Thelema Lodge Calendar for October 2000 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for October 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.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
October 2000 e.v. at Thelema Lodge Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
This month's "Libran Lesser Feasts" are the birthdays of three leading initiates who were particularly influential upon the founding and development of our lodge: Aleister Crowley, Jack Parsons, and Grady McMurtry. Each of them, like Thelema Lodge itself, was native to the zodiacal sign of the balance, and by a local tradition their anniversaries are commemorated in the Thelemic community here with feasting and with readings from their works. Cheth House in the Berkeley hills invites members and friends of the lodge to a birthday party for Jack Parsons on Monday evening 2nd October, from 7:00 until 10:00 o'clock. Bring food and drink, and select some passages to read from the books of Belarion, or stories to tell about the Thelemic rocket scientist who went out with a bang. Call ahead to (510) 525-0666 for Cheth House directions. Then on Thursday evening 12th October at 7:00 Thelema Lodge will be the site of our feast in honor of the 125th anniversary of the birth of Edward Alexander Crowley, who at the Equinox of the Gods ninety-six years ago became the prophet of the aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child. Bring a dish for the dinner, mark a favorite poem or a few paragraphs to read together, and also if possible bring photographs and portraits of Crowley, of which we plan to mount a small exhibition. The following week for the lesser feast of Grady Louis McMurtry on Wednesday evening 18th October we will celebrate at Sirius Oasis, likewise from 7:00 to 10:00 o'clock. Again there will be feasting -- bring lots of food and drink - and readings in verse and prose. We will also have some recorded interviews with Grady to which we can listen, and lots of stories to tell. For Sirius Oasis directions, call (510) 527-2855. (Please note that this celebration will take the place of the regular Sirius Oasis meeting for October; members should not expect a tea party on Hallowe'en!)
Jack Parsons, although he spent only five years as a member of O.T.O. before resigning to pursue the Great Work on his own, was the essential link between the Prophet and his Caliph. It was Jack who had introduced Grady McMurtry to the Order in 1941 e.v. at Agape Lodge, the only example of an O.T.O. community which Grady had upon which to model his own Thelemic project. When Grady established Thelema Lodge, sealing its charter under a solar eclipse on Crowleymas afternoon twenty-three years ago in Berkeley, he was after long effort realizing plans originally discussed with these other two Librans more than three decades earlier. Just after the end of the war, as Grady was being transported from England back to California, Jack was still new in his instillation as master at Agape Lodge, which was then the only surviving lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis operating under charter from Baphomet. The old man himself, declining into remote retirement in his Hastings boarding house, was working tirelessly to shore up his legacy as grand master of the Order. A northern California lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis to be chartered under the name of Thelema, working the Man of Earth degrees of initiation and maintaining a temple of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica for regular public celebration of the gnostic mass, was planned in the Bay Area, with Grady establishing domicile in San Francisco following his military discharge. The new lodge was to function in amity with the Agape group in Pasadena, as worked out between the three leaders during visits and in correspondence around the time of the vulgar new year 1946. But within a few months the combined obligations of university scholarship and of new fatherhood fell too heavily upon Grady's shoulders for the organization of this lodge to proceed, and the passing of Baphomet late in the following year served also to dampen this plan. When Agape Lodge dwindled away in southern California, and reactivated military service took Grady away again to Korea and Japan (where in 1952 he heard of the explosion which killed Jack Parsons), the hope for a new lodge, of which he was now solitary custodian, must have seemed dim indeed. It was not to be until the 1960s, after Grady's academic and administrative career, along with his family responsibilities, had run their course and left him free to complete his own training, that the huge task of reviving the Order could get under way. From that point, however, Grady's dedication was complete, and he devoted the remainder of his life to establishing the law of Thelema in the aeon of Horus, with the fraternity of Ordo Templi Orientis as its war-engine.
Suavity Often Irritates
To suggest some of the implication of this conjunction of "Libran Lesser Feasts" in the history of our leadership, and also to serve as an announcement of the forthcoming publication of Crowley's complete astrological writings, we present an extract from the analysis of the sign of Libra in the 1927 volume Astrology: Your Place in the Sun, published under the name of the popular American astrologer Evangeline Adams. (My copy is dated thirty years later and marked as the twentieth printing, indicating that this title was something of a cash cow in the catalogue of its publishers, the Dodd Mead Company of New York.) In 1915 e.v. Aleister Crowley had been experimenting with various ways of selling his skills as a writer in America, and had taken on the job of producing the text which became this book as a ghost writer under contract to Evangeline Adams. Crowley's own interest in astrology was at its height around this time, and although the work he did for Adams cannot altogether be considered his own in the usual sense (since she had the last word regarding the text, and he wrote it to appear under her name and authorship), some of his comments here about his own native sign are interesting and revealing.
