Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for March 2001 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, 2001 e.v.

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

March 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Between Index and Medius

    Join with the members of Thelema Lodge any Sunday evening at nightfall to participate in celebration of the mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. This thelemic eucharist ritual has been celebrated each week for twenty-three years by members of the lodge. Officers in the mass volunteer to serve the lodge in the clerical roles of priestess, priest, and deacon, with mass teams requesting specific dates in consultation with the lodgemaster, who keeps the schedule for Horus Temple. New participants are always welcome among the congregation at mass, and to attend for the first time should call the lodge well ahead for directions and information. Guests wishing to meet members of the lodge should come and join us for mass. Assemble in the lodge library by 7:30 to await the deacon's summons into the sanctuary of the gnosis.
    In the canon of the mass a hand gesture is prescribed for the priest at the point where he first relinquishes his lance to the deacon: "The thumb of the PRIEST is always between his index and medius, whenever he is not holding the Lance." No specific use or display of this gesture is ascribed to the priest; he is simply to assume it during the odd moments that his hands are not otherwise encumbered. Presumably he applies the salt water of purification to the priestess with his hand held thus, but frequently he alone will be aware of the precise position of his fingers, making the instruction a sort of manual meditation rather than an altogether ceremonial gesture. Later when the deacon reads the office of the Collects and invokes the gnostic saints into the temple, the instruction reads: "At each name the DEACON signs + with thumb between index and medius." Here it is overtly ceremonial, and takes the place of a traditional gesture of blessing in the mass of the old aeon. Several different arrangements of the hand might be rendered according to these directions, but if the fingers are drawn closed in this position the resulting gesture is unmistakable as a sexual proposition (whether insulting or inviting) known for millennia in southern Europe, where the Italians call it "mano in fica" (making figs with the hand). Replacing the obsolete ecclesiastical gesture (two fingers out stiff, and the thumb forming a secret little cross underneath with the ring finger, also known as the Cub Scout salute) with this sign of "making the figs" in the gnostic mass introduces a symbol of sexual conjunction to represent success, in place of the "dry" canonical "blessing" of the old black cult of European priests.
    In 1832 an Italian priest named Andrea de Jorio published an illustrated lexicon of hand gestures observed in Naples (recently translated for the first time into English from Indiana University Press) which includes instructions for "making figs." The hand is held "as a fist with the point of the thumb interposed between the middle finger and the index finger so that it sticks out." The gesture has several traditional meanings, and one of the most common is that it is simply a gesture; it is an easy position into which however the hand would never casually fall, and thus it denotes basic intentionality, as a gesture per se. In this way the "figs" is used as a sign of personal assertion, much as that other common southern European hand gesture known as "making horns" (mano cornuta). Whenever faced with an undue onslaught of attention from an unfamiliar source, the "superstitious peasant" makes a gesture -- whether it be figs, horns, the cross, or something else -- simply to assert himself as a free agent not subject to unwarranted interpersonal domination. Folklorists used to refer to this assertion of the self as "warding off the evil eye," and we might think of it a simple banishing.
    More particularly the gesture of "making the figs with the hand" usually communicates angry defiance. In this way it resembles the modern American "obscene" gesture called "the finger," (which may have originated as a combination of the Italian "figs" and "horns"). Its meaning ranges from a simply impolite dismissal -- "get lost!" -- to the most grandiose contempt -- "flashing 'fuck you!' with both hands." This is the sense in which we see the "figs" in Dante's Inferno. The poet in the depths of hell, nearing the climax of his infernal tour, speaks (in the twenty-fourth canto) with the notorious Tuscan thug and church robber Vanni Fucci, confined for eternal punishment in one of the special pockets of the eighth circle where he is continually overwhelmed and interpenetrated by swarms of serpents. As the poet turns away to continue downward, canto XXV begins with a startling gesture from the damned outlaw: "Al fine de le sue parole il ladro / le mani alzò con amendue le fiche / gridando: 'Togli, Dio, ch'a te le squadro!'" (at the end of his words the thief raised up his hands with both the figs, crying: "Take them, God, for I aim them at you!") At this outburst, the serpents rise up en masse and reduce Vanni to prone silence. The blasphemous gesture he has made is outrageous and illegal even in hell. Such gestures had indeed to be made illegal in some Italian cities as well, and one Dante commentator cites a municipal statute which points to a common use of "the figs" as an expression of blasphemy: "Whoever has made the fiche or has shown his buttocks toward the image of God or the virgin must pay ten lire for each offense; otherwise he shall be whipped."
    The third alternative for "making the figs" is as an erotic invitation. Unlike our more primitive "finger," the figs gesture may be used without hatred, in a sort of manual flirtation to convey the invitation "would you care to be penetrated?" It is important, as Father Andrea makes clear in his description of the gesture, to indicate by expressions of the face whether the intention is fond or contemptuous. In pointing up to a girlfriend's window with such a gesture, the face will convey "a joyful, gay, or mild expression," while in a back alley when using it against a reckless driver an "indignant, vindictive, or violent expression" is called for. (Next time you're at mass, watch the deacon's face carefully to see just what is intended by all those crosses.) Whether incorporated into the mass as a parody, or by way of symbolic reversal, or as part of a more fundamental process of "redemptive obscenity," this gesture in our gnostic mass reveals one truth that you won't find admitted into many other churches.

