Thelema Lodge Calendar for September 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for September 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

September 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

The Scales of the Serpent

    One of the earliest Qabalistic texts, the Sepher Yetzirah, describes God's formation of the universe out of ten numbers -- the Sephiroth, or spheres, of the Tree of Life -- and the paths connecting them:

               "Twenty-two Foundation Letters
               He placed them in a circle
                         like a wall with 231 Gates."

    231 is the number of unique pairs that can be made from the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is also the number of Crowley's brief Holy Book, Liber Arcanorum tau-omega-nu Atu tau-omicron-upsilon Tahuti quas Vidit Asar in Amennti, which, describing the sequence of the tarot Trumps as a universal formula, covers much of the same territory as the Sepher Yetzirah, from a different angle. Generally either ignored of misunderstood, Liber Arcanorum outlines a method for embodying the profound meanings of the paths of the Tree of Life as a lived reality.
    On Thursday evening 30th September at 7:30 Cheth House will begin a weekly series of pathworkings seeking to penetrate the mysteries of Liber Arcanorum. Each week, we'll explore one of the paths of the Tree and its associated Tarot Trump, beginning with Aleph, the Fool. The working combines traditional Golden Dawn correspondences with Tibetan ritual techniques and a meditative practice from the Sepher Yetzirah.
    Interested participants are invited to come to Cheth House in north Berkeley -- call (510) 525-0666 for directions -- with a small sitting cushion and (optionally) a small offering to the path of Aleph, such as a poem, a brief reading, a drawing, or a gemstone.

    "The Atu of Tahuti, who is the Lord of Wisdom, are also called Keys. They are guides to conduct. They give you a map of the Kingdom of Heaven, and also the best way to take it by force."    - The Book of Thoth

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Temple in Balance

    The equinox, feast of equilibrium between the natural forces of Horus and Set, and opening of the autumnal season, falls on Thursday 23rd September, with Sol's entry into Libra at 4:32 AM. Such "days of night's equality," upon which our years are balanced in their reckoning, are traditional occasions for the lodge to reaffirm itself both as a Thelemic community and as a chartered body of Ordo Templi Orientis. A celebration and a brief ritual ceremony will be held at the lodge that evening at 7:30, with a communal dinner feast to follow. Members are asked to make arrangements with the lodge officers in advance to take part in the ritual and help put the feast together afterwards.

    Guests as well as members are welcomed each Sunday evening in Horus Temple to celebrate the gnostic mass and take communion with the lodge as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. This is often the best opportunity for visitors to meet the lodge community, and those who have not previously attended should call ahead of time for directions. To serve as officers in the mass, teams who have studied the ritual sufficiently in practice together are invited to contact any of our local gnostic bishops for guidance, and then to work out a date on the temple calendar with the lodgemaster. By request to the bishops the temple can also offer special ceremonies of baptism and confirmation to interested communicants, and minor ordination to the diaconate for qualified members.

    Initiations have been scheduled twice this month at Thelema Lodge, with advancements in the Order to be conducted on Saturday 4th September, and receptions into the Order two weeks later on Saturday 18th. Members are welcome to attend based upon their membership degree, and only by advance arrangement with the lodge officers. Details regarding the time, place, and degrees to be worked are not published, and must be obtained in advance from the lodge. Candidates for O.T.O. initiation are invited to submit their applications to the lodgemaster, with the proper forms available at most lodge events. Initiations must be planned well in advance, and part of the ordeal is keeping in touch with the lodge throughout the period of candidacy.

The Trembling of the Veil

    The collected volume of Autobiographies by W. B. Yeats is our subject for the Section Two Reading Group this month, meeting with Caitlin at Oz House on Monday evening 13th September at 8:00. Read a little in any of Yeats's works, then join us at 8:00 and participate in a discussion of his importance as a poet, dramatist, politician, folklorist, and ceremonial magician. Our talk will be illustrated with a few brief readings from Yeats's memoirs, documenting some of his Golden Dawn contacts and studies.
    The great Anglo-Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was initiated into the Order of the Golden Dawn on Friday, 7th March 1890, at the Fitzroy Street address of Isis-Urania Temple in London. Three years later he attained the grade of 5= 6 and adopted the magical motto Demon Est Deus Inversus, or "a demon is a god in reverse." During these early years as he rose through the grades of the outer order and then entered upon the work of a Theoricus Adeptus Minor, Yeats was able to work directly with the order's chief teacher MacGregor Mathers, who removed to Paris in the following year. When in 1900 there was a crisis of confidence, and the remote leadership of Mathers became untenable among the Order's members in London, Yeats emerged as an advocate for unity and reorganization in an (ultimately futile) attempt to conserve the spirit of the early Golden Dawn beyond the generation of its founders. By this time Yeats was thinking of Mathers as a "half lunatic, half knave," and the old fraudulent Scotch magus was working in Paris with a new young student, initiated as a Golden Dawn Neophyte on 18th November 1898 under the motto Perdurabo, or "I'll stay." As Mathers' emissary to the London temple, Crowley managed to completely alienate all of the membership factions by conducting a ritual occupation and rededication of the Order in April 1900, which marked the end of the "original" Golden Dawn.
    G. H. Frater Perdurabo survived to assume the burden of the Prophet of the Aeon of Horus, and in the following decade completely reorganized the traditions of the Golden Dawn upon Thelemic lines in his early A A. On the other hand, G. H. Frater D.E.D.I. went on to become the most famous and most widely studied participant in the early activities of the Golden Dawn, but then noted in his autobiographical volume The Trembling of the Veil (1922) "I am not now a member of a Cabbalistic society." After their ceremonial confrontation over the heritage of Mathers' original organization, Crowley's treatment of Yeats is defined by a professional rivalry, pursued with a good deal of literary teasing. Yeats, however, seems to have genuinely feared and hated Crowley for years afterwards. Much later he seemed enraged and embarrassed to hear in 1914 that his father had become Crowley's friend in New York among the circle of the literary patron John Quinn. John Butler Yeats, a renowned painter, considered his son's old nemesis to be quite good company, and wrote to "My dear Willie" of his fascination with this "formidable stranger."

