Thelema Lodge Calendar for August 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for August 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

August 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

The Feasts of August

    The festival of Lammas, halfway point of the summer season, is celebrated as the sun passes through the heart of the lion. On Saturday afternoon 7th August, around 4:00, Sol achieves 15° Leo, with members and friends of the lodge invited to gather at Cheth House in north Berkeley for the feast. Arrive around 3:00, bringing contributions of food and drink for the back yard banquet. Call ahead for directions at (510) 525-0666.

    In celebration of the Bride and Her Prophet, members are encouraged to make their own private observance of the ninety-sixth anniversary of Aleister Crowley's wedding to his original Scarlet Woman, Rose Kelly. Traditionally (at Crowley's own insistence) this anniversary on 12th August has been recognized as the "feast for the first night of the prophet and his bride" in the calendar of the Book of the Law. "Of course our relations were rather peculiar, when all was said and done . . . . However, I wasn't going to have to live with her. All I had to do was to emancipate her. So there was no reason for trying to talk to her." So the prophet himself gallantly reminisces about his elopement with the Scarlet Rose (in Confessions, chapter 46). Thelema Lodge won't presume to instruct its members on the proper celebration of this canonical feast, and as usual for this occasion no event is planned beyond the personal rituals which might be mounted by individual members privately.

Dance of the Veil of Life

    Sunday night again and it's gnostic mass time at the lodge. Communicants have been showing up in the library since a bit before 8:00, but the mass team waits for nightfall before completing their preparations, and then gathering privately in the temple to confirm their concentration together. By this time the Deacon has presented the temple book outside to everyone in turn, to be inscribed sometimes with a name, sometimes a magical motto, or with some glyph or clever pseudonym, as a record of attendance. After that a voluntary offering is collected, likewise under the watchful eye of the Deacon, who usually has as a xeroxed "doorprize" some silly or wonderful text for award to the highest "bidder." (Funds collected by the lodge in this way support the rent for our temple and library space, for which the lodge pays about $30 per week.) Then the Deacon retires to the temple to join the Priest and Priestess, who may have been up to some private preparations there together, and through the outer veil a series of "AUMGN" vibrations will be heard. The last of our shoes come off in the library at this signal, and then the deacon throws open the ancient hieroglyphic drapery and calls out "Procul, O procul, este profani!" to summon "the People" to their places. We sit around the temple on three sides, usually a couple dozen communicants, on chairs and futons and cushions. The Deacon will banish the space for us, and then the canon of the mass itself begins with a gesture of devotion to the Book of the Law, followed by a formal Thelemic greeting to all who have assembled as the Gnostic Catholic Church (or, in one free translation, the "Assembly for Universal Knowledge").
    The lodge welcomes everyone to mass who evinces a willingness to participate in the ritual as a communicant. This magical operation is not a spectator sport, although the speeches, gestures, and attitudes of the assembled People may be new to our guests. Those visiting for the first time will have been given some basic instructions by one of the gnostic bishops beforehand, but the admonition is mainly to "do what you see everyone else doing." Most communicants find that they learn the responses fairly quickly and easily, and before long some who first joined us as curious guests may find themselves studying the text of the ritual quite closely with a view to serving the lodge as novice officers in the mass. For a date on the temple calendar, mass teams should consult the lodgemaster as soon as they feel ready to acknowledge their divine natures openly.


    Initiations are scheduled at Thelema Lodge on Saturday 28th August, with all members requested to contact the lodge beforehand if interested in attending, to find out the time and place, and the degree to be worked. For reasons of security as well as feast planning, the lodge will not admit unannounced spectators at initiation rituals.
    Candidates for initiation in Ordo Templi Orientis may obtain application forms from the lodge, which when complete should be submitted to the lodgemaster. It is necessary to think several months ahead when arranging an initiation, and to maintain good contact with the lodge during this interim, particularly when the candidate lives at a distance or for other reasons does not attend lodge events on a regular basis. Dues and fees, which are not collected ahead of time but must be completely settled on the day of the ritual, should also be discussed with the lodgemaster. For certain degrees there are specific requirements, such as the black robe worn in the first degree, or the feast preparation expected of new second degree initiates, which should also be settled in advance. The essential factor is simply to keep in touch with the lodge throughout the period of candidacy, and no applicants should assume that they are on track for initiation if they are out of contact with the lodge officers.

