Thelema Lodge Calendar for December 1997 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for December 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

December 1997 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


The Vision and the Voice

Our annual tour of the Enochian universe continues this month, as we conclude a full reading of Liber 418 on a schedule which follows the original revelations of The Vision and the Voice. "My form is not unlike a re-enactment," Caitlin explains. "I have bell, book, candle, and crystal ball. I sit down in the Temple on the date and during the time that Crowley/Neuberg were doing their invocations and recording their results, and I read the Aire. I've done this with multiple readers, pairs, and alone." She cites Crowley's own advice (Third Aethyr, note 1) that Liber 418 "should be read audibly and slowly," and Regardie's assessment (in his 1972 introduction) that "despite some rhetoric, the language on the whole is sonorous, sublime, and majestic." The twelve lower Aethyrs were read last month, with the series continuing through 19th and 20th December, when we conclude with the first and second Aires. Some readings which fall at times inconvenient for gathering may be read again later during evening hours; call Caitlin on the day of the Aire to inquire about the schedule or to request an evening repeat.
Most (but not all) of the Aethyr readings will be held in Nu Temple at Oz House, where Caitlin can be contacted at (510) 654-3580, or by e-mail at <caitlin@wco.com>. The schedule is as follows: ZEN (18) Monday 1st December at 3:00 PM; TAN (17) at 12:15 AM & LEA (16) at 5:00 PM on Tuesday 2nd December; OXO (15) at 9:30 AM (call to attend!) and UTI (14) beginning at 3:00 PM and concluded at 10:00 PM on Wednesday 3rd December (with the evening reading to be held in Horus Temple at the lodge, and to include a repeat of the earlier portion of this aire); ZIM (13) at 3:00 PM and LOE (12) at 11:50 PM on Thursday 4th December; IKH (11) on Friday 5th December at 10:30 PM; the notorious ZAX (10) on Saturday 6th December at 2:00 PM (at a special location which will probably not be announced!); ZIP (9) on Sunday 7th December at 9:30 PM (in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge, following the gnostic mass); ZID (8) on Monday 8th December at 8:00 PM; DEO (7) on Tuesday 9th December at 8:30 PM; MAZ (6) on Wednesday 10th December at 8:00 PM; LIT (5) beginning on Friday 12th December at 7:00 PM and continued the following evening at 8:00; PAZ (4) on Tuesday 16th December at 9:30 AM (call to attend); ZON (3) on Wednesday 17th December at 9:30 AM (likewise); the first three sequences of ARN (2) on Thursday 18th December at 9:30 AM, 10:15 AM, and 3:15 PM; LIL (1) on Friday 19th December at 2:00 PM; and the conclusion of ARN (2) to finish up the entire series on Saturday 20th December at 8:00 PM, (preceded by a repetition of the earlier parts of this aire).


Solstice Communion

Members and friends of Thelema Lodge meet every Sunday evening to celebrate the Gnostic Mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, for which all communicants should be arriving by 7:30. The best opportunity for visitors to meet the lodge is to take part with us in this pagan eucharist ritual; for directions and information contact the lodgemaster at (510) 652-3171. Those who already know the mass well and would like to serve the lodge as officers in its celebration are urged to put together their own mass teams and to request dates on the temple schedule. Posted in the lodge kitchen, this schedule is generally calendared six to eight weeks in advance.
On Sunday 21st December the sun enters Capricornus at eight minutes past noon, and our mass that evening, ushering in the year's longest night, will be a special one in celebration of the Winter Solstice. Arrive early and bring light foods and non-alcoholic drinks to share at a sunset feast to welcome in the winter. Afterwards we will make a blaze at the temple hearth, and warm ourselves up for the mass, featuring the return visit of our favorite Texan priestess. Let us hold together in the dark.


College of Hard N.O.X.

The College of Hard N.O.X. continues its curriculum for December, with some seasonal variations thrown in. The meeting on Wednesday evening 3rd December at 8:00 will be devoted to a discussion of John Dee's Enochian system as operated and elaborated by Aleister Crowley in his book, The Vision and the Voice. Afterwards we will leave the library, and head for the temple next door to hear a reading of the 15th and 14th Aires. The month's second meeting would ordinarily be held on 31st December, but the Dean refuses to spend New Year's Eve engaged in anything remotely resembling intelligent conversation. So the last class of 1997 will be held instead on Christmas Eve, under the guise of the annual meeting of the Grady Louis McMurtry Poetry Society. We'll read favorite poems, socialize, and share some holiday cheer. (B Y O Cheer!)

