Thelema Lodge Calendar for January 1999 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for January 1999 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, 1999 e.v.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
January 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Forasmuch as Aleister Crowley's text of the Gnostic Mass is marvelously
ambiguous, especially in its stage directions, it is not surprising that
whenever some community establishes a regular and ongoing celebration of the
mass it is also likely to see the development of local and/or personal
traditions of performance. This is not in and of itself a bad thing. People
and groups can often both express and transmit their deepest understandings of
the text by means of these traditions. Nonetheless, when a tradition becomes
a mere routine devoid of its original significance it may well end up
stultifying the very understanding out of which it first arose. As our Grand
Master Sabazius writes in Agape (I:4), "The Gnostic Mass is a Well which will
never run dry, unless we stop it up with the debris of our own ideas and
One part of the mass around which perhaps the greatest variety of usage has
occurred is the manner of the People's communication. At Thelema Lodge a
standard practice has long prevailed. The People "advance one by one to the
altar", receive and consume a Cake of Light and a goblet of wine and, "as did
the Priest", turn to the people and utter the words "There is no part of me
that is not of the Gods" in an "attitude of Resurrection". The people respond
to this declaration with three cheers, and it is this outburst which I
understand has struck some visitors used to more sedate communications as
rather irreverent. For myself, I find it both glorious and joyful to shout
out my approval of each communicant. In celebrating everyone else's divinity
I find my own is celebrated as well.
Still, the form which these three cheers have generally taken since the
early 1980's, at the instance, I'm told by the Lady Shirin, of Bro. Haggai
Hell Howler, is a shouting of "Oyez, oyez, oyez!". This presents no end of
difficulties in both pronunciation and usage. Some people think the word is
French and pronounce it oh-yay. There is indeed a French word oyez, meaning
"hear ye", which is pronounced that way, but in this context the word is in
fact English (though it does come to us from Norman French). According to the
OED it was originally pronounced oh-yets but was subsequently modified to oh-yes, "and so identified in sound with the two words O yes! and hence often so
written." Its primary definition is given as "a call by the public crier or
by a court officer (generally thrice uttered), to command silence and
attention when a proclamation, etc., is about to be made." Thus, it would
actually be more appropriate for us to shout this before each communicant
says, "There is no part of me that is not of the Gods", rather than
afterwards. For many years I have bucked the trend of this solecism by
cheering "Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!" instead. It is a mark of our community's
tolerance for non-conformity that I have never had anyone complain to me about
my deviance from the standard practice, but then neither have I been able to
lessen its general acceptance (though the community at Hodos Chamelionis Camp
in Sacramento has recently been acclaiming each communicant with "Hoor Ra,
Hoor Ra, Hoor Ra!", in which my own example may perhaps have played a small
The point I think is not about whether we file up to the altar one by one
or have the Children deliver communion to us in our seats, nor about whether
we face the Priestess or the congregation when we make our declarations, nor
whether we maintain a reverent silence or make a joyous noise while the
communications proceed. Ultimately, the point is whether or not the mass
brings us to the accomplishment of our wills. To truly know this we must
continually be scrutinizing the mass and the customs which we follow in regard
to it. By questioning, our understanding will grow and change. Perhaps this
understanding will in its turn give rise to new traditions, for other people to emulate, ignore, ridicule, or react against by establishing yet undreamed-
of variations. Freedom is very often quite chaotic in its outward appearance,
but then so is Nature itself.
-- T Dionysus
The EGC and its Antecedents
One of the difficulties of talking intelligibly about the history of our
present Eucharistic movement is the tendency of adherents of occult and
magical groups to eschew the real historical lineage of ideas in favor of
fantastic mythical antecedents. For example: belief in the founding of the G D from cipher manuscripts of a continental Rosicrucian group (such
manuscripts having long ago been proved to be forgeries), leading to ignorance
of the real primary transition of ideas from Kenneth Mackenzie and the
Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia.
In the case of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica we can be more reasonably
clear about our actual predecessors. The origin of the Gnostic ecclesiastical
tradition from which we derive our lineage occurred in 1890 with the founding
of the Gnostic Church of France by Jules Doinel (1842-1903). Doinel was
inspired by his studies of the Cathars and by seances in which the Sophia
purportedly appeared and charged him to reestablish her fallen church.
Several difficulties in Doinel's formulation of his Gnostic Church have
plagued the EGC at various times in its own history, among them an
overemphasis on the glamour of hierarchy, particularly involving the role of
Several schisms subsequently occurred within Doinel's organization, one of
these resulting in the formation of l'Eglise Catholique Gnostique by Gerard
Encousse and Jean Bricaud. In 1908, at a conference in Paris organized by
Encousse, it is believed by the OTO that Theodor Reuss received Episcopal
charters in the Doinel lineage from Encousse. If he did not at that point, he
certainly did in 1919 from Jean Bricaud. Reuss incorporated his Gnostic
Church charters into the umbrella structure of the OTO, as he did with all of
his other charters. When Crowley became English head of the OTO in 1913, the
Gnostic Church within the Order was very much a church on paper, and it was in
this form that he first encountered its tradition.