Burton's Travels in Arabia

    Under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society in the spring of 1853, Captain Richard Burton (1821-1890) arrived at Cairo in the disguise of a Persian commercial traveler called Mirza Abdulla. Along the way he altered his identity once more, to assume the character of an Indian doctor of Afghan ancestry, who could use his consultations as opportunities of conversing with a wide range of local people from various social and ethnic groups. His exceptional expertise in the languages of the Moslem world, and years of careful attention to the habits and attitudes of its worshipers, enabled him to pass for a believer throughout his pilgrimage. In this manner he was able to complete the Hadj, the sacred visit obligatory for able Muslims, once in a lifetime, to the birthplace and to the tomb of the prophet Mohammed. Both Meccah and Madinah are holy cities forbidden to those outside the faith of Islam, and Burton ran constant risk of being lynched if his European identity were discovered by anyone with whom he traveled during the months of his journey.
    He had not been the first, though perhaps the best prepared, of the very few British traveler to return from geographical investigation of the holiest sites of Islam. At one point early on, Burton had to dispose hurriedly of a sextant he carried, due to suspicion it was arousing among his fellow pilgrims. This necessary caution prevented him from accomplishing one of the goals of his trip, a determination of the exact longitude of Medina, which was to remained unsettled among cartographers for another fifty years.
    Written in the months following his safe return to Egypt and then to India, Burton's account appeared as A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al- Madinah and Meccah (London: 1855; memorial edition 1893; reprinted 1964). Join Caitlin and the "Section Two" reading group, meeting at Oz House on Monday evening 16th August starting promptly at 8:00, for a group discussion with selected readings from this classic account of the spiritual culture of the Near East. Burton's numerous observations, digressions, and footnotes on all aspects of the peoples and cultures he encountered provide a fascinating record of what was implied by occult freemasons from northern Europe who designated their exclusive Templar order as "Oriental."
    Crowley, who was in his mid-teens when Burton died, may well have modeled some of the notable features of his own character upon those of this outrageous and celebrated Victorian, whose checkered career as an explorer, linguist, writer, and collector of erotic folklore, achieved considerable celebrity. From the skill of playing double blindfold chess to the habit of adopting Oriental names and disguises, from his interest in exotic spiritual and sexual customs to his propensity for overland travel in unexplored regions of the world, Crowley sometimes seems to be adopting - or exceeding - specific features of Burton's public persona.

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Jack Parsons' Legend

    A documentary video by filmmaker Michael Bloom will be shown at Thelema Lodge on Monday evening 9th August at 8:30. We are fortunate to have our own copy, so soon after its recent Los Angeles premiere. Featuring interviews with Bill Heidrick and Robert Anton Wilson, "Legend" also has some extremely rare and interesting footage of Parsons himself. Come and see this fascinating story of the life and mysterious end of the master of Agape Lodge.

N.O.X., N.O.X., N.O.X. On Heaven's Door

    The blathering recommences after a couple of sizzling months for the Dean, who traveled thousands of miles and came back only to find himself soon engaged to be married. But that's enough socializing; let's get back to the serious issues. None perhaps are more serious for the professors of a new creed than the issues surrounding its relationship to earlier creeds. This month the College of Hard N.O.X. begins a three-month, six-session course entitled "Thelema and ...", which will cover the connections, both affinities and points of dispute, between the Law of Thelema and the major "world" religions which came before it. The classes for August will convene in the lodge library at 8 o'clock on the evenings of the 4th and the 25th. This first month we will deal with the two major religions, Islam and Judaism, which present us with probably the most complete systems of law, broadly encompassing both ritual and social behavior.
    On August 4th the topic will be the relationship between Thelema and its most recent predecessor, Islam. We shall consider, from a Thelemite perspective, the various shortcomings of Muslim belief, which are largely, and ironically, rooted in the very factors which made Muhammad and his faith so hugely successful in his own times; that is, the fusion (and confusion) of the two distinct roles of the Prophet, as revealer of transcendent truth to all humanity on the one hand, and as reformer of and guide to the Arab people of his day on the other, which mixing of the planes has led many Muslims (though by no means most) to such hideous errors as the oppression of people of other faiths, and the idolatrous worship of a set of words. We shall also survey the range of attitudes which are likely to be taken by Muslims toward Thelema. The specific remarks of one orthodox Sunni teacher (primarily of the Hanafi school) who was once consulted by the Dean will be the main exhibit in this hearing; they are reproduced here verbatim.

    Q: What is the range of Muslim opinion on how to deal with the followers of prophets and revelations which postdate Mohammad?
    A: All Sunni scholars agree that there are no prophets after Muhammad, peace be upon him. Muhammad was God's last Messenger, the seal of the Prophets. I can't say what the full range of opinion is, but I would not be amiss in representing the general view by saying that the Muslim should first invite the wayward to forsake their false prophet and come to Islam. This should be done with gentle preaching and appeals to reason and good sense. For those who persist, warnings of Judgement [sic] and Hell would be in order. Concerns for the effects and feelings of Muslim society over the Book of the Law you enclosed should be voiced, as well as an admonition to keep it to yourself.
    Q: More specifically, how do you think various Muslim religious authorities might react to The Book Of The Law?
    A: With horror and disgust. There is nothing in this book what would commend itself to a Muslim. Hedonism, magic, adultery, human sacrifice, and polytheism which this book proclaims in militant terms is just about everything anathema to Islam. Prepare for trouble from our religious authorities if you intend to translate this monstrosity into our sacred language and proclaim it in Muslim lands. Prepare for impassioned public outcries, death threats, and bloodshed. Christian missionaries have declared their utter failure to win converts in Muslim countries. And they have favored status among Muslims. But this Book of the Law will find no sympathy or tolerance from any Muslim authority.
    Q: How would its publication in various Muslim countries be greeted?
    A: You wouldn't get them past the airport; and if you did, you would wish you hadn't.
    Q: What kind of religious rights could Thelemites expect to have in various Muslim countries?
    A: None at all.

