Thelema Lodge Calendar for July 1998 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for July 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

July 1998 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Rites of Eleusis

"The ancients were accustomed to invoke the gods by a dramatic presentation or commemoration of their legends," Crowley wrote in Confessions (page 633). It was an insight he attributed to his freemasonic initiation in Mexico at the close of the nineteenth century of the old aeon, and ten years later it was the guiding principle for a series of theatrical ritual performances known as The Rites of Eleusis (Liber 850), which were intended as a way of publicizing the new aeon. This dramatic cycle of planetary celebrations, which he wrote and directed, was originally presented by London members of the A A in 1910 e.v. for subscribers and guests at Caxton Hall on consecutive Wednesday evenings, with the scripts appearing in print soon afterwards in The Equinox. Crowley himself never returned to Eleusis, but its revival was one of the early projects of Thelema Lodge members after Grady McMurtry reestablished the O.T.O. here in 1977 e.v., and there have been eighteen complete cycles of The Rites in northern California since then. The first six Eleusis cycles were directed by the Lady Chandria, beginning in 1979 e.v. at Nuit Camp (later Nuit-Urania Oasis) in El Sobrante. Her idea for "an astrologically timed and full dress performance within the sanctuary of the Camp" (according to a report in the O.T.O. Newsletter a few months later) was to schedule each rite on the day of its planetary god-form, beginning with a full moon on Saturday and concluding with the next full moon on Monday. This principle was followed for many years, whenever the full moons occurred on the requisite days. Lately we have decided to spread out the cycles a bit, using a variation proposed by brother James Graeb, another of the early organizers of The Rites, which has them scheduled over the course of two and a half months at twelve day intervals, beginning in the dark of the moon for Saturn and concluding in her full light for "The Rite of Luna."
This summer members of the Thelemic community in the east S. F. Bay area will present our nineteenth performance cycle of The Rites of Eleusis, beginning on Saturday evening 25th July with "The Rite of Saturn." As our current issue of the lodge calendar goes to press, we have not confirmed a venue for this year's cycle, though the plan is to stage most of The Rites in a single location, probably in Berkeley. Casting and musical plans for these productions have been progressing since May, with an entire rainbow of frolic, food, and frivolity to go along with the dialogues, rituals, tableaux, recitations, music, and dancing which constitute these performance pieces. The variety of techniques which are used in The Rites to invoke and absorb the planetary gnosis extends all the way into the audience; even in the original performances those attending were requested to assume the corresponding colors and attitudes for the god-form of the evening. The entire cycle comprises a single extended drama, exploring in sequence the powers and failings of the human situation as a range of seven specific divine forms, the classical planetary gods. We have planned this year to emphasize the continuity of the cycle more than in some recent performances here, but these events take on a communal momentum of their own once they get underway, so such a focus will have to be widely shared in order to function strongly. Following "Saturn" we will celebrate "The Rite of Jupiter" on Thursday evening 6th August, then "Mars" on Tuesday 18th and Sol on Sunday afternoon 30th of that same month. "Venus" will be Friday evening 11th September, "Mercury" on Wednesday 23rd September, and we conclude with "The Rite of Luna" at the full moon on Monday evening 5th October. Call the lodge ahead for location and starting times, or find out who is directing one of the rituals and get involved in assisting it. Many of the "Rites" will be conducted in a context of feasting and decoration, so contributions to these aspects of the events are often most welcome to the organizers, especially when discussed ahead of time to facilitate coordination with the dramatic and ritual schemes of the presentation.

