Thelema Lodge Calendar for January 2000 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for January 2000 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, 2000 e.v.

Thelema Lodge
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O.Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA

January 2000 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Scales of the Serpent:

The Orphic Egg Meditation

Verse 7 of Liber Arcanorum (corresponding to Cheth, Atu VII, the Chariot) reads: "He rideth upon the chariot of eternity; the white and the black are harnessed to his car. Therefore he reflecteth the Fool, and the sevenfold veil is reveiled." What then is the sevenfold veil? In what sense does the Chariot reflect the Fool?
These questions can be answered at least in part by reference to another Holy book, Liber Tau vel Kabbalae Trium Literarum Sub Figura CD. Of it, Crowley writes, "Liber CD analyses the Hebrew alphabet into seven triads, each of which forms a Trinity of sympathetic ideas relating respectively to the Three Orders comprised in the A A. It is really an attempt to find a Periodic Law in the system." This small book fits on one page, half of it an illustration. Under a large Hebrew Tau, the remaining letters of the Hebrew alphabet are written in three rows of seven letters each, implying that the seven resultant triads of letters each have something in common with one another. The first seven letters refer to the inner Order, the middle seven letters to the second Order, and the final seven to the outer Order. The seven triads refer respectively to the initiate, the illusion, the function, the unveiling, the equilibrium, the ritual, and the ordeal of each order. The Chariot reflects the Fool, of course, because the first row of seven letters begins with Aleph, and the second begins with Cheth. Aleph, Cheth, and also Samekh, thus correspond with one another in this system.
In order to further illuminate the sevenfold periodicity of the Hebrew alphabet, and its operation within Liber Arcanorum, I've devised a visualization and concentration exercise called the Orphic Egg Meditation. It is one of many possible ways of conceptualizing all 22 Scales simultaneously. One can, for instance, superimpose the Tree of Life over one's body and sense the paths accordingly: the Fool connects the space above my head to the left side of my brain, the Priestess connects the space above my head to my heart, etc. Or one can imagine all 22 letters in a circle, with the Serpent of Wisdom in the role of Oroboros, swallowing its own tail. This is the form that will be used at the conclusion of the Scales of the Serpent series when we chant all 231 Gates in one sitting. But the Orphic Egg formation provides a good way to integrate the 22 paths while investigating the mystery of sevenfoldness.
A few preparatory steps might be called for at this point. To begin with, visualize a heptagram around one's head at eye level, with a point at the back of your head as you face one of the seven sides directly in front of you (see figure 1). Reach out with your mind's eye and feel the side in front of you. Then go around the heptagram in a clockwise motion, feeling each side in turn. It's not necessary to see each side exactly or to be able to divide your field of awareness into seven precisely equal portions. Just get a general idea of where the seven directions are in relation to your central axis: front, front-right, near-rear-right, far-rear-right, far-rear-left, near-rear-left, front-left, and back to front. (It's a lot easier to do than to read about.)
Once you've got a fair feeling for the directions, note that we are going to visualize ourselves sitting within an egg. The egg will have coiled around it a serpent. The serpent's head will be the letter Aleph, and will be directly before your eyes. The serpent will coil in a clockwise fashion going downwards, in such a way that it will begin the second circuit in front of your throat. This will be the location of the letter Cheth. The third coil will begin in front of your solar plexus, being the letter Samekh (see figure 2). It will complete the third coil before twirling at the base of the egg to form the final letter Tau.
What this implies for practice is that there will be one coil that will be located around the head cavity, one around the chest cavity, and one around the abdominal cavity. Before beginning the meditation, it might by helpful to practice each of these coils separately. This will draw on your earlier heptagram visualization, but the sides of the heptagram no longer meet, but rather descend to just before the start of the following coil.
So, for the first coil, we picture Aleph in front of our eyes, Beth to the front-right, Gimel to the near-rear-right, Daleth to the far-rear-right, He to the far-rear-left, Vau to the near-rear-left, and Zain to the front-left. And each one is a little lower than the one before, so that Zain is only slightly above the throat where the next coil begins with Cheth. Again, this is easier done than said. For practice, I found it easiest to start by just counting as I pictured each place, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7," and then to say just the letter names aloud in place of the numbers. When you can picture each letter name in place around the coil, move on to the next one. The entire sequence is illustrated in Figures 3a and 3b. Note that, as in Liber Arcanorum, we're maintaining the actual order of the Hebrew alphabet. None of that Teth/Lamed or He/Tzaddi flip-flopping for us! Now you're ready for the exercise.

