Thelema Lodge Calendar for April 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for April 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

April 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

The Writing of the Beast

    FRATER PERDURABO composed His talisman by invoking His Holy Guardian Angel according to the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage. That Angel wrote on the lamen the Word of the Aeon. The Book of the Law is this writing. To this lamen the Master Therion gave life by devoting His own life thereto. (MTP, chapter 14).
    Thelemites celebrate the sacred book of the Aeon of Horus each year on the three-day anniversary of its original writing 97 years ago in Cairo. Members and friends of the lodge will gather on each evening of the "feast for the three days of the writing of the Book of the Law" to hear the three chapters of Liber AL read aloud. Arrive early for mass in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge on Sunday evening 8th April to hear the priestess read the manifestation of Nuit from the altar, with chapter one beginning at 6:00, to be followed by the gnostic mass at 8:00. On the following evening our reading of the hiding of Hadit will be held at Cheth House in the Berkeley hills, with chapter two beginning at 7:30. The reading of chapter three, the reward of Ra Hoor Khut, on Tuesday evening 10th April at 7:30 will be hosted by Sirius Oasis at the Ancient Ways store, 4075 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. Our book-feast will not be gastronomic on the first and third nights, but a communal dinner feast is planned at Cheth House after the reading of the second chapter, with contributions of food and drink welcome from all who attend; call ahead to (510) 525-0666 to help with the culinary coordination.

Of Which the Vehicle are We

    Members, friends, and visitors to the lodge assemble each Sunday evening as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica in Horus Temple to celebrate the gnostic mass. Now with the clocks pushed forward an hour and the spring nights receding, the mass will be starting a little later, with 8:00 as the suggested arrival time for the congregation. We gather in the lodge library, spilling over into the kitchen, the front porch (smokers' hell), and sometimes even down into the basement, chatting and waiting, leafing through newsletters from far-off oases, practicing drum beats, and greeting the new arrivals. Then perhaps we overhear the team inside aumgning together before they take their places to begin, and the deacon parts the outer veil with a shout of "Procul, o procul, este profani!" (the ancient cry to clear the way before the altar, roughly translated as "Beat it! Hey, beat it! All you trogs."). The phrase is one of our oldest jokes here in Horus Temple, where for many years every week all have been welcome whose will it is to partake in this sacrament with us within the sanctuary of the gnosis. Those participating for the first time will have undergone the brief orientation in the ritual known as "the bishop's speech" from one of our gnostic bishops, and will know to follow the example of the others until they learn their roles as members of the community of celebration which we call our temple. To visit Thelema Lodge and take part in the mass as a newcomer, call the lodgemaster well ahead of time for directions at (510) 652-3171.