Mysteria Mystica Maxima

By regular charter from the United States Grand Lodge of O.T.O., Thelema Lodge offers initiation through the Man of Earth degrees of Ordo Templi Orientis. Applications, using the requisite form for each degree (available from the lodge officers), should be made through the lodge, and are welcome from all candidates who are free, of full age, and of good report. Initiations for advancement in O.T.O. are next scheduled for Saturday 18th July, and all members interested in attending are asked to contact the lodge well in advance to discuss the times and degrees to be worked. We will conclude with a dinner feast for all involved, to which contributions of drinks and desserts from spectators will be welcome. Candidates often ask about preparation before an initiation, and the guidance most frequently offered is to study in the Book of the Law. (In fact one might study any text which one encounters as sacred or significant, since the preparation lies rather in the encounter than in the content.) The most significant texts which we share as Thelemites make clear that initiation can most meaningfully be encountered as a training and purification of the individual Will, as manifested in each candidate uniquely. Crowley emphasized that when a ceremonial ritual induces and directs experiences in a candidate, the initiatory element is essentially an activity of the Will, and it is thus an interior and personal process. Although initiations in O.T.O. provide a road to personal and spiritual development which can be traveled by all, the journey of each specific candidate on that road is left to the individual.

"The first step of the Aspirant toward the Gate of Initiation tells him that purity -- unity of purpose -- is essential above all else. "Do what thou wilt" strikes on him, a ray of fierce white flame consuming all that is not utterly God. Very soon he is aware that he cannot subconsciously contradict himself. He develops a subtle sense which warns him that two trains of thought which he had never conceived as connected are incompatible. Yet deeper drives "Do what thou wilt"; subconscious oppositions are evoked to visible appearance. The secret sanctuaries of the soul are cleansed. "Do what thou wilt" purges every part. He has become One, One only. His will is consequently released from the interference of internal opposition, and he is a Master of Magick. But for that very reason he is now utterly impotent to achieve anything that is not in absolute accordance with his Original Oath, with his True Will, by virtue whereof he is incarnated as a man."
                               -- Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter XVI, part 1.

Adventures of the Secret Saints

Every week we invoke into our temple, along with all the other saints in the gnostic mass, a group of unnamed medieval European warriors with whom few in attendance are very familiar. The "Paladins" or peers of Carolus Magnus (Charles the Great, or Charlemagne) are placed in the saints list immediately following the great Arthurian heroes of British mythology, and these two parallel traditions of courtly romance form the pillars upon which the ethos of chivalry has been represented in literature, the arts, and popular culture ever since. This month the Thelema Lodge "Section Two" reading group with Caitlin will be looking at the Renaissance Italian epic tradition of Charlemagne's court, meeting at Oz House on Monday evening 20th July at 8:00. It was in early Italian romance-epics, written five hundred years ago, and dramatizing European military crises of an already remote "dark age" seven centuries previous, that the Paladins became emblematic of many of the esoteric pursuits of the Western magical tradition. The great compendium of stories about these "secret" gnostic saints is not included on any of Crowley's A A bibliographies (or even in the "History of the West" reading list in The Sword of Song), but we are adding to our series the story of Orlando, as begun by Matteo Boiardo (1441-1494) in Orlando Innamorato and continued by Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533) in Orlando Furioso. Both are available in translation, and are enormously fun to read, but they are long complex narratives, and if you've only time for one don't miss Ariosto.
The Paladins traditionally number twelve knights, though between many different sources and various inventive traditions no list of them ever emerged as canonical. (The list here we take from Thomas Bulfinch.) Charlemagne himself is first among the peers, though the romance tradition seldom features him directly. Orlando (the Italian name for the knight known as Roland in the old French sources) was Charlemagne's nephew and favorite, and the most renowned warrior of Christendom. Rinaldo of Montalban was his cousin and companion. Others often listed among the Peers include Namo of Bavaria, King Salomon of Brittany, Archbishop Turpin, the English knight Astolpho, Ogier the Dane, Florismart, and the enchanter Malagigi. Included with them also was Ganelon of Mayence (later called Gano), who betrayed them. In the French accounts (notably La Chanson de Roland, dated about 1100) they had been stern, strict, and silly fighters, but the Italians made them emblems of love and mysticism, as vital as the Round Table knights and even more adventures.

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"New Wave Chick" Ritual Group?