Crowley's own major contributions to this tradition can be seen both in his
central Eucharistic text, Liber XV, and in his redirection of the religious
current of the church from the dualistic, Osirian Gnosticism of the classical
age to the Thelemic Horestrian Gnosis. Doinel and his successors had
emphasized the fallen state of matter in their rituals, with recourse to
salvation in the spiritual other of the pleroma. Crowley instead declared the
continual sacramental energy in the motion of all manifestation.1 It is in
this "modern" form of an old tradition that Thelema Lodge celebrates its
weekly mass, every Sunday evening at 7:30. Please arrive a little early, and
call ahead for directions if necessary.
-- contributed by Frater Baalam
1. For further information on ecclesiastical history the reader should
consult David & Lynn Scriven's
Mystery of Mystery: A Primer of Thelemic
Ecclesiastical Gnosticism, Red Flame volume 2
in Berkeley, CA: 1995.
Join the Ouranos Collective
The Ouranos Collective is a ritual magick group modeled after the literary
salon. We come together to share our works, to compare and contrast our
personal expressions of magical art, and according to our unique talents and
expertise, to teach and to learn from each other.
The Collective is a group of active experimenters. To this end, original
works of ritual magick that can be performed by active participants in a group setting are the most desirable. Workings of established traditions may also be presented, but not as dogma.
It is our will to explore the magical universe, both inner and outer, to
experiment with a wide variety of magical systems and techniques, and to
expand our magical consciousness and abilities as individuals and as a
Collective. The Collective is an advanced study group. Previous experience
with magick is highly desirable in participants, though a dedicated beginner
may be able to gain from the Collective's work.
Diversity is strongly encouraged (and mandatory!). Different systems and
traditions of previous magical experience are welcome, but all participants
must be willing and able to adapt to a wide variety of working styles.
The Collective is embarking on an eight month journey exploring "The Eight
Colors of Magick" as described by Peter J. Carroll. The order of the workings
conforms to the planetary associations for each month in the Tropical
astrological system. We will begin in January with the color Black, the color
of Transformation, Death, and Entropy.
The Collective gathers in Horus Temple twice monthly, usually on the two
middle Thursday evenings. January meetings will be held on the 14th and 21st,
beginning promptly at 8:00. Contact Cynthia or Max for further information,
or to be included as a new participant.
Next Ouranos Collective
A Fair Field of Folk-Tales
Heard with great gladness this month when the Section Two reading group
meets on Monday evening 18th January at 8:00 in the lodge library will be
examples from two collections of tales made during the European Renaissance,
the Heptameron attributed to Queen Marguerite de Navarre (1492-1549) and the
Pentameron of Giambattista Basile (1575-1632). Both collections succeed, in
the manner previously established by Boccaccio's Decameron, in assembling
disparate stories into a larger literary texture which effectively expands and
organizes their significance, while at the same time preserving the tales in a
compendium for convenient retelling. In the spirit of Crowley's catalogue in
Liber Artemis Iota of useful erotic and pornographic writings (though these
particular works are not mentioned), we have expanded our reading list to
include them for their value as repositories of sexual patterns, strategies,
and modes of working. Maest thou be welcome, O thou dispenser of the food of the graces; O thou magazine of all the stores of virtue; O custom-house of love's traffick!
The "Seven Days" of stories collected by Queen Margurite in conscious
imitation of Boccaccio are told in French literary prose. Many were likely
contributed by her courtiers, though the queen herself seems to have taken
charge of the project, providing not simply patronage but close editorial
management. Most of her stories concern sexual encounters, particularly
forceful attacks and violent seductions. Rape is a dominant subject (the
perpetrators being frequently monks and other undisciplined clerics; we are in
the age of Rabelais here!), but other tales are concerned with more consensual
erotic negotiations along lines familiar from Boccacciao and the French
The Pentameron is written in Neapolitan dialect prose (with some verses
interspersed), comprising "fairy tales" right out of the European domestic
tradition; it is often credited as the first great literary collection of this
material, to which the brothers Grimm returned more systematically later on.
Basile's fifty tales are told in a vigorous and vulgar satiric style, which
easily accommodates casual occurrences of the most stunning supernatural
phenomena, as well as shameless paeans of erotic enthusiasm or tirades of
startlingly scatological disdain. We will be reading them in Sir Richard
Burton's 1893 translation, made shortly after he finished the monumental 1001
Tales of the Arabian Nights (and the hundreds of leftover tales assigned to
Supplemental Nights), with which it is very instructive to compare the
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
Hung By Their N.O.X. Until . . .
Thelema Lodge's semimonthly discussion group, the College Of Hard N.O.X.,
begins to party like it's 1999 at 8 o'clock on the evenings of January 6th and
All sincere seekers of truth are invited to assemble at these times to hear
the Dean's announcement of the evening's topic and to participate in the
ensuing colloquy. A nominal fee will be charged in order to defray any
expenses incurred by the lodge as a result of the fracases often caused by
The topic for January 6th will be the phenomenon of sexual asphyxia and its
relationship to magical/mystical practice. Sexual asphyxia may be defined as
"a paraphilia of the sacrificial/expiatory type in which sexual arousal and
the attainment of gratification depend on hypoxia induced through either
strangulation, smothering, chest compression and/or the inhalation of volatile
substances". We will discuss this practice as a technique of creative magical
working (as illustrated by the career of the artist A. O. Spare), and question
whether or not Crowley intended to endorse the practice in his Liber A'ash vel
Capricorni Pneumatici. That this phenomenon is, however, far from being the
invention of the twentieth century is demonstrated by the demise of Peter Motteux, an 18th century Huguenot refugee living in England, who gained a
prominent literary reputation for his completion of Urquhart's translation of
Rabelais and for producing the first translation of Don Quixote into English.
