Thelema Lodge Calendar for February 1999 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for February 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
February 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Announcing a short but sweet Valentine's Day ritual, inspired by the German
Romantic poet, philosopher, and mystic Novalis (1772-1801), and his musings on
"a philosophy whose germ is a first kiss." Gather in the temple a couple
hours before the gnostic mass on Valentine's Day to take part in this informal
ritual, which is being organized for us by Lew. Arrive at 6:00 on Sunday
evening 14 February.
"Magic is the art of using the world
of the senses arbitrarily"
(Magie ist = Kunst, die Sinnenwelt willkührlich
zu gebrauchen.) -- NOVALIS
We seek the plan for the world - this plan we are ourselves. What are we? Personified omnipotent points. But the execution, as image of the plan, must also be equal to its freedom of action and its reflexivity - and vice versa. Life or the nature of spirit thus consists in the engendering, bearing, and rearing of one's like. So only to the extent that one human being engages in a happy marriage with itself, constituting a good family in itself, is it at all capable of marriage and family. (The act of self-embracing.)
The love of self must never be acknowledged to oneself - the secrecy of this avowal is the life-principle of the sole truth and eternal love. The first kiss in this accord is the principle of philosophy - the origin of a new world - the beginning of the absolute era, the fulfillment of an infinitely enlarging self-union.
Who would not be pleased with a philosophy whose germ is a first kiss?
Love popularizes the personality - it allows individualities to be communicable and to be understandable. (Amorous understanding.)
I wish that my readers would read the remark that the origin of philosophy is a first kiss while they were listening to a deeply felt rendition of Mozart's composition "Wenn die Liebe in Deinen blauen Augen" ["when love looks out of your blue eyes;" the song entitled "An Chloe," K. 524] - unless it were in a moment when they themselves stood in tremulous proximity to a first kiss.
The world must be romanticized. In this way we may recover its original meaning. Romanticizing is nothing but a qualitative potentiation. Through this operation the lower self becomes identified with the better self. Thus we ourselves are such a qualitatively potentiating series. This operation is still wholly unknown. Insofar as I give the ordinary an elevated meaning, the commonplace a mysterious aspect, the familiar the dignity of the unfamiliar, the finite an illusion of infinity, I romanticize it - The process is inverted for what is higher, unknown, mystical, infinite - it becomes logarithmized through this linkage - and assumes a familiar designation. (Romantic philosophy. Lingua romana. Elevation and abasement in alternation.)
The act of leaping out beyond oneself is everywhere the supreme act - the primal point - the genesis of life. The flame is nothing other than such an act. Philosophy arises whenever the one philosophizing philosophizes himself - that is, simultaneously consumes and renews again; necessitates and liberates at once. The history of this process is philosophy. In this way all living morality arises, in order that on the basis of virtue I act against virtue; thus begins the life of virtue, a life that perhaps augments itself into infinity, without ever confronting a limit. The latter is the condition of the possibility of losing its life.
Vermischte Fragments I
(Feb.- May 1798)
For Brigid - Arise!
Flowers bind us round and grasses catch our feet
Bird songs allure and blossom scent is sweet:
we must arise!
Brigid is the ancient celebration of the approach of spring and the
lengthening of the days. At eight o'clock on Saturday evening 6th February we
will be observing the festival of Brigid at the housewarming party of Cheth
House in north Berkeley. This is also the occasion of a birthday celebration
for two residents, Sister Kat Riendeau and Brother Eric Stanley, of Brother
James Graeb along with them, and also of Ronald Wilson Reagan 666. For
directions or further information call Cheth House at (510) 525-0666. The sun
will have passed the midpoint of Aquarius early in the morning of the
preceding Thursday (with the calendar holiday of Candlemas falling back two
days before that), and surely the turn of the year draws 'round.
Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!
We celebrate the gnostic mass each week, gathering as Ecclesia Gnostica
Catholica on Sunday evenings, when guests and visitors are welcome whose will
it is to participate with the members of the lodge in affirming our own
divinity, individually and collectively. Arrive at Horus Temple by 7:30 to be
ready when the deacon calls us in to the ritual. Newcomers may call ahead for
directions and information, and during the ritual are requested to follow the
example of the other communicants as well as they can. Our mass is usually an
easy event to enjoy - however intricate and complex it can sometimes seem -
and most communicants find that they quickly begin to learn the gestures and
responses expected of them in their role as "the People." After regular
participation for awhile some begin aspiring to the clerical offices in the
mass, and in our temple these roles are open to those willing to study and
understand them. Begin by learning the deacon's work, and then memorizing the
speeches of the priestess and priest, and continue by practicing with a
private team to familiarize yourselves with the working of the ritual.