1. As you vibrate "IAO," visualize an egg of light expanding from your heart to just encompassing your body.
2. Feel a part of yourself move from the center of your brain, out through your Ajna (third eye) chakra, to a point on the surface of the egg just in front of your Ajna.
3. Recite verse 0 from Liber Arcanorum while you sense the presence of the head of the Serpent of Wisdom on the surface of the egg.
4. Recite each verse as you slowly and carefully sense each Scale in turn, moving down and clockwise.
5. When you reach verse 21, feel the tail of the Serpent coiled at the base of the egg, with the very tip directly under your Muladhara (perineum) chakra.
6. Inhale, feeling the energy rise from your Muladhara, up through the center of the egg, to the center of your brain. As you hold your breath briefly, return the energy to the head of the Serpent once more.
7. As you exhale very slowly, sense each of the 22 Scales again, as distinctly as you can.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, eleven times in all.
9. As you vibrate "IAO." visualize the egg contracting to a point within the center of your heart.

Sound simple? It shouldn't. As a concentration exercise, the point is to always make it a stretch. At first, for many of us at least, it should be enough of a challenge to simply remember the name of each letter as we track our exhalations through the 22 Scales of the coiled Serpent. Once that can be done without much difficulty, visualize the form of each letter. Then add the color of the path from the King Scale. Then add the sigil of the corresponding intelligence from Liber Arcanorum. Then add the visualization of the Trump from the Thoth deck. After that? I haven't gotten that far; you might try the name of the Arcanorum intelligence, or any column from 777 that hasn't already been covered. Let me know how it works out.
On 6th January, after the holiday vacation, we resume our pathworking series with Lamed, Atu VIII, Adjustment, signifying justice and truth; 13th January will be Mem, Atu XII, the Hanged Man, compassion and sacrifice; 20th January beings Nun, Atu XIII, Death, meaning change and transformation; and 27th January is Samekh, Atu XIV, Art, which is alchemy and discernment. The Scales of the Serpent happens at Cheth House in north Berkeley on Thursday nights at 7:30. As always, bring a small sitting cushion and (optionally) an offering, such as a poem, quotation, or gem stone, in honor of the path.
-- Michael Sanborn

Previous Scales of the Serpent                   Next Scales of the Serpent

Join the Rebellion

Twice monthly in the lodge library the College of Hard N.O.X. assembles as an informal discussion group addressing issues of Thelemic relevance. As dean of the college, brother Mordecai has structured the group to facilitate free exchange of ideas on topics determined by a consensus of participants. Join the inquiry and exchange, beginning at 8 o'clock on the first and final Wednesday evenings of each month; in January meetings are held on the 5th and 26th. N.O.X. debates are also open by e-mail at N.O.X. Online:

The Golden Bough: Chaos to Cosmos

The Section Two reading group this month will devote a second session to our discussion of The Golden Bough by Sir James George Frazer (originally published in two volumes in 1890, expanded to three in 1900, and again from 1906-15 to twelve volumes, with a final supplemental volume in 1936; he also supervised a popular one-volume abridged edition in 1922). Join Caitlin in the lodge library at 8:00 on Monday evening 17th January, with participants invited to select a passage or two for us to read together from this great compendium of historical and ethnographic lore concerning the magical foundations of human society. As much as any other great work of scholarship the Bough provided support for the "modernist" styles in the arts which formulated some of the earliest enduring definitions of life in our now completed "twentieth" century. Works such as Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Eliot's Waste Land -- among many others including Golden Twigs and several more by Crowley himself -- borrowed essential material directly from Frazer. Along with his contemporary Sigmund Freud, and the somewhat older William James, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin, Frazer ranks with the founding scholars of that very questionable and characteristic discipline of our century past, the "social sciences." Like these other writers he has continued to be influential among many who disagree passionately with his theses, and although frequently "discredited" he continues to be studied as a thinker.
Crowley's own praise for Frazer is seldom unqualified, though he credits the influence of The Golden Bough upon his understanding of the precession of religious aeons in his early drama The God-Eater and also in his great commentary upon the gospel story, Liber 888. Frazer is given pride of place among Crowley's forbearers in having two quotations from the Bough prefaced to Magick in Theory and Practice. In outlining the A A curriculum with J. F. C. Fuller, Crowley wrote that they could "agree with" such pioneers away from the Christian era as "Voltaire . . . Huxley . . . Frazer . . . and Nietzsche as far as they went" Confessions, chapter 60).
Considering that Frazer devoted several decades of a scholarly career to collecting descriptions of magical and ritual lore, readers who approach his work from the A A bibliography will be amused to note the scorn he often seems to express for the entire magical world-view. Frazer's definition is frankly negative: "In short, magic is a spurious system of natural law as well as a fallacious guide to conduct; it is a false science as well as an abortive art." Its practice by primitive magicians is based upon "misapplications of the association of ideas" and "mistaken notions of cause and effect" (from the "Sympathetic Magic" chapter). Considered universal among early human cultures and surviving in contemporary savages, magic appeared to Frazer as the primitive stage of civilization, which with increasingly sophisticated cultivation would yield first to religion and then at last to an accurate scientific comprehension of the world. But just as Crowley was also to insist, Frazer recognizes a similarity between magic and science in that both involve the active working of man's will upon "a certain established order of nature . . . which he can manipulate for his own ends." Magic and Science differ in their levels of accuracy, understanding, and success, but are alike opposed to the religious attitude, where man "ceases to rely on his own intelligence and his own unaided efforts, and throws himself humbly on the mercy of certain great invisible beings behind the veil of nature." For Frazer the dawning Scientific Age seemed to promise unbounded enlightenment, and "even in regions where chance and confusion appear still to reign, a fuller knowledge would everywhere reduce the seeming chaos to cosmos" (from Frazer's concluding chapter). If magic was scorned by Frazer as false science, Crowley expressed the same truth by responding that "science was successful Magick" (Confessions, chapter 58).