Enochian Equinox

    A new year opens in the thelemic calendar at the vernal equinox as Sol enters Aries on Tuesday 20th March, early in the morning at 5:31. The ninety- seventh year of the aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child is ascribed with the designation IIII9 to the Hermit, atu IX in the tarot, representing "the highest form of Mercury, and the Logos, the Creator of all worlds" whose "representative in physical life is the spermatozoon." (which is depicted on the Hermit card in the Thoth deck). The little yod of which all else is formed, the hermit hand, the secret fire adoring the universal snake (and seeking out the egg it holds), indeed the whole hidden mystery of life is given in the atu for this new thelemic year.
    Plans are underway for an Enochian invocation at our spring equinox celebration in Horus Temple, beginning at 7:30 on Tuesday evening 20th March. Working in conjunction with members of the Actio Gnosis Liberta Australia at the other end of the earth, we hope to accomplish a bi-hemispheric working with a structure and goal to be shared in common between our two operations, connecting our two temples in their orientation to the aethyrs. Bring plenty to eat and drink and share, as we will be feasting together at the climax of the working.

Reception and Advancement

    Initiations for advancement in Ordo Templi Orientis will be held on the first Saturday this month, 3rd March, and two weeks later on Saturday 17th March the lodge will hold initiations for reception into the Order. Each of these rituals will conclude with a dinner feast for all involved. Active initiate members are encouraged to contact the officers of the lodge well in advance to discuss the time, place, and degree to be worked on these occasions. Attendance must be on the basis of advance arrangement with the lodge. The requirement for attendance is that each be an active initiate members of the degree being worked, and (except in the Minerval degree) be wearing proper ceremonial attire. As with candidates and officers in these rituals, all who attend will be expected to arrive on time, with late comers risking a complete shut-out once the ritual has begun. Feast contributions, particularly drinks, appetizers, or desserts, will be welcome from members of the assembled ranks.
    To request initiation as a candidate, obtain the requisite application form from the lodge and complete the informational questions. Sponsorship is required from two active initiate members of the degree to which advancement is sought. Improper sponsorship -- such as from initiates so far behind in their dues that their active membership has officially lapsed -- even if it fools the lodgemaster, will lead to the suspension of candidacy by order of the initiation secretary of the US Grand Lodge, in whose office the signature of every sponsor is checked against the membership rolls. Candidates who are on bad report in some other body of the Order will likewise have their applications rejected by the initiation secretary until they can demonstrate that the situation of concern has been acceptably resolved.
    To be a candidate for initiation at Thelema Lodge one must remain in touch with the officers here, making telephone contact at the very least on a monthly basis if unable to attend events. One year's dues are collected from each candidate immediately before the initiation ceremony (along with any back dues outstanding) and sent on to the treasurer of the Order. An initiation fee is also collected by the lodge at the same time. Fees for the Minerval through Third degrees are currently being discounted at this lodge in order to reduce costs for the candidate. No funds are accepted here ahead of time, and apart from payments on the day of the initiation ritual, the lodge does not collect O.T.O. dues from members. We are also not able to answer questions about specific membership accounts, which should be directed either to the US Grand Treasurer General or the International Treasurer of O.T.O. by electronic mail.

The Devil's Brother-in-Law

    The classic text of magical aspiration and demonic invocation in English literature, Christopher Marlowe's poetic drama of 1592 Doctor Faustus, will be our "Section Two" topic this month. Join us with Caitlin in the lodge library on Monday evening 19th March at 8:00 for a group reading of the play, which contains some of the most impressive dramatic poetry in our language. There will also be some brief discussion of the larger pattern of the faustian situation in literature, with mention of some of the later characterizations of Faust in nineteenth century music and poetry, to which we may be returning in future months with the reading group for some additional digressions into demonality and damnation.
    Itinerant in Germany during the early decades of the sixteenth century was a practicing magician and overt heretic named Jörg Faust, who called himself Georgius Faustus in university Latin, or "the younger Faust" (probably in honor of a fifth century Manichean Faustus canonized by the early church), and also "the second Magus" (after our own saint Simon the gnotic mage in the Book of Acts). Living by his wits and looking for adventure, the historic Faust traveled as a performing scholar, astrologer, seer, and healer, setting up briefly in a series of towns and moving on when the authorities began to object. In the new university culture of Germany he called himself "doctor" and made great show of his classical scholarship, claiming to have mastered all the fields of human knowledge. In Erfurt he gave a public lecture on Homer, and raised "spiritual figures" of the great heroes of Troy, and also of Helen (who may have been a whore whom he was pimping to some of his wealthier candidates for illumination). He attracted special attention by the unusually open heresy of his proud claims and opinions, comparing his stage magic to the miracles of Jesus and showing off his purportedly divine powers. He also gained a reputation for outrageous sexual morals, and was at one point forced to flee a post as schoolmaster rather than answer charges about "the most dastardly kind of lewdness with the boys" there. The city of Nuremberg subsequently denied him entrance as a "great sodomite and necromancer."
    In the throws of the Lutheran reformation, Germany was discussing spiritual alternatives at this time as never before, and considerable attention was given to the extreme example of Faust. As might be expected, most judgments which have come down to us were not those of the townspeople fascinated by the peripatetic magus, but those of scholars, religious leaders, and civil authorities who despised this reckless and unscrupulous popularizer of their secrets, and the extravagant claims of such a fly-by-night prophet and showman. Faust was condemned from so many sides that it seems a wonder he survived as long as he did. Authorities as divergent as Johannes Tritheimus (the Benedictine scholar abbot) and Martin Luther (excommunicated priest who successfully denied the pope) dismissed Faust as a rogue and a bum, a sidewalk huckster, and a dangerous fake. After Faust's death (around 1539, aged perhaps 60) he remained a symbolic figure, and was rapidly mythologized. Within ten years a dramatic story was being told of how the devil himself had tracked Faust down and killed him horribly. A generation later when the first written account of Faust circulated (around 1580) the story was that there had been a formal contract between Faust and the devil, which had run twenty-four years and then come due, leaving Faust defenseless against Satan's direct assault. Shortly afterwards when the Faust story came to be printed, first in what is now called the Frankfurt Faustbuch, it attracted enormous attention, with sixteen German editions of the little book in two years, and numerous translations quickly following. An English paraphrase was published in London a few years later under the title The History of the Damnable Life of Doctor Faustus. (The earliest English copy to survive was printed in 1592, but it was probably a reprint of material circulating in lost editions a year or two earlier.
    Christopher Marlowe in the early 1590s was London's greatest dramatic poet and most successful playwright, and also one of the leading sinister new wave black leather trendsetters of his day. More daring than any other established Elizabethan author, Marlowe openly celebrated not only an amoral bisexual hedonism, but a complete rejection of the dominant spiritual paradigms of his day. Marlowe was not just a heretic, he was an outright atheist openly scorning the piety, the morals, and the whole theology of Christianity. His great play Tamberlaine, the outstanding dramatic success of its season, which he followed up with a successful sequel, depicts the ruthless Turkic conqueror (otherwise known as Timur) in scornful triumph over all the established forms of spiritual culture, gradually taking over the world. Doctor Faustus on the other hand is an overtly Christian story, but it is easy to see the attraction of the defiance depicted in Faust's tragedy for someone of Marlowe's dark sympathies. The play was apparently written during the final year of its author's life, and some scenes in the middle may not have been finished, since an inferior poet is known to have been hired a few years later to make dramatic additions to the text so that it could be performed.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

