Thelema Lodge Calendar for January 1998 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for January 1998 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, 1998 e.v.

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

January 1998 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


    Initiations for advancement in O.T.O. are planned at Thelema Lodge on Saturday afternoon 10th January. Those who would like to attend are asked to make their interest known to the officers of the lodge ahead of time in order to be included in our planning for these events. Details regarding the time, place, and degrees to be worked are not published, but will be communicated to interested members who call the lodgemaster or speak with one of our officers.
    Thelema Lodge offers initiation in Ordo Templi Orientis through the complete course of the Man of Earth grade, from the preliminary Minerval degree to the IV° and P.I. (Perfect Initiate, or Prince of Jerusalem). Any free adult of good report may request the Minerval initiation. Members declare their candidacy for advancement by submitting the requisite application, which the lodge will forward to the U.S. Initiation Secretary on the candidate's behalf. Following a minimum waiting period of at least one month we will schedule the initiation, and during this interval the candidate is required to maintain good contact with the lodge.
    In addition to the candidate's membership dues in O.T.O. (which are forwarded to the treasury of the Order), the initiating body collects a fee on the day of the initiation which serves to defray the cost of the ritual and (in many cases) the feast with which it is concluded. Beginning this month the dues of the Order have increased substantially, and we anticipate that this may be significantly burdomsome to some of our members and candidates. Although the Order has established proportional increases in the initiation fees, we will in most cases be keeping with the old fees schedule here at Thelema Lodge. Except when the fees are needed to purchase requisite ritual gear or insignia which is provided to the candidate, or when our costs for an event exceed the level of the old fees, we have decided not to take advantage of the increase. So long as the membership continues able to support our other regular activities together through the established system of small voluntary donations collected at temple and library events, we will endeavor to give this break to our candidates whenever possible.

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

    Join us as a member or a guest of Thelema Lodge for the mass of the Gnostic Catholic Church on any Sunday evening. Arrive by 7:30 at the temple, congregating in the lodge library to await the deacon's call summoning the people through the outer veil. Those who have not previously attended should call ahead to the lodgemaster for information and directions at (510) 652- 3171. Mass teams offering to serve the lodge in this weekly pagan eucharist ritual should consult with the lodgemaster for a date on the temple schedule. All members are encouraged to consider involving themselves in the mass, and those working to learn the officers' parts will be gladly advised by any or our local E.G.C. bishops, priestesses, or priests.

'S Rioghal Mo Dhream

    One of the most obscure entries on the A A reading list of "suggestive materials" is a book with a seemingly familiar title. But James Grant's The Adventures of Rob Roy (1864) is different from the well-known novel Rob Roy (1818) by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), despite the fact that another Scott novel, Redgauntlet (1824), confusingly appears on the list immediately preceding this entry. Walter Scott, who made such a great success with his invention of the historical novel in the "Waverley" series of heroic stories from the British past, remained enormously popular throughout the nineteenth century. In his wake, especially in the many periodical magazines in which most Victorian fiction originally appeared, there was a huge publishing market for historically instructive adventure romances. The Scottish writer James Grant (1822-1887), who knew how to spice his storytelling with Gaelic phrases and tales from folklore, and to provide a maximum of violence and excitement for his (presumably young) readers, has nearly faded from the reference books by now. Publishers in his own time considered him a significant and substantial novelist, and over a long mid-Victorian career Grant produced dozens of "knock-off" books inspired by Sir Walter Scott, for readers who somehow couldn't seem to get enough of these tales.
    Grant's The Adventures of Rob Roy is a very readable blood-and-thunder romance of the Scottish Highlands in the early eighteenth century, and might easily have been a boyhood favorite of Crowley's. He might have thought of it again later during his association with the Golden Dawn (mid-1898 to early 1900), and while working with the leader and principal magical theorist of that group. Born Samuel Liddell Mathers on 8 January 1854, this seminal occult figure had grown up fatherless, fascinated by mysticism, indulging in fantasies of a secret heritage, and at an early age became an active freemason, scholar, and qaballist. Even in 1878, while still living with his mother, he was calling himself the Comte de Glenstrae when he could get away with it, or sometimes the Comte MacGregor, and claiming a suppressed Jacobite ancestry from the outlawed Highland clan of the MacGregors of Glenstrae. Crowley might even have included Grant's novel on the A A list partially out of spite, because Mathers had obviously studied the book, and may even have derived a substantial portion of his personal mythology from it. Edward Alexander Crowley had also changed his name as a teenager, however, and the unusual spelling of his adopted forename likewise figures prominently in Grant's book. Like Mathers and many others, Aleister Crowley was an Englishman unable to resist the "Celtic Revival" styles of the late nineteenth century, and he enjoyed representing himself at various times as Irish or Scottish.
    Join Caitlin and the Section Two Reading Group at Oz House on Monday evening 19th January at 8:00 for a discussion of this book, illustrated with readings of selected passages. We begin by following the MacAleister and the MacGregor as they scrutinize the landscape for omens in their journey over the heath in search of vengeance for the outrages suffered by their outlawed clan. The MacGregor finds frequent occasion to call out their motto "'S Rioghal mo dhream!" to remind them of their secret royal blood, even as they are forced to pass themselves off as common folk. . . .