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

Crowley Classics

This dialogue on the morality of suicide was originally published in The International XI:8 (New York: August 1917), pages 241-4. Although he remains incognito within the narrative, the dominant character in several ways resembles Simon Iff, Crowley's fictional alter ego in a number of stories and novels from this period.

Felo De Se

by Aleister Crowley

It lacked a little of midnight. In the east the moon, raising high above the trees that fringed the river, made a lane of light. Her beams fell full upon the face, delicately pensive, with the lips thinly tightened from their drooping corners, of a young exquisite, in whose slender and nervous fingers trembled a gold-headed cane. He was standing at the very edge of the calm water, upon the narrow grass that lay between it and the towing-path. On his right, across the river, rose a hill, cloaked in giant woods, a menace and a mystery. On his left, a clump of beeches sheltered a knoll of velvet grass, one would have said a lover's bower. Behind him lay many miles of pleasant fields and villas. There was no sound in the night but the rare hooting of an owl in the great wood, and the secret undercurrent of sound caused by the commotion of a distant weir.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. A fine night!" said a strange voice in the young man's ear. He failed to catch the first part of the greeting, so absorbed was he in his thoughts; to the second he answered mechanically "a fine night, sir!" As he did so he turned to look at the stranger. He saw a man between thirty and forty years of age, both full and broad, yet slender, and giving the impression of great strength and activity. It was, however, the face, barbered in Vandyke fashion, which startled him. No one could ever forget it. Deep melancholy lay upon it, yet only as a veil to roguishness. The mouth was small, scarlet and voluptuous, although firm. But in the eyes lay something beyond any of this. The pupils were extremely small, even at that dim light, and the expression was of such intensity that the young man, startled, no doubt, by the suddenness of the apparition, thrilled with fear. By instinct he moved backwards to the towing-path, for in that place the river runs exceeding deep -- and who could decipher the portent of such eyes?
"I am afraid that I have broken in upon your meditations," continued the new-comer. "Pray excuse me. I will resume my walk." But the young man gave a little laugh, harsh and bitter. "Not at all," he said with a little sneer. "I am only going to kill myself."
"Good," returned the other, whom we may identify as a Master of the Law of Thelema -- and this story will explain what that is -- "I applaud your decision."
The youth, although not a disciple, failed entirely to understand that the Master meant what he said. He sought instantly to excuse himself. "If you only knew all my reasons," he began gloomily.
"I do not ask them," replied the elder man. "You have announced your intention. I do you the common courtesy to assume that your intention is in accordance with your Will. That is reason enough and to spare. There is no Law beyond: Do what thou wilt. Besides, you'll make a bonny corpse."
The young man stared rather wildly. "No, I'm not a lunatic," smiled the Master; "would it perhaps bore you if I explained my reasons for not excluding felo de se from that infinite list of acts which are now lawful? It may relieve you of some silly scruple, and enable you to take the plunge with that calm ecstasy which should accompany our every act."
"You interest me greatly," acquiesced the youth. The other nodded.
"Let us then sit here, where we can enjoy the beauty of the moonlight. Perhaps you will join me in a cigar?"
"I only smoke cigarettes."
"Every man to his taste. Well," and he lit up, "in order to set ourselves right with the Academies we had better begin with Plato. What say you?"
The youth removed his cigarette and bowed with deference.
"The Phaedo," continued the adept, "is certainly the feeblest of all the Dialogues. It is a mass of very silly sophistry, and the classic of petitio principii. But the argument against suicide is put with all the cogency of a nursemaid. 'The Gods will punish it, probably,' is the Alpha and Omega of that monolith of stupidity. Socrates himself saw it, no doubt, for he changed the subject abruptly. His only attempt to save his face is to shelter himself behind Pythagoras. Now he saw, just as you do, that death was desirable to the philosopher -- and young though you are, my friend, if I may dare call you so, that brow bespeaks the love of wisdom -- yet he would not 'take death the nearest way. Gathering it up beneath the feet of love, or off the knees of murder reaching it,' because of the gods. He has given the most excellent reasons for wishing to die, but he will not admit their validity. Yet he had himself, as he admits later, committed suicide by not escaping 'to Megara or Boeotia.' True, he gives an excellent reason for so acting, but to admit one reason is to admit the edge of the wedge. If an act is permissible for love of law and order, even unjust law -- and this is, as you know, the reason advanced by Socrates -- then why not for -- let us say -- the safety of the republic? What of the messenger, fallen into the hands of the enemy, who kills himself lest torture wring the army's secret from him; the man who throws himself from the raft, that his comrade may be saved -- or his enemy --
'I alit
On a great ship lightning-split,
And speeded hither on the sigh
Of one who gave an enemy
His plank, then plunged aside to die.'
One can think of a thousand cases from Curtius to Jesus Christ, this last surely the most deliberate suicide possible, since he had planned it from all eternity, even taking the trouble to create a universe of infinite agony in order to redeem it by this suicide. You are, I hope, a Christian?"
The young man declared that he was an humble, and erring, but sincere, follower of the Man of Sorrows.
"Then observe how suicide is the hallmark of your religion. 'If thine hand offend thee, cut it off,' Scourge thy body, starve it, lick the sores of lepers, risk everything, but save the soul. This is all suicide, some partial, some complete. It does not even demand a reason: sheer hatred of the body is sufficient. Again 'The carnal mind is enmity against God'; suppress it; faith and obedience are enough; reason will surely destroy them and the soul as well.