Every second and third Thursday, Thelema Lodge invites magical practitioners of all persuasions to participate in a ritual workshop circle. The idea is to combine experimentation and fun with mutual instruction among a stable, chaotic group of magicians. Using ritual structures and themes from a wide variety of traditions, the group is developing ways of sharing magical experiences that are not dependent on any particular style or context. This month interested newcomers may attend Thursday evenings 9th and 16th July at 8:00, or call ahead for specific information from Cynthia, the workshop's scheduling coordinator, at (510) 658-9393.
Our previous meetings have been successful in creating a group spirit, as well as the foundations of ritual trust between the members. We decided to get the project off the ground before we worried too much about what to call ourselves. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending upon whether one can appreciate the outcome), we determined to rely upon chaos for our name, and in May we agreed on a ritual with which to harvest for ourselves a word from the universe. We wanted a name that would describe what we were actually about; something more specific and meaningful and impressive than just the "Thelema Lodge Ritual Workshop Group." So we conducted an Ouranus invocation for the derivation of a "barbaric" name to describe our enterprise. We decked out Horus Temple with black lights, candles, strobes, and the sort of pulsing barbarian "music" which won't clash with chaos. Invoking first with speech, drumming, chanting, singing, and bells, we gathered around a board specially crafted for the purpose of the ritual. Dance was used to work up the energy, to such a level that our tool for spelling out the desired name upon the letters of the board (a sort of enchanted hockey puck) broke in the hands of one of the first operators. "Use the pieces!" our craftsman shouted, and so the shards of high-tech modeling plastic became our talismans. By throwing, scattering, dropping, or carefully placing these pieces, and by allocating predetermined letters from the sequence generated by each individual operator, we ended up with the "word" NgHChWHVJNChC. Pronunciation presented a bit of a challenge, but then Carlos had an inspiration: what those ouija barbarians are trying to tell us is that the name of our group is the "New Wave Chick" circle! You can't be sure a thing like that is going to stick (and in fact it doesn't seem like anyone else present has wanted to bring it up again at all), but we might have to answer to it until we find something else. That's chaos.

Who N.O.X. This Time?

Wednesday evenings early and late in each month are the meeting times for the College of Hard N.O.X., a series of premeditated and moderated but still unrestricted discussions exploring aspects of Thelemic culture. Our meetings this month will be on 1st and 29th July at 8:00 in the lodge library, and further information may be obtained from Mordecai, the dean of the College.

It's Finnegan!

A full group reading of Finnegans Wake, Joyce's masterpiece of equivocation, is progressing monthly, pronouncing without prejudice through the text, and currently about a quarter complete. Meetings are generally on the third Sunday afternoons of each month, and the next one is scheduled for 19th July, beginning at 4:18 in Eric's suite at the Frederick apartments. To join in, call ahead at (510) 428-0870 for directions, and to obtain a current page reference if you want to preview the section we'll encounter.

Crowley Classics

Reprinted from Vanity Fair 8:6 (New York: August 1917), pp. 33 & 90, we present this somewhat silly exercise in civic-minded literary criticism as a commemoration of Independence Day this month. If there are no fireworks in this essay, it does at least conclude with a call to arms.

The Star-Spangled Banner

An Explanation of Why --
With the Best Will in the World --
We Cannot Sing Our National Hymn

by Aleister Crowley

The poor exile from India stood in the great hall. Everybody else had risen, was stamping, shouting, cheering. He had never seen such enthusiasm; it was the next best thing to a fight. He thrilled. He was about to hear the Great American People -- about 15,000 of them -- sing their national hymn. Only -- it didn't happen. The band played it, thunderingly; and the people were all trying to sing. But only now and again did the effort become articulate. He turned to his friends. He saw that they understood his perplexity, that they were distressed, even humiliated. Presently they explained it to him: they couldn't remember the words.
So the poor exile got himself a copy of the hymn and bethought him of the cause of this great misfortune. For it is nothing less. America has a tremendous tune -- one of the most stirring ever written. But it's quite impossible to fit the words to it. May one offer a suggestion as to the rationale of the matter?

