Thelema Lodge Calendar for November 1998 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for November 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

November 1998 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

The Lamp of Invisible Light

    On Saturday 14th November, Thelema Lodge begins its annual reading of Liber CDXVIII, The Vision and the Voice. This chronicle, one of Crowley's masterpieces, details his astral explorations of the 30 Aethyrs of Enochian magick, as he performs the work of his initiation into the grade of Magister Templi, the crossing of the Abyss. The vision of each Aethyr thus stands both as a signpost along the road toward mystical union, and also as a storehouse of initiatory knowledge. We will be ceremonially reading each Aethyr at 8:00 on the evening of the anniversary of its reception, through 20th December. Those interested in assisting with an Aethyr reading, please contact Frater Majnun at (510) 601-9393. Goholor vnalah!1

Here are the dates of the Aethyrs for this month:
    30 -------------------------------------------------------------- Saturday Nov. 14th
    29 -------------------------------------------------------------- Tuesday Nov. 17th
    28 -------------------------------------------------------------- Monday Nov. 23rd
    27 -------------------------------------------------------------- Tuesday Nov. 24th
    26 -------------------------------------------------------------- Wednesday Nov. 25th
    25 -------------------------------------------------------------- Wednesday Nov. 25th
    24 -------------------------------------------------------------- Thursday Nov. 26th
    23 -------------------------------------------------------------- Saturday Nov. 28th
    22 -------------------------------------------------------------- Saturday Nov. 28th
    21 -------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday Nov. 29th
    20 -------------------------------------------------------------- Monday Nov. 30th
    19 -------------------------------------------------------------- Monday Nov. 30th

1. "Goholor vnalah," if you're wondering, means "lift up the skirts," as near as I can figure.

Middle of the Scorpion

    Greetings of the season of Samhain to friends and members of the lodge as the sun attains the midpoint of the Scorpion, occurring just before sunrise on Saturday 7th November. By local tradition, no event is planned, all our steam for this time of year having been blown over Hallowe'en according to the civil and christian calendars.
    Celebration of the mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica begins each Sunday after nightfall, and all the communicants should arrive at Horus Temple no later than 7:30 this time of year, to be ready for the deacon's call. Questions about the mass are best directed to our local gnostic bishops, and the temple schedule is maintained by the lodgemaster, who can provide information and directions (or introductions to our clergy) to those calling the lodge, or at lodge events. Initiate members should also keep in touch with lodge officers regarding O.T.O. initiation rituals, which are scheduled privately. The date this month for initiations into Ordo Templi Orientis here is Saturday 21st November, but all must arrange in advance in order to be included.

N.O.X. 3 Times

(on the oneness if it wants me)

