Thelema Lodge Calendar for July 1997 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for July 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

July 1997 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

The Rites of Eleusis

    Members of the local Thelemic community will present this summer our eighteenth planetary cycle of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis, in various Bay Area venues from Saturday 5th July through Monday 15th September. This cycle provides a ritual dynamic for a series of carousing multi-media celebrations, tracing the flow of divine emanation through the cosmos, both exterior and interior. The Rites are religious, theatrical, artistic, and musical performances as well as being ceremonies of magical significance and feasts of fellowship. All who attend will be participants in a unique extended psychodrama which is partly scripted and rehearsed, but also magically inhabited and improvised in the vortex of the moment. Use your own preferred color scale or correspondence scheme, and come prepared to add to the event each time, dressing for the planetary, zodiacal, or alchemical forces you choose to embody, and contributing appropriate food and drink to the communal dinner with which most of the Rites will conclude.
    The Rite of Saturn, featuring April and her "house band" IAO Core, begins the cycle on Saturday evening 5th July at April and Andy's house in Oakland; call them at (510) 839-7361 for directions. The Rite of Jupiter on Thursday 17th July, reportedly organized by Andy in the manner of a television game show, will be at the same location. The Martial Rite on Tuesday 29th July, projected as a raving techno-disco, has not yet had its location finalized as we go to press, but Cynthia will be able to tell you all about it at (510) 601-9393 during the preceding week. Next month's Rites of Sol and Venus will take place on Sunday 10th and Friday 22nd August, with Mercury on Wednesday 3rd September and Luna on Monday 15th to conclude the series at the full moon as the whole force pours into Pan. Watch for announcements in these pages next month, or call the lodge ahead of time for location information at (510) 652-3171.
    The beginnings of our revival of Crowley's Rites of Eleusis in the O.T.O. under the Caliphate of Hymenaeus Alpha already seem shrouded in the mists of the 'seventies, with only the most scant accounts of the first few cycles thusfar yielding to the lodge's recent researches. It seems from later accounts that it must have been sometime during the first year of Thelema Lodge that a small group of magicians and performers gathered in El Sobrante to investigate the dramatic possibilities of the scripts from the Equinox of a theatrical production in London by a group of A A members 68 years earlier. There may have been an unreported private reading or walk-through of the cycle in 1978 e.v. with little or no audience, organized by Soror Andromeda (later known as the Lady Chandria) in her home. The following summer a group of Thelemites led by Chandria (shortly to be chartered as an encampment of O.T.O. in Contra Costa County) presented "an astrologically timed and full dress performance within the Sanctuary of the Camp." It was this series of the seven planetary Rites, given in El Sobrante at five-day intervals during the late summer of 1979 e.v., which seems to be the first cycle about which anyone has recorded particular impressions. Most memorable that year was the outstanding performance of Frater Meithras as "Lord Mercury."
    The Rites were offered again the following year (late in the summer of 1980 e.v.), once more in El Sobrante, by the group now chartered to Chandria as Nuit Camp and soon to be upgraded to Nuit-Urania Chapter (the old name for an Oasis), which was "chiefly devoted to dramatic ritual". A tradition had been forged among Thelemites in the East Bay, and it was determined to repeat the cycle in seven consecutive years. For the Link, Chandria wrote in a Nuit- Urania report on the 1981 e.v. cycle: "We have just finished our fourth series of the Rites of Eleusis." This time the performances had been given at the Grand Lodge temple on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, and a number of stunning photographs were taken during the dress rehearsals, which Grady proudly showed as illustrations for a lecture on dramatic ritual delivered to initiates in New York City later that year. A few of these photos now hang in the lodge kitchen, showing elaborate costumes and backdrops which have seldom been surpassed, focused by powerfully invoked embodiments of the planetary god- forms.
    The fifth cycle in late 1982 e.v. was even grander, and was expanded to include participation from other parts of California. Reporting just after Luna that year, Chandria wrote that "the energy which they have generated is amazing. We consider them to be an experiment in Thaumaturgy, and the end result, when we finally complete the series for the seventh time, will be a surprise to all of us." The Grand Master Hymenaeus Alpha (who had acted on stage in Kansas as a teenager, and in the 'fifties organized departmental performances of Shakespeare while a government bureaucrat in Washington) himself took the leading role in the opening Rite, performed at the Thelema Lodge Emeryville temple. Jupiter was hosted by Heru-Ra-Ha Lodge in Costa Mesa, with Chandria and other Grand Lodge members driving down to visit and taking in Disneyland with the Caliph afterwards. Additional Rites that year were held in El Sobrante, at the Gumption Theater in San Francisco, and at New Horizons in Pittsburg. The following summer's sixth cycle was likewise divided mostly between Grand Lodge's Emeryville temple and the Nuit-Urania Chapter, but also included the first Rite (Venus) given in Berkeley at what would later become Sirius Oasis (referred to as "Serious Camp" in the Link report), where so many of the Rites have lately been celebrated over the past few cycles.
    But the projected seventh cycle failed to materialize in 1984 e.v. The Rites were held in Southern California that year, according to a different schedule, but Nuit-Urania disappeared from the roster of O.T.O. official bodies when Chandria's health failed in the spring, and other leading players relocated. Grady's own failing health was becoming critical, and he died the following summer. With the momentum of a year's hiatus, and shortly after the Caliph's passing, a new cycle of the Rites was mounted, performed entirely at the New Horizons complex in Pittsburg, California. Chandria was able to portray Luna in this 1985 e.v. series (during a temporary remission in her illness), so she fully achieved the seven cycles of her project, but this seems to have been her final participation in the ongoing enterprise she had instigated. Due to the interruption nobody seemed to realize that the count had reached its goal, and the community had grown so much since the first cycle that it seemed natural to begin planning again a year later. Over the autumn of 1986 e.v. an eighth cycle was given in various East Bay locations, including the first of two ill-fated Saturn performances in the Oakland Humanist Hall, and dates at Sirius and the old Ankh-f-n-Khonsu Lodge in Berkeley.
    Cycles nine through thirteen continued more or less in the same pattern every year between 1987 and 1991 e.v., with one of the dates in each sequence usually organized by Lola as a camping trip. Shortly before Chandria's death in 1987 she was present at Battery Alexander in the Marin Headlands for one of these, a large Lammas camp-out which included Caitlin's Rite of Venus. The next few cycles were held mainly in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge's location during those years on 63rd Street. When lodge leadership briefly failed in 1990 e.v. in the wake of an illegal, incompetent, and stupidly misdirected Berkeley police raid against local members, many of the Rites were shifted to Lola's house on Stannage Street. Several cycles were held very late in their years at this time, and when the 1991 e.v. Rites spilled over into 1992 (on the occasion of Michael Sanborn's memorable New Year's Eve Rite of Mars in a downtown Oakland bar), the following year was skipped to bring the Rites back to a summer-time schedule.
    Beginning with the fourteenth cycle in 1993 e.v., a scheduling innovation was adopted at the suggestion of Brother Jim Graeb, with the Rites now falling at twelve-day intervals instead of the old five-day system, drawing the sequence out to two and a half months rather than packing it so frantically into a single lunar cycle. The original structure began with a full moon on Saturday evening and ended with the following full moon on Monday for Luna; now we begin in the dark of the moon for Saturn and conclude with Luna at the full. Highlights over the past few years have included several Rites in the beautiful garden at Grace's Temple of Astrology in Berkeley, many performances at Sirius Oasis, others at Oz House, Rosslyn Camp, and Thelema Lodge, several Lunas at Battery Alexander, as well as Leigh Ann's last year in the Blue Lodge Room of the Scottish Rite Temple in Oakland, and some interesting San Francisco venues, including April's amazing Luna two years ago at the John Wickets Exotic Museum.
    The lodge has been collecting material for a retrospective survey of The Rites of Eleusis in Northern California, and would greatly appreciate any accounts of past performances, especially from those involved or present. Try to be precise regarding the date and place, and the participants. Transcripts from contemporary diaries would be especially welcome. Please contact the lodgemaster if you have data to contribute to our registry of past performances here.