The native of this sign has the power of charming by his speech and writing. He is gentle, subtle, and persuasive, and manages to get his own way under a great appearance of justice. He is singularly plausible in presenting his points of view and always pretends to be just a little shocked and hurt when anybody sees through him. The type is not exactly hypocritical, but Libra natives feel instinctively that all is fair in love and war and that the end justifies the means. It is one of the regular characteristics of the intriguing mind. They acquire sympathy with great skill, and their suavity often irritates an opponent to loss of temper and its consequent disadvantages, since while the native has him at his mercy, he may point out with tears in both eyes that he is being abused and ill-treated, and that the anger of the opponent is only further evidence, alas, that he is in the wrong.
The native of Libra gets on very well in his home, owing to the charm of his manners and his general capacity for doing things subtly without seeming to do them. He has, however, no particularly strong or deep-rooted attachments for his home, and though a break with his family would be comparatively rare, he does not possess the domestic sense in anything like the same degree as the native of such signs as Taurus or Cancer.
In love, the Libra native has perhaps the most interesting temperament of any in the zodiac. The influence of Libra, as a balance, comes very strongly into play. Libra as the cardinal sign of an active element is decidedly masculine; as a house of Venus, it is decidedly feminine. The temperament of this native is consequently poised between the sexes. As a rule, he is very strongly and very highly developed on the plane of sex, and this is marked sometimes by his possession of a nature intermediate between male and female, sometimes by the possession of two temperaments, one almost extravagantly masculine while the other is intensely feminine. Possessing such a range of understanding in this matter, it is natural to find the Libra native a great expert in all matters of love. He instinctively comprehends the nature of any other human being, and his adaptability is such that he is able to adjust himself without effort to the other party. He takes intense pleasure in the exercise of this power, because of his instinctive desire to master others. It comes natural to him to play a part.
These qualities often make the Libra native a good deal of a varietist, and under certain planetary combinations there may even appear a strain of homosexuality. This is not to be attributed to any real predilection, but to the fact of the delicate poise of the Libra nature between the two sexes. This type of Libra person is often intensely voluptuous, and also refined to the highest possible point. Even where there is much sensuality there is none of grossness. He does not consider love as an appetite, but as an art. It is true that he may perform acts of an incredibly gross nature, but his aim is never the satisfaction of a lust. He will take equal or greater pleasure in the similar education of others, and thereby these people are often very pernicious to their fellows.
The Practice of the Magical Record
Beginning this month Thelema Lodge presents a new series to be known as "The Magical Forum," beginning with a discussion led by Nathan entitled "The Practice of the Magical Record." A "call for papers" is also issued herewith to members and friends of the lodge, for future events in this series. We will meet on Saturday evening 14th October in the lodge library at 7:00 to open this experimental discussion and ritual group. The intention is to provide an open symposium for the presentation, analysis, and practice of Thelemic spirituality. Each meeting will involve the presentation of a prepared paper or ritual, followed by open discussion and critique. Volunteers who would like to share their own thoughts or practices are encouraged to contact the facilitator, Nathan, at (510) 601-9393. This first month's topic will be the practice of the magical diary, one of the fundamental disciplines of our tradition. A brief paper on the subject will be read, after which the floor will be open for debate as we explore together our own attitudes toward this practice. Everyone is welcome.