    Whenever two or more individuals interact they create a third thing, the relationship between them. One of these relationships has been labeled The College Of Hard N.O.X. because it subjects the ideas of its participants to many strenuous tests of virtue and fitness. November's intellectual ordeals will commence in the lodge library at eight o'clock on the evenings of the 4th and the 25th. A very reasonable tuition fee will be required; spare yourself the embarrassment of arriving unprepared.
    The topic of discussion for November 4th is, broadly speaking, the concept of trinity. More specifically we will be examining three specific trinities of spiritual classification which may or may not illumine the question, "Is religious experience inherently trinary in nature?". The first trinity is suggested by three different passages in the Book Of The Law:
    "This that thou writest is the threefold book of Law."
    "Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth."
    "Behold! there are three ordeals in one, and it may be given in three ways. The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect, and the lofty chosen ones in the highest. Thus ye have star & star, system & system; let not one know well the other."
    Do the three "types" of Thelema which may be meant in these passages correlate with our second trinity, the three types of religious teacher described by Crowley in his Confessions?:
    "The history of mankind teems with religious teachers. These may be
    divided into three classes.
    1. Such men as Moses and Mohammed state simply that they have received a direct communication from God. They buttress their authority by divers methods, chiefly threats and promises guaranteed by thaumaturgy; they resent the criticism of reason.
    2. Such men as Blake and Boehme claimed to have entered into direct communication with discarnate intelligence which may be considered as personal, creative, omnipotent, unique, identical with themselves or otherwise. Its authority depends on `the interior certainty' of the seer.
    3. Such teachers as Lao-Tzu, the Buddha and the highest Gnana-yogis announce that they have attained to superior wisdom, understanding, knowledge and power, but make no pretense of imposing their views on mankind. They remain essentially sceptics. They base their precepts on their own personal experience, saying, in effect, that they have found that the performance of certain acts and the abstention from others created conditions favourable to the attainment of the state which has emancipated them. The wiser they are, the less dogmatic. Such men indeed formulate their transcendental conception of the cosmos more or less clearly; they may explain evil as illusion, etc., but the heart of their theory is that the problem of sorrow has been wrongly stated, owing to the superficial or incomplete data presented by normal human experience through the senses, and that it is possible for men, by virtue of some special training (from Asana to Ceremonial Magick), to develop in themselves a faculty superior to reason and immune from intellectual criticism, by the exercise of which the original problem of suffering is satisfactorily solved.
    The Book Of The Law claims to comply with the conditions necessary to satisfy all three types of inquirer."
    The final trinity is an example drawn from the history of Indian religious philosophy. We will examine the three main traditions within the movement called Vedanta; its name just means "the culmination of Veda", and it is referring at least in part to the last section of the early Hindu holy scriptures (the Veda), the Upanishads, wherein the earlier mythical, ethical, and ritual teachings are undergoing their development into a real mystical philosophy. These three main branches of Vedanta are Advaita (non-dualist), Vishishtadvaita ("qualified" non-dualist), and Dvaita (dualist). The basic issue among them is the relationship between the Absolute and the individual. To Advaitins the Absolute (Brahman) is the only reality, the individual (jivatman) is just an appearance of the Absolute, while Dvaitins think that both the Absolute ("Creator") and the individual ("creature") are real, though the latter is utterly dependent upon the former. The Vishishtadvaitins try to have it both ways by seeing the individual ("soul") as real just because it is a part of the Absolute ("God"). These three schools of thought are usually each associated with a great sage, respectively, Shankara (earlier than 820), Ramanuja (11th/12th cent.), and Madhva (earlier than 1317), though they all boast numerous saints, real and legendary.
    Some of these saints have been really wild people. For example, Jnaneshvar (or Jnanadeva), an Advaitin who lived from 1275 to 1296. Though of the Brahmin caste he was denied a formal religious education because his father had earlier tried unsuccessfully to desert his family for the life of a religious devotee. He was initiated in yogic disciplines at a young age by his older brother, and despite his lack of orthodox training he dictated at the age of 15 a book called "The Lamp Of Plain Meaning" which consists of commentary explaining the inner meaning of the Bhagavad-gita. It is to this day called the most revered work in the Marathi language. He is also credited with a number of other important books. At the age of twenty-one, to the sound of the music and chanting of his devotees, he assumed his yogic posture in a small niche dug out of the earth which was then bricked up after him. A short life, but a merry one! On November 25th expect to talk turkey with our substitute Dean, Sorter Mestyrious.

Previous NOX                   Next NOX

Fox, Lion, Mouse, Ass, Dog, Hare

    Crowley wound up his "Section Two" reading list with some general suggestions for the study of mythology and folklore, and though he omitted specific mention of the ubiquitous minor genre of the "beast fable," our reading group will devote an evening this month to these traditional animal stories. Meet in the lodge library on Monday 16th November at 8:00 with Caitlin for a discussion, with examples -- bring your favorites; there can hardly be any person in the world who hasn't encountered beast fables somehow or other -- of the magical interface between human tale-telling and bestial characterizations.
    We will likely begin with the Greek fables of Aesop, which are not the work of any individual author, but an early compilation, widely used and updated for centuries under the name of Aesop. The tradition continued through the earliest days of book-printing, and still survives, without ever having achieved a canonical organization or a "complete" edition. In the original Greek collections many brief tales and sayings were included, most of which involve animal -- and sometimes even vegetable -- characterizations. These "fables" were originally called logoi, (perhaps best translated not as "words" but as "lines," or units of meaning), and many of them are quite brief; some are simply "one-liners," remembered from one speech and noted down for reuse in another. Apparently, over the course of a speaking career, a clerical slave named Aesop began the collection of exemplary anecdotes and illustrative tales.
    Aesopus, according to ancient accounts, was a Greek slave in Samos during the middle of the sixth century before the common era, and the probable date of his death was 564. Thus he was a contemporary of Sappho, but unlike her intricately patterned lyrics, which could be imitated or altered only with the greatest care and difficulty, his prose fables were continually recycled over many generations in the discourse of Greek orators in law courts and political councils throughout the Hellenic civilization.1
    Fables from other traditions, such as the medieval European fox-fables of Reynard, or the "Brer Rabbit" fables collected from African-Americans after the Civil War, or any of the hundreds of recorded traditions of indigenous fables from all lands and periods, including the many literary versions of Aesop, are also invited.