Rituals, Meetings, and Classes

    Thelema Lodge gathers on Sunday evenings in Horus Temple for our weekly celebration of Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass (Liber XV), beginning at nightfall. Members, friends, and guests are welcome, and should arrive by 8:00 to await the opening of the outer veil and the deacon's call to enter the temple. All are welcome to attend and take communion with us; those who do not know the lodge should call ahead for information and directions at (510) 652-3171. Members wishing to serve as mass officers are encouraged to put a team together and then confer with the lodgemaster for a date on the temple schedule.

    Initiations in Ordo Templi Orientis are next planned for Saturday 19th July at Thelema Lodge, through the afternoon and into the evening. For reasons of security during the rituals, as well as efficiency in planning for the concluding feast, advance notice is requested from all who would like to attend any initiation. Interested members should speak with one of the officers of the lodge for specific information regarding the times and degrees to be worked. For those who wish to apply for candidacy, forms can be requested at most lodge functions, and should be returned to the lodgemaster when complete. All candidates are required to keep in touch with the lodge during the (minimum thirty day) period that they await initiation.

    Our Tarot series with Bill Heidrick holds its fifteenth meeting in San Anselmo on Wednesday evening 23rd July, beginning at 7:30. The Court Cards will be our focus this month, with the presentation of an illustrated lecture on their history, meaning, and symbology. Afterwards there will be a demonstration of divinatory technique with the cards, as a complete reading or two is presented and fully explained by the instructor. For information call Bill ahead of time at (415) 454-5176.

