Thelema Lodge Calendar for July 2000 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for July 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

July 2000 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Crowned with Suns Beyond

An A A extravaganza! -- a full-dress revue by Probationers pledged to Frater Perdurabo, based upon the tasks of their grade -- a dramatic variety show featuring the best acts in Thelema -- a season of exclusive and luxurious parties catering to all of the senses: The Rites of Eleusis was Aleister Crowley's greatest venture as an theatrical impresario. The original London production of 1910 e.v. was given plenty of advance publicity in occult and artistic circles, and was widely reviewed in the press when it opened on Wednesday 19th October with "The Rite of Saturn." Crowley had taken care to get complimentary tickets to the newspapers, whose critics were of widely mixed opinions: some quite impressed, some confused, a few jeering. Advertisements had stated that "only one hundred tickets will be issued" (in order to promote early subscription), and many of them were given away to members and friends. For those who actually paid their way into the performances at Caxton Hall, Westminster, the price was exceedingly steep: five guineas for the series of seven weekly performances, for which "tickets will not be sold separately." (Five guineas -- worth nearly five and a half pounds sterling -- had a purchasing power in Edwardian London equivalent to several hundred dollars today.)
The original patrons were instructed to dress for each evening according to the color correspondences utilized in the Rites, which "should form the keynote of the scheme" of each individual's attire. A A members received a letter from the offices of the Equinox enclosing their complementary tickets, and requesting the appearance of all Probationers, dressed in the robes of their grade, to assist with the performances. They were "also asked to make the rites known among your friends, and induce them to take tickets," since the production was intended as a fund-raising effort on behalf of their order and its publications office. "As you know," Crowley writes to his followers, the Equinox has been established by its founders at the cost of all they possess, and no profit is made by its sale, although authors and editorial staff give their work for nothing. It is therefore necessary from time to time to obtain fresh funds, and the present series of ceremonies is designed to provide such."
The Rites of Eleusis had been developed to exploit the magical potential and entertainment value of a series of extemporized artistic performances in which Crowley, Leila Waddell, Victor Neuburg, and others had been involved during the previous summer. They partook of the Edwardian culture of country- house high-jinx and amateur theatricals, celebrated for cleverness and dash (if often lacking in substance and balance), but they were also serious experiments in ceremonial magick. During the original private ceremonies the effect upon the audience had been quite striking: "in the silence of the room spiritual enthusiasm took hold of us; so acutely that we were all intensely uplifted, to the point in some cases of actual ecstasy, an intoxication of the same kind as that experienced by an assistant at the celebration of the Mass or the performance of Parsifal, but stronger because of its naturalness and primitiveness."
In our current twenty-first local revival of the Rites of Eleusis the performances this month are "The Rite of Sol" at 2:00 on Sunday afternoon 9th July, to be held at Sirius Oasis in Berkeley, and "The Rite of Venus" on Friday evening 21st July, hosted by Bernadette and beginning at 8:00. Next month we complete the cycle with "The Rite of Mercury" on Wednesday evening 2nd August, to be held at the Arkadia ritual space in Richmond, and finally "The Rite of Luna" at the full moon on Monday evening 14th August (at a venue still to be determined). Contact the lodge or the individual god-forms in each rite for directions and further information.


Let Thy Light Crystallize Itself

Celebration of the gnostic mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is offered at Thelema Lodge every Sunday evening, beginning at nightfall. Communicants should arrive at Horus Temple by 8:00 to participate, and those who have not previously been in contact with the lodge are requested to telephone well ahead of time and speak with the lodgemaster for directions. The gnostic eucharist ritual calls forth the sparks of light "hidden in the being of all that lives," and traces their extension amongst the galaxy of stars. Officers for the mass are drawn from the community of the temple; the priest, for example, being a "man among men" who is made "worthy to administer the virtues to the brethren" by the purification and consecration of his priestess at the beginning of the mass, just as he in turn purifies and consecrates her. Communicants in our temple are encouraged to learn the ritual and experiment together with its performance in private until they understand it well enough to function in its roles as representatives of the lodge. The lodgemaster keeps the temple schedule, and mass teams should consult with him when they are ready for a date to serve the lodge in this celebration.


