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.

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

February 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Tremulous Proximity

    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.


- Novalis                             
    excerpted from
           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 of "oyez."


    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 Tzaddi 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).

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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 whores.
    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.

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Crowley Classics

    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.

"Introduction" to
Alice: An Adultery

by Aleister Crowley

Yokohama, April, 1901.

    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 all happened.
    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 sufferer.
    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 silence.
    "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.
    "What poetry?"
    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 emasculation?"12
    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 descend therein."
    "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 started.
    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
    about him.
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
To die
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 author.
    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 God."
    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 penetrated.
    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 balance.
    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.

2/3/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
2/6/99Feast of Brigid at Cheth House in
North Berkeley, 8 PM
2/7/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
2/8/99Astrology with Grace in Berkeley
7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
2/11/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus TmThelema Ldg.
2/14/99Valentine ritual 6 PMThelema Ldg.
2/14/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
2/15/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Marquis de Sade & Sacher-
Masoch. 8 PM Library
Thelema Ldg.
2/18/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus TmThelema Ldg.
2/21/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
2/22/99Astrology with Grace in Berkeley
7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
2/24/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
2/27/99Thelema Lodge initiations
Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
2/28/99Tea 4:18PM in BerkeleySirius Oasis
2/28/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.

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

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