Bro. Joe R. requested a synopsis of our recent discussion of "What's so gnostic about the Gnostic Mass?". First, we talked a lot about gnosticism itself. Is there really any such thing? As used by contemporary academics it most often describes a myriad of diverse sects that flourished in the Hellenistic world of the earliest centuries of the Christian era, most of which shared one or more of the following traits: an emphatic dualism, often characterized by antipathy to the material realm and its ruler/creator, and belief in the possibility of our spiritual redemption by connection to a higher God; a cosmology explained as a series of successive, and degenerating, emanations from the most spiritual to the most material; a leadership (sometimes open to women) displaying a mix of qualities including popular charisma, spectacular asceticism, antinomianism, public prophesying, and the practice of secret rites. The various gnostic sects themselves ranged from the complex and strictly hierarchically-disciplined to the simple and even ephemerally egalitarian.
Then we talked about the state of scholarship on the subject of gnosticism pre-1913 (when Crowley wrote his mass), and what sources he might have had available. Certainly he had the various writings of the early Christian "fathers" who in their anti-Gnostic propaganda preserved some genuine Gnostic texts, and described something perhaps of their actual practices. He also had the Pistis Sophia, an ancient text which he describes as an "admirable introduction to the study of Gnosticism", and the Poimandres of Hermes Trismegistus, which he calls "Invaluable as bearing on the Gnostic Philosophy." He possibly had C. W. King's The Gnostics and their Remains (1864; enlarged second edition 1887). He certainly did not have access to the vast majority of the gnostic texts which we now know, and his understanding of gnosticism was far more limited than it would be if he were living and working today.
In fact, the Gnostic Mass does not really seem very obviously related to the actual gnostic movement, except in the choice of a few divine names (e.g., IAO Sabao, Abrasax), though a more subtle relationship was noted in the form of some of the sexual symbolism in the mass; here some similarities appear between Liber XV and the worship of the Barbelo-Gnostic sect described in the writings of Epiphanius (see Joseph Campbell's The Masks of God: Creative Mythology).

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Mysteria Mystica Maxima

Initiations into Ordo Templi Orientis will be held at Thelema Lodge on Saturday evening 13th December. Active initiate members are welcome to attend, and to feast afterwards with the candidates. All who desire to be part of this event are asked to speak ahead of time with one of the lodge officers, or to call the lodgemaster, and make advance arrangements to be there. Donations of drinks and dessert from members of the camp will be especially welcome at the feast.

At Thelema Lodge we have enjoyed a long tradition of welcoming members and non-initiate friends alike to most of our rituals, workshops, and gatherings. (Only events which are directly connected with the work of initiation and must by their nature be exclusive, together with a few symbolic secrets of lodge membership, are closed to visitors.) Ultimately, many of us see the lodge of Thelema as the center of a community of Thelemites, where most of us are -- or have been, or may be in the future -- pursuing active initiate membership in Ordo Templi Orientis, each according to her or his own will. As initiators, we do our best to avoid making the suggestion to our friends and visitors that they should tender themselves as candidates in our secret oasis, however pleased we may be when they do freely request it. Anyone who is contemplating initiation or advancement in O.T.O. may ask at the lodge for the appropriate application form, together with our best advice that before completing it you take the trouble to determine your own true will, and the extent to which you are likely to benefit from using the ritual degrees of initiation as a measure of your individual work and growth. If this system does seem to be the path for you, then remember that you can progress only once through it, and little will be gained by rushing past the grades if you fail to find the meaning in them for yourself.
At the vulgar New Year we shall see a very sharp rise in O.T.O. membership dues, which will unavoidably stimulate questions about the value and the economy of initiation. We can only hope that the wisdom of the Order's leadership in reaching this obviously unpopular decision -- which of course has not been openly debated nor very fully explained -- will come to good effect somehow in the corporate life of the O.T.O.; but at least one effect on the membership is apt to be healthy, if the new schedule of dues and fees shocks us each into giving some consideration to the cost and efficiency of "enlightenment" and "fraternity" within a "dues-paying organization." Careful assessment is called for when contemplating one's own advancement, and for those whose will it is to maintain an active membership in the Order it would seem reckless to progress to a grade where the rate of dues exceeds one's budget for paying them. If involvement with a local body of O.T.O. is primarily a social relationship, perhaps advancement very far through the Man of Earth degrees is a bad bargain; you don't need to pay any dues at all to enjoy many of the social benefits of the community around this lodge. Although you can never go backwards to reduce membership dues to a lower grade, each initiate can remain where one finds oneself for as long as seems best, advancing as slowly as desired, or not at all.