The Glacier N.O.X. in the Cupboard

Join our lodge palaver as the twice-monthly discussion meetings of the College of Hard N.O.X. offer a forum for members and friends to explore in conversation the complete spectrum of Thelemic concerns. Meeting in the lodge library at 8:00 on the 5th and 26th of July -- and on the first and final Wednesday evenings of each month -- participants in this collegiate enterprise donate a two cent "tuition" for each session, as a reminder that opinions are a medium of exchange, and that comment will be solicited from all. For our "post-fireworks" meeting early this month Nathan will be conducting the College in the Dean's stead as we survey the after-independence apocalypse. By the late July meeting Mordecai and Larissa will be home from their explorations in Iceland to tell us about their camping trip through the glacial land of the vikings.
The wild frontier of the dark ages, Iceland in the ninth century was settled by warrior ranchers withholding fealty from King Harold "the Shaggy," who was consolidating Norway into a feudal administration. Today it is one of the most geologically interesting countries, with vast glacial cataracts, barren volcanic mountains, plentiful hot springs and geysers, occasional flows of lava, and just this season an unusually powerful earthquake. Iceland remained one of the last publicly pagan nations in Europe until a thousand years ago, and currently a move is afoot there to celebrate this millennial year by reversing the old decision of the parliamentary "Althing" to adopt Christianity in 1000 c.e. with a new democratic vote back to the paganism of Odin and Thor.
Accounted the world's most literate nation today, it is also one in the closest touch with its medieval traditions, which has in several periods maintained an especially strong literary heritage. In the old Norse "Land of Ice" a culture of free families "speaking the law" in an ancient democracy, and developing their verbal resources as homesteads amused themselves through long dark winters by the fireside, bred up narrative and verse traditions in which not only the great achievements, explorations, and victories of their countrymen but also the neighbors' quarrels and family feuds of eleven hundred years ago survive in the yet nearly-medieval language of a modern people. The heroic conversations of the old sagas give examples of the efficacy of speech which we celebrate in the College of Hard N.O.X. and will likely explore together when Mord and Larissa return to share their impressions. We'll be casting the runes, skimming the skalds, setting forth with the saga heroes, and savoring a still-unspoiled and underpopulated land when the Dean of our college gets back to tell some traveler's tales.


Choose Ye an Island!