Consult along the way with one or more of our gnostic bishops and experienced
clergy for advice and guidance, and when the gnostic mass has become second
nature -- generally after a few months of regular practice -- you will be ready
to request a date on the temple schedule to serve the lodge in this ritual.
The lodgemaster keeps the calendar, and should be consulted well in advance by
those interested in doing mass here.
Looking once more at our unique old local custom of cheering each
communicant's affirmation in the mass that "There is no part of me that is not
of the gods!" with a great triple shout of "Oyez!" - as analyzed in these
pages last month by gnostic bishop T Dionysus - there is perhaps room for some
further perspective. As sometimes occurs when we invoke the name of a long-
lost lodge-brother in this newsletter, good old Haggai Hell Howler actually
turned up at our temple, after nearly a decade away, just as last month's "Oh
Yes!" column went to press, and we had an opportunity to ask him about his
role in the establishment of this local variant. (His generous spirit and
energetic contributions to our community's growth in the early days were very
substantial, and we were proud to show him his own portrait, hanging amidst
many other heroes and pioneers of Thelema, in the lodge kitchen here.) But,
he reported, the credit was not entirely due to him for the introduction of
this particular tradition. According to his memory, it had been Lola De Wolfe
who first shouted it out as a cheer in the mass. (No doubt she was following
the example of one of the Order's official rituals, where the thrice-repeated
call is employed in a traditional manner to demand the attention of an
assembled crowd for an important announcement.) Lola had apparently shouted
it out spontaneously, perhaps amid a chaotic chorus of cheers and fellowship at the multiple climax of the mass. Then indeed the Hell Howler took up the
call, setting an example so loudly that before many masses the whole
congregation was shouting it too. Haggai further recalled that Grady
McMurtry, who as Hymenaeus Alpha was Patriarch of the Gnostic Catholic Church
(and in those days took an active role in celebrating, directing, and
attending the mass) wholeheartedly approved of the cheer. "If it's good
enough to open sessions of the Supreme Court," he remembered Grady saying,
"it's good enough for our gnostic temple." As an American patriot, war hero,
and longtime government employee, Grady seemed happy to adopt an official
standard - even when untraditionally applied - for the Thelemic enterprise
which he was at last getting successfully established.
The pronunciation which Haggai recalled from those days was unequivocally
oh-yez - so much so that he wasn't quite sure we had it right when he heard
some of us saying it franco-fashion as oh-yea. (Indeed his preferred
pronunciation continues to be used here by some traditionalists.) "Oyez!
oyez! oyez!" is the ancient call to attention before a proclamation or legal
proceeding, dating back through British "law French" to Anglo-Norman usage.
In the US Supreme Court, as in many other courts and in the British houses of
Parliament, the triple "Oyez!" - usually pronounced oh-yea - is used exactly
like the more familiar call of "hear ye! hear ye! hear ye!" In fact the two
are equivalent, as "oyez" is the imperative plural form of the Old French verb
"oir" (to hear). As a traditional order enjoining silence and attention, it
has long typified the voice of authority, and in consequence has frequently
attracted parody and humorous variation in English. The original Norman
pronunciation was most likely something like oye'ts, but in Middle English it
came to be confused with "o ye" (as in "o ye people"), and later -- according
to its foreign spelling - with "oh yes." (Barham's Ingoldsby Legends (1842)
provide a typical example: " . . . when the crier cried 'O Yes!' the people
cried 'O No!'") Obviously such a cry usually precedes the announcement to
which it directs attention, and thus our use of it as a cheer, following each
communicant's affirmation, seems to partake of the humorous treatment long
accorded the word. But need the literal meaning be limited to the word's
customary usage? The parliamentary cheer of "hear! hear!" has long been
traditional as a shout of general agreement and support of a statement which
precedes it, and this is also is a perfectly literal and correct translation
M M M
Initiations in the Man of Earth triad of Ordo Templi Orientis are offered
upon application to Thelema Lodge, and are scheduled next for Saturday evening
27th February. As usual here, this will not be a "drop-in" event, and all who
care to be part of it must communicate their interest to the officers of the
lodge ahead of time in order to be included. O.T.O. initiation is available
to persons "free, of full age, and of good report" who present themselves to
us for candidacy. This process begins with the submission of the proper
application form, which may be requested from the officers at most lodge
events. Prospective candidates should discuss their intentions and
expectations regarding the contemplated initiation with active members of the
degree to which they aspire, and then request sponsorship. Dues and fees are
to be paid on the day of the ceremony, not beforehand, and any questions
should be directed to the officers of the lodge.
