Thelema Lodge Calendar for November 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for November 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

November 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Cor Scorpionis

    Crossing another quarter with the sun, the lodge will gather for a seasonal observation of the festival of Samhain as we transit the heart of the Scorpion in the midst of the autumn. Join in at Cheth House in the Berkeley hills at 2:00 on the afternoon of Sunday 7th November, so that we can have our ritual circle established for the actual crossing point about an hour later. Afterwards we will feast together until evening approaches and the time comes to head across town to Horus Temple for the gnostic mass. All are requested to bring food and drinks to share, but even more importantly at such a festival as this, each will be expected to "Be Your Own Beast" - keep the fire blazing in your eyes, the howl curdling in your throat, and the trail of carnage wide and warm in your wake! For directions, call ahead to Cheth House at (510) 525-0666.

    Communion is shared at Thelema Lodge among members, friends, and guests each Sunday evening in Horus Temple at the gnostic mass. Our lodge is now in its twenty-third year of celebrating a weekly working of Aleister Crowley's Liber XV, and although there may have been a couple weeks missed on a few confused occasions years ago, quite a few of the bishops and officers currently working in our temple have been continuously active for more than half of this long span. New officers are always welcome in the temple too, and those studying the ritual and performing it privately are encouraged to consult with their favorite bishop for advice about scheduling a mass for the lodge.
    Our mass begins earlier this time of year, and everyone should be arriving by 7:30 on Sundays to be ready for the deacon's call to enter the temple. Visitors are welcome to participate with us in this Thelemic eucarist ceremony; even though you may not know the words to the anthem or all the responses of the "People" in the ritual, you'll have an easy enough time working in concert with the rest of us as communicants in the mass. When planning to attend for the first time, call the lodge well ahead at (510) 652- 3171 for directions and information.

    Persons "free, of full age, and of good report" may apply for initiation in Ordo Templi Orientis by submitting the proper informational and sponsorship form, which is available from lodge officers at most events. Although a good bargain, membership is not cheap in O.T.O., and annual dues are collected on the occasion of each initiation, along with a smaller initiation fee for the lodge (which is usually spent on the feast with which the event concludes). Participation in most of the rituals, classes, celebrations, and other events at this lodge is open without regard to membership status, and for some of our favorite friends this informal connection is the best way to remain part of Thelema Lodge. For those who do decide to measure their personal development according to the systematic scale of initiatory progress formulated in the O.T.O. degrees, initiations are scheduled at the lodge to accommodate demand. These events are strictly private to active initiate members of the degree being worked, and may be attended only by advance arrangement. This month initiations will be held on two consecutive Saturdays, with advancements in O.T.O. on 13th November, and receptions into the Order on 20th November. Members please consult with the lodge officers or call the lodgemaster to attend. Candidates must take it upon themselves to maintain good contact with the lodge at they await initiation.

Flowers of Evil

    The writings of Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) will be the subject for this month's meeting of the Section Two reading group, with Caitlin inviting readers and listeners to join us on Monday evening 15th November at 8:00 for a discussion of the first great lyric poet of the dark side of the urban experience. This month the reading group will meet in the library at Thelema Lodge.
    Modern poetry as our outgoing vulgar century has conceived of it seems to have two primary foundation stones, each of which is a great collection of lyric verse from the middle of the preceding century. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman and the Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire each embodied years of poetic craftsmanship, expanding and developing over a number of editions through the 1860s. These books redefined poetry, and of the two it was probably the torments explored in the French collection - the psychological, physical, artistic, erotic, and spiritual degradation of a cultured Parisian - which have had the greater influence. Certainly they did for Crowley, who was more influenced by Baudelaire than by any other poet, and translated much of his work into English (including the complete Little Poems in Prose, the hashish essays, and about a dozen of the Flowers themselves).
    Baudelaire, who was born and died in Paris, inherited a fortune when he came of age and wasted it so quickly that he not only spent the rest of his life indebted and impoverished, but even lost his legal status as an adult to manage his own affairs. Still a fancy dresser with fine manners and a proud style, he was a leading critic of art and culture, and the greatest French translator of the work of Edgar Allan Poe, whose originals Baudelaire is often said to have surpassed in literary style. His poems, celebrating erotic shame and urban squalor in elegant stanzas of classical French lines, were prosecuted as an "outrage to public decency" in 1857, but an enlarged collection (suppressing six specific pieces) was republished more successfully in 1861. Baudelaire's repudiation of poetic sentimentality provided an entire new voice for modern literature, and his precise attention to sensation was the example upon which the "Symbolist" poetry of the next few generations was based. We will hope to have a French reader or two on hand for our discussion, since Baudelaire is difficult to translate, but so many English versions are available that other readers can easily get a good whiff of the Flowers. Pick your own evil bouquet of favorites and bring it along to the lodge with us.