To celebrate his fifty-fifth birthday in 1718 he put on his red cloak, went to
White's Chocolate Shop where he purchased tickets to a ball, and then picked
up a prostitute named Mary Roberts. He went back with her to a brothel, the
Star Court, on Butchers' Row, and later (around midnight) was discovered dead.
Though investigations at the time seemed to have reached no conclusions as to
the cause of his death, Cunningham, in his biography of Motteux, quoted an
undated and unsigned marginal note in a British Library-owned copy of Gildon's
Lives of the Poets, "Mr. [Motteux] is suppos'd to have been strangled by
Whores, who forgot to cut the cord They had ty'd abt his neck to provoke
On January 27th we will be addressing, for a change, a mainly literary
topic, the work of the renowned Scottish poet, Robert Burns. January 25th is
the two hundred and fortieth anniversary of his birth (which anniversaries are
traditionally celebrated around the world with events called Burns Dinners).
In addition to readings and discussions of his songs and poems we will also
examine the question, "Why isn't Burns, with all his Masonic connections,
listed as a Gnostic saint?" The following Burns poem was apparently inspired
by his reading of Thomas Paine.
For A' That and A' That
|Is there, for honest poverty,
| That hangs his head, and a' that?
|The coward slave, we pass him by,
| We dare be poor for a' that!
| For a' that, and a' that,
| Our toils obscure, and a' that;
| The rank is but the guinea's stamp,
| The man's the gowd for a' that.
|What though on hamely fare we dine,
| Wear hodden-gray, and a' that;
|Gie fools their silks, and knaves their wine,
| A man's a man for a' that:
| For a' that, and a' that,
| Their tinsel show, and a' that;
| The honest man, though e'er sae poor,
| Is king o' men for a' that.
|Ye see yon birkie, ca'd a lord,
| Wha struts, and stares, and a' that;
|Though hundreds worship at his word,
| He's but a coof for a' that:
| For a' that, and a' that,
| His riband, star, and a' that,
| The man of independent mind,
| He looks and laughs at a' that.
|A prince can mak a belted knight,
| A marquis, duke, and a' that;
|But an honest man's aboon his might,
| Guid faith he mauna fa' that!
| For a' that, and a' that,
| Their dignities, and a' that,
| The pith o' sense, and pride o' worth,
| Are higher rank than a' that.
|Then let us pray that come it may,
| As come it will for a' that,
|That sense and worth, o'er a' the earth,
| May bear the gree, and a' that.
| For a' that, and a' that,
| It's coming yet, for a' that,
| That man to man the warld o'er
| Shall brothers be for a' that.
Previous NOX Next NOX
One of Crowley's more fully considered pieces of political writing, this essay appeared in The Fatherland II:24 (New York: Fatherland Corp., 21 July 1915), as the leading article on pages 3-5. Very likely it was the same essay which had been announced as forthcoming under the title "The End of England" some weeks before in The International (for 2 June 1915), and Crowley's editor George Sylvester Viereck may have transferred it between the two magazines. Viereck edited both publications, until the entry of the United States into European fighting several years later made the former title, with its slogan of "Fair Play for Germany and Austria-Hungary," untenable in America. The
International, in which Crowley published some of the best writing of his American years during the Great War, was a middle-brow artistic and literary monthly, sometimes a bit risqué. (It had made its greatest splash in the Manhattan magazine world by getting away with a spectacular nude cover drawing on the January 1914 issue, rendered just tolerably artistic with its elegant "deco" verve.)
The weekly Fatherland had a completely different tone, always maintaining a straight face and a righteous simplicity, while providing Americans (especially those of German extraction or sympathy, of which there were very many) with intelligent arguments and perspectives against U. S. alliance with Britain. If, as he always maintained and as now seems quite likely, Crowley was acting on purpose to counteract Viereck's purposes (in some sort of secret collusion with British intelligence authorities), then it is easy to watch him succeeding with articles such as this, which potentially slip some extremely wild and slippery ideas into the rhetoric of German-American sympathizing. Crowley's skill in precisely controlling the tone of his writing was sufficient over the course of several years to sneak some howlingly funny and disconcertingly ambiguous lines into the readership of an otherwise sober and determined propaganda sheet.
Crowley went to some trouble to be considered an Irishman in America, a fiction which was so widely reported that it has stuck to him ever since, and was found until recently in many under-informed American references. He certainly fooled his busy New York editor; so completely in fact that Viereck's biographer Niel M. Johnson in 1972 still identified Crowley as "an Anglo-Irish poet and practitioner of 'black magic' and other blasphemies" (University of Illinois Press, page 25). The Fatherland editorially prefixed this note to the piece:
"The Author of the following brilliant article is not only a revolutionary
thinker but actually a revolutionist. The New York Times of July 13th gives a long account of how Aleister Crowley, accompanied by several patriotic
Irishmen, renounced, in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty in New York
Harbor, all allegiance to England and declared the birth of the Irish
Republic. In the dawning light Crowley solemnly read the new Irish
Declaration of Independence."
