if heated by a subterranean fire. When the bottles were removed, it was found that the spirits had grown to about a span and a half each; the male homunculi were come into possession of heavy beards, and the nails of the fingers had grown. In two of the bottles there was nothing to be seen save clear water, but when the Abbe knocked thrice at the seal upon the mouth, uttering at the same time certain Hebrew words, the water turned a mysterious colour and the spirits showed their faces, very small at first, but growing in size till they attained that of a human countenance. And this countenance was horrible and fiendish.
    "Haddo spoke in a low voice that was hardly steady, and it was plain that he was much moved. It appeared as if his story affected him so that he could scarcely preserve his composure. He went on.
    "These beings were fed every three days by the Count, with a rose-coloured substance which was kept in a silver box. Once a week the bottles were emptied and filled again with pure rainwater. The change had to be made rapidly because, while the homunculi were exposed to the air, they closed their eyes and seemed to grow weak and unconscious, as though they were about to die. But with the spirits that were invisible, at certain intervals blood was poured into the water; and it disappeared at once, inexplicably, without colouring or troubling it. By some accident one of the bottles fell one day and was broken. The homuncukus within died after a few painful respirations in spite of all efforts to save him, and the body was buried in the garden. An attempt to generate another, made by the Count without the assistance of the Abbe, who had left, failed: It produced only a small thing like a leech, which had little vitality and soon died."

    Does Mr Maugham wish us to believe that his is an independent translation from Die Sphinx?
    Considerations of space prevent us from quoting further parallels of this kind. One, however, occupies no less than four and a half pages of The Magician, and is taken from A. E. Waite's translation of Eliphaz Levi, Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie (pp. 113-117).
    Then, too, we can take our host's sister as the heroine, but as we are unwilling to drag the name of any lady into a mere affair of letters, we must beg to be excused from following Mr Maugham's example in this one matter.
    The would-be novelist should not be content with actuality alone. There are a very large number of really striking incidents in fiction, which we can borrow with advantage. For example, it would be a graceful compliment to the fair sex (with whom our gold, if not our eloquence, should make us a favourite) if we were to borrow a scene from Mabel Collins' Blossom and the Fruit.
    We italicise identical incidents:

From The Blossom and the Fruit, by Mabel Collins, pp. 144-146:

The Magician, pp. 286-289:

    "He had scarcely done so when the Duchess uttered a shrill cry.
    "'My God!' she exclaimed in a voice of horror, 'who is in the carriage with us?'
    "She flung herself across and knelt upon the floor between Hilary and Fleta; her terror was so great she did not know what she was doing.
    "Hilary leaned across her and instantly discovered that she was right -- that there was another man in the carriage besides himself.
    "'Oh, kill him! kill him!' cried the little Duchess, in an agony of fear; 'he is a thief, a murderer, a robber!'
    "Hilary rose up and precipated himself upon this person whom he could not see. A sense of self-defence, of defence of the women with him, seized him as we see it seize the animals. He discovered that this man had risen also. Blindly and furiously he attacked him, and with extraordinary strength. Hilary was young and full of vigour, but slight and not built like an athlete. Now, however, he seemed to be one. He found his adversary to be much larger and stronger than himself.
    "A fearful struggle followed. The carriage drove on through unseen scenery as fast as possible; Fleta could have stopped it had she thrown the window down and cried out to the postillions. But Fleta remained motionless; she might have fainted, she was so still. The little Duchess simply cowered on the ground beside her, clinging to her motionless figure. This terrified girl had not the presence of mind to think of stopping the carriage, and so obtaining help. She was too horror-struck to do anything. And, indeed, it was horrible, for the swaying, struggling forms sometimes were right upon the two women, sometimes at the other side of the carriage; it was a deadly horrible, ghastly struggle, all the more horrid for the silence. There were no cries, no exclamations, for indeed, so far as Hilary was concerned, he had no breath to spare for them. There were only gasps and heavy breathings, and the terrible sound that came from a man's throat when he is fighting for his life. How long this hideous battle lasted none could tell -- Hilary had no idea of the passage of time. The savage in him had now come so entirely upper-most and drowned all other consciousness, that his one thought was he must kill -- kill -- kill -- and at last it was done. There was a moment when his adversary was below him, when he could use his whole force upon him -- and then came a gasp and an unearthly cry -- and silence.
    "Absolute silence for a little while. No one moved, no one stirred. The Duchess was petrified with horror. Hilary had sunk exhausted on the seat of the carriage -- not only exhausted, but bewildered, for a host of other emotions besides savage fury began to rise within him. What -- who -- was this being he had destroyed? At that moment the horses were urged into a gallop, for they were entering the city gates. Hilary threw down the window next him with a crash. 'Lights, lights!' he cried out, 'bring lights!' The carriage stopped, and there was a crowd immediately at the windows, and the glare of torches fell into the carriage, making it bright as day. The little Duchess was crouched in the corner on the ground in a dead faint. Fleta sat up, strangely white, but calm. Nothing else was to be seen, alive or dead, save Hilary himself; and so horror-struck was he at this discovery, that he turned and buried his face in the cushions of the carriage, and he never knew what happened -- whether he wept, or laughed, or cursed -- but some strange sound of his own voice he heard with his ears.
    "There was a carriage full of servants behind Fleta's carriage; when hers stopped so suddenly they all got out and came quickly to the doors.
    "'The Duchess has fainted,' said Fleta, rising so as to hide Hilary; 'the journey has been too long. Is there a house near where she can lie still a little while, and come on later to the palace?'
    "Immediately offers of help were made, and the servants and those who were glad to help them carried the poor little Duchess away."