1. Traditions of Aesop having been ugly, deformed, hunchbacked, or a dwarf seem to date from the middle ages, and involve a confusion about the nature of Greek slavery. They are inconsistent with the ancient reports of him successfully conducting legal business and assisting in diplomatic and commercial missions at high enough levels to insure that he must have been well versed in Greek civic protocol, as well as reasonably presentable. It was not rare in ancient Greece for skilled "professionals" such as physicians, secretaries, and teachers from neighboring cities to be held in bondage as slaves, sometimes for economic reasons, but particularly as a result of military defeats after which large numbers of conquered citizenry were sometimes forced to forego their personal freedom.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

Discussion of Hebrew Influences in Magick

    Bill Heidrick will review Hebrew contributions over the course of the development of Western Magick in a presentation at 5 Suffield Ave. in San Anselmo. The class meets at 7:30 in the evening, on Wednesday 18th November.
    A review of Near Eastern ancient approaches, early apocalyptic literature and other relics will begin the presentation. From there we will progress through the end of the Middle Ages fairly quickly, spending the balance of the evening on emergence of Qabalah and the impact of its modern variations upon ritual and ritual tools.

Sirius Afternoon Tea

    Members of Sirius Oasis in Berkeley offer an afternoon tea at 4:18 on the final Sunday of the month, 25th November. This is a change from the evening meetings, and with the dark of the year the open gatherings switch to daylight hours to liven the group up. Real tea and cookies and an afternoon snack worth coming to are in the works for the first time around, and all are invited to join with Sirius Oasis in initiation plans and other forthcoming events. To get Sirius for directions and information, call (510) 527-2855.
    This past Rites cycle was one of our best in many years, with a dramatic authority, an ease of magical focus, an aptness of musical competence -- and a level of fun -- that seemed wonderfully to fulfill the mysteries of Eleusis. Our great thanks go to Sirius Oasis for the enchanted back yard temple in which six of these rituals were held, with the trees spread high overhead against the night (and the giant bath bubbling underneath the stage). Apart from one accidental "walking on water" incident, it was a remarkably smooth and strongly directed series of rituals, where the audience was offered a unified presentation over ten weeks of a magical working reenacted by a repertory band of magi at play. Thanks also to Grace at the Temple of Astrology in Berkeley for entertaining us in such stately style for the stings of Saturn, and setting the cycle in motion so well. The Rites were an enormous group effort this year, but no one did more than our brother Mars-as- Odin, with his traveler's hat, his stage expertise, his sound advice, and generosity; to him the lodge commends a special recognition.

Crowley Classics

    This satirical account of a journey to Japan was included in Crowley's magical miscellany volume Konx Om Pax: Essays in Light (London & Felling-on- Tyne: Walter Scott Publ., 1907), 55-67. We offer it in two parts, beginning here and concluded in these pages next month.

Thien Tao
The Synagogue of Satan

by Aleister Crowley

My object all sublime
I shall achieve in time -
To make the punishment fit the crime -
The punishment fit the crime!
W. S. Gilbert      

"The Decay of Manners"