    The selection this month in the A A Section Two Reading Group is one of the most obscure works on Crowley's original bibliography of secondary and "suggestive" occult writings. On Monday evening 21st July we will be reading and discussing No. 19 by Edgar Jepson at Oz House with Caitlin, beginning at 8:00. Jepson was primarily a humor writer on the staff of the original Vanity Fair magazine, which was edited in London by Frank Harris and numbered Aleister Crowley among its contributors. He also published several popular novels, but is hardly remembered at all today, although No. 19 is an enjoyable occult thriller, interesting as a possible influence upon the concept and structure of Crowley's Rites of Eleusis. It appeared in the spring of 1910 e.v. and went through two editions in its first season, portraying ceremonial magic as a serious and effective study involving discipline, dedication, and enormous risk.
    We learn gradually from a concerned neighbor's narration about a series of rites being celebrated in the back garden of No. 19 Walden Road in Hertford Park, an otherwise respectable London suburb. There are seven rites, each invoking a different ancient god, and in addition to tedious recitations they involve periodic libations from a shared cup of drugged wine, orgiastic dancing, and the concluding embodiment of chaos as the great god Pan (with destructive results). They are produced seasonally, year after year, by organized magical students in robes at night according to a lunar schedule, and led by an accomplished, sincere, but dangerously obsessed world-travelling magus. It is very likely that Crowley and some of his students read and enjoyed No. 19 very shortly before writing and producing The Rites of Eleusis during the summer and autumn of that same year. Although the weaker participants fail in terror as the operation proceeds, those who are pure of heart, and able to keep the power of their wills concentrated, not only survive these rites but successfully channel the power generated in the ritual to their own good, discovering in the end that "woman is the key of the ultimate lock." Only those who become distracted, or complain during rehearsals, or are not able to learn their lines properly, end up driven mad or crushed by the sacred forces, or scared to death by the results. "Uncle! Uncle! There's something horrible in the garden!"

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

    The Thelema Lodge College of Hard N.O.X. meets on the first and final Wednesday evenings of each month at 8:00 in the lodge library. Mordecai has organized this free-ranging discussion society, with no promise that he will get us to stick to the point, but only to remember sometimes what it was. A topic for each gathering of this assembly will be set by general agreement at the preceding meeting (and most likely upset and reset as we go on), so that we can mark our progress by the remembered measure of our intentions. Open and free intellectual exchange is so obviously necessary to any Thelemic community that we can easily neglect the duty which each (as well as all) of us share in maintaining a continuous, fair, and pertinent discussion of the issues we face together. Obfuscation and censorship are the wrappings of weakness; they are easy to ridicule, and so are most hazardous when self- imposed, as may become habitual when structures of artificial confidence take the place of balanced exercise in compensating for our own failings. Often ideas forged in communion can take on power and usefulness which solitary thought brings only more slowly to definition. Join us for practice in effective conversation on Wednesday evenings 2nd and 30th July.

Previous NOX                   Next NOX

    The Law is for All was the title originally given by Israel Regardie to his own shortened edition of Crowley's several commentaries upon the Book of the Law. Regardie's edition has lately been superseded by one more closely honoring Crowley's own publication hopes, which presents a shortened version of the "New Comment" from the 1920s e.v. Thelema Lodge continues to offer a weekly reading and study circle devoted to this material, which meets upstairs in the "den" with Michael and Cynthia, most Sundays before mass. Arrive at 7:00 to participate, or for more information call (510) 601-9393.

    Grace's seven-week Astrology seminar concludes this month, meeting in Berkeley on Monday evenings 7th and 14th July. Please call ahead to attend, but new students are always welcome. This series can present either beginning or intermediate astrological practitioners with a complete grounding, or with a new orientation at any point along the way. The Temple of Astrology can be reached at (510) 843-STAR, and each session lasts from 7:00 until 9:00. We will be using as a textbook in this seminar the excellent primer by Douglas Bloch & Demetra George, Astrology for Yourself: A Workbook for Personal Transformation (Oakland: Wingbow Press, 1987, 1994), several copies of which will be available to share during class.

Crowley Classics

    Buried at the end of Crowley's third volume of collected Works, which was issued for him in 1907 e.v. by the Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth, this essay was apparently written as that volume was being prepared, and had not previously been published. A subsequent edition appeared in the College of Thelema's magazine In the Continuum (vol. III, no.5). We will present it in two parts, beginning this month and concluding in our next issue.


[by Aleister Crowley]