N.O.X. est Perpetua
Now well into its fourth year of semimonthly meetings in the lodge library for open discussion of Thelemic issues, the College of Hard N.O.X. offers prime penetrating palaver to all participants. Under the direction of Mordecai, our Dean of Hard N.O.X., the college gathers at 8:00 o'clock on the first and final Wednesday evenings of each month, which in October will be the 4th and 25th. In addition to its function as an actual "chat room," this enterprise has a virtual component as well: N.O.X. on-line offers the possibility of limitless discussion, and may be contacted at N.O.X. Online EGroups Registration
The Good Old Jolly True Blue Englishman
On Monday evening 16th October at 8:00 there will be a gathering in the lodge library to discuss Aleister Crowley's slender volume of fiction entitled The Stratagem and Other Stories, originally published in 1929 by the Mandrake Press of London. Its opening tale, "The Stratagem," tells of the escape attempts of an inmate on Devil's Island -- but all is not as it seems. In his autohagiography Crowley recounts how this story came to him, on the night of 19th January 1914 e.v. between the ninth and tenth bouts of the Paris Working. "In my sleep I dreamt; and when I woke the dream remained absolutely perfect in my consciousness, down to the minutest details. It was a story, a subtle exposure of English stupidity, set in a frame of the craziest and most fantastically gorgeous workmanship. Ill as I was, I jumped out of bed and wrote down the story offhand. I called it 'The Stratagem.' . . . I was told - nothing in my life ever made me prouder - that Joseph Conrad said it was the best short story he had read in ten years" (Confessions, page 722). The story was accepted very quickly for publication in The English Review (London: June 1914), and its author noted with pride in the margin of his Paris Working diary that "this story is the first real thing" which he had ever done "to be accepted instantly, and to attract real applause from all quarters" (Equinox IV:2, page 378). The collection's second item is "The Testament of Magdalen Blair," a tale about the experience of death, which is surprisingly similar to the style soon to be developed by H. P. Lovecraft. It provides an unforgettably horrific example of Crowley's penchant for ending his stories with a grotesque or macabre twist. "His Secret Sin" is the third story, a satire of British sexual mores which has still not lost its bite. These second and third pieces had both originally appeared in The Equinox. We will also be glancing at Crowley's brief and very early tale entitled "Which Things are an Allegory," which was probably written around 1903 and never published by its author. It was added to a "second edition" of The Stratagem and Other Stories published in the UK ten years ago by the Temple Press of Brighton, and also appears in the present issue of this newsletter. Further information or directions to the lodge for this event may be had from Nathan at (510) 601- 9393.
Deeply Delving in an Interdicted Lore
The pulp fiction of Clark Ashton Smith (1893-1961), much of which appeared in the magazine Weird Tales alongside that of his friend H. P. Lovecraft, will be the subject of our Section Two reading group this month, meeting with Caitlin in the lodge library on Monday evening 23rd October, beginning at 8:00. As a promising young northern California poet, Clark Ashton Smith of Auburn first established his literary reputation with the eerie and elaborate visionary quality of his verses. His 1912 volume entitled The Star-Treader and Others was especially celebrated, and he also published a series of short tales in the "Oriental" mode of the Arabian Nights, and was a prolific translator of French "Symbolist" poetry. In 1922 e.v. Lovecraft wrote to Smith from Rhode Island with praise for the Star-Treader poems, initiating a correspondence with "Klarkash-Ton" which continued for fifteen years. Lovecraft got the more highly cultured Californian to read "The Call of Cthulhu" in the February 1928 issue of Weird Tales, and their letters soon became full of an invented mythology as they named and speculated upon hideous mutant divinities from remotest eons and alternate dimensions. Before long Smith's literary friends in San Francisco were shocked to see his name on horror magazine stories like "The Abominations of Yondo" and "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan." For a few years in the early 1930s Smith became a professional pulp writer, although editors at Weird Tales (along with Strange, Stirring, Astounding, Uncanny and the various other periodical purveyors of fantastic fiction) were prone to reject some of his best work as "too poetic." Between September 1929 and the end of 1933 Smith wrote about a hundred stories, with only a few more to come in the next couple years; by 1936 he had stopped writing fiction completely and devoted himself to painting and sculpture, becoming famous in Auburn for the grotesque figures he produced. In 1954 he married and moved to Pacific Grove on the Monterey peninsula to spend his final years in retirement. The stories for which he is celebrated may have been produced primarily to earn extra money at a time when Smith was caring for his aged parents, but his literary craftsmanship gives them a jeweled intensity of focus, and his sardonic humor maintains a complex balance of attitude, which transcend the genres of fantastic fiction that provided their original marketplace. Smith is at his best in suggesting the vast stretches of time and space across which the essential influences of the universe reach out to play upon our conscious identities, and how such alien contact across the abyss can engage the individual overwhelmingly, to the point of enveloping into oblivion the investigating consciousness. Smith's protagonists each happen upon some unforeseeable communication with forces too alien to be comprehended, only to discover their own deeper identity with those forces, to which they are drawn with "an abhorrently conflicting impulse to return."