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Listen for the N.O.X.

    The College of Hard N.O.X. with Mordecai meets in the lodge library on Wednesday evenings 7th and 28th January at 8:00. This group holds wide- ranging discussions related to predetermined topics and problems from the Thelemic tradition. Come put in your two cents worth on the first and final Wednesdays of each month.

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Crowley Classics

    This series of three little articles was first published in Vanity Fair (New York: 1915), in the issues for August (p. 46), October (p. 70), and December (p. 47). The "Editor's Note" preceding the opening section, along with a photograph of the poet in oriental dress, must have been provided by Crowley himself. The original subtitle of the "politico-mystical romance" Thien Tao, to which he refers, had been "The Synagogue of Satan," and it appeared in his 1907 volume Konx Om Pax.
    The English spelling of "haiku" was eventually adopted for the Japanese name for the seventeen-syllable verse form, which had been unknown outside of the Orient until this time. We have spelled it thus in our editorially- supplied general title for the series. The preferred plural form of the word is identical to the singular. Crowley, as one of the first Western writers to discuss the haiku form, uses an alternate transliteration as "hokku," adds "- s" for the plural, and seems uncertain whether the new word will be recognized unless it is capitalized.
    The editor dedicates this month's selection to our sister Sabine, an accomplished Orientalist, on her birthday, with love from Thelema Lodge.

The Vanity Fair Haiku Contest

by Kwaw Li Ya
[Aleister Crowley]


The Hokku - A New Verse Form
And a Prize Contest

for Ambitious American Poets

by Kwaw Li Ya
of the University of Pekin

    Editor's Note: Kwaw Li Ya is the most famous of the small group of Chinese poets known as the Yung Chang school. Of the Shen Si -- or landed gentry class - he has devoted his great wealth to traveling and to studying the literatures of other nations. A fanatical adherent of the fallen Emperor, his latter years have been spent in exile from his native valleys. He is now passing a few months in New York. In religion he is a strict Taoist, and is the author of the politico-mystical romance entitled "Thien Tao" or "The Way of Heaven." He is perhaps best known because of his five volumes of aphorisms.

    1. The Hokku is a favorite verse form in Japan. Every year there is a Hokku Competition, which is entered even by the Mikado.
    2. The Hokku is a poem of seventeen syllables.
    3. The Hokku should not be alliteration, suggestion, allusion, or epigram, though it is, in part, all of these. The Hokku is, in a word - a MOOD.
    4. The Hokku is a cunningly cut jewel of words. It is like a diamond or an alexandrite, clear or colored, but reflecting varied rays of thought as the light of the mind plays over it.
    Here is a classical Hokku which is esteemed by the "old-fashioned" school of poetry in Japan as the best ever written. It is a microcosm of Autumn melancholy.