"Now, even those unfortunate persons, who, like myself, not being Christians, cannot assent to so much, can at least admit that some one man, in some one strange circumstance, may rightly lay violent hands upon himself. Then who is to judge of such a circumstance? Is the man to consult his lawyer, or to ask for a referendum? Absurd, you will agree. Then what is left but a private judgment? And if it seem good and sufficient cause for self-murder that 'I am idle: also, it is true, I have no more money,' as in the case of Prince Florizel at the Suicide Club, who shall judge me? You may disagree; you may call me mad and wicked and all manner of names; I can do the same to you with equal right, if I wish to be discourteous. But I can imagine many a situation, incomprehensible to any but its central figure, which would justify such an act in all men's eyes if they understood the case. Every man is commander-in-chief of his own life; and his decisions must always be taken in the sanctuary of his own soul. The man who goes to others for advice abdicates his godhead, except so far as he does it merely because he wishes to hear the case argued by another. The final decision is his own responsibility; he cannot really evade it, even if he would, except by a subservience and slavishness which is more horrible than any suicide of the body could be to those who most object to it -- "
"Of course, the law forbids suicide," urged the young man, puffing violently at his seventh cigarette, "on the ground that a man owes service to the King."
"It is a convenient weapon, like religion itself, and all its other precepts, of the tyrant against the slave. To admit this argument is to confess yourself a slave. It is a wise weapon to have forged, moreover. If one hundred workmen were to commit suicide simultaneously, instead of starting silly strikes, the social revolution would arrive that day. I did not ask the King for permission to be born; I came here without my own volition; at least allow me the privilege to depart when I please! In the Middle Ages the necessity of preventing suicide was so well understood that they devised horrible and ridiculous maltreatments of the body -- as if any sensible suicide would care. Nowadays populations are larger, and it does not matter so much. The tyrants rely on silly superstitious terrors. I am supposed, by the way, to have a great deal of what is called occult knowledge, and when I make a magical disappearance, as I do now and then, without warning, my most devoted disciples always console my anxious paramours with the remark that I can't have killed myself because I 'know only too well what the penalties are.' It would be more sensible to retort, 'Anyhow I bet he hasn't killed himself for your sake, you cuckoo!' But my disciples have no sense; they prefer to utter pompous and blasphemous nonsense, and to defame my character. James Thomson makes Bradlaugh say, in that stupefying sermon:
'This little life is all we must endure:
The grave's most holy peace is ever sure;
We fall asleep and never wake again;
Nothing is of us but the mouldering flesh
Whose elements dissolve and merge afresh
In earth, air, water, plants, and other men.'--
that sermon which concludes on the grand diapason:
'If you would not this poor life fulfill,
They you are free to end it when you will,
Without the fear of waking after death.'
"I know of nothing to reply to that. I tell you on my magical honor that it is so. I will admit that I know of states of Being other than that familiar to you as a man. But does the ego persist after death? My friend, you know very well that it does not persist after one breath of the nostrils! The most elementary fact in Buddhist psychology is that! Then (to pursue Gotama into his jungle) 'What can be gained, and what lost? Who can commit suicide, and how?' But all this metaphysics is more unsatisfying than chopped hay to an alderman. I counsel you, my young friend, to avoid it in your next incarnation, if you have one. (It doesn't matter to you whether you have or not, since you won't know it. What has posterity done for you, anyway?) At least let us avoid it for the few brief moments that remain to us. To revert to the question of the right to make away with yourself -- if it be denied that you have the right to end your own life, then, a fortiori, I think you must admit, you have no right to end another's. Then you should be in revolt against a government whose authority rests in the last resort on the right of capital punishment. You are particeps criminis every time a murderer is hanged; you deny the right of peoples to make war, and possibly that of doctors to practice medicine. You have excellent reasons for hanging and shooting others, and do so, by your own hand or another's, without a qualm. Surely then you are on unassailable ground when you sacrifice a victim to Thanatos not against his will but at his express desire. The only objection I know to allowing doctors to offer a fuller euthanasia to hopeless sufferers than is now permitted is that it might facilitate murder. Well, do any further objections to your very sensible decision occur to you?"
"People say it's cowardly," ventured the young man, who was now enjoying a cigar, slipped to him by the adept, and lit with the acquiescence of one half-hypnotized.
"Shame, foul shame!" returned the Master with indignation, as he started to his feet and began to pace the path to and fro in his honest wrath. "Shame on the slanderers who try to mask their own cowardice by branding with that stigma of indelible infamy the bravest act that any man can do. Is not Death the Arch-Fear of Man? Do we not load with titles and honors and crosses and pensions the man who dares death even by taking the small chance of it offered in battle? Are we not all dragged piteously howling to the charnel? Is not the fear of death the foundation of religion, and medicine, and much of law, and many another form of fraud and knavery? But you, in perfectly cold blood, face this fiend calmly and manfully -- you with no chance of temporary escape like the soldier or the man in the consulting-room -- you who face a certainty when the rest of the world trembles at a chance -- they call you a coward! Why, death is such a fear that the very word is taboo in polite society. Is it not because religion has failed to fortify the soul against this apprehension that religion is no longer the vogue? Instead we indulge in dances and music and wine and everything that may help to banish the thought. We permit no skeleton at modern feasts. Philosophy dwells much upon death; perish philosophy! Mankind today dreads every discussion of realities, because to modern man death is the supreme reality, and they wish to forget it. It is the fear of death that has fooled men into belief in such absurdities and abominations as Spiritualism and Christian Science. I would be honored, sir," he stopped in front of the youth, "if you would allow me to grasp the hand of the bravest man that I have ever met, in the very moment of his culmination!"
The youth arose, automatically almost, and gave his hand to the adept.