    It's hardly surprising that Muslims would assume that Thelemites take their scriptures as literally and unmetaphorically as Muslims take theirs, and thus that we are all advocates and practitioners of every imaginable depravity. And even if a traditionalist Muslim cleric were to learn that the sacrifice of a child may be interpreted in ways which have nothing at all to do with the killing of any living thing, he would still be very unlikely to view any of these interpretations with approbation. There is a distinct difference in the attitudes of most Muslims and most Thelemites when it comes to many moral questions. It should be noted that I was able to have some follow-up interactions with the Sunni scholar quoted above, and though his opinions as presented above certainly do represent widely held orthodoxy, he had also come to think that such a reaction might not be entirely universal. Certainly the authorities in Turkey and Indonesia would not respond in the same way as those in Sudan or Afghanistan. Nonetheless the likelihood of strife should Thelemites ever confront orthodox Islam is high. The translator(s) of The Book Of The Law into Arabic would be well advised to leave behind all fear of death!
    On August 25th there will be a discussion of "Thelema and Judaism." Here we will first broach the subject of a Thelemic style of eclectic, syncratic, individualized religious expression which considers all words sacred and all prophets true. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" would seem to call for each individual to follow her own particular form of Jewish mysticism. Crowley's Qabalah, though uniquely his own, links back to the medieval rabbis, and the only direct mention of Jews in The Book Of The Law is a reference to Gematria. Why Aiwass even turns out to be a Jewish name! So come and be prepared to argue for whatever you call your own brand of Thelema.

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Crowley Classics

This installment in our continuing serial of Crowley's account of the K2 climb first appeared in the London magazine Vanity Fair on 2 September 1908 (pages 310-311).