Look with Grace to the Stars
A short series introducing the basic concepts of astrology will be offered
on alternate Monday evenings this month and next by Grace in her Astrological
Temple in Berkeley, meeting from 7:00 to 9:00. The series will open on 8th
February with a presentation of the planetary powers and influences, and
resume on 22nd February to cover the twelve signs of the Zodiac. The third session will be held next month on Monday evening 8th March, and will focus on
the twelve astrological houses of the horoscope. The final meeting on 22nd
March will emphasize planetary aspects and provide an outline of astrological
delineation. All are welcome, though everyone attending is requested to call
Grace ahead of time at (510) 843-STAR for directions, and to let her know how
many participants to expect. Intended especially for Thelemites who lack a
thorough grounding in the astrological arts, the four meetings of this course
will provide a foundation of interest for beginners, and Grace will have much
to say to intermediate practitioners as well. Even the most advanced students
may benefit from her wisdom and experience with human life and character in
the light of astral influences from the macrocosm.
Cupid N.O.X. Up
Thelema Lodge's twice-monthly evenings of wide-ranging intellectual
discourse will take place in February at eight o'clock on the Wednesday
evenings of the 3rd and the 24th. Like most institutions of higher learning
the College of Hard N.O.X. is in perpetual search of philanthropists to endow
and underwrite its faculty and research. If you wish to support the school in
this special way please communicate your intentions to the Dean, and
appropriate recognition (honorary degree? plaque in the library? a lecture
named after you?) will be arranged.
The discussion on 3rd February will center on the topic of love,
specifically its multifaceted nature, the many differing emotions, practices,
obsessions, and complexes which we label by that most popular of four letter
words. "Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is
the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well!" Is it Eros or is it
Agape? Or is it something else entirely?
There are so many ways a person may be loved, as a lover, a mate, a friend,
a parent, a child, a sibling, an idol, etc. Add to that the inanimate objects
of our love, is the love of one's car the same as the love of one's comfort?
Is the love of an idea the same as the love of an activity? Join us for what
promises to be a thoroughly passionate exchange.
The evening of 24th February will find us discussing a question of great
import in the Qabalistic schema of Aleister Crowley's neighborhood. "All these
old letters of my Book are aright; but is not the Star. This also is secret:
my prophet shall reveal it to the wise." Of course Crowley purports to explain
this to us in his commentary on the Book of the Law, and for some that ends
all further debate. Still, others continue to question the Prophet on several
points: how may the switching of all the attributions between two paths on the
Tree of Life be held to be congruent to the mere switching of the order of two
Atus of the Tarot deck? how can "All these old letters" be aright if Heh is
not the Emperor Trump? why does the Class A Liber Arcanorum appear to follow
the standard attributions of Heh and Tzaddi? In addition we'll consider the
suggestion of Bro. A Snake that the correct title of the Trump in question is
actually "Not, the Star" (i.e., Nuit).
Previous NOX Next NOX
Valentine Whips and Chains
If you've had just about enough of hearts and flowers by this time, join
the Section Two reading group at the lodge for some literary whips and chains
on Monday evening 15th February at 8:00. In observance of "the morning after"
the Feast of Saint Valentine, Caitlin will be leading us in a look this month
at the two most notorious novelists of sexual perversion, recommended by
Crowley (in the Liber Artemis Iota bibliography) among the "various classics .
. . helpful to assimilate the romantic and enthusiastic atmosphere proper to
the practice of the Art."
The writings of Donatien-Alphonse-François, the Marquis de Sade, (1740-
1814) were produced during his 27 years of incarceration (enforced by each of
the various regimes before, during, and after the French Revolution), and they tend to be overly expansive due to this excess of leisure. Crowley especially
mentions Sade's best-known novel, Justine, or, The Misfortunes of Virtue,
composed in 1787, anonymously published in 1791, and then expanded and re-
written to be published again six years later. Also recommended is the sequel
to this work, concerning the sinister sister of Justine, entitled Juliette,
or, The Prosperities of Vice, written directly afterwards and first appearing
in 1797. Like Crowley himself, Sade was a hard-working and prolific author
who wrote at great speed, using a variety of conventional literary forms with
remarkable facility, while at the same time constructing an elaborate myth of
his own life in relation to his works which occasionally eclipses the reader's
commitment to the books themselves. Both men may have been profoundly
affected in adolescence by their miserable relationships with hard-hearted,
self-righteous, and empty-headed mothers, and in their disdain for the
limitations of empty convention both freed themselves to explore the erotic
universe with completely self-determined moral philosophies. Both have
continued to be incorrectly termed "satanists" due to their absolute rejection
of the whole (positive and negative) structure of Christianity, with its
vulgar ethos of guilt and expiation. In Thelema, however, the Great Beast
Crowley worked out a new ethos of shared respect and mutual freedom, while
Sade's animalistic philosophy encompassed only arrogant aristocracy and a pure
anarchistic selfishness which got him repeatedly arrested for cutting up
On the other end of the "S/M" scale is the rather refined German novella
Venus in Furs, first published in 1869 by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (1836-
1895). It was the Viennese psychiatric neurologist Krafft-Ebing who first
linked the names of Sade and Masoch as examples of Psychopathia Sexualis, in
his classic 1876 study of erotic perversions (which is also included on the
Artemis Iota reading list). Masoch's literary achievement is considerably
less impressive -- and his life more ordinary and obscure -- than Sade's, but in
nineteenth century middle-Europe Masoch was moderately known for his late-
romantic novels and stories. Unlike Sade he was not a pornographer, and the
morality of his tale of Wanda the whip-woman is surprisingly conventional,
despite the exotic enthusiasms it chronicles. There is, however, not simply a
personal commitment but also a fair degree of emotional realism behind Venus
in Furs, which gives it an interest beyond its literary value; if Masoch's
story is far less extreme than Sade's it is also apparently far more true to
his personal experiences.