    The following paragraph forms the substance of a letter from John Butler Yeats in New York to his son Willie Yeats in London, dated 18th December 1914. Dorothy Coates was a mistress of Quinn's, and perhaps also of the elder Yeats, who shared none of his son's occult or mystical predilections.

    "Do you know a man named Crowley? -- a strange man and a witty. Miss Coates and I met him at Quinn's at dinner, his conversation not witty but that of a witty man. He seemed to be well-versed in curious cults, the sort you are interested in and also, as it happened, Miss Coates, who knew all the names and books he mentioned, serving well to draw him out. A bullet-headed man -- he was an opponent of Mathers, but very sympathetic towards Mrs. Mathers, on whose behalf he was especially indignant with Mathers. Also he knows Mrs. Emery and you. Have you noticed that any man possessing the gift of expression but absolutely without sympathy is inevitably a wit and a man of humor? A complete detachment from the people about him -- this complete and perfectly natural estrangement puts him in easy possession of all that makes for humor and wit. It also makes him seem 'formidable.' The combination is that of the 'formidable stranger,' so that you pay attention to every word he lets fall from his lips. And if he makes you laugh, you hear him with a sense of relief and are almost grateful, this effect enhanced in this case by his bullet head and strong clumsy figure -- his fingers thick but tapering. The handsome Quinn watched him closely, Miss Coates, sitting opposite looking really handsome and showing much intelligence, never took her eyes off him. He was very courteous, and his courtesy was part of his detachment. These good-looking people seemed interested in what were the contortions of an ugly man, and yet among ordinary people he is by no means an ugly man. He showed no weaknesses unless it was his liking for some ancient Chartreuse provided by John Quinn. The whisky he put aside with a supercilious air. Miss Coates and I left at 10:30. The conversation that took place after we left was probably illuminating. Quinn looked as if he would remain master of the situation. Of course, being an Englishman, he was throughout the hero of his own tales. Have you noticed that one is always inclined to like a formidable man? It is our way of getting back our courage."

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The Inertia of the Universe to Assist

    "Science enables us to take advantage of the continuity of Nature," and thus to determine an individual "right relation with the Universe" for ourselves. In each practitioner, this process is defined as "Magick," or "the Science of understanding oneself and one's conditions," and "the Art of applying that understanding in action." These phrases and notions from the introduction to Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice (first published in London in 1930) prepare the reader for the detailed formulation of a unified theory of Magick, according to which the entire panoply of magical technique is organized and explicated. The result is "a complete treatise on Magick," structured according to the order of the trumps in Tarot. It is a book which many Thelemites return to again and again for renewed study, and for years the lodge has had the benefit of a repeated series of classes on this work offered by Bill Heidrick. This month the series is beginning again, and for the first time will be using the new complete edition of the text of MTP from Crowley's Liber ABA (Book Four). The series opens on Wednesday evening 22nd September in San Anselmo, where the class will be held in Bill's home, beginning at 7:30. Contact Bill well ahead of time by e-mail at for information.
    "A man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him."