    Lots of us at this lodge have been communicating in the gnostic mass together for many years, and have come to share a deep familiarity with the gnostic ritual. Last year, for example, we had nine priestesses (two of whom were visitors), ten priests, and twenty-five different deacons working in Horus Temple, which gives an idea of how many of us are actively learning and working to celebrate the ritual. In many ways the phrases of Liber XV tend to become part of our shared language together as a lodge community. Working in so vital a tradition, it is a challenge we must all assume to maintain the purity of Baphomet's original text of the mass. Paradoxically, as our confidence develops in the offices of the mass and we come to appreciate our significance as living repositories of the text, we can begin to invest authority in our own memories, sometimes without ready reference to the exact (printed) text. Recently someone was overheard wondering outside the temple whether celebrating mass is more like playing Beethoven - where the music is there on the page in its staff notation, and the performer must render it as perfectly as possible in order do it justice and get it right - or whether doing ritual might not be more like playing jazz - where the music is generated in the very process of playing it, with chord charts used only as a guide to the potential performance. There are of course aspects of both these stances in the workings of our temple, since no canon rubric could ever contain truly complete specifications for all of the movements and attitudes and tones of the live mass. On the other hand, any specific departures from the phrases or the gestures of the mass as provided in the text, when such things occasionally do occur, are almost always conspicuous as unfortunate accidents or as stylistic difficulties.
    The most common accident is when enthusiasm momentarily swamps the memory in performance, and some word fails upon the tongue of one of the officers, perhaps to be replaced extemporaneously with the nearest available synonym in order to preserve the celebratory flow. This can happen to even the most practiced and experienced officer once in awhile, and so long as one avoids a self-conscious over-reaction to it (which will certainly interrupt the delicate complex of forces being inter-related in the ritual), no harm is done to the mass. In fact, so long as they are kept minimal and executed with respectful confidence, small verbal errors in celebration can serve the useful purpose of reminding us how much more meaningful and apt is the authentic language of our mass in contrast to almost any of the variations upon it that one encounters. Once in awhile an officer in the early stages of coming to grips with one of the roles will perversely adopt some (often seemingly arbitrary) verbal variation as a kind of personal trademark. Usually after a few stubborn repetitions of such a variation it begins to seem like obvious vandalism and the maturing officer has the decency to put it right. Occasional variations, however, can be made unconsciously, and sometimes repeated without any awareness on the officer's part, whose concerns in performance are often after all quite manifold. They may persist until someone takes the person aside privately away from the temple and provides an objective account of the phenomenon, and even then some persistent effort may be necessary in order to correct unconsciously developed habits of inaccuracy.
    This celebratory dynamic in working with the canon of the mass in performance is an ongoing aspect of our temple experience together, and one we will do better to learn from than to ignore. The gnostic mass in Liber XV is a complex and difficult liturgy to which we give spontaneous life, and its language presents us with a number of specific challenges for which each novice in the role must find some personal solution. There are some terms in the mass which for a number of reasons tend to trip and worry and confuse many celebrants. Our mass was written by the Patriarch Baphomet while staying in Moscow during the summer of 1913 e.v., and like any text -- however masterful and inspired -- it is bound and determined by the linguistic context out of which it arose. All texts are generated and take form in time, and as time passes they recede somewhat, escaping us bit by bit as their language becomes strange to our own time. In addition, Baphomet did not intend to make the language of this gnostic liturgy simplistic and trite for us, building instead complex formulas and profound truths into the mass, which may take years of growth to be able to comprehend and explain. Furthermore, if we accept that the concepts and styles known as gnosticism function for us as a medium to organize the meaning of our work in the mass, then this we must recognize has been a changing medium which seemed quite different for Crowley's generation than it has become for us over the ensuing fifty years. These and other factors can tend to remove us from the mass, and we all develop strategies to cope with them. A few specific phrases seem to snag at the attention of many celebrants, and these are the most likely to be altered in our voices. The problem may be as simple as the use of archaic English pronouns in the mass, which are easy to mistake if one ignores their special grammar: the second person usage of "thee," "thou," and "thine" is invariably singular in reference, which is not too strange or difficult, but some tend to neglect the fact that even one instance of these obsolete singular forms in a text will make all of that text's usages of the more familiar forms of "you" and "your" into plurals. One cannot mix the old "thou" singular with the modern singular usage of "you" without producing obvious nonsense, such as is heard when a priest tells the invoked "all saints of the true church of old time" that "of thee we claim heirship;" it must be "of ye" that we make the claim.
    Other challenges are not so simple, and arise from our developing understanding of the ritual in relation to its unfamiliar constructions. In his solo part in the anthem, for example, where the priest may seem to be neglecting the centrality of the feminine role in the mass by the phallic emphasis of his lines, an occasional priest will convert "vehicle am I" to "vehicle are we," encouraged by the additional confusion of the archaic rhyme on that line. No modern speaker is going to employ the old pronunciation "mysterye" in order to preserve the rhyme, but in converting "I" to "we" more is lost than is gained: not only the meaning of the words, which apply in one sense to the phallus and are thus gender-specific, but one of the central strands of imagery running all the way through the text is casually interrupted by such a change. Patterns of "I" and "one" in the speeches of the mass are consistently interplayed with patterns of "O" and "none" (zero), and we are unlikely to make the text more meaningful by obscuring this complex symbolism for the sake of an easy (or egalitarian) line.
    The challenge presented by "the children of the Prophet" in the Deacon's speech is even more difficult. Crowley three times had the canon of the mass printed without ever altering this line, although it does seem to "misquote" the Book of the Law (where the "child" is singular). Efforts of some recent editors to change the mass in order to impose a posthumous orthodoxy upon our Prophet have been lamely justified with the assertion that it is "unlikely" that Baphomet intended the plural "children" which he repeatedly published, simply because the editors believe he ought not to have intended it. Such a "correction" to the text upon dogmatic grounds simply falsifies Baphomet's authorship, and establishes a precedent (which is lazy if not dangerous) for homogenizing or "fixing" the Prophet's heritage in order to simplify its meaning for us.
    The mass also contains a number of difficult or complex terms which can puzzle our clergy, leading sometimes to variations in the ritual. One such troublesome word is "heathen" in the Collects of the mass, which an occasional deacon is loath to pronounce (presumably claiming it somehow as a badge of brave dissent from the corruption of established "religious institutions" left over from the old aeon). "Heathen" here is sometimes converted to "unenlightened," or to "Christians" or even -- as we have once or twice heard -- to "nogoodniks!" Apart from the distracting vulgarity of such substitutions, what is questionable here is the larger notion that the work of the officers in the mass is to provide solutions for the congregation at the expense of honestly presenting the problems of the text for all to engage with. The word "heathen" may be present in the mass to suggest the concept of our gnostic church as an established institution from which the ignorant and untrained find themselves excluded. There are other indications in the canon of the mass that Crowley hoped the E.G.C. would become a wealthy and powerfully organized church, able for example to afford the precious ornaments and vestments mentioned in the text. We have a perfect right to be suspicious of such aspirations, and to prefer a brass crown to the expense and trouble of preserving a golden one, but it still seems false to alter the wording of the mass as a way of making such an argument.

