Thelema Lodge Calendar for April 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for April 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 itsofficers.

Copyright © O.T.O. and the Individual Authors, 1999 e.v.

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

April 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Days of the Writing

    Every April we celebrate the reception in Cairo in 1904 e.v. of the Book of the Law, transcribed - according to Aleister Crowley's account several years later - from "preternatural" dictation during three mid-day hours on the 8th, 9th, and 10th of this month. This majestic, apocalyptic, and fundamentally liberating scripture, which he recorded in 220 verses on 65 pages of hurried longhand, opened a new aeon of Thelema for us all, and remains the cornerstone of the rituals and philosophy of the O.T.O. In light of the message of this book, it is certainly fitting that we leave it up to each individual to determine exactly what is meant when, as candidates upon application for membership in the O.T.O, we are asked to swear to "accept Liber AL vel Legis Sub Figura CCXX, also known as the Book of the Law, without wishing to make changes in it."
    What is it that makes a text "holy," and what sort of responsibility is assumed in subscribing to this acceptance? How does it differ from the reader's approach to other texts, or to other holy things? Are all books sacred, and is all communication holy? One takes up Paradise Lost or Finnegans Wake without wanting to change their texts. Can the same be said of such traditionally idolized writings as those attributed to Moses, Paul, or Mohammed? Is a holy text like holy ground, requiring the reader to approach it with a special "barefoot" kind of criticism, intimate and vulnerable and unprotected? Is it like the voice of the divine aspect, unknowable and ineffable and deafening? Or is it not just another arrangement of the same words we are speaking every day, which hold their meanings in the same manner as we are used to giving and taking them?
    What is unique about Liber AL and about our acceptance of it? In one sense, the holiness of language is a matter for each one who encounters it to determine and apprehend, so in the final analysis it must remain a personal consideration. But as we agree in common to regard specific texts as holy, we are also building for ourselves a shared encounter with the language we use together. Our own speech is thus extended into the divine by the work we are doing as we approach our holy book. This process becomes most obvious when we put these texts into our own voices to share. Memorization is one method of making these pronouncements available to our own linguistic lives, and it is a discipline which has been recommended to aspirants at all stages. Another method is simply to read these books to each other, giving them thereby a renewed meaning in each new social context where we give voice to them.
    In this spirit we traditionally read the three chapters of the Book of the Law together on the Holy Days of its anniversary in the spring, and this year a number of Thelemic groups will be combining their efforts to organize these readings in Oakland. Each will begin at 8:00 in the evening, with members also encouraged to organize their own private readings at noontime for a preview of the day's chapter. On Thursday evening 8th April we will gather at Oz House for the first chapter, which will be read in Nu Temple, with a feast to follow. Call Oz at (510) 654-3580 or (510) 655-7708 for directions, additional information, and to coordinate feast contributions. The second chapter will be read on Friday evening 9th April at the Ancient Ways store (corner of Telegraph and 41st Street), and will be presented jointly by Sirius Oasis of Berkeley and Rosslyn Camp of Hayward. We conclude on Saturday evening 10th April when the third chapter will be heard in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge, in a ritualized reading presented by members of Hodos Chamelionis Camp of Sacramento.