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
First released in a limited edition in 1903, Crowley's sonnet sequence
Alice: An Adultery is available in the second volume of his collected Works as published in 1906 by The Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth. This publication enterprise was run out of Crowley's own home, Boleskine House, near Foyers, in Scotland. Like the Victorian poet Robert Browning, whose influence he acknowledged quite a number of times, Crowley used the technique of establishing a fictional narrative persona in many of his early poems, with which he explored extreme pathological motivations not often encountered in a confessional mode. Both for Crowley and for Browning, it was frequently a fascination with deviant sex and violence which these "dramatis personae" reveal in their poems. But while Browning usually confined the method to a pure lyric technique, Crowley -- in the manner long established by writers of prose fiction -- liked to extend the invention into an ostensibly "editorial" frame, giving the reader a fantastical account of the provenance of the text being presented. He was even willing to compromise his verses in establishing the verisimilitude of such a scheme, and in the original printing of the Alice
sonnets some of the poems were presented as unfinished, with omissions "intended to aid the illusion of this introduction." For the 1906 publication these artificial cruxes were mended in the text, but the fictitious "Introduction" remained. We offer it here as a tale on its own.
Alice: An Adultery
by Aleister Crowley
It has often been pointed out how strange are the prophecies made from time
to time by writers of what purports to be merely fiction.
Of all the remarkable tales with which Mr. R. Kipling has delighted the
world, none is more striking than that of McIntosh Jellaludin1 and his
mysterious manuscript. And now, only a few years after reading that
incredible tale, I myself, at Yokohama, come across a series of circumstances
wonderfully analogous. But I will truthfully set down this history just as it
I went one memorable Wednesday night to No. 29.2 For my advent in this
most reputable quarter of the city, which is, after all, Yama,3 and equally
handy for the consul, the chaplain, and the doctor, readers of Rossetti will
expect no excuse; for their sakes I may frankly admit that I was actuated by
other motives than interest and solicitude for my companion, a youth still
blindly groping for Romance beneath the skirts of tawdry and painted Vice.
Perhaps I may have hoped to save him from what men call the graver and angels
the lesser consequences of his folly. This for the others.
As to the character of the mansion at which we arrived, after a journey no
less dubious than winding, I will say that, despite its outward seeming, it
was, in reality, a most respectable place; the main occupation of its
inhabitants seemed to be the sale of as much "champagne" as possible; in which
inspiring preface my friend was soon deeply immersed . . . .
Golden-haired, a profound linguist, swearing in five Western and three
Oriental languages, and comparable rather to the accomplished courtesans of
old-time Athens than to the Imperial Peripatetics of the Daily Telegraph and
Mr. Raven-Hill,4 her looks of fire turned my friend's silky and insipid
moustache into a veritable Burning Bush. But puppy endearments are of little
interest to one who has just done his duty by No. 9 5 in distant Yoshiwara; so
turned to the conversation of our dirty old Irish hostess, who, being drunk,
grew more so, and exceedingly entertaining.
Of the central forces which sway mankind, her knowledge was more
comprehensive than conventional. For thirty years she had earned her bread in
the capacity of a Japanese Mrs. Warren;6 but having played with fire in many
lands, the knowledge she had of her own subject, based on indefatigable
personal research, was as accurate in detail as it was cosmopolitan in
character. Yet she had not lost her ideals; she was a devout Catholic, and
her opinion of the human understanding, despite her virginal innocence of
Greek, was identical with that of Mr. Locke.7
On occasions I am as sensitive to inexplicable interruption as Mr. Shandy,8
and from behind the hideous yellow partition came sounds as of the constant
babbling of a human voice. Repeated glances in this direction drew from my
entertainer the information that it was "only her husband," indicating the
yellow-haired girl with the stem of her short clay pipe. She added that he was dying.