An Intensely Horrible
Face of Crumpled Linen

The "Section Two" reading group meets at Oz House with Caitlin at 8:00 on Monday evening 15th December to read from Ghost Stories of an Antiquary by M. R. James. This is the first of our overt expansions upon Crowley's original reading list of "suggestive literature" for A A probationers, which includes some supernatural fiction of this sort, but does not mention M. R. James. Crowley does however conclude his list with a general recommendation of mythology, folk-lore, fairy tales, and other traditional literatures, as valuable for "teaching correspondences." Certainly these stories contain enough of the same elements to warrant our attention together on this long winter night. At any rate, we shall soon exhaust Crowley's list, and have determined rather to experiment with bringing it up to date than to abandon our enterprise at a point eighty years in the past.
Although Crowley does not seem to have anything to say about M. R. James, he may well have known something of his work. The novelist Mary Butts, who as Soror Rhodon was Crowley's student at the Abbey of Thelema in the summer of 1921 e.v., published years later one of the first critical essays on James's stories. Crowley's own reputation probably also found its way into one of the best stories, in the character called Karswell in "Casting the Runes" (probably written in 1910 e.v.). This sinister occult expert "had invented a new religion for himself, and practiced no one could tell what appalling rites," besides having "a dreadful face (so the lady insisted)." It is only a hint, however, and Karswell in his theatricality, his History of Witchcraft, and his regular work in the Manuscript Room at the British Museum is drawn more from Montague Summers than from Crowley. At any rate, Karswell is "at the bottom of the trouble" somehow, and is eventually defeated when his own vindictive talisman is cleverly slipped back to him. (This same story is also the source of one of the outstanding British horror films of the 1950s, Curse of the Demon -- modern psychology is no match for the ancient curse! -- which we may try to show as a video some night this month at Oz.)

Montague Rhodes James (1862-1936), Provost of King's College, Cambridge, and afterwards Provost of Eton, was one of the leading English scholars of his generation. Celebrated as a congenial and conservative educational administrator, M. R. James is remembered today for his massive manuscript cataloguing projects, and for his research and translations of the biblical apocrypha, especially The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: 1924). He also published four volumes of horrific supernatural tales, several of which have frequently been assessed as the most accomplished examples of their genre. Written for oral delivery at an annual Yuletide gathering of collegiate fellows, James's stories are part of a Victorian tradition of dark Christmas terror. They have none of the vulgarity of Dickens' seasonal ghost thrillers or of the earlier gothic tradition, but concentrate on the fine portrayal of extreme emotions in the most ordinary of characters.
It was the Irish horror stories of Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) which M. R. James took for his prime literary example, where manifestations of occult effects are incorporated into a narrative of intricate psychological verisimilitude. James always preferred to portray the supernatural in comparison to a detailed evocation of the texture of ordinary life. Here he sets forth his formula for opening a ghost story: "Let us, then, be introduced to the actors in a placid way; let us see them going about their ordinary business, undisturbed by forebodings, pleased with their surroundings; and into this calm environment, let the ominous thing put out its head, unobtrusively at first, and then more insistently, until it holds the stage" (introduction to Ghosts and Marvels (Oxford: 1924).
The American tradition of horror writing has tended to follow Edgar Poe (1809-1849) in concentrating upon haunted personalities, while the British fashion which James exemplifies tends to focus upon normal characters who happen into haunted situations. Nevertheless James was a prime influence upon H. P. Lovecraft (1890-1937), particularly in the selective use of detail at the climax when the monstrous apparition has actually to be described. Lovecraft ended his critical survey of horror writing with an extended and admiring critique of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary: "Dr. James, for all his light touch, evokes fright and hideousness in their most shocking forms; and will certainly stand as one of the few really creative masters of his darksome province," (Supernatural Horror in Literature, written mid-1920s and serialized for periodical publication mid-1930s e.v.).

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Get Your Agape Quarterly!

It's not our idea, it's a recommendation from the U.S. Grand Lodge of O.T.O.! In commemoration of their decision to divest themselves of the "love" word, our national officers have released the initial issue of a newsletter entitled Agape after the former name of the administrative lodge. This is a nice short chatty sheet which will leave no one confused. There are pleasant notes from the principal officers, modifications to bylaws of the corporation, a new inflated schedule of dues and fees,1 a glowing report of last summer's national conference in Ohio, and a useful updated list of official addresses. This new official publication of the O.T.O. in the U.S. is not being mailed in the old-fashioned way directly to the membership, but is available electronically at http://www.otohq.org/. Duplication and distribution of paper copies is assigned to the local bodies, so the lodge will make them available at 25¢ each in the library here. Those who do not regularly attend events may request a copy by mail, but must include a business-sized self- addressed stamped envelope bearing 32¢ postage.2

Note:
1. First published in the Thelema Lodge Calendar.
2. Please contact the Lodge and consider postage rate changes before ordering -- note to web TLC edition.


