Thelema Lodge Calendar for October 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for October 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

October 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Three Librans

    October is the month when we commemorate the founding of our lodge -- twenty-two years ago this Crowleymas -- by celebrating the achievements of three past leaders who worked to establish Thelema in California. The idea for Thelema Lodge in the San Francisco Bay area dates from thirty years before its foundation, when Grady McMurtry came home from the war in Europe, and the lucky opportunity it had afforded him of getting to know Aleister Crowley, then in his final years. It was here in northern California that Grady chose to establish himself, and he first discussed his plans with Jack Parsons, who was then serving as master of Agape Lodge in Pasadena.
    Grady had met Jack Parsons (along with such writers as Ray Bradbury, Forrest Ackerman, Leigh Brackett, and Jack Williamson) at meetings of the Los Angeles Science Fiction League before the war. Two big strong young men full of new ideas, Grady and Jack quickly got to know each other, walking in the San Gabriel Mountains, reading poetry to each other, trading back issues of pulp SF magazines, smoking pipes, and speculating together through the evenings. Very soon Grady was invited to the weekly Sunday afternoon celebrations of the gnostic mass at Agape Lodge. At first he wasn't quite ready for the splendor of the EGC, as then led by Wilfred Smith; the young dustbowl transplant was so impressed by the mass the first time that he couldn't bring himself to take communion with the members. By the second or third try he got his nerve up, however, and having triumphed over the ordeal he was soon bringing his - also suitably impressed - girlfriends with him to the temple. A few weeks later he was initiated into the Minerval and First Degrees of Ordo Templi Orientis.
    Grady's introduction to the O.T.O. had come toward the end of 1941 e.v., and a few months later - like most young men all over planet Earth that year - he was newly in uniform and enduring military training. Early in this process he was stationed for long enough in San Francisco to remember it as one of the bright spots of an uncertain year. The gnostic mass had made a deep impression on this young officer; one which - along with an incalculable amount of resilience, resourcefulness, and courage - sustained him through the duration of the European war. Grady memorized the speeches of the priest from Liber XV while lounging at odd moments in various army tents, using a typed text he had carefully prepared (and later preserved). Back in civilian life after the victory, and determined to resume his interrupted undergraduate career, Grady returned to California in 1946 e.v. Now he had the GI Bill to help pay his student fees, and wouldn't have to depend on blowing his trombone in the marching band for the scholarship which had helped make ends meet for him at Pasadena City College. He had studied hard there, and was able to transfer to the University of California to complete his BA degree, selecting the Berkeley campus partly on the basis of sunny memories of the area from the summer of '42.
    Jack Parsons had spent the war in Pasadena engaged in military aeronautics and rocketry research, and had risen to become lodgemaster at Agape, which was now holding meetings and gnostic masses in his notorious "bohemian" mansion at 1003 Orange Grove Boulevard, on the swank side of Pasadena. Grady probably had in mind something along the same lines in San Francisco; an O.T.O. lodge and profess house, centered around a temple for the gnostic mass. He discussed this idea in correspondence with Parsons, and it was Jack who suggested the name "Thelema" for the lodge, as a counterpart to southern California's "Agape." That was about as far as the idea got in 1946 e.v.; very quickly classes got underway for Grady in Berkeley, and at home his wife was expecting (he had married one of the girls he'd taken to mass before the war), and he had all he could do to keep up with his own life. Over the next few years, as public activity declined in the Order after Crowley's death and the failure of subsequent leadership, Grady was in Korea fighting again, and then back in Berkeley in graduate school, and afterwards busy with an administrative career in academia and government.
    While in Korea Grady heard the news that Parsons had died in a terrible explosion, apparently an accident while handling unstable compounds during a laboratory move from Pasadena. The following decade saw the deaths of several other prominent members from the O.T.O. of the '30s in California, ending with the obscure passing of Karl Germer and the apparent dormancy of the Order. Grady had accepted a leadership role in the O.T.O. directly from Crowley, but within a few years there didn't seem to be much of the old Order around left to be led. In the late 1950s Grady had tried to organize a revival of O.T.O. - or the Order of Thelemites, or something along those lines - but Karl Germer had been just active and influential enough to sour most of the membership on the idea, and no organizational progress was made. In fact it wouldn't be for fully twenty more years that Grady would actually get going with the idea he had shared with Parsons ten years before. When at last in 1977 e.v. in Berkeley, during a solar eclipse on the afternoon of Crowley's lesser feast, Grady signed the charter which opened Thelema Lodge, he brought together the heritage of his two long-dead friends with whom he had shared the sign of Libra.
    We celebrate this Thelemic heritage with observations this month of the birthday anniversaries of all three men. Jack Parsons will get a birthday party on Saturday 2nd October at Rosslyn Camp in Hayward, beginning at 6:00. Call for directions at (510) 886-9393.
    On Crowleymas, Tuesday evening 12th October, we will gather at Oz House. Bring feast contributions and arrive around 7:30; for directions call ahead at (510) 654-3580
    Grady's lesser feast will find us at the Ancient Ways store on Monday evening 18th October at 7:30. The store is located on the corner of Telegraph Avenue and 41st Street in Oakland; contact Sirius Oasis for information at (510) 527-2855, or call the store at (510) 653-3244.