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This rather disgusting and apparently quite early example of Crowley's fiction was circulated among Thelemites in the 1950s e.v. as a three-page typescript, prepared by Karl Germer, under the heading "an unpublished story by Aleister Crowley." A note at the bottom of the last page reads: "Copyright owned by Karl Germer, Hampton, New Jersey. U.S.A." Whether Germer had legitimate personal ownership of the piece (a gift from the author, perhaps, or security for a loan), or was simply putting his name forth as the representative of Ordo Templi Orientis (owner of most of Crowley's copyrights, according to the Beast's will) he was probably himself none too clear on the distinction. This story was published for the first time as an addition to the 1990 "second edition" of Crowley's The Stratagem and Other Stories (Brighton: Temple Press), where it carries an O.T.O. copyright notice. It was apparently transcribed by Gerald Yorke from a manuscript which Edward Noel Fitzgerald received from Gerald Kelly, to whom Crowley made a gift of it back around 1903 when they were still friends and had not yet become brothers-in-law. Keith Rhys, who edited the piece for its first publication, considers it "probably Crowley's earliest extant short story." Our text is based upon the Germer typescript, although some typographical errors have been corrected and some details of punctuation and presentation have been regularized.
Which Things are an Allegory
by Aleister Crowley
The little black demon sat in his corner and grinned. Outside the toads held ghastly revel over that thing, that thing unholy, that lay in the shadow of the old cathedral, that thing so lately a living, loving creature and now blackened, swollen, and already a rotting corpse. And it lay in the shadow of the old cathedral and the little black demon sat in his corner in the red light of a dying fire and smacked its fleshless lips and grimaced and aped and gibbered and grinned. And then it laughed out loud and shrunk back frightened at its own hellish mirth. And the thick black London fog shut all the mystery in with a horrid pall.
There came the morning, if we call it morning, when the black only fades to an orange hue, a sickly yellow hue, the hue of the dead, and even under the shadow of the cathedral there came a man in blue. And the thing was found. And men came stealing through the midday muck and bore it through the crowded streets, the streets where men smile with black hate beneath the mask, the streets where no honest man can live, no pure woman eke out her daily bread, where the Devil is crowned King under the best loved name -- the name of Gold. And the liars that minister to their thirst for news broke through all rule and told the truth about this thing. And they called it Murder. As if Murder were new in London, where every young life's hope is stamped out under the golden hoof of Mammon -- not once a day, nor twice. And lo! the orange is become black again and the streets of the City are deserted. And the little black demon gibbered in his corner and laughed and now arose and went out. And he grinned hideously on his dear sisters as he hastened through the Haymarket and marked the putrefaction beneath their paint and the Death beneath their dye. And he chuckled as he passed his dear brothers and saw them stagger through the bye-ways. Ha! how he gloated. And now he is in an alley bleak and lone and the fog is thicker and darker than before. And silently he dances -- yes! he dances now -- he is so glad! -- down the streets and calls a woman to him that stands in the shadow. And she comes and he leaps on her and licks her with that black tongue that foams with a foul sweat. And she falls still in the shadow. And he licks and still licks with that black tongue and the clothes rot from her as it touches them. And he licks and still licks while the corpse swells to a black putrid mass three times the size God made it, sprinkled with leprous patches of a dead white. And he has finished, and the toads crawl out and sit upon her and hold a ghastly revel. And the black fog is over all. And the little black devil sits in his corner and still sat and gibbered.
And this happened day by day, and the people were afraid. And the liars wrote many lies and gave much advice so quaintly worded by their art that nothing or anything might be understood by it. And the little black devil sat in his corner still and grinned.
And then after seven days nothing more happened. And the liars forgot and wrote new lies about other things. And so the world went on.
Now there was a man in this city who was much honoured. For his name was noble and his money measureless. But he had no character and less virtue. So for these qualities he was much esteemed. And he knew also a woman whose name was not noble, who had no money, but whose character and virtue were even as his. And the generous world thought that the last good thing might outweigh the other two for she, with it, could borrow a noble name and gain much money also. And this indeed she did, and was much esteemed of all men. But the women hated her. Now for a long time had she held this noble man in her thrall, but he (having no virtue of any sort) grew tired of her. And his friends said "Get rid of this woman, but shabbily, so that you may be the more esteemed by all men and all shall be well." For the men of London think that, by reason of the fog, the Eye of God seeth not the deeds that are done in London. And so he went and took another woman to him. But she, the first, went to her Father, and did consult. And he, from the flames everlasting, bid her be of good cheer. And the room was dark and the woman grew cold and shrank now into a corpse, nor was any breath left in her. And her heart sprang out and arose and went into the outer room. And that black corpse that lay in the shadow of St Paul's had been the rival of her, and was now. And again some other child of hate, and again even for seven days. And after seven days the heart came back and entered again into her and the life came into her again and she arose and went out and so lived on.