A Thousand Cakes of Light

    Over the past few years it has become an established habit at Thelema Lodge for the master to record an exact count of the communicants at each gnostic mass. Attendance at mass usually varies from about one to three dozen (depending upon the weather, the time of year, and the other events of the weekend) with our average holding fairly steady year by year at about twenty- two persons. In the fifty-two Sunday evening celebrations of the mass held during the ninety-fourth year of the aeon of Horus (ending last month with the vernal equinox) our total was the largest ever: 1,072 cakes of light consumed at regular communion by priests and people at the altar. (Priestesses, deacons, and mass children do not communicate and are not included in this figure, which also excludes occasional babes-in-arms present with their parents.)
    Celebration of the gnostic mass each Sunday evening in Horus Temple is the central public rite of our community, and the best time to visit Thelema Lodge and meet the members here. This ritual provides a symbolic overview of the O.T.O. system of initiatory work, as well as a focus of fellowship and magical trust within our community. Our mass is a pagan eucharist service at the culmination of which all who attend participate in communion together. The communion elements consist of a "cake of light" (a small home-made cinnamon cookie) and a cup of wine, each of which has been consecrated in the ceremony by the priestess and priest. (For those who cannot partake of wine we simply substitute water or fruit juice; anyone requiring this replacement should alert the deacon before the mass begins.) To be included in the gnostic mass please arrive at the lodge by 8:00, assemble in the library, and await the summons into the temple when the mass team is prepared to begin. Call ahead for directions and information if you haven't attended previously. Members who have studied the mass and would like to serve the lodge as officers are encouraged to rehearse together as a team and to seek the advice of one of our gnostic bishops, and then to speak with the lodgemaster to schedule a date on the temple calendar.

N.O.X., Lodge, and Conversation

    "April is the cruelest month" for both poets and tax attorneys, and for both such cruelty is necessary in order to earn their keep. For the rest of us April comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. What else can we expect from the month which saw the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law? In honor of the occasion (and because we would have anyway) the faculty of the College of Hard N.O.X. will join for colloquia twice during this month, at 8:00 on the first and last Wednesday evenings, the 7th and the 28th. You are all cordially invited to join us as guest lecturers (though a small registration fee will be required).
    On April 7th we will discuss the bewildering array of opinions concerning the A A, starting with Crowley's statement that the A A "is a sempiternal institution, and entirely secret. There is no communication between its members. Theoretically, a member knows only the superior who introduced him, and any person whom he himself has introduced. The Order is run on purely spiritual lines." Clearly this description is hard to square with the organization which AC ran in England before WW I, the organization which enjoined its members thus, "He shall everywhere proclaim openly his connection with the A A and speak of It and Its principles", the organization which with its papers, charters, Chancellors, and Grand Neophytes, certainly cannot be sempiternal (a word which means 'eternal' or 'everlasting') any more than any other human social institution can. Perhaps a few of the Proph's comments on the Secret Chiefs of the A A will help to illumine the paradox, "They may be incarnate or discarnate: it is a matter of Their convenience. Have They attained Their position by passing through all the grades of the A A? Yes and no: the system which was given to me to put forward is only one of many. "Above the Abyss" all these technical wrinkles are ironed out. One man whom I suspect of being a Secret Chief has hardly any acquaintance with the technique of our system at all. That he accepts The Book of the Law is almost his only link with my work." Perhaps there are really two A A's, one an Outer Order, founded by Crowley, with its records and rituals, warrants and workings, and the other a true inner order linking humanity with the Absolute. What the relationship is between the two, if any, would be a fine topic for further debate. A A members and non-members are equally welcome to join in.
    The topic for April 28th will be ordeals. The Book of the Law refers to "tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss." (III:62), and the ordeal is a well- known feature of initiation from the harrowing terrors of the ancient Greeks to the sheer physical trials of the native tribes of the Great Plains to the adolescent hazing of present day college fraternities. The College will discuss the meaning of ordeal in the context of those mystic initiations which are referred to by the phrases "Attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" and "Crossing the Abyss". The story is related by Sir Richard Francis Burton of a Bedouin tribe of southern Arabia which subjected its adolescent boys to a severe test of their readiness for manhood. The candidate (if we may term him so) was blindfolded and taken several days away from the camp into the midst of the wilderness. On the night of the full moon, while he lay sleeping, his escort would silently depart, leaving him with but an old camel and a few days supply of water. The boys who never returned to the tribe were deemed to have been unworthy, but those who came back (even if, as in one rare case, it took many years) were heartily feasted and welcomed into the ranks of the tribe's adult men.