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Technical N.O.X. Out

    The College of Hard N.O.X., a twice-monthly discussion group sponsored by Thelema Lodge, is now able to offer the worldwide Thelemic community a 7 day / 24 hour adjunct for email exchanges on all current (or earlier) topics or on completely new topics of interest to Thelemites.
    N.O.X. Online is located at: The present format allows messages to be read and posted by anyone (though we may in future limit posting to members only if spammers or Christers ever discover us). You can subscribe to the list as ordinary email or, if you register with eGroups, you can use the web interface. We especially welcome the interest of Order members outside of the SF Bay area as they are the most unlikely to be able to attend in person. It is recommended that new subscribers read those messages which have already been posted, especially the ones with "N.O.X. Online" in the subject line as these are statements of policy and/or general information.
    One of our face-to-face meetings in November would ordinarily fall on the day before Thanksgiving, but it has been canceled in favor of food and fun with family and friends. So the only November session will be held in the lodge library at 8 o'clock on the evening of the 3rd. The discussion for this month will focus on the origins of the modern O.T.O., specifically the question, "What, if any, part did Carl Kellner and Mariano Cardinal Rampolla play in the founding of the Order?" Both of these men are listed in Liber LII (Manifesto of the O.T.O.) as members of the "constituent originating assemblies of the O.T.O.", but there is at present considerable controversy over their actual roles in the early stages of the formation of Ordo Templi Orientis. This month the College will examine the evidence (or lack thereof) concerning their roles in our history.
    Carl Kellner was a Viennese electrochemist who made some important discoveries which allowed for the commercial use of wood pulp in papermaking. He was also an influential early writer in German on the subject of Yoga, and a member of several masonic and occult societies (through which he became acquainted with Theodor Reuss). Near the end of his life (he died in 1905) he headed an organization (the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light) which apparently taught esoteric Tantric methods of sex magic. Though this organization was clearly a factor in the origins of O.T.O. we have only the testimony of Reuss to indicate that Kellner founded (or at least intended to found) our Order. The contemporary researcher P. R. Koenig (who, despite his peculiar biases and bizarre interpretations, has brought to light much interesting source material on the German history of O.T.O.) has been unable to discover any sources which confirm Reuss' assertions regarding Kellner. Our discussion will consider the likelihood of various explanatory scenarios (i.e., that Reuss invented the connection out of whole cloth, that Kellner was indeed the first O.H.O., or that the truth lies somewhere between these two).
    Even more controversial is the place of Mariano Cardinal Rampolla del Tindaro in Order history. Did a man who was Vatican Secretary of State and Scriptor of the Vatican Library under Pope Leo XIII, who was almost elected Pope himself in 1903, and who later headed the Congregation of the Holy Office (successor to the Inquisition) really secretly belong to an international body of esoteric Masons (a membership which would have probably entailed his excommunication had it been discovered)? This is what many modern conspiracy theorists, following the lead of the French ultra-rightist Monseigneur Jouin, have come to believe. In fact, the only source for these allegations which I have been able to discover is the Manifesto itself. The fact that Rampolla represented the most liberal and modernist trend in turn-of-the-century Catholicism is ample excuse for right-wingers to seize upon the Manifesto to discredit him; however, it seems more than likely that Crowley included the deceased cleric's name on his list of forebears for reasons of public relations and humor (I'm sure the surname Rampolla conjured up a very amusing image in the Prophet's mind!). The Cardinal was widely expected to be elected Leo's successor as Pope, but his election was vetoed by the Habsburg Emperor Franz Jozef (one of Pius X's first actions after his election in 1903 was to abolish this right of veto by secular rulers). The veto is often explained as the action of a conservative monarch to prevent a liberal's election. Jouin attributed it to the revelation of Rampolla's Masonic connections (he quotes Pius X as calling the Cardinal "Miserable man!", which makes little sense when one considers that Pius later appointed this same man to head the church's department of doctrinal correctness!). A more realistic explanation is offered by the Austro-Hungarian Count Carl Lonyay in his book on the Mayerling murder- suicide involving Franz Jozef's son Rudolf. Rampolla was the Papal Secretary of State at that time, and he personally refused the dispensation which would allow Rudolf's burial in sacred ground, for which he incurred the undying enmity of the Emperor, who exacted his revenge twenty years later by vetoing the Cardinal's election as Pope.
    We will discuss these and other surprising facets of Rampolla's career (he is perhaps indirectly responsible for the establishment of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, a modern schismatic excrescence of Roman Catholicism) on November 3rd. All those interested in the history of the O.T.O. are cordially invited to attend.