Previous Book 4 presentation

The Sound Of One Hand

    Thelema Lodge's twice-monthly sessions of serious cerebration known as the College of Hard N.O.X. will meet in September on the 1st and the 29th. The Dean will call us to order in the lodge library at 8 o'clock on each of these Wednesday evenings. A modest tuition will be extracted before the discussion ensues. This month we will be continuing our "Thelema and ..." series of classes, which are exploring the connections, both affinities and areas of dispute, between the Law of Thelema and some of humanity's other major creeds. In September the other religions to be viewed in this light are Buddhism and Christianity, which share an emphasis on the spiritual implications of suffering.
    For the meeting on September 1st I was able to interview a long-time student (and teacher) of Tibetan Buddhism who is also quite familiar with Thelema. Unlike our Muslim imam of last month this particular young lama would not offer an "orthodox" opinion. He pointed out that Buddhism has many varieties and that different cultures have adopted different forms, and that therefore his remarks about Thelema would require some historical context; I paraphrase his history lesson here. The three main schools of Buddhism developed over many centuries and a wide area. The oldest tradition, identified with the teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples, is based on the Pali Canon (or Tripitaka), the source of such basic Buddhist teachings as the Four Noble Truths (which includes the famous Eightfold Path). It also lays out the Buddhist community's standards of behavior and monastic discipline. This ancient tradition continues today as so-called Theravada Buddhism which is the dominant religion in a number of countries in Southeast Asia, notably Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. The next tradition to differentiate itself was the Mahayana (or Great Vehicle) school, which is followed by the majority of modern-day Buddhists. Its origin is identified initially with the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Wisdom) literature and the teaching of the Indian philosopher Nagarjuna (both roughly 0-200 c.e.) which explicated the central Mahayana concepts of bodhisattva and sunyata. The bodhisattva, described by Tibetans as a "Hero of the Thought of Enlightenment", is the embodiment of that compassion which is ever-returning as enlightened being. Sunyata means emptiness, and indicates that the universal impermanence of phenomena makes any real essence or self impossible. A third school has developed within Mahayana (especially in Tibet, Mongolia, and Japan) called Vajrayana (or Thunderbolt Vehicle). Its differences with mainstream Mahayana are not over philosophy but over what might be called technology. Vajrayana practitioners may learn to awaken the Kundalini serpent through Tantric ritual, but they must still first declare their heroic "bodhisattva vow" of compassion and profess the emptiness of any resulting enlightenment.
    The attitude of Buddhists toward Thelema would probably range fairly widely from school to school and from culture to culture, though in general we might expect more tolerance than we would have from most monotheists. My informant happens to practice a Tibetan form of Vajrayana Buddhism which makes use of invocations of various spiritual entities and other shamanic magical rites, and performs initiations into the Tantric mysteries. So his perspective is therefore bound to be among the most tolerant of Thelema. From a perspective of ultimate experience, the Tibetan view of what makes for a true deity, in their own or other pantheons, is that gods are manifestations of wisdom and enlightened mind, inseparable from one's own wisdom, and empty in nature, completely open and beyond all concept and boundary. If these underlying principles are adhered to then Buddhists could even bring the Thelemic pantheon into their own practice, perhaps identified with traditional Buddhist figures (Nuit as Avalokiteshvara, Hadit as Manjushri, and RHK as Vajrabhairava springs to mind). From a perspective of relative experience a Tibetan Buddhist would hope that any religion would be interested in benefiting all sentient beings, or at least not harming any sentient being. Revelations are not regarded as communications from a god outside of oneself, but rather we are regarded as the creators of our own projections. Thus Tibetans have many revealed books (terma, that is, treasure), which have been "discovered" in meditation or under rocks (the Tibetan Book of the Dead is the most widely known of these texts in the West), but they are never regarded as unedited "sacred law" in the same sense as are often the Bible and Liber XXXI. Still, conflicts between Thelemites and Buddhists will probably never get much past the stage of vigorous debate, unlike what we can expect to experience from the advocates of less tolerant creeds.
    On September 29th we'll discuss the relationship between Thelema and Christianity. Is there another religion's holy writ which is so openly cited, even directly quoted in the Book Of The Law ("He that is righteous shall be righteous still; he that is filthy shall be filthy still.")? Is the Book Of The Law actually a rewrite of the Revelation of John? And is Crowley then an esoteric Christian? Who exactly are that Beast and Scarlet Woman? Argue all these questions and more.

    ERRATUM --- the final paragraph in last month's notice featured an unfortunate omission. It should have read:
    "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 syncretistic 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 religion. On this evening the case will be made for Thelema as a specialized 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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In Light, Life, Love, and Liberty

    by Heather Schubert


Fà cio che vuoi sarà tutta la Legge.

    On Friday evening 10th September Thelema Lodge invites you to a special celebration of Liber XV, performed in Italian. It is a rare occurrence to have a mass team willing to perform this complex ritual entirely in a foreign language. Being of Latin origin, Italian is said to be one of the most beautiful languages in the world. It is as rich in romance as Italy herself, with her winding water ways, majestic architecture, and breathtaking countrysides. Two thirds of the gnostic mass script is made up of passages from Liber AL. Does not Liber AL state, "This book shall be translated into all tongues"? Let it also be celebrated in all languages! Some say there are crucial meanings that are often lost in translation. I personally feel that a hidden depth in the spirituality of this sacred ritual has been revealed to me through the experience of learning and performing it in a second language. It has given me a better understanding of language in general, as well as the dynamics of the mass ritual itself. Booklets of Liber XV containing the ritual in both Italian and English will be available, as will "cheat sheets" for the members of the congregation who are welcome -- but not expected -- to participate in Italian. The opportunity for us to share the experience of participating in the gnostic mass performed in a foreign language is rather unusual, and I hope to see you there; this promises to be a most enchanting event!

In Luce, Vita, Amore, e Libertà
Amore el la Legge, Amore sotto il dominio della Volantà.