Previous NOX                   Next NOX

Vacation in Utopia

    The Section Two reading group embarks in April upon a two-month study of the literature of utopia. Our meeting at Oz House on Monday evening 19th April at 8:00 will open a discussion of traditional utopian fictions from the Renaissance, beginning with Sir Thomas More's original Utopia of 1516. We will glance at some related elements in the writings of François Rabelias: the Thélèmites at the end of Gargantua (1534) and the utopian colony in Pantagruel (1532). Then we will visit the magical Civitas Solis (the City of the Sun), written in 1602 by Tommaso Campanella, before venturing into the ideal commonwealths of two other gnostic saints, Christianopolis (1619) by Johann Valantin Andreae, and The New Atlantis which Francis Bacon, Lord Verulam, left unfinished in 1626. These invented city-states embody the ideals of their own age; the dream of a just society in fully developed form, where the rights and responsibilities of every citizen are clearly defined, personally fulfilling, and fairly distributed. At the same time they are experiments in imaginary ethnography, or synthetic travelers' tales, whose alternate customs and perspectives offer a scale against which readers are invited to measure their own actual, unfinished, imperfectly defined communities. Perhaps the essential element in these invented foreign cultures is the realistic detail of their presentation, and its implicit comparison with our own, a function which excludes from the definition such completely fantastical societies as Martians or Hobbits. Following the Renaissance there have been several other utopian "booms" in literature, particularly during the final decades of the nineteenth century and again after the second world war. These will be our subject in May, when we will examine the brief optimism for a bright clean efficient future and then the backlash into technological nightmare which turned ou-topia (nowhere) from eu-topia (the good place) into the totalitarian mechanized dystopia.

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Red Ritual Magick

    Thelema Lodge hosts the Ouranos Collective twice each month as a ritual workshop group where magical practitioners from a variety of traditions can experiment with cooperation across organizational and stylistic boundaries in order to share enthusiasms and performance techniques. The group, which has now entered its second year, usually meets on the two middle Thursday evenings of each month, from 8:00 to 10:00. The dates this month will be the 15th and 22nd of April. The group's current project is an extensive exploration of the "Chaos system" as expounded by Peter Carroll, and we are now mid-way through a color-coded sequence extended over eight months of workings. For April the color is red, and in observation of the sun's track through Aries the group will be celebrating belligerence, blind impulsive urges, and the warrior spirit of Mars. This can be a path of enthusiastic honor and vigorously dynamic accomplishment, or all organization can be lost in a shambles and the brave effort degenerate into a bloody mess. The distinction is made in the magical will of the collective as it formulates its group work, and the magicians involved are brave enough to claim control over the spirits of conflict without allowing themselves to succumb to squabble and distraction in their service. To join in the fun and begin working with the collective contact Cynthia at the lodge.

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Eleusis Planning Meeting

    The Rites of Eleusis are being scheduled again, with our twentieth cycle planned for this summer. Possible dates being discussed are for an old-style cycle at five-day intervals from 29 May through 28 June, or for the more leisurely sequence of twelve-day intervals from 14 August through 25 October. Either plan would present its own challenges, though the earlier one seems at this point to have the most going for it. A number of participants from the past couple of cycles have been traversing the sequence of god-forms in their own predetermined patterns, so there is already an established interest in many of this year's rites. We will hold an initial planning meeting at Thelema Lodge on Tuesday evening 13th April at 8:00 to put the schedule together and design the summer's rites. All wishing to be involved in Eleusis this year should attend this meeting or else make separate arrangements to contact each of the others involved in the cycle.