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    The series of pathworkings called the Scales of the Serpent began on the last Thursday of September. At 7:30 PM, participants gathered at Cheth House in Berkeley to explore the path of Aleph, corresponding to Atu 0 of the Tarot, the Fool. After a preliminary discussion of the path and the ritual, we gathered our cushions and, at the sound of the bell, silently filed into the temple.
    The temple was ceremonially opened with a combination of familiar magical techniques (including the Invocation of Thoth) and modified Tibetan practices intended to ground the work within the aim of the enlightenment and liberation of all beings. From there, we visualized entering the path and coming into contact with the intelligence of Aleph as presented in Liber Arcanorum. Once the presence of the spirit had stabilized, we took time to make offerings to the path. Some of us read aloud material that we had brought while others gave spontaneous recitals. Afterwards, we practiced visualizing ourselves as the Fool, feeling the presence become our own, and reflected on the symbolism of the Trump. We then embodied the Wheel of T.A.R.O. and chanted while feeling its spin. After a period of silent meditation, there was a musical interlude intended to accompany the contemplation of fulfillment. Finally, the work was dissolved into formlessness, and the temple was closed once more.
    In subsequent workings, we have added the practice of the chanting of the 231 gates from the Sepher Yezirah. In addition to providing further energy to the workings, this technique also has the effect of integrating each working with those that came before it. So those who were unable to attend the first working should still feel welcome to come to Cheth House on Thursday evenings at 7:30 as we continue to explore the paths of the Tree of Life. 4th November will be dedicated to He, the Emperor (AL I:57 notwithstanding), the path of conquest and energy; 11th November will be Vau, the Hierophant, initiation and guidance; 18th November will be Zain, the Lovers, intuition and science. On 25th November we'll take a break for Thanksgiving. For further information and directions, call (510) 525-0666. Bring a sitting cushion, and a reading or offering in honor of the path.

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Let's Get Sirius

    Sirius Oasis in Berkeley will be meeting now in the dark of the year on the final Monday evening of each month at 8:00, beginning this 29th November. If you're not sure that you're Sirius, call the Oasis Master for directions at (510) 527-2855. You could avoid getting into Sirius confusion by becoming involved now! How will you feel when you find out that this silent and secret conclave of Sirius magicians has taken over the universe without you? At least give it some Sirius thought; we'll usually have desserts, coffee, and tea at the meetings (help out with these if you like), and advance planning for many interesting events. It may sound funny but we're really Sirius.

Crowley Classics

   That Baudelaire may be regarded as one of Crowley's primary literary influences is illustrated not only by the many translations, from a variety of genres, which he prepared from the French poet's work, but also by several original pieces which are meant to suggest Baudelaire's style and attitudes. Among these "Baudelairian" writings by Crowley are the two "prose poems" reprinted here. "Chez Sherry" is from Vanity Fair VII:4 (New York: December 1916), page 168, and "Charles Baudelaire," written in Paris in November 1913 e.v., was intended as a colophon for his unpublished 1915 verse collection The Giant's Thumb.

Two Poems in Prose
by Aleister Crowley

Chez Sherry: A Prose Poem

    Baudelaire says of the man who has eaten Hashish that he thinks himself a god who has dined ill; but I am not eating Hashish; I am eating bécasse flambé, and already I am a god who has dined devilish well.
    For I am asitting on the balcony at Sherry's, and I am one of the superior gods. Yes, this is a temple, and the maitre d'hôtel is the high priest of my cult. But they do not know my secret. I have a god of my own - the God of Sunset, whom the old Egyptians worshipped by his name of Tum. I am moved always to sly sacrilegious jests like this by that unusual Corton. With the second bottle the world becomes visible to my eyes; I see my friends about me, every one with a quick smile, a pleasant word, a deferential bow, or a glance of secret understanding. Magistral they sit among the napery and the silver and the crystal under the lamps, my friends delectable.

    There is the dapper banker, who slips me the sufficient word of Wall Street; there the gray dowager, to whose good will I owe so perfect a week at Newport; beyond her, with a gay crowd of sparkling girls, sits the King of Tact, young, handsome, and urbane, telling a delicately witty story. At the next table is the strong, stern face, lit kindly, of the great lawyer who plays politicians for pawns, and defies empires as a lesser man might defy flies.
    But mostly I am shamming; I pretend to greet the world; in truth my eyes flash furtively to a certain corner where, like a fairy peeping from a cornflower, amid her crepitating silk and whispering lace, laughs the rose- gold and ivory of a wine-flushed Bacchanal face, tiny and yet terrible, framed in faint flames of hair. Nobody knows as yet that we are eng-- hush! I will not tell it even to myself; I will signal it in sips of Burgundy, and get her answer in champagne!