Aspirations Confirmed

    Initiation are scheduled here on Saturday 21st April, and all must make advance arrangements to attend. Speak well ahead of time with one of the lodge officers to known the time, place, and degree to be worked.
    O heart that art girt about with the coils of the old serpent, lift up thyself unto the mountain of initiation! -- Liber LXV.
    Thelema Lodge offers initiation through the Man of Earth degrees of Ordo Templi Orientis to applicants who are free, of full age, and of good report. Candidacy begins with the submission a formal application to the lodgemaster, complete with sponsoring signatures from two members in good standing of the degree to which admission is sought. Pledge-forms for application are available by request from the lodge officers at any temple or library event. Sponsorship is best obtained from initiates who have had the opportunity of following the candidate's progress in the past, but those new to our community can request sponsorship of any active member of the requisite degree by engaging in a brief private discussion of their aspirations and expectations for advancement. The mandatory period of candidacy is thirty days before the ritual can be scheduled, with some additional time usually required for the convenience of our initiation teams, so that a certain degree of patience is enjoined upon candidates as the first requirement of initiation. The impulse toward advancement must be sustained by the true will of each individual candidate, and the lodge will simply ignore applicants who are waiting to be shepherded into sheepfolds. (If "pastoral care" - the guidance of crooks and dogs - is really what you want, there are franchises for that all over town, but remember that sheep are generally kept to be herded, shorn, and slaughtered!) All candidates must take it upon themselves to keep in touch with the lodge officers through their period of candidacy. If a period of retirement is desired previous to advancement, it becomes all the more necessary to work out some method of remaining in active communication. Check in every couple weeks if you are awaiting initiation here in order to keep your candidacy current.