Magical Points and Edges:
A Reminder about Temple Safety

by Liesl Reese

    All members and especially mass and initiation officers at the lodge should be mindful of the critical need for caution and safety in the use of magical tools when we are assembled at ritual events. Lodge policy - here and throughout the Order - stresses that no sharp-bladed or sharp-pointed instruments may be utilized in temple, oasis, or at any other ritual. Only good sense and reasonable care can forestall mishap when individual members are working privately together, but at lodge events we have an added responsibility to each other to work actively at preventing any potential for harm. No amount of regulation alone can accomplish this; even were we to insist upon rubber blades in all our events we would still be using sharp knives and forks at the feasts with which some of the rituals conclude.
    The sword which a priestess uses to symbolize "the power of iron" in awakening the priest at the beginning of the gnostic mass is of course not any kind of slicing or skewering device. Obviously there is no reason - and indeed there can be no excuse - for employing a sharp-edged or sharp-pointed sword in a crowded temple at mass. The same hold true for the use of smaller blades in banishing rituals, and for the few other occasions when we use swords or daggers in any other setting. These are magical tools, which cause their effects within our ritual intentions rather than on the physical plain. Of course the blunt material props which we handle correspond to the infinitely sharp faculties of our will, but physical tools, unlike the will, are subject to the accidents of gravity and friction in the imperfect control of muscles and sinews; they must therefore be designed to serve a dramatic purpose only.
    Recently it has occurred anew to the officers of Thelema Lodge that the use of personal tools at lodge events can only be permitted with careful inspection and constant awareness of the potential for harm. Members who choose - for whatever reason - to collect or possess weapons which are actually sharp, either in their edges or their points, are absolutely required to leave these objects at home and never to combine them with their lodge work in any manner. Do not bring sharp swords or daggers to the temple or to lodge functions at all. Not to banish with, not to demonstrate, nor to exhibit. There may be carving knives in the kitchen and razor blades in the bathroom, but when we assemble in temple we need no such things. Although this represents no alteration in our temple policy, it now seems apparent that we must also forego any displays of swordsmanship even with the thickest and most blunt of blades, and there must be no swift or abrupt gesticulations with any blade at lodge events, however "safe" it may seem. One priestess offers the wise suggestion that the "power of iron" not be drawn out until the serpentine dance has been concluded and the priestess is no longer in motion; a careful reading of Liber XV would support such a delay. Even then she will need to exercise special caution in this use of her blade. There can be no brandishing or swinging of blades in the air, and no tolerance of any magical tool which, were it accidentally dropped, would be likely to do significant harm to the foot on which it landed.
    At any mass, initiation, or other ritual, all officers and even all participants must assume the practical responsibility of ensuring the safety of everyone present. In order to facilitate such a policy, we will sometimes have to insist that participants forego the use of personal magical tools in cases where there is the least question of their acceptability, in favor of using tools provided for temple use by the lodge. One definition of magick is "control over meaning," and those whose magical confidence or expertise is insufficient for the challenge of parting with their fetishes will simply have to forego the privilege of functioning amongst us until their can train themselves to handle the work safely.

Crowley Classics

   Continued from our last month's newsletter, this second installment of Crowley's account of the 1902 expedition to the mountain known as K2 (or Chogo Ri) is reprinted from the London periodical Vanity Fair (15 July 1908, pages 71-72 ). Although unsuccessful at approaching the peak, the achievement of these climbers was nevertheless quite considerable, setting a record for high altitude mountaineering in their day. Dressed in tweeds and flannel, and using equipment of their own invention, they enjoyed none of the advantages of "canned air" and artificial insulation which eventually made their goal accessible more than fifty years later. Despite terrible sickness and severe weather conditions, they managed to remain on the mountain for most of the summer. (The casualties mentioned in our editorial note last month were not in fact suffered on this expedition, but occurred several years later on Kangchenjunga during Crowley's final Himalayan climb.)
    Last month we left the seven Europeans and their army of coolies in the course of their journey toward the great mountain just as their attempt was about to be forestalled by the arrest of Oscar Eckenstein, the expedition's leader. The Deputy Commissioner of Rawalpindi interrupted their progress with an order from the Viceroy of India, apparently forbidding the climb, and ordering Eckenstein back with him. Continuing under Crowley's direction, the party did not give up, and with their long caravan of baggage and equipment they forged ahead toward the mountain. Whatever the problem was -- even if Crowley understood it he minimized the incident in his accounts -- they hoped it could be cleared up, and in a few weeks it apparently was. Eckenstein returned to join them, and again they looked toward the mountain.