Crowley Classics

Written as a book review, but presented as a self-contained essay, this piece appeared in The International: A Review of Two Worlds (New York: August 1916), pp. 241-3. The Irish-American-English journalist Frank Harris (1856- 1931), who edited The Fortnightly Review and then helped to invent the twentieth century popular monthly magazine as publisher of Vanity Fair, is remembered today principally for his massive pornographic autobiography My Life and Loves (Paris: privately printed in four volumes, 1922-1934). Harris had been a friend of Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), had visited him in Reading Prison, and was active in efforts to petition for Wilde's improved treatment and release. Harris wrote his biography of Wilde early in 1910, revised it over several years, and then was prevented from publishing it in London in 1915 by threats of legal action for libel. By this time Harris (like his friend Aleister Crowley) was living in New York, and it was there at last that Oscar Wilde: His Life and Confessions appeared in early 1916 e.v. (No British edition was allowed for another decade, though the work has been reprinted many times since.)
The trial of Oscar Wilde in April 1895, ending in a conviction for "gross indecency with male persons" and a two-year sentence at hard labor, was one of the most widely discussed cases of Crowley's nineteenth year. Studying chemistry, writing poetry, becoming a recognized expert as an Alpine mountaineer, and preparing to go up to Trinity College, Cambridge, we do not know to what extent he identified at the time with Wilde's calamity. Crowley does not seem to have developed his bisexual personality until several years later, and at this point his limited sexual adventures seem to have been confined to a few whores and house-maids. Still, the image of Wilde's brutal treatment, interrupting his string of brilliant theatrical successes in London, and releasing him only to die broken and penniless abroad, remained indelible for many of Crowley's generation. The following little poem, reprinted from his anthology volume Olla (London: O.T.O., 1946), shows Crowley utilizing this impression of injustice as a metaphysical conceit in verse.
The Spring of Dirce -- 3. 3.
To "The Divine Wilde"

"The purple pageant of my incommunicable woes"
Was painted by the hand of gin-and-water on my nose.
The mellow gold that filters through my rich autumnal style
Is minted in me by a superfluity of bile.
The feet of Christ I worship at appear so thin and pale
Because of all the skilly that I ate in Reading Gaol.
                                                                                          Paris.