Curiosity, Compassion's Siamese twin, prompted a desire to see the
The old lady rose, not without difficulty, lifted the curtain, and let it
fall behind me as I entered the gloom which lay beyond. On a bed, in that
half-fathomed twilight, big with the scent of joss-sticks smouldering in a
saucer before a little bronze Buddha-rupa,9 lay a man, still young, the traces
of rare beauty in his face, though worn with suffering and horrid with a
week's growth of beard.
He was murmuring over to himself some words which I could not catch, but my
entrance, though he did not notice me, seemed to rouse him a little.
I distinctly heard --
"These are the spells by which to re-assume
And empire o'er the disentangled doom"
He paused, sighing, then continued --
"To suffer woes which hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or
To defy power which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent:
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great, and joyous, beautiful, and free:
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory."10
The last phrase pealed trumpet-wise: he sank back into thought. "Yes," he
said slowly, "neither to change, nor falter, nor repent." I moved forward,
and he saw me.
"Who are you?" he asked.
"I am travelling in the East," I said. "I love Man also; I have come to
see you. Who are you?"
He laughed pleasantly. "I am the child of many prayers."
There was a pause.
I stood still, thinking.
Here was surely the very strangest outcast of Society. What uncouth
bypaths of human experience, across what mapless tracks beyond the social
pale, must have led hither -- hither to death in this Anglo-Saxon-blasted
corner of Japan, here, at the very outpost of the East. He spoke my thought.
"Here I lie," he said, "east of all things. All my life I have been
travelling eastward, and now there is now no further east to go."
"There is America," I said. I had to say something.
"Where the disappearance of man has followed that of manners: the exit of
God has not wished to lag behind that of grammar. I have no use for American
men, and only one use for American women."
"Of a truth," I said, "the continent is accursed -- a very limbo."
"It is the counterfoil of evolution," said the man wearily. There was
"What can I do for you?" I asked. "Are you indeed ill?"
"Four days more," he answered, thrilling with excitement, "and all my
dreams will come true -- until I wake. But you can serve me, if indeed -- Did
you hear me spouting poetry?"
I nodded, and lit my pipe. He watched me narrowly while the match
illuminated my face.
I told him Shelley.
"Do you read Ibsen?" he queried, keening visibly. After a moment's pause:
"He is the Sophocles of manners," I said, rewarded royally for months of weary
waiting. My strange companion sat up transfigured. "The Hour," he murmured,
"and the Man! . . . What of Tennyson?"
"Which Tennyson?" I asked.
The answer seemed to please him.
"In Memoriam?" he replied.
"He is a neurasthenic counter-jumper."
"And of the Idylls?"
"Sir Thomas11 did no wrong; can impotence excuse his posthumous
He sank back contented. "I have prayed to my God for many days," he said,
"and by one of the least of my life's miracles you are here; worthy to receive
my trust. For when I knew that I was to die, I destroyed all the papers which
held the story of my life -- all save one. That I saved; the only noble
passage, perhaps -- among the many notable. Men will say that it is stained;
you, I think, should be wiser. It is the story of how the Israelites crossed
the Red Sea. They were not drowned, you know (he seemed to lapse into a day-
dream), and they came out on the Land of Promise side. But they had to
"They all died in the wilderness," I said, feeling as if I understood this
mystical talk, which, indeed, I did not. But I felt inspired.
"Ay me, they died -- as I am dying now."
He turned to the wall and sought a bundle of old writing on a shelf. "Take
this," he said. "Edit it as if it were your own: let the world know how
wonderful it was." I took the manuscript from the frail, white hand.
He seemed to forget me altogether.
"Namo tassa Bhagavato arahato sammasambuddhasa,"13 he murmured, turning to
his little black Buddha-rupa.
There was a calm like unto -- might I say, an afterwards?
"There is an end of joy and sorrow,
Peace all day long, all night, all morrow,"
he began drowsily.
A shrill voice rose in a great curse. The hoarse anger of drunken harlotry
snarled back. "Not a drop more," shouted my friend, adding many things. It
was time for my return.
"I will let them know," I whispered. "Good-bye."
"'There is not one thing with another;
But Evil saith to Good: "My brother --'"14
he went on unheeding.
I left him to his peace.
My re-appearance restored harmony. The fulvous and fulgurous lady grew
comparatively tranquil; the pair withdrew. The old woman lay sprawled along
the divan sunk in a drunken torpor.
I unrolled the manuscript and read.