England on the Brink
by Aleister Crowley
You have all read that very interesting pendant to Man and Superman, "The
Revolutionists' Handbook," and are sure to remember how John Tanner points out
that the British Constitution provides for government by revolution. Every
seven years the Blues and the Buffs must have it out once more in the merry
town of Eatanswill. The people, if they wish, can calmly and deliberately
adopt slavery, cannibalism, and piracy as the national ethics. This is a
natural enough state of affairs, for the framers of the Constitution were men
actually engaged in revolutions. They were cutting beads from recalcitrant
kings; even parliaments were liable to invasion by wart-nosed brewers with
brains, ambition, and a faithful body of close-cropped, jack-booted, pious
ruffians with long swords and more skill than scruple in using them. In order
to enjoy similar effects without the trouble of resorting to these methods,
the system of organized mob rule which passes in England and America for
democracy was devised. As, however, people do not desire revolutions or even
any sort of government, but only to be let alone to earn their living and to
enjoy their lives, the practical result was imperceptible. Autocracy
continued in a duller and less ambitious manner. The rulers of the country
being a committee, and so having no body to kick, no soul to damn, and no mind
to make up, nothing was ever done. The antagonism of parties was soon no more
than a mask for secret agreement. In England, for over a hundred years, there
has been no genuine party strife. Parnell was irreconcilable, and every one
combined against him. No sooner did he gain the balance of power than one of
the other parties conveniently split, and took it away from him. For he
demanded the genuine article in revolutions; he really wanted freedom for
Ireland. When he once again began to be dangerous, and further adjustments to
party were inconvenient, they ingeniously forged letters to prove him to be a
murderer. The weapon unfortunately recoiled, owing to the existence of an
incorruptible judge upon the bench -- it was generally recognized that he was a
little mad! In despair, they published the adultery of the Irish leader, and
the other 669 members of Parliament, most of whom were in the same boat, or
one differing from it only in so slight a matter as sex, were properly
horrified. Parnell had committed the Unpardonable Sin; which is, to take a
serious interest in something that matters. For to do so might possibly upset
the oligarchy; you never can tell; you cannot be too careful. You may flaunt
a dozen girls from Daly's in the face of all Piccadilly; but you may not say a
word in favor of allowing drunkenness as a ground for divorce. The Cabinet
has had room for at least three avowed atheists at one time; and that Cabinet
upheld the prosecution of a perfectly harmless ass for the "blasphemy" of
repeating the commonplaces of the sixpenny books of the Rationalist Press
Association. As long as you are gentlemanly, and show no desire to upset
anything or anybody, you can do as you please. I am personally acquainted
with a literary volcano who is in constant eruption. Poems, plays, stories,
essays, tumble scoriatically from his crater, and all either conceal the most
obscene jests, or openly celebrate and advocate the most abominable crimes
known to the law. But he is of good family and has plenty of money; he drinks
and smokes as a gentleman should; he is a very agreeable dinner companion; and
he takes the most optimistic view of society, regarding it as being no less
corrupt than himself. Consequently, even when his personal enemies (who are no class) take his books to the police, the guardians of morality can find no
fault in that just person.
On the other hand, Frank Harris, who is considered a little dangerous,
owing to his associating with people like Ben Tillett, who might conceivably
throw a real bomb, has about as much liberty of speech as a dumb-waiter, and
is hounded out of England on the first pretext that comes handy.
Bernard Shaw is at last taken with some seriousness; he has been discovered
to be an independent thinker; and he is reported to be in danger of his life.
There is a very excellent story which illustrates the English temper. At a
post not far from the firing line some soldiers are having a smoking contest.
A few German prisoners are present. The officer in charge is called away for
a few moments, and returns to find the sergeant-major announcing, "Our
friends, 'Ans an' Fritz, will now oblige with the 'Ynm of 'Ate." This is
admirably characteristic of (1) the absolute good-humor of the outdoor type of
Briton and his incapacity to feel resentment, (2) the bomb-proof complacency
which makes it incredible to him that any one should hate him.
Indeed one cannot hate this type of Englishman. Learoyd, Ortheris, and
Mulvaney are as lovable as any characters in fiction. The hateful, the
loathsome, the despicable Englishman is not of the old aristocracy, or of the
peasantry, or of the working classes except in rare cases of corruption by
cheap literature; he is of the mean, petty, cheating, hypocritical tradesman
type; and unfortunately it is this type that rules the country. The Norman
was strong and crafty, but also true, brave, and generous; in modern England
he has been shouldered out of the Government. For one thing, he was himself
too much like a revolutionary to please the plum-duff minds of the majority.
We must go back a little in history to see how England has dealt with her
revolutionaries. With private persons the method has been always the same.
The ruling class wished to be left in peace to exploit the slave class, and
the slaves were so comfortable, on the whole, and so mindful of what happened
to them when their masters fell out (as in the War of the Roses and the Civil
War), that they were always ready to lend solid support to the party in power.