Finding a Bad Way Home

    Even as a man ascending a steep mountain is lost to sight of his friends in the valley, so must the adept seem. They shall say: He is lost in the clouds. But he shall rejoice in the sunlight above them, and come to the eternal snows. Or as a scholar may learn some secret language of the ancients, his friends shall say: "Look! he pretends to read this book. But it is unintelligible - it is nonsense." Yet he delights in the Odyssey, while they read vain and vulgar things. - Liber Porta Lucis sub figura X, verses 15-16.
    The Odyssey of Homer, the story of our gnostic saint Odysseus, is the subject this month for the Section Two reading group at Thelema Lodge, meeting with Caitlin in the library at 8:00 on Monday evening 16 April. Known to his fellow warriors as the "resourceful" Odysseus (and as the "tricky" Greek to his enemies), the hero of Troy's defeat arrives home the hard way after wandering back for years from the great war. His family has remained faithful, although most of the narrative is occupied with the secret infiltration of his own household by Odysseus, secured at last by the slaughter of over a hundred of the country's most able citizens, who had given him up for dead. Despite being written in an archaic formal style, in Greek hexameter verse for oral delivery about 2800 years ago, the Odyssey is essentially a suspense novel, with complexly motivated characterizations, whispered murder plots, and sneaking treachery, climaxing in an orgy of ruthless bloody violence. Along the way the wanderer gives several conflicting accounts of himself and his travels, and it becomes apparent that our hero Odysseus is a clever liar; as the poem says, "He knew how to say many false things that were like true things." These tales of wanderings take us out of the known world almost as soon as Odysseus leaves the fallen Troy, and contain many elements of folklore, magic, and primal wisdom. Although they occupy only a small section of the work (the four books of wanderings being but a sixth portion of the whole epic), these marvelous astral adventures have remained since ancient times among the most memorable passages in the Odyssey. Explaining the concept of astral magic in Book Four Part Two, Crowley writes that "This 'Astral Plane' has been described by Homer in the Odyssey. Here are Polyphemus and the Laestrygons, here Calypso and the Sirens. Here, too, are those things which many have imagined to be the 'spirits' of the dead" (ch. 16).

Previous Section Two                  Next Section Two

Crowley Classics

   The following section of Crowley's travel diary is reprinted from Vanity Fair (London: 17 February 1909), page 201. Picking up close to where the preceding article left off in these pages last month, this piece covers ten days of travel in Burma, ending in a reunion between Crowley and his beloved friend Allan Bennett. Suffering and feverish with malaria part of the time, Crowley had nevertheless departed from Calcutta (where he was living at the end of 1901, sharing a house with three other Englishmen and their servants) to visit Bennett. As a traveling companion he brought one of his Calcutta house-mates, Edward Thornton, along with one of their Indian house boys, who was called Peter because he had converted to Christianity (without, however, improving his honesty, as Crowley quickly discovered). Allan Bennett, the one-time Frater Jehe Aur, Adeptus Minor of the Golden Dawn, was now living in a remote Buddhist monastery as Bhikkhu Ananda Metteya. Their meeting as described here took place on (or about) Thursday 14 February 1902, beginning a visit which lasted nine days. Readers will be interested to compare this 1909 article with chapter 32 in Crowley's Confessions, prepared a dozen or so years later, portions of which seem to have been closely adapted from the same travel diary from which the present essay was prepared. The verses quoted in this piece are Crowley's own, written on the trip he is describing, first available in a variant version entitled "Rondel" in his 1903 collection Ahab and Other Poems (London: privately printed), and subsequently published in Crowley's Collected Works volume 2, page 121.

On a Burmese River

part two

from the note book of
Aleister Crowley

    The next morning we started down the stream, always through the most delightful country and among charming people. Everyone knows, of course, that all the villages in this part of the country are strongly fortified with pallisades of sharpened bamboos. The voyage down the river was exceedingly pleasant and the shooting delightful. One could sit on the stern of the boat and pot away all day at everything, from snipe to heron. Our Burmese boys and the kites had great rivalry in retrieving the game. The kites seemed to know that they would not be shot at. I had another slight attack of fever in the afternoon, but nothing to speak of. We tied up at Sakade for the night. There was no dak-bungalow near, and one does not sleep in a Burmese village unless necessity compels. And yet --

    By palm and pagoda enchaunted, o'er-shadowed, I lie in the light
    Of stars that are bright beyond suns that all poets have vaunted,
    In the deep-breathing amorous bosom of forests of Amazon might
    By palm and pagoda enchaunted.

    By spells that are murmured, and rays of my soul strongly flung, never daunted;
    By gesture and tracery traced with a hand dappled white,
    I summon the spirit of earth from the gloom they for ages have haunted.

    O woman of deep red skin! Carved hair like the teak! O delight
    Of my soul in the hollows of earth -- how my spirit hath taunted --
    Away! I am here, I am laid to the breast of the earth in the dusk of the night,
    By palm and pagoda enchaunted.