We have to go back a long way, all the way to Vergil and Horace and Catullus. Latin poetry has the most elaborate rules for distinguishing "long" syllables from "short." We may dwell so lightly on this theme that we barely brush it with a dove's wing; we need only say that a "long" syllable is one which takes a long time to say. Thus "scrunched" is much longer than "an", though both words are of one syllable. Try to repeat "an" fifty times; you can do it while the most fluent lady of your acquaintance gets through twenty "scrunched"s. The general rule is that it is hard work, except for Welshmen, to pronounce more than nine consecutive consonants. Also, "long" vowels do not go so trippingly off the tongue as airier trifles. So, too, accented syllables are really "long" because one has to dwell on them to get the emphasis.
It doesn't matter very much about the fine points of this in ordinary iambic verse, such as blank verse; for the meter is very flexible. We can have a line full of "longs" like "Thoughts that do ofttimes lie too deep for tears," with no other result than the intended one of making the line slow, heavy, meditative, melancholic. But, in a tripping "dactylic" waltz-time tune, if you have long syllables where short should be, it produces the effect of dancing with a club-footed partner. Change "O mystic and subtle Dolores, Our Lady of Pain" to "O mystic, proud, reserved Dolores, Lady of our pain" and the lilt is gone altogether.

Now this is just what happened to Francis Scott Key. He wrote in the then highly popular lilt of "Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle, are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime?" and he spoiled the whole thing -- and over and over again -- by putting in a long syllable where he most needed a short one.
"O, say can you see by the dawn's early light" is all right but for "dawn's early" which has to be pronounced "dawnsily" if it is to be properly sung. "O, say can you see at the dawn of the light" would go perfectly. This is not a very bad place; an effort will take you over it; but worse follows. "Whose broad stripes and bright stars" is six long syllables. "Whose stripes and whose stars" is a little better; but the "whose" is always too long, especially before a double or triple consonant. Sing it "O standard of stars" or "O banner of stars" and there would be no difficulty.
Again, the line ending "half conceals, half discloses" asks too much of the breath. You have to sing "--ceals, half discl" in the same time as you would take to sing "daintily."
"As it blows, covers up or discloses" is a good deal easier.
What a swollen-tongue-feeling one gets in trying to sing even "Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution." Always the same trouble of too many consonants. Try "The boss has amended the bad resolution" and it might be appointed for use in Tammany Hall, as a democratic rallying song.

Something of the sort occurs in nearly every line of this blessed hymn of ours, but the best choral steeple-chaser ever foaled is bound to come down over the "Heaven-rescued land" fence. "Vnr" and "dl" are not happy combinations for the people who objected to the Russian offensive because it obliged them to try to say "Przemsyl." "Heavenly land" is a bit nearer the mark. This is not to say that "heavenly" is the right word to use; it is not the word, as a matter of fact, that I should use. And surely it is better to wait for a commission from the President to set this whole jumble right. Quite enough now for us to amend the sound without attention to the sense!
Observe that even "star-spangled" itself is a little difficult, especially before "banner." "Rsp" and "ngl" and "db" constitute a formidable network of barbed wire entanglements for most voices. "Star-bestrewn" would be a little better, but not much. ("Spangled" is a dreadfully tinselly word, suggesting a circus, anyhow.) Probably there isn't a perfect word with the desired meaning: English is horribly deficient in "short" syllables.

The music to which Key wrote his words, was long attributed to the London organist and composer, Dr Samuel Arnold (1740-1802). Late researches credit the music beyond dispute to John Stafford Smith (Gloucester, 1750 - London, 1836), an organist of rank and a prolific composer. The music, in 6/4 time, with the words beginning "To Anacreon in heaven, where he sat in full glee," is to be found in Collections of Popular Songs, Catches, etc., composed by John Stafford Smith. A copy of this volume is in the British Museum. The melody was well known in this country during revolutionary days, and various texts were sung to it. Francis Scott Key was evidently familiar with it, and wrote his verses on the morning after the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British fleet, September 14, 1814.

How different the whole thing becomes when one finds a really great poet, like George M. Cohan, for instance, who recently took five or ten minutes off to write his noble recruiting song entitled "Over There," a masterpiece which Miss Nora Bayes has recently made an essential part of every cultivated New Yorker's home life.
Study, if you will, the care with which the scholarly actor-poet has constructed his choral chef d'oeuvre. And, Miss Bayes, we can never thank you enough for thrilling us so. We hopped right up in our chair and cheered. Really, it was too splendid!