The Expedition to Chogo Ri

Leaves from the Notebook
of Aleister Crowley


    On August 1st the storm was more violent than ever. We heard from the Austrians, who were now at Bdokass, that cholera had broken out in the Bralduh Valley, and that it had consequently been closed by order of the Government. This was a very serious piece of news, as for all we knew it might imply difficulty (if not with regard to ourselves with regard to our baggage) in getting back to the Indus Valley.
    After a long council on the subject it was unanimously decided that we had no option but to go down. Even had the weather cleared up at once the vast snow plateaux of Chogo Ri would have been impossible to traverse for at least a week. We had only a bare fortnight's provision remaining, and some of that was necessary for the return journey.
    So the next fairly decent morning we finished the packing and struck camp. As, however, there were a good many more loads than we had coolies, we were obliged to resort to the sleigh, which was all right for a down-hill journey. We got off in the course of the morning and went down to Camp 9, stopping for halt an hour or so at Camp Misery to extract sugar, milk and chocolate, together with a few of our permanent goods from the kiltas there. At Camp 9 we found our dakwale and got a very welcome mail.
    The sleigh had broken down shortly below Camp Misery, as there was little or no snow on the ice here. The slope was much steeper than above, and the constant furious valley winds had blown all the new snow up to the big plateau outside Camp Despair. The sleigh had consequently gone to pieces, and the extra loads had been dumped. We sent men up to fetch them, and spent the day in idleness.
    The following day we marched to Camp 7, Doksum: a very long march and much more tedious than the ascent had been, as there was now no snow whatever on the ice. The crevasses were large, and had occasionally to be circumvented; while the surface of the ice itself was honeycombed and consequently rather bad going. We had not expected this state of affairs, and got pretty hungry before we arrived.
    We then sent men back for the extra loads, while two men went down to Bdokass for more coolies and flour. The last two days had been fine as far as we were concerned, but we could see the eternal storm still raging on the high peaks. This 7th of August was a very red-letter day. I washed, a thing I had not done for exactly nine weeks.
    The following day I found myself very ill with a cold in my head from my imprudent conduct, and my digestive organs had again gone out of order. The Doctor was better. I forgot to mention that he had been suffering severely from influenza for a week.
    On August 10th we arrived at Camp 5. It was a long march, and I barely managed to arrive. We found the sandy glacier bed on which this camp is situated almost entirely covered with water. In the afternoon a violent rain storm arose.
    I had another very bad attack of sickness; but managed to start, the Doctor keeping with me till after mid-day, when I got a good deal better and was able to go down to Bdokass in comparative comfort. The route was entirely different to that I had taken in the ascent, as the old road from Camp 3 to Camp 4 was now a roaring torrent. In any case I should recommend this march, though a double one, to a future party. For quite a long way the glacier was reasonable level, and made walking quite a pleasure. This level part was almost bare ice, covered only with a thin layer of soree, which is of lovely rainbow hues. At Bdokass we found the Austrians waiting, and another mail; but there were no sheep, the Austrians having managed to eat eight in sixteen days, in addition to fowls, etc.! This is the more remarkable, as Pfannl had eaten but little owing to his illness.
    We held a durbar in the rain to investigate the cause of the disappearance of our emergency rations; a large number of our self-cooking tins having disappeared from Camp Despair at a time when that camp was already short of food. A more mean and contemptible theft it was difficult to imagine. At night I had another bad attack of sickness. I am ashamed to say that it was largely my own fault. The taste of bread and fresh meat, revolting as it would have been to a civilised person, was so delicious after two months or more on tins that I over-ate myself. I had been very foolish staying out in the wet to attend the durbar, but the occasion was so serious that there was no alternative.
    The Austrians left for good. They had some wild idea of going off to Darjeeling at that late date, and climbing Kinchinjanga; for which purpose they bought from the expedition a Munnery tent, their sleeping bags, valises, and other necessities. Of course such a scheme was totally absurd. The weather was still very wet, and the Doctor kept me in bed all day.
    On August 14th marched to Liligo, which took us ten hours. Below Chorbutsé the marching was terribly bad. In coming up I had kept nearly all the way between the glacier and the hillside, which was good walking; but the stream had much increased, and quite half of the march lay over the glacier. For me indeed all of it did, as I left Chorbutsé later than the others, and a somewhat curious incident prevented me following the best route. The fording of the stream was only practicable in one place. As Eckenstein was crossing this a great deal of stuff broke away with him, and though Knowles managed to get over immediately afterwards by Eckenstein's help, the way was subsequently impossible: so I had to wander along over the glacier itself for nearly two hours, cutting steps in a good many places for those of the coolies who like myself had been cut off. It snowed all the following night, but in the morning we were able to march to Paiyu. On the glacier I was prostrated with a sudden attack of fever, which kept me on my back for about three hours. I managed to crawl into camp in the afternoon. I had been altogether sixty- eight days on the glacier.
    When we reached Bardomal I was obliged to stop there with the Doctor, while the others went on. Eckenstein, through some misunderstanding, left no food with us, and we had to dispatch a messenger. On this day the remainder of the party tried to cross the Puma Nala as we had done on the ascent. Eckenstein and four coolies got across roped with some difficulty; Knowles attempted to follow, but the people who were managing his rope let it trail in the water, with the result that he was swept away. Luckily he escaped with a couple of rather sharp knocks from stones, one on the thigh and the other on the neck, which latter very nearly rendered him unconscious. He very pluckily wished to try again; but the nerve of the others had been shaken by his misadventure, and they would not go; so he went round to the rope bridge, which, after all, was only a couple hours' détour, Conway's map being quite untrustworthy, and they reached Korophon that day.
    I felt a bit better and marched with my coolies to the hot spring, avoiding Askoli on account of the cholera. I may as well say here that this cholera business was a most mysterious affair. The officials at Skardu denied absolutely that there had been any epidemic at all or even any single case of cholera in the Valley during the whole summer, but the natives were unanimous that some sixty men had died in Askoli; and it is certainly unlikely that the lambadar to whom we owed money should not have turned up for payment if we was alive! A still more striking incident is that of the Chaprasi at Paiyu. This man was interviewed separately by Eckenstein and myself. To Eckenstein he told a long yarn about the cutting off of the Valley and the difficulty we might find in removing the property we had left at Askoli, while to me he said there was no difficulty. Further Eckenstein succeeded in bringing his Askoli coolies to Shigar, and was informed that the order permitting this had only just been issued. I, however, descended by the Valley route; and not only had no trouble whatever, but heard that a few days before a British officer who had been shikaring in one of the nulas had descended in front of me also without trouble. Knowles and Eckenstein in presence of the reputed epidemic completely lost their heads. Instead of taking the Doctor's advice to go and have a general clean up at the hot spring, they declined with horror "to remain in the affected district an hour longer than was necessary," but all the Askoli men were allowed by them to mix with our own coolies and the men of Sté Sté, the village opposite Askoli on the other bank of the Bralduh. The doctor believed in cholera as much, or as little, as I did, but, as a matter of form, he disinfected all the luggage we had left behind. Even this did not satisfy Eckenstein. He threw all our tea into the river, as well as a good many other things which we needed seriously afterwards. As soon as I arrived at the camp, which we pitched actually on the borders of the lake, I made a regular rush for the water, and had my first bath for eighty-five days!