THOSE who are most familiar with the spirit of fair play which pervades our great public schools will have no difficulty, should they observe, in an obscure corner, the savage attack of Jones minor upon Robinson minimus, in deducing that the former has only just got over the "jolly good hiding" that Smith major had so long promised him, the determining factor of the same being Smith's defeat by Brown maximus behind the chapel, after Brown's interview with the Head-Master.
    We are most of us aware that cabinet ministers, bishops, and dons resemble each other in the important particular that all are still schoolboys, and their differences but the superficial one produced by greasing, soaping, and withering them respectively; so that it will meet with instant general approval if I open this paper by the remark that Christianity, as long as it flourished, was content to assimilate Paganism, never attacking it until its own life had been sapped by the insidious heresies of Pall.
    Time passed by, and they bullied Manes and Cerinthus; history repeated itself until it almost knew itself by heart; finally, at the present day, some hireling parasites of the decaying faith -- at once the origin and the product of that decay -- endeavour to take advantage of the "Greek movement" or the "Neo-pagan revival" in the vain hope of diverting the public attention from the phalanx of Rationalism -- traitorously admitted by Luther, and now sitting crowned and inexpugnable in the very citadel of the faith -- to their own dishonest lie that Paganism was a faith whose motto was "Carpe diem,"1 and those methods were drink, Dance, and Studio Murder.2 Why is Procopius cleaner than Petronius? Even a Julian could confute this sort of thing; but are we to rest for ever in negation? No; a Robinson minimus ipse will turn, and it is quite time that science was given a chance to measure itself against bulk. I shall not be content with giving Christian apologists the lie direct, but proceed to convict them of the very materialism against which they froth. In a word, to-day Christianity is the irreligion of the materialist, or if your like, the sensualist; while in Paganism, we may find the expression of that ever-haunting love -- nay, necessity! -- of the Beyond which tortures and beautifies those of us who are poets.
    GR:pi-alpha-nu-tau-alpha  kappa-alpha-theta-alpha-rho-alpha tau-omicron-iota-sigma  kappa-alpha-theta-alpha-rho-omicron-iota-sigma -- and, while there is no logical break between the apparently chaste dogma of the Virgin Birth and the horrible grossness of R. P. Sanchez in his De Matrimonio, Lib. ii. Cap. xxi., "Utium Virgo Maria semen emiserit in copulatione cum Spiritu Sancto," so long as we understand an historical Incarnation: the accomplishment of that half of the Magnum Opus which is glyphed in the mystic aphorism "Solve!" enables an Adept of that standing to see nothing but pure symbol and holy counsel in the no grosser legends of the Greeks. This is not a matter of choice: reason forbids us to take the Swan-lover in its literal silliness and obscenity; but, on the other hand, the Bishops will not allow us to attach a pure interpretation to the precisely similar story of the Dove.3
    So far am I, indeed, from attacking Christian symbolism as such, that I am quite prepared to admit that it is, although or rather because it is the lowest, the best. Most others, especially Hinduism and Buddhism, lose themselves in metaphysical speculations only proper to those who are already Adepts.
    The Rosicrucian busies himself with the Next Step, for himself and his pupils; he is no more concerned to discuss Nibbana than a schoolmaster to "settle the doctrine of the enclithic  GR:Delta-eta" in the mind of a child who is painfully grappling with the declension of GR:Nu-epsilon-alpha-nu-iota-alpha-sigma. We can read even orthodox Christian writers with benefit (such is the revivifying force of our Elixir) by seeking the essence in the First Matter of the Work; and we could commend many of them, notably St. Ignatius and even the rationalising Mansel and Newman, if they would only concentrate upon spiritual truth, instead of insisting on the truth of things, material and therefore immaterial, which only need the touch of a scholar's wand to crumble into the base dust from which their bloodstained towers arose.
    Whoso has been crucified with Christ can but laugh when it is proved that Christ was never crucified. The historian understands nothing of what we mean, either by Christ or by crucifixion, and is thus totally incompetent to criticise our position. On the other hand, we are of course equally ill- placed to convert him; but then we do not wish to do so; certainly not quâ historian. We leave him alone. Whoso hath ears to hear, let him hear! and the first and last ordeals and rewards of the Adept are comprised in the maxim "Keep silence!"
    There should be no possible point of contact between the Church and the world: Paul began the ruin of Christianity, but Constantine completed it. The Church which begins to exteriorise is already lost. To control the ethics of the state is to adopt the ethics of the state: and the first duty of the state will be to expel the rival god Religion. In such a cycle we in England seem to be now revolving, and the new forced freedom of the Church is upon us.
    If only the destruction is sufficiently complete, if only all England will turn Atheist, we may perhaps be able to find some Christians here and there. As long as "church" means either a building, an assembly, or even has any meaning at all of a kind to be intelligible to the ordinary man, so long is Christ rejected, and the Pharisee supreme.
    Now the materialism which has always been the curse of Christianity was no doubt partly due to the fact that the early disciples were poor men. You cannot bribe a rich man with loaves and fishes: only the overfed long from the Simple Life. True, Christ bought the world by the promise of Fasts and Martyrdoms, glutted as it was by its surfeit of Augustan glories; but the poor were in a vast majority, and snatched greedily at all the gross pleasures and profits of which the educated and wealthy were sick even unto death. Further, the asceticism of surfeit is a false passion, and only lasts until a healthy hunger is attained; so that the change was an entire corruption, without redeeming aspect. Had there been five righteous men in Rome, a Cato, a Brutus, a Curtius, a Scipio, and a Julian, nothing would have occurred; but there was only the last, and he too late. No doubt Maximus, his teacher, was too holy an Adept to mingle in the affairs of the world; one indeed, perhaps, about to pass over to a higher sphere of action: such speculation is idle and impertinent; but the world was ruined, as never before since the fabled destruction of Atlantis, and I trust that I shall take my readers with me when I affirm so proud a belief in the might of the heart whose integrity is unassailable, clean of all crime, that I lay it down as a positive dictum that only by the decay in the mental and moral virility of Rome and not otherwise, was it possible for the slavish greed and anarchy of the Faith of Paul to gain a foothold. This faith was no new current of youth, sweeping away decadence: it was a force of the slime: a force with no single salutary germ of progress inherent herein. Even Mohammedanism, so often accused of materialism, did produce, at once, and in consequence, a revival of learning, a crowd of algebraists, astronomers, philosophers, whose names are still to be revered: but within the fold, from the death of Christ to the Renaissance -- a purely pagan movement -- we hear no more of art, literature, or philosophy.4 But we do hear -- well, what Gibbon has to say.
    There is surely a positive side to all this; we agree that Pagans must have been more spiritual than their successors, if only because themselves openly scoffed at their mythology without in the least abandoning the devout performance of its rites, while the Christian clung to irrelevant historical falsehood as if it were true and important. But it is justifiable -- nay, urgent -- to inquire how and why? Which having discovered, we are bound to proceed with the problem: "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" receive the answer: "By taking heed thereto according to thy word," and interpret "thy word" as "The Works of Aleister Crowley."