    I like dining alone, for a change; I can perceive what, when I dine with others, I can only feel. The restaurant is not only a temple made with hands; it is the true temple, the universe. The stately swirl, ideally solemn and merry at once, is but a presentation, in the form of art, of the birth of a nebula.
    But silence! What are they about to sacrifice at my altar? It is my own favorite dish - a truffle wrapped in red pepper and a sage leaf, stewed in champagne, then baked in the shortest, crispest dumpling that delight could dream; each dumpling set upon a pyramid of foie gras. Besides them is an egg- shell china dish of caviar with stalks of young onions finely chopped - moistened with vodka. It is that which gives me one appetite for the salad of vanilla and alligator pear!
    I do not know any music like the murmur of a thousand hushed voices; I do not know any sight fairer than love and friendship - the flowers of philosophy - incarnate among men and women. And here I see them at the culmination. All harshness, all distress, all things that mar the measure, these no longer exist for us who dine. Without, the wind may howl, and fearful things of darkness menace our joys. Does not the blackness, the cold of space, encompass every star and every system?

    Do not be melancholy; have you not heard the tale of the philosopher who made the experiment of intoxicating himself with ether, and, after a little while, said solemnly. "NOTHINGNESS, with twinkles." Then, after applying himself yet a little more to the vial of madness, raised his venerable head, lofty with the purity and passion that informed it, to remark, "Nothingness with twinkles - but WHAT twinkles!"
    That (for I have finished the salad) is my identical state: nothing else is worth a word; bring the profiterolles au chocolat! The frozen cream within, a core of coolness; the spongy sweetness that engirdles it, the boiling chocolate sauce splashed over it - it is like the purity of love that masks itself in sweetness, strength, and passion.
    But love is not the end of life; beyond it is true worship, symbolized by coffee that makes vigilant; cognac that intoxicates; and the cigar that marries these in equipollence of peace.
    No, do not think, blasphemer, that I have dined! I have been god and worshipper, not in one temple only, but in every temple, of the universe. I have passed from the abyss to the abyss, and sounded every lyre of heaven, and heard its echo on every drum of hell.

    If I am exhausted, it is not with wine, but with ineffable rapture - for it is almost akin to suffering, this delight wherein one is lost and overwhelmed. The chariots of eternity and the horsemen thereof, oh my father! They course upon my soul; they trample my humanity; they leave me crushed and bleeding, so that, radiant and immortal, my pure, my passionate, my imperishable, impenetrable soul may seize the sceptre and acclaim itself imperial, heir of its celestial halidom, omnipotent, omniscent, omnipresent; a unit conscious of its identity with all; a concentration of knowledge, being, and bliss armed against change and sorrow and illusion ...
    "Your check. sir."

Charles Baudelaire

    Toussaint. I have walked through the Garden of the Luxembourg. It is like one's dancing-girl in the morning. The fallen leaves, the tangle of her dyed orange hair; the flowers agonizing, and monitorial. Ah me!
    I stand now by the tomb of my father - of Charles Baudelaire. Reverence I bring, and memory, and that seed whereof I am generator and guardian.
    Flowers I bring - flowers of that South windless and sea-washed and sun- embraced whereof He knew in manifold unique vision.
    Oh! my father! my father!
    Thou art dead: I die: That liveth and shall live for evermore while Our Father the Sun nourisheth Earth with His bounty.
    Thou didst understand all things, thou least understood of all men! Thou sawest all things beautiful - as they are: thou didst repine at all the futile restlessness of those things.
    No aim! No purpose! No will! Scarce one man in ten million with aspiration of cosmic scope. All waste. All loss. All fatuity - the sacred fire but ignis fatuus - the sun but limelight of how sorry a stage! Thou hadst that infinite distaste for the relative, that infinite craving for the absolute that is the mark (is, for the two are one) of all the saints. Saint, through what sins who knows or cares? "The chief of sinners is the chief of saints." I no longer remember what poet, what creator of truth from illusion, said this.
    My father saw all things very good, as God upon His Sabbath of Creation. Only he could not understand why they should seek evermore to be other than they are. He could not conceive change as stability, could not understand that constancy of energy is rest. Therefore my little finger is thicker than my father's loins. But, O my father, it was Thou that didst inspire me, Thou that didst bestow upon me the Unique Inheritance, Thou that didst instill in me the Hunger of the Infinite, Thou that didst beget me, after Swinburne thy first-begotten that died at his puberty, Thou that didst bestow on me the chiefest of all gifts, never to be satisfied with whatever attainment might be mine.
    I am eight-and-thirty years of age; I have bestridden the world; from its seas to its mountains I have known all, I have tasted all, I have enjoyed all, I have built up all into my being; and yet I keep the burning lust of youth, the craving, the desolation, the triumph and the despair. Thou knowest, O my father, dead though Thou liest beneath the ill-carven stone of the sham sculptor, that I am Thou. In me, conscious as subconscious, burns That immortal, That insatiable fire that is a serpent, that is an eagle, that is a dove. I impregnate a thousand virgins immaculate; I am enthroned on the right-hand of God; I am the First and the Last, creator, preserver, destroyer, redeemer. And still I hunger; still I, who have conquered being as I have conquered form, lust for what is beyond being and form, beyond matter and motion, beyond That which neither is nor is not That which both is not and is.
    Hail unto Thee, my father, Hail and fare well!