    Since nobody can have the presumption to doubt the demonstration of St Thomas Aquinas that this world is the best of all possible worlds, it follows that the imperfect condition of things which I am about to describe can only obtain in some other universe; probably the whole affair is but the figment of my diseased imagination. Yet if this be so, how can we reconcile disease with perfection?
    Clearly there is something wrong here; the apparent syllogism turns out on examination to be an enthymeme with a suppressed and impossible Major. There is no progression on these lines, and what I foolishly mistook for a nice easy way to glide into my story proves but the blindest of blind alleys.
    We must begin therefore by the simple and austere process of beginning.
    The condition of Japan was at this time (what time? Here we are in trouble with the historian at once. But let me say that I will have no interference with my story on the part of all these dull sensible people. I am going straight on, and if the reviews are unfavourable, one has always the resource of suicide) dangerously unstable. The warrior aristocracy of the Upper House has been so diluted with successful cheesmongers that adulteration had become a virtue as highly profitable as adultery. In the Lower House brains were still esteemed, but thy had been interpreted as the knack of passive examinations.
    The recent extension of the franchise to women had rendered the Yoshiwara the most formidable of the political organizations, while the physique of the nation had been seriously impaired by the results of a law which, by assuring them in case of injury or illness of a lifelong competence in idleness which they could never have obtained otherwise by the most laborious toil, encouraged all workers to be utterly careless of their health. The training of servants indeed at this time consisted solely of careful practical instructions in the art of falling down stairs; and the richest man in the country was an ex-butler who, by breaking his leg on no less than thirty-eight occasions, had acquired a pension which put that of a field-marshal altogether into the shade.
    As yet, however, the country was not irretrievably doomed. A system of intrigue and blackmail, elaborated by the governing classes to the highest degree of efficiency, acted as a powerful counterpoise. In theory all were equal; in practice the permanent officials, the real rulers of the country, were a distinguished and trustworthy body of men. Their interest was to govern well, for any civil or foreign disturbance would undoubtedly have fanned the sparks of discontent into the roaring flame of revolution.
    And discontent there was. The unsuccessful cheesemongers were very bitter against the Upper House; and those who had failed in examinations wrote appalling diatribes against the folly of the educational system.
    The trouble was that they were right; the government was well enough in fact, but in theory had hardly a leg to stand on. In view of the growing clamour, the official classes were perturbed; for many of their number were intelligent enough to see that a thoroughly irrational system, however well it may work in practice, cannot for ever be maintained against the attacks of those who, though they may be secretly stigmatized as doctrinaires, can bring forward unanswerable arguments. The people had power, but not reason; so were amenable to the fallacies which they mistook for reason and not to the power which they would have imagined to be tyranny. An intelligent plebs is docile; an educated canaille expects everything to be logical. The shallow sophisms of the socialist were intelligible; they could not be refuted by the profounder and therefore unintelligible propositions of the Tory.
    The mob could understand the superficial resemblance of babies; they could not be got to understand that the circumstances of education and environment made but a small portion of the equipment of a conscious being. The brutal and truthful "You cannot make a silk purse out of a sow's ear" had been forgotten for the smooth and plausible fallacies of such writers as Ki Ra Di.
    So serious had the situation become, indeed, that the governing classes had abandoned all dogmas of Divine Right and the like as untenable. The theory of heredity had broken down, and the ennoblement of the cheesemongers made it not only false, but ridiculous.
    We consequently find them engaged in the fatuous task of defending the anomalies which disgusted the nation by a campaign of glaring and venal sophistries. These deceived nobody, and only inspired the contempt, which might have been harmless, with a hate which threatened to engulph the community in an abyss of the most formidable convulsions. Such was the razor-edge upon which the unsteady feet of the republic strode when, a few years before the date of my visit, the philosopher Kwaw landed at Nagasaki after an exhilarating swim from the mainland.

"Standing Alone"

    Kwaw, when he crossed the Yellow Sea, was of the full age of thirty-two years. The twenty previous equinoxes had passed over his head as he wandered, sole human tenant, among the colossal yet ignoble ruins of Wei Hai Wei. His only companions were the lion and the lizard, who frequented the crumbling remains of the officers' quarters; while in the little cemetery the hoofs of the wild ass beat (uselessly, if he wished to wake them) upon the tombs of the sportsmen that once thronged those desolate halls.
    During this time Kwaw devoted his entire attention to the pursuit of philosophy; for the vast quantities of excellent stores abandoned by the British left him no anxiety upon the score of hunger.
    In the first year he disciplined and conquered his body and its emotions.
    In the next six years he disciplined and conquered his mind and its thoughts.
    In the next two years he had reduced the Universe to the Yang and the Yin and their permutations in the trigrams of the Fo-hi and the hexagrams of King Wu.
    In the last year he had abolished the Yang and the Yin, and became united with the great Tao.
    All this was very satisfactory to Kwaw. But even his iron frame had become somewhat impaired by the unvarying diet of tinned provisions; and it was perhaps only by virtue of this talisman


that he succeeded in his famous attempt to outdo the feats of Captain Webb. Nor was his reception less than a triumph. So athletic a nation as the Japanese still were could not but honour so superb an achievement, though it cost them dear, inasmuch as the Navy League (by an astute series of political moves) compelled the party in power to treble the Navy, build a continuous line of forts around the sea-coast, and expend many billions of yen upon the scientific breeding of a more voracious species of shark than had hitherto infested their shores.
    So they carried Kwaw shoulder-high to the Yoshiwara, and passed him the glad hand, and called out the Indians, and annexed his personal property for relics, and otherwise followed the customs of the best New York Society, while the German Band accompanied the famous Ka Ru So to the following delightful ballad:

    CHORUS   Blow the tom-tom, bang the flute!
                             Let us all be merry!
                       I'm a party with acute
                             Chronic beri-beri.

                       Monday I'm a skinny critter
                             Quite Felicien-Rops-y.
                       Blow the cymbal, bang the zither!
                             Tuesday I have dropsy.

                       Wednesday cardiac symptoms come;
                             Thursday diabetic.
                       Blow the fiddle, strum the drum!
                             Friday I'm paretic.