The Expedition to Chogo Ri

Leaves from the Notebook
of Aleister Crowley


    Knowles and I did not go on with the main party, as we had to go off in a chikara (a sort of punt with pointed ends and an awning) to the Nassim Bagh, where we saw Capt. Le Mesurier and arranged one or two final details. The Nassim Bagh is a most charming spot, more like an English park than anything else. The sward is level and covered with grass, while everywhere are stately and vigorous trees. We hurried back to the town, where a dunga was waiting for us. A dunga is a very large flat-bottomed boat which can be and is used as a sort of inferior house-boat. It is divided into compartments by "chiks" - that is, curtains of bamboo or grass. In this boat we went off to Gandarbal, engaging coolies to tow us all night, so that we reached this village at daylight on the morning of the 29th.
    I found Eckenstein under a tree holding durbar with Mata Kriba Ram, the Tehsildar of this district. When we had settled with him we strolled gently off to Kangan. I found myself somewhat thirsty and footsore, as I had taken no exercise for so long. The following day we went on to Gundisarsingh. We got off the coolies, 150 in number, as ponies were not to be had at this stage without any great difficulty.
    I should explain here the system on which we worked. With such a large party of men it was impossible to keep the same men for more than two or three days; in any case it is impossible to know them all by sight, the more so that one is changing repeatedly. We therefore gave each man a ticket with his name and the number of his load, on the production of which and the load in question he was paid. Had we not done so, of course, every man in the neighbourhood would have hurried up like vultures scenting the carcass and claimed his pay as a coolie. Some of these naïve persons actually travelled four days in order to collect one day's pay which they had not earned!
    Though this stage is only 14 miles I arrived in a complete condition of collapse, a state which I always reach after doing a very little work. On May 1st we got on to Gagangir. The coolies tried to make us stop a good deal short of the proper stage. I was in the lead, however, and suspected that they were not telling the truth. I sent back a message to Eckenstein, and between us the conspiracy was overthrown. After getting to camp it began to rain hard and we had to put up the tents.
    The next day we went on to Sonamarg through a most marvellous mountain gorge. The valley is exceedingly narrow and the path winds at the base of tremendous cliffs. Opposite, peaks, insignificant in themselves, tower to what seems a tremendous height, and their shapes and colouring are of very great beauty. Also on the opposite side of the river were the remains of vast snow avalanches, some of them broken off and kept under by the torrent. About half way the valley opens out, still affording fine views, however; Eckenstein and I were behind with the doctor, acting as rearguard. We passed a small village, crossed the stream below, and came across a lot of our coolies surrounding one of their number, who was lamenting his woes at the top of his voice. It seems that Abdulla Khan had hit him with a stick. He showed us a very insignificant bruise on his wrist and a big lump on his head; but the doctor was equal to the occasion. With regard to the arm, he touched him several times in places which would have hurt had the wound been genuine, and he remained calm; the doctor reversed the operation, when he screamed like a maniac. As to the lump on his head, it had been there 15 years! So we told him to shut up and go on.
    At Sonamarg they came to us in a body with a somewhat threatening aspect and refused to go if Abdulla Khan was allowed to hit them. This was the sort of occasion where hesitation would have been fatal, so I walked up to them and told them that I would discuss the question after tiffin, and in the meanwhile there were to go off and not worry us. Of course they went away. Eckenstein and I agreed to settle the question by taking charge of the rearguard ourselves, an arrangement which was accepted eagerly, as they had already learnt to trust us. The following day we sent Pfannl and Wesseley, whose exuberant energy had hitherto been so useless, to go up the Zoji La to prospect. The Zoji La was, of course, the one difficulty we were likely to meet. It is a pass about 11,000 feet high and snow-covered till late in May. We reached Baltal at the foot of the pass about noon. There was already snow in the valley at this place. There is no village, but a strong and sheltered house of stone, very convenient and indeed necessary for the dak-runners and travellers.
    Pfannl and Wesseley returned in the afternoon. Their report consisted of three principal statements - (a) They could not see; (b) the pass was very steep at the Matayun side; (c) there was no snow on the Matayun side. Ignorant as I was of the topography of the place, such geographical knowledge as I had, and such geological data as I could get, forbade my believing the last two statements. To the first I gave my implicit adhesion.
    A good deal of the afternoon was given over to a general inspection of the coolies by the doctor. Dark spectacles were given out to those whose eyes were weak or already inflamed. It was very amusing to watch the attempts at malingering on the part of perfectly sound men who wanted to get goggles, though, of course, we only lent them for the passage of the pass. Each coolie moreover who received a pair had a mark put against his name in Eckenstein's note-book. At four o'clock the next morning we had got everyone started. Pfannl and Wesseley had been sent ahead to cut steps if necessary. The doctor and Knowles formed the rearguard, while Eckenstein and I were to keep running up and down the line of coolies and see that there was no shirking. The duties of rearguard, however, became very heavy, and Eckenstein soon fell back to help them. About one o'clock they caught me up at a stone bungalow, which I imagined to be somewhere about the end of the stage. Yesterday's reconnaissance by the Austrians had been worse than useless. So far from the descent being steep it would have been difficult to locate the actual summit of the pass within two or three miles, and everything was deep in snow, as we found out before long. This snow continued not only right down to Matayun but beyond it, nearly half way to Dras, before the valley was entirely clear. I had gradually drifted backwards from the van, waking up and moving on the slack, who would have otherwise hung back on to the rear. After some rest at this stone bungalow, we of the rearguard, having transferred our duties, which had been extremely arduous, to Salama and Abdulla Bat, wandered slowly on. We kept together for a good deal of the way, though Knowles lost about two miles through trying to avoid getting wet. By this time the snow was abominably deep, and the walking utterly tedious. I sat down to wait for Knowles, and when he arrived after a long time, he was, if anything, in a better condition than I. We went on together some distance, but my knickerbockers had begun to chafe my legs and my marching became a very painful process. I arrived eventually at about five o'clock completely worn out. I must warn everyone that "Pattu" is a most unpleasant material. It is in no sense equal to the best English tweeds. I was unfortunately compelled to wear nothing else during the whole expedition, and the roughness and coarseness of the material entailed a good deal of suffering. Still worse is the stuff of which they make shirts. These are simply impossible. The hair shirt of the Asiatic is a bed of roses in comparison. Fortunately Knowles was able to get me have a shirt of very sound Welsh flannel, which lasted me for more than four months of continuous wear night and day, and was even then only worn thought at the elbows. On arrival at Matayun I simply rolled into my valise; drank half a bottle of champagne; ate a little food, and went to sleep like a log. I was very doubtful, indeed, as to whether I should be able to go on on the morrow.
    On the 5th we moved on to Dras, a very pleasant march, though rather long. We consoled ourselves, however, with the idea of a day's rest there, as we thought it very unlikely that coolies or ponies would be at our disposal. When we got in, however, we found 50 ponies waiting for us, and after a short consultation we decided to go on.
    I gave orders for a saddle pony for myself, and Knowles followed my example, though Eckenstein did not altogether approve, for some reason that I have not been able to understand. If Knowles and I had known it was possible to ride nearly all the way to Skardu, we should have brought our riding- breeches; but Eckenstein, when he found it possible, seemed still unwilling, though in a very few days he came round to our views. The foreigners would not consent to ride; they were in that stage when hardship has its fascinations, and they thought there was something rather grand in making things as unpleasant for themselves as possible. I need not waste time in remarking on the fatuous imbecility of this idea.