Frank Harris Reveals Oscar Wilde

by Aleister Crowley

Biography is a branch of biology. Mr Frank Harris is, however, the first biographer to act on this important truth. If we look at such famous biographies as Boswell's Life of Johnson or Lockhart's Life of Scott we find little more than a collocation of details consisting principally of non- significant facts. We know that every thought, word, act of a man's life reacts upon his character; determines, so to speak, his ego. The average biographer merely records incidents as if they were sterile; Mr Frank Harris perceives them as dynamic. In the biography before us the incidents given are comparatively few, but each one is a magical formula. Nothing is told which is unnecessary. Mr Harris complies most formally with Othello's direction to his biographers:
                     " . . . Nothing extenuate,
           Nor set down aught in malice. . . ."
He has been big enough to take the view that "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" is not merely the right, but the kind thing to do. All biographies of great men have been rendered worthless by the silence of the biographer upon all the most important points. The apologist for Charles I found himself forced to explain the decapitation of his hero by original sin on the part of Oliver Cromwell; he will by no means admit that the King contributed, either by weakness or by wickedness, to his own downfall. All such biographies are absolutely worthless. Not only do the omissions spoil the picture, but one feels instinctively that a man who, whatever his motives, can suppress the truth so freely as our mere knowledge of human nature assures us that he must be doing, is not reliable, even with regard to obvious facts. A man who falsifies may be inventing altogether.
We hear, for example, the histories of the great religious teachers, in which their disciples have been so anxious to prove them demi-gods that they have omitted the convincing human touch. It is much more satisfactory and credible to hear that the Buddha died of a surfeit of dried boar's meat, in spite of his alleged instructions to eat no meat at all, than to be told that in a previous incarnation he was an elephant with six tusks. There is no incident in the gospels more convincing than the cursing of the barren fig tree. The paucity of such incidents has given color to the theories of those critics who do not believe that either Christ of Buddha ever lived.
Now, there is no more solid figure in history than that of Oscar Wilde, from the moment of the publication of Mr Harris' biography. When we consider the partisan attempts of Sherard, Stuart Mason, and Alfred Douglas, we find such a degree of falsity that any one of them might be fiction, and precious bad fiction at that; far more convincing portraits have been painted of entirely imaginary people. But Mr Harris' Oscar Wilde is a man "of like passions as we are" (for passion is one, though its objects may be diverse, an expression of the ultimate religious craving for unity with God), and Mr Harris paints him "in his habit, as he lived," with the deep sense of cause and effect which is the characteristic of every great man that ever lived.
Mr Harris has gone to the trouble of investigating the parentage of his sitter, in exactly the same spirit as that in which Zola wrote the Rougon- Macquart series of novels. He gives us portraits both of Sir William Wilde and Lady Wilde. He sees in the father cowardice and sensuality combined with ability; in the mother the romantic Irish quality, the habit of posing, and pretentiousness. Mingle these qualities, add the fulminate of genius, which comes not from father or mother, but from God only, and we obtain the explosion called Oscar Wilde. It is impossible, in a brief review, to do justice in any detail to a book of over 600 pages, every one of which is close-packed with the highest genius. It is hard to find words to express the appalling interest of these pages, where every incident is so dynamic that we seem to be reading a Greek tragedian rather than a modern English author.
In a way, this book is the greatest book of morality, in the best sense of the word, that has ever been produced. It is at least equal to Ibsen or Zola, as far as its moral effect is concerned, for its material is actual and undeniable fact. It may be called an essay upon the proverb, "Evil communications corrupt good manners," for the fall of Oscar Wilde is attributed, and rightly attributed, to one source and one source alone. Alfred Douglas had the effrontery to publish a book in which he represents himself as the innocent victim of Wilde, as the stainless virgin who never really believed in his guilt, yet who tried, as all really nice virgins should, to reform him, yet Harris proves that he was responsible from first to last for all Wilde's troubles. The mad hatred of his father was but one more exacerbation of the notorious Queensberry insanity, and this, combined with the equally insane passion to go down to history as the Aspasia of the nineteenth century is at the root of the tragedy.
These facts are all certified by the published decisions of English courts, repeated again and again with details, but never before have they been marshalled with such damning sufficiency. We say "sufficiency" and not "completeness," for in the possession of Mr Harris and others are authentic documents outweighing ten-fold those here reproduced. Mr Harris may expect little thanks for his noble and fearless endeavor to eradicate the sarcoma which is rotting English society, or he may get such thanks as are usually accorded to those who tell the truth.
The forces of corruption will evidently gather together to destroy this book. They will not be able to do so. Certain hypocritical persons, who preach virtue that they may more safely practice vice, will call this book immoral. Certain shameless persons, who wish that the protagonist of their own vices, as they call Oscar Wilde, should be represented as a saint, will call this book an attack on Oscar Wilde. "When he was poor," they will say, "and needed money desperately, he had little scruple as to how he got it." Only a false friend would say such things! Mr Harris tells us that Wilde had bad teeth, that he suffered from specific disease, that he over ate. A true friend would have given him teeth like the advertisement of a dentifrice, told us that he died in battle fighting for his country, and lived on three raisins a day!
But is this an attack -- this summing up of Harris?
"Oscar Wilde's work was over, his gift to the world completed years before. Even the friends who loved him and delighted in the charm of his talk, in his light-hearted gaiety and humor, would scarcely have kept him longer in the pillory, exposed to the loathing and contempt of this all-hating world.
"The good he did lived after him, and in immortal -- the evil is buried in his grave. Who would deny today that he was a quickening and liberating influence? If his life was given over-much to self-indulgence, it must be remembered that his writing and conversation were singularly kindly, singularly amiable, singularly pure. No harsh or coarse or bitter word ever passed those eloquent, laughing lips. If he served beauty in her myriad forms, he only showed in his works the beauty that was amiable and of good report. If only half a dozen men mourned for him, their sorrow was unaffected and intense, and perhaps the greatest of men have not found in their lifetime even half a dozen devoted admirers and lovers. It is well with our friend, we say; at any rate, he was not forced to drink the bitter lees of a suffering and dishonorable old age: Death was merciful to him.
"My task is finished. I don't think any one will doubt that I have done it in a reverent spirit, telling the truth as I see it, from the beginning to the end, and hiding or omitting as little as might be of what ought to be told. Yet when I come to the parting I am painfully conscious that I have not done Oscar Wilde justice; that some fault or other in me led me to dwell too much on his faults and failings, and grudged praise to his soul-subduing charm and the incomparable sweetness and gaiety of his nature.
"Let me now make amends. When to this session of sad memory I summon up the spirits of those whom I have met in the world and loved, men famous and men of unfulfilled renown, I miss no one so much as I miss Oscar Wilde. I would rather spend an evening with him than with Renan or Carlyle, or Verlaine or Dick Burton, or Davidson. I would rather have him back now than almost any one I have ever met. I have known more heroic souls and some deeper souls; souls much more keenly alive to ideas of duty and generosity; but I have known no more charming, no more quickening, no more delightful spirit.
"This may be my shortcoming; it may be that I prize humor and good-humor and eloquent or poetic speech, the artist qualities, more than goodness or loyalty or manliness, and so overestimate things amiable. But the lovable and joyous things are to me the priceless things, and the most charming man I ever met was assuredly Oscar Wilde. I do not believe that in all the realms of death there is a more fascinating or delightful companion."
Could anything be greater-hearted than the passage that ends the book?
"He has been, indeed, well served by the malice and cruelty of his enemies; in this sense, his word in De Profundis, that he stood in symbolic relation to the art and life of his time, is justified.
"The English drove Byron and Shelley and Keats into exile and allowed Chatterton and Davidson and Middleton to die of misery and destitution; but they treated none of their artists and seers with the malevolent cruelty they showed to Oscar Wilde. His fate in England was symbolic of the fate of all artists; in some degree, they will all be punished as he was punished by the grossly materialized people who prefer to go in blinkers and accept idiotic conventions because they distrust the intellect and have no taste for mental virtues.
"All English artists will be judged by their inferiors and condemned, as Dante's master was condemned, for their good deeds (per tuo ben for); for it must not be thought that Oscar Wilde was punished solely or even chiefly for the evil he wrought; he was punished for his popularity and his pre-eminence, for the superiority of his mind and wit; he was punished by the envy of journalists, and the malignant pedantry of half-civilized judges. Envy in his case over-leaped itself; the hate of his justicers was so diabolic that they gave him to the pity of mankind forever; they it is who have made him eternally interesting to humanity, a tragic figure of imperishable renown."
I do not think that Wilde himself, inflated as he was with self-conceit, could have asked a fairer monument.
But this book is more than a biography. Mr Harris has not confined his causality to Wilde himself. He has everywhere brought him into causal relation with the society in which he lived. That society, now visibly perishing before our eyes, was unutterable corrupt. We see the law as the mere tool of the evil prejudices and passions of the rich and great. We see prostitution, male and female, as the main key to advancement in life. We see society, contemptuous of art, careless of the stupendous discoveries of men of science, preoccupied only with vice, profligacy, gluttony, secret blackmail, sly chicanery, or open robbery. We see every abuse of which Juvenal and Petronius thundered in the hour of Rome's decay, reproduced the modern variations and intensifications in the society of London. Not very wonderful, is it, that a poet should have written in his Carmen Saeculare:1