Visualizing Effective Demons

    Recently, participants in Ye 7 Habits of Highlie Effectif Demons practiced the following visualization. It can be performed by itself, or inserted into step 2 of the AAA section of Crowley's Liber HHH.

    Visualize your washed corpse, wrapped in bandages and lying in a sarcophagus. Around you stand the Four Sons of Horus. To the east stands Duamutef, a mummy with the head of a jackal. He will
    speak to you of the understanding you attained in your lifetime. Before he does so, imagine in detail what you would wish for him to say regarding the understanding you attained in your lifetime. Remember this.
    After Duamuetef has spoken, you become aware that to the south stands Imsety, a mummy with the head of a man. He will speak to you of your accomplishments, those thing that you intended to do and then did in your lifetime. Before he does so, imagine in detail what you would wish for him to say regarding your accomplishments. Remember this.
    After Imsety has spoken, you become aware that to the west stands Qebehseneuf, a mummy with the head of a hawk. He will speak to you of your relations, how you were to others in your lifetime. Before he does so, imagine in detail what you would wish for him to say regarding your relations. Remember this.
    After Qebehseneuf has spoken, you become aware that to the north stands Hapy, a mummy with the head of an ape. He will speak to you of your life, of the quality of your lifetime. Before he does so, imagine in detail what you would wish for him to say regarding your life. Remember this.
    After Hapy has spoken, you become aware for a moment that to the west of you, beyond Qebehseneuf, stands a large pair of balances. In one pan is the feather of Maat. In the other pan is your heart. You see Anubis beginning to examine the balances before the whole scene fades from your view.

    From here, you can either end the practice, or proceed to AAA steps 3 through the end. This is intended to be a tool to assist the discovery of your True Will. These, and many other devilish ideas, are explored every Thursday evening at 8:00 (except for the second meeting in March, when we will assemble on Wednesday) in the library at Thelema Lodge. The series will conclude this month with our eleventh meeting on Thursday evening 29th March.