Join Caitlin in the lodge library for a discussion centering upon of the lodgemaster's favorite piece of narrative fiction, Robinson Crusoe (1719), with selected readings from the continuing tradition of island castaway stories. This "summer vacation" meeting of the Section Two reading group will gather on Monday evening 24th July at 8:00 to spend an hour or two sharing literary experiences of maroonings in paradise. Beginning with Defoe's masterpiece of personal realism (the best candidate for "earliest English novel"), we will explore the heritage of Robinson Crusoe in stories of savagery and survival from Peter Pan to Lord of the Flies.
Daniel Defoe over the course of his life (1660-1731) had significant careers successively as a merchant, journalist, economist, secret agent, novelist, and occultist. Originally educated for the Presbyterian ministry at the Newington Dissenting Academy, he went into commerce rather than preaching, and traveled throughout Britain and in Europe as a merchant until his operations went bankrupt. Supporting himself thereafter as a journalist, the constructive discussions of public economy in a series of his pamphlets brought him fortuitously to the attention of King William III's government, so that he was pardoned from a severe prison sentence for a subsequent pamphlet satirical of the established church. Defoe then began to be employed by one of the government ministries as a secret agent, conducting -- among other assignments -- undercover diplomacy to work out protocols for the union of Scottish and English Parliaments. He wrote a thrice-weekly Review almost completely by himself for a decade (ending in 1713) while also contributing to many other periodicals. At the same time he was writing false anti-government propaganda at the secret behest of the government in a campaign to discredit the opposition party. (Aleister Crowley in New York two centuries later, in a similar position as a busy journalist scribbling his way out of financial destitution, was by reliable -- if not completely confirmable -- reports likewise engaged in undercover counter-propaganda work. From 1915 to 1917 e.v. Crowley wrote for the earnest, humorless, and foreign-funded New York magazine The Fatherland, whose slogan was "Fair play for Germany and Austria- Hungary," ostensibly to champion Germany's cause in the European war. It's easy to see how Crowley's complexly amusing and profoundly untrustworthy propaganda articles -- several of which have been reprinted in these pages -- might have served to confuse unsophisticated readers with their nonsensical bombast into contradictory and obviously contemptible opinions.)
Beginning in his sixties, Defoe produced fictional narrative writings for the booksellers' trade, providing a foundation for the English novel with his accounts of the colorful lives of synthesized literary characters such as Moll Flanders and Captain Singleton, who appear to be offering autobiographical accounts in the books which bear their names. Other works, equally full of stories, but also presented as non-fiction, such as The History of the Pirates (and other pirate books, 1719-28), and A Journal of the Plague Year (1722), were imaginative reconstructions rather than reports based upon actual participation. Later Defoe produced several books, also full of story telling, which explored the more fanciful territories of "non-fiction," such as The Political History of the Devil (1726) and A System of Magic (1727). Of all his works it was the one-man utopia of Crusoe's island for which he is best remembered, and Defoe's wonderfully practical and detailed account of the castaway's construction of an entire personal culture for himself in isolation has captured many imaginations and been retold in many variations ever since.
The decadence of this "island" literature can be seen in shelves of Victorian boys' adventure stories, culminating in the great theatrical hit of 1904 e.v., the tale of the eternal boy Peter Pan. Here the island has degenerated into a perpetual adventure machine, the ancestor of our modern "theme park" amusement facilities (utopia -- or paradise -- contrived into a sort of Disneyland). The immediate and sustained success of James Barrie's play gave an almost mythological aura to the title figure which has even been interpreted as a religious phenomenon. In view of the date of its premier, one critic's conclusions seem of particular interest: observing the development of non-religious literature for children in the later Victorian years -- largely due to the influence of Carroll's Alice -- it is apparent that . . .
"Barrie . . . in Peter Pan . . . . was following in the steps of Charles
Kingsley, George MacDonald, and Kenneth Grahame: working from a largely
religious impulse, he was attempting to replace conventional religion
with something of his own devising which would summon up religious
feelings in his child and adult readers. And unlike them he made a
complete success of it. Peter Pan is an alternative religion.
--- Humphrey Carpenter, Secret Gardens: The Golden Age of Children's
Literature, from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" to "Winnie-the-Pooh
(Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985), page 181.
Peter Pan -- "the universal phallus," perhaps? -- is the half-human, half- immortal "personal saviour" who performs miracles, can restore the dead, and carries away through the sky those children who will never grow up, to a happy hunting ground of perpetual and unchanging satisfaction. In the famous stage crisis at the death of his fairy guardian angel Tinkerbell, Pan elicits a formal profession of faith from the audience ("If you believe, clap your hands!"), and he battles throughout time and space with the satanic Captain Hook (who seems to be his own unacknowledged "adult" self). At the close of the Christian aeon the impulse to move on into unexplored spiritual territory was so strong that even so silly and self-absorbed a writer as Barrie was willing to design his own universe of spiritual conflict as an entertainment for children.
William Golding's Lord of the Flies (1954; named by his editor, T. S. Eliot) is a sort of Catholic answer to the intensely Protestant story of Robinson Crusoe. On Golding's island grace and ingenuity are no match for the inherently degenerate human condition, so that we see not an ordered paradise but a chaos of destruction spurred on by malicious enthusiasm, competition, pride, and laziness. Based not directly on Defoe's book but upon a Victorian juvenile thriller in the "Robinsonian" castaway tradition, Golding took over the same characters from a group of capable young imperial administrators who triumph over the tropics in R. M. Ballantyne's The Coral Island (1858), and showed how a group of British boys might just as likely make the most disgusting and morally hideous mess of their island paradise. Spend some time with one or more of these books, or pick your own island reading, and join us for our Section Two expedition.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two