    "'There's someone in the room.' The words were no sooner out of her mouth than she heard Arthur fling himself upon the intruder. She knew at once, with the certainty of an intuition, that it was Haddo. But how had he come in? What did he want? She tried to cry out, but no sound came from her throat. Dr Porhoet seemed bound to his chair. He did not move. He made no sound. She knew that an awful struggle was proceeding. It was a struggle to the death between two men who hated one another, but the most terrible part of it was that nothing was heard. They were perfectly noiseless. She tried to do something, but she could not stir. And Arthur's heart exulted, for his enemy was in his grasp, under his hands, and he would not let him go while life was in him. He clenched his teeth, and tightened his straining muscles. Susie heard his laboured breathing, but she only heard the breathing of one man. She wondered in abject terror what that could mean. They struggled silently, hand to hand, and Arthur knew that his strength was greater. He had made up his mind what to do and directed all his energy to a definite end. His enemy was extraordinarily powerful, but Arthur appeared to create strength from the sheer force of his will. It seemed for hours that they struggled. He could not bear him down.
    "Suddenly he knew that the other was frightened and sought to escape from him. Arthur tightened his grasp; for nothing in the world now would he ever loosen his hold. He took a deep, quick breath, and then put out all his strength in a tremendous effort. They swayed from side to side. Arthur felt as if his muscels were being torn from the bones, he could not continue for more than a moment longer; but the agony that flashed across his mind at the thought of failure braced him to a sudden angry jerk. All at once Haddo collapsed, and they fell heavily to the ground. Arthur was breathing more quickly now. He thought that if he could keep on for one instant longer, he would be safe. He threw all his weight on the form that rolled beneath him, and bore down furiously on the man's arm. He twisted it sharply, with all his might, and felt it give way. He gave a low cry of triumph; the arm was broken. And now his enemy was seized with panic; he struggled madly, he wanted only to get away from those long hands that were killing him. They seemed to be of iron. Arthur seized the huge bullock throat and dug his fingers into it, and they sunk in the heavy rolls of fat. He exulted, he knew that his enemy was in his power at last; he was strangling him, strangling the life out of him. He wanted light so that he might see the horror of that vast face, and the deadly fear, and the starting eyes. And still he pressed with those iron hands. And now the movements were strangely convulsive. His victim writhed with the agony of death. His struggles were desperate, but the avenging hands held him as in a vice. And then the movements grew utterly spasmodic, and then they grew weaker. Still the hands pressed upon the gigantic throat, and Arthur forgot everything. He was mad with rage and fury and hate and sorrow. He thought of Margaret's anguish and of her fiendish torture, and he wished the man had ten lives so that he might take them one by one. And at last all was still, and that vast mass of flesh was motionless, and he knew that his enemy was dead. He loosened his grasp and slipped one hand over the heart. It would never beat again. The man was stone dead. Arthur got up and straightened himself. The darkness was intense still and he could see nothing. Susie heard him, and at length she was able to speak:
    "'Arthur, what have you done?'
    "'I've killed him,' he said, hoarsely.
    "'O God, what shall we do?' Arthur began to laugh aloud, hysterically, and in the darkness his hilarity was terrifying.
    "'For God's sake let us have some light." 'I've found the matches,' said Dr Porhoet. He seemed to awake suddenly from his long stupor. He struck one. The looked down on the floor for the man who lay there dead. Susie gave a sudden cry of horror.
    "There was no one there."
    "Arthur stepped back in terrified surprise. There was no one in the room, living or dead, but the three friends. The ground sank under Susie's feet, she felt horribly ill, and she fainted. When she awoke, seeming with difficulty to emerge from an eternal night, Arthur was holding down her head.
    "'Bend down,' he said; 'bend down.'
    "All that had happened came back to her, and she burst into tears. Her self-control deserted her, and, clinging to him for protection, she sobbed as though her heart would break. She was shaken from head to foot. The strangeness of this last horror had overcome her, and she could have shrieked with fright."