"I thank you, sir," continued the latter, "you have given me an example, as you have taught me a lesson, of sublime courage. You are a thousand times right. When the evils of life become intolerable, they should be ended. I have half a mind to join you," he added, musing. "I have many disciples."
He sighed deeply, and threw away the butt of his cigar, first lighting another from the glow. "It seems to me that far too much fuss is being made about death nowadays, as it is about death's deadlier twin-sister, Love. The ancients were our masters in these matters, and so are the Japanese and Chinese of today. The fear of these two things -- who are but the man and wife at the lodge gates of Life Park -- was probably imported from the effeminate, cowardly, and degenerate races of the Indian peninsula. Early Christians, with their agape and their martyrdoms, feared neither. The Crusaders feared neither. But those nations that have become effetes, that preach peace and morality, and women's rights, these have the cur's spirit, the eunuch's soul, and in these nations death is dreadful and love dangerous. The virile temper of the Romans grasped love and death like nettles that excite even as they sting. That temper has decayed -- the war should revive it -- and men flee from death and love. Love stands apart and weeps; but Death cries Tally-Ho, and hunts them down to hell. 'But dried is the blood of thy lover, Ipsithilla, contracted the vein,' 'Novem continuas futationes!'" ended the adept, raising his voice even more than possibly the best taste would have sanctioned, though after all a river's marge at night is not an alcove. However, he recollected himself, and continued more gently. "Pardon me, young sir, I beg," he said, "my feelings overcame me for the moment. Balk at love, you balk at death; balk at death, you balk at life. It's hard to score," he added laughingly, "with both balls in baulk." (The allusion is to the English game of billiards.) The young man laughed, not wholly from courtesy, but because he was really amused, despite his tragic situation.
"If we all took things more easily," the Master added, "they would go more easily. Confidence is two battalions in every regiment that we have. Fear, and you fumble. Go ahead, a song on your lips and a sword in your hand: and meet what comes with gaity. Damn consequences! If you see a girl you like, prove it to her by Barbara and Celarent all the way to Fresison or whatever the logician's Omega is -- I forget."
The boy was unable to remind him. He had taken Paley for the Little-Go.
"If you see a danger, embrace it," went on the elder man. Nothing seemed to exhaust the energy of his harangue. "If you escape, you have lived more beautifully and more intensely. If you die, you die, and one more bother is done with. Best of all, then, when one is tired of life, to face the Great Adventure gay and gallant -- as you do tonight!"
"Then do you see no objection, of any kind," answered the youth, a trifle more earnestly than his habitual manner (Harrow and Trinity Hall) would have permitted in more usual circumstances, "to the fatal act which, as soon as you deprive me of your company, I shall have yet one more excellent reason for putting into execution?"
"None," smiled the Master, bowing rather pontifically at a politeness to which years of the servility of disciples had inured him. "Unless, perhaps, we look at the matter in this way. Assume one moment that you are what we empirically call an immortal soul incarnating from time to time in various bodies as occasion offers. Very good; then you willed to live in this body. You knew the conditions -- assume that! Good; then you formulate the accursed dyad, you deny your own will, by cutting short this life. Or, say this; assume that your body is an instrument by which you perceive material things, for a whim, or from some inexplicable desire, I know not what. Then, why destroy your instrument? True, it is hopelessly damaged, let us suppose, so that it perceives badly. If it were possible to mend it, you would cheerfully endure the necessary pangs; but all being decayed, scrap it, and get a new instrument. The only argument is that you may have willed to observe the great cruelty of Nature, not only be seeing, but by feeling it, so that you may thereby become fortified in your resolve to 'redeem it from all pain.' But this is all a mass of assumptions, little better than the twaddle of the Buddhists and the Christians and the Theosophists and all the other guessers. Ignore it. 'Thou hast no right but to do Thy Will. Do that and no other shall say thee nay.' Then since it is your Will to kill yourself, do not be turned from the purpose. That indeed would be a crime. The best argument I ever heard against suicide, if you will pardon my introducing a new witness, was an English journalist whose face resembled a cancer of the stomach in a rather advanced stage of the disease. 'Excuse a personal remark,' said I, 'but consider our feelings. Why not blow it all away with a pistol?' He replied with ready wit: 'I use it to pour drink into.' Clever Cecil!"
The adept rose once more. "But I detain you," he murmured apologetically. "Religion, philosophy, ethics, and common sense concur in approval of your purpose. I am infinitely obliged to you for the pleasure you have given me by your elegant and informed conversation. I dare not even voice a regret that I shall have no opportunity of cultivating your acquaintance. Farewell! Love is the law, love under will."
The Master bowed and moved slowly towards the towering beeches. But the boy -- he was barely eighteen years of age -- sprang to his feet and followed him. "You say," he babbled eagerly, in his enthusiasm a little forgetful of propriety, "you say you are a Master, that you have disciples. Won't you take me?"
The adept showed no embarrassment. He would not even seem to rebuke the outburst, unconventional as it was.
"Certainly," he returned. "Since I have persuaded you with all my power to do a thing and you now desire to do the opposite, you are preeminently fitted for a disciple. You will get on splendidly with the others, I am sure."
Such ready acquiescence, couched as it was in the delicately-phrased English of which the adept was an acknowledged master, and made tart by that silky subacidity which had made him famous and infamous, delighted the boy beyond all bounds. He sank to his knees, and caught the Master's hand and kissed it, his face wet with tears, and his throat choking. The Master's own eyes dimmed for a moment; something rose in him that he did not even try to suppress. He stooped and put a friendly arm about the lad and raised him. "Come," he said, "it is no such great matter. Let us talk of other things. Or, if you will, enjoy the silence of this moonlit loveliness." Presently the sun rose, and woke the world to a new day's life worth living.