    But this is to anticipate; let us answer the first question by returning to our phrase "The Church that exteriorises is already lost." On that hypothesis, the decay of Paganism was accomplished by the very outward and visible sign of its inward and spiritual grace, the raising of massive temples to the Gods in a style and manner to which history seeks in vain a parallel. Security is mortals' chiefest enemy; so also the perfection of balanced strength which enabled Hwang-sze to force his enemies to build the Great Wall was the mark of the imminent decay of his dynasty and race -- truly a terrible "Writing on the Wall." An end to the days of the Nine Sages; an end to the wisdoms of Lao Tan on his dun cow; an end to the making of classics of history and of odes and of ethics, to the Shu King and the Shih King, and the Li-Ki, and the mysterious glories of the holy Yi King itself! Civilisation, decadence, and the slime. Still the Great Wall keeps the Barbarians from China: it is the wall that the Church of Christ set up against science and philosophy, and even to-day its ruins stand, albeit wrapped in the lurid flames of Hell. It is the law of life, this cycle; decadence is perfection, and the perfect soul is assumed into the bosom of Nephthys, so that for a while the world lies fallow. It is in failing to see this constant fume of incense rising from the earth that pessimistic philosophies make their grand fundamental error: in that, and in assuming the very point in dispute, the nature of the laws of other worlds and the prospects of the individual soul. Confess, O subtle author, that thou thyself art even now in the same trap! Willingly, reader; these slips happen when, although one cannot prove to others, one knows.5 Thou too shall know, and thou wilt: -- ask how, and we come suddenly back to our subject, just as a dreamer may wander through countless nightmares, to find himself in the end on the top of a precipice, whence falling, he shall find himself in bed.
    Hear wisdom! the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.
    A man is almost obliged to be in communion with God when God is blowing his hat off, drenching him to the skin, whistling through his very bones, scaring him almost to death with a flash of lightning, and so on. When he gets time to think, he thinks just that. In a church all is too clearly the work of man: in the matter of man's comfort man's devices are so obviously superior to God's: so that we compare hats and languidly discuss the preacher.
    Religion is alive in Wales, because people have to walk miles to chapel.
    Religion is alive among Mohammedans, who pray (as they live) out of doors, and who will fight and die for their ideas; and among Hindus, whose bloody sacrifices bring them daily face to face with death.
    Pan-Islam is possible; pan-Germany is possible; but pan-Christendom would be absurd. There were saints in the times of the Crusades, and Crusaders in the times of the Saints: for though the foe was more artificial than real, and the object chimerical, a foe and an aim of whatever sort assist the concentration which alone is life.
    So that we need not be surprised to see as we do that religion is dead in London, where it demands no greater sacrifice than that of an hour's leisure in the week, and even offers to repay that with social consideration for the old, and opportunities of flirtation for the young.
    The word "dear" has two senses, and these two are one.
    Pressing the "out-of-doors" argument, as we may call it, I will challenge each of my readers to a simple experiment.
    Go out one night to a distant an lonely heath, if no mountain summit is available: then at midnight repeat the Lord's Prayer, or any invocation with which you happen to be familiar, or one made up by yourself, or one consisting wholly of senseless and barbarous words.6 Repeat it solemnly and aloud, expectant of some great and mysterious result.
    I pledge myself, if you have a spark of religion in you, that is, if you are properly a human being, that you will (at the very least) experience a deeper sense of spiritual communion that you have ever obtained by any course of church-going.
    After which you will, if you are worth your salt, devote your life to the development of this communion, and to the search for an instructed master who can tell you more than I can.
    Now the earlier paganism is simply overflowing with this spirit of communion. The boy goes down to the pool, musing, as boys will; is it strange that a nymph should reward him, sometimes even with wine from the purple vats of death?
    Poor dullards! in your zeal to extinguish the light upon our altars you have had to drench your own with the bitter waters of most general unbelief. Where are the witches and the fairies and the angels, and the visions of the divine St. John? You are annoyed at my mention of angels and witches; because you know yourselves to be sceptics, and that I have any amount of "scriptural warrant" to throw at your heads, if I deigned; you are all embarassed when Maude Adams leans over the footlights with a goo-goo accent so excessive that you die of diabetes in a week, and asks you point-blank: "Do you believe in fairies?" while, for your visions, you do not go to St. John's Island, and share his exile; but to his Wood, and waste your money.
    The early pagan worships Demeter in dim groves; there is silence; there is no organisation of ritual; there the worship is spontaneous and individual. In short, the work of religion is thrown upon the religious faculty, instead of being delegated to the quite inferior and irrelevant faculties of mere decorum or even stage-craft. A Christian of the type of Browning understands this perfectly. True, he approves the sincerity which he finds to pervade the otherwise disgusting chapel; but he cares nothing whatever for the "raree-show of Peter's successor," and though I daresay his ghost will be shocked and annoyed by my mention of the fact, Browning himself does not get his illumination in any human temple, but only when he is out with the universe alone in the storm.
    Nor does Browning anywhere draw so perfect and so credible a picture of the intercourse between man and God as the exquisite vision of Pan in "Pheidippides." It is all perfectly natural and therefore miraculous; there is no straining at the gnats of vestment in the hope of swallowing the camel of Illumination.
    In the matter of Pentecost, we hear only, in the way of the "conditions of the experiment," that "they were all with one accord in one place." Now, this being the only instance in the world's history of more than two people in one place being of one accord, it is naturally also the only instance of a miracle which happened in church.
    The Quakers, arguing soundly enough that women were such a cause of contention chiefly on account of their tongues, and getting a glimpse of these truths which I have so laboriously been endeavouring to expound, hoped for inspiration from the effects of silence alone, and strove (even by a symbolic silence in costume) to repeat the experiment of Pentecost.
    But they lacked the stimulus of Syrian air, and that of the stirring times of the already visible sparks of national revolt: they should have sought to replace these by passing the bottle round in their assemblies, and something would probably have happened, an 'twere only a raid of the police.
    Better get forty shillings or a month that live and die as lived and died John Bright!
    Better be a Shaker, or a camp-meeting homunculus, or a Chataqua girl, or a Keswick week lunatic, or an Even Roberts revivalist, or even a common maniac, than a smug Evangelical banker's clerk with a greasy wife and three gifted children -- to be bank clerks after him!
    Better be a flagellant, or one who dances as David danced before the Lord, than a bishop who is universally respected, even by the boys he used to baste when he was headmaster of a great English public school!
    That is, if religion is your aim: if you are spiritually minded: if you interpret every phenomenon that is presented to your sensorium as a particular dealing of God with your soul.
    But if you come back from the celebration of the Eucharist and say, "Mr. Hogwash was very dull to-day," you will never get to heaven, where the good poets live, and nobody else; nor to hell, whose inhabitants are exclusively bad poets.
    There is more hope for a man who should go to Lord's and say he saw the angels of God ascending and descending upon C. B. Fry.
    It is God who sees the possibility of Light in Chaos; it is the Churches who blaspheme the superb body of Truth which Adepts of old enshrined in the Cross, by degrading the Story of the Crucifixion to a mere paragraph in the Daily Mail of the time of Pontius Pilate.
    Bill Blake took tea with Ezekiel: Tennyson saw no more in the Arthurian legends than a prophecy of the Prince Consort (though Lancelot has little in common with John Brown), and the result of all is that Tennyson is dead and buried -- as shown by the fact that he is still popular -- and Blake lives, for poets read and love him.
    Now when Paganism became popular, organised, state-regulated, it ceased to be individual: that is to say, it ceased to exist as a religion, and became a social institution little better than the Church which has replaced it. But initiates -- men who had themselves seen God face to face, and lived -- preserved the vital essence. They chose men; they tested them; they instructed them in methods of invoking the Visible Image of the Invisible. Thus by a living chain religion lived -- in the Mysteries of Eleusis.
    Further, recognising that the Great Work was henceforth to be secret, a worship of caverns and midnight groves and catacombs, no more of open fields and smiling bowers, they caused to be written in symbols by one of the lesser initiates the whole Mystery of Godliness, so that after the renaissance those who were fitted to the work might infallibly discover the first matter of the Work and even many of the processes thereof.