From No Expected House

This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of the greater feast of Grady L. McMurtry, Hymenaeus Alpha 777, Caliph and reorganizer of the Ordo Templi Orientis, who founded our lodge as the international headquarters of the Order on Crowleymas Day in 1977 e.v. Grady served as lodgemaster here for exactly 93 months (nearly to the hour) until his death on the afternoon of 12th July 1985 e.v. The ascension of Grady's successor saw a very successful transfer of the corporate functions of the Order first to the especially created Agape Grand Lodge, with their subsequent apportionment between the US Grand Lodge and the various international administrative bodies of O.T.O. Thelema Lodge was left to develop its own new identity as a local body, maintaining its vibrant ritual community, but no longer the seat of the Order's leadership. We have now been engaged on this course for just twice a long as Grady originally led the lodge, and the administrations of six subsequent lodgemasters here have established our identity as a local lodge. Fairly unlucky in our leadership at certain times over the years, the lodge community has always remained strong, loving, and independent; ready when necessary to collectively preserve the ritual traditions of our temple, lodge, and oasis, even when our chartered mastership has completely failed us.
The senior members of the lodge still recount Grady's old stories and style to those of us too new to have known him, and through the continued publication of Grady's writings in our newsletter here we preserve at least a reminder of his achievements. As the oldest continuously operating official body of Ordo Templi Orientis, we have never ceased to be "Grady's lodge." In some aspects of our development we have had to learn from past problems; for example Grady's understanding and tolerance for substance abuse twenty years and more ago, which did not prove to be a reliable foundation for later growth, and has long since ceased to characterize our community. In many positive directions, however, we have also been guided by the heritage of our founding master; from our essential focus upon the gnostic mass to our continuing study of Aleister Crowley's life and works, from our celebratory atmosphere through the annual festivals to our thelemic commitment to diversity of styles, from the love of fun and frolic to the sustained magical intensity of our devotion, and in countless other ways we remain the community which Grady built, and we sustain his work.


Crowley Classics

This concluding portion of the last section of Crowley's series on his 1905 e.v. Kangchenjunga expedition in the Himalayas is reprinted from Vanity Fair (London: 3 November 1909), pages 562-3.

On the Kinchin Lay:

Mountains or Metaphysics?
(concluded)