    The early hours of the morning in the winter are bitterly cold, and the river is covered to a height of several feet with a dense white mist which does not disappear till well after sunrise.
    I kept very quite the next day, for repeated attacks of fever had begun to interfere with my digestive apparatus. Just at nightfall, however, two deer came down to drink at the riverside. It was rather dark for a shot, and the deer could hardly be distinguished from the surrounding foliage, but the men very clearly and silently held the boat, and I let fly. The result was better than I expected. I hit exactly where I had aimed, and the deer dropped like a stone. Needless to say we had a first-class dinner. We slept at Singoun that night. There were a great many jungle fires during this day and the next. The next morning we started again early, and I resumed my bird shooting. On the first day I had several times missed a Brahman duck and was somewhat anxious to retrieve my reputation. Quite early in the morning I got a very fair shot at one; it shook its wings in derision and flew off, landing about a hundred yards down stream. We floated down, and I had another shot with the same result; for the next shot I went on shore and deliberately stalked the animal from behind the low bank and got a sitting shot at about ten yards. The disgusted bird looked around indignantly, and flew solemnly down stream. I, even more disgusted, got back to the boat, but the bird was a little too clever this time; for he made a wide circle and came flying back right overhead. I let fly from below and it fell with a flop into the river. The fact is that these birds are so well protected that it is quite useless to shoot at them when the breast is not exposed, unless a lucky pellet should find its way into the brain. So on the next occasion, having noticed that when disturbed they always went down stream, I went some distance below them, and sent two boys to frighten them from above. The result was excellent right and left, and I consoled myself for my previous fiascos. We stopped the night at Toun Myong.
    After a delightful night, we went off the next morning and got to Kama on the Irrawaddy, whence we signalled the steamboat which took us back to Prome, where we stopped the night. The next day we spent in visiting the Pagoda, Thornton doing some sketching and I writing a couple of Buddhist poems. We went off in the evening for Rangoon. The next day we drove about the town but did little else; and on Monday we paid off Peter. The principle on which I had dealt with this man was to give him money in lump sums as he wanted it, and to call him to give an account of all he had spent. He made out that we owed him 37 rupees by this said account. I made a few trifling corrections; reducing the balance in his favour, and including the wages due to him (which he had not reckoned) to 2 rupee, 4 annas. He was very indignant, and was going to complain to everyone from the Lieutenant-Governor to the hotel- keeper, but I think he was rather staggered when I told him that as he had been a very good servant in other respects I would give him as backsheesh the bottle of champagne and the three tins which he had already stolen. He appeared very surprised at my having detected this theft. Whereby hangs a tale. On leaving Rangoon I gave him a list of all the provisions, with the instructions that when he took anything from the store he was to bring the list to me and have that thing crossed off. Needless to say on the second day the list was missing; he, of course, swore that I had not given it back to him. Equally needless to say I had kept a duplicate list, which I took very good care not to show.
    That evening I was again down with fever, and found myself unable to take any food whatever. I called in the local medico, who fed me on iced champagne, and the next day, I was pretty well again. Thornton in the meanwhile had gone off to Mandalay. I was very sorry not to be able to go there with him, but my time was very short: as I did not know when I might be summoned to join Eckenstein to go off to Kashmir.
    On the 12th February I went on board the Komilla for Akyab, where Allan was now living. In the course of the day the sea air completely restored me to health. On the 13th we were off Sandaway, which did not appear fascinating. On the next day we put in at Khyoukpyu, which I had so vainly hoped to reach overland. It has a most delightful bay and beach, its general appearance recalling the South Sea Islands; but the place is a den of malaria. We had not time to land as the captain was anxious to get into Akyab the same night. We raced through the Straits, and cast anchor there about 8 o'clock -- just in time.
    I went ashore with the second officer and proceeded in my usual casual manner to try and find Allan in the dark. The job was easier than I anticipated. The first man I spoke to greeted me as if I had been his long- lost brother, and took me off in his own carriage to the Monastery (whose name is Lamma Sayadaw Kyoung) where I found Allan, whom I now saw for the first time as a Buddhist monk. The effect was to make him appear of gigantic height, as compared to the diminutive Burmese, but otherwise there was very little change. The old gentleness was still there.