As it happened, however, there have always been certain quite unassimilable
elements in the Kingdoms. The Celt is utterly opposed in race, temperament,
language, and disposition to the Saxon. He is a mountaineer, and has all the
pride and independence which the breeze blows from the hills. For centuries
he robbed the long-suffering lowlander, wealthy, cowardly, and corrupt. This
state of things was not ended until 1745, when General Wade made military
roads through the Highlands and deliberately laid waste the country. The
similar intentional depopulation of Ireland needs no description in an essay
primarily intended for American readers. Each one of them has at least three
friends whose grandfathers were either starved out or persecuted out of
Ireland. However, there is a limit to which even England can go in the way of
wholesale massacre, and the Celts, being both brave and intelligent, soon sent
over many men capable of conquering the British government by the simple
process of taking charge of it. They could not be kept out; and the only
condition required of them was that they should behave themselves in their new
position. There were but few so endowed with that rarest and most unhappy
gift, the determination to stand for truth and justice, and they unselfishly
refused the shameful bargain. Or, they were to some extent befooled by the
political idea that they could use their power to obtain better terms for
their less fortunate compatriots. So even today we see people like John
Redmond completely nobbled, and the trust of the people betrayed. Had John
Redmond struck for Irish independence in August last, they would not have
dared to imprison him. But there would have been certain dinner parties at
which he would no longer have been welcome. In such silken cords does England
net the swordsmen!
Very similar tactics have been used in the matter of social revolution.
Leigh Hunt was imprisoned long ago, but when it was found that not only
Shelley, whose father was a baronet, but Byron, actually a peer, were behind
him, the affair was smoothed over. Later rebels of all kinds were hushed rather than suppressed. The idiotic treatment of Charles Bradlaugh stands out
as almost the only exception to the rule. Whenever any spirit showed a gleam
of the true fire, it was extinguished by flattery. Kind sympathizing friends,
exquisitely dressed, pointed out quite truly that there was no real harm in
soap and water, that a clean collar improved the appearance, that a frock coat
with a gardenia, pearl-grey trousers, and a sapphire pin in an Ascot necktie,
did really make life easier in London. It was much less troublesome and much
more effective than the "Scavenger's Daughter" of the Middle Ages. The man
himself did not know that he was fettered; did not understand why he had lost
the confidence of the class which he would have given his life to help!
There is unfortunately an objection to even the softest cushioned Callipyge
sitting on the safety-valve. It is an obvious one. The poison of discontent
is cumulative in its effects. The Plantagenets and the Tutors and the Stuarts
were on the whole less intolerable than the Georges. Mr Layton Crippen, in
his superb picture of ancient and modern life, Clay and Fire, has shown,
Titianesque, the warmth and color of the Middle Ages, the greyness of our own
times. Life in the fifteenth century might be full of fear and anxiety, of
misery and disease and hardship, but people had leisure, and life held all the
interest of mystery. Today everything is commonplace, unless one can reach
out beyond science to the dangerous edge of the Unknown. And only a few
specially gifted, and sufficiently wealthy people, can do this. It is harder
to get out of the rut than ever before. Captain J. F. C. Fuller attributes
many modern "inexplicable" crimes to the revolt of the soul from the boredom
of daily toil. When adventure was possible, one endured. At any moment a
dragon might arrive from the next country, of a Knight in Green Armor drop in
for a stirrup-cup, or one might meet a Little Old Woman who would grant Three
Wishes. Even if one is being oppressed, there are more fun and more self-
respect in having a One-Eyed Ogre to do it. Nowadays the "clear light of
knowledge" shows that none of these things can happen any more; even denies
that they ever did happen, and so removes the ray of hope that what has
happened once may happen again. As folklore died, the interest of people
centered on the game of war; and as wars went out of fashion, the only
adventure left was crime.
So we came to the gentleman burglar story, from the realistic beginning in
Jonathan Wild to the romantic climax in Raffles and Arsène Lupin. It is only
in the last thirty years that snobbery has obtained so complete a strangle-
grip, so that these common cheats and thieves are described as "such perfect
It is impossible to depict the sodden hopelessness of the English for the
past ten years. The atmosphere has been depressing beyond potassium bromide.
Everybody had a remedy, socialism (one man one kind of socialism), diet
reform, dress reform, every type of vague irrelevant quack nostrum. Only a
poet or a philosopher here and there recognized the symptoms of the disease,
and diagnosed it as the melancholia caused by impotence. The joy of life had
fled utterly away, and was no more. "Merrie England," its boys and girls
dancing round the Maypole, was dead. The Puritans had removed that
"stynnkynge ydolle." Great Pan was dead, and an exceeding bitter cry tore the
throats of the children. They were to be forbidden the unique pleasure of
life, the one thing that makes it worth living, the exercise of the creative
faculty. For only in this does man re-enter heaven, and feel himself once
more manifest as the image of God. So whether this faculty is used on the
physical plane as love, or on the spiritual plane as art or religious ecstasy,
it is forbidden in England. The great secret of autocracy is that "religion"
and "morals" are only fetters for common folk. Hence the distrust of poets
such as Shelley, who wanted all men to be free to love. More recently, Wilde
threatened to popularize the Oxonian type of "immorality," and was crushed.
"We come even unto the New Chapel and Thou didst bear away the Holy Grail
beneath Thy Druid vestments.