The Fall of the Great Equi-N.O.X.

    The College of Hard N.O.X. is Thelema Lodge's regular arena of debate, open for competitions on every first and last Wednesday evening of each month. In October we will be meeting in the library at 8:00 P.M. on the 6th and the 27th. A tuition fee will be charged, but scholarships are available so that no sincere student need be turned away. This month sees the conclusion of the College's "Thelema and ..." series of discussions exploring the connections, both affinities and areas of dispute, between the Law of Thelema and some of humanity's other major creeds. The final religions to be compared and contrasted with our Thelemite tradition are Hinduism and Taoism.
    Why should a Thelemite bother with the consideration of other religious traditions? Are not The Holy Books Of Thelema the only texts necessary for the religion of this aeon? Modern textual criticism has painted a picture of meaning as a process of interaction between the text and the reader(s) rather than as any inherent quality of the text alone. Thus every text is susceptible of varied interpretations, and a particularly ambiguous text may inspire virtually limitless explications. Revelatory texts especially, deriving from a source outside of human consciousness (whether that source is seen as the Divine or as the Unconscious), may in some cases display considerable ambiguity. The attitude of Thelemites toward earlier religions is also often somewhat ambivalent, being both syncretistic and confrontational at the same time. That this is not surprising is indicated by some relevant quotes from The Book of the Law: "... All words are sacred and all prophets true; save only that they understand a little; solve the first half of the equation, leave the second unattacked. But thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark." (I:56); "With my Hawk's head I peck at the eyes of Jesus as he hangs upon the cross. I flap my wings in the face of Mohammed & blind him. With my claws I tear out the flesh of the Indian and the Buddhist, Mongol and Din." (III:51-53). It seems that the superiority of Thelema as the religion of a "new aeon" may be based as much on its subsumption as on its rejection of earlier revelations.
    "Religion" originally meant the ritual of confirmation, wherein the connections between humanity and divinity are recognized as bonds. It was a noble word in the Latin language. Nowadays it relates instead to an individual's experience of reverence as a social phenomenon. Generally, in human societies that which this religion of reverence fears (and therefore hates) the most is its opposite, blasphemy. It just so happens that one of The Book Of The Law's stateliest contradictions is in its third chapter's paradox of blasphemy and reverence: "I am in a secret fourfold word, the blasphemy against all gods of men. Curse them! Curse them! Curse them!" (III:49-50); "To Me do ye reverence! to me come ye through tribulation of ordeal, which is bliss." (III:62). Within the space of a few short sentences our god, a god of "men", Ra-Hoor-Khuit, is demanding both blasphemy and reverence! One's first impulse with such a god may be to say "Fuck you! Life is already ambiguous enough!", but then one remembers that the purpose of a holy scripture is to challenge its readers to react, not to relieve them of all responsibility for individual decision-making. In fact, a scripture like The Book Of The Law is a direct challenge to us to take the quest of the spirit beyond the stasis of fixed beliefs into the study of the very nature of belief and disbelief themselves. This, in turn, necessitates familiarity with the primary social expressions of belief and disbelief, namely, reverence and blasphemy. The tensions, both psychological and social, which are created by this familiarity can often be used to further both the spiritual integration of individuals and the physical growth of movements. Such tensions are common to most of the spiritual movements which are labeled "antinomian", and thus it is no surprise that Thelema is often so labeled. Antinomian traditions are also prominent within this month's featured traditions, Hinduism and Taoism, and our talk will begin with a focus on that similarity, especially as it relates to Hindu Tantrism and Taoist alchemical practice.
    Continuing his custom the Dean has consulted an "authority" from one of the non-Thelemic religions to be considered; this time he corresponded with Sri Premakash Maharaj, a Western-born teacher in the Navnath Sampradaya ("Nine Masters Tradition") of Advaita Vedanta Hinduism, who is also well-versed in Thelema as a result of his experimentation (long since abandoned) in ceremonial magick. The following is excerpted from the letter which Maharaj wrote in response to the Dean's request:

    I have often been struck by the many similarities between Hinduism and Thelema. In particular the verse, "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains." seems highly illustrative. In fact this verse may be among the highest expressions of Hindu doctrine in the Book, occasioning such a reaction of Buddhistic horror in Crowley that immediately Aiwass proclaims, "O prophet! thou hast ill will to learn this writing. I see thee hate the hand & the pen; but I am stronger." We Hindus have a concept called Sat-chit- ananda, often translated into English as Being-Consciousness-Bliss. The first clause of this verse is a statement of the Sat-chit-ananda formula, but with a subtle variation introduced. "Remember all ye" is consciousness, "that existence is" clearly represents being, and "pure joy" has got to be bliss! Thus it reads Consciousness-Being-Bliss instead of the traditional rendering. Now the supposition that existence proceeds consciousness seems quite obvious, but nonetheless Husserl's phenomenology indicates that consciousness is the only fact of which consciousness can be absolutely certain, so perhaps the Thelemic version is in fact more accurate in its description of experience, if not reality. I think that the remaining clauses of the verse in question are also strong statements of the Hindu, as opposed to Buddhist, formulation of Truth. Whereas the Buddhists see sorrow and impermanence as the inevitable concomitants of existence we Hindus focus on "that which remains" which is called by many names, especially Parabrahman (Supreme Reality) or Paramatman (Supreme Self), the nature of which is described by Sat-chit-ananda.
    There are other, much more general, parallels between Advaita Vedanta Hinduism and Thelema. One of the greatest of 20th century spiritual teachers, Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, had a triform description of reality which dovetails nicely with Crowley's description in his Book of the Law. Bhagavan spoke of three things which were actually just one thing seen in three different ways, that is, God, the Self, and Guru. God is the Supreme Being whose body is contiguous with the universe, none other, I would maintain, than Nuit. The Self is consciousness, the awareness of existence, the perceiver of perception, in other words, Hadit. And then who else can the Guru be but the Hierophant, "Hoor in his secret name and splendour", "the Hawk-headed mystical Lord"?
    Finally, I can also mention here the very core teaching of the Navnath Sampradaya. A key phrase used repeatedly by our immortal Guru, Nisargadatta Maharaj, is usually translated into English as "the dimensionless point of I AM-ness". I would say that this is almost certainly the same thing as what Crowley called Hadit, thus allowing all of Navnath Sampradaya's spiritual teaching to be summarized in just these two words which I therefore commend to your readers, "be Hadit".