Previous Crowley Classic                   To be continued

from the Grady Project:

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

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

    Glenn: Did you have, like, a one-room school house, or something?
    Grady: Yes. In fact, I'll tell you that story too if you want to hear it.
    Glenn: Well, just kind of briefly, sure; because your education -- obviously you're more educated than most of your people. There must be some kind of key to that.
    Grady: Well the key to that is genius. What does the word "geni" mean?
    Glenn: I'm not sure.
    Grady: Intelligence.
    Glenn: Oh! Okay, genius; yeah. "Geni" -- yeah.
    Grady: "Geni." Like you; you're Glenn, right? You're a genius, aren't you, in your own way? Well, in my own way, so was I. Now, you're right; I'm the only person in my family who ever went to school. I mean, literally. Ed Murrow, in one of his last broadcasts -- I saw this on TV -- said that no child of the depression generation out of Oklahoma had ever taken a degree in higher education. I've got news for you; not only did I take a BA in philosophy, I took a master's in political theory. (I would have taken a doctorate in political science except for -- something else.) Now, what happened was this: okay, fine; it's nineteen-thirties Oklahoma. We were on the east side, which is over by Seminole. I'm living with my half-brother -- no, not my half-brother, my step-brother Floyd, and his beautiful old lady.
    Glenn: He was the one who got you into the Boy Scouts, right?
    Grady: Yes.
    Glenn: How is he related? He is a step-brother; is he your father's son, or your mother's son, or somebody else's?
    Grady: All right; my mother had two sons, Floyd and Emmet. Emmet was the older one; he was a dummy. Floyd was the younger one; he was the bright one. And so, anyway, well -- I better do a whole history here --
    Glenn: These are sons of your mother?
    Grady: My mother, yes.
    Glenn: Okay, so they were --
    Grady: No, but -- but, my -- my step-mother.
    Glenn: Your step-mother?
    Grady: My step-mother, whose name was Kora.
    Glenn: Oh, I get it. Okay, so --
    Grady: Now all you have to do is remember your oral history of the Greeks. Who is Kore?
    Glenn: She's the daughter of Demeter.
    Grady: That's right. If --
    Glenn: So she was -- like, your father's second wife, or whatever?
    Grady: Yeah. When my father was in prison, she adopted me. That's why in my early school papers, the first two or three years, my last name was Summerville, because her name was Summerville. But of course when Daddy got out of prison they were able to get married, and it was McMurtry again.
    Glenn: So, but you were living with your grandparents and she lived nearby, or something? Were they all --
    Grady: Oh, boy.
    Glenn: -- complicated? Too -- I mean -- ?
    Grady: Complicated. Oh boy! All right, all right, all right; okay. Now, what happened more or less was this. We've dealing with Oklahoma history; I mean, my god! -- you know. What happened more or less was this. This bank robber, my father, somehow or other -- I've forgot -- I don't even know how, got acquainted with my mother -- the gal who would become my step- mother, Kora -- and they had a beautiful relation. (She was not my mother, because my mother was the little Cherokee girl, out in Ponca City.) So, then he went up for fifteen years for bank robbery. Well, she carried the torch for him, and -- well, she had other lovers; she had to make a living. My mother was a whore. That's why I'm so in love with Babalon, because my mother was a whore. I knew that; I saw her do that trip. I even made phone calls for her about it.
    Glenn: This is your step-mother.
    Grady: Step-mother.
    Glenn: But she was good to you, so that's what counts.
    Grady: Yes; yes, she was so good to me that I have some times almost cried, because I wasn't present at her funeral. I've forgotten some of that over the years. I've lived a long time; I've lived through a lot of years, and I've had a lot of things happen, and when I realized one day that my mother, Kora, was dead, and I had not even attended the funeral, you know, I thought, well, life must be a son of a bitch, mustn't it? She did so much for me. I remember, like for example, I couldn't have been more than five; we were living in a place called Slick, Oklahoma, which no longer exists -- it was destroyed. And it was like, the back porch, up here on the hill. And she's feeding me a breakfast of corn flakes and milk. And I remember sitting there eating it, and thinking how delicious it was, and looking up at her and thinking "how beautiful!" It was wonderful, and there was something else that's even more beautiful, that happened too. Now this is oral history, right? (Just thought I'd check.) My grandmother (her mother, okay) died a rather unfortunate death. She developed something -- I guess you would call it -- what? -- that killed her. Anyway, I remember walking behind her, from the house out to the back, and she just dropped to the ground. And I was like twelve when she died. It was diabetes. And we buried her in the local cemetery, which happens to be out from Slick -- out a ways -- where all the graves fall in, because nobody has money to buy a coffin to keep your bones from breaking. When she died -- my grandmother, that is; Kora's mother -- a funny thing happened. A screech owl came and perched on the oak tree right next to the bed room. It's a funny thing, but in Oklahoma we have a legend, among the Cherokees, that when you die the screech owl comes and screams.
    Glenn: It -- the -- it comes and --
    Grady: Screech owl. A screech owl is a small owl.
    Glenn: It comes and screams over the -- ?
    Grady: It screams; over the --
    Glenn: -- over the body?
    Grady: Yeah, that's right; and that's what happened.
    Glenn: So, it did.
    Grady: It did.
    Glenn: Owls are --
    Grady: Owls are like that.
    Glenn: -- like that; yeah.
    Grady: It's true; it happened.