On a withered twig
Lo, the crow is sitting there -
Oh, this Autumn eve!

    The author of the following Hokku, my friend Yone Noguchi, was walking in Hyde Park. He was musing on the long hair of a woman in one of Rossetti's pictures. The dusk surprised him; he compared the two impressions, and expressed their sympathy.

My love's lengthened hair
Swings o'er me from Heaven's gate:
Lo! Evening's shadow!

    Since arriving in America, I have been trying to fix upon a correct metrical form for an English type of Hokku. I have chosen this meter:

Dactyl - spondee
Spondee - dactyl - spondee
Dactyl - spondee

    (A dactyl is a long syllable followed by two shorts, as "happily"; a spondee is two longs, as "groaning.")
    The use of rime vulgarizes the Hokku at once. In English there is a difficulty in finding true dactyls. Too many of the smaller words are either themselves long, or make other words "long by position."
    Here is a fine personal Hokku, by an American friend of mine:

Catherine Cheney.
Plumpness brought to a fine art!
Cat, of Canary?

    This is certainly a fine portrait of a beautiful woman. It suggests the query, "Can I cage you, pet, or am I only the mouse with which you are playing?"
    Hokku-making is a delightful pastime. It is an endeavor to cut an intaglio or a cameo, in that hardest of all stones - language, with its baffling index of refraction.
    Success may be impossible, but "firm correctness," as we say in China, is great, even in defeat - a death-spasm of the soul. Hokku-making is the calculated ecstasy of hari-kiri.
    Write Hokkus, my friends! It is better than opium, or love, or death! Here is a fine example of a double Hokku, having for its only theme the Hokku itself"

Catch me, caress me,
Crush me! Gather a dewdrop -
Star to a system!

God in an atom!
Comets revel around him -
That is a hokku!

    Vanity Fair has permitted me to offer a first prize of ten dollars and a second prize of five dollars, for the best single Hokku on the following interesting theme:
    A young lover, distracted by jealousy, finds himself looking out over New York harbor. The sun is setting. The gigantic buildings and towers of Manhattan are silhouetted against the summer sky.
    I have agreed to judge the Hokkus in this contest and will announce the prize winners in the issue for October.
    All Hokkus, which must be single in form, should be addressed to the Editor of Vanity Fair, New York City. They should be in his hands not later than August 20th.


The Prize Winners of the Hokku Contest
Their Poetry and an Analysis of It

by the Eminent Chinese Poet
Kwaw Li Ya

Most Charming Mr Editor:
    I am overwhelmed! I am humbled! I am snowed under! I said in my heart "There is no poet" - "There may be five poets" - "By the favor if Shang Ti, there may be ten poets." And lo! there are more than five hundred poets! And they are all good poets! Only alas! They are many of them all too good! They are inspired with sacred flame. Their genius bears them aloft upon the snowy peaks of poesy; they will not be bound in the ring-fence of the rules of a competition. Sometimes they scan beautifully, but not in the particular rhythm required. Sometimes they do not mention the magic towers of Downtown; sometimes they forget the Sunset; sometimes they omit the poor little lover man with his troubled heart. Sometimes they write beautiful poetry about something altogether different. Oh! it is wondrous, this nation in flower! It is like the poppy-fields in my beloved Yuunan; it is like the iris gardens that are about Daibutsu at Kamakura!
    Look! Here is perfect poesy, the soul of the Hokku. You must all hear it; there is nothing better; it is like a smile kissing a tear upon the cheek of Our Lady Quan-se-on!

The rose petals fall -
The red petals of my heart -
Oh the breath of love!

Oh how bitter
Is the White Poppy Death;
                        There are no more dreams of love.

The pale moth
Trembles with the white moonlight;
                       Thus my heart trembles with love.