    On October 27th the "Thelema and ... " series will conclude with an examination of the relationships between Taoism and Thelema, which you are most enthusiastically invited to attend. After all, the N.O.X. which can't be spoken is no N.O.X. at all!

    ERRATA - Last month's paraphrased comments on Buddhism elicited these corrections and clarifications from our Tibetan Buddhist informant:
    1. The term sunyata is generally spelled "shunyata" these days, since the aspirated "H" is sounded.
    2. "The Thought of Enlightenment", bodhichitta, is up there with bodhisattva and shunyata as a central Mahayana concept, so it should be mentioned as well. Generating compassion for all sentient beings (Relative bodhichitta) who are apparent but non-existent (Ultimate bodhichitta). Regardless, even from ultimate view, the bodhisattva cannot help but shine with compassion (or wisdom energy) even without believing in the solidity of a receiver of that compassion (or in a sender, for that matter). The Hinayana practitioner, while professing compassion for all sentient beings, labors only for personal enlightenment, not for all sentient beings' enlightenment, nor would there be a return from Nirvana as a bodhisattva. In Mahayana and Vajrayana, Bodhichitta, "enlightenment thought" or "awakened heart", is generated before each practice and then, at the end of practice, all positive energy is dedicated to the liberation of all sentient beings. This is seen as the way to establish a foundation for one's own enlightenment, a foundation of merit and wisdom that grows like interest in the bank.
    3. The Tibetan equivalent for the Sanskrit "vajra" - dorje - literally means "lord stone" - i.e. Diamond or Adamantine - the idea of the stone that cuts but can't be cut. I'm only guessing - but it's possible that the original ritual implement, the vajra or scepter, was a stylized thunderbolt; perhaps this was the origin of Thunderbolt Doctrine name.
    4. It's important to distinguish between the Thelemic pan-religious (no pun intended) interpretation of Tantra and what the Tantric Buddhist would say. In spite of Anagarika Govinda's bizarre choice to paste Arthur Avalon's chart from The Serpent Power into The Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, I have seen some similarities between the Tantric Hindu and Buddhist views on this matter, but hardly a direct correlation. It is possible that, with advanced training, I will see more exact similarities, but as it stands, there doesn't seem to be an aim of directly awakening "the Kundalini serpent" or even necessarily a belief thereof. I have never seen seven chakras, or the inner channels mapped in the caduceus pattern. As I said before, there are similarities, but most interestingly, these can vary from practice to practice in the Tantric Buddhist system - with changes in color, number of chakras, and even placement. The difference may be in the Tantric Buddhist emphasis on clarity rather than ecstasy. So the approach would be different. Also, I think the Buddhist might regard the Hindu system as somewhat mechanistic, i.e. fixating on these inner diagrams as a goal rather than a byproduct. Only an opinion, subject to change.
    5. Though the Tibetan form of Vajrayana Buddhism does make use of invocations of various spiritual entities and other shamanic magical rites, and performs initiations into the Tantric mysteries, I don't perform initiations, only meditation instruction. No empowerments. Also I would like to put quotes around the word "entities", to avoid solidification in view. Do they really exist? Chagdud Tulku told my brother: "Yes and no."
    6. When you wrote "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)." I was reminded of a very interesting story from a friend who asked Trungpa Rinpoche about continuing his own Thelemic practice. Trungpa's advice, I am told, was not to mix them. My interpretation of this: honor the system you're working in, don't tinker. This is true even with the Tibetan Buddhist lineages. One is not encouraged to mix and match. 777 aside, I don't think it's necessary to find correlations between Buddhist and Thelemic deities. The Tantric Buddhist would advise the Thelemite to practice with Relative and Ultimate bodhichitta, compassion and emptiness. Then Nuit, Jesus or whoever could be a manifestation of wisdom mind.
    7. This ordinary solid world is regarded as "our" creation, but not the spiritual revelations themselves (in which there is no place for "our"). True, they are not communications from a god outside of oneself, but from the visionary manifestation of primordial wisdom inseparable from oneself.
    8. Actually, in direct contradiction to your statement, any authenticated terma would be considered the direct transmission of the founder of Tibetan Buddhism, Padmasambhava, and would be the equivalent of a Class A document in Thelema. There are also Pure Vision texts, which have visionary origins from Vajradhara etc., that would not be called "terma" only because that term is very specific. Still, these would be seen as Class A. I really know only how the Nyingma school regards "terma" and "pure vision" texts. The Gelugpa (followers of the Dalai Lama) might not accept these definitions.