Crowley Classics

   The seventh installment of this eight-part series of articles, which was published six years after the limited success of Crowley's expedition to K2, is missing from the archives of the Order, and we have not been able to locate a copy of it in time to include it here in its proper order. Thus we pass on to the final section, which chronicles the stages of descent from the great glacier, and the beginnings of the journey home for Crowley's party of the already fragmented expedition. Anyone having access to a copy of the missing seventh section, from Vanity Fair (London) for 9 September 1908, is cordially invited to share this text with the lodge.

The Expedition to Chogo Ri

Leaves from the Notebook
of Aleister Crowley


    On August 20th we decided to descend through the valley by the way we had come instead of crossing the Skara La. The baths did me a great deal of good. My constant sorrow at having ever been born was interrupted by moments of something very like indifference as to whether I was alive or not. It needed, in fact, a very few days to plunge me into the moral abyss of actually liking life.
    On August 21st we marched to Ghombora, a very hot march after midday. At the big mud-nala we found a curious change. The mud had caked dry; but at some previous time it had overflowed its right bank after issuing from between the rocky walls which bounded it higher up, so that the long stony beach or valley parallel to the Bralduh by which we had ascended was now a solid mass of hard mud. The smaller nala was in much the same condition as we had previously found it, but not so deep in mud. At Ghombora we found fresh apricots, and had a perfectly splendid feast. As also at Dasso, where we found apples. On the march we found fresh peaches. The intelligent reader will, no doubt, be able to anticipate the sequel.
    The march to the camping ground, which was just beyond Yuno, was terrible. We had sent down orders for a raft, and expected it to meet us at the foot of the great Pari, where the valley divides. Alas! the river was not navigable so high up, and we had to tramp over the burning sands hour after hour. The junction of the rivers was in an entirely different place to that marked on the map, and we toiled down the peninsula under the broiling sub till got below Yuno, where I sat down on the river bank and sent men off in all directions to find the raft which I had sent for the night before. About 4 o'clock it arrived, and we were whirled across stream to the place where we finally camped. These rafts are called "Zak," and are composed of not very thick sticks laid together with two or three crossbars to give stability. and otherwise bound with cord. On this structure are tied goat skins which are periodically inflated. On this raft, which was a bad one, the goat skins deflated so frequently that, in spite of having a man constantly at work to blow them out, we were compelled to land at intervals of about half an hour for a general overhauling.
    Went down to Shigar by raft. The zak-wale behaved disgracefully, and the night before it was only by the aid of the belt that they had been made to understand that the Doctor and I meant to go down that river at any price. At Shigar we rejoined the party who had arrived the previous evening. We were now without sufficient money to pay off our men; and Salama, who had been sent to Skardu to try and get assistance from the Tehsildar, had been unsuccessful. At Shigar we found fresh mulberries and melons, also some rather unripe grapes. In the evening a storm began. The amount of fresh fruit I had eaten was beginning to tell, and I had a pretty bad attack of biliousness; not that I had really eaten an extravagant amount, but my digestive organs were in a very bad way after the rough treatment they had had on the glacier. We went on to Skardu by raft, though we had to walk from the junction of the Shigar river and the Indus, which is unfortunately below Skardu. Skardu was the height of luxury, and we found fresh ripe grapes, green corn, and potatoes. This rejoiced us exceedingly, it being a long time since we had tasted even the latter.
    On August 26th I had another go of fever, and laid in bed till the afternoon; but then felt well enough to make a bandobast for myself and the Doctor to go down to Srinagar across the Deosai plains. Two days afterwards I started at 6 o'clock in the morning and distinguished myself by repeating Absalom's experience with the tree; the horse bolting and taking me under a very low bough; all my Mexican-learnt tricks did not save me from being ignominiously pulled off. We crossed the plain in about an hour enlivened by a sunset shower of rain and hail. The track having entered a steep nala up which we went stopping rather earlier than we should have done at the maidan which our natives called Pindarbal; but for which different natives had different names. The same remark applies to all stages of the Deosai; so that travellers need not expect to find even the most reliable information from a most intelligent source of much use.