                                     "Over There"

       Words and music by George M. Cohan

Johnnie get your gun, get your gun, get your gun;
Take it on the run, on the run, on the run;
Hear them calling you and me,
Every son of liberty;
Hurry right away, no delay, go today,
Make your daddy glad, to have such a lad;
Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
To be proud her boy's in line.

Over there, over there,
Send the word, send the word, over there;
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
The drums rum-tumming, ev'rywhere.
So prepare, say a pray'r,
Send the word, send the word, to beware;
We'll be over, we're coming over,
And we won't come back till it's over,
Over there, over there.
Johnnie get your gun, get your gun, get your gun;
Johnnie show the Hun, you're a son of a gun,
Hoist the flag and let her fly,
Yankee doodle, do or die;
Pack your little kit, show your grit, do your bit;
Yankees! to the ranks, from the towns and the tanks;
Make your mother proud of you,
And the old Red, White and Blue.

Over there, over there, etc.

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from the Grady Project:

Stymied Poet

When the muse is hard upon me
Would I lie upon the grass
Scribble with a stubby pencil
Whimsies ere they fade and pass;
Plot my verses willy-nilly
As they play across my mind
Humming quickly in and out
Catch it now or never find
The vagrant rhymes that startle, then
Dissolve and come no more;
Compared with this the work-a-day
Is really quite a chore.

-- Grady L. McMurtry

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XL - Imbalance in Interaction of Sephirot

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

When things don't flow well or emotional discomfort occurs, Netzach is a likely suspect. Rather than concentrate exclusively on Netzach itself, go on up to Tipheret. Tipheret is the inner home. If Tipheret is working well with all the other Sephirot, everything else should be in balance. Tipheret has a flaw in our example from last month; it's not properly attending to its directive function.
Next, look at Geburah, the sense of how to make things better. Geburah can become so strong that it will suck the vitality out of both Tipheret and Netzach, at the same time driving down into Hod to force its way beyond its proper ambit. Such an intrusion would manifest as angry stubbornness, linked with insensitivity. If that pattern emerges, the proper thing to do is realize that moral pressure (Geburah) is being applied on too low a level (Hod). A person may try to act in Hod as though Hod was Geburah, using abstract notions of right and wrong where practical notions belong. In such a situation, people try to plan their daily affairs by a moral course, attempting on theoretical grounds to do what is right in every way. That doesn't work unless Tipheret is active, since Tipheret has to moderate those kinds of demands from Geburah, imposing a recognition of the nature of circumstance. Even Netzach has to be active, as the directing influence descending from the heart. The proper thing to do in such a situation is to try to do what works, in the sense of what seems right at the time, instead of what is abstractly "correct". Once Hod gets going in its proper course, things tend to sort out.
In general, if you are going up on the Tree of Life diagram, as soon as you come to a definite problem, the real root of the problem is likely a Sephira one or two above that one, acting downward with too much force in too small and low a center. The rule of thumb is this: if you go up the Tree from the bottom and you find something missing or something out of whack, the Sephira just beyond the one that is misbehaving is probably the immediate cause. The Sephira just above that is probably a penultimate source behind the confusion. These symptoms arise where the force is being applied. The source of the confusion is a higher state of consciousness that is being brought down crudely into a lower state of consciousness. In the case of a flaw in Netzach, Tipheret would most often be the first thing found out of whack. If Netzach is behaving as though it were Chesed, there would be too much relaxing, trying to be nice and pet rattle snakes or such like. All this comes from failure to mediate through Tipheret. There are other possibilities, but that's the most common form of flaw: a Sephira getting too much energy because the one immediately above it in its own column is directing without proper intermediaries, proper balancing from the middle pillar.
Other possibilities exist. A person afraid of animals, or afraid of going outside may be trying to impose Geburah on Netzach directly. Dealing with natural things is a proper quality of Netzach. Geburah tends to say that one shouldn't have to bend to these forces. Without support from other Sephirot, there are no proper means for imposing one's will on the outer world, and Netzach will react by inducing fear of things outside.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah -- Part XXXIX                   Next: More system in the analysis.