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The Monster Must be Destroyed

    Looking ahead to the dark festivals of mid-Autumn, the Section Two reading group will devote another evening to the work of Bram Stoker, meeting at Oz House on Monday 25th October, beginning promptly at 8:00. Crowley included Dracula (1897) on the "suggestive literature" reading list for the A A, and several years ago our group enjoyed an especially stimulating discussion of this work. Now we return for a look at some of Stoker's lesser known writings. A prolific author who published eleven novels and dozens of stories, as well as several volumes of theatrical memoirs and a good deal of dramatic criticism, Stoker (1848-1912) spent ten years as a civil servant in Dublin before becoming personal secretary to one of his age's most celebrated stage actors, Sir Henry Irving, in 1878. He had earlier published a few stories and novellas in various magazines, and in the early 1890s his first three novels of Irish village life appeared, of which The Snake's Pass (1890) is the best known. His early work had included some traditional ghost stories and tales of horror for the Christmas annuals with which Victorian publishers flooded the winter-time fiction market, but nothing in this mode shows much preparation for Dracula, the fantastic masterpiece for which he became famous. This work, which has never been out of print in the twentieth century, created one of the great mythological figures of our culture, and exhibits a strikingly effective narrative technique in its epistolary form, which Stoker adapted from the earlier novels of Wilkie Collins.
    We will be concentrating upon the supernatural horror fiction which Stoker produced after Dracula, especially The Jewel of Seven Stars (1903), The Lady of the Shroud (1909), The Lair of the White Worm (1911), and the stores collected in his posthumous volume Dracula's Guest (1914). The best of these works tend to resemble Dracula in their plot elements and atmosphere, although it must be said that they seldom approach the effectiveness of the Transylvanian horrors in the vampire story. The Jewel of Seven Stars is largely a bed-side novel - its characters gathered around the comatose Egyptologist whose collection has introduced an age-old feline horror into Victorian England - and is reminiscent of the bed-side scenes which occupy much of the middle of Dracula. The more artificial supernatural adventure story The Lair of the White Worm is less impressive, and shows some disgusting signs of race and gender prejudice which tend to exclude it from library shelves nowadays. Again an ancient supernatural force has become personified as a threat to peaceful English society, which can only be averted by many brave adventures and some appallingly messy violence. This curiously bad and silly book is notable for its early formulation of another of the great movie- myths of our century, the monstrous figure who survives from some archaic evil to assume semi-human form and menace a completely unprepared modern society.

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A Question of Scale

    Liber 231 (a.k.a. Liber Arcanorum . . . etc.), the basis for the weekly pathworkings at Cheth House in north Berkeley, contains a cryptic disclaimer not found in any other Class A document:

This book is true up to the grade of Adeptus Exemptus.
-- V.V.V.V.V. 8 = 3

    After having worked with this book for a few years, I've come to the conclusion that this statement not only places limits on how far the material can be relied upon, but also provides an important clue as to exactly what it means. Adeptus Exemptus is the A A grade corresponding to the sphere of Chesed. It is the attainment of absolute self-reliance, during which the Adept prepares and publishes a thesis setting forth a systematic understanding of the universe. It is the highest grade before facing the crisis of the Crossing of the Abyss and the attainment of the grade of Magister Templi. Since the crossing of that Abyss involves the total annihilation of self, the Adeptus Exemptus can be thought of as the highest attainment possible for an individual as such.
    V.V.V.V.V. is the motto Aleister Crowley accepted upon his attainment of the Magister Templi grade in 1910, in full: "Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici," or "In my lifetime I have conquered the Universe by the force of Truth." So from the transpersonal perspective of the Magister Templi grade, he endorses the truth of Liber 231 up to the personal perspective of Adeptus Exemptus.
    How I find this works out in practice is that Liber 231 is a perfect "photograph" of how the 22 paths of the Tree of Life were embodied within the mind of Aleister Crowley, the Adept. Because of this, they are in a sense only interpretations of the paths, but because these interpretations are rendered with such clarity, they qualify as Class A, not to be changed by so much as the style of a letter. The way I experience this is that by working in a magical setting with the sight of the Arcanorum sigils and the sound of the Arcanorum names, I am able to experience a vivid recreation of what the paths meant to the author. From there, it is only a short jump to finding those corresponding places in my own mind. In this way, they form a condensed initiation into the mysteries of the paths. This month, we'll be working with the paths of Beth, the Magician, celebrating intelligence and cunning, on October 7th; Gimel, the High Priestess, who is purity and flux, on October 14th; Daleth, the Empress, embodying love and pleasure, on October 21st; and He, the Emperor, symbolizing conquest and energy, on October 28th. Held every Thursday night at 7:30, the Scales of the Serpent combine elements of Thelemic qabalah, Tibetan deity yoga, and the Sepher Yetzirah into an exploration of the Tarot trumps and their corresponding paths. Bring a small cushion, and offerings to the path of the evening. Call (510) 525-0666 for directions.
-- Michael Sanborn