Previous 7 Habits

The Coming of the Third Age

    In an article in our December issue the present writer glanced at some of the Judeo-Christian apocalyptic traditions which have informed popular attitudes toward "the Millennium" of old-aeon prophesy. The manner in which this tradition developed during the middle ages is less well known, but has exercised a significant effect upon Crowley's concept of our "new aeon" of Horus, as well as upon the esoteric tradition of the "western magical tradition" in general. As we have seen in the year 2000 E.V. the level of apocalyptic expectation is not so much dependent upon the calendar date as upon a general sense of dread and confusion regarding the social and religious order. It was not in the year 1000 but two and a half centuries later that the "dawn of a new age" began to make itself felt in the general outlook of society.
    It seems perfectly fitting that the dominant religious tradition of the old aeon was founded upon a frustrated focus of extinction, a failed anticipation of the end of time. The "good schpiel" of the so-called New Testament is based upon this bad-hearted scheme, simply to stop the world and get off. Apocalypse is essentially the resort of the disenfranchised, and cannot thrive in securely institutionalized cultures. However there is a sense in which each separate individual is victimized and insecure even amidst the best of situations, our biological prospects as separate individuals being, after all, terminal sooner or later. This element of our being allows each of us to partake of the apocalyptic perspective as a foretaste of our separate fates, and thus the texts and images of apocalypse survive and recapture the imaginations of each generation.
    The institutional triumph of the messianic cult under emperor Constantine made necessary a drastic revision of the anti-establishment millennial longings of the repressed early Christians. Empire became the new Israel rather than the new Egypt or the new Babylon. A mission for the church militant was developed, projecting its conquest of the world (with universal forced conversion to its truth a foregone conclusion) to prepare the way for the eventual (and increasingly remote) judgment of heaven upon mankind. With the death of Constantine, the notion of a returning king who will become "Emperor of the Last Days" takes form, first mentioned in the Sibylline Oracles (Hellenistic Judeo-Christian forgeries of classical Greek prophesies). Prophesies of the "Emperor of the Last Days" emerge again at times of political defeat and crisis, for example in the seventh century when Syrian Christians fell under the subjection of Moslem rulers and propagated the prophetic text known as Pseudo-Methodius, which predicts a mighty emperor whom men had thought to be dead, who will arise in wrath to deliver the faithful. In this version the united world empire flourishes until a counter-attack is provoked and the long confined hoards of Gog and Magog break forth from central Asia and wreak universal destruction on the world. The emperor responds by making a pilgrimage to Golgotha and placing his crown upon the "true cross" (conveniently still standing there), which then arises into heaven. This is the signal for the apocalypse; the emperor dies and Antichrist rules the world until the second advent of the messiah, who arrives to destroys his foe "with the power of his breath" and then sets up the ultimate "new world order" as a supernatural totalitarian regime over the entire earth.
    During the twelfth century various theologians entertained notions of a progressive revelation of the divine trinity over the course of history. The dominant paradigm was the Genesis account of the six days of the world's creation, each of which afterwards corresponded to an "age" of the created world in its development toward history's goal. Joachim of Fiore, whose career spanned the second half of the twelfth century, was the most influential theorist of this concept, and his teachings assumed great importance during the following century. A Cistercian monk whose ideas gained papal favor, Joachim proclaimed the immanent dawn of a new period in the history of human spiritual experience. The term he used was not "age" or "aeon" but "status," meaning a new stage or step for mankind. Joachim's "third status" was to correspond to the Holy Spirit and establish a church based upon a new spiritual intelligence. Joachim did not abandon the scheme of six ages, but drew a correspondence between this older notion and his own prophesies. The seven ages of creation were about to enter their final phase. Ages one through five had occupied the world during the first status, covering roughly the period of the Old Testament. This was the stage of the divine Father, and of "the law and the prophets." The second "stage," corresponding to the sixth age of the Son, was the Christian ascendancy, which was about to end in Joachim's predictions as the new "sabbath age" of vast unknown spiritual potential was established as mankind's "third stage."

Previous    (to be continued)

Crowley Classics

    A series of five small essays giving an account of travel along the Irrawaddy River in Burma early in 1902, which Crowley adapted from his own diary notes of the trip for magazine publication a few years later, survive in O.T.O. archives. They appeared in the Frank Harris's London weekly Vanity Fair (different from the later Condé-Nast publication of the same name edited in New York, which also accepted numerous articles from Crowley in its day), and it seems likely that there may have been additional sections we have not been able to obtain. Certainly the brusque opening of this present piece suggests that some preliminaries may have been accounted for in a foregoing article. (There might also have been additional sections in the midst of those we have, but this is suggested more by their irregular publication schedule than by gaps in their content.) The present section is reprinted from Vanity Fair (London: 10 February 1909), page 169.
    As this account opens, Crowley had been away from Britain for eighteen months, since taking ship for New York in July 1900. After nine months in Mexico practicing high altitude mountaineering with Oscar Eckenstein, he went by train from Mexico City to San Francisco the following spring, where he took ship for Honolulu and Yokohama, and from thence via Singapore and Penang, to arrive at Colombo, Ceylon, in August 1901. There for six weeks he visited Allan Bennett and studied yoga intensively with a local master, until on 2nd October 1901 he suddenly decided to stop all his practices, and to suspend all magical studies. (He even stopped shaving and grew a beard.) When Bennett went off to take a job teaching science in Rangoon, Crowley was left alone and distracted himself by hunting for big game (in a display of personal imperialism which may seem difficult to comprehend a century later, but was at that time a perfectly ordinary privilege of wealth and hardihood). Through that autumn Crowley traveled in India, wrote poetry, and studied Hinduism; he also began to suffer from malaria. For a month he lived in Calcutta, where Edward Thornton (his traveling companion in this article) was one of his house-mates. Still feeling quite ill, Crowley took ship to Rangoon early the following year, accompanied by Thornton and their Indian servant boy Peter. Beginning on 21st January 1902, the three of them took a boat up the Irrawaddy river from Rangoon, attempting to find an inland route to visit the remote monastery where Bennett was then living. The present article accounts for four frustrating days of this journey, which are probably Friday 31th January to Monday 3rd February 1902. Crowley had the idea of crossing overland through the Arakan hills as an interesting short cut, but the local guides all said it was too dangerous. After a couple days failing to organize this expedition, they gave up, consoled themselves by killing as many of the warmblooded local fauna as they could shoot, and then back-tracked down-river to Rangoon to go the usual way by ocean steamer to Akyab, where Bennett awaited them.