    How happy am I to evoke such music! It is so faint, so delicate, so subtle, yet so strong. I quite swoon. I am back in the flower glades of the Salween! But alas! It has nothing to do with our appointed Hokku!
    One gentleman frankly refused to compete. This is how he expresses it:

What do you say, sir?
Grind out Hokku in August?
Me for the trenches!

    It has been a very long and a very delightful task to judge these hokkus. But the hokku must melt in the mouth like a lichee, and it must be terse and tense and comprehensive like the commentary of Kwang Tze! So if there were even a grain of dust to mar a dactyl, was the masterwork set aside. You must be careful, my friends, with the dactyl! Even in the best of all the hokkus, there are double consonants after a short vowel, and that makes it long. Here is a hokku by M. Foster, 300 West 49th Street, New York City:

"Pinnacels, question
Crimson waters of sunset!        
      Does she deceive me?"

    It is an idea very hokku-worthy. The poet takes nature into his confidence. But the "sq" in line one slightly lengthens the vowel; and so does the "fs" in line two. Yet all the ideas are in this and no others - oh! how difficult it is to keep to the text, and to concentrate, and to write in bliss all these ideas! Then is J. R. Foster, 30 Irving Place, New York City - are these perhaps twin brothers ardent in art, or beautiful sisters? - with this:

"Monoliths - true love!
Sunset-fury of passion!                  
What is she thinking?"

    This is very perfect writing of the physical and the moral. But still "liths" is too long. We cannot make complaint about "f p" in the second line, because "of" is almost ellipticized in speaking.
    Also there is Nerissa Bathurst, 50 West 94th Street, New York (second prize), with this:

"Towers of passion      
Glowing red in the sunset!            
Heart of my darling?"

    Only the "of p" can be objected to by the most purist. The idea is delightful, too; the towers are her aspiring thoughts to God, colored by love. The jealousy idea is given (oh how subtly!) by the question-mark. This is real economy!
    My Editor, you have a kindly heart, even for the poor exile of Yuunan! You will not put on him the cruel task of deciding between these admirable poets. It is to distinguish between perfections - and is it not written "The perfect and the perfect are one perfect and not two - nay, are none!" We have decided to award first prize to M. J. Herzberg, of 914 S. 19th Street, Newark, N. J., who writes:

"Heavenly fingers,
Flushed with delicate blushes,
Tear not my bosom!"

    Alas! the "my" is very long, because it must be emphasized; and so is the "not" before the "m."
    But in judging hokkus, or indeed any flower of the pen, one must pay due attention to the thought it contains as well as to the form in which it is expressed. And in this example, it is very hokku-worthy that the poet should think of the towers as the fingers of his love, and of the sunset as his heart.
    Honorable mention must be given to Mrs. Mary Bishop Todd, Richard Florence, E. A. Bache, Nina E. L. Lanich, Carolyn Wells, Robert Redfield, Harriet Hawley, and Nelson A. Kellogg.
    In view of the extreme interest excited by this fascinating competition, we have decided to offer another theme. Please note that the very strictest attention must be paid to meter; all ideas given in the theme must be brought in, and no others not so given may be introduced; the ideas must be indissolubly connected, and finally all this must be done in the allowed seventeen syllables. Competitors may send in as many attempts as they like. They must reach the Editor of Vanity Fair by October 20th. The prizes will be the same as before, ten dollars for the best hokku and five dollars for the second best.
    The theme is as follows: A girl in a garden is hesitating between love and duty. She sees a bee alight upon a rose. She decided, influenced by this omen, and expresses her thoughts in a hokku. What does she say?