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In Ebony's Wake

    I would like to thank everyone in the community for all of their support and donations. Also I would like to thank people who put work toward future publication projects. I must state that at this time such projects are not feasible, and will not be until the estate is closed. Thank you everyone, for all your help and support.
-- Liesl Reese

Crowley Classics

   These translations were published in Vanity Fair V:4 (New York: December 1915), page 51. They were selected from Crowley's complete edition of the fifty Petits Poèmes en Prose of Baudelaire. These fanciful sketches originally appeared in various French newspapers throughout the 1860s, and were collected after the poet's death in 1867. Crowley's translation was complete by 1913 e.v., but encountered troubles in publication and was not released until the Paris edition of 1928. The work must have been slightly revised (if not for the Paris edition, then perhaps for the Vanity Fair editors), and the two texts of these six pieces differ with respect to punctuation, as well as exhibiting a few verbal variations. The 1915 texts may have been toned down slightly for fear of sensitive "decency" committees which enjoyed persecuting (and occasionally prosecuting) free expression in the American press at that time. In the opening piece, for example, in the phrase used by the apparition, here rendered "a rare jade I am," the 1928 text substitutes the word "bitch" for the magazine's "jade." In the third, fourth, and fith pieces the omission of several lines has tended to excise the poems' most passionate references; we have here restored Crowley's phrases, within square editorial brackets. In the third piece an erroneous transposition of phrase has been silently put right according to the 1928 text.

Six Little Poems in Prose
by Charles Baudelaire

translated by Aleister Crowley

Which is the True One?

    I once knew a girl called Benedicta, who filled the atmosphere with the ideal, whose eyes shed forth the desire of greatness, beauty, glory - all that which makes a man believe in immortality.
    But this miraculous girl was too lovely to live for long, and, some days after I had become acquainted with her, she died. It was I myself that buried her, one day when the Spring swung its thurible even within cemeteries. It was I that buried her, well shut up in a bier of perfumed wood, incorruptible as are the coffers of India.
    And as my eyes remained fastened on the place wherein was buried my treasure, I saw (on a sudden) a little person who resembled the dead woman strangely; who, stamping on the fresh earth with a strange and hysterical violence, shouted with laughter, and said, "I am the real Bernedicta, and a rare jade I am, and for the punishment of your folly and blindness you shall love me!"
    I, furious, answered, "No, no, no!" and to emphasize my refusal I struck the ground so firmly with my foot that my leg buried itself to the knee in the fresh-turned earth, and, like a wolf taken in a snare, I remain attached, perhaps forever, to the grave of the ideal.

Intoxicate Yourself

    One must always be drunk.
    Everything lies in that; it is the only question worth considering. In order not to feel the horrible burden of time which breaks your shoulders and bows you down to earth, you must intoxicate yourself without truce - but with what?
    With wine, poetry, art? As you will; but intoxicate yourself.
    And if sometimes upon the steps of a palace, or upon the green grass of a moat, or in the sad solitude of your own room, you awake - intoxication already diminished or disappeared - ask of the wind, of the wave, of the star, of the bird, of the clock, of all that flies, of all that groans, of all that rolls, of all that sings, of all that speaks - ask, what time is it? And the wind, the wave, the star, the bird, the clock, will answer you, "It is time to intoxicate yourself." In order to escape from the slavish martyrdom of time, intoxicate yourself; unceasingly intoxicate yourself; with wine, or poetry, or art - as you will.

The Moon's Gift

    The moon, who is caprice itself, looked in at the window while thou didst sleep in thy cradle, and said to herself, "This child pleases me."
    Softly she descended her ladder of clouds and passed noiselessly through the window-panes. Then she stretched herself upon thee with the supple tenderness of a mother, and laid her colors on thy face. From that thine eyes are turned green, and thy cheeks are marvelous pale. It is through looking at this celestial visitant that thine eyes are grown so strangely large. She has so tenderly fastened on thy throat that thou hast therefore kept forever the desire to weep.
    And yet in the overflowing of her joy the moon filled all the room with a phosphorescent light, like a luminous poison, and all this living light was thinking and saying: "Thou shalt know eternally the influence of my kiss; thou shalt be beautiful in my fashion. Thou shalt love me - the Water, the Clouds, Silence, Night; the vast green Sea, the shapeless water that hath many shapes; the place where thou art not, the lover that thou knowest not, monstrous flowers, and delirious perfumes, [cats that swoon at music and groan as women do with harsh, soft voice.]
    "And thou shalt be loved of my lovers, courted by my courtiers. Thou shalt be the queen of those men whose eyes are green and whose throats I have clutched in my nocturnal caresses: of those who love the sea, the vast, tumultuous green sea, the shapeless water that hath many shapes, the place where they are not, the woman whom they know not; the sinister flowers that resemble the thuribles of an unknown religion; the perfumes that trouble the will, and the savage and voluptuous beasts that are the symbols of their madness."
    And it became of all that, spoilt child, accursèd and belovèd, that I am crouched this moment at thy feet, seeking, in all thy being, the reflection of that fearful Divinity, that god-mother prophetic, that poisonous nurse of all the madmen-of-the-moon.