Previous Crowley Classics                   To be continued, Part III.

from the Grady Project:



                                              -- Grady L. McMurtry
                                        (13 November 1962, 2:30 p.m.)

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XLV(C) -- The Shimir in the Stone

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

    Even if a magical device is not directly related to the Tree of Life, it is possible to make connections and modify the design to good effect. Let's work up a talisman. Draw a thick counter-clockwise coil or spiral that makes two and one half circles, one end at the top and the other tucked in the center. Draw two lines inside and along the length of this coil, so that the effect is that of three parallel coils all wound up together like a sort of watch spring of three strips. At the top, spread these out and give them the appearance of serpents' heads. Place a crown on each head. In the middle, where the three serpent bodies end, take an eraser and smudge the dividing lines for a quarter turn, so that the effect is of three serpents coiled together, joined in a single tail. Color the heads red, yellow and blue. Color the in-most part, the tail, citron, olive, russet and black, ending with the tip black and the other colors crossing like bands of the conjoined tail, not separate to each body like the heads. Finally, draw dividing lines across the three bodies so that each serpent has 72 stripes, lined up on all three serpents to make a triplet of each set of stripes. This is a coiled triple serpent with seventy- two bands across, to match the 72 three letter names of divinity, and a single tail of a different pattern . We will color code in proper form in due course.