Previous Crowley Classic                   To be continued. Part VIII (Part vii is missing)

from the Grady Project:

Dating apparently from 1957 e.v. when Grady was applying for work with the State of California, this resume survived among his papers. It was most likely a version of this document which helped secure Grady a managerial position with the California Department of Labor, from which he eventually moved on to federal employment in Washington, D.C. It seems here that he has understated his age by a couple of years, since Grady would have celebrated his 39th birthday in October of 1957.

Curriculum Vitae:

2635 Hillegass Ave., Apt. 2, Berkeley 4, California
TH 3-0488

Age: 36
One child, aged 10
U.S. Citizen
Ht: 6'
Wt: 185 lbs

B.A., Philosophy, 1948, U.C., Berkeley
M.A., Political Science, 1954, U.C., Berkeley
Major, Ordnance Corps, USAR

Resume of Professional and Academic Background

Oct 1956 - Aug 1957: ADMINISTRATION and RESEARCH
    Administrative Analyst II, Office of the President, University of California. Analysis of statewide and local problems by developing sources of information, organizing the materials of research, and drafting the reports and memoranda by which information is transmitted and on which recommendations for action are made.

    Research experience as a Graduate Student, Political Science Department, U.C., Berkeley and in writing the M.A. thesis.
    Teaching experience as a Teaching Assistant, 1954-55 and 1955-56, Political Science Department, U.C., Berkeley. Conducting seminars in American Government by conference method, assigning papers, preparing bibliography and grading students.
    Conference experience as Coordinator, Student World Affairs Conference, U.C., Berkeley, Spring 1956. Organizing the mailing campaign, contacting speakers, and planning for space, housing, transportation, registration, literature, topical bibliography, program, panels, resource personnel and publicity.
    Organization experience as President, Delta Phi Epsilon, U.C., Spring 1956. Decentralization by institutionalizing professional committees around functional chapter interest in Foreign Service, Foreign Commerce and International Relations.
    Lecture experience presenting "Impressions of Old Korea," with color slides, under the auspices of U.C. Extension; and "Ammunition Supply in Korea," with color slides, before various Reserve Training groups.

Active duty as Captain, U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, U.S. and Far East Command.
    Administrative experience as Ordnance Unit Instructor, Maryland Military District, Baltimore, Maryland, Apr 1951 - Feb 1952.
    Operational experience as an Ammunition Supply Officer, U.S. 8th Army, Korea, Jun 1952 - Apr 1953. Operational control, on the battalion level, of three to five Ammunition Companies, i.e. responsibility for the storage, safety and movement of ammunition on a corps front, field army.
    Organization experience as Ammunition, Powder and Explosives Safety Engineer, 2nd Transportation Major Port, Yokohama, Japan, May 1953 - Sep 1953. Organization and supervision of all explosives safety programing for ammunition off-loading.

Feb 1946 - Feb 1951: GRADUATE and UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT Political Science and Philosophy Departments, University of California, Berkeley, under the "GI Bill" of the Veterans Administration, taking the B.A. in June, 1948.

Feb 1941 - Feb 1946: PRIVATE to CAPTAIN, U.S. Army, U.S. and European Theatre. Principal duties: Unit Commander, Ordnance Shop Officer, Ammunition Supply Officer.

Sep 1937 - Feb 1941: STUDENT, Basic Sciences, Pasadena Junior College, California

Professional Associations

    American Political Science Association
    Western Government Research Association
    Delta Phi Epsilon (National Professional Foreign Service Fraternity)
    Pi Sigma Alpha (National Political Science Honor Society)