    Whoso looks from without into an open window never sees so much as he who looks at a closed window. There is nothing more profound, more mysterious, more fertile, more darksome, more dazzling, than a window lighted by a candle. [What one may see in sunlight is always less interesting than what passes behind the glass. In this black or shining cavity life lives, life dreams, life suffers.]
    Beyond the waves of roof I see a woman, middle-aged, already wrinkled, poor, always bending. She never goes out. With her face, her clothing, her gesture - almost nothing - I have reconstructed the story of this woman - or rather, her legend, and sometimes I tell it to myself, and weep.
    If it had been a poor old man, I could have reconstructed his history just as easily.
    And I lie down to sleep, proud of having lived and suffered in others.
    Perhaps you will say to me, "Are you sure that your fairy tale is true?"
    What does outside reality matter to me, if my imagination has helped me to live, to feel what I am?


    A hundred times already the sun had sprung radiant or saddened from that vast basin of the sea whose shores scarce let themselves be seen; a hundred times already it had plunged again, sparkling or morose, into its immense evening bath. For many days we were able to contemplate the other side of the firmament and decipher the celestial Alphabet of the Antipodes, and each of the passengers grumbled and scolded.
    One would have said that getting near to land increased their suffering.
    "When then," they cried, "shall we cease to sleep a sleep that is shaken by the wave, disturbed by a wind that snores louder than we? When shall we be able to digest our dinners in motionless chairs?"
    Some of them thought of their fireside, regretted their faithless and sullen wives, their squalling offspring. They were all [so] obsessed by the image of the absent land [that I think they would have eaten grass more enthusiastically than do cattle]. At last we sighted the shore, and as we approached, behold, it was a land magnificent and dazzling; it seemed that all the harmonious sounds of life came from it in a vague murmur, and that from this coast, rich in every sort of greenery, there exhaled to a distance of many leagues a delicious odor of fruits and flowers.
    Immediately everyone was joyful, and illhumor departed; all quarrels were forgotten, all wrongs pardoned. [The duels which had been arranged were erased from memory, and ill-will fled away like clouds of smoke.]
    I alone was sad, inconceivably sad.
    [Like a priest from whom one should ravish his Divinity,] I could not without heart-breaking bitterness tear myself from this sea so monstrously seductive, from this sea so infinitely varied in its terrifying simplicity; this sea which seems to contain in itself and to represent by its play, its enticements, its rages and its smiles, the dispositions, the agonies and the ecstasies of every soul that hath ever lived, that now lives, that ever shall live.
    As I bade farewell to its incomparable beauty I felt myself smitten down, even to death, and [therefore] whenever one of my companions cried "At last!" I was only able to cry "Already!"
    And yet it was land; land with its noises, its passions, its conveniences, its festivals; a rich and magnificent country full of fair promise, which sent to us a mysterious perfume of rose and musk, and whence, in an amorous murmur, came to us all the music of life.

The Bad Glazier

    . . . . . One morning I got up in a bad temper, sad, tired of idleness, and impelled, it seemed to me, to do something big, a brilliant action; and I opened the window. Alas!
    The first person that I saw in the street was a glazier whose piercing and discordant cry came up to me through the heavy and contaminated atmosphere of Paris. It would be utterly impossible for me ever to tell you why I was suddenly seized with a hatred, as sudden as it was despotic, against the poor man.
    "Hullo, hullo," I cried to him to come up. At the same time I reflected, not without some amusement, that my room being on the sixth story, and the staircase extremely narrow, that the man was bound to find it rather difficult to make the ascent, and to catch in many a place the corners of his merchandise.
    At last he appeared. Having examined all his glasses with curiosity, I said to him: "What, you have no colored glasses? - Rose glasses, red glasses, blue glasses, magic glasses, glasses of Paradise! You impudent fellow; you dare to walk about in the poor quarters of the town, and you have not even glasses which make life look beautiful!" And I pushed him vigorously towards the staircase, where he stumbled and swore.
    I went to the balcony and seized a little flower-pot; and when the man reappeared in the doorway I let fall my engine of war on the back edge of his shoulder straps, and the shock overthrowing him, he broke beneath his back all his poor walking stock in trade, which uttered the crashing cry of a glass palace split by lightning.
    And, drunk with my madness I cried to him furiously: "Let life look beautiful, let life look beautiful!"

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from the Grady Project:

This passage has been selected from Grady's 1954 thesis The Millennial Glow: Myth and Magic in the Marxist Ethic.

Extract from
"Myth and Magic as a Universe of Discourse"

by Grady Louis McMurtry

    That the rational may exist within the irrational and that the irrational may be generated by the rational may seem strange to those who have been excessively impressed by the ease with which the methodology of symbol structure has clarified the routines of the physical universe. That this is really not so strange, however, should become apparent when we remember that