Previous Crowley Classic                   Next Crowley Classic

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 section on "Myth" in
"The Universe of the New Tribalism"

by Grady Louis McMurtry

Myth was defined in Chapter I as "the rationale by which the world of magic is made morally justifiable and intellectually plausible" because, as Cornford had been cited as saying, myth is "the statement of what is being done and willed,"1 i.e., "the verbal expression of the same emotion and desire" by which the magician seeks "the realization of the desired end in dramatic action" because "sympathetic magic consists in the representation of the object of passionate desire." It should be noted, however, that any field of study has its verbal expression of the subject of consideration and that a scientific hypothesis, for example, is often mythical in that not all of its speculations may be immediately verifiable and, further, because it is a deliberate attempt to simplify the complexities of reality to make them amenable to the understanding. As a scientific hypothesis it is cast in the terms of the descriptive universe of discourse and does not try to compel the universe to do its bidding. The myth of the magical universe of discourse or, more properly, the magical myth, is cast in compulsive terms because it is the function of the magician to compel, to coerce, the will or wills confronting him, and in order for there to be wills to compel the universe of magic must be animistic. We will now attempt to analyze the epistemology of Marxism as a magical universe . . .

1. Francis M. Cornford, From Religion to Philosophy (London: Arnold, 1912) p. 139.

Previous Grady Project                   (to be continued)

One Member's Opinion

Ebony Anpu and the Hawk and

Jackal System: a personal interpretation

part six:

The Grand Rite of Hawk and Jackal

by Nathan W. Bjorge

Nuit: "The Whore of Babalon, the secret priestess of the seven rayed star, is my priestess. In her honor ye do the Rite of the Seven. She shall introduce the candidate upon mastery. Introduce to her sister, the Queen of heaven, the adept to become master." -- from the fourth Dialog

Having completed the work of the full/new moons and the Sabbats, as discussed in December's article, the Hawk and Jackal coven is now ready for the Grand Rite. The precise sequence of planetary Magick to accomplish this operation is given in a paper entitled "Outline of the Processes Used in the Home Coven of Hawk and Jackal." The progression reads:

Stones of Precious Water: Sun conjunct each planet in turn; Mercury conjunct each in turn; Venus conjunct each in turn; Earth/Moon conjunct each; Mars conjunct each; Jupiter; Saturn; Uranus; Pluto; Neptune.