The Hokku Winners
A Few Comments by the Judge of the Contest

by Kwaw Li Ya

    Most delicious Mr. Editor:
    I am altogether delighted to see that upon this occasion the golden-tongued poets of the Occident were able to confine their Hokku birds to the cage of thought. Nearly all of them, in their Hokkus, suggested the subject, a maiden deciding between love and duty, and basing her decision upon the omen of a bee alighting upon a rose.
    But alas! The arrangement of short and long syllabic quantities is still very puzzling to the Vanity Fair poets.
    For example, Miss Winifred Waldron, 1219 Randolf Street, North Glendale, Cal., wrote as follows:

"Bringer of pollen
Tender task is thy love-flight!
Love is my duty."

    What phrase magic! How like a spider's web glistening with dew in the early morning sunlight! But one syllable is long where it should be short - the word "flight." What a pity! For the solution of the girl's indecision between love and duty is so cleverly managed.
    B. A. Keiser, Washburn House, Northampton, Mass., also saw the same solution, but in his verse, too, there is a faulty line - the last.

"Love is my duty -
Give, O Heart to the king-bee,
          Wine of thy deep soul."

    And so, Mr. Editor, I have decided to give the first prize to Miss Alice Maxwell Appo, 11 Dominick Street, New York. She has caught the delightful spirit of Hokku-concentration and she has the feeling for quantities. Her choice of duty over love is sweetly suggested. She said:

"Toiler of ages,
Culling sweetness with labor,
I thy disciple."

    The second prize is awarded to Arthur Powell, of Stratford, Conn. His Hokku, too, is very Hokku-worthy.

"Passionate flower,
Yielding sweets to thy lover,
        God smiles upon thee!"

    Honorable mention goes to Winifred Waldron, A. J. Gude, T. L. Ryan, B. A. Keiser, Helen F. Driver, and Kenneth F. H. Underwood.

Next Crowley Classic

Primary Sources

Too Many Cooks:
Here are Karl Germer's notes from a letter sent to him by an Agape Lodge member in the 1940's e.v. At the time, Jack Parsons was in charge of the local Lodge; but things were not going well. In reading this, it's important to avoid getting caught up in opinions and factions. This is a slice of life, particularly illustrating the sorts of disfunction local groups are prone to produce, then as well as now. Some help with the insid remarks:

1003 = address of Agape Lodge at the time
Roy = Roy Leffingwell.
K.J. = Karl J. Germer
Max = Max Schneider
Jack = Jack Parsons
Jane = Jane Wolfe
132 = W.T.Smith
Jean = Jean Schneider, later Schivonen.

COPY. Extracts from letter Roy to K.J. Sept. 8, 1943.

"Now as to 1003. I wanted to attend the 'Important meeting'. Both Jack and Max for diametrically opposed reasons asked me to attend. ... (He could not do it.) Hence I am writing in complete ignorance of the result of the meeting, and you must bear this in mind in reading the following comments on that situation.

I don't believe that Max, Jack and Jane will ever come to a meeting of minds on 1003, nor do I believe that it is possible for Jane and Jack to wholly ever accept Max either as a resident there nor as an adviser. To me, an impartial observer, on the ground, the reason is clear. Jane and Jack suspect Max's motives - Max suspects their associations and their viewpoint on 132. Neither has convinced the other, .... of their sincerity so long as Jane and Jack look upon Max as an interloper and a spy, and Max looks upon them as secretly holding forth with 132. Seeing so little of them, I am not competent to judge who may be in the right. I do agree with A.C. in his last letter to ... that when Max departs from a strictly judicial attitude, he allows his personal feelings to sway both his judgment and reports. And, I agree with Max that there is still the old pseudo-Bohemian, doubtful and indecorous social atmosphere so reminiscent of the Smith regime.

I went to 1003 Friday last week. Max wasn't there and I spent the whole evening with Jane and Jack. They gave me their views and complaints in full. Saturday afternoon Max and Jean came out and stayed over labor day. Max showed me all the correspondence between A.C., you and himself, and told me all his views. After listening to all of them, you and you alone have my heartfelt sympathy in the matter. I could be no more wearisome as I see it if you were handling a bunch of little children. ... I wonder if it is all worth while.