    The march to Karpal was a long but pleasant one. We crossed the Burgila about four hours from the stage. There was a short patch of snow to cross. The weather was fine, and we got a splendid view of the mountains from the top. Descending a few hundred feet on the other side we were on the great plains of the Deosai. The track most of the way followed the course of the river downwards. This stream was of wonderful beauty, limpid and clear, so that the many-coloured bed showed exquisitely through. Delightful flowers grew everywhere. No contrast could have been greater from the expectations which the report of travellers had led us to form.
    Then on to Karlapani, or as some call it, Krunab. The weather was somewhat threatening, and the wind cold; but, on the whole, it was very decent. After we came in the rain came down in torrents. The Doctor was now suffering from some mysterious complaint,1 and his illness kept him going almost into Srinagar, but it was not a very bad attack.
    We went on to Burzil, in wet and cold weather, and a good deal of wind. I plunged steadily along (though very saddle sore) with only one stop of five minutes in the eight hours' march. At and beyond the Pass which led down to Burzil one could do no riding. It was an immense pleasure when at last the nala opened out the same moment as the clouds cleared away, and we saw a sturdy little Rest House standing at the foot of this Pass, and the clean, well ordered Gilgit road winding away on either side. That evening we again joined Lieut. Carlyon, who had started on the same day from Skardu, though by the perversity of our respective shikari we had always camped at different stages, passing and re-passing constantly. We sacrificed the last of our champagne, and had a great dinner; feeling that at last we were getting back to something like comfort. And no wonder; there were chairs and tables in the bungalow, and fireplaces which we kept roaring merrily all the evening!
    The form and colouring of the valley was wonderful, the greens and violets in particular, harmonising with the crimson of the sunset, made the sight not easy to forget.
    On August 31st we went on to Pashwari. The valley was charming, and the glorious colouring continued to delight.
    Gurais was our next stopping place. On the road I was passed by an Englishman, who indignantly brushed me out of the way, under the impression that I was a native of some sort. Six months of beard and hair, and constant exposure to weather, together with my pagri, had indeed made an object of me which deceived the Kashmiri themselves. In the whole ride to Bandipur the natives never saluted me till the khabar reached them and told them what to expect. The surprise of the Englishman a few hours later, when he was introduced to me, I will leave to the imagination of my readers. At Gurais I found the Forest Officer of the District, Radcliffe, by name, whom we had known at Srinagar. He himself hardly recognised me at first; but my shikari, Abdulla Bat, told him that I had arrived. He had come up in great style; for, living constantly in the jungle, he had learnt to take care of himself; with fine hospitality he placed all the resources of his establishment at our disposal, so that I enjoyed the luxury of a hot bath and decently-cooked food. Since the dismissal of Abdullah Khan our only cooks had been Kashmiri, two of our naukar having volunteered for this job; but in the division of our party I had got the worse of the two. The Doctor did his best by showing him various methods of cooking potatoes; but the native is so constituted that if you order, for example, fried potatoes one night, he never dares to cook them in any other way until the order is definitely reversed. So the Doctor was pretty constantly in our kitchen, and made our cuisine fairly tolerable; but as the materials at the cook's disposal consisted only of mutton, chicken, eggs, salt, and flour, with very occasional butter, apart from the drinkables (which were confined to tea) the menu was not varied; and we were heartily glad to eat the excellent lunch and dinner which Radcliffe so hospitably provided. The memory of it is still with me.
    September 3rd, Gurai reached, we went on to Tragabal over the Pass. The last hour of the journey I began to feel ill. It was another attack of malaria, though not a very bad one. A few hours after we had got in Knowles and Eckenstein, who had by this time received the money and paid the men, had caught us up.
    On September 4th we proceeded on our way to Baramulla. In the morning three of us walked down to Bandipur. Radcliffe had also arrived the previous evening with the postmaster in charge of the Gilgit mail, and I. The Doctor had gone on, as he wanted to jodel; while Knowles and Eckenstein were in a state of great alarm as to mosquitoes, which they could hardly avoid if they went off to Srinagar that day, so they camped at a little village on the Tragobal. My donga was waiting for me at Bandipur. I had ordered it from Srinagar by telegraph, and I lent this to Carlyon, who was pressed for time, while Ratcliffe brought the Doctor and myself in his own donga to Baramulla, as there was no better way of avoiding the mosquitoes.
    On September 5th, had a very bad go of malaria, my temperature going up to 40 deg. Cent.; but I was well again the next day.
    On September 6th the Doctor and I drove off to Sringar by special donga. After 132 days I again slept in a bed, and the expedition was over.