    For our main plot though, we are probably safer if we stick to a classic like Dumas. Thus the Memoirs of a Physician will furnish us with a picture of a magician marrying a girl but omitting to make her a wife, using her blood in magical ceremonies, killing her thereby, the grand climax being the burning of the laboratory and all its horrors. That burning of the laboratory , too, may remind us of Wells' Island of Dr Moreau and his homunculi, and the incident of the broken arm. Every little helps!

The Island of Dr Moreau, by H. G. Wells, p. 261:

The Magician, p. 308:

    "Then I saw that the dawn was upon us. The sky had grown brighter, the setting moon was growing pale and opaque in the luminous blue of the day. The sky to the eastward was rimed with red.
    "Then I heard a thud and a hissing behind me, and, looking round sprang to my feet with a cry of horror. Against the warm dawn great tumultuous masses of black smoke were boiling up out of the enclosure, and through their stormy darkness shot flickering threads of blood-red flames. Then the thatched roof caught. I saw the curving charge of the flames across the sloping straw. A spurt of fire jetted from the window of my room. . . . I bent down to his face, put my hand through the rent in his blouse. He was dead; and even as he died a line of white heat, the limb of the sun, rose eastward beyond the projection of the bay, splashing its radiance across the sky, and turning the dark sea into a weltering tumult of dazzling light."

    "It was dark still, but they knew the dawn was at hand, and Susie rejoiced in the approaching day. In the east the azure of the night began to thin away into pale amethyst, and the trees seemed gradually to stand out from the darkness in a ghostly beauty . . . . 'Let us wait here and see the sun rise,' said Susie.
    "'As you will.' . . . And as he spoke it seemed that the roof fell in, for suddenly vast flames sprung up, rising high into the still night air; and they saw that the house they had just left was blazing furiously. It was a magnificent sight from the distant hill on which they stood to watch the fire as it soared and sunk, as it shot scarlet tongues along like strange Titanic monsters, as it raged from room to room. Skene was burning. It was beyond the reach of human help. In a little while, there would be no trace of all those crimes and all those horrors. Now it was one mass of flame. It looked like some primeval furnace, where the gods might work unheard-of miracles.
    "'Arthur, what have you done?' asked Susie, in a tone that was hardly audible.
    "He did not answer directly. He put his arm about her shoulder again, so that she was obliged to turn round.
    "'Look, the sun is rising.'
    "In the east a long ray of light climbed up the sky, and the sun, yellow and round, appeared upon the face of the earth."