About a year ago I wrote you that I had passed 1003, that it appeared 'quite pretentious - too pretentious, I am afraid for permanency.'. It now appears that I was right. Jack complains that it costs him about $300 a month, that he could get along in a much cheaper place and send more to A.C. if he gave it up - and that unless he got more material cooperation from members, and unless he were allowed to run things himself, he would give it up. As I understand it that was to be the purpose of the meeting last night - to give all members an opportunity to express themselves and determine future plans.

Frankly, I can't say that I blame Jack, Karl. He understands and appreciates his lack of experience and development. He is, I feel, sincere and earnest in his desire to further the Law and the Work. He is carrying out of his own pocket an establishment ten times too large for him for a bunch of unco- oprative 'good time Charlies' who will drink all he'll buy for them, attend 'parties' regularly, and leave him holding the sack for expenses.

Of what value is that material, and that establishment, and that program to the Order? Of what value are initiations that fail to initiate, because there is no dignity, no power, no solemnity worthy of the rituals in their presentation (read from typed script by the officers officiating!) Of what value a huge establishment that can be only half kept up on $300 a month, with that sum dependent on one man? Of what value the petty bickerings, and spites, and jealousies eternally current with each writing his little grievances to you or to A.C. as though THE ORDER were 1003, and Jack and Agape?

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from the Grady Project:

Affirmation of the Centurion

    The strange thoughts of a lonely soldier in a forgotten army in a land lost over the rim of the world. The Soldiers of Mithras must have felt something like that when marching gallantly but hopelessly into the Dark Ages of the Teutonic forests.

I am a Centurion
of the Legions of Freedom
all men are my comrades
all nations my brothers
all life is a boon
of the Goddess Our Mother
at our term we return
to Our Maid of the Star Drifts.
there is no dread hereafter
there is dissolution of the body
and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Our Goddess
there is death for the dogs
of Sensate and Reason
there is no bond that can unite the divided but love
all else is a curse
there is no higher rank
than Centurion     of the Legions!
there is no higher honor
than Legionnaire     of the Legions!
ave     The Centurion!
ave     Our Starborne Goddess Mother!
ave     The Legions!

-- Grady L. McMurtry
    (undated; 1950s e.v.)

    This fragment was preserved in a letter Grady wrote to an O.T.O. sister, dated from Berkeley on 22nd August 1957 e.v. He described it as a "section torn out of context from a long poem on my experiences in the Chosen Land," explaining that "'Chosen' is the old name for Korea." Nothing more from the poem, which was based upon Grady's impressions of fighting in the Korean War, is known to have survived, and these lines are published here for the first time.

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XXXV - Hidden Paths..

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

    Consider now a different sort of Tree of Life diagram. All the ten Sephirot are in the usual places, as well as all the traditional twenty-two paths. We add sixteen more, using up all the possibilities of connect-the-dots between the Sephirot that are not used by the twenty-two paths for the twenty-two Hebrew letters. Four of the new paths come out of Keter; to Chesed, Geburah, Netzach and Hod. Four come out of Chokmah; to Geburah, Hod, Yesod and Malkut. Four join Binah with Chesed, Netzach, Yesod and Malkut. Two new ones come out of Chesed to connect with Yesod and Malkut, with another two coming out the same way from Geburah. David Hulse turned me on to this diagram some years ago, based on a remark made by Jason Lauterhand.
    With sixteen new paths, we need something to help give them meaning. Consider the allocation of the Tarot Court Cards. The Golden Dawn and Crowley assigned them to Binah, Geburah, Tipheret and Malkut, with stacks of the four suits on each of those Sephirot. This was a parallel to the pattern used for the number cards and borrowed from the notion of dividing the Tree into countenances in four worlds. With these new paths, we can experiment a bit without abandoning the idea entirely. Consider the four new paths down from Chokmah as the Kings, those from Binah as the Queens, from Keter the Knights and the last four the Pages. By that means, the path connecting Chokmah to Hod would be one of the Kings in Tarot; I suggest the King of Cups. This is a hidden link, difficult to understand because it goes over too much area on the Tree. That's the nature of all of these. These 16 paths are too long for comfort. They only work under unusual circumstances. The path between two and eight, Chokmah and Hod, would be a sudden energizing force that produces instant knowledge of what to do in a situation, bypassing all usual means. Consider a more concrete example: You have a wad of used paper. There's a trash can over there, and you throw it in with little hassle. You hardly even bother to think of throwing it in the trash can. Perfect action. Perfect activity. That is the path of perfectly successful directed action, without conscious will, a thing done instantly.
    The paths coming out of Keter suit my notion of the Knights in traditional Tarot. They act like messengers of the deity, riding forth to take charge at distant points around Tipheret like manning watchtowers about the city. Keter to Chesed would probably be the Knight of Wands. The Knight of Cups rides down from the Crown to Geborah. The Knight of Swords and the Knight of Coins ward Netzach and Hod, each aiding the balance by adding a little of the quality opposite to the Sephira.
    The Pages pass influence from the castles of Geburah and Chesed down to govern Yesod and Malkut in harmony.