"Secretly and by stealth did we drink of the informing sacrament. "Then a terrible disease seized upon the folk of the grey land; and we rejoiced."
So speaks one of the Holy Books of the initiates of a certain secret cult.
The disease is presumably boredom; the monotony of life. Even the hope of so
exciting an experience as Billy Sunday's hell has been ravished from the
parched lips of a multitude too listless even to enjoy the thrill of fear.
It is not of such stuff that revolutions are made. The proverb says that
they cannot be made with rosewater; and ditchwater is worse. The history of
the spirit is that of a nerve or a muscle; when it is teased it reacts, for a
certain time, more and more strenuously. After that time it tires, until not
even the greatest shock can stir it. Under the oppression of the Tudors the
manhood of England was in no wise diminished; you had only to whisper "The
King of Spain," and somebody jumped right up and singed his beard. The spirit
of the nation was indeed so high that a very trifling tax precipitated
revolution; and, if I understand American history, George Washington revolted
because they charged him thirty cents for a cup of English Breakfast Tea. But
with a Callipyge so ponderous as Queen Victoria on the safety-valve, even
modern England might have exploded. No; for the wily old lady, before taking
her seat, had used the precaution to let down the fires. Her sodden
sentimentality, her cotton-wool prudery, her spineless morality, and her suety
religion made England chaste as Klingsor, and honest as an Armless Wonder.
Have you ever observed the effects of the torture called Vigiliarum? It is
a very simple experiment to perform. All you have to do is to take a man and
exhaust him; then, when he begins to fall asleep, interfere with the process.
At first he resents it; for a time this becomes more acute; presently it
diminishes, until the man is like a log, and no longer responds to any
stimulus. You would think your fun was over; but no! After a certain period
the victim suddenly discharges a certain reserve of force in his brain; he
starts up a murderous maniac with the strength of fifty men, and unless you
have previously secured him in an adequate manner, your trifle of science may
prove extremely dangerous.
This condition has already been seen on one occasion; the French
Revolution. There was no clear unity of purpose or idea in that frenzy; the
blind giant in his agony struck at foe and friend alike. It was just the
utter helplessness of the beast, the lack of constructive thought, that made
his rage so dangerous. The moment that Napoleon's master mind seized it and
harnessed it, imposed his will on it, France became sane again. The dogmas of
Jacobinism were forgotten in five years; a simple, sensible, practical code
based on the facts of life instead of on abstract principles of "Justice" was
accepted as a matter of course, and has survived not only the other half of
Bonapartism, but several distinct types of revolution.
Let us see whether we can discover any parallel between the France of 1793
and the England of today. England had been reduced to the penultimate stage
in 1900. The Boer War did not arouse the martial spirit. Lloyd George
without a qualm fastened the last fetters on the limbs of the workmen; he
hardly needed the velvet of old-age pensions to cover the cold iron. He
labelled the slave, made him keep his own record, and even made him help to
pay for it.
With a pace stately and fast
Over English land he past,
Trampling to a mine of blood
The adoring multitude.
And now there comes a real war. One might have expected the whole nation
to flame into arms. Not a bit of it! The piteous posters, idly watched by
cigaretted loungers, or read dully by the stolid, contemptuous, hopeless eyes
of the men-slaves to whom toil had become the only thing in life, pleaded and
still plead like bedraggled charity beggars. The press set the trumpet to its
lips and blew; all we heard was a squeak like a rag doll's. The fact is that the people did not want the war. Even the violent anti-German John Bull, the
weekly with the largest circulation in England, came out at the time of the
Austrian ultimatum with the placard "To Hell with Servia." Its editor,
Horatio Bottomley, is probably the most popular man in the country among the
lower middle and working classes and of all politicians most sure and quick to
apprehend and to express the silent thought of the average man. Once the die
was cast, he shouted with the biggest crowd, like Mr Pickwick, and roared to
beat Bottom himself. But his first mood was the genuine thought.
The idea of fighting on behalf of the miserable assassins of Serajevo
seemed to everybody the last word in madness. But even when the tale of the
invasion of Belgium came to London, when rape, mutilation, cannibalism, and
torture filled the columns of the papers, did the people turn a hair? They
cared exactly nothing. They probably believed the lies of the press; but did
not see how it concerned them. They were very annoyed because it interfered
with the traditional holiday season; but all they felt was just the dull
resentment of a sleeping man in a railway carriage when a jolt half wakes him.
Now this was all wrong. It showed nervous exhaustion, the last stage before
mania. For, believing those press lies, the healthy reaction should have been
a giant rage to avenge humanity, and crush the "barbarous Huns." The spirit
of manhood should have flamed up like Peter when they came to arrest his
Master. Instead, the idea of the man in the street was to let France and
Russia do the fighting. The sending of the little expeditionary force (to its
inevitable annihilation) was regarded as a work of supererogation, a
particularly sporting thing to do. The navy of course would take the
necessary police measures. At a chosen spot on the North Sea the German fleet
would be surrounded and blown out of the water. Jolly old Jellicoe would go
into battle with the signal "Today's the day" and die in the arms of Lord
Charles Beresford at the moment of victory with the remark, "Dear old
But fight ourselves? Not much. Bad enough having to pay three times the
usual price for Potassium Bichromate to color "Tomato Soup" with; fighting be
damned! Hence the passionate, almost Evangelical, belief in the one and a
half million Russians who were being transported through the country, with the
secrecy and dispatch of the telegraph service! I used to point out that
Archangel is served by a single line of railway, and that to move even 10,000
troops would take six weeks at least. I might have saved my breath. The name
Archangel suggested Michael, I suppose, and everybody knows the grand Duke
The White Feather campaign, the hogwash of Harold Begbie, Wells, Bennett,
and the Waterloo Bridge Road school of literature in general, the crazily
hysterical appeals of the war posters, the sexual inducements, all fell flat.