A Burmese River

part one

from the note book of
Aleister Crowley

    The next day we resumed our journey; I walked most of the way and shot some partridges and pigeons for lunch, which we took at Leh-Joung; this is not a bungalow, but a village. We went on in the afternoon to Yegyanzin, where we had the good fortune to meet Carr, the Forest Commissioner of the District, and his assistant Hopwood. Unfortunately he was unable to give me any elephants, as they were all in use; but told me I ought to have no difficulty in getting coolies and probably ponies if I required them. We combined forces and had quite a nice dinner together. One does not realize how nice Englishmen really are until one meets them in out-of-the-way places. The following day we went off again and arrived at Mindon at 2:30 p.m. The road had become very bad, and in the springless bullock-cart travelling was by no means pleasant. In fact, after two or three big jolts we agreed to take turns to look out, and to give warning if a particularly frightful jolt seemed imminent, but for all our precautions, I was badly let in on one occasion. The road had become level and appeared to be the same for the next 200 yards, so I turned back to light a pipe. Without a word of warning, the driver swung his oxen off the road into an adjoining paddy field, at least three feet below, and we got the nastiest shaking of our lives. The last seven miles were particularly irritating, however, as there was little or no shade, and it was out of the question to relieve oneself by walking for more than a short distance.
    On arrival at Mindon, we summoned the headman and told him to get men for the cross-country journey to Kyaukpyu. He seemed to think it would be rather difficult, and was evidently not at all pleased with his orders, but he went off to obey them, and in the meanwhile sent round the village shikari so that I might go out after buffalo the next day. I accordingly started at 6:45 next morning for the jungle.
    It soon began to get hot, and a double .577 is not the kind of toy one wants to carry on a fifteen-mile tramp. As a matter of fact, I probably did nearer twenty miles than fifteen, as I was going eight hours with very little rest. We went up and down hills repeatedly, but the wild buffalo was shy, and, as a matter of fact, I did not the whole day see anything whatever shootable, except some small birds which I took home for dinner. In the afternoon we went off bathing together in a delightful pool directly under the hill on which the bungalow was situated. I took down the shot gun with the intention of killing a big paddy bird which we saw from the bank. These birds are valuable on account of the aigrette. I fired, but my shot did not seem to hurt him and he flew off. I resigned the gun to the Burmese boy, and had just finished my bath when the impudent beast came back. I hastily signalled for the gun, and putting on a topi and a towel round my waist proceeded to stalk him across the ford. I suppose I must have presented the most ridiculous spectacle that one can imagine. Thornton, at any rate, said he had not laughed so much for years, and I dare say that the paddy bird laughed too; but I got the best laugh in the end, for after about ten minutes' infinite pains I got a close shot at him which put an end to his career. That evening we tried to eat roast parrots, but it was a total failure. I am told, however, that parrot pie is quite a good dish. Well, I don't like parrot, so there will be all the more for those who do.


    The next day I summoned enough energy to go for a stroll. I was very anxious to show Thornton a beautiful view of hill-side and river, which I had come across on my way home. We set out, he being armed with a sketch book and kukri, which he would always carry about with him, though I could never understand the reason; if he had been anticipating the day's events, I should not have troubled to enquire. At the edge of the hill weariness overtook me; I sat down, pointing to him a tiny path down the hill slope which he was to pursue. He was rather a long time returning, and I was just about to follow in search, when I heard his cooey; in a couple of minutes he rejoined me. I was rather surprised to see that his kukri was covered with blood. I said "I knew you would fall over something one day. Where have you cut yourself?" He explained that he had not cut himself, but that an animal had tried to dispute the path with him, and that he had hit it on the head, whereon the animal had rolled down the steep slopes toward the river. I could not make out from his description what kind of animal it could possibly be, but, on examining the tracks, I saw them to be those of a nearly full-grown leopard. We did not retrieve the body, though it must have been mortally wounded, otherwise Thornton would hardly have escaped so easily.
    The headman had returned, and told us that he could not give us coolies to cross the Arakan Hills. Nobody had ever been there, and it was very dangerous, and everyone who went there died, and all that sort of thing. But he could give us men to go about twenty miles, and no doubt we should be able to get more coolies there. I thought there was more than a little doubt; and, taking one thing with another, decided it would be best to give up the idea and go instead back to the Irrawaddy and down the Mindon Chong; we consequently hired a boat of the dug-out type, about 35 feet long and just broad enough for two men to pass; over the middle of the boat was the usual awning.

Editorial notes:
Yegyanzin -- the Irrawaddy port town of Yenangyaung.
Mindon -- river port town of Myingyan, about 150 miles up from Rangoon; the
    name may have been confused or conflated with that of the great Burmese
    king Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78) who successfully capitulated to the
    British and sustained a cultural renaissance under imperial administration.
Kyaukpyu -- coastal town on the Bay of Bengal in the Arakan district of lower
    Burma, across the ocean from India; until the mid-twentieth century
    inaccessible overland through the mountainous jungle from the rest of
    Burma, and conducting all its commerce by sea.
aigrette -- long feather plumage, typically of egrets, especially prized
    during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in both the Orient and
    Occident for various fashionable decorations of the head, such as on hats,
    turbans, and hairdressings, and on related clothing and ornaments.
cooey -- a long distance cry, the sound of which was supposed to be especially
    piercing, sometimes explained as being of Australian origin.
Arakan Hills -- the Arakan Yoma mountains, along the western coast of lower
    Burma, are covered with jungle and were largely impassable during the
    nineteenth century (one of the principal passes in use today is over a
    thousand feet high).
Irrawaddy -- the great river of Burma, thirteen hundred miles long, connecting
    upcountry Mandalay with south coastal Rangoon; it swells with monsoon rains
    in the summer into a wild seething waterway which is not entirely
    navigable, but in February at its lowest it is reduced to a sleepy stream.