The harlot that men called great Babylon,

In crimson raiment and in smooth attire,
The scarlet leprosy that shamed the sun,
The gilded goat that plied the world for hire;
Her days of wealth and majesty are done;
Men trample her for mire!

The temple of their God is broken down;

Yea, Mammon's shrine is cleansed! The house of her
That cowed the world with her malignant frown,
And drove the Celt to exile and despair,
Is bettered now -- God's fire destroys the town;
London admits God's air.

It would have been very dangerous to publish such a book as Mr Harris' ten years ago. Today, in the death agony of Britain, will the convulsions of the slain snake involve those who might have served her, had she listened to their words? The event alone can prove. May it not be that sanity will return at the shock of dissolution; that she will call to her all those whom she has exiled, starved, and tortured, because they stood for truth and justice and purity and manhood; that she will put them in her high places and pray them to direct her fate? Is there not hope that the tide of war may send the red blood pulsing again through the arteries of the nation? Perhaps she is not dying but only in danger of asphyxiation. This book will stir England to its depths. Fear will seize upon the great, as it did at the time of Wilde's trial, when every London club tried to disguise itself as the Great Arabian Desert.

Arrest poor Wilde! The creaking Channel tubs
Groan with the consternation of the Clubs.
Scared, hushed and pale, our men of eminence
Wait the result in sickening suspense.
Announced, all Mayfair shrieks its decent joy --
And, feeling safe, goes out and --
-- continues as before. Those who know all, seeing how much Mr Harris knows, will wonder how much more he knows; and in the meantime, the insistent thrust of Germany will bring the matter to a crisis. England has long been ripe for revolution. All that prevented it has been the emasculation of the people by Victorianism. War must cure that. And the warriors who return will be in no mood to put up with the robbery of the land, with the starvation of the poor, with the delay and injustice of the hired courts, with the thousand and one abominations which have made life intolerable to all but the idle and vicious.

The revolution is at hand. And this book may do much to precipitate it. Bernard Shaw has said very much the same things, but he has said them in such a way that people wanted to pay him for making them laugh. It was only "pretty Fanny's way." Frank Harris has the temperament of Isaiah. And if it were not the hour of revolution he, too, might be sawn asunder. In any case, this book stamps him in the line of Shelley and Milton, each of whom, in their own time, brought about revolution. There is yet One other in that hierarchy. And even before the publication of this book one can already hear the cry of our Pharisees, of the parasites of our satraps, from the stews of the Suburia to the throne of Tiberius itself. "Crucify him -- Crucify him!"

Note:
1. The poet is of course Crowley himself (ed/TLC).

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Poetry

Sabine Sonnet

Surely, this is madness, to love you so
without restraint. Boundless, my unreason
is but a complement to your mad show
of laughter, tears, sighs, and fears. A season
passes each new moment of our embrace.
Is this the answer then? I love you for
your unpredictability. Such grace
is not the gift of the God of the poor,
but rather of some warrior lord whose might
is like a heavy sword that only strong
and skillful hands may grasp to ply in fight.
Can risky love like this last very long?
Go ask the sword and scabbard what to think!
As well to ask the well if we should drink.