    We will come back to these sixteen paths when we take up human psychology on the Tree; but for now, experiment with them. Unlike the traditional twenty-two, there aren't many correspondences to "help". Working out meanings for these hidden paths is a good exercise in thinking of the paths as simple connections or transitions between the Sephirot. That's closer to their nature and much better than over-defined attempts to memorize every little table in Liber 777. Those columns in 777 all have meaning, but you can't get meaning by rote.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah, Part XXXIV                   Next: A new chapter, Qabalah in light of Tipheret.

From the Outbasket

Here are some edited selections from recent email discussion:

    A.R. asked about blinds and non-traditional aspects of Golden Dawn work with Qabalah. Here are short notes on those topics.

    There are apparently some deliberate blinds in the published material, but most of those are errors in placement or spelling in the tables of spirit names. Otherwise, the Golden Dawn was both syncretic and diverse. They forced systems to work together with some damage to traditions. Several people contributed to the studies in somewhat individual approaches.
    The Tree of Life and the Sephirot are not clearly set forth in the Sepher Yetzirah. The Sephirot are there; but their names are not associated with them, only used as ordinary words in the text. The Tree diagram is not in the SY, although it is possible to construct a simplified version on the shapes of the letters Shin, Aleph, Mem - a point illustrated in Golden Dawn diagrams and on the Waite-Smith and Case-Parks High Priestess in Tarot. The system of 10 + 22 = 32 was appended to some manuscripts of the Sepher Yetzirah, as early as the 14th century.
    The Tree, with letters attributed to the paths, used by the Golden Dawn was apparently first published in A.Kircher's Oedipus Aegiptiacus, 1653 e.v. Versions of the Tree diagram showing paths are known from the 14th century. Most Tree diagrams after Luria show 22 or fewer paths.
    The Lightning flash does not use the paths, although most of its course is traceable by paths in the more developed version of the Tree. It is variously used to describe either the creation of the Sephirot or the generation of the 22 letters. When used for the latter, the Tree of Life is not involved at all.

    C. asked about the issue of following Crowley's instructions as set forth in the 8th Aethyr.

    That was an instruction for Crowley, personally. What was prescribed for him, was for him and whoever else it might assist. The nature of this endeavor is to find your own way, with the assistance of your own HGA.
    I favor use of the Abramelin procedures as adapted to present time and circumstances. 20th century is not 15th century, and most of the details of that process have to be adjusted.
    Reconciling different approaches is by syncretic means. The nature of sacred scripture is that of a voice alive, not a voice embalmed like one finds in some historic texts. Whatever you are, by whatever you can learn and use in accord with your experience and nature, is your side of that knowledge and conversation with Liber AL or aught else. Crowley advocated and used many of the approaches of Kabbalah, including that of the 50 Gates, although he often seemed to be either unaware of the association with details of those traditions or forgetful of the terminology.
    Crowley started with the G D Shin of Shin ritual. He was successful by a personal adaptation of the Enochian Calls, after failing through too close a following of procedure laid out by others. Try the method of the 8th Aethyr, but be ready to learn something unique to yourself if that doesn't pan out.