Now it came to pass that the year passed by until the day before the anniversary of the first day of this. And she was merry at supper and grew drunken. And, being maddened, she passed out into the street and began to rave in the market place and tore her clothes. And the man in blue came to her and took her. For the men of London do all drink and the women also. But they say outwardly that it is a horrid thing and so appoint a punishment for the poor who are drunken in the street. But for the rich the man in blue procureth a cab that he may be driven home. And this man in blue that met the woman knew that she was not rich and so forced her to come with him. And the morning came and she was brought before him who was to judge her. But he was late, having been himself drunken the night before and having had a headache in consequence. But at last he came and spake loud and virtuously, even giving a long moral lecture on the vice of drink. But while he yet spake, the woman grew cold and shrank up and now there was no life left in her, even as before. And the liars wrote much of this. But her heart had sprung out as before and went about with its black tongue, licking and slaying. And the liars wrote much of this also. And so seven days passed and the woman was buried. And over her they signed the Cross. And the noble man knew that it was she and over her grave he raised a cross of marble. And at the end of seven days the little black devil ceased his gibbering and came and sought her. But he found her not, for when he came to the grave he might not pass the cross. So he wandered up and down in unclean places and sought rest and found it not. And he went to the Patriarch of the fallen of London. And he was sad for, said he, "this child of mine is grown to my will and there is nothing left for me to do. I am not needed here." "Let us flee," said the little black demon gibbering and grimacing again, "let us flee away even to the nearest place we may." "Yes," howled that old Patriarch lashing a forked tail with a horrid thud, "let us out of this fog." For the thick black fog still hung down over all the city. "Let us to the nearest place where we may find some good we may corrupt." And they arose and went through the black streets and away and away. And they fled very far.
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from the Grady Project:
The tape from which this interview has been transcribed was recorded as part of an oral history project. We will be serializing portions of the interview over the course of several issues of the newsletter, and here at the beginning the conversation has been presented complete, with only a few interruptions and vocal hesitations edited out. Subsequent installments will probably be somewhat more selective, but in order to preserve some of the qualities of the his speech we have tended to follow Grady's pronouncements exactly. We are very grateful to Sirius Oasis for the opportunity to work with this recording.
Grady Louis McMurtry
interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life
by Glenn Turner
on the afternoon of 6th April 1981 e.v.
Glenn: Today's date is April sixth, nineteen eighty-one. I, Glenn Turner, am interviewing Grady McMurtry. Grady, I wanted to ask you again to cover some of the personal history. Where was it you were born?
Grady: Well, for correctional purposes, let me put it this way; the name is not pronounced "Mic-mur-tee," it's "Mic-mur-tree," which, when Scottish Gaelic gets correctly translated, means a viking, a son of the sea-wind. Because that's what McMurtry means in Scottish Gaelic.
Glenn: Is that your full name? Do you have a middle name, or anything?
Grady: Louis. All right; as a matter of fact it might be interesting for future history to know that my first name is Grady, which is a river in Ireland. My middle name is Louis; L-E-W-I-S, which is an island in the Irish Sea. My last name is McMurtry, which means the son of the sea, which is as much as to say a viking, which is quite obviously of Scandinavian origin. Now, what happened was quite obvious. I once looked it up in the Research Library of the University of California, and what happened was quite obvious. This viking ship came into Scotland on the sea-winds and was wrecked off the coast, and the survivors were known by the local natives by their names, McMurtrys, the sons of the sea-winds.
Glenn: That's good. Did your family realize that your name had mythology in it?
Grady: No; I'm the only one who ever did. I'm the only one who ever swallowed a dictionary, in my family.
Glenn: So, were they educated people?
Grady: No. They weren't stupid, but they were not educated. My father, for example, never went beyond the third grade, but he was not dumb.
Glenn: Sure; education isn't intelligence.
Grady: That's right.
Glenn: What did he do? Was he a farmer, or something? You were born in Oklahoma; Big Cabin?
Grady: Right. We McMurtrys come from a long line of outlaws. My father was a criminal, by American definition of justice, which is to say he was a bank robber in the nineteen-twenties. And he went up for bank robbing. In fact, the first time I saw him -- sort of like Planet of the Apes; remember Planet of the Apes, remember this thing where there's this guy goes out of here -- this guy behind the thing, that looked like that. The first time I saw my father, the way I got to see him; I was a Boy Scout. The reason I signed on to be a Boy Scout was -- it was in Seminole, Oklahoma -- okay; back east in Oklahoma; down south-east, right -- and my brother -- no, I'm sorry; correction: my step-brother, Floyd, who was a beautiful, beautiful guy, had sort of taken me in for a temporary time, because I was having a lot of problems with my childhood. I mean, with my father being an outlaw and things like that.
Glenn: So how old were you and how old was he?