Movie Review

The Esoteric Truman Show

or, 1998: The Year Gnosticism Broke

by Michael Sanborn

The Truman Show (Paramount Pictures; directed by Peter Weir, screenplay by Andrew Niccol, produced by Scott Rudin, Andrew Niccol, Edward S. Feldman and Adam Schroeder) has been a popular success. Critics have widely praised the film for its tight direction and moving performances. People everywhere are talking about its insights into society's relationship with television, and the extent to which corporations mold our lives.
Although the film does indeed work on these levels, if we consider one of Peter Weir's previous films, The Last Wave, a presentation of Aboriginal magic triumphing over Western rationalism, it would seem that he has bigger things on his mind. At its core, The Truman Show, like The Last Wave before it, concerns initiation: the self's journey from the world of illusion to the world of the Real. It is a very modern look at an ancient idea.
Behold! Human beings living in an underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets. And do you see men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.
You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
Like ourselves; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave. To them the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.
     -- Plato, The Republic, Book VII: 514-515, trans. Benjamin Jowett
Like the prisoners in Plato's cave, Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is captive within an artificial world which he holds as reality. It is the intuition that life has more to offer that begins Truman's transformative journey. In Crowley's work, this idea appears most clearly in the opening of The Heart of the Master.
I am one of a concourse. All, or nigh all, seem fallen into heaviness, not from exhaustion of labour, but from lethargy. The plain is vast beyond eye to mark its bounds, even were not all dark with blight of fog and thick with marish damp. A few of us are half awake, gaze dumbly on the East. No light responds.
Alas for me who am too much alive with the horrible and hopeless ache for sleep of one half-drugged! Dazed, stupefied -- I know not who I am -- I know not whence I came -- I know not whither I go.
In mystery schools the dissatisfaction with the unreal is often inspired through a feminine agency. For Truman, this comes by way of Sylvia (Natascha McElhone), who dares attempt to tell him the truth about his condition. This recalls the Gnostic version of the story of Adam and Eve, as told in "The Hypostasis of the Archons" (Codex II, 4, 89:31-90:10, trans. Bentley Layton, The Nag Hammadi Library, Harper and Row: 1977).
Then the Female Spiritual Principle came in the form of the Snake, the Instructor; and it taught them, saying, "What did he say to you? Was it, 'From every tree in the Garden shall you eat; yet, from the tree of evil and good do not eat'?"
The carnal Woman said, "Not only did he say, 'Do not eat,' but even 'Do not touch it; for the day you eat from it, with death you are going to die.'"
And the Snake, the Instructor, said, "With death you shall not die; for it was out of jealousy that he said this to you. Rather, your eyes shall open and you shall come to be like gods, recognizing evil and good."
The discomfort of ordinary life is only heightened by the feeling that one is not realizing one's potential. Truman is restless; eager to travel away from his sheltered island, and the movie is very successful at communicating his unease.
Imagine a man seated in a boat, surrounded by dense fog, and out of the fog seeing a flat stone leap from the crest of one wave to another. If he had always sat thus, his explanations must be very crude as compared with those of a man whose eyes could pierce fog, and who saw upon the shore the boy skipping stones.
                                         --William James, "A Suggestion about Mysticism" (printed in The Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods, 1910)
James' "man in a fog" analogy has been seized upon by philosophers and psychologists many times, notably by Abraham Maslow, but The Truman Show brings the point across on a visceral and popular level.
The road to truth is no easy one. Truman's confinement is guarded, both by the total control of his environment, and by internal limitations deliberately instilled within him. The master weaver of this illusion (the Lord of the Lower Realm, so to speak) is Christof (Ed Harris). "Christ-off," the demiurge or devil, stands between Truman and the understanding of his true nature, and he intends to stay there.
It would seem that there is some mysterious agency that wishes to hold men back, to prevent them from gaining full use of their powers. It is as if man contained an invisible parasite, whose job is to keep man unaware of his freedom.
                                                  --Colin Wilson, The New Existentialism (re-issued Wildwood House: London, 1980)
Christof, the director of the TV show which is Truman's artificial life, coordinates Truman's world from his control center within the moon. This corresponds so closely with the Gurdjieffian/Ouspenskian doctrines regarding the moon that it suggests a direct influence.
The moon controls all our movements. If I move my arm, it is the moon that does it, because without the influence of the moon it cannot happen. All our mechanicalness depends on the moon. We are like marionettes moved by wires, but we can be more free of the moon or less free. All sleeping people are under the influence of the moon. They have no resistance, but if man develops, he can gradually cut some of the wires that are undesirable and can open himself to higher influences. In this way he can become free from the moon, if not fully, at least considerably more than he is now.
                       --P. D. Ouspensky, The Fourth Way (Alfred A. Knopf, 1957)
This is the path of struggle depicted within The Truman Show, the way to freedom. And the presentation of this essential Gnostic truth within the common currency of our culture is surely a milestone in the unfolding of the Aeon.
Before gaining gnosis, the candidate worshipped the demiurge, mistaking him for the true God: now, through the sacrament of redemption, the candidate indicates that he has been released from the demiurge's power. In this ritual he addresses the demiurge, declaring his independence, serving notice that he no longer belongs to the demiurge's sphere of authority and judgment, but to what transcends it.
                                                   --Elaine Pagels, The Gnostic Gospels (Random House: New York, 1979)
Or as Truman Burbank puts it "Good afternoon, good evening, and good night!"