1. "Gather ye roses!" is the masterpiece of a Christian clergyman. -- A.C.
2. A peculiarly gross case of psychopathic crime which occurred in 1906.
3. Recently, a certain rash doctor publicly expressed his doubts whether any Bishop of the
    twentieth century was so filthy-minded a fool. They were, however, soon dispelled
    by telegrams from a considerable section of the entire Bench, couched in emphatic
4 Such philosophy as does exist is entirely vicious, taking its axioms no more from observed
    fact, but from "Scripture" or from Aristotle. Barring such isolated pagans as M. Aurelius
    Antoninus, and the neo-Platonists, those glorious decadents* of paganism.

* Decadence marks the period when the adepts, nearing their earthly perfection, become true adepts, not mere men of genius. They disappear, harvested by heaven: and perfect darkness (apparent death) ensues until the youthful forerunners of the next crop begin to shoot in the form of artists. Diagrammatically:

By the Progress of the World we mean that she is always giving adepts to God, and thus losing them; yet, through their aid, while they are still near enough to humanity to attract it, she reaches each time a higher point. Yet this point is never very high; so that Aeschylus, though in fact more ignorant than our schoolboys, holds his seat besides Ibsen and Newton in the Republic of the Adepti -- a good horse, but not to be run too hard. -- A. C.