Grady: Well, I was about ten at the time, and he was about twenty. Okay; anyway, this was Seminole, Oklahoma; these -- okay; he took me downtown one day in Seminole, Oklahoma, and we walked by the Y.M.C.A., and as we walked by the Y.M.C.A. we saw this sign that said that anybody who signs up for the Boy Scouts will get a prize. The prize is we're going to visit McAllister State Prison. Well, of course we both knew that my father, Grady, was a prisoner in McAllister State Prison. Well, I had never seen my father -- to remember him -- so I signed up, and I went down there, and I saw him. But he didn't see me. Curious about that -- but he was standing behind -- he was not standing, he was sitting, in "Sunday whites," which they had because it was Sunday, behind this god-damned door, with this bar. He was just like in Planet of the Apes, just exactly -- my father! I did everything but stand on my hands. In the outlaw gang he went up with, there was this -- there was a curious democracy among outlaws.
Glenn: Thieves' honor?
Grady: Thieves' honor, yeah. One of them was a chief, a Cherokee -- full- blooded Cherokee --
Glenn: Who was a full-blooded Cherokee?
Grady: One of the gang; one of the guys in Dad's outlaw gang, when they were robbing banks in Oklahoma -- in northern Oklahoma. This was in the 'twenties. We had that -- The way I got born was kind of -- I think rather romantic; I don't know if you would --
Glenn: Well, tell the story; I'd love to hear it.
Grady: I think rather romantic. I thought of it. I don't want to be -- I think this is a beautiful story. This is something you could make movies out of.
Glenn: Okay, tell it.
Grady: All right, fine; it's like this. My maternal grandfather was a mountain man. Do you know what a mountain man is?
Glenn: Not exactly.
Grady: A guy who goes out on the frontier, fucks the local Indian women, and survives. My grandfather killed more fucking Indians than you would believe. Not because he wanted to kill them --
Grady: Just to survive. Like, for example, he -- there was one guy -- like one -- he did something very beautiful, in my opinion; very beautiful, in my opinion, and very strange. He surrendered his American citizenship.
Glenn: Wow. Was Oklahoma then -- not a state, or something?
Grady: No; that's right; it was a territory.
Glenn: So that's real far back, then?
Grady: That's right. That's right; see, my ancestors were Confederates. We were Southerners --
Glenn: Right; okay -- Rebels. Oh, so that's a lot of the background.
Grady: You fuckin' -- all Scotch -- the Scottish -- the Scottish Rebels, right?
Glenn: That's very interesting.
Grady: And we came in through the Carolinas, right --
Glenn: Right; so there's a lot of that --
Grady: That's why they're still playing zithers up in the South Carolina mountains, right.
to be continued
Previous Grady Project to be continued
Here's the rest of Crowley's response to the "Grady Letter" published in this column of the TLC for September, 2000 e.v. Hidden meanings and cigarettes are discussed, leading us to wonder when a cigar is or is not a cigar, to paraphrase Sigmund.
|Of course, it is by no means natural for everyone to become a consecrated priestess; there are, in fact, very few women who have the strength of character necessary to pursue successfully such a career. One of the greatest dangers lies in the tendency to cheapen and vulgarise the whole proceeding, and any blasphemy against this force of nature does lead to the most shocking degradation of character. If anything of the sort has taken place in the case which you mention, it is owing to the comic behaviour of yourself and Jack. One sentence in particular is a most amusing admission; the idea of keeping the distribution of cigarettes within the Order. In the name of three hundred and thirty-three thousands million devils, why? What has that got to do with anybody? Of the documents before me, I must say that I think you attitude is less reprehensible than Jack's; but you none of you seem to have read the 'Duties and Privileges'. This question of the child is very clearly explained. It is so simple and obvious that I should have thought it would not have needed explanation to anyone who looked at the subject with clean eyes. May I try to put it for you very simply?
The female body is constructed (very clumsily) with the object of producing children; to produce children may be called the True Will of the body. If that body belongs to a member of the Order, it is the business of the Order to look after its welfare; to drag in questions of paternity is simply asking for trouble. You can ask Jane about this. At Cefalu there was a French girl who, before she ever heard of the Order, had this idea in a rather curious form. She thought that this reproduction of her species was "her duty to the planet". As it so happened, she had a child as a result of a house-hunting journey that we took all over France and Sicily. She happened to be a fairly good cook, and was able to pay her way in that manner. A year or so later another child appeared, owing to the intervention of somebody, I don't know who, in the town; and this again happened, again a year or two later. This happened still once more another year or so later. The question was never even discussed as to what to do about it. She was doing her job; and it was up to all of us to look after her as best we could. That, in fact, was the key-note of all our lives in the Abbey. If the typist wanted a new machine, she ought to have one. She is doing the job for the Order, and has an essential right to the supplies. Of course, practically all the typing that she did was done for me personally; but then all the dictation that I did was done in the interests of all the others. It all evens out if people will only refrain from taking these petty, personal standpoints and arguing about whose responsibility is which, and why what is when and whither, and if so, why not. As soon as you start like Lord Alfred Douglas, writing for over forty years long articles to prove that he, and nobody else, paid for the supper held at Willis' Rooms on 23rd October, 1891, you never stop -- like him again.