One interpretation of this list gives the following forty workings:
1. - 9. Sun conjunct moon (new moon); Sun conjunct Venus;
Sun conjunct Mercury; Sun conjunct Mars; Sun conjunct Jupiter;
Sun conjunct Saturn; Sun conjunct Uranus; Sun conjunct Pluto;
Sun conjunct Neptune.
10. - 17. Mercury conjunct Venus; Mercury conjunct Moon;
Mercury conjunct Mars; Mercury conjunct Jupiter;
Mercury conjunct Saturn; Mercury conjunct Uranus; Mercury conjunct Pluto;
Mercury conjunct Neptune.
18. - 24. Venus conjunct Moon; Venus conjunct Mars; Venus conjunct Jupiter;
Venus conjunct Saturn; Venus conjunct Uranus; Venus conjunct Pluto;
Venus conjunct Neptune.
25. - 29. Moon conjunct Mars; Moon conjunct Jupiter; Moon conjunct Saturn;
Moon conjunct Uranus; Moon conjunct Pluto; Moon conjunct Neptune.
30. - 35. Mars conjunct Jupiter; Mars conjunct Saturn; Mars conjunct Uranus;
Mars conjunct Pluto; Mars conjunct Neptune.
36. - 40. Jupiter ritual; Saturn ritual; Uranus ritual; Pluto ritual; Neptune ritual.
Workings 1-3 provide a pathworking towards the Sun, corresponding to Tiphareth on the Tree of Life. The order of the planets addressed is a bit different than in the A A or G. D. initiation sequence. Commenting on this during a lecture he gave in the fall of 1997 e.v., Ebony explained:
"Well, you notice on the Tree of Life you're crawling up to Tiphareth to begin with. There is a trick in Hawk and Jackal that we do differently, having to do with whether you go to Netzach or Hod first. If you were doing pathworkings in Hawk and Jackal, you'll realize that Venus is 'twixt you and Mercury. So you go Malkuth, then you go Yesod, then you go Netzach, then you go Hod, then you go Tiphareth. So the paths doing Golden Dawn style pathworkings, where you work the paths that lead into the Sephiroth, you'll note that you wouldn't use the path Peh for Netzach because you're coming up on the East side. So the first one that has three paths leading into it would then be Hod, not Netzach -- and then to Tiphareth. So other than that in pathworkings, 'cause one of the things in the Dialogs, the channeled material some of you are familiar with, that it does say is celebrate the planets in true order. So as you approach you go in the order they actually are, not in the order of their apparent speeds astrologically, which is the order that the Tree of Life is in.
"But you don't rearrange anything. You certainly don't invert the paths to the Sephiroth. You don't come up with extra Sephiroth that you stick above the top Sephirah, so you can get even higher than high --"
Having reached the Sun following the third working, workings 4-9 involve the equilibration of that solar consciousness. Presumably at some point during this portion of the Grand Rite the magician will perform a ritual to obtain the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel. Perhaps the Abramelin Working on Liber VIII. Exactly how the individual initiate succeeds in integrating K & C with this part of the Rite is largely up to them.
Workings number 10 through 39 are the "ladder of lights" to the stars, designed to allow the new Adept to equilibrate themselves fully with the microcosm, prior to the ordeal of the Abyss beyond Pluto. Pluto is done prior to Neptune in the order of the working, only when it swings in closer to the Sun than Neptune.
Instructions, or rather suggestions, for the actual performance of one of these workings is given in a passage of the Dialogs:
"Planet A is Occult B in the sign of C . . . The room is set up in the style of the sign C. Ask what would each planet feel while in this symbolic placement of that zodiacal sign. Is it in its ruling sign? Its detriment? Next then consider the nature of the relationship between the planets; do they blend well, compete?
"From these components construct a ritual that celebrates in the microcosm what is above in the macrocosm. Discern what power or knowledge is carried by the Rite. Construct a sigil to symbolize and contain the power of the Rite. As part of the rite, this sigil will be activated by contact with life. Some such rite as the Star Sapphire, or even the Mass of the Phoenix could be used . . .
" . . . At the end of the Rite open the Book to the prepared page and place the Rose, or third order hexagram, or whatever Key you choose, under the page and trace the name. The Book of Shadows grows in power as the number of Keys increase. It may be opened to a particular page when it is needed, and the power may be called. (By Keys I believe she means the diagrams associated with the working that recalls the Power [footnote by Ebony].)" -- Dialogs, pages 49-50.
The Books of the Hawk and Jackal contain some additional information on these planetary workings. All workings can be done during a conjunction of 10° or less, rather than just during occultation. The Book of Shadows referred to has a page for each of the forty workings upon which the sigil of the planetary pair is traced and activated. Like the Abramelin squares, these may be used by the Adept at propitious times. The book should be kept at the convenstead wrapped in a silk cloth, black on one side and white on the other. The temple for the ritual should be set up to the tropical zodiacal with regard to the elemental directions. The sigil should be exposed to the light of the planetary pair in the heavens at the conclusion of the ceremony. Finally, the planets should be represented in the rite by Egyptian deities: Sun = Ra, Mercury = Tahuti, Venus = Hathor, Earth/Moon = Sesheta (Babalon), Mars = Horus, Jupiter = Amoun, Saturn = Set. The Outer planets are represented by the three mother letters: Uranus = Aleph, Neptune = Mem, Pluto = Shin.
In next month's article we will briefly go over what little practical information Ebony gives on stellar Magick, and begin to cover the symbolism and structure of the full and new moon rituals.