Brutal truth-telling humour, at times perhaps too Rabelaisian; lyrics, some
of enchanting beauty, others painfully imitative; sonnets of exceedingly
unequal power, a perfectly heartless introduction (some fools would call it
pathetic),15 and, as a synthesis of the whole, an impression of profound
sadness and, perhaps, still deeper joy, were my reward. Together with a
feeling that the writer must have been a philosopher of the widest and deepest
learning and penetration, and a regret that he showed no more of it in his
poetry. First and last, I stood amazed, stupefied: so stand I still.
Dramatic propriety forbade me seeing him again; he was alone when he
Let us not too bitterly lament! He would hate him who would "upon the rack
of this tough world stretch him out longer."
To the best of my poor ability I have executed his wishes, omitting,
however, his name and all references sufficiently precise to give pain to any
person still living.16 His handwriting was abominably difficult, some words
quite indecipherable. I have spent long and laborious hours in conjecture,
and have, I hope, restored his meaning in almost every case. But in the
sonnets of the 12th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 29th, 35th, 41st, 43rd, and 48th days,
also in "At Last," "Love and Fear," and "Lethe," one or more whole lines have
been almost impossible to read. The literary student will be able readily to
detect my patchwork emendations. These I have dared to make because his whole
pattern (may I use the word?) is so elaborate and perfect that I fear to annoy
the reader by leaving any blanks, feeling that my own poverty of diction will
be less noticeable than any actual hiatus in the sense or rhythm. I attempt
neither eulogy nor criticism here. Indeed, it seems to me entirely uncalled
for. His words were: "Let the world know how wonderful it was," that is, his
love and hers; not "how wonderful it is," that is, his poem.
The poem is simple, understandable, direct, not verbose. More I demand
not, seeing it is written (almost literally so) in blood; for I am sure that
he was dying of that love for Alice, whose marvellous beauty it was his
mission (who may doubt it?) to reveal. For the burning torch of truth may
smoke, but it is our one sure light in passion and distress. The jewelled
silence of the stars is, indeed, the light of a serener art; but love is
human, and I give nothing for the tawdry gems of style when the breast they
would adorn is that of a breathing, living beauty of man's love, the heart of
all the world. Nor let us taint one sympathy with even a shadow of regret.
Let us leave him where
"Sight nor sound shall war against him more,
For whom all winds are quiet as the sun,
All waters as the shore."17
NOTE. -- The sudden and tragic death of the Editor has necessitated the
completion of his task by another hand. The introduction was, however, in
practically its present form.
1. A dissipated but gifted European who became unified with the Indian
native, and wrote a book
2. Disinclination to marry is congenital in the elect: the Pauline
alternative is discountenanced by my
doctor. -- ED. [1903/06]
3. The Bluff, or European quarter.
4. A talented artist, who published a book of amusing sketches of the
loose women who promenaded
the "Empire" Music Hall.
5. Called "Nectarine," a famous brothel.
6. A bawd. From Shaw's play, "Mrs. Warren's Profession."
7. The philosopher.
8. See "Tristam Shandy," by Laurence Sterne, Chap. I.
9. Image of Buddha.
10. Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound," iv.
11. Sir T. Malory: author of the true "Morte d' Arthur."
12. See A. C. Swinburne, "Under the Microscope."
13. "Glory to the Blessed One, the Perfected One, the Enlightened One."
It is the common Buddhist
salute to their Master.
14. These quotations are from Swinburne's "Ilicet."
15. The MS. has been lost. -- ED. [1903/06]
16. The ESSENTIAL facts are, of course, imaginary.
17. Swinburne, "Ave atque Vale."
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from the Grady Project:
To Dream of Snails
|How long does it take a snail to die?
|Slowly, slowly, hot and holy
|Scrushed in its juices
|Steaming and screaming
|Exploding in red pain fevered
|Mangling and strangling
|Almost as long as some men
|With a gurgling
|-- Grady L. McMurtry
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From the Library Shelf
The Island Dialogues
by Llee Heflin (San Francisco: Level Press, 1973)
a critical review
by Nathan Bjorge
The Thelemic movement of the 1970s e.v. produced a number of interestingly
representative literary works. Kenneth Grant's enthusiastic first few books,
Bill Heidrick's subtle and original Qabalistic writings, and Robert Anton
Wilson's witty and weird Cosmic Trigger, are all worthy documents which should
be present on the shelves of any Thelemite with a historical consciousness.
The same cannot precisely be said of the nevertheless interesting period piece
The Island Dialogues, by Llee Heflin.
Llee Heflin was the founder of the Level Press, a Thelemic publishing house
that operated out of San Francisco during the 1970s. At one point associated
with Grady McMurtry, he collaborated with the late Caliph on a number of
publishing projects. Heflin and Grady eventually broke with one another
shortly before Heflin started up his publishing house, which put out The Island Dialogues in 1973 e.v.