    Nothing is more removed from actual events than the closed rational system.
Under certain circumstances, nothing contains more irrational drive than a fully
self-contained, intellectualistic world-view.
China had a long tradition of bureaucracy and rationalism, yet its highest administrators were "magically endowed." Nazi Germany was a bureaucratic state and rationally routinized to a high degree, yet it had a charismatic leadership.2 In the same way the Marxist ethic, when applied to a practical political situation, results in a monolithic bureaucracy ruled by a vocational elite whose claims of exclusive knowledge as to the working of the historical dialectic is to be understood only within the irrational world of the magic universe of discourse.3
    Magic is the art of changing the world by a direct act of will. In this instance the will is the collective desire of the "masses," or tribe, as directed by the hero of tribal magician. In this way the millennium is to be brought to birth. Acceptance of this point of view prescribes that the world so created, created both by the general "will" of the "masses" of people and the "act" or "will" of History, is the only right, just or moral world and therefore any device or means used to facilitate its inauguration is morally justified. This is the gate by which the idealist enters the closed moral world of Marxist tribalism. For if he can accept the belief that the world can be completely changed by a collective act of will, a belief which is rendered rationally plausible by the concept of the dialectic, and if he can identify himself with those who supposedly generate this mass movement then he can, as Silone says, participate in the process of "collective redemption." He becomes a tribalist, a Koures, a member of a holistic group. He has cut himself off from the rest of the universe. He has pulled around himself a cloak of his collectivity and entered a closed system of rationality. And in this closed system he has a myth, his Marxist ideology, by which to rationalize its contradictions, for a myth is the rationale by which the world of magic is made morally justifiable and intellectually plausible.
    We have discussed the act, or collective means of magical action that is confused and identified by the Marxists with the historical "act" of the dialectic, the man, or the embodiment of that means of action in a tribal hero or prophet of the dialectic, and tribalism, the antique manner of thinking in the ideological terms of myth that is the magical universe of discourse within which both of these operate. All three are necessary to produce the millennium of the Marxist ethic: the revolutionary act of the masses by which the world is transformed into the glow of a millennial dawn, the charismatic prophet who can divine the course of History and help bring it about by enunciating the doctrine of the future, and the comprehensive universe of discourse within which it can be made morally justifiable and intellectually plausible. In succeeding chapters we will deal with these . . .

1. Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia, p. 197.
2. Franz Neumann, Behemoth (New York: Oxford, 1942), p. 81.
3. Mannheim, op. cit., p. 118.

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One Member's Opinion

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

by Nathan W. Bjorge

part three:
The Categories of Initiation

    In the next set of installments in this series I will attempt to describe the various elements of Ebony's magical system, as I currently understand them. My discussion will, to the best of my ability, try to accurately represent and interpret what he thought and was doing from '97 to his death in '99. From those few of his notes and journals that I have been able to review for this article series, I know that his conception of this system in, say, 1988 is quite different from what I will be presenting here. People who worked with him in earlier periods will have their own understandings of what Hawk and Jackal is. I think this is great - these articles represent a personal interpretation.
    As my first topic, I would like to address the overall conception of the stages of the Great Work as understood by the Hawk and Jackal system. To what end are the various magical technologies we will be exploring directed? Enthusiasts of Ebony's work over the years have often been quick to seize on the flashier technologies, such as Tesseract Magick, and use them independently outside of a true self-transformational context. I have personally found the Tesseract to ultimately be less than useless unless directed towards the Great Work by some kind of additional framework. The thelemic three grade system, endorsed by Hawk and Jackal, provided one such possible framework.

Three True Grades

    In the Book of the Law it says: "Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit, and the Lover, and the man of Earth. Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" (AL I:40). Within the thelemic tradition AL I:40 has been interpreted by Crowley and others to refer to three "true grades" (my own term). That is to say, these designations refer to the three general stages of attainment of the Great Work. Following this interpretation, the three grades are designated as corresponding to the three main subdivisions, or colleges, of the A A.