-- Frater Faustus


Poetry

Blood-Drinking Guru

Dream:
I am on a gurney
            unable to
    move, maybe strapped
down in some hospital --
    there are others around
me -- a nurse
    comes up -- dressed
more like a career
    woman -- and slips
a Tibetan offering
scarf -- a kata --
    over my face
    and prepares an
    injection -- under
    my chin I think --
    "We're draining
your blood" the
        shot some sort
of knock-out or
        anaesthetic to
keep me from struggling
-- I get it, it's a
        vampire scheme --
all these bodies to
    be milked -- "Who's
getting my blood?"
        "Your teacher," she
says -- No shit,
    I think, what
a dupe I've been!
as they wheel me away

-- Frater Nyima

NOTE: In Tantric symbolism, the wrathful wisdom being drinks the hot blood of ego -- so this dream can be seen as auspicious, if paranoid.


An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XXXIV - When the Tarot hit the Wheel.

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

"One who ought to have known better tried to improve the Tree of Life by turning the Serpent of Wisdom upside down! Yet he could not even make his scheme symmetrical: his little remaining good sense revolted at the supreme atrocities. Yet he succeeded in reducing the whole Magical Alphabet to nonsense, and shewing that he had never understood its real meaning." -- Crowley, Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter 0.

Crowley tended to be a tad inflexible when it came to the attributions to the Tree, unless of course he made the changes himself. When Fr. Achad disclosed his inversion arrangement of the Tarot and Hebrew letters on the Tree, the Master Therion was not amused. This experimental schema was discussed in Achad's Q.B.L. or The Bride's Reception and in The Egyptian Revival.

Frater Achad simply rearranged the letters and the Tarot Cards, moving the astrological correspondences with the letters. The result has bothered some people immensely. Aleister Crowley disowned the poor guy, originally designated official Magical Son and Successor. What Achad, Charles S. Jones, did was not far from right. Where he seems to have missed is on the point that the fundamental meanings of the paths don't change; only the insights on the paths change. Achad pressed this arrangement as "the one true and only", naturally evoking a like response from Crowley for the traditional "initiated" system. Instead of interpreting the path between Yesod and Malkut, for example, as the path of Taw and the World in Tarot, Achad called it the path of Aleph and the Fool. There are a lot of ways in which that doesn't make any sense. There are usually also ways in which such changes work.
Consider the path between Hod and Malkut. This has the quality of a strong judgment. This path is usually associated with Shin in Hebrew and the Judgment Trump in Tarot. Achad's placement of The Magician on this path can suggest concentration and control. There are aspects of the path that work for either Trump. Any of the other cards or any of the other Hebrew letters could make some kind of sense there. Achad replaced Bet and the Magician (Keter to Chokmah) with the Wheel of Fortune. This can work, with the center of the wheel seen as Keter and the revolving of the wheel seen as Chokmah. Putting the path of Peh between Binah and Geburah is nice enough, taking the lightning struck Tower in place of the Chariot. A Chariot is just a well kept and movable Tower that doesn't blow up. Failing that particular path would indeed be well represented by the Tower Trump, as would the success of enlightenment. Achad replaced the Lovers, between Tipheret and Binah, with the Devil. The Devil and the Lovers Trumps look a lot alike. Perhaps the Devil fits better coming out of Binah, and the Lovers going in.
Achad's play with the paths of the Tree is a worthwhile sort of thing to try. Just don't get too hung up on it, and ... DON'T TELL CROWLEY!

Previous Introduction to Qabalah, Part XXXIII                   Next: Thirty Eight Paths?


from the Grady Project:

When Day Is Done

The Day is done
There is no sun
To warm the race, and so they fled;
For Earth is old
In sweeps the cold
Entombed in space, and Earth is dead!

The shrilling wind
Across each bend
Mourns for the lost, mourns for the gone:
Unblinking stars
Gaze on its sores
Where is the host, this crumbling bone?

Across the void
We anthropoid
In search of life have sent our shells:
Oh rest in peace
Our Mother, cease;
For toil and strife no more here dwells.

                -- Grady L. McMurtry
                           (undated)

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Primary Sources

Missing Archives:
Here's an isolated instance of one of the losses over the years from the OTO archives. Karl Germer, Frater Saturnus, found several articles missing during his time on the East Coast of the US. He seems to have blamed a house guest, but the inventory is a little odd. Be that as it may, this is a mystery to be unraveled someday. The unmistakable item would be the annotated typescript of Liber O. Brother Germer may have been hasty in blaming Brother Mellinger, since other lost papers have turned up at Syracuse University, from estate donations.

STOLEN IN HAMPTON AND NEW YORK

                 (taken out of the locked Steel Files or Cabinets, or from the open
                 Library shelves)

3 to 4 copies of Clouds Without Water
Little Essays Toward Truth (one of the original London ed. copies)
Gilles de Rais
Manufacturing the Exp. of God -- Schroeder
Converting Sex into Religiosity -- Schroeder

Razor blades -- I had always a supply
Note Pads --                        do.
Letters from and to Lekve
A letter from Watt, read aloud to me by Sascha while driving from Hampton P.O.

to New Yorke{SIC}. In it he made fun of some Catholic devotees on a
visit to that Pilgrimage place (Ste Anne de Beaupré?) In Canada.
Form der Annahme und Aufsatz über Pflicht

Liber VI typescript with my annotations; stolen by Mellinger.