The book is divided into four parts, with vivid, almost cartoonlike
illustrations before each section. Part One is a brief autobiography, which
reprises the spiritual activities of the author prior to the Fall of '71, when
he found himself the sole inhabitant of an island in Washington State.
The author's descriptions of his religious experiences throughout the book
are varied and involve various substances used liberally. The results are
often spectacular, intense, and totally useless. A good example is on page
126, where the author narrates his conversation with a rock.
The central experience, however, is a transcription, in Part Two, of a
series of Heflin's conversations with what he believed to be his Holy Guardian
Angel. Indeed, who are we to dispute? The extremely uneven literary quality
of the book improves somewhat in these sections, and while that is no proof of
anything, it is nevertheless quite clear that it was a profound experience for
The angel's message is pretty much standard New Age fare -- up to a point.
When Heflin's angel begins to give its sex magick teachings then things start
to get really controversial. Dialogue 1 is a very good invocation of his
angel by Heflin:
"My God My God
Fill me flood me
I am all open I am all womb I am you-shaped and expectant a living cup to
drink your holy light come. Fill me my God with your sun cock your moon cock
your sky cock rock cock lion cock eagle cock angel cock man cock. Fuck me my
God until I am a mountain fountain of atomic energy dancing to the music of
the star fire choir. When you come I am the heavenly night full of shooting
stars I am the rainbow arc of shattered light I am your Shakti you are my
The second dialogue is mostly fluff, but with a few good turns of phrase.
For example: "It is not for me to teach you of ecstasy and happiness. Rather
it is for you to express these things to me. If you say 'Lord is this
ecstasy?' I will always reply 'Is it?' But when you say 'Lord, this is
ecstasy!' I will reply 'So be it!'" Dialogue 3 is mush and dialogue 4 is
unintelligible mush. The fifth dialogue has some good advice. Dialogue 6 is
a well put attack against the dualism of the Osirian paradigm. Dialogue 7
starts out okay, but turns into mush when God starts to lecture on something
about "duality". Or something. It involves a teacup, but I'm afraid that God
is too incoherent for me to make out what he's trying to say. Maybe he's on
LSD? As below so above. Then, in the 8th and final dialogue the Angel suddenly veers into an amazingly contentious exposition on gender issues in
Magick. Heflin's God begins by stating that humans must overcome the duality
of gender within their psyches, and become androgenous. So far so good,
though Heflin sees this as not merely a spiritual state or metaphor. Now
comes the tricky bit: to achieve this everyone who is not already in a male
body must reincarnate into one and become a homosexual. Why, we might just
perhaps ask? Because the female body doesn't have a Phallus, and it essential
that the enlightened androgene both be able to sexually penetrate and be
This stunningly ignorant, textbook Phallocentric assertion pretty much
downs The Island Dialogues as a useful spiritual text at this point. French
philosophy virtually exists to deconstruct second order sexist texts like this
one. I need merely direct the interested reader to the works of Luce Ingeray
as a good start. I could go on for a few pages more in this vein, but in the
interest of space I will allow my educated readers the pleasure of
articulating their own critique.
Part Three of The Island Dialogues is a commentary on Part Two, and is a
bit of a mess. Heflin rambles badly, and the ideas are vaporous, confused and
badly expressed. I got nothing out of this section.
Part Four is cast as a "letter to an XI° brother" and is the most
interesting part of the book. Heflin here advances a number of fascinatingly
unorthodox opinions concerning the sexual theurgy of the OTO. Among the
theories presented are the idea of the X° as a sex magick degree, a scheme for
mapping the progression of VII° -- XI° to the aeonic procession, and the ideal
of scattered eleventh degree communities acting as power centers for the
promulgation of the gnosis. This latter idea was of great influence on the
ideas of the late Frater Meithras. In my opinion, this important influence
alone makes The Island Dialogues worthy of study.
While I cannot recommend this book as more than a curiosity on its own
merits, its causal relationship to other important movements make it more than
worth a peek. It is also useful in graphically presenting one of the most
difficult issues in the Thelemic religion: that of Authority. It is quite
clear that Heflin acknowledges no outside authority or exterior standard in
his religious practice. As a result, his illumination is of dubious value to
anyone other than himself. It is a great paradox of philosophy that the
exterior standard of a religious system or structure of initiation is
essential, on some level, to the coherence and success of an individual's
spiritual practice. Nevertheless, it is necessary that the power of
illumination ultimately be in the hands of that individual. There must be a
Let us all note that for our own practice, and draw our own conclusions.
The Great Work continues.
An Introduction to Qabalah
Part XLV(A) - Merkabah, Mars and Magick.