Previous Crowley Classic                   Next Crowley Classic continued

from the Grady Project:

This oral history interview, the first portion of which came to an end with the segment transcribed in the last issue, was resumed the following day and continued through the other side of the cassette. We take it up again at the beginning with a brief exchange (perhaps suggested by the interviewer before turning the tape recorder on) concerning Grady's earliest memories. He replies with a list of three. As before, the transcription has been slightly edited to reduce some verbal repetitions, false starts, and slips of the tongue, but is unaltered in the substance of the exchange. During this second session on tape Grady may have become a bit more playful and selfconscious about the interview process. At one point in this extract he pretends to digress on the subject of barbed wire (which he pronounces "bard-waar"), then stops himself and laughs about it, understanding that the interviewer is interested in personal memories of his own early life rather than military lore. A "buckboard," which Grady recalls towards the end of this extract, is a high light buggy drawn fast behind a pair of horses, suspended with steel springs upon four bicycle-style wheels.

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

Berkeley, 7th April 1981 e.v.
(sixth extract)

   Glenn: -- April seventh, and I, Glenn Turner, am interviewing Grady McMurtry. Again, we're picking up at -- I guess -- his childhood years; perhaps at the grandparents', or --
    Grady: Yes. Now, I've forgotten; did I tell you about how I got shipped from Ponca City to Sallisaw, Oklahoma? Okay, I told you that, right? Now, my first memory, as a child -- it was a little confused; I have two memories. One of them (which I told somebody once) is strange. Do I hate my mother, or could I hate my mother? I do not know. But the story is this; I had a memory -- it could be a racial memory, I don't know. Anyway, the memory is this; and that is that when I was a very young child, my mother threw me into the pig pen, so that the hogs would eat me, and I crawled out, and didn't get eaten. Is this true, or is this not true? I do not know; but I do know that I have had this memory. Now, two: memories -- childhood memories -- very early childhood memories. There was -- this is Oklahoma; this is eastern Oklahoma, rural Oklahoma, right? Okay, fine. My grandfather is a farmer, right? And I've been shipped off to him. Okay, fine; now: there's something they had in those days (which they may still have, for all I know); it's called -- the place where you break the canes and make the syrup, out of the canes, you know. And this mule walks around in a circle, tied to this god-damned thing, which breaks up canes -- and as the sugar canes go in, and are broken up in the thing, a small child could stand there and you know -- like, eat the syrup, right? Three: my first memory that I can be positive about is a broken watermelon. And it was so stupid, because as you know I have a sweet tooth -- I have hyperglycemia -- I love sugar. That's why I don't eat sugar any more. And anyway, one day, I had gone out. I was about five at the time; maybe four. Anyway, this is eastern Oklahoma, in Sallisaw, on my grand-daddy's ranch, and of course they had this buckboard. You know, when I saw the film -- you know, "Oklahoma," -- they talk about the buckboard -- that's old memory. We had a buckboard, with a couple of horses, you know, trotting. And you literally could pull down the cellophane shields, when it started to rain. Anyway, so one day I went into the watermelon field, and I picked up this nice ripe watermelon, and I came back. But there was a little problem: this barbed wire fence. And I would learn about barbed wire in the war, of course. When you go into barbed wire fences that's in the mine field. That would be much later. Um - by the way, the way you walk through a mine field - anyway. {laughs} And maybe I learned my first lesson there; maybe that's why I survived. Because what happened was - as I came back, a very small boy, you know, carrying this great big watermelon. But here's this wire fence. Well, you know, in Oklahoma -- in any farm field -- you spread 'em apart like that -- so you can go through, right? Or you step over, if you're big enough. I wasn't big enough to step over, so I had to crawl through. When I leaned over, to crawl through, I dropped it, and it broke. And I looked at it. It happened to be a yellow one, by the way; yellow meat inside. And I looked over, and I cried. I broke my watermelon. {laughs}
    Glenn: So you were pretty young; that's one of your first memories.
    Grady: That's my first memory that I can be sure of.
    Glenn: Right. That it was really happening.
    Grady: That's when I began to realize what was happening, right.

Previous Grady Project                  to be continued

From the Outbasket

This is "one for Ripley". Over the years Freemasonry and Theosophy have been attacked on the basis of Pike and Blavatsky making occasional positive remarks involving the term Lucifer. Last week I chanced upon yet another such abuse on alt.freemasonry, a non-moderated Usenet Newsgroup frequented by both Masons and inflamed anti-Masons. Feeling that enough is enough, I posted a brief note on the origin of this controversy, much enlarged here for the entertainment and "enlightenment" of our readers.