Previous article -- part five     (to be continued)

Primary Sources

Jack, Ron and the goat:
Here's a letter from Crowley to Grady McMurtry, dated June 14th, 1946 e.v. In addition to shedding a little light on Crowley's plans near the end of his life, there is a bit about Jack Parsons. Several versions of Crowley's remarks apparently exist, but this letter was typed and hand signed. Either the "fairly frantic..." remark was mis-read by Yorke in a transcribed version that has seen print in recent years or Crowley used variations of this observation in writing to different correspondents.

       The Ridge,
    HASTINGS, England
            14. 6. 46.

Thrice Illuminated, Thrice Illustrious and
Very Dear Brother,

Do what thou wilt shall be the while of the Law.
I was delighted to have your letter of the 12th of May. I have not been able to answer it till now. My eyes are really so bad that I have had to get someone to read out your letter to me and I am afraid her time being very limited I have had to postpone the reading of your Poem until my new glasses come. At the best.
It is not good talking about Frater 210 coming over. He has got under the influence of a person whom I believe to be an ordinary Con Man; at any rate he is acting quite insanely, and as far as I can see, both deceitfully and dishonourably. I am still waiting to hear whether the adverb "dishonestly" should not be added to this list. In any case he would not come, because, -- O curse these people who have no ideas of their own and can do nothing but pick up my ideas and try to put them into operation without in the least understanding them or knowing how to bring them to success! -- apparently he, or Ron or somebody, is producing a Moon Child.
I get fairly frantic when I contemplate the idiocy of these goats. (I apologise to goats.)
Soror Estai, I am afraid, is much too old. I do not see what she could do.
Your position is entirely different; you are young and full of energy, you have got good sense, and at the same time you would be all the better for a few months' training. Apart from that, you could be of the greatest possible use to me, especially if Mellinger were over here at the same time. You could help me get everything into some kind of order with our eyes upon the future.
Another point about you is that you know how to think for yourself, you have initiative; you have energy; you have courage; you have a gift for organisation and a knowledge of business methods which I do not have at all. Your would be a tower of strength to Frater Saturnus even more than you are at present.
In any case, whoever you send over it ought to be somebody as near like yourself as possible. Why in heaven's name we cannot get a few people in the Order who would foot the necessary bills is beyond my understanding!
As a matter of fact, however, it does really look as if the tide were beginning to turn.
I am enclosing with this a cutting from The Occult Review. The author is a complete stranger to me. There are also some young men and young women who have begun to see the light. There is actually a proposal on foot to start a Crowley Society on the same lines and the Browning society of two generations ago. This is not to be run on Occult but on Poetic lines, and I think that within a year from now it might be internationalsed.
You might do something yourself on these lines in San Francisco. I have great hopes of what may result from the publication of Olla, which I should think ought to be before the end of July. It gives a really comprehensive view of my work.
There will be plenty of copies available, and therefore it would be easy enough to use them as a sort of primer.
I think that is all I have to say now. Your domestic news is very interesting, but do not for heaven's sake get into the habit of making a magical song and dance out of perfectly normal events.
You may say that that contradicts the injunction in the Oath "I will interpret every phenomenon as a particular dealing of God with my soul," -- but there is a great gulf fixed between these points of view. Do not fall into this error.
Love is the law, love under will,

                           Yours ever,
                              666 {written}

Grady L. McMurtry,
1661 Sacramento St.
Apt. 3.
San Francisco

{written postscript}
Dear Grady

Love! Hope to see you soon!

Previous Primary Sources                   Next Primary Sources


Events Calendar for January 2000 e.v.

1/2/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/5/00College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/6/00Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
At Cheth House: "Adjustment"
(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
1/9/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/13/00Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
At Cheth House: "Hanged Man"
(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
1/16/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/17/00Section II reading group with
Caitlin: "The Golden Bough" by
James Frazer, Lodge library 8PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/20/00Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
At Cheth House: "Death"
(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
1/22/00OTO Initiations. Call to attend(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/23/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/26/00College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/27/00Scales of the Serpent series on
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
At Cheth House: "Art"
(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
1/30/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/31/00Sirius Oasis meets in Berkeley 8PM(510) 527-2855Sirius 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.

Thelema Lodge
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA

Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

Production and Circulation:
P.O.Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

Internet: (Submissions and circulation only)

Home away from Home