Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
November 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
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.
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."
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!
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 . . .2
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.
by Nathan W. Bjorge
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).
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.
"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.
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.
Cara Soror F.Y.,
|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.
|11/3/99||College of Hard NOX 8 PM|
with Mordecai in the library
|11/4/99||Scales of the Serpent series on|
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House with Michael
|11/7/99||Samhain 2PM at Cheth House||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/7/99||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/11/99||Scales of the Serpent series on|
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
|11/13/99||OTO Initiations (call to attend)||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/14/99||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/15/99||Section II reading group with|
Caitlin: "Flowers of Evil" by
Baudelaire, Lodge library 8PM
|11/18/99||Scales of the Serpent series on|
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
|11/20/99||OTO Initiations (call to attend)||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/21/99||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/28/99||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|11/29/99||Sirius Oasis meets in Berkeley 8PM||Sirius 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.
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)
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