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One Member's Opinion

Ebony Anpu and the Hawk and Jackal System:
A Personal Perspective

by Nathan W. Bjorge

    The following is a compilation of my scattered reflections and thoughts concerning the chief magical legacy of the late Ebony Anpu: his personal system of Magick, which he called Hawk and Jackal. I should note at the get- go that I claim no special authority to speak for this system as a whole. Nevertheless, my often intense experiences with the tradition and its founder over the years lead me to desire to share my views and discoveries with others. It is my hope that this series of articles may prove useful to the readers of this newsletter.
    Hawk and Jackal is a synthetic structure, consisting of a number of distinct yet interlocking components. It includes:
    1. A complete theurgic structure of elemental, planetary, and astral Magick.
    2. A moon coven system, drawing from the Egyptian, Thelemic and Witchcraft traditions.
    3. A body of received texts known as the Dialogs.
    4. Multidimensional Magick, e.g. the Tesseract working.
    These teachings were transmitted by Ebony both orally, as well as through his writings, which were gathered together into a quite substantive volume entitled The Books of the Hawk and Jackal. It is my hope that the future may see this book more widely available.
    Hawk and Jackal is a Tradition. That is to say it is not essentially an organization or formal initiating lineage, though lineages and groups are not excluded from existing to practice the tradition. Ebony always insisted that individuals were ultimately "in" H&J if they saw themselves as being so, regardless of whether he ever even knew about it. In particular, I do not consider H&J to be in conflict or competition with O.T.O. Indeed, as a system it has largely developed within O.T.O. contexts. Provided individuals remain mature and intelligent about their actions, I do not consider there to be a problem with the promotion of Ebony's ideas and rituals within the O.T.O. community.
    The long road of Ebony's life began in Texas. Born Charles Lee Reese into a hereditary goddess worshipping family in 1950, Ebony was early on exposed to religious alternatives from the Judeo-Christian mainstream. He said that he had seen his mother call animals out of the forest and knock pictures off walls.
    At the age of 18, Ebony was forced to leave Texas due to legal difficulties. At this point I begin to run into the problem which faces any attempt at biography of Ebony Anpu: his extreme penchant for tall tales concerning his own life. His flight from Texas was one of his favorites, and I admit to being unable to disentangle the exaggerated variations. (He insisted that, in Texas at the time, bouncing buckshot off the street to hit the radiator and tires of pursuing police cursers was considered only resisting arrest and not attempted murder, though it did not prevent the police from returning fire.) Nevertheless, I will try my best, with the understanding that my brief presentation of his life here can only be preliminary to a more serious study. Ebony was fond of mythologizing his own life, but I do not wish to give the impression that all he said about himself was untrue. He was an extraordinary man, and extraordinary things happened to him.
    His car having given out either in New Mexico or Arizona, Ebony ditched it and somehow found his way out of the desert and to the San Francisco Bay area. It was 1968, and Ebony discovered himself at the epicenter of the counterculture revolution. Unable to get regular work until the statute of limitations ran out (or so he bragged decades later), he spent several years working a variety of jobs, including at one early point a stint as a prostitute. Eventually, he succeeded in getting on a government assistance program and received disability money due to his lifelong struggle with extreme asthma. This freed him for a number of years to devote his full time and energies to religious pursuits.
    The end of the sixties and the early seventies are an obscure and often dark period of Ebony's life. He was a dedicated Satanist during some of this time, and believed that a small Elect of aware individuals were fit to rule the mundane world. He claimed that from his earliest childhood he had been able to remember his past lives, and in all of his incarnations he had been possessed of power. I once got him to admit that he was the reincarnation of the pharaoh Seti I, the creator of a particularly beautiful temple complex. I never dared ask him if he thought he had been Crowley, in part because I knew what the answer would have been. I believe from comments he made that Ebony held to a peculiar thesis that Crowley had fragmented his soul, and that all of his future followers were reincarnations, in some sense, of him.
    At some point, probably in the early seventies, he received the name he came to use as his own: Ebony. It was given him by a witch during a Wiccan initiation. Ebony had other magical names. He wrote, "Since the year of the Aeon 65 every Magical Name I have taken has had the numeration of 137" ("Multidimensional Magick," page 8). According to Sepher Sephiroth, 137 is the gematria for "a wheel," "the belly, gullet," "an image, a statue," and "the Qabalah."
    "Anpu," the other component of Ebony's name, is a rendering of the Egyptian designation of the deity called Anubis by the Greeks. He closely identified himself with this godform, as his fragile health led him to a primal understanding of death. There were esoteric levels of meaning as well. He said one evening that The Holy Guardian Angel had appeared to him in the form of Anubis to guide him upon the path of Lamed, in the weighing of his heart in the hall of the double Ma'at. He felt that this was the adjustment and equilibration of Karma necessary to his balancing as a new adept prior to his advancement to Geburah.
    A crystallization of Ebony's life purpose occurred when he discovered the writings of Aleister Crowley, and became an intensely dedicated Thelemite. About 1977 e.v. he met the then head of the O.T.O., Grady McMurtry, and was inexorably drawn into the whirlwind of the Order's modern revival.

Ebony's Memorial     (to be continued)

Primary Sources

   Frieda's Flyer:
    This is a promotional flyer for The Book of Thoth, contemporary with publication in the 1940's and apparently put out by Frieda Harris without Crowley's review. Note the offer at the bottom to sell the paintings, a notice which led to Crowley taking issue with Frieda. Crowley went so far as to write a long letter to himself, purported to come from his masters and abusing him for allowing Frieda so much latitude in the design of the Thoth Deck, even extending to offering the paintings for sale at a time when the Deck itself had not yet been published. The crisis evidently blew over.