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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 "The Marxist Ethic"

by Grady Louis McMurtry

    The world of magic is the world of mind. As Malinowski says:

    Magic is based on specific experiences of emotional states in which man observes not nature but himself, in which the truth is revealed not by reason but by the play of emotions upon the human organism. Science is founded upon the conviction that experience, effort, and reason are valid; magic on the belief that hope cannot fail nor desire deceive. The theories of knowledge are dictated by logic, those of magic by the association of ideas under the influence of desire.1

That is why the world of magic is so "fluid", mutable, plastic, or protean, why it is possible to create entire worlds of deductive articulation by definition, i.e., by a creative-coercive act of will, why its shapes shift so easily as they phase in and out of focus, why opposites can interpenetrate and quantities become qualities, why it flows in the ordered sequence of habit, ritual and tradition and why a change can be made and maintained only by the most rigorous concentration of will. And because it is the world of mind it is a dramatic world full of fantasy, terror, omnipotence and the stuff of dreams. And myth is the validation of magic.

    The magician unconsciously assumes the fusion of power, quality, and object. But besides being a compulsive technique magic is in and of itself an aesthetic activity. Magic is immediately available to art, and art to magic . . . any narrative or poem which reaffirms the dynamism and vibrancy of the world, which fortifies the ego with the impression that there is a magically potent brilliancy or dramatic force in the world, can be called a myth . . . the whole groundwork of myth is magical; for the storyteller can compose myths about wonderfully potent animals and men who defy the laws of time and space, as well as the laws which limit the mutability of species, and still remain close to the confines of the psychology of magic. Magic . . . emphasizes the power of men as opposed to the power of the gods . . .

1. Malinowski, "Magic, Science and Religion" (Boston: Beacon Press, 1948), p. 67.
2. Richard Chase, "Quest for Myth" (Baton Roughe: Louisiana State University Press, 1949),
    pp. 80-1; cf. Raymond Royce Willoughby, "Magic and Cognate Phenomena:
    An Hypothesis," chapter 12 "A Handbook of Social Psychology," Carl Murchison (ed.)
    (Worcester, Massachusetts: Clark University Press, 1935), passim.

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 four:
The Categories of Initiation (continued)

    This month directly continues October's discussion of the characteristics of the three grades of Thelema, as understood in Ebony's system. These are the grades of Man of Earth (initiate), Lover (adept), and Hermit (master).

Beams of the Temple

    In an original kabalistic interpretation, Ebony aligns the three true grades with the three "beams of the temple." These are the three horizontal paths of the tree of Life diagram - the paths of Peh, Teth, and Dalet. If the values of these letters are added together they numerate to 93. In The Vision and the Voice, Vision of the Eighth Aethyr, Aiwass declares:
    "Therefore did I kindle him that had not understanding, and in the Book of the Law did I write the secrets of truth that are like a Star and a Snake and a Sword."

    Paths of Peh (between Netzach and Hod) = Blasted Tower / Mars = Man of Earth = Sword
    Path of Teth (between Chesed and Geburah) = Lust / Leo = Lovers = Serpent
    Path of Dalet (between Chokmah and Binah) = Empress / Venus = Hermits = Star

    As Ebony writes in The Books of the Hawk and Jackal part 2, page 59, "The Men of Earth are the Army of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, even the woman is girt with a sword. The Lovers wear the Lion Serpent of Lust, Babalon and the Beast conjoined. The Hermit wears the Star of Nuit (cf. CCXX I:60)."
    And again in part 2, page 60, "The Mystic - the Hermit gives of his life to the world and has true affinity to Dallet in a certain secret way. The magicians - the Lovers follow the example of the Beast and Babalon. The Men of Earth worship at the Blasted House of God. They give devotion to Ra-Hoor- Khuit."
    The symbolism of Peh and Teth is relatively straightforward regarding their grade correspondences. Dalet is less so. Why does Ebony see this path as symbolizing Thelemic mastership? A further passage from the vision of the Eighth Aethyr makes this assignment clear.
    Aiwass declares: ". . . I am the influence of the Concealed One, and the wheel that hath eight and seventy parts, yet in all is equivalent to the Gate that is the name of my Lord when it is spelt fully. And that gate is the Path that joineth the Wisdom with the Understanding. Thus hast thou erred indeed, perceiving me in the path that leadeth from the Crown unto the Beauty. For that path bridgeth the abyss, and I am of the supernals."
    Here a distinction is made concerning the relationship of the HGA to the paths of Gimel and Dalet. Dalet is here the path of the HGA par excelence. Gimel, which crosses Dalet on its decent from Kether, communicates the HGA to the consciousness of the adept in Tipareth. However, the home, so to speak, of the Angel, hidden master and higher self is above the Abyss along the path of Dalet. Therefore, for Ebony, this path directly corresponds to the grade of master or Hermit.