(In the meanwhile France and Germany were methodically, silently, adequately
organized for war with no more discord than exists in a well-trained football
The practical men gave up the voluntary idea. England would not wake up;
it must be kicked up. (Of course, it was the fault of previous governments.
They had deliberately set themselves to break the manhood of the people; and
it is stupid to curse one's bullock for his failure at stud.) So Mr Lloyd
George put on his shooting boots, and prepared to kick. Senator Beveridge
describes the situation in language which I cannot hope to better:
So acutely was the government embarrassed in conducting the war because of
shortage of material and equipment, that toward the middle of March the most
drastic and autocratic law ever passed by any legislative body in British
history was enacted. Broadly speaking, this law gave the government absolute
power to take over and conduct the whole or any part of the industry of Great
The factories were not turning out proper quantities of munitions. Ship-
building firms were working on private contracts. There had been no general
voluntary adjustment of manufacturing to changed conditions, as in Germany and
But, while employers were blamed for selfishness and profit hunger, the
weightiest blows of censure fell upon the heads of British laborers. Thus the
government armed itself with Czar-like powers of compulsion over British
The government considered this revolutionary statute so necessary that Mr
Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, assured the House of Commons
that "the success of the war depends upon it." Lord Kitchener, from his place
in the House of Lords, told Parliament and the nation that military operations
had "been seriously hampered by the failure to obtain skillful labor and by
delays in the production of the necessary plants"; and, complaining of labor
indifference and trade-unions' restrictions, he grimly declared that the
Commandeering bill, as this extreme socialistic measure was popularly called,
was "imperatively necessary."
The newspapers were swift to see and frank to state the profound change
which this law wrought in British conditions; and justified it only upon the
ground of deadly emergency. The Daily Mail said that the law established "a
sort of industrial dictatorship."
The Daily Express asserted that "The new bill is, of course, State
Socialism. That must be accepted."
The Daily Express, in discussing another subject announced that:
"Parliamentary government has temporarily come to an end in Great Britain."
That was in March. At the end of July the situation is nothing bettered
but is rather grown worse. It really never occurred to people that this was
going to be anything but a war toy, with corpses complete, in box, five
shillings and sixpence. So the nation drifted to a point where even its
powdered and plushed lackeys in the American press could not conceal the whole
truth. Here is part of an editorial from the lickspittle New York Times.
The English Labor Crisis
The British Government has served its ultimatum on English labor. To the
utmost limit of their capacity the factories producing war munitions must have
efficient workmen, willing to do full time and no "slacking." The leaders of
organized labor have undertaken in seven days to raise a volunteer army of
workmen sufficient to supply the Government's demands. If they fail, the
Government will have to consider compulsion.
That is the ultimatum delivered by David Lloyd George in the speech with
which he introduced in the House of Commons the so-called War Munitions Bill,
a measure which in effect imposes martial law upon so much of British industry
as the needs of war require. Besides providing for a volunteer army of
workmen to man the factories, who shall enlist like soldiers but wear no
uniforms, the bill makes strikes and lockouts illegal, and creates local
boards, composed of employers and employees, half and half, presided over by
Government Chairmen, which shall sit as final courts; almost like courts-
martial, to settle all disputes as to wages, hours, and profits, and suspend
any trade-union rules that tend to limit output. That is the crux of the
whole matter. Nothing shall be tolerated that limits output.
Thus comes at last to a head a situation which has occasioned profound
chagrin in England.
Military men are for dressing labor in khaki by force and making it subject
to discipline, as soldiers are. To this Arnold Bennett acutely retorts: "You won't change the nature of Clyde men by calling them conscripts. Supposing a
shopful of conscripts down tools, what are you going to do? Shoot them? Try
it. The dream of getting skilled labor and continuous industry by compulsion
is full of nothing but the gravest social danger."
The sense of that is obvious. You can compel a capitalist to operate his
plant on Government orders at full capacity merely by threat of taking
possession of it; but you cannot compel a skilled workman to work his best, to
work full time, to work for certain wages, or to work at all. If you threaten
to shoot him -- why, that is no compulsion. He is not in the Congo. He is in
England. The threat will not be executed. So, in one breath the Government
threatens compulsion and exhorts him to do his duty. There is still hope that
he will respond. There is very grave doubt as to whether he can be
Of course it is not difficult to foresee the course of events. They will
not shoot the workman; they will keep on nagging at him. He will suddenly
come to the end of his patience, run amuck, and burn the rags of the British
Flag, and of the British Constitution, on the altar of Anarchy.
1. An opening sentence of this paragraph may have been deleted at the last minute from the original publication; possibly it was even expunged later for some unknown reason from the library xerox copy of the article which has come down to the lodge. It looks to the present editor -- '99 e.v. -- as if a sentence of eight or nine words is missing. If any reader has independent access to this issue of "The Fatherland" we would appreciate confirmation of this omission.