    Taking an overview, Lucifer and Luciferians have been with us since the 4th century e.v. Lucifer is a name applied to Venus when it rises as the morning star, just as the planet is called Prometheus when it seen in the evening at another time of year. As a word, Lucifer simply signifies Bearer of Light, just as Christopher signifies Bearer of Christ, in reference to the myth of a man who carried Christ across a stream. St. Christopher is no longer recognized by the Roman Catholic Church, but that hasn't decreased the popularity of St. Christopher medals to protect travelers or the tendency to name children Christopher. Until the latter part of the 4th century, Lucifer was also a perfectly acceptable name, not only used by Christians for their children, but even the name of an influential Bishop of the Church. St. Jerome, translator of the Latin Vulgate (Old Testament), got into an aggressive argument with Bishop Lucifer and saw fit to taint his reputation and that of his followers by plugging a shaky translation of the name of a Babylonian King into the Vulgate as Lucifer. This occurs in Isaiah 14:12, where the verse is variously translated into English as: "How have you fallen from the heavens, O morning star, son of the dawn!..." (Douay version), "How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!..." (Jewish Pub. Soc. of America, 1955), and "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!..." (King James version). The last follows the Latin usage of the Vulgate Bible of Jerome. Lucifer is not in the Hebrew or Greek Septuagint translations. Jerome's usage is roundly remarked as a very bad translation, and the context makes this term a poetic title of king Nebuchadnezzar, not of the Christian Devil. People have been at a loss to figure out why Jerome made such a blunder. Here is the secret revealed: This is a link to an English translation of a dialogue written by St. Jerome, against Lucifer and the "Luciferians".   (Link updated August 22nd, 2020)

There are also letters from Jerome about and to Bishop Lucifer and his followers. If you use the back button on that page, you can find them.
    Simply put, Lucifer became a sobriquet for the Christian Devil as a consequence of a snit between two churchmen, one bearing that as a respectable personal name and the other abusing his position as Bible translator to continue blackening his rival's reputation posthumously. This is further compounded by the fact that St. Jerome received his own ordination from one who was himself consecrated a bishop by Bishop Lucifer. Rude and obnoxious behavior is not an innovation of the modern Church, but it's rare to rise to Jerome's level of elaborate sneakiness.
    Over the intervening centuries from the 4th and the time of Jerome and Lucifer, there have been many instances in history where Lucifer has been treated as a positive term, even movements that called themselves Luciferian. One of the oldest of these, after good Bishop Lucifer's own time, involved the Cathars, a late sub-sect of which was known as the Luciferians or Luciferani. These people had taken refuge in Milan, but they were suppressed there in 1233 e.v. Pope Gregory IX gave a purported and likely very distorted account of their initiatory rites in his Vox in Rama. Joachim of Flora may have indirectly contributed to their doctrines, and he does describe similar practices in his allegations concerning the Cathars. There have been many other instances of the appearance of groups using the term Luciferian to describe themselves, including a development out of the 1960's e.v. hippy movement known as The Process Church. Variations on Lucifer and Luciferian abound in literature, from Dante's Inferno to Lucifera in Spenser's Faerie Queene. In the 19th century, many lay writers became familiar with Patristic sources. Very likely that and an interest in Astrology is the occasion for Blavatsky and Pike feeling that the word should be used simply as a nice remark hinting at the glory of a new dawn of intellectual freedom.

    For the benefit of our friends who may not find the internet convenient, here is the 19th century introduction to Jerome's Dialogue Against the Luciferians, From A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of The Christian Church, Second Series, Vol. VI, p. 319, Eerdman edition, 1892 and reprinted in 1968. This provides a biographical note to the life of the good Bishop Lucifer. Substantially the same text in another transcription may be found on the link cited above, along with the dialogue itself. Athanasius is the author of the Athanasian Creed, often considered second in importance after the Apostles' creed in the Roman Catholic church..