    This design is not taken from the Tree of Life but from another very powerful formulation, the Shemhamphorash, or great divided name. It's found in Exodus Chapter 14, verses 19-21, in the Hebrew version of the Old Testament. That passage describes how Moses got through a little problem with the Red Sea and Pharaoh's army through the apparition of a cloud by day and a column of fire by night. These three verses have exactly 72 Hebrew letters each. To create the great name, write the first of them in the normal Hebrew way, directly below it the second in reverse, and below that the third one in the normal way again. This yields three rows and 72 columns, which we will use to mark the bands on the triple body of our coiled serpent. These triplets of letters are said to be the 72 names of God, the great Shemhamphorash. Tradition goes on to say that those who know how to combine this pattern with the four letters of the Tetragrammaton can create and uncreate the universe. In our talisman, we'll take a more moderate course and use this to link with the seasons of the year and the magical powers that are involved in them. Each of these names rules five degrees of the Zodiac. Each Zodiacal sign is divided into six five-degree Quinances. The names that comprise the Shemhamphorash are the angels that govern the world when the Sun is in five degrees of each sign in regular succession. For more on the Shemhamphorash, see the Thelema Lodge Calendar, April, 1991 e.v.

    This example is typical of individual work. It's not something that tradition demands should be done in any particular way. In a sense, it's a means of stirring up the forces of the universe through the agency of the mind. To use the various nick-nacks and patterns one finds in Qabalah, one combines and manipulates them in new ways. Laying all 72 names around a circle is the usual way this pattern is done up, like a compass rose for sailing the seas of another universe. Such a pattern is somewhat interesting, but not particularly inspiring in itself. To do much with it, you have to add other patterns that fit with your own work. The Tree of Life can be used as a means of anchoring this. We will go further with legend. According to the story of the building of the Temple, Solomon was not allowed to use tools made of iron. Since the stone of the temple had to be fashioned in some way, Solomon trapped the demon king Hasmodai (Asmodius) and commanded him to help. Hasmodai brought the worm Shimir to Solomon. This worm hues stone, perhaps by boring into it; but that part of the legend is not given in detail. In Metaphor, the worm Shimir is like the spinal cord that goes up inside the stone of the back bone. Kundalini Yoga is also associated with this. To bring these notions together, depicted the Shimir as coiled in the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine, using colors borrowed from the patterns on the Tree of Life in the Golden Dawn system. The colors given in this example to the tail are those of Malkut. The three heads are in the primary colors associated with Chesed, Geburah and Tiperet. The bands of the triple serpent each have Hebrew letters, from the Shemhamphorash, and the Golden Dawn system assigns colors to these. We still haven't figured out how to color the body of our serpent, but we are getting close.