Keys of Gnosis

    Additionally, each of the three true grades is said by Ebony to posses a "key." Mastery of this key unlocks the gnosis that transcends the archetype set of its particular plane, actualizing one's attainment of that grade and opening the next.
    Ebony describes these as follows:

    "The Key to the Elements is said to be Spirit, and may be given in hieroglyphics as an Ankh, or a wheel of eight spokes. The plane of the Elements, reception. With the exception of Spirit.
    "The Key to the Planets is said to be the Star among them, and may be represented as a dot within a circle, or a Circle with eight rays. The plane of the Planets, reflection. With the exception of the Sun.
    "The Key to the Stars is said to be the Dark Star they circle, and may be represented by a spiral of two arms, or an eight on its side. The plane of the Stars, projection. With the exception of the Black Hole" (Books of the Hawk and Jackal, part 2, page 41).

    The black hole refers to Sagittarius A West, the black hole at the center of the galaxy. This symbolizes the consummation of the lifecycle of a star, the epiphany and reabsorption of stellar consciousness, and the absolute horizon and limit of possible human attainment in total identification with the ultimate ground of being.
    This is the scheme of levels of initiation which the Hawk and Jackal system seeks to actualize. Of the several approaches Ebony developed, the latest version will be the subject of examination in part five of this series.

(to be continued)

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part L - Yetzirah and Shekinah.

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

    The Yetziratic way of meditating is often by story or myth. A story is a guided fantasy and more intimate than simple observation or the impact of a physical setting on the senses. Properly experienced, such a story gives wings to the imagination and the reader or listener enters a half-world of astral awareness. Legends, such as that of Adam and Eve, are used to explain things in the material world and to establish patterns of thinking. The effect is usually not intellectual; rather a flowing and a feeling tone is set up. Empathy allows the auditor to experience another life, perhaps to dwell briefly in an unfamiliar world complete with all the subtle things and feelings that defy cataloguing or intellectual analysis. This is a suitable way of raising thoughts and preparing to learn something that mundane life normally obscures. Each of the Sephirot has many stories that can be told, some to teach a point of view about a particular matter, others that evoke the qualities of an individual Sephira. Such stories are of the second of the Four Worlds. Assiah meditations can use a natural or artificially tuned place which evokes impressions in the mind via the senses. Yetzirah acts directly on the mind, bypassing the senses and the physical world, through images in stories and legends.

    Listening to music is a little different. Music, unless it produces fantasy, often has a deeper contact with spirit than with imagination. It may directly stimulate feelings. In a sense it is Assiatic, of the lowest World because it depends on the direct effect of sound upon the body. Music can effect the mind though perception of patterns and combinations of sound. In that case the effect is of the Briatic World. When all else fades away and only the soaring ecstasy of the music itself is felt, it reaches toward Atziluth, the highest of the Worlds. Thus, depending on how it is perceived, music may be used in any of the Qabalistic Worlds to enhance meditation.

    All of these methods of meditation must begin in the lowest place. All of them must have something to do with the physical, but some of them stay physical and others naturally evolve upwards.