                       If on Saturday my foes
                             Join in legions serried,
                       Then, on Sunday, I suppose,
                             I'll be beri-beried!

    One need not be intimately familiar with the Japanese character to understand that Kwaw and his feat were forgotten in a very few days; but a wealthy Daimio, with a taste for observation, took it into his head to inquire of Kwaw for what purpose he had entered the country in so strange a manner. It will simplify matters if I reproduce in extenso the correspondence, which was carried on by telegram.
    (1) Who is your honourable self, and why has your excellency paid us cattle the distinguished compliment of a visit?
    (2) This disgusting worm is great Tao. I humbly beg of your sublime radiance to trample his slave.
    (3) Regret great toe unintelligible.
    (4) Great Tao -- T. A. O. -- Tao.
    (5) What is the great Tao?
    (6) The result of subtracting the universe from itself.
    (7) Good, but this decaying dog cannot grant your honourable excellency's sublime desire, but, on the contrary, would earnestly pray your brilliant serenity to spit upon his grovelling "joro."
    (8) Profound thought assures your beetle-headed suppliant that your glorious nobility must meet him before the controversy can be decided.
    (9) True. Would your sublimity condescend to defile himself by entering this muck-sweeper's miserable hovel?
    (10) Expect leprous dragon with beri beir at your high mightiness's magnificent heavenly palace tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon at three sharp.
    Thus met Kwaw, the poet-philosopher of China; and Juju, the godfather of his country.
    Sublime moment in eternity! To the names of Joshua and Hezekiah add that of Kwaw! For though he was a quarter of an hour late for the appointment, the hands went back on the dial of Juju's chronometer, so that no shadow of distust or annoyance clouded the rapture of that supreme event.

Previous Crowley Classic                   to be concluded next month

from the Grady Project:

Test Tubes

Joe Jugg, he was a chemist, -- sure of Truth he was a seeker;
Solutions of all kinds he mixed within his little beaker.
But once he judged his pH wrong, and when it cleared (the pall),
This was his plaintive comment as they scraped him off the wall:
"When mixing NO3," he said, "that is, if you ever should"
Note: Filter it through paper that is really made of wood;
For cotton, it has properties, you know this, I assume,
If these two mix with glycerol, 'tis likely to go 'Boom'."
Now that is what has happened here -- would I'd listened to the teacher!
What little there is left of me must perforce meet the preacher."

-- Grady L. McMurtry

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David Nicholls: In Peace

    Our brother James David Nicholls celebrated his Greater Feast last month, departing from this life on 18th October at about twenty minutes before midnight. A second degree O.T.O. initiate under the magical name of Frater Triskaideka, he came to the O.T.O. early in 1994 e.v. as a deacon in the Old Catholic Church, and his occult studies retained a characteristic element of Christian mysticism even as he whole-heartedly blazed his unique path as a devoted Thelemite. Though physical frailty limited his activities, his love of the Gnostic Mass kept him coming back quite often to the lodge from the home he shared with his elder brother's family in Fairfax. He was particularly pleased by the understanding which he developed within the E.G.C., and on the few occasions when he was able to serve us as priest or deacon in Horus Temple he made a contribution to our sacramental community which was true and strong and unlike that of any other member.
    Born on 3rd December 1952 e.v. in Charlotte, NC, David suffered from a very serious congenital heart condition which made horrific medical intervention necessary on several occasions, beginning in early childhood. The prospect of further surgery was never distant on his horizon, but he had learned long since to live in its shadow. It was considered a wonder by his doctors that he even reached his 'teens, and he was always fearlessly aware that his body held very uncertainly to life on earth. His heart has at last given out, after a very brief final hospitalization, and by his own donation his body has been given for scientific purposes to the UCSF Medical School, where he was participating in a long-term heart study.
    We shall miss his self-assurance in discussion, his humor and enthusiasm, his devotion to the many friends he was always making (and often bringing along to mass at the lodge), and his tolerance of an even wider range of religious awareness than is common among Gnostics. With his Christian ordination he accepted a challenge "to learn as much as possible about all religions," and in this endeavor he knew no bounds. The bishop who ordained him in 1974 e.v. and followed his progress for twenty years wrote a letter recommending David which included this statement: "We regret that sometimes his viewpoints appear to lean toward the occult. However, our policy of responsible tolerance compels us to respect his personal opinions though they may differ from ours and others." Hearing him at Thelema Lodge frequently bring into our discussions his personal devotion to "Jesus the Magician," we sometimes felt the same way, even as we began to share some of his own fascinations. In first requesting initiation here, David made it his object "to continue to discover my true will for this life and to aid in completion of the great work." This proved indeed to be his most deep and abiding commitment, and at his parting we rejoice in the memories of what he gave to us along the way.