Next Michael Sanborn article

Primary Sources

Tracks and Tribulations, K.G.:

This time we have something a little unusual. This is the certified translation of a decree of divorce between Karl Germer and his wife in the 1920's e.v. It is historically valuable in the dates and places it recounts, but the evident discord between husband and wife over Thelema is also worth note. Troubles of this sort are with us still.


1 R 17/29 (6)                                                                       Executed Document.

on 25th June 1929
signed: Lippold (super) Secretary of Jusice {sic}.

Land of Thuringia.

Plaintiff' The (female) doctor Dr. med. Marie Therese Franziska Karola married
                                                   Germer, nee Wrtl in Hamburg, Husmmerstrasse
                                                   10.II b. Kontiko, born 11 August 1892 in Munster 1. Westfallia.

           Represented by Attorney Dr. Baumgart in Gera -

Defendant: The Merchant Karl Johannes Germer, of at the time unknown domicile
                                                  abroad, born 22 January 1885 in Elberfeld.


The First Civilchamber of the Landgericht Thuringia in Gera decides upon verbal trial on June 11, 1929 before Landgerichtsdirektor Gabelein, Landgerichsrat Dr. Geipel and Gerichtsassessor Dr. Salomon

as Law:

The marriage of the Parties is divorced. The husband alone is guilty. He has to bear the costs of the lawsuit.

Facts and Reasons:

The parties - citizens of the German Reich -- have married in Bad Kissingen on April 17, 1921. They have no children. The woman moves (proposes) (B1.4 = Page 4):

To divorce the marriage of the parties and to declare the husband as the only guilty part.

She declares that the marriage has been unhappy from the beginning, because the husband did not apply the energy and ability to follow a regular activity. That, when they moved from Vienna to Weida, he followed exclusively mystical pursuit. That he studied mystical writings and devoted himself with fellows to occult exercises. That in particular he yielded to the influence of an international crook by the name of Crowley. At the instigation of the wife the parties finally emigrated, because the husband had made it impossible for himself and his wife to live any longer in Weida, and because the wife had believed that the husband could only be brought back to a regular activity in a completely changed surrounding. For that reason the parties went first to Italy, thence to Tunis and finally to New York, where they arrived on May 28, 1926. There the husband left the wife 14 days after arrival, under the pretext of visiting a Brother of the Sect in Chicago. In truth, however, the husband did not go to Chicago but disappeared without a trace. He was only seen once again in Boston. That these statements of the wife are true is considered by the Court proven on the basis of a letter which her physician Dr. med. Mond of New York wrote to her on February 7, 1929 (Bl.13 = page 13). This shows that the husband has been seen the last time 2-1/2 years ago in Boston and that since then his domicile has not been known. The suit of the wife is thus justified both according to {section} 1567 BGB (Civil Law Code), as well as {section} 1568 BGB (Civil Law Code). The conditions of {section} 1567 BGB are given because the husband has withheld himself for longer than 1 year against the will of the wife from the home community, and the conditions for public notification existed against him and do exist still. The plaint is also justified according to {section} 1568 BGB; for, because the husband left the wife in New York without further ado, without providing for her maintenance, he has violated the duties based on marriage so severely, that the wife cannot be expected a continuation of the marriage.