    Stories and myths, even though they are predominantly Yetziratic by nature, may also lead to higher levels. There are legends of Bride and Bridegroom, of Mother and Father in the beginning of time. The Song of Solomon describes in poetic imagery the courting and love of a couple. That story has been used as a model for "making out", as a guide to perfect marriage, as a metaphor for the love of the human soul and the deity and as an image of the nature of eternal bliss. The archetype of Bride and Bridegroom suggests that, as people are on the earth when there is love between one another, there must be something divinely instituted of the same sort. A physical Torah exists as a book or scroll, but there is a spiritual Torah that casts such a limited thing as though it were a shadow, of the same form but far short of perfection. So also the love of two people must be the shadow of a divine thing that is greater. In Jewish tradition, the divine Bride is called Shekinah. As inspiration may come in reading a Torah, so the divine Shekinah may come to a man who is profoundly experiencing purest love. It is not unusual for gender to be changed in such states of meditation, with a mortal man approaching in feminine mode, seeking union with a divine male. In like manner, the Bridegroom may come to a woman in such a way, or the genders may reverse between mortal and divine. Qabalah has traditionally stressed the Shekinah, but there are passages in the Old Testament where physical males seek Jehovah as feminine lovers approaching the beloved.
    The divine Bridegroom is often called Baal or Adonai in old traditions. Long ago there were special things done on the high places, the hills and mountain tops. A little house or shrine with an altar might be built, as the dwelling place of Baal. There would be a wooden pole set up nearby, carved to look like the upper part of a woman with the head, shoulders, breasts and arms. This was the Asherah. The Baal and the Asherah were as a man and wife. At certain times of the year, the wedding of Asharah and Baal would be celebrated. The Old Testament speaks of the priests of Baal being challenged to prove that their god is stronger than Jehovah. When they failed the priests of Baal are said to have been killed, but the same passages in the O.T. also mentioned that the priests of Asherah were watching. Nothing is said about harming the priests of Asharah, and it appears that fight between Baal and Jehovah was to a question of who was going to get the Lady. Down into Roman days the Asharah statues were often placed in the outer courtyard of the Temple at Jerusalem.
    In further refinement, the Shekinah and the Sabbath are identified. On one day of the week the feminine aspect of the deity descends and blesses all the other days. The purpose of the Sabbath prayer is to welcome the Bride.
    Little stories make sense from human experience. They attune a person so that everything is, if not understood rationally, understood from the heart. This form of meditation doesn't depend absolutely on a physical place. It is possible for a Jewish Sabbath to be held in a Christian meeting hall. It's possible for a Jewish Sabbath to be held on a day other than Saturday. There are stories about Rabbis wondering whether the Sabbath is a real thing or not and getting together a minion to try Sabbath prayers on a Thursday. They got the good feeling and then went to another Rabbi to ask how this could be. The answer was; if you work hard enough at it the Sabbath will come when things are ready for the Sabbath. Having a fixed day or a fixed place may make it easier, but these experiences can be summoned regardless of outer aspects.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah -- Part XLIX                   Next: A little more on Shekinah -- Part LII

Primary Sources

MWT draft:
    The text below is a typescript copy of the original letter that became Chapter XVI of Magick Without Tears, here numbered instead, XXXI. This is very little different from the chapter as later published; but it is interesting to have the opening that accompanied each actual letter, as well as the addressees's greeting. Some minor differences will be found in use of case, punctuation and a few words from the final version. Typos in the original have not been corrected, but underscores have been rendered in italics.


  Bell Hotel,
Aston Clinton,

April 15

Cara Soror F.Y.,

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
    Alas! it is unlikely that either you or I should come upon a copy of Max Beerbohm's portrait of Mathew Arnold, but Raven Hill's famous cartoon is history, and can be told as such without the illustration.
    We shall have to go into the matter because of your very just criticism of my magical writings in general - and these letters, being colloquial, are naturally an extreme case.
    Far-off indeed those sunny days when life in England was worth living; when one could travel anywhere in Europe - except Russia and Turkey, which in any case are Asia - or America, without a passport; when we complained that closing time was Twelve thirty A.M.; when there was little or no class bitterness, the future seemed secure and only Nonconformists failed to enjoy the fun that bubbled up on every side.
    Well, in those days there were Music-halls; I can't hope to explain to you what they were like, but they were jolly. (I'm afraid that there's another word beyond the scope of your universe!) At the Empire, Leicester Square, which at that time actually looked as if it had been lifted bodily from the "Continong" (a very wicked place) there was a promenade, with bars complete (drinking bars, my dear child, I blush to say) where one might hope to find "strength and beauty, met together, Kindle their image like a star in a sea of glassy weather." There one might always find London's "soiled doves" (as they revoltingly called them in the papers) of every type: Theodora (celebrated 'Christian' Empress) and Phryne, Messalina and Thais, Baudelaire's swarthy mistress and Nana, Moll Flanders and Fanny Hill.
    But the enemies of life were on guard. They saw people enjoying themselves, and they raked through the mildewed parchments of old obsolete laws until they found some long-forgotten piece of mischief that might stop it. The withered husks of womanhood, idle, frustrated, spiteful and malignant, called up their forces, clack-mailed the Church into supporting them, and began a senseless string of prosecutions. Notable in infamy stands out the name of Mrs Ormiston Chant.
    So here we had the trial of some harmless girl for accosting: it was a scene from this that inspired Raven Hill's admirable cartoon.
    A 'pale young curate' is in the witness box. "The prisoner" he drawled "made improper proposals to me" - the actual words used were "Why do you look so sad, Bertie?"
    The magistrate: "A very natural question!" Now, fifty years later, here am I in the dock.
    (How can you expect people to take your Magick seriously!' I hear from every quarter, 'when you write so gleefully about it, with your tongue always in your cheek?'
    My dear good sister, do be logical!
    Here am I who set out nigh half a century ago to seek "The Stone of the Wise, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.": I get it, and you expect me to look down a forty-inch nose and lament!
    I have plenty of trouble in life, and often enough I am in low enough spirits to please anybody; but turn my thoughts to Magick - the years fall off, I am again the gay, quick, careless boy to whom the world was gracious.
    Let this serve for an epitaph: Gray took eleven years; I less.