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
There are types of Qabalistic magic(k) that don't relate to the Tree of
Life directly. Merkabah, the Way of the Chariot, often does use the Tree.
Merkabah can involve ascending the Tree of Life to produce a growth in
awareness, to experience visions, and to acquire powers. Much of the magic(k)
of Western Europe contains fragments of the Merkabah tradition. Nearly all of
the angels and spirits of the planets and the signs of the Zodiac and many of
the classic talismans with Hebrew written around them are either directly or
indirectly outgrowths of Merkabah Qabalah. They derive from things once used
to help anchor the mind and adjust personality in a very complex array of
meditations. In the Merkabah system one explores the lower seven Sephirot,
changes the balance there and repeats the exploration until success is reached
by finally breaking through to awareness across the Abyss. Each of those
lower Sephriot have planetary correspondences. There is a distinct procedure
of entering doors to infernal and celestial palaces, conjuring angels and
keeping off devils, at each Sephira. There is a deep examination of
conscience, compounded between the lower seven Sephirot. Talismans and names
of angels are an integral part of this operation.
Fragments of Merkabah have migrated into other applications, e.g. a ritual
working related to Geburah that uses angelic names, talismans to control the
powers and the hazards of Mars and evokes Bartzabel, one of the gate
guardians. A Spirit and an Intelligence of Mars guard the entrance to the
palace or hell associated with Geburah. With the obscurity of time's passing,
it's difficult to prove direct derivation from the Merkabah for many of these
things, but the meanings of names of the Spirits and Intelligences of the
planets change in quality from gentle to severe as one ascends the Tree
correspondences found in Liber 777. These names fit the pattern of descent
into the infernal regions in Merkabah tradition. Later in this series, we
will pursue this further. For now, it is important to note it and to see
where this traditional magick originates. The Spirit Bartzabel has for some
centuries been used to work independent magick, yet this Spirit apparently
originated in the Merkabah work as a small part of a working to advance the
soul. The diversion of such a fragment is in some ways an abuse, a using in
lesser magic. In this, dangers and injuries arise not unlike those occasioned
by misuse of any tool. Bartzabel and the other spirits of the pantheon are
like an ancient bit of armor put to another purpose than that for which it was
intended. Peasants once found a fine sculptured Roman plate, made of precious
metal and intact. They broke it up into pieces to share the wealth, reducing
its value ten fold. This is like that, bits of lesser value broken out of the
Merkabah system and used for fleeting purposes, the full wonder of the thing
diminishing in the process. It's a magnificent working. To use it only for
practical magical purposes is a great abuse. It's intended for the attainment
of the Great Work.
Earlier, I remarked that the process of reasoning about the Tree of Life
comes from Hod. Merkabah comes from Geburah and uses great forces for
advancement, rather than rational explanations to simply examine what is
already present. Merkabah is much involved in morality. There is a lot of
power in strongly felt moral conviction. That's a particular quality of
Geburah, the creation and management of a strong blend of reason and emotion.
It would be excessive to say that pieces of the Merkabah are always abused
when they are used in lesser magick; but within the realm of Merkabah studies,
such a rigid view is a way of sticking to the higher goals. Injunctions are
made to protect against such abuse. All this is of the left hand side, of the
Pillar of Severity; and one should attempt it without serious commitment. It's perfectly possible to continue life and do great and good things without
this. Still, those who pursue Magick and the Great Work in earnest make that
more arduous choice.
To recapitulate, the Merkabah uses very organized approaches to the
planetary spirits and other spirits as well. These became the raw material
for much of Western magick. In one step of the Merkabah practices, you can
get through the gate and into the Palace of Mars by summoning Bartzabel and
properly explaining and demonstrating your right by signs and answers to be
there. Once that is accomplished, you gain the power of the planet Mars and
acquire those things that are martial. The magick of Mars joins to your
personal attributes. It's said that each planet rides a chariot, and that
chariot is its motion across the sky. The chariot of Ezechial is beyond the
chariots of the planets -- that's the one you are trying to reach as THE
Merkabah -- but in each Sephirot of the lower seven you ride in the chariot
corresponding to one planet. This is the magick of the thing; riding in the
chariot of a planet gives the powers of that planet.
Previous part (XLIV). Next: More of the planets and Merkabah.
Events Calendar for February 1999 e.v.
|College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
|Feast of Brigid at Cheth House in
North Berkeley, 8 PM
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|Astrology with Grace in Berkeley
|Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus Tm
|Valentine ritual 6 PM
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Marquis de Sade & Sacher-
Masoch. 8 PM Library
|Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus Tm
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
|Astrology with Grace in Berkeley
|College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
|Thelema Lodge initiations
Call to attend.
|Tea 4:18PM in Berkeley
|Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the
contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its
Ordo Templi Orientis
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