1. He says in his book that I also suffered on this part of the journey; but I did not. -- AC

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from the Grady Project:

As a sample of Grady's formal academic writing, the definitions of terms contained in this preface will shed light on the intellectual development of the founding master of Thelema Lodge. Grady's analysis of Marxism as a system of magic was accepted by the University of California at Berkeley as a thesis for his Master of Arts degree in 1954.

Preface to "The Millennial Glow:
Myth and Magic in the Marxist Ethic"

by Grady Louis McMurtry

    This is a study of the universe of discourse of Marxism. It will be the purpose here to understand the Marxist as a committed person by analyzing the vocation required by Marxism of its adherents. It has often occurred to me, when I have had occasion to refer to Marxist literature, that I discerned an underlying pattern of thought that is perhaps more familiar to the student of anthropology, psychology, sociology or philosophy, than to the student of political science. I have, therefore, availed myself of this opportunity to explore Marxism as a universe of discourse, and only incidentally as a political philosophy per se. It is not until we understand how a person thinks that we are able to understand why he thinks and acts as he does. In this respect it has seemed to me that there is a striking resemblance between Marxism as a world-view and the myth, magic and ethic of the tribalistic universe of discourse. Therefore I shall apply the tribalistic frame of reference to Marxism in an attempt to understand how the Marxist thinks.
    This, then, is a study of Marxism as an idea rather than of Marx as a person. Marx, after all, was not necessarily a Marxist as we understand the term, for the writings of Marx comprise only a small portion of the vast literature of Marxism, but Marxism as an idea has had a development and life of its own. Furthermore it should be understood that I am not asserting that an application of the epistemology of magic is the only way in which one can understand Marxism, but rather that this is one way of understanding Marxism. Equally I do not assert that a study of magic is to be applied only to Marxism, but it is with Marxism that we are here concerned.
    In any exposition where technical terminology is extensively employed, it is perhaps best to pause a moment for clarification before plunging into the work at hand. What, after all, is meant by such words as "myth," "magic," "ethic," "tribalism," "rational," "irrational," and "universe of discourse"?
    Myth. A myth is the statement of a closed system of reality. It may be as simple as a story or a legend or it may be so comprehensive that it includes the entire universe of discourse of a closed society. This latter is the distinguishing characteristic that will interest us most about myth, for no matter how limited or comprehensive its scope may be, a myth is a whole and attempts to explain or justify that which is comprehended only within its frame of reference. Viewed objectively, such an emphasis upon explanation only within one particular ideology, rationale, or tribal universe or discourse is irrational.
    Magic. By magic I do not mean legerdemain. Magic is the control of things and events by a direct act of will on the part of the magician. Magic does not recognize knowledge as mediate, but only direct. Magic is operative only in a world of homoeopathy, i.e., where similarity is recognized as kinship, kinship is likeness, and likeness is affective, for magic is effective through being affective. Magic is a way of knowing and doing and a way of understanding the world in which we live. Magic knows and does by a direct act of will on the part of the person knowing and doing, and magic is understood by a magical myth which interprets the world in terms of the coercive relationship of the knower and the known.
    Ethic. An ethic is a comprehensive statement concerning morality. Here we will be primarily concerned with the goal orientation of the Marxist ethic where the goal is the act of Revolution and its consequence, the millennium.
    Tribalism. Tribalism is the way of life and manner of thinking of a closed social group, usually in a primitive or nomadic state, where authority rests in the office of chieftainship. "New" tribalism is the revival of this manner of thinking, way of grouping and means of acting, in modern politics.
    Rational. The rational is a method of critical and calculated inquiry in which answers are on the basis of hypotheses subject to reasoned change, i.e., in which theories are open-ended to allow for the consideration of new empirical data, rather than closed by certain fixed preconceptions asserted dogmatically.
    Irrational. That is irrational which asserts a closed system of truth. Such an assertion is irrational for two reasons. First, failure to allow for alternate means of inquiry is the opposite of the rational method. Second, irrationality arises from the assertion that all knowledge can be directed to conform to one and only one system of truth, for such an assertion is a magical act of will whereby the universe is ordered to accommodate itself to this one particular system. As such it is the positing of rationality in the will rather than in the intellect as a faculty of the mind. Closed systems of irrationality may be accepted a priori, as with tribal, provincial, or parochial universe of discourse, or they may be rationally contrived philosophic systems. It should be noted in this respect that our reference is not necessarily to any historical school known as "Rationalist" or "Irrationalist", but only to rationalism and irrationalism as herein defined.
    Universe of Discourse. A universe of discourse is that collection of facts and ideas which is tacitly implied or understood in a given statement or discussion. Such a collection of facts or ideas is usually held, and will be here held, to center around certain basic principles. Marxism is such a universe of discourse centering around the autogenetic movement of the Hegelian dialectic, the historical validation of the inclusive magical myth, the goal oriented ethic of the millennial act, and the charisma of the tribal magician.
    The initial chapter of this paper is utilized in a dual capacity. First, it is used to project the hypothesis that one may meaningfully speak in terms of a magical universe of discourse and, second, by extracting the three salient characteristics of totemic tribalism it is used as an outline for the subsequent three chapters. The second chapter is concerned with the Marxist act, its millennium, and the goal oriented ethic it prescribes, the third chapter is concerned with the state of mind the Marxist brings to his vocation of leadership, and the fourth chapter is concerned with a detailed epistemological analysis of the magical tribal myth of the Marxist universe of discourse within which the ethic of the act and the charisma of the leader are comprehensible.

Previous Grady Project                   (to be continued)

One Member's Opinion

Ebony Anpu and the Hawk and Jackal System:
a personal interpretation

by Nathan W. Bjorge

part two

    When Ebony first met Hymenaeus Alpha, Grady had relocated his base of operations from Dublin to Berkeley. Working out of his own house off the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco, Ebony pitched in to help Grady reactivate the O.T.O. Ebony was hard at work on his own magical ideas. His most important innovation, the Tesseract spell, had already been developed by the late '70s. One of its earliest validations was a working to transport Ebony to an alternate universe where the O.T.O. existed in a less depleted form, so that he could be more effectively initiated by it. The spell proved successful in the long run, though perhaps requiring more work on his part than he originally anticipated. When Ebony joined the O.T.O. there were approximately 30 members total. Today there are over 3000. (More later on the Tesseract.)
    One of Ebony's most important contributions to the work of the first Caliph was his publishing house, Stellar Visions. Ebony was an amazingly thorough collector of Crowliana, and possessed a formidable understanding of the Thelemic corpus. With Stellar Visions, he put that knowledge to use, distributing well edited publications of Crowley's writings. Many of the works he published were made available again for the first time in decades, sometimes ever.
    By 1980 -- and probably much earlier -- Ebony felt he had achieved the Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel. In one of his earliest writings that I have in my possession Ebony expresses himself as follows:

    Once Twice On
    A dream.
    The sky broke asunder
    And an Ebony Angel
    Stepped out on the Aether . . .
    September 6th 1900 and 50
    I born [sic], I have died since.
    The veil parted for an instant
    The Ebony Angel laughed;
    Touch the world with love,
    Touch the sky with lust
    Spin the wheel as you will,
    I was last and first.
    Send I to darkness
    Sail the Great Sea.
    Remember all ways to be Me
    The wheel spinning round me
    Much too fast to see,
    How can I, how can this be,
    Surely 'tis nought but a dream.
    Mayhaps may be laughed
    Touch and see
             But you are you and I am me said "I".
    There are no opposites!
    Only Balances
    Opposition is a miscreation of "Man",
    And man is balance; the Universe
    Touch and see!
    Mayhaps may be laughed

    In 1982 Ebony collapsed during a severe asthmatic attack and was rushed to the hospital. He barely survived the experience, and for a while it was touch and go. His hospitalization was announced in that month's Magickal Link and immediately there was an outpouring of support. A letter was sent to Grand Lodge from Conquering Child Publishing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. These were the producers of the popular Cincinnati Journal of Ceremonial Magick. Printed in volume II #9 of the Link, the letter read in part: ". . . Ebony is a good friend and known -- if not by face then by story -- to the majority of the magicians in the Cincinnati area. We all send our most sincere hope for a quick recovery and hope he will soon be able to continue his valuable work. Ebony was the person to bring the entire Book of the Law to Cincinnati in the early '70s. Please tell him that our thoughts and love are with him."
    I do not know when Ebony first began to see himself as having attained Mastery of the Temple. He seldom mentioned it, save in dramatic moments, but I have been able to infer that it involved a gradual process of precipitation through the Abyss. His hospitalization in '82 was perhaps one peak; another may have been the breakup of a thirteen-year relationship shortly thereafter. I feel reasonably certain that by 1988 he felt the process to be complete. As a master, he set his task the creation of his own system of attainment, which would be an expression of his understanding of Magick. Hawk and Jackal was that system.
    8 = 3 is a formidable claim, and raises issues of validation. While ultimately motivated by a deep compassion, Ebony struggled daily with emotional difficulties from his harsh and troubled past. In particular, he suffered from a kind of angry paranoia, which at times consumed him utterly. There were times when Ebony was far from the Magistry of the Silver Star, and yet I will be the first to vouch for the sheer illumination he could radiate at times of personal balance.
    Can my readers forgive this ultimately idle speculation of the attainment of my old teacher by a mere Man of Earth? If he never completely equilibrated as a Master, he perhaps never totally became an example of chapter 27 of The Book of Lies either. In any case he has gone to be with his gods now, and we are left with the Great Work to complete for ourselves. Hawk and Jackal could be a valuable tool to accomplish this, if we have the discipline to adapt it to our needs. It may simply not be important whether or not its creator made effective use of it himself.
    In 1985, Ebony printed The Book of the Jackal. Distributed as a beautifully calligraphed manuscript, this was the first complete, public, written presentation of the Tesseract spell that I have been able to locate among Ebony's papers. Tesseract Magick was to become an important technique of the still-undeveloped H&J system. While this book was clumsily written in many ways, Ebony extensively worked over and amplified the text during the succeeding decade. It is identifiable as the base text out of which Ebony gradually built his magnum opus: The Books of the Hawk and Jackal.
    Grady McMurtry died in 1985. Following the election of Hymenaeus Beta as his successor, Thelema Lodge ceased to function as the international headquarters of O.T.O., Grand Lodge being moved to New York City. No longer at the center of action for the Order, Ebony found himself with more time to devote to his own work. He began to develop a moon coven system, constructing an Esbat rite by adapting various spells from The Book of Coming Forth by Day, and drawing upon his knowledge of Thelemic ritual style. The coven system would provide him with a frame within which to further develop the implications of his Tesseract Magick.
    One day, shortly after beginning circle work with his new rituals, he sat down at his desk and picked up his writing pad. As the Biblical writers would say, the Spirit came upon him, and he beheld a vision of the Goddess Babalon. She communicated to him. He wrote. This process continued at intervals over the years. The result was what he came to call The Dialogs, the teachings of which form an important part of his system. I will have to defer further discussion of them to a future installment of this series of articles. In 1998, Ebony wrote a lengthy outline for what appears to be a series of classes. He now had a name for the system he had created: Hawk and Jackal. The classes may never have been given, but the outline was used to fuel a series of short essays, which came to fill in the gaps of his slowly evolving book.
    Ebony's emotional issued made it difficult for him to keep sufficient focus to maintain regular active coven work. Health, political, and personal problems began to disrupt Ebony's work in the early '90s. While The Dialogs continued to be received, coven activity fell by the wayside. Ebony regrouped by teaching classes at the Ancient Ways store in Oakland throughout the 1990s. Contact was made with a new generation of enthusiastic students. Ebony also put a great deal of renewed effort into his collected writings, which were acquiring their mature shape.
    I finally came into the picture in 1997. I began working closely with Ebony shortly after taking my I° initiation. I was young, naïve, and inexperienced, but Ebony took me under his wing, and I found myself, by various turns of events, living at his house for several months as his magical student. Since he wouldn't stop talking about his Hawk and Jackal system, I decided to give it a try. I helped put together a moon coven with my friends to work his rituals. Initially, Ebony was only going to mentor our first few meetings, but instead he became so enamored of our priestess that he wound up joining, and of course quickly took over.
    Our coven started out with some amazing work, and then basically went completely to pieces. I don't really see a point in being glamorous or evasive about it: Ebony and I had a fight, I moved out, and didn't speak to him for over a year. I ran into him again at the Electoral College reception in Mill Valley on 1st May 1999. He was extremely ill, but still enthusiastic about his ideas. We exchanged pleasantries and parted. A week later I was informed of his death.
    Ebony was the most intense and magical person I have ever met. I have also seldom encountered anyone who suffered more from life. Ebony's true genius was perhaps his ability to make his pain an expression of his enlightenment, of his devotion to Babalon. I learned more about real Magick from a single successful ritual of his than from a year of book study. He helped me to break through my limitations at a crucial stage of my career, and for that I will be eternally grateful to him. He was my teacher and my friend, whom I loved dearly. These articles are my tribute to his Understanding.
    This concludes my account of Ebony's life and my reconstructed sequence of the evolution of his thought. Over the next few articles, I will attempt to present my limited understanding of the various aspects of his magical system.