by Aleister Crowley

I should have kept silent as to Righi's misdemeanours, but as he "gave me warning" just before the catastrophe, I do not feel bound to regard him as a comrade. His no-reason for desertion was the publication of my first article! As, weeks before, he had copied this article for me in his own handwriting, his surprise and indignation at its contents are no better than a lie: and the use of the pretext implies premeditated treachery, or an unusual slowness in making up his mind. A slump is feared in the Darjeeling market for foreign noblemen.
Utterly sick at heart, I made all my preparations for retirement to those dear domestic joys that make the heart of every true born Briton go plunk- plunk-plunkety-plunk. For me
                   All the rains and ruins are over,
                   And all the seasons of snows and sins,
                   The days dividing lover and love ----
But will my peace be sweet as that now known to these dead men? Not if I know my wife!
Now that one begins to get proportions of things the tragic side glimmers up in the Aristophanic gloom. To us it is ever to regret Pache infinitely, the courtly gentleman, the solderly spirit, the good comrade, let me add for my part, the only one of the party who understood his duty and did it. While he was rear-guard, there was little or no trouble about supplies; and nothing is to be more deplored than the unfortunate misreading of his instructions, due to a damped letter and my vile handwriting, which brought him up to Camp IV and began the series of disasters.
It has just been suggested to me (an unnamable insect is crawling outside my tent) that some hypersensitive member of the Alpine Club, or other person pledged to attack climbing without guides may feel hurt by the strictures which I have thought necessary to pass upon some of their methods, and turn to criticize mine. I hope so, that I may renew my confidence in that adage of my nonage "Even a worm will turn." My position will be to take no notice of any criticisms on climbing made by anyone who is not at least good enough to repeat some of the climbs I have originated. I therefore hereby challenge any man who has climbed only with guides to repeat my ascent of the outer pinnacle of the Devil's Chimney on Beachy Head from the sea, i.e., without touching the top of the cliff at any point during the ascent.
I choose this climb because of its proximity to London, and lest anyone should complain of the expense, I will pay for his first-class single railway fare to Eastbourne for his dinner, bed, and breakfast at the best hotel, and for a scavenger and a bucket at the foot of the cliff.
Thus I forestall the triple-distilled venom, the piffle about the filly of climbing without guides, when the satraps of Savile Row are doubtless collecting "in their teeth, and in their throats, and what is worse, within their nasty mouths." Lower down the street are nine tailors busily trying to make a man, but at the top six hundred things do their best (one must suppose) and the result is pretty poor.
To return to pleasanter subjects (my boy has squashed the unnamable insect), I have written my report of the "accident" to the Deputy Commissioner, and am ready to return to the rains and leeches of outrageous Sikkim.
I have made the necessary suggestions as to searching for the bodies, building a great commemorative cairn, and so on -- suggestions only, for no longer will I give one single order when up on the glacier, crying to heaven, are the murdered monuments of disobedience.
I have uttered no word of reproach to the Doctor, nor he any word of explanation to me. The former, since he is genuinely sorry for his error (as if that were any good) or at least for the pain in his back; the latter, probably in fear of the retort "Vos explications sautent sur quatre cadavres" -- "Your explanations stumble over four dead men."
It must be clearly understood that the words of criticism I am compelled to print are directed solely by regard for the true theory of mountain craft, the which I will maintain with my life. No personal grievance should induce me to pen one line against a good friend, nor should I condescend to notice an enemy, but the misrepresentations which those professional liars who have exhausted all the meanness of trickery in the endeavour to prevent the names of the people who climb without guides being known, so that their own foul names may a little longer enjoy a fictitious reputation which the British public are certain to circulate, compel me thus to speak out fearlessly and frankly the true causes of the disaster.
So I muse, as I wander down the sweet-smelling meadows, watered by delicious streams, and clad in exquisite flowers, which fringe the lower part of the Yalung Glacier. It is, indeed,
                   "A land of clear colours and stories,
                   A region of shadowless hours,
                   Where earth has a garment of glories,
                   And a murmur of musical flowers."
And so from musing I slide into meditation. True it is that materialism has conquered, but only by exceeding its connotation to something very like what Berkeley meant by spirit. True that man is only a machine, or even less, a thing all cause and no purpose; the admission only requires that the idealist should take a larger unit. True, above all, that all this beauty and tragedy have no existence, but in my own mind, and it comes upon me, as upon Mansur el Hallaj long ago. "Ana 'l Haqq, we laysa fi jubbat il Allah." (I am the truth, and within my coat is nothing but God), or upon the Osirian in ages beyond history: "I am Osiris! I am Osiris! I am the Lord of life triumphant over death! There is no part of me that is not of the gods!" Let this be my epitaph upon my good friend Alexis Pache; and not that other consciousness which comes intruding, as I walk alone over the vast abyss of wanton stones, that there is no consciousness, no purpose, nothing but a giant stress of things . . . (Excuse my imitating the love-letters of the Brownings, and Mr H. G. Wells, in trying to express the complete works of Spinoza, Puddhaghosha, and myself, by a series of dots).
But in the final analysis it matters little; one thing I beg, let no Dualist cock crow upon the dung-heaps of Darjeeling!
So far as I know, I am not a Sufi or a Taoist, but I must go to China and Persia, and find out for sure.
In the meanwhile, back to Darjeeling, which I am sorry to say has been only partially burnt down in my absence. It will be my tenaciously-gripped privilege, by the wonderful courtesy of its brilliant young manager "Count Alcesti C. Rigo de Righi," my late comrade -- the only fault I have to fined with him is that he seems to think that he has the same sort of control over his guests that the governor of a prison has over his -- for the absurdly inadequate remuneration of nine and fourpence a day to stay at Drum Druid Hotel, and feast, as I am sure Lucullus never feasted, upon the really ingenious substitutes for human food, which, figuring in the menu under French names, recall with a sweet anticipation too deep for tears the delights of Paillard's and of Leon's. (I gather from official criticism of my first article, in which a sentence, somewhat similar, though not so fine, appeared, that it should be held to apply only to the occasions when I dine out, because the food at Drum Druid is actually human food and not an ingenious substitute. How the mind broadens by travelling!)
But though I may grip tenaciously, I shall not grip for long. The little devil that with his accursed whisper "Go on! Go on!" makes me think at times that I must be the Wandering Jew is already at my ear, and I have no whither in particular to go. Like Lord Curzon, I am out of a job.