    L. was interested in the notion of the "Man-Sheppard" from the Poimandres in the Corpus Hermeticum as being an example of the later notions of the Holy Guardian Angel.

    Poimandres does have elements of that in it, but only on the side. It's an earlier tradition, more focused on content than method. Complicating the question further, the Corpus Hermeticum is a c. 6th century relic literature, diverse in source but common in general approach. Gnosticism conserved through the Christian era tends to be ugly, but the Gnosticism recovered from Codex Brucianus and Nag Hamaddi includes more complete and more positive handling. The texts that survived directly, in contrast to the recently recovered ones, were saved in part from affinity to the Christian view and in part from their ugliness - hence safety to Christianity. Notions that are found in the related Hermetic material are generally those that have proven less dangerous to Christian beliefs.
    I really can't agree that the "Man-Shepard" of the Poimandres is a type of the HGA, but the beginning of the communication is a little like that. The spirit is perhaps closer to an HGA or personal Daemon than Numa's Dryad, but not in the sense of one-to-one affinity with the individual receiving the visions. This "Man-Sheppard" is a spirit ministering to human kind in Gnostic revelation. In that sense, it is not at all an HGA, or particular spirit with affinity to one individual.

    G.E. had some questions about Pranayama and Asana. Here are snippets from my side of the discussion.

    Asana goes well with pranayama. Find some comfortable postures and use them. Save the elaborate things for later, especially after getting a little more limber in odd positions. Kundalini is tricky, but the most common hazard is scaring oneself to the point that a good technique, tried too soon, becomes psychologically unavailable later.
    Unless the work is part of a rigorous regimen of meditation, skipping for a day or two once in a while does no harm.
    Despite what Crowley says, severe or chronic pain and numbness are to be avoided. Use the rule of thumb that above all else, do no harm.
    Evocation is always safer than Invocation. So long as you don't have problems with sleep or get nervous about sounds and half-seen motions during the day, go for it.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Reminder and Clarification

From the Treasurer General of OTO International

    Starting the first of this month (January, 1998 e.v.) OTO dues and initiation fees go up. The new schedule is published in the Magical Link, Fall 1997 e.v. issue, page 11. From calls already received, there is a bit of confusion. These notes should help:

    1. Anniversary dues assessments and initiations before 1/1/98 e.v. are at the old rate, even if not yet paid. The new rate doesn't apply to those.

    2. Credits carried over in member accounts from before 1/1/98 e.v. lock in the old dues rate until used up. Members who paid ahead will not be assessed extra to match the new rate.

    3. Normally, the postmark date will determine the assessment, old or new dues scale, not the date on a check or money order. However, the old dues rate applies if local bodies have collected dues in advance of an initiation, with the collection before 1/1/98 e.v., even if the initiation is after that date. For this to be secured, a note of the date of collection needs to be in the red or green book report.

    4. Local initiating OTO groups may reduce the fee, but not the dues, so long as regalia is supplied to new initiates as appropriate.

-- Treasurer General, OTO

Events Calendar for January 1998 e.v.

1/4/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
1/7/98College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
1/10/98OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
1/11/98Lodge luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
1/11/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
1/18/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
1/19/98Section II reading group with
Caitlin: James Grant's "Rob Roy"
at Oz house, 8 PM
Thelema Ldg.
1/25/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
1/26/98Sirius Oasis meeting 8:00 PM
in Berkeley
Sirius Oasis
1/28/98College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai 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.

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

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

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

Internet: (Submissions and circulation only)

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