At the same time I have to say, that so far as Claire's situation is in any way bad, it is you and Jack between you who are more responsible for it than anyone else. It is quite clear from his letter, that the situation was created by the pair of you. Jack, in fact, is more responsible than you, because his excuses are decidedly disingenuous. However, this is a matter entirely for you to decide; the benefit to be derived from the whole business is that in future this case should serve as a sort of "sealed pattern". These conditions are bound to recur millions of times in the next two thousand years, and if you will pay a little attention to what I have written in this letter, there would be no trouble whatever for anybody.
Love is the law, love under will.
Fraternally in the bonds of the Order
Previous Primary Sources Next Primary Sources.
Another New Crowley Biography
Now available: Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley by Lawrence Sutin, St. Martin's Press, New York, $27.95 in hardback, ISBN 0-312-25243-9, 483 pages with index and photo section. Review to follow. One of the most insightful and full treatments of Crowley's life, as seen in his diaries and the opinions of his contemporaries. Sometimes controversial and occasionally imperfect, this new book may well be the best Crowley biography to date.
An Introduction to Qabalah
Part LV -Gematria in Literature.
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
The Order and Value of the Greek Alphabet:
Hebrew is not the only isopsephic (letters consistently used to represent numerals) alphabet. Also of great antiquity and of that nature is the Greek alphabet. There is a considerable controversy over which came first, Greek or Hebrew gematria. Likely this question will never be resolved, since it is inherent in the very nature of both to give number values to the letters and therefore totals to words. Archaeology may one day present the best argument in the case, but until that day it is sufficient to know the method and to be able to apply it in either language. The collective meanings of numbers, as exhibited by words matching number, tends to differ between these two. Greek words having a particular value usually do not match Hebrew words of similar value. Modern collections of tables of such things have been made. Crowley's Sepher Sephirot in Equinox Vol. I, No. 8 is such a collection for Hebrew. His Liber MCCCLXIV, The Greek Qabalah is a smaller collection that does the same for Greek, first published from the surviving slips of entries in OTO Newsletter double issue 7-9, in May of 1979 e.v.
The Hebrew Bible or Old Testament offers many places for application of Gematria; but most of these are of later age, instances of exegetical interpretation of Genesis, Kings, Ezekiel, Job and other books. One notable exception is the riddle of Sampson in Judges 14:14: "Out of the eater came forth food, and out of the strong came forth sweetness", along with its answer in verse 18: "What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?" This riddle was used to trick the Philistines by Sampson and referred to his finding bees making honey in the dried remains of a lion. The key to it is in a match of the numeration of words on sweet honey and a strong lion.
The Epistle of Barnabas is considered to date from around 100 e.v. It has this curious passage: "For [the Scripture] saith, 'And Abraham circumcised ten, and eight, and three hundred men of his household.' What, then, was the knowledge given to him in this? Learn the eighteen first, and then the three hundred. The ten and the eight are thus denoted -- Ten by I, and Eight by H. You have Jesus. And because the cross was to express the grace by the letter T, he says also, 'three Hundred.'" This is a double reference to Greek text of the Old Testament as well as Hebrew, since these numerations only work for Greek, with Eta as "H" and Tau as "T". The primary notion is to "IHS", one of the ways of representing the name of Christ. By playing Greek and Hebrew back and forth on the matching number values, this author has brought in the symbolism of the Cross on Tau with the transformation of "IHT" to "IHS" on the 300 numeration of Greek Tau and Hebrew Shin. At the same time he has played Eta's shape against the sound of the Hebrew letter Hay, in merry indifference to the numerations of those two letters. Crowley's manner of strange manipulation of things like Tarot Trump and Hebrew letter numerations is not new. -- See The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume I, p. 143, Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing Co., 1973, ISBN 0-8028-2063-8. Other examples may be found in the same book and from not much later, e.g. Irenaeus' exposition of the simple Greek gematria of the word "Soter".