Primary Sources

Jane's Books:
It was the practice in the late 1940's and '50's e.v. for Agape Lodge members to provide Karl Germer with lists of books in their personal libraries. This was partly for sharing or loaning books between members of OTO and partly to track books loaned by OTO to the members. Here is such a list compiled by Jane Wolfe toward the end of her life. By then Jane had simplified her life to an extent, as one does in later years on a limited income. That in itself lends special interest to this list, since these books form the residue of a lifetime of study and collecting. If we could only sift out the "keepers" from the "leftovers", we might have an updated reading list for Thelemites. As it is, this list provides a rare insight into the mind of one of Crowley's closest students from Cefalu and the 1920's e.v.

Jane Wolfe Library as of May, 1949
    Equinox 1-10 plus Blue Equinox
    Little Essays Toward Truth
    Heart of the Master
    Book of Lies
    Collected Works
    Eight Lectures on Yoga (London binding)
    Eight Lectures on Yoga (Hollywood binding)
    Equinox of the Gods (London binding)
    Liber Al, in white paper (London binding)
    Magick -- in one vol.
    Book of Thoth (Therion presentation)
    Olla, de luxe (Crowley presentation)
    Fun of the Fair (Crowley presentation)
    City of God (Crowley presentation)
    Book 4, Part I
    Book 4, Part II
    Winged Beetle
    Diary of a Drug Fiend
    Liber LXV, white in gold binding
    Liber VII, white in gold binding
    Liber AL, et al, white in gold binding
    Liber Al, et al, unbound, given by 666 for use on G?M.R. Cefalu
    Typescript Liber Aleph
    Typescript Commentary
    Typescript Tao Teh King
    Typescript Atlantis
    Sacred Magick of Abramelin
    Goetia -- Chicago ed.
    The Ritual of Higher Magic, Furze Morrish
    Secret of the Golden Flower, Wilhelm and Jung
    Garden of Pomegranates, Regardie
    Candle of Vision, "A.E." (Russell)
    Song and Its Fountains, "A.E" (Russell)
    Knowledge of the Higher Worlds, Steiner
    Laotzu's Tao and Wu Wei, Dwight Goddard, et al.
    Light on the Path, Mabel Collins
    Light on the Path & Illuminated Way, Mabel Collins
    The Sun moves Northward, Mabel Collins
    The Prophet, Kahil Gibran
    A Dweller on Two Planes
    The Tarot, Paul Case
    Decline of the West
    Pain, Sex and Time, Gerald Heard
    Modern Woman, the Lost Sex, Lundberg & Farnham
    Integration of the Personality, Jung
    Psychology of Jung, Jacobi
    Psychic Energy, Its Source, etc., Esther Hartman
    New Visions for New Men, Dane Rudhyar
    The Astrology of Personality, Dane Rudhyar
    Man and the Supernatural, E. Underhill The Guru, Manly P. Hall
    Bhagavad Gita, M... C...
    Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception, Max Hindal
    In Search of the Miraculous, P.D. Ospensky
    Existentialism, Sartre
    The Meeting of East and West, Northrop
    Journal of Delacroix
    Art, History of, van Loon.
    Wind, Sand and Storm, Exupery
    Fontainhead, Ayn Rand
    Trelaney, Armstrong
    Ape and Essence, Aldous Huxley
    Yogi and the Commissar, Koestler
    Darkness at Noon, Koestler
    Reflection in a Mirror, Charles Morgan
    Last Poems, Anna Hempstead Branch
    Forth Beast!, Louis Marlow
    Autobiography, Frank Lloyd Wright
    Cycles, Edw. Dewey & Edw. Dakin
    Progressive Relaxation
    Syblis, Leda, & New Pleasure, Pierre Louys
    70 Chinese Poems
    Both Sides of the Jordan, Nora R. H.
    Life Everlasting, Corelli
    Roget's Thesauris
    Webster Dictionary, unab. 1925

    {Loaned from} OTO by Mary Green:
    Marcel Poust, complete works
    Middle Pillar, Regardie
    The Song of Sano Tarot, Fullwood
    Crystal Vision through Crystal Gazing, Jones
    The Moon and its Nodes.