Artist Executive: FRIEDA HARRIS

    No serious student of the occult sciences can have failed to notice the complete inadequacy of all attempts so far made to expound the meaning of the Tarot.
    That gap in the ground plan of magical theory is at last filled. In his latest work the Master has reduced a lifetime's experience of the secret traditions of both East and West to a fundamentally simple yet complete and coherent picture of the Magical Path as shewn in the Tarot pack.
    Those familiar with his work know well what to expect from his latest essay: shrewd and penetrating insight combined with an unrivalled knowledge of all systems of initiation and a complete familiarity with the whole Western tradition; the whole expressed in diamond-clear prose, sparkling with wit and aphorism. The relation between the cards is here demonstrated; together they compose a complete Atlas of the Universe, and a guide to its navigation. The Cosmos is shewn as a Unity of Perfection, using imperfection as a means to the realization of Itself. The cards, although based closely enough on the Ancient Designs, have been brought up-to-date and flooded with illumination far fuller than was possible until the findings of modern Science and Mathematics, with the new knowledge of Comparative Religion, could be included.
    These designs were executed by Frieda Harris; they are in every way superior both in loftiness of vision and in artistic achievement to the primitive crudities of the Medieval packs, whose interest is mainly that of curiosities. They are the essential accompaniment to the fresh insight of the essay, and like it, completely supersede all previous efforts.
    The importance of the Tarot among magical systems lies in the fact that it is the key to all Western disciplines; indeed to all the mystical disciplines of the world, since all, beneath a superficial diversity of terminology and approach, teach the same stages and inculcate the same training. For example, the analogy between the Western systems and the Hindu Yoga is well known, but up to the present the parallel between them and the initiated Chinese tradition has remained an unsolved enigma. In the Book of Thoth, however, the relationship is firmly and convincingly established, thereby providing a further proof of the validity of both viewpoints.
    This is only one of the many achievements of scholarship which mark out this work as a milestone in occult exegesis, but more valuable still is the completely fresh approach to the whole subject which permeates the book. This is no rehash of what has been said before on the subject, whether by Levi, Papus, de Guaita, Wirth, or that dull crowd of amateurs that dabble in the subject from time to time; it is a brilliant revaluation of the entire field of occult and mystical activity in the light of the most recent advances in science, philosophy, psychoanalysis and comparative Religion.
    The Book of Thoth is the first and final Classic of the Tarot. It is indispensable to all who seek to fathom the deepest wisdom of the ancients, and to follow the Initiated Tradition from the beginnings of History to the present day.


    The Book has been nobly produced; no other consideration was allowed to weigh.
    It consists of 290 pages with eight full-page colour illustrations, and ninety in black and white. The format is 10 x 7 1/2 ins. Size of page and type as this prospectus.
    It is printed on the finest mould-made paper, pre-war quality.
    It is bound in genuine native-tanned and native-dyed Morocco from the Niger, with appropriately decorative sides.
    The edition is strictly limited to 200 copies, each signed and numbered. The price is Ten Guineas. In U.S.A. $50.00.


    The set of 79 original paintings by Frieda Harris for sale by private treaty.

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XLVIII -Meditation by the Worlds.