5. Let me run wild for once, I beg; I am tired of emulating Mr. Storer Clouston's Sir Julian
    Wallingford, "whose reasoning powers were so remarkable that he never committed
    the slightest action without furnishing a full and adequate explanation of his conduct."
    -- A. C.
6. I am ashamed to say that I have devoted considerable time to the absurd task of finding meanings
    for, and tracing the corruptions of, the "barbarous names of evocation" which occur in nearly
    all conjurations, and which Zoroaster warns his pupils not to change, because "they are names
    divine, having in the sacred rites a power ineffable."
      The fact is that many such names are indeed corruptions of divine names. We may trace Eheieh
    in Eie, Abraxas in Abrae, Tetragrammaton in Jehovah.
      But this, an initiate knows, is quite contrary to the true theory.
      It is because the names are senseless that they are effective. If a man is really praying he
    cannot bring himself to utter ridiculous things to his God, just as Mark Twain observes that
    one "cannot pray a lie." So that it is a sublime test of faith to utter either a lie or a jest, this
    with reverence, and that with conviction. Achieve it; the one becomes the truth, the other
    a formula of power. Hence the real value of the Egyptian ritual by which the theurgist
    identified himself with the power he invoked. Modern neophytes should not (we think)
    use the old conjurations with their barbarous names, because, imperfectly understanding
    the same, they may superstitiously attribute some real power to them; we shall rather advise
    "Jack and Jill went up the hill," "From Greenland's icy mountains," and such, with which it is
    impossible for the normal mind to associate a feeling of reverence.
      What may be the mode of operation of this formula concerns us little; enough if it succeeds.
    But one may suggest that it is a case of the will running free, "i.e." unchecked, as it normally is,
    by the hosts of critical larvae we call reason, habit, sensation, and the like.
      But the will freed from these may run straight and swift; if its habitual goal has been the
    attainment of Samadhi, it may under such circumstances reach it. It will require a very
    advanced student to use this type of faith. The Lord's Prayer and the minor exaltation are
    the certainties for this event. -- A. C.

Previous Crowley Classics                   To be continued

from the Grady Project:

The Sorcerer

They dug him up and he was fresh,
By this and by the tangled mesh
Of roots that found no sustenance
Within him, they were want to know
That this was him who bid there grow
About him that which mortal lance
Could not dispute, and so they lopped
His head with silver axe and chopped
A stake to drive into his heart
Which, doing this, removed his art.

              -- Grady L. McMurtry

    Having now exhausted all of the verses which were originally assembled for the four Grady Project pamphlets nearly ten years ago, we will continue this series with a presentation of the remaining poetical works of Grady McMurtry, assembled from various sources. Approximately eighteen poems remain, at the conclusion of which the entirety of Grady's legacy as a poet will have appeared here in the Thelema Lodge Calendar, serialized over the course of eleven years. Scarce any of these remaining poems have been previously published except in Pangenator Lodge's limited edition Red Flame collection of 1994 e.v., so henceforth we will usually dispense with the publication notes.
    Written at the age of twenty-three, during the first year in which Grady made it his regular work to write poems and preserve them, this piece is fairly typical of his very early verse. Supernatural, magical, and sinister, but not yet overtly Thelemic, such verses may have been intended for appearance in science fiction "fan-zines" which had begun appearing at this time. These "mimeoed mailers" were written, published, and read by enthusiasts of the commercial "pulp" science fiction monthlies such as Amazing Stories, of which Grady was a devoted reader and collector during his college years before the War.

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XXIX - Using the Parsifim.

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

    This approach is very closely related to the ten-Sephirot multiple Trees. Although working with the Parsifim or Countenances is a little more sophisticated, it is often easier to use a Tree of five categories instead of ten Sephirot. The basic method is the same. We will return to the notion of the Parsifim later; but for now consider the central group as one, Chesed through Yesod as all the details of a normal human personality, ignoring the material existence of the body and the higher aspects. Here we have fantasy (Yesod), practicality (Hod), emotional feelings (Netzach), central focus of life (Tipheret), moral force or drives toward goals (Geburah) and an ultimate "feeling good" zone (Chesed). Religious experience, moral force, view of life, emotional balance, rational balance and fantasy can be taken as "what my head is like" and considered as a complex formed by merging six Sephirot. In cases where this won't do the job, you will need all ten Sephirot.
    Studies of Qabalah discuss the number of Sephirot in compound ways. When you start multiplying the Trees inside the Trees, that can be very confusing, since some approaches multiply by a factor of ten and others by a factor of five, using this system. It's basically the same thing, whether you are using a ten Sephirot Tree or a reduced Tree of four distinct Sephirot and a single group of the middle six treated as one. This is a psychological Tree.

Previous, Part XXVIII                   Next: 3-D Trees and the Platonic Regular Solids

Primary Sources

   A A or O.T.O.:
Although this text has been published before, it merits repeating. Here is Crowley's short distinction between A A and OTO, as requested of him by Germer the year before Crowley's Greater Feast. Given the date, it is clear that Crowley did not intend OTO and A A to merge as a single organization and did not have in mind abandonment of the freemasonic style structure of the former -- even though some of his associates and others have claimed that he decided to make such a change. Germer's continued use of this statement seven years later shows that these distinctions continued into the next leadership of both O.T.O. and A A.

COPY (from Karl Germer)

From Letter from 666, Sept. 16, 1946.

"The difference between the A A and the O.T.O. is very clear and simple.
The A A is a sempiternal institution, and entirely secret. There is no communication between its members. Theoretically, a member knows only the superior who introduced him, and any person whom he himself has introduced. The Order is run on purely spiritual lines.