    {Loaned from} OTO by Karl {Germer}
    Diary of a Drug Fiend
    Book of Lies
    Book 4, Part I

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XLIII - Problems at Keter and Da'at

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

    At times there is a certain kind of bewilderment, as through a veil has been drawn between sections of the mind. A familiar thing may suddenly stop making sense. Life seems to stall and there's nothing to do but stop in confusion. Often this signals a flaw in attainment of Keter, a sudden loss of the sense of continuity or unity. This state usually can be traced to a problem below, on the middle pillar. Tipheret, Yesod and Malkut are the first places to look for the cause. In Tipheret, the flaw may be a mistake in role, for yourself or for someone as you perceive that other person. It may be a situation where the rules are different from those imagined, not unlike finding yourself in a place where an unfamiliar language is spoken or where the talk is about people you don't know. In Yesod, this break is more subtle, often a half perceived thing of feelings, but it may be as sudden as walking into the wrong house by mistake -- everything is turned around, wrong colors and no familiarity at all to the furnishings. If originating in Malkut, this Keter-break will usually be some crude failure of fit, like trying to use a metric wrench on an English bolt. It may also take other forms of loss of grip, either from weakness of the body or some other slippage. In all cases, these states of disjuncture, whether originating in Tipheret, Yesod or Malkut, produce a fragmentation of the sense of unity, a break into loneliness of mind without the solace of peace. The solution is found through identifying the place below Keter where this is caused and making adjustments there. In Yesod, such an effort can be difficult. Tipheret takes care of itself in this way through time, while Malkut usually just requires a small change of method. Yesod evokes fears and alienation more often, and the best approach there is a change of scene or a period of rest.
    Beware of logic in trying to solve problems of the Middle Pillar. There is a tendency to think that once you've got it in your head, the matter is in control. That's not the case. On the middle pillar, more than either the right or the left, all difficulties must be addressed in Malkut ultimately. Nothing is balanced until the substrate is well attended.

    Da'at has a different sort of linkage with other Sephirot of the Tree than does Keter. Rather than shatter in confusion, the world may suddenly make too much sense. Da'at mimics the unity of Keter. Obsession is the symptom of this, whereby everything perceived seems to be revealed in "true" relation. The nature of the relation discloses the problem below on the Tree. Paranoia suggests the Column of Severity, with Geburah for mental conspiracies and Hod for material traps. Blissful delusion is more toward the Mercy side, with misplaced assumption of safety in Chesed or of romantic love in Netzach. Da'at and Tipheret joint problems tend to deal with place, either to high or too low in esteem. Malkut may occasion anger at failure, with the world seeming to be filled with rot and decay. Yesod tends to generate harsh problems when seen in Da'at, literal madness and fugue much like that with Yesod-Keter problems. The difference is that with Da'at this derangement is deeper and more a matter of chaos than of unpleasant detachment.

    A fault discovered through Keter has the character of loss of touch. One discovered through Da'at, the counterfeit of Keter, has nothing to give it contrast. Da'at can evoke hopelessness and even a sense of doom. Keter simply expels by denying the presence of union below. Neither is serious, unless taken seriously. These problems are only warnings; the gears that are grinding out of alignment are below.

    One other thing, before we move on: All these difficulties in the Sephirot have important beneficial aspects in certain meditations and practices. That is advanced work, and will be touched on in various places along the way as we progress through future installments in this series on Qabalah.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah -- Part XLII               Next: Moving on to different things. -- Part XLIV

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Edited topics discussed in email:

J. S. raised some points that led to the following observations.

    People often think of "The OTO Secret" as something pertaining to a particular degree, but there are many OTO secrets. In my opinion, the greatest secret of the OTO is the same as that of Freemasonry; not one that is concealed under oath, just impossibility of clear verbal expression. It's about the nature of the relationship of an individual to others, as perceived and felt by each. Often this is simply expressed as the brotherhood and sisterhood of human kind. It can only be learned in company, and, for a particular variation like that found in OTO, only through Camp, Oasis or Lodge. As for the others, they fall into three types: secrets of form, comprising word, grip, sign and text of the degrees; secrets of privacy of the members; secrets by nature. The latter are also key mysteries of the degrees themselves, only discoverable in essence by direct experience and not fully describable by words.