    The whole description of the homunculi suggest Dr Moreau's "Beast Folk" in method and treatment; but it is difficult to follow out in detail. The likeness is rather one of atmosphere than anything else.
    Of course, the more ingredients you are able to find for your haggis the harder it is for anyone to identify the sheep's head basis of it! After studying the make-up of The Magician, we are constrained to wonder whether any of Mr Maugham's numerous plays have been composed in the same way.

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from the Grady Project:


Dead wood limbs of psychic yearning
Winging sparrow
Singing arrow
Star bright sun of Theban Pharaoh
Phoenix turning
Dragon burning

Gothic manse in matrix narrow
Lotus learning
Senses spurning
Quantum penetrate discerning
Stinging barrow
Ringing harrow

                -- Grady L. McMurtry

This poem was first published in the 1986 e.v. London/Bergen volume of McMurtry: Poems, then two years later in the fourth number of The Grady Project.

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XXVI - Trees of Trees

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

    Take a moment to refresh your memory with the standard Tree of Life diagram from earlier installments of this series. It is the basic pattern of this discussion, in all its 32 parts. It's important to become familiar with the structure of the thing to avoid getting lost in details now. We've looked at it in diverse ways, considered how the Tree may be changed, worked and combined with itself. First learn the alphabet, then learn the words and finally begin to speak. A sort of alphabet and a quality like spelling is learned with this diagram. That's not an instant process. Through it, one can gradually come to an understanding of things in life and the ordering of experiences. The spirit can be healed by the administrations of the mind. Try it out with various questions and observations, psychological, social and speculative. Perhaps no one of these things really matters, but an understanding of these things in combination brings peace and clarity. Although such matters may have simple resolutions, there is always something in the back of the mind about them. That's what this kind of thing is for. For that inward complexity and the issues that do not simply resolve, there are systematic approaches, ways of trying to find out what each gap is about and deciding whether to fill it or not.
    Here's another approach from the work of Moses of Cordova, a 16th century Qabalist. This would probably have been a better technique for our imaginary author, La-Aaron in his book. Each Sephirot of the Tree of Life has another little tree of life in it. R. Moses C. had a somewhat more complex view, but that's enough for now. This is one of the most fruitful ways of working more than one tree at a time. The method of overlapping Trees of Achad is useful in simple cases. For more complex situations, Achad's snowflake designs usually don't provide enough structure. For multiple objects of study, or accomplishing things on several levels at once, The Cordovan approach is better.
    Consider a whole Tree of Life that constitutes the complete process of publishing a book, the example I like to give for La-Aaron. Perhaps the upper part works out pretty good. He's got his essential Keter, his Chokmah and his Binah together. He wouldn't have been able to think of publishing or writing a book if he hadn't gone that far. Da'at was omitted, so the essential effort to manifest the lower Tree spread out among the rest of the Sephirot, to get the book written and actually published. In Chesed, he had enough energy to do this, collected from the Da'at. He felt good about doing it. He got himself organized and enough force applied so that he felt the moral necessity of writing the Book (Geburah). He fixed on a subject (Tipheret), and he began trying to think about how to do it. He wrote the book in Netzach. In Hod, the manuscript was polished. Down in Yesod, it went to the publisher; and in Malkut it was printed and marketed. I suggest that in the case of La-Aaron's book on George and the Talmudic Fern, there was a fault in Netzach. To examine that fault, put a little Tree inside Netzach, to examine the writing of the book. Other little Trees may have to go inside the sephirot of that little Tree to sufficiently explore in detail. Here's the way to do it. First consider the over-all Tree of publishing the book. Then look at the writing of the book and see what may be discordant in it. The writing of the book is associated to Netzach in the over-all Tree. Every stage in the writing of the book is a sephira on a smaller Tree within that Netzach. The idea of the author appeared as Keter in the Tree within Netzach, since it was the idea of what to write, the focus from Tipheret of the larger Tree. The Chokmah and Binah of this Tree within Netzach are a gathering of motivation behind working that out and an initial conception. The Da'at of this smaller Tree draws all nearer to the point of actual writing. The Chesed within the little tree is the parceling out to chapters. In the smaller Tipheret, the author has started to put ideas into words in his mind. At the lesser Netzach, the pen touches paper and the words begin to flow out. The lesser Hod of that Tree within the greater Netzach should be a place of setting the grammar straight, of making clear the expression in sentences. Instead of going over to Hod of the little tree in Netzach, this author unconsciously built up a tiny, tiny tree inside of the Netzach of the Netzach and mistook the Hod of that one for lesser Hod. Instead of perfecting the language, the author became amorous toward his original words. He didn't go a little out of the realm of feeling good about it to set it straight. Instead, he settled deeper into a liking of his first draft and failed to open his words to other people.
    These are three Trees nested inside one another, like a little Russian doll with smaller dolls inside. One could go deeper, almost without end, finding more trees inside -- or outwardly, finding more trees surrounding this Tree of publication. In practice, any given task of examination will naturally limit itself, and three or four such nested Trees within Sephirot of Trees is usually enough. It's as though the conscious mind is a reading table and the whole mind is a vast library. You can only put a few books at a time on that reading table, just as you can only bring a few things at a time to the conscious mind. If you use your conscious mind to organize the "books" in the rest of the "library" of your whole mind, then you can unite your mind in stages and by a fixed pattern. With Trees of life, three levels of complexity tends to be something approaching a strain. Four is possible, but it is rare to hold a comprehension of the whole array in that manner. We use the Tree as a sort of model index, and it is possible to move about it in this way, descending into smaller and smaller Trees for a time. Because the pattern is the same at each level, it is also possible to rise back up and see the whole.
    Let's look at this example once more. Here's the question: The larger Tree is the act of publishing the book. Obviously, everything came through there some where. The malfunction, if any, must be within one of the steps, one of the Sephirot of that Tree. The book actually was published. I find the style of the book to be haphazard. Still, since it exists, the fault cannot be at the level of the Tree of publishing, or the book would not have been printed. It appears to me that Netzach of that greater Tree is the place to start looking, and that the feeling of it being done right is at fault. The fault must be on a lower level, another little Tree within that Netzach. The flaw must be like the path from Netzach to Hod. That's where we look to find the trouble.