Elegy written in a Country Farmyard
By Cock-a-doodle-doo.

Here lies upon this hospitable spot
     A youth to flats and flatties not unknown;
The Plymouth Brethern gave it to him hot;
     Trinity, Cambridge, claimed him for her own.

He climbed a lot of mountains in his time.
     He stalked the tiger, bear and elephant.
He wrote a stack of poems, some sublime,
     Some not. Tales, essays: pictures - oh my aunt!

At chess a minor master, Hoylake set
     His handicap at 2. Love drove him crazy.
Three thousand women used to call him pet:
     In other matters - shall we call him 'lazy'?

He had the gift of laughing at himself;
     Most affably he walked and talked with God;
And now the silly bastard's on the shelf,
     We'll bury him beneath another sod.

    In all the active moods of Nature - her activity is Worship! there is an element of rejoicing, even when she is at her wildest and most destructive. (You know Gilbert's song "When the tiger is a-lashing of his tail"?) Her sadness always goes with the implied threat of cessation - and that we know to be illusion.
    There is nothing worse in religion, especially in the Wisdom-Religion, than the pedagogic-hortatory accents of the owlish dogmatist, unless it be the pompous self-satisfaction of the prig. Eschew it, sister, eschew it!
    Even in giving orders there is a virile roar, and the commander who is best obeyed is he who rages cheerfully like an Eights Coach or a Rugger Captain. "Up Guards, and at 'em!" may not be authentic; but that is the right spirit.
    The curate's twang, the solemnity of self-importance, all manners that do not disclose the real man, are abominations, "Anathema Maranatha" - or on any other day of the week. These painted masks are devised to conceal chicanery or emptiness. The easy-going humorous style of Vivekananda is intelligible and instructive; the platitudinous hot potatoes of Waite are neither. The dreadful thing is that this assumption of learning, of holiness, of mysterious avenging powers, somehow deceives the average student. He does not realise how well and wisely such have conned Wilde's maxim; "to be intelligible is to be found out."
    I know that I too am at times obscure; I lament the fact. The reason is twofold: (a) my ineradicable belief that my reader knows all about the subject better than I do myself, and (at best) may like to hear it tackled from a novel angle (b) I am carried away by the exultant exaltation of my theme: I boil over with rapture - not the crystal-clear, the cool colution that I arrived at.
    On the Path of the Wise there is probably no danger more deadly, no poison more pernicious, no seduction more subtle than Spiritual Pride; it strikes, being solar, at the very heart of the Aspirant; more, it is an inflation and exacerbation of the Ego, so that its victim runs the peril of straying into a Black Lodge, and finding himself at home there.
    Against this risk we look to our insurance; there are two infallible, Common Sense and the Sense of Humour. When you are lying exhausted and exenterate after the attainment of Vishvarupadarshana it is all wrong to think "Well now I'm the holiest man in the world, of course with the exception of John M.Watkins"; better recall the words of the weary and sceptical judge in A.P.Herbert's "Holy Deadlock" he makes a Mantram of it! "I put it to you - I put it to you - I put it to you - that you have got a boil on your bottom."
    To this rule there is, as usual with rules, an exception. Some states of mind are of the same structure as poetry, where the "one step from the sublime to the ridiculous" is an easy and fatal step. But even so, pedantry is as bad as ribaldry. Personally, I have tried to avoid the dilemma by the use of poetic language and form; for instance in AHA!
    It is all difficult, damned difficult, but if it must be that one's most sacred shrine be profaned, let it be the clean assault of laughter rather than the slimy smear of sanctimoniousness!
    There, or thereabouts, we must leave it. "Out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh"; and I cannot sing the words of an epithalamium to the music of a dirge.
    Besides, what says the poet? "Love's at its height is pure love? Nay, but after when the song's light dissolves gently in laughter."
    Oh, "One word more" as Browning said, and poured forth the most puerile portentous piffle about that grim blue-stocking "interesting invalid", his spouting wife. Here it is, mercifully much shorter, and not in tripping trochees!
    "Actions speak louder than words" (I positively leak proverbs this afternoon country air, I suppose); and where actions are the issue, devil a joke from Aleister!
    Do you see what is my mark? It is you that I am going to put in the dock about "being serious"; and that will take a separate letter - part of the answer to yours received March 10'44 and in general to your entire course of conduct wince you came to me - now over a year ago.
    Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,

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Events Calendar for November 1999 e.v.

11/3/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
11/4/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House with Michael
Thelema Ldg.
11/7/99Samhain 2PM at Cheth HouseThelema Ldg.
11/7/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/11/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/13/99OTO Initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
11/14/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/15/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: "Flowers of Evil" by
Baudelaire, Lodge library 8PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/18/99Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/20/99OTO Initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
11/21/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/28/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/29/99Sirius Oasis meets in Berkeley 8PMSirius Oasis

    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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