    This Dialogue was written about 379, seven years after the death of Lucifer, and very soon after Jerome's return from his hermit life in the desert of Chalcis. Though he received ordination from Paulinus, who had been consecrated by Lucifer, he had no sympathy with Lucifer's narrower views, as he shows plainly in this Dialogue. Lucifer, who was bishop of Cagliari in Sardinia, first came into prominent notice about A.D. 354, when great efforts were being made to procure a condemnation of S. Athanasius by the Western bishops. He energetically took up the cause of the saint, and at his own request was sent by Liberius, bishop of Rome, in company with the priest Pancratius and the deacon Hilarius, on a mission to the Emperor Constantius. The emperor granted a Council, which met at Milan in A.D. 354. Lucifer distinguished himself by resisting a proposition to condemn Athanasius, and did not hesitate to oppose the emperor with much violence. In consequence of this he was sent into exile from A.D. 355 to A.D. 361, the greater portion of which time was spent at Eleutheropolis in Palestine, though he afterwards removed to the Thebaid. It was at this time that his polemical writings appeared, the tone and temper of which is indicated by the mere titles De Regibus Apostaticis (of Apostate Kings), De non Conveniendo cum Haeretics, etc. (of not holding communion with heretics). On the death of Constantius in 361, Julian permitted the exiled bishops to return; but Lucifer instead of going to Alexandria where a Council was to be held under the presidency of Athanasius for the healing of a schism in the Catholic party at Antioch (some of which held to Meletius, while others followed Eustathius), preferred to go straight to Antioch. There he ordained Paulinus, the leader of the latter section, as bishop of the Church. Eusebius of Vercellae soon arrived with the synodical letters of the Council of Alexandria, but, finding himself thus anticipated, and shrinking from a collision with his friend, he retired immediately. Lucifer stayed, and "declared that he would not hold communion with Eusebius or any who adopted the moderate policy of the Alexandrian Council. By this Council it had been determined that actual Arians, if they renounced their heresy, should be pardoned, but not invested with ecclesiastical functions; and that those bishops who had merely consented to Arianism should remain undisturbed. It was this latter concession which offended Lucifer, and he became henceforth the champion of the principle that no one who had yielded to any compromise whatever with Arianism should be allowed to hold an ecclesiastical office." He was thus brought into antagonism with Athanasius himself, who, it has been seen, presided at Alexandria. Eventually he returned to his see in Sardinia where, according to Jerome's Chronicle, he died in 371. Luciferianism became extinct in the beginning of the following century, if not earlier. It hardly appears to have been formed into a separate organization, though an appeal was made to the emperor by some Luciferian presbyters about the year 384, and both Ambrose and Augustine speak of him as having fallen into the schism.
    The argument of the Dialogue may be thus stated. It has been pointed out above that Lucifer of Cagliari, who had been banished from his see in the reign of Constantius because of his adherence to the cause of Athanasius, had, on the announcement of toleration at the accession of Julian (361), gone to Antioch and consecrated Paulinus a bishop. There were then three bishops of Antioch, Dorotheus the Arian (who had succeeded Euzoius in 376), Meletius who, though an Athanasian in opinion, had been consecrated by Arians or Semi- Arians, and Paulinus; besides Vitalis, bishop of a congregation of Apollinarians. Lucifer, in the earnestness of his anti-Arian opinion, refused to acknowledge as bishops those who had come over from Arianism, though he accepted the laymen who had been baptized by Arian Bishops. This opinion led to the Luciferian schism, and forms the subject of the Dialogue.
    The point urged by Orthodoxus throughout is that, since the Luciferian accepts as valid the baptism conferred by Arian bishops, it is inconsistent in him not to acknowledge the bishops who have repented of their Arian opinions. The Luciferian at first in his eagerness, declares the Arians to be no better than heathen; but he sees that he has gone too far, and retracts this opinion. Still it is one thing, he says, to admit a penitent neophyte, another to admit a man to be bishop and celebrate the Eucharist. We do not wish, he says to preclude individuals who have fallen from repentance. And we, replies Orthodoxus, by admitting the bishops save not them only but their flocks also. "The salt," says the Luciferian, "which has lost its savour can not be salted," and, "What communion has Christ with Belial?" But this, it is answered, would prove that Arians could not confer baptism at all. Yes, says the objector, they are like John the Baptist, whose baptism needed to be followed by that of Christ. But, it is replied, the bishop gives Christ's baptism and confers the Holy spirit. The confirmation which follows is rather a custom of churches than the necessary means of grace.
    The argument is felt to be approaching to a philosophical logomachy, but it is resumed by the Luciferian. There is a real difference, he says, between the man who in his simplicity accepts baptism from an Arian bishop, and the bishop himself who understands the heresy. Yet both, it is replied, when they are penitent, should be received.
    At this point the Luciferian yields. But he wishes to be assured that what Orthodoxus recommends has been really the practice of the Church. This leads to a valuable chapter of Church history. Orthodoxus recalls the victories of the Church, which the Luciferians speak of as corrupt. The shame is that, though they have the true creed, they have too little faith. He then describes how the orthodox bishops were beguiled into accepting the creed of Ariminum, but afterwards saw their error. "The world groaned to find itself Arian." They did all that was possible to set things right. Why should they not be received, as all but the authors of heresy had been received at Nicaea? Lucifer who was a good shepherd, and Hilary the Deacon, in separating their own small body into a sect have left the rest a prey to the wolf. The wheat and tares must grow together. This has been the principle of the Church, as shown by Scripture and Apostolic custom, and even Cyprian, when he wished penitent heretics to be re-baptized, could not prevail. Even Hilary by receiving baptism from the Church which always has re-admitted heretics in repentance acknowledges this principle. In that Church and its divisions and practice it is our duty to abide.

    Valuable as that bit of history is, it may bog down a bit in heavy going. Rather than end this issue with such laborious matter, here's a clip from Addison and Steele's The Spectator, No 204. Wednesday, October 24, 1711 e.v. This is a letter from a reader, intended to be read by another much in the style of a personal's item in a modern newspaper:

             'THERE were other gentlemen nearer, and I know no necessity you were under to take up that flippant-creature's fan last night; but you shall never touch a stick of mine more, that's pos.

    After nearly 300 years nothing further is known of the lady author, for the piece is published with a false name supplied by Steele acting as editor.

    Here you have two schisms, and damn me if I can tell which is the worse consequence: to be forgotten for all but a fribble or remembered 1,600 years later as the Devil!

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for March 2001 e.v.

3/1/01"Habits of Effective Demons"
with Michael, 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/3/01OTO initiation. Call to attend(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/4/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/7/01"Habits of Effective Demons"
with Michael, 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/11/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/14/01Magical Forum with Nathan 8PM
in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/15/01"Habits of Effective Demons"
with Michael, 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/17/01OTO initiation. Call to attend(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/18/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/19/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Ch. Marlowe's "Doctor
Faustus" 8PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/20/01Vernal Equinox Ritual & Feast 7:30PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/22/01"Habits of Effective Demons"
with Michael, 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/25/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/28/01Magical Forum with Paul 8PM in the
library: Book of Thoth Study Circle
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/29/01"Habits of Effective Demons"
with Michael, 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

    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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