Value of Suit: 2000.00 Reichsmark.

(signed) Gabelein. Dr. Geipel. Dr. Salomon.


Document Executed
Gera, June 29, 1929.
The office of the Thuringian Landgericht.
(Seal) signed Seiler, Justizoberinspektor.

To Mr Merchant Karl Johannes Germer

           at present of unknown domicile abroad.


I herewith confirm the literal conformation of the above Copy with the Document of the Judgment presented to me.

Gera February 20, 1956

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From the Outbasket

Notice to Members, Official Bodies and
Initiators, from OTO International HQ:

OTO dues will be indexed for members living outside the United States, effective June 1, 1998 e.v. This will not result in any dues rate change for members living in the United States, but it will apply for visiting members taking initiation in the USA. The intent of this policy is to make membership in the OTO at all degrees equally affordable in all countries. The index sets a percentage of the dues per degree published in the Fall 1997 e.v. Magical Link, based on World Bank personal purchasing power (PPP) and cost of living in different countries.
A full description of this new policy will be mailed as a supplement to the Lodge, Oasis and Camp Master's Handbook in the coming months.
This new indexing only applies to payments by individual members for Initiation fees, Initiate dues, and back dues balances. Members outside the US with existing US dollar credits at International Headquarters will be given the maximum benefit of their existing credits. Associate Membership remains $10 worldwide.
An example of this new policy: IIIrd degree dues are US$108. For residents of Canada, Oceania and most of western Europe, dues and fees are now indexed at 75%. Thus, for residents of these countries, IIIrd degree dues are now US$81 instead of US$108. Initiation fees are adjusted on the same scale. Please note that members taking initiation outside their home country will pay according to their national rate, regardless of the place of initiation, which might have a different scale and resulting rate.
This indexing does not apply to balances owed from past transactions to IHQ OTO by the national OTO groups and local Camps, Oases or Lodges.
For dues concession countries under the 50% rule, the rule continues at 50% to the national OTO and 50% to International OTO HQ. The $10 concession countries are changed as of 1st June 1998 e.v. to 50% concession. Non concession countries send 100% of dues to OTO IHQ. 100% of the dues of visitors from other countries is also to be sent to OTO IHQ, where it will be distributed appropriately in case of residence in a dues concession country.

These are the indices for countries with sizable populations of OTO initiates:

100 USA
85 Japan
75 Australia, Canada, Denmark,
England, Finland, France,
Germany, Iceland, Italy,
Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Spain, South Africa,
40 Croatia, Slovenia
30 Brazil, Mexico
15 Bulgaria, Macedonia, Russia
5 Serbia Russia

These indexes may be subject to change from year to year, as new World Bank data is released every spring.

A final note: Some members have credit balances in their OTO IHQ accounts. The calculations necessary to adjust for changes in dues rate and application of the index can be complicated in such cases. If you have questions about your dues balance, credit, or how adjustments will be applied, please contact the Treasurer General by email at:

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Events Calendar for July 1998 e.v.

7/1/98College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
7/5/98Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/9/98Ritual Study Workshop with Cynthia
8:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/12/98Lodge luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
7/12/98Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/13/98Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso"
at Oz house, 8 PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/16/98Ritual Study Workshop with Cynthia
8:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
7/18/98OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
7/19/98"Finnegans Wake reading 4:18 PMThelema Ldg.
7/19/98Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/25/98The Rite of Saturn 8PM
call for location.
Thelema Ldg.
7/26/98Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
7/27/98Sirius Oasis meeting 8:00 PM
in Berkeley
Sirius Oasis
7/29/98College 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:
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