Passing over the obvious cases in the Biblical Book of Revelations on number from the 2nd century e.v., we reach a curious sort of literature. There are many other "Apocalypses", some ascribed to visions of Abraham, Moses and famous Rabbi's of the times. The age of these works has always presented a problem. On the one hand, portions of them seem pre-Christian. On the other, most of them survive in either Latin or Slovonic versions, fewer in Hebrew or Aramaic, and that suggests a later period. Studies and Texts in Folklore, Magic, Mediaeval Romance, Hebrew Apocrypha and Samaritan Archaeology, by Moses Gaster, Ktav Publishing House, Inc., New York, 1971, SBN 87068-056-0, collects a good many of these, especially in volume I. Most of these "Apocalypses" and "Revelations" involve some person, either in dream or waking vision, traveling to the seven heavens and hells, in various combinations. In the manner of the much older books of Enoch, translated from Coptic and Slovonic, these accounts describe each heaven or hell in terms of lengths and numbers, as well as qualities of color, beauty and the like. Gematria comes in with the selection of the terms of description, often consisting of words which in Hebrew have the same value as some length, count or other expressed number associated with that place. This is even the case with the non-Hebrew variants which have lost the direct association. Simply finding Hebrew words for the various terms of description frequently turns up gematria totals matching the given numbers in the associated text. Gaster gives one example in his note to "The Revelation of R. Joshua Ben Levi" on "Paradise". The text says: "Within this is the Eden containing 310 worlds, as it is said: 'That I may cause those that love me to inherit Substance'". Gaster identifies this as Prov. viii. 21 and remarks that the Hebrew word "Substance" has the value 310.
After the 5th century e.v., relatively few examples of gematria are found in literature, until the time of Moses Maimonides in 12th century Spain. Maimonides takes great exception to speculative interpretation of scripture by such occult means as this. There must have been a rebirth of interest in old methods of gematria some time before; and, following the later diaspora of the 15th century, when the Jews were expelled from Spain, we see a sudden explosion of interest in other parts of Europe in such methods. This culminated with the formation of Hassidism in 18th century Eastern Europe, which in its turn appears to be the fountain-head of modern approaches to Qabalah, including those of Crowley and the Golden Dawn.
There were many other instances of gematria in the interim. The Sabbataians of the 17th century used it to argue that Sabbatai Sevi was the true messiah, come at last to the Jews. Jacob Frank did much the same. These efforts normally developed collections of word-number matches to variations of the name of the hero of the movement. Crowley's fascination with the numbers of his mystical names is essentially a continuation of this pattern.
The Christians of recent centuries, especially since the Reformation, have often taken to gematria to prove a point or to expound scripture. They tend to favor Greek over Hebrew, but sermons in the time of Elizabeth I of England sometimes included Hebrew as well as Greek numerations in their texts, going well beyond the old stand-by of The Book of Revelations. Some of these sermons are still to be found in the manuscript collection of the Dukes of Northumberland, at Allnwick castle. Perhaps their preservation was partly due to the influence of John Dee, who spent some years at Allnwick as tutor to the children of the Duke. Bligh Bond and Thomas Lea's Gematria, Research into Lost Knowledge Organization, London, 1977, ISBN 0 7225 0355 5, is particularly devoted to Greek Christian-style gematria. Joseph Leon Blau's The Christian Interpretation of the Cabalah in the Renaissance, Kennicat Press, 1944 and 1965, has its problems of shortsightedness, but it is a good general survey of the topic and a pointer to many other primary source texts. Christian "Cabalah" lives on. A few years ago, a fellow posted on Compuserve in one of the religion discussion forums. He had found a bible with strange letters and numbers inscribed on the fly-leaf and wanted to know if anyone could explain what these arcana signified. They signified that someone around the time of WWI had tried to render the name of the German Kaiser into Hebrew letters in such a way as to arrive at the total "666". The same has been done in more recent times, with one of the dozen or so modern variants on English Gematria and the name of Ronald Wilson Reagan.
Previous part (LIV). Next installment: A bit more literal Qabalah, for a Song
Events Calendar for October 2000 e.v.
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Lesser Feast of Jack Parsons at
Cheth House 7:00 PM
|College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Lesser Feast of Aleister Crowley
At Thelema Lodge 7:00PM
|Magical Forum: "Practice of the
Magical Record". 7PM with Nathan
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Seminar on Crowley's Fiction:
"The Stratagem & Other Stories"
8PM with Nathan in the library
|Lesser Feast of Grady McMurtry
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
Caitlin: the stories of Clark Ashton
Smith. 8:00PM in the library
|College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
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