Previous article -- Part One     Next installment -- Part Two

An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XLIX -- Meditation by Place: Assiah.

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

    When a room is used for meditation regularly, it may be decorated to enhance the experience. In the June '99 e.v. issue of the TLC, part XLVI of this series discussed examples for use of color in that manner. Such rooms can be tuned like musical instruments to enhance patterns or moods in the minds of the people who use them. The purpose behind such design is to produce an environment that will direct a particular sort of mystical experience, simply by a person being in that environment.
    Some ingenuity is needed to lay out a house according the Sephirot of the Tree of Life. It's helpful to have a copy of Crowley's Liber 777 in the planning stages, since that book provides tables of correspondences for the various Sephirot and paths on the Tree. Of those tables, the ones giving color, astrological correspondence, incenses and deities are the most helpful in temple design. Numbers corresponding to the Sephirot may also be used, e.g. for Tipheret, six is the primary number correspondence, and patterns of six chairs, cushions or decorative elements will often be used. Tipheret is also associated with the center of social life, suggesting a dining room as a good choice for a Tipheret room. The architectural form of the house or apartment should be considered. If there are three connecting rooms in a row, the natural choice is Yesod, Tipheret and Keter, with Malkut being either the entrance from the outside world or a porch. If additional rooms are available, the three Sephirot of the pillar of Severity (Hod, Geburah and Binah) would be a natural choice for those, particularly if those rooms parallel others corresponding to the Middle pillar. The pillar of Mercy (Netzach, Chesed, and Chokmah) might be represented by still other rooms in an especially large house, but those three work best as a garden (Netzach), a pervasive sense throughout the interior (Chesed) and a containment of the home by the outside walls (Chokmah). However this is done, and however much can be matched to the rooms one by one, the basic notion is to enable a person to enter from Malkut and then step from Yesod to Tipheret and beyond on the Middle Pillar. If spaces can be found for the other pillars of the Tree, so much the better; but the Middle Pillar is the most important for meditation. For magical workings, rooms corresponding to Geburah or Binah may be preferred. Brightly colored wall draperies and folding screens can be used in small apartments to change the effect for one Sephira or another.
    Whatever the selection, use of lighting is next in importance. Even if a wall or drapery color cannot be selected to alter the ambient effect of the light, a colored bulb or shade may accomplish the same effect on a budget. Lights in meditation spaces should be indirect, at least designed not to intrude on attention. Small decorations should be limited in the field of view, mainly kept simple and to the correspondence of the Sephirot as the meditating person understands it. Too much complexity in decoration is a distraction, unless it is intricate enough to form a pattern instead of a focal point. A few books distract the eye, but shelves filled with books generally will not. Posters and paintings should be simple and well placed to coordinate with other decorative elements. It's the mood, not the bric-a- brac, that determines effectiveness of a temple space. Ritual space is similar, but makes more use of objects strategically placed for various functions.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah              Next: Yetzirah -- Part L

Events Calendar for August 1999 e.v.

9/1/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
9/4/99OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
9/5/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/10/99Gnostic Mass in Italian
8:00PM Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
9/12/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/13/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: W.B. Yeats "autobiographies"
8PM at OZ house
Thelema Ldg.
9/18/99OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
9/19/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/22/99Magick in Theory and Practice series
starts. 7:30PM San Anselmo
Thelema Ldg.
9/23/99Atumnal Equinox ritual 7:30PM
feast afterwards
Thelema Ldg.
9/26/99Sirius Oasis Tea, 4:18 PMSirius Oasis
9/26/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
9/29/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
9/30/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House
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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Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

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