finis

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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.

Another Extract from the section on "Magic"
in "The Universe of the New Tribalism"

by Grady Louis McMurtry

[ . . . ] as Bergson says, "the intellect penetrates into the inner nature of inert matter."1 But of course this is essentialism, the magical doctrine which states that knowing essence penetrates into, knows, and controls, directs, or steers, active but nonvolitional substance. Furthermore it is radical subjectivism as the mind of the magician expands to swallow up the universe as we would expect if the world of the magician is merely the mind of the magician in extenso.
The magician lives in the world of solipsism, but even the solipsist recognizes that in order to direct his world he must discipline his thought, he must control the "forces" or "elementals" or "demons" that would distract him and he must coerce them that they may do his bidding. Thus we have the world of the magician differentiated into "microcosm" and "macrocosm," with microcosm mirroring or "reflecting" the macrocosm. Or as Matrin Foss says:
"Rightly understood every atom is a microcosm, a symbolic part,
representing the whole of the universe. . . . Whenever symbolism is at
work, atomism is at hand as a device of symbolization. So it was in
Stoic times, when symbolism was powerful and the World appeared to be
full of "logoi spermaticoi," every one of which represented the infinite
Logos, the World-Logos. So it was again in Leibniz' philosophy two
thousand years later, when monads as immaterial atoms had to build the
universe and every monad as a microcosm "mirrored" the macrocosm of the
universe.2
Notes:
1. Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution (New York: Henry Holt, 1911), p. 195.
2. Martin Foss, Symbol and Metaphor in Human Experience (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1949), pp. 13-14.

Previous Grady Project                   (to be continued)


Primary Sources

777, whoopee!
Grady had asked Crowley for help with a magical name and motto. The result was a letter from Crowley to Grady, dated 19th November 1943 e.v. (See OTO Newsletter #3 for a facsimile). From that point on, Grady L. McMurtry was Hymenaeus Alpha, 777 by Greek gematria. Here is Grady's enthusiastic letter of thanks.

25 November 1943
1684th Ord MM Co (Avn)(Q)
APO 635, AFF 473
S. Army

Cara Frater,

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

Is 777 good enough? I should argue with Jack Pot! This Alpha business. A bi-lingual pun asserts itself, i.e., "Liber Aleph" which could mean anything from "Greetings, o perfect Fool" to "Hi Chump". Yea, I think that it will do. And I think that I am the boy for the job.

Follow certain suspicious looking characters the result of doodling while making phone calls. Don't blame me -- they just happened.

{Doodles omitted, they are variations on lemniscate and line pierced circles}
"if one then rotates the figure through an angle of 90° on a vertical axis"

"eggs or sunspots?" "suspicious looking characters" "With scales and tails" {more doodles, this time curved lines and circles}

"in the sign of the Striking Falcon"
{Starting with a human figure in lotus asana, arms raised in a "V" to either side, these progress through several doodles. The drawing morphs into "X" and circle, combining elements of the above figures}
These might possibly suggest something to you. I spoke to you of figure A before.