    This talisman must be used. It affords a focus for meditating on the force of each of the 72 angels of the great name. These can be considered 72 separate steps in a path of enlightenment. Each five degree sweep of the Zodiac amounts to close to five days, a little less than a week. Meditate on the three letters of the name corresponding, one three-fold band of the Shimir, for that period, using the paths on the Tree that match them and other correspondences found in Liber 777. For the next, meditate on the next band, and continue until completed. This practice invokes the energy of each of those times into the working of the Magician. The problem that remains is where to start. Which is the first one? There are several conflicting traditions. For in as much as Aries is traditionally the first of the Zodiac, should the start be with the first five degrees of Aries? Should the start be instead with Aquarius, since this is the age of Aquarius? Is greater precision advisable, perhaps one particular five degree quinance between Aquarius and Pisces to mark the exact celestial vernal Equinox point as it is in the sky now? Also, how do the 72 "names" match up with these quinances? Should the correspondence run from the end of the year and the end of the sequence of names or should the match occur somewhere in the middle of one and the end of the other? All of this can get pretty stiff and discouraging, but the very process of working through these questions in a talisman parallels spiritual accomplishment, just as physical experiments in Alchemy comport with the development of the spirit. The Order of the Golden Dawn decided to start association with the quinances with Leo, borrowing from a tradition that the Procession of the Equinox was discovered when the Vernal Equinox occurred in the constellation now called by that name. After such a decision is made, the talisman can be completed and used. Perhaps the forces may work more perfectly in another alignment. Still, they will work once they are given a chance to function. That's the kind of thing that brings it down to Malkut. Even if you don't fully understand, you have to do something to get along. A lead and a first step begin a path that will walk you of its own accord. From this we advance to a series of mediations, uniquely devised by the individual magician and joined to the course of the year. Every five and a fraction days, the password of the Universe changes. This is a workable technique.

Previous, Part XLV(B)                   Next: The Axe -- Part XLVI

From the Outbasket

    Here are the annual demographics of the O.T.O. from International Headquarters. These membership totals have been obtained from central accounts at the end of February 1999 e.v.: 3,125 all, 2,678 of which are initiates. The International O.T.O. financial statement for fiscal year 1998-1999 e.v. will be available toward the end of April. For a copy, enclose an SASE and write to: O.T.O. Annual Financial Statement, Ordo Templi Orientis, P.O.Box 430, Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

ADV 99
Associates 348
Minervals 820
Ist Degrees 670
IInd Degrees 459
IIIrd Degrees 307
IVth Degrees 239
Vth Degrees 119
Higher Degrees 64


    In the list which follows, all data is drawn from the International mailing list. Accordingly, the membership counts here are less than the actual total count, owing to changing and lost addresses.

    Known OTO member addresses by regions at end February 1999 e.v.
(Associates and initiates both) Total: 2,950 in 42 countries.


Alabama 15 Mississippi 3
Arizona 50 Missouri 13
Arkansas 4 Montana 2
California 344 Nebraska 16
(North Cal: 164) Nevada 40
(South Cal: 180) New Hampshire 5
Colorado 23 New Jersey 33
Connecticut 7 New Mexico 9
Delaware 3 New York 106
Dist. of Columbia 3 North Carolina 15
Florida 51 Ohio 24
Georgia 55 Oklahoma 30
Hawaii 3 Oregon 116
Idaho 11 Pennsylvania 80
Illinois 37 Rhode Island 1
Indiana 50 South Carolina 4
Iowa 3 South Dakota 1
Kansas 29 Tennessee 23
Kentucky 6 Texas 156
Louisiana 18 Utah 20
Maryland 29 Virginia 30
Massachusetts 35 Washington 74
Michigan 32 West Virginia 6
Minnesota 31 Wisconsin 16
Wyoming 1




Alberta 27 Ontario 50
British Columbia 59 Quebec 14
Manitoba 1 Saskatchewan 1







Previous years:


Detail of February 1998 e.v. Demographics (last year)

    ---- International OTO Treasurer General (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for April 1999 e.v.

4/3/99O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
4/4/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/7/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
4/8/99Feast of Liber AL, Chapter I 8PM
at Oz House
4/9/99Feast of Liber AL, Chapter II 8PM
at Ancient Ways
Sirius Oasis
4/10/99Feast of Liber AL, Chapter III 8PM
at Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
4/11/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/13/99Planning meeting for the Rites of
Eleusis 8PM
Thelema Ldg.
4/15/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PMThelema Ldg.
4/17/99O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
4/18/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/19/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: the literature of Utopia
8 PM at Oz House
Thelema Ldg.
4/22/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PMThelema Ldg.
4/25/99Sirius Oasis Tea, 4:18 PMSirius Oasis
4/25/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
4/28/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.

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

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Berkeley, CA 94702 USA

Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

Production and Circulation:
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