    Man of Earth = Ordo G D = Neophyte through Dominus Liminus A A

    Lover = Ordo R C = Adeptus Minor through Exempt Adept A A

    Hermit = Ordo S S = Magister Templi through Ipsissimus A A

    The O.T.O. also uses these three designations within its three triad system, but in a different manner than in A A. The present discussion is not concerned with this separate structure.
    References to these divisions in the following discussion designate the highest sense of the term A A - the true, universal inner order accessible to all human beings by right. The particular outer organization created by Aleister Crowley in 1909 and called A A is an attempt to instantiate this spiritual hierarchy in a transmittable manner. Hawk and Jackal is a distinct and separate attempt to perform the same task, at least in theory. We will have the occasion, in part four of the series, to see to what extent the system might or might not live up to its potential. For this month, however, I would like to present the ideal model.
    Having adopted the three grade system from the greater Thelemic tradition, Ebony discusses their nature largely within the second part of The Books of the Hawk and Jackal. Let's examine what he has to say. Each of the three true grades possesses its own archetypical set of symbols. This set illustrates the plane upon which the grade operates. The task of the grades to obtain an understanding of the set and to place its components into an appropriate and balanced disposition. "Equilibrium is the basis of the Work" (Liber Librae). This equilibration is accomplished by the passage of an ordeal. Which passage then actualizes an attainment.
    The Man of Earth works upon the terrestrial level, the plane of the four elements. These classic four categories symbolize many things, but they especially connote the basic components of the psyche. Fire is will, water intuition and emotion, air reason and intellect, earth the physical body and its sensations. Often opposed and at odds with each other in the psyche, they are complementary when in equilibrium. The task of the Man of Earth, therefore, is symbolized by situating oneself at the center of the cross of the elements, at the point of balance. From this still point at the midst of the whirling elements, communion is possible with that which has set them in motion. The ordeal is the inertia of the elements, their resistance to realignment. In a certain sense their balance is impossible without the intercession of a transcendent factor: the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.
    Knowledge and Conversation provides the radical breakthrough, a direct communication with the divine, which defines an adept within the Thelemic tradition. This is the grade of the Love. Having discovered one's True Will, the work is now to do that True Will, and nothing else. The lover works upon the Macrocosmic, or planetary plane. The Man of Earth equilibrated the components of the "little world" or microcosm. Now the Lover's task is to extend that equilibrated microcosm into alignment with the macrocosm. The limited self is emptied into the universal Self, culminating in the so-called ordeal of the Abyss. Passage through the Abyss constitutes attainment of Binah and mastery of the temple of the universe.
    Concerning the work of the Lovers, Ebony declares "Only when we have accomplished these tasks of the Adept, and can maintain our equilibrium on the Planetary planes, the realization of who one truly is has not occurred. Only when this Great Work of realization, of the unity between the Microcosm within, and the Macrocosm without, has taken place; can we put aside all that we, before, would have called 'self,' and cross the Abyss" (Books of the Hawk and Jackal, part 2, page 36).
    The Hermit, or Master, works upon the plane of the Astral. In this context this refers to the plane of the fixed stars. Ebony's conception of Thelemic mastery was essentially identical to the Master Therion's as expressed in One Star in Sight and his other writings.
    This is the basic structure of the three true grades, which Ebony holds in common conception with the greater Thelemic tradition. He also had a number of personal Kabalistic interpretations of them, which we will now explore.

The Four Understandings

    The Book of the Law says, "The fool readeth this Book of the Law, and its comment; and he understandeth it not. Let him come through the first ordeal, and it will be to him as silver. Through the second, gold. Through the third, stones of precious water. Through the fourth, ultimate sparks of the intimate fire" (AL III: 63-67). Ebony maps the stages given in these verses onto the true grades according to the following scheme.
    Silver corresponds to the Man of Earth. Silver symbolizes the moon and the initial full/new moon coven work undertaken by the initiate of the Hawk and Jackal. The moon refers to the sub-lunary sphere of the Ptolemaic cosmology - the terrestrial realm of the four elements below the planetary spheres - Malkuth and Yesod as Earth and the near astral beneath the higher planetary sepheroth. This Earth moon pair constitute the elementary plane of the Man of Earth for the Hawk and Jackal system.
    Gold is assigned to the Lovers. Gold symbolizes the Sun, which is the central point of the planetary plane. Gold symbolizes the attainment of solar consciousness of the adept.
    Stones of Precious Water bridges into the Hermits, but for this four fold model refers specifically to the Masters of the Temple. "Precious Water" is here read as a reference to the Great Sea of Binah. The Master of the Temple partakes of the stellar consciousness of the plane of the fixed stars.
    There is one more stage: that of the Magus, who achieves the ultimate sparks of the intimate fire. At this lever, the Magus transcends the zodiac of the solar system and partakes of the mysteries of galactic consciousness. Ebony never achieved the grade of Magus, and so this level remains posited as an ideal for the Hawk and Jackal system. In most regards it is identical to the normative A A conception.
    Concerning the Ipsissimus, the Hawk and Jackal system is silent.

A Digression of Consciousness

    With regard to the mysteries of solar, stellar, and galactic consciousness previously alluded to, I should explain that Ebony intended this in a relatively literal sense. He was a firm and vocal adherent of Rupert Sheldrake's morphogenetic field theory. This theory holds that consciousness exists as a non-localized electromagnetic field effect. Sheldrake, in a few places - most notable in The Physics of Angels, co-written with Matthew Fox - advances the possibility that stars may possess consciousness. This is due to the complex electromagnetic activity in their coronas. It could produce effects like the complex electromagnetic activity of the brain; i.e. consciousness. Or, as Ebony put it to me succinctly, "For me, the Sun is physically God." Under this conception the designation of the third order as the Silver Star is literal. Ebony did not think that the Sun was "talking to him." His conception was of a type of consciousness on a vastly higher octave of being that could nevertheless be brushed against by a human as a type of transcendent communion.
    The idea of the morphogenetic field is not an essential component of Ebony's system. Nevertheless, it was a personal belief of Ebony's that the universe itself was some kind of morphogenetic field, that the universe was conscious. He was in many ways a classical Panthiest. Divinity was totally imminent for him, and he experienced it about himself consciously.

(to be continued)

Previous article -- Part Two                   Next Installment -- Part Four.

Events Calendar for October 1999 e.v.

10/2/99Jack Parsons Lesser Feast 6PM
in Hayward
Rosslyn Cmp
10/3/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
10/6/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
10/7/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House with Michael
Thelema Ldg.
10/10/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
10/14/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House with Michael
Thelema Ldg.
10/16/99OTO Initiations, call to attendThelema Ldg.
10/17/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
10/18/99Grady McMurtry Lesser Feast 7:30PM
At Ancient Ways
10/21/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House with Michael
Thelema Ldg.
10/24/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
10/25/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: novels and stories by Bram
Stoker, 8PM at OZ house
Thelema Ldg.
10/27/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
10/28/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House with Michael
Thelema Ldg.
10/24/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple
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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