It occurs to me that I should have the following information to hand -- Mass of the Phoenix; hot to construct a Fiery Chariot; the banishing and invoking rituals of the Pentagram and their use on the astral plane in testing demons encountered -- especially as related to elementals of air, fire, water, earth; a simple, effective method of challenging those elementals or angles (sign of the Enterer?) and of protecting myself from same (Harpocrates?) (this has in mind that while the banishing ritual of the Pentagram would probably handle almost any serious situation, it takes too much time for those minor challenges which can be turned aside by some more simple parry); The Vision and the Voice, and MAGICK.

I mentioned the diary in my phone call. Some of these you may be able to write out -- others you may not be able to spare or procure -- but, I would like to have them if possible.

I notice with interest that Levi means Louis. That makes me Grady Levi McMurtry. "Yah, Ikey, ve brew home brew yet." And then there was the little moron in English class who said "Aiwass, you was, he was, she was".

How about a comprehensive definition of "Phallicism". It seems to cover too much territory.

I have been playing with idea of Symbology as a function of machine calculation for some time. Here is one man's idea. What do you think? "A man can most easily obtain a good knowledge in the sciences, such as psychology, mathematics or physics if he is a student of symbology. Man lives in a World of ideas. Almost any phenomenon is so complex that he cannot possibly grasp the while of it. He abstracts certain characteristics of a given phenomenon as idea, then represents that idea as a symbol, be it a word or a mathematical sign. Human reaction is almost entirely reaction to symbols, and only negligibly to phenomena. As a matter of fact it can be demonstrated that the human mind can think (reason?) only in terms of symbols. When we think, we let symbols operate on other symbols in certain set fashion -- rules of logic, or rules of mathematics. If the symbols have been abstracted so that they are structurally similar to the phenomena they stand for, and if the symbol operations are similar in structure and order to the operations of phenomena in the real world, we think sanely. If our logic mathematics, or our word symbols, have been poorly chosen, we think not sanely. For instance in mathematical physics you are concerned with making your symbology fit physical phenomena. While in psychiatry you would be concerned with precisely the same think, except that you are more immediately concerned with the man who does the thinking than the phenomena he is thinking about. But it is the same subject; always the same subject; symbology! From a story by Robert Heinlein, an American author. My conception of this reduced to a means of practical application for the correlation of all known phenomena would be a Center of Collation wherein the processes of machine calculation would sift the dust of knowledge through its steel webbed fingers -- adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing all possible correspondences and combinations -- even unto the "random association of semantically meaningful ideas".

Do you mind if I take TO MEGA THERION apart to make TO ME GATHER ION?

Love is the law, love under will!

Big Chief Shootum Bull

{Signed amid doodles and "777", "Hymenaeus Alpha"}

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part LIV - Gematria meditation.

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

The Order and Value of the Hebrew Alphabet:

Gematria is a Greek term signifying the use of number values of words and short phrases in meditation or as a literary device. This practice is quite old, dating back to the 8th century B.C.E. in Mesopotamia. It was popular among the Gnostics, although more for Greek than Hebrew. In Hebrew mysticism, the use of gematria has gone in and out of fashion. It is found in the Old Testament, enjoyed popularity in the 2nd century e.v. and has even influenced some political movements in more recent centuries. Since every Hebrew letter has a number value, it is possible to add up the values of the letters in a word to obtain a total for that particular word. Other words yielding the same total are considered to be in some way related to or substitutions for the first word. In calculating these totals, the five final forms taken by some Hebrew letters at the ends of words are usually ignored. The values of these final letters are included in the table above. These values are sometimes used when a particularly interesting match of number and word results. Also, since gematria on most mystical names results in three digit values, some people like to use finals to make sure of getting enough matches for relatively large numbers above 500.