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from the Grady Project:
|Of red and white
|And black and
|Gold and green
|Of white and black
|And gold and green
|And every color in between
|Who throngly band in memory
|When we recall our misery
|And this is my affirmation
|All life is a boon
|Of the Goddess our Mother
|At our term we return
|To our Maid of the Star Drifts
|-- Grady L. McMurtry
This poem, apparently one of Grady's later pieces, first appeared in the Red
Flame collection of his verse edited by past lodgemaster J. E. Cornelius (Berkeley: 1994), and remains otherwise unseen. The odd word in the seventh line may be a poetic abbreviation (for something like "thronglingly"), or possibly an error or misreading for "strongly." It is the present editor's guess that the verse survives in a scrawled holograph, imperfectly legible at this point.
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An Introduction to Qabalah
Part XLIV - Deeds and distortions.
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
We have reached a point in our study roughly corresponding to Geburah on
the Tree. Looking at faults in association with the Sephirot has a bit to do
with that, but there are other aspects. In The November 1998 e.v. issue of
the Thelema Lodge Calendar, an illustration accompanied the 43rd installment
of this series. It was the cover art from Paul Riccius' 16th century book
Portae Lucis. In this picture, an elderly man holds a lattice style Tree of
Life by the path between Malkut and Yesod. Many of the usual paths are
missing and the spelling of the names of the Sephirot is not exact. The old
man looks a little unhappy, as though he is trying without success to
understand the thing. In the illustration, he points to the pavement beneath
his feet, as though suggesting that Malkut refers to the earth and that there
is something needed in that department. Once a fault or deficiency is found,
it may perhaps be avoided, but repair is usually better. In many of the
world's religions, crime and immoral act creates a debt that can only be made
good by material action. There are various practices which are given out as
penances. In the Roman Catholic religion, after confession, the priest may
prescribe certain prayers and actions. In lay society, civil courts
adjudicate remedies and criminal courts exact penalties of fine or
restriction. The trick is to bring a pattern of the mind into manifestation.
However obliquely different thought and deed may seem, there is always some
relation, even if only a mystical one. Even something apparently random, if
done for the right reasons, may turn out well. There are also limits set by
circumstance. The often strange tools and actions of the magician must adapt
themselves to what is and what may be. A symbol or a token for something that
cannot be literally done or procured for use may be substituted. No matter.
Actions in the corporeal world are always needed to address a balance in
subtler levels of existence.
Portae Lucis is a very strange book. It was written by a Jew who had
turned Christian. His action was not to turn away from what he had known
before, but to follow his conversion with teaching about the value of the very
thing he had forsaken. He remarked that if you take Yod Hay Vau Hay, the
great Jehovah name, and you stick the letter Shin in the middle, the result
could be pronounced "Joshua" or "Jesus". It's not the normal spelling, but
does support that sound. Other Jews converted to Christianity wrote books
with insights and ploys so that Christians could convert other Jews. Students
of Jewish literature and Kabbalah among the Christians defended their work
with like contretemps. A conversion is always a defect, being a denunciation
of the past. A study that leads to challenge of accepted tradition is fraught
with danger when exposed. It would be simple enough to avoid such writings,
but books like Portae Lucis have been written. There was a need to heal and
to share the weight with the world. In the process of that, a spark of wisdom
passed from one place to another. Out of its somber wrapping, that spark
kindled new fire.
It's time to take a look at some of the sparks and flames that have arisen
out of the Kabbalah of old time to form the Qabalah we are examining now. We
have looked at the Tree of Life in a study intended to familiarize and
analyze. Now we will take a side trip into some forms of magick. Later we
will look to more complex forms of Qabalah that may use the Tree of Life and
Previous Introduction to Qabalah -- Part XLIII Next: Touching on Magick and the Tree.
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Edited topics discussed in email:
Y. asked for thoughts about the Abramelin method. Here are some observations:
Just raising one's blood pressure is not a viable solution. Inflame
yourself, but accept any form of communication that will function, even
casting lots. In the classic Abramelin method, geomancy (actually a variant
sometimes called "foxmancy" -- letting animals or other natural occurrences
leave marks in a smooth sand bed overnight. One African approach is to make
little circles with the geomantic patterns in the sand, leaving bits of seeds
and other wild food in the circles. When one comes back in the morning, the
patterns show animal interest in some and not in others -- thus giving the
divination data) was used with river sand, not direct vision.
Scrying is the most helpful, but semi-automatic writing can substitute --
get yourself high with ritual and immediately set down to free-associate
For meditation, you need simple patterns. Some elementary ritual like the
LPBR and Tree work is good for pre-meditation -- alternating physical
performance with pure passive visualization of those rituals to help integrate
the motions into the visualization.
-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)
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The Journal is essential. There's no other way as effective in anchoring
the experience as it goes along. It has the same effect as forcing a plant
with nutrients and growing conditions.
Events Calendar for January 1999 e.v.
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus Tm
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Heptameron & Pentameron
|Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus Tm
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
|High Tea 4:18PM in Berkeley
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
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contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its
Ordo Templi Orientis
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