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From the Outbasket

This announcement is not from Thelema Lodge but from the International Treasurer General on behalf of OTO International Headquarters.

After one more minor delay, the next Magical Link is now in progress of mailing. Printing is complete, and all issues should be out before the end of the year.

Oriflamme #2 is projected for publication in the first quarter of 1998 e.v. All dues current members, Associates included, will receive a free copy. Although being a couple of months behind in dues won't be a problem, free copies are limited in supply. More than a few months dues arrears will mean missing out. There is a potential problem in this regard. Some OTO locations in the USA and several in Europe are behind in reporting dues payments and initiations. Initiators and Official Body Officers please note: The rule is to report all initiations and dues payments within 30 days of receipt. Failure to report within that limit may result in loss of charter, but it is much more likely to result in local members missing out on the 'Link or the Oriflamme. If a member in your area does not receive a copy of the next Magical Link, that member is not on the mailing list and will likely miss his or her Oriflamme as well. When the 'Link starts to arrive, be on watch for addresses that need updating with HQ.
Unsure about dues balance? If you have email access, you may inquire of the Treasurer General at: heidrick@well.com. If you have not contacted by email before, please provide some bit of identifying information, such as the place of your last initiation. Once identity is confirmed, you will receive a statement and balance by return email, within a day. If you do not have email access, you can send a card requesting the same dues balance information to:
OTO
P.O.Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94978 USA
or leave a phone message (spell your name and any new address) at: 1-(415) 454-5176 (San Anselmo, California, USA).
Phone and postal dues balance inquiries may take up to 40 days for response by regular mail.
OTO Groups may also use email for this purpose.

What's in the Oriflamme? Quite a lot this time. Here are the particulars:
The Revival of Magick, ed. HB and Richard Kaczynski, Ph.D., is 235 pp., and will retail for about $16.00 from New Falcon. The contents are mainly essays and lectures by AC (some previously unpublished):

Editors' Introduction
Humanity First
The Revival of Magick
The Camel
The Soul of the Desert
A Hindu at the Polo Grounds
Three Great Hoaxes of the War
Mystics and Their Little Ways
The Attainment of Happiness
An Improvement on Psychoanalysis
Billy Sunday
The Ouija Board
A Letter from The Master Therion
How Horoscopes are Faked
Art and Clairvoyance
Geomancy
Good Hunting!
Eulogium upon Jeanne d'Arc
William Blake
On the Education of Children
On Sexual Freedom
Duty
An Open Letter to Rabbi Joel Blau
A Memorandum Regarding The Book of the Law
The Antecedents of Thelema
The Beginning of the New World
On Thelema
The Method of Thelema
A Letter to Henry Ford
Gilles de Rais
A Lecture on the Philosophy of Magick
The Scientific Solution of the Problem of Government
Afterword: Fragments, by Samuel Aiwaz Jacobs
Editorial Notes
Works Cited
Index

It is heavily annotated.

-- Bill Heidrick, TG OTO

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for December 1997 e.v.

12/1/97ZEN(18), 3PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/2/97TAN(17), 12:15AM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/2/97LEA(16), 5PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/3/97OXO(15), 9:30AM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/3/97UTI(14), 3 & 10PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/3/97College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai
Thelema Ldg.
12/4/97ZIM(13), 3PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/4/97LOE(12), 11:50PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/5/97IKH(11), 10:30PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/6/97ZAX(10), 2PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/7/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/7/97ZIP(9), 9:30PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/8/97ZID(8), 8PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/9/97DOE(7), 8:30PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/10/97MAZ(6), 8PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/12/97LIT(5), 7PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/13/97OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
12/13/97LIT(5), 8PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/14/97Lodge luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
12/14/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/15/97Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Ghost Stories of M.R.James
at Oz house, 8 PM
Thelema Ldg.
12/16/97PAZ(4), 9:30AM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/17/97ZON(3), 9:30AM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/18/97ARN(2), 9:30AM, 10:15AM & 3:15PM
at OZ House
OZ House
12/19/97LIL(1), 2PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/20/97ARN(2), concluded 8PM at OZ HouseOZ House
12/21/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/21/97Winter Solstice 12:08 PMThelema Ldg.
12/24/97College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai presents the 777 Poetry
Society in the library
Thelema Ldg.
12/28/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
12/29/97Sirius Oasis meeting 8:00 PM
in Berkeley
Sirius Oasis

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:
OTO-TLC
P.O.Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

Internet: heidrick@well.com (Submissions and circulation only)

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