The object of membership is also entirely simple. The first objective is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. The next objective, omitting considerations for the present of the 6°=5 and 7°=4 degrees, is the crossing of the Abyss, and the attainment of mastership of the Temple. This is described very fully especially in Liber 418. Much less is written about the 5°=6 degree, i.e., the Knowledge and Conversation, because it is too secret and individual. It is impossible to lay down conditions, or to describe the experience involved in detail.

The O.T.O. has nothing to do with this, except that the Book of the Law and the Word of the Aeon are essential principles of membership. In all other respects, it stands by itself as a body similar to freemasonry, but involving acceptance of a social and economic system which is intended to put the world on its feet. There is also, of course, the secret of the IX° which is so to say, the weapon which they may use to further these purposes.

To show you the difference, Theodor Reuss was Supreme Head of the O.T.O., but was not even probationer of the A A


When in California I had been asked for a formal and official statement on the above subject, so I asked 666 for it, and here it is.

cc to Roy Leffingwell
     Max Schneider
     Grady McMurtry.

copy sent Petersen 2/10/54

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From the Outbasket

In keeping with the general theme of this column, matters more or less immediate from my desk on OTO and Thelema, here's a dip into memories, archives and notes sparked by the Lodgemaster's call for background for the revival of Crowley's Rites of Eleusis.

    Interest in the Rites came early after the founding of Thelema Lodge (October 12th, 1977 e.v.). Later that year we experimented with profess houses in San Francisco. The "Ashbury Abbey" was the first of these, and the acquisition of some photocopies from The Looking Glass accounts of the first run of the Rites sparked interest. There was thought of putting them on again, but mainly these old pictures were studied for details of the A A robes worn by the players in the first decades of this century. On 8th December, 1977 e.v., my diary records accidental destruction of a set of the Eleusian photocopies during a fire in Janice's room at the "Abbey". Furnishings, floor coverings and windows were also lost, but nothing more serious. Other copies were available, and discussions continued.
    The Ashbury Abbey eventually reverted to a share rental, and the next experiment with a profess house in San Francisco was At-Nu House, mainly under the direction of Fr. Ebony and Sr. Cinnamon. On 6th June, 1978 e.v., following a class I taught on the Death Atu, Jim Graeb held an impromptu meeting to discuss plans for putting on the Rites again for the first time since Crowley's days. We did a Tarot reading on the question, at first formally and then by free-style interrogation of the spirit of the deck. This went so far as to address the shade of the Hierophant of the ancient Rites. The outcome was that the time was not ripe, but the next effort would be successful. In those days most OTO meetings and classes in the Bay Area were taped on cassettes and later transferred to reel-to-reel 24 hour capacity tape with the cassettes being recycled. This practice continued until about 1980 e.v., and the first meeting on the staging of the Rites has survived on tape Epsilon, side II, right track (item M) and left track (item O). The lecture on the Death Atu is part of that, so the total recording time of 105 minutes probably only has about 40 minutes devoted to the meeting on the Rites.
    Sister Chandria lived at At-Nu house in its last days, and probably got the notion of doing the Rites when she was there. After she moved out, the Rites remained on her mind. Thelema Lodge experimented with a Drama Guild and Chandria independently went ahead with the first performances, mixing OTO and non-OTO local folks for the cast. This tradition began with her, as did the tradition of each Rite having its own producer-director in the role of the planetary deity. The cast in these early performances varied from amateur to professional, including Sally E., who had performed the "Pollution Song" in the original production of Hair.
    The first notice of Chandria's successful work on the Rites to appear in the Thelema lodge Calendar was for the Rite of Luna at the Unitarian Meeting Hall on Cedar & Bonita in Berkeley, for 2nd February, 1980 e.v. The Magickal Link for March 1981 e.v. carried a full page notice of the Rites of that year, with the "Thelema Lodge Calendar" page in the back setting forth dates and times. That was the first full performance of the Rites actually at Thelema Lodge, when the Lodge met at 2822 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley. Sister Heather participated, later taking the Rites to New Zealand and Australia when she went back to found Oceania Lodge. By then the Rites had started up in southern California and elsewhere in the US. European OTO centers followed. The Rites have also been done in Japan and Canada.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for July 1997 e.v.

7/2/97"College of Hard NOX" with Mordecai
8:00 PM in the library
Thelema Ldg.
7/5/97The Rite of Saturn 8PM call for
7/6/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/7/97Astrology Seminar with Grace
in Berkeley, 7:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/10/97Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
7/13/97Lodge Luncheon Meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
7/13/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/14/97Astrology Seminar with Grace
in Berkeley, 7:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/17/97The Rite of Jupiter 8PM call for
7/19/97Thelema Lodge OTO initiations
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
7/20/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/21/97Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Edgar Jepson's "No. 19"
At Oz house, 8 PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/22/97The Rite of Sol 12:16PM call for
7/23/97Tarot with Bill Heidrick, 7:30 PM
in San Anselmo at 5 Suffield Ave.
Thelema Ldg.
7/27/97Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/28/97Sirius Oasis meeting 8:00 PM
in Berkeley
Sirius Oasis
7/29/97The Rite of Mars call for time and
7/30/97"College of Hard NOX" with Mordecai
8:00 PM in the library
Thelema Ldg.

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

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

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