Here is a list of Hebrew words that each total 22 by Gematria. The English meaning is to the right. Small differences in pronunciation result in more than one meaning for some of these words. Those differences are represented by vowel points in written Hebrew, but vowel points are usually ignored in Gematria. There is a way of counting such vowel points, but it is relatively recent and rudimentary. Each dot is given the value of ten. Each vertical element is given the value 6 -- from the former resembling and the latter resembling . Where differences in pronunciation result in more than one meaning for a simple Hebrew spelling, the alternative meanings are separated by semi-colons in this list.


Although there are other uses of Gematria, as we will see in the next installment in this series, for now the focus will be on simple meditation.
Have a look over that list of Hebrew words totaling 22. Add up a few to get the feel of doing that. Next comes the hard part: make one of all those meanings. The meditation consists of trying to create a single concept for each number that includes or relates to all the meanings of every word totaling that number by Gematria. This will not necessarily result in a "key word", but rather an idea or point of view held in the mind. It isn't easy, but even combining a few meanings in this way can strengthen the mind and provide unusual insights into many things.

Let's take the first word up there, Aleph-Vau-Yod-Hay, to show the method of calculation: Aleph is one, Vau is six, Yod adds ten, and Hay is five. 1+6+10+5=22, that's how it's done.
means woe, especially complaint or woe unto you. The next word means to prate or babble. The third word signifies banks, like the banks of a river, or, with slightly different pronunciation she-kid, a young female goat. The fourth word means thrust, push; a fall. The fifth is to destroy. The sixth, , is different in nature. It does have the value 22, but it is a specialized spelling of the name of the Hebrew letter Vau, used in another branch of Qabalah from the present topic. So far we have a rather grim set of meanings for 22. If there was no more, the meditation might just stop with an image of a she-goat falling into a river and dying, through the inattention of the goat herd whilst he has a pointless conversation with a passer-by; resulting in sadness and lost. Look further. The next word means sacrifice. That modifies the sense a bit. Now we have a notion of sacrificing the goat! Further down the list, things get better. We have blessing, to gather together and community. There are also odd meanings: kidneys, wheat, breast and a personal name, Living One. Throw into the mix other associations, like the fact of there being exactly 22 Hebrew letters (ignoring finals). It looks like there are two opposing notions for this number, one of loss and one of benefit. Add the others in a lump and we can try to formulate a third meaning, one of vitality and nourishment. Now put them all together: loss and gain, like that experienced by a farmer sacrificing a goat and the products of the field to put food on the table for the benefit of the family. That's a complete thing, a dark and a light side, forming a unity as the Hebrew alphabet does, to provide all that may be in a situation. This concept cannot be rendered as a single word. It is a pattern and a sort of philosophical idea. You may not be able to say it simply, but it is capable of being lived as a way of dealing with the cares and labors of incarnation. In English or decimal notation, 22 is two 2's. One is strong and the other is weak. One is pleasant and the other irritating. Neither is a completion. Together they make a balanced whole, reflecting Chesed on the Tree of Life, even as 2+2=4.

Here are some other examples of numbers with words that match them by Gematria. Try your hand at it.

For 26:



For 32:



For 99:



For 132:



For 200:



For 233:



For 418 (See Crowley's writings for more):



The Gematria examples are from Bill Heidrick's notes on gematrizing Student's Hebrew Lexicon, a Compendious and Complete Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to The Old Testament ... by Benjamin Davies, 1960 reprint of the 1880 revised edition. A few odds and ends from other sources have been added.

Previous part (LIII).    Next installment: Gematria in literature.



Events Calendar for July 2000 e.v.

7/2/00Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/5/00College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/9/00The Rite of Sol at Sirius Oasis
2:00 PM
(510) 572-2855Sirius Oasis.
7/16/00Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/21/00The Rite of Venus with Bernadette
in Berkeley 8:00PM
(510) 548-8959Thelema Ldg.
7/23/00Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/24/00Section II reading group with
Caitlin: "Robinson Crusoe" and other
island tales. 8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/26/00College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/29/00OTO Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/30/00Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/31/00Sirius 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.

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

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