Previous, Part XXV                   Next: A little more and on to another perspective.

Primary Sources

Old Agape Lodge:
Here are the minutes of Agape Lodge of southern California for 8/6/48 e.v., in what may be the last formally recorded meeting of that body before dormancy under Germer's headship of OTO.

August 6, 1948 e.v. 8:30 P.M.

    The meeting was called to order at Camp Agape with six present: Sister Wolfe, Candidate Dr. Montenegra, Sister Burlingame, Brother Burlingame, and the Master of the Lodge.

    The Master of the Lodge stated that he is not pleased about the lack of attendance at the meetings, and since it surely must be a part of each member Thelemite's Will to forward Thelema, at least each should be present at meetings. Each person should be a center of drawing persons to the work and for the work and in addition to spreading the Law of Thelema, each one should be busy with his own advancement toward his H. G. A.

    He called attention to the fact that Fall and Winter are coming on and we can continue as is with only five, six, or seven members or we could spend our time in study to advance ourselves -- but stressed the need to draw new members, carefully stressing that these should be drawn in, not to study the Books of Aleister Crowley, but to help each find freedom.

    The Master of Lodge also went on record that he would see to it personally, that every member will be present at the next meeting which is to be held Sept. 3, 1948.

    Then the Master of Lodge brought up several points wherein he felt each of the members had failed in approach to possible candidates. Particularly, he felt that some had been driving others away by saying down with the Roman Church, Down with this, and down with that, -- although no name was mentioned as to who was using this approach. He was very careful to emphasise that there are many paths but only one goal, and that we cannot lead others into our Path by downing other paths. The main point is, he stressed, that each member should feel and reflect the Essence of our Work, bringing out as an example the story of Rama Krishna when he said, "If by my talking and I talk myself to death, I can hold one man to freedom, then it is worth it."

    After again stating for the Record -- "I shall bring every member to the next meeting" -- The Master of the Lodge declared the meeting closed.

cc.     Grand Treasury General
    Master of Agape Lodge
    Brother McMurtry
    Secretary Agape Lodge

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From the Outbasket

    Here are the annual demographics of the O.T.O. from International Headquarters. These membership totals have been obtained from central accounts at the end of February 1997 e.v.: 3,216 all, 2,723 of which are initiates. The International O.T.O. financial statement for fiscal year 1996-1997 e.v. will be available toward the end of April. For a copy, enclose an SASE and write to: O.T.O. Annual Financial Statement, Ordo Templi Orientis, P.O.Box 430, Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

ADV 118
Associates 375
Minervals 890
Ist Degrees 685
IInd Degrees 447
IIIrd Degrees 325
IVth Degrees 212
Vth Degrees 107
Higher Degrees 57



    In the list which follows, all data is drawn from the International mailing list. Accordingly, the actual membership total here is less than the total count, owing to changing and lost addresses.

    Known OTO member addresses by regions at end February 1997 e.v.
(Associates and initiates both) Total: 2,825 in 41 countries.


Alabama 6 Missouri 32
Arizona 55 Montana 2
Arkansas 4 Nebraska 18
California 330 Nevada 23
(North Cal: 188) New Hampshire 6
(South Cal: 142) New Jersey 33
Colorado 12 New Mexico 12
Connecticut 9 New York 121
Delaware 2 North Carolina 10
Dist. of Columbia 3 Ohio 24
Florida 50 Oklahoma 29
Georgia 60 Oregon 117
Hawaii 3 Pennsylvania 60
Idaho 6 Rhode Island 3
Illinois 34 South Carolina 1
Indiana 44 South Dakota 1
Iowa 4 Tennessee 14
Kansas 24 Texas 128
Kentucky 9 Utah 24
Louisiana 20 Vermont 1
Maryland 29 Virginia 33
Massachusetts 29 Washington 66
Michigan 35 West Virginia 6
Minnesota 25 Wisconsin 13
Mississippi 5 Wyoming 1




Alberta 32 New Brunswick 1
British Columbia 60 Ontario 39
Manitoba 2 Quebec 21
Saskatchewan 2







Previous years:


Detail of February 1996 e.v. Demographics (last year)

    ---- International OTO Treasurer General (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for April 1997 e.v.

4/6/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/7/96Thelemic Choir 8PM at OZ with JenIndependant
4/8/97Liber AL Chapter I 8:45 PM
at Rosslyn Camp in Hayward
Rosslyn Cmp
4/9/97Liber AL Chapter II 8:00 PM
at OZ house in Oakland
4/10/97Liber AL Chapter III 8:PM
at Horus Temple, Thelema Lodge
Thelema Ldg.
4/12/97IIIrd Degree Class (members only)
7:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
4/13/97Thelema Lodge Luncheon Meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
4/13/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/14/97Thelemic Choir 8PM at OZ with JenIndependant
4/16/97Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
4/19/97Thelema Lodge OTO initiations
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
4/20/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/21/97Section II Group reading with
Caitlin: W.S. Maugham'
The Magician 8PM at OZ House
Thelema Ldg.
4/25/97"The Houses in Astrology" workshop
with Grace in Berkeley 7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
4/27/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/28/97Sirius Oasis meeting 8PM BerkeleySirius Oasis
4/29/97Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.

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

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

Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

Production and Circulation:
P.O.Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

Internet: (Submissions and circulation only)

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