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

    Meditation is not so very different from what we have done before, aside from being less verbal over-all. It is possible to reach into most of these levels of awareness without rational explanation. Further, such explanations themselves arise from other ways of getting at these things. Those other ways amount to meditation of one kind or another. When a person comes to understand something by physical circumstances, that understanding is the result of meditation by immersion in the environment. Deliberately surrounding oneself with things that draw attention to a particular way of feeling or knowing is a bit more elaborate, but it still amounts to the same kind of thing. That's a meditation similar to the Assiah World perspective, literal interpretation.
    There are other ways of meditating. A person can read a story and have a fantasy. The fantasy might be something like a dream or daydream, but it is directed. It is a fantasy about something that chosen or found in a book. This type of meditation is of the Yetziratic World.
    By more elaborate ritual and prayer, people seek to contact spiritual forces, like angels or other entities. This is of the Briatic World in general terms, even though such hierarchies of spirits are often sub-divided into further, smaller classes of four worlds within Briah.
    The highest level of all is a pure state in which even awareness of self disappears. There is no interpretation, fantasy or conversation. The person meditating is just there with some facet of truth, some part of the Universe that seems expand to become the whole Universe. That's the nature of Truth. Truth can't be separated from the rest. It has to be a complete thing. Truth can't be completely put it into words, because words are not complete things. When a person in unable to distinguish what is seen from the self and from all the Universe around about, that person experiences a state of Truth. There are other ways to experience Truth, but as soon as the experience is rationally examined, it ceases to be perfect. Actions and decisions based on the memory of such an experience may be inappropriate, even ridiculous or dangerous. It is only during the experience that this state of Truth exists. Even then, events in the surrounding world may not accommodate the person meditating. For that reason rituals of banishment and tiling or making safe the place of meditation are always recommended. The higher the type of meditation, the farther from the mundane world one goes. Some of the training and advice for such practices focuses on methods for obtaining results. Most of such preparation should address preparation, safety in the practice and transition back to normal states of mind.
    For an example of Assiatic meditation, consider a place like one of the pools in Cataract Gulch, along a trail route on Mt. Tam in Marin County, California. A path descends steeply beside a running stream on the mountain side. At several places along the route, the stream drops suddenly down in a waterfall three times the height of a man, into a large and shadowed pool as large around as a small house. Mosses and ferns hang from the rocky walls, with stands of trees around the top, screening the place from the rest of the world. It's cool and peaceful. A side path leads from the trail down to a bank before the pool. You go there and sit, looking across the pool at the falling water. After a while the feeling of the place enters into you. Other forms of meditation may spontaneously arise, ascending from this Assiatic World experience. A fantasy may form, causing the place to seem like the womb of the mountain goddess, sexual in an odd way that does not disturb or seem at all strange. You may speak with that spirits of the place, gently and reverently in the full feeling of the presence of a loving divinity. A leaf may fall, an animal may pass by or perhaps an answering voice will come in your mind alone. You may forget for a time that you have a body, loose awareness of the stones and objects of that place and become one with some greater Truth. This is one of the oldest methods for meditating.
    There is a practice of going to a place like that, but far removed from public trails and rules against swimming. Sometimes a stream or spring is caused to flow through an enclosed chamber into a pool for ritual bathing. Jewish tradition requires that such places are not proper if filled with water that comes from a reservoir. You can never get this kind of bath in a tub. It has to be where the water wells fresh from the earth or flows wild and untamed in a living stream. Such water is virginal, not dedicated to another purpose or used before it reaches the bather. That clean, pure essence itself produces a like clean, pure feeling in the mind and body. Ritual immersions, and ritual baths are a tradition that has endured for thousands of years. In the New Testament this is referred to as baptism. John the Baptist was not doing a novel thing. Every devout Jew in those days was supposed experience such a thing, to go out to the river Jordan or some other freely flowing water and take a bath, as part of a meditative, even a worshipful act. There are scribes who write copies of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament. According to proper ritual, every time these scribes come to a name of the divinity, they are supposed to take one of these special ritual baths. Very few actually do this, but it is the proper way to purify mind and body for the sacred act of writing the holy names.
    Just as there are four Worlds, there are four ways of knowing the Torah. What is the Torah? Literally speaking the Torah is a physical scroll, written by hand, of the first portion of the Bible. What is read in it is word by word what is written. That's the Torah in Assiah, a physical scroll or set of books. In Yetzirah, what is the Torah? The Torah is the story of God and the people. That story may be found in the books of the Jewish people or in other places. As soon as you go up one flight, one step, you break away from locked in systems. The further up you go, the further away from a particular culture or religion you get. This is true in Qabalah, even among the very strict Jewish versions of Kabbalah. A Kabbalist will only rarely come out with a blunt statement like: "The only True Sacred Writings are those of the Jews." Most will not say such things at all, but when they do they often will admit that writings themselves are holy in essence of being writings. The Torah scroll is special to the Kabbalists, but there are other ways to get divine messages. Ascend to Briah and the Torah is not a material book or anything that can be physically recorded in plain words. The spiritual essence of the Torah is that of which such a book or scroll is a shadow. There are many other shadows cast by different ways of seeing this one spiritual essence. There is a mystical Torah of Atziluth that has existed from before the beginning of the Earth. Without it the Earth would not have been made, because it lists all the order of the things which are in the Earth. This is the basis for interpreting the Torah or Old Testament for Qabalistic or Magical purposes, that all such things are a shadow of the divine Torah. Sometimes by looking at the shadow you may glimpse a bit of the way that the Universe was made, but not very often by taking it literally. A shadow is not the thing that casts the shadow. By interpreting it, by trying to see what real substance filtered and shaded down into flat, two-dimensional form through the mind of a man who wrote parts of it, by trying to go beyond that up to the mystical essence that cast this particular form, the Qabalist intends to get an idea of the way the Universe works. Somewhere beyond this, the rules are not separate things, but there is one essence of Truth and that is the highest form of the Torah.
    Whether by the pool of a mountain stream or the unrolling of a parchment, the mind may ascend through ways described by Qabalah to contemplation of the One.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah              Next: More examples -- Part XLIX

Events Calendar for August 1999 e.v.

8/1/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
8/4/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
8/7/99Feast of Lammas 3PM at Ceth House
in Berkeley
8/8/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
8/9/99Video Showing: "Jack Parsons Legend"
8:30 PM
Thelema Ldg.
8/12/99Feast of the Beast and his Bride
8/15/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
8/16/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Richard Burton's Travels
in Arabia. 8PM at OZ house
Thelema Ldg.
8/22/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
8/25/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
8/28/99OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
8/29/99Sirius Oasis Tea, 4:18 PMSirius Oasis
8/29/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM 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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Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

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