    Regarding apparent sexual bias in the terms used by OTO, either stressing the male or the female in certain ways, some of this is a part of particular settings or rituals where roles are used or explored. Otherwise the question of common usage in the language arises. Perhaps we have to bear the debt of the centuries for a time. Consider word origins:
    Pagan -- the closest term to this word as used originally by Numa is the word "parish" -- being a governmental church centered region still used as such in the Roman Catholic church. Next nearest is the term "county".
    Ovation -- although it now signifies a form of cheering or applause for something, particularly a performance, it originally meant the sacrifice of a sheep to honor a Roman general. If 5,000 or more enemy were killed during the war, the republic honored with a Triumph. If less, but still a laudable victory, an Ovation. They sacrificed bovines and had a parade with a Triumph (the word even getting into Tarot for the "Trumps" from the floats in later parades to commemorate religious figures and biblical events). With an Ovation, there was a quiet ceremony and usually one sheep.
    Now the pagans of old time, the Christians, are calling everybody else Pagans. Still, I rather fancy the novelty effect of throwing a bleed'n sheep on stage to thank an actor, along the lines of Monty Python. It's not an altogether ancient practice. Although flowers to the dressing room are now more common, people use to heave chickens and good food on the stage a century or so ago in small communities, rotten food if they disliked the performance.
    The point is that some things need to change slowly, lest we loose too much with a procrustean cut to make what we have fit our ideals. Creation of non-gender linked words has a long way to go before acceptance. It seems best to continue as we have, letting the meanings of the words adapt over time. This happens as that Greater Secret spreads its way among us. Besides, Universal Brotherhood, inclusive without regard to gender, sounds better than "Universal Hood".

S. asked about OTO policy regarding disabled people, regardless of whether the disability is genetic or acquired, moderate or severe.

    As far as OTO is concerned, so long as the candidate is mentally competent to take and understand an oath at the time, of age, good report and not suffering from a physical condition that would make all practical adjustments to compensate the ritual to make it safe enough and still work, there is no bar. Sometimes it's necessary to specially schedule such an initiation or to hold it where facilities are better for the needs of the candidate. Being drunken or drug intoxicated is a bar at the time. We have initiated the blind and the deaf. Infectious diseases require sanitation but can be accommodated if they are chronic conditions -- otherwise wait for remission. Severe conditions of health that would greatly enhance danger to the candidate may be a bar if some compensation in the arrangements cannot be figured out, but we have initiated individuals in poor health in their 80's. The later stages of pregnancy are not advisable for certain initiations, but time solves that issue. A terminal illness prompts extreme effort to accommodate the candidate by adjustment of the ritual details.

C. remarked that he was brought up with the notion that it was impossible to know his real name or identity.

    Except for some who are "bound to the soil", like old time peasants, nobody knows into adolescence who they are. Names grow in meaning too, since just having the sounds of one's given name does not show the origin. Real knowledge of who one is amounts to the first attainment in the Great Work. This is an inner thing. Being adopted without knowledge of birth parents makes this seem a special problem. It isn't. Nearly everyone has to go through this, and the birth name is only a slight part of it. Discovery of self is possible.

C.G. asked about the origin of the correspondences of the body to the Hebrew letters, such as the left ear to one letter, lungs to another etc. He also asked about the correspondences in general.

    Those correspondences first appear in the Sepher Yetzirah, some of them possibly of 3rd century e.v. origin. The planetary attributions are different in different versions of the manuscripts, but the zodiacal and elemental attributions are consistent across the different MSS. The associations to body parts are more consistent in the different manuscripts than those to the planets, but some variation is also present. The key word associations vary significantly in the manuscripts. Double letters all have opposite key words attributed. The several systems are apparently a relic of a pre-Sepher Yetzirah tradition, not perfectly understood. There are parallel systems, not the same, in the Zohar for the body associations.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for November 1998 e.v.

11/1/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/4/98College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
11/7/98Feast of Samhain 7:00 AM
11/8/98Lodge luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
11/8/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/12/98Ritual Study Workshop with Cynthia
8:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/14/98Liber 418 readings begin
TEX 8:00PM Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/15/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/16/98Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Beast Fables 8PM Library
Thelema Ldg.
11/17/98Liber 418 reading RII 29th Aethyr
8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/18/98Class on Hebrew influences in Magick
with Bill Heidrick 7:30 PM
at 5 Suffield Ave. San Anselmo
Thelema Ldg.
11/19/98Ritual Study Workshop with Cynthia
8:00 PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/21/98OTO initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
11/22/98Finnegans Wake reading 4:18 PM
11/22/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/23/98Liber 418 reading BAG 28th Aethyr
8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/24/98Liber 418 reading ZAA 27th Aethyr
8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/25/98College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
combined with 26th DES & 25th VTI
Thelema Ldg.
11/26/98Liber 418 reading NIA 24th Aethyr
8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/28/98Liber 418 reading TOR 23rd &
LIN 22nd 8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/29/98Liber 418 reading ASP 21st Aethyr
8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
11/30/98Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/30/98Liber 418 reading KHR 20th &
POP 19th 8:00PM in Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.

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

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