Previous Grady Project                  To be continued

Primary Sources

   Moral Stinks for Honours:
   Here's a letter from Crowley, in reply to Grady McMurtry's letter of July 28th, '43 (published in the TLC for August 2000 e.v.) "The Old Man" sweeps away Technocracy and other political/economical theories with a story and a jab, taking refuge in something rather like social Darwinism. N.B. In British schoolboy slang, stinks signifies chemistry or science and moral science signifies the humanities.

Mark of the Beast letterhead
    93 Jermyn St.
        London, S.W.1

18th August, 1943.

Care Frater:

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

    I just have yours of July 28th as a marvel of rapid transit. I am not going into any discussions on political economy; it's all malarkey. I took Moral Stinks for my Honours Degree at Cambridge. My first lecture on Political Economy began by the learned professor saying that economics was a very difficult science because there were no reliable data. I had been trained in real science, closed my note-book, and evaporated. I still continue in that gaseous condition.

    The system of the Book of the Law is aristocratic; I am an aristocrat. A better word for democracy is ochlocracy -- the rule of the mob. It all depends whether you want quantity or quality. Are you going to produce sonnets or Sunday newspapers? You seem to regard it as a misfortune if one-third of the population of the world, let us say, were exterminated -- why? If you keep on increasing the population, the same problem will arise continually. It has already got to the stage where your beautiful system breaks down in periodic wars, which can no longer be limited to comparatively small sections of the surface of the earth.

    You should read the book called "Ouroboros" by G. Garrett, published by Kegan Paul. The author shews very clearly how the multiplication table has upset civilisation; you might draw a parallel between the present-day and the fall of the Roman Empire, when the Pax Romana had suddenly made the world smaller, at the same time hindering Nature's method of elimination of the unfit. The result is being repeated before our eyes. It always happens when a new Magus appears with a new Word for a new Aeon.

    You are too young to have known the world when it was worth living in. I assure you that I have known quite a number of men, and women too, in quite humble circumstances, quite ignorant by modern standards of sham education, who are magnificent specimens physically, having been brought up on natural food, and fortified by reasonably hard work in natural conditions. Such people were individuals, with characters. It is almost impossible to find any such today. Look at your own immediate circle; listen to their conversation; they have no opinions but what they have got from their newspapers; they have no ideas of their own. Even you, who are by way of being a poet, shew no evidence of original thought on these subjects. But at least you are trying to think, and no doubt you will one day grow up.

    One point which you have failed to see is that a man's daily work should develop his character; the mechanical repetition of a brainless job does the exact opposite. You have got obsessed by the modern ignorant idea that education is a matter of learning, that books are the great teachers; you seem unable to conceive of any other form of development. I think your time in the desert ought to do you good; but I will ask you to take careful note of the conversation of your associates. A few of them may have vaguely formulated ideas, a lot of big words such as I am sorry to say you use yourself when you start writing about economics, in which I regret to say you do not appear to be an expert, even judged by conventional standards; but you will find, if you observe carefully, that it is all smeared over with the superficial prattle of newspaper talk. The result has been that everywhere, but especially in England and America, men are quite unable to distinguish between good work and bad, except for the purpose of kicking out the good.

    This pedantic nonsense is not you at all; your poetry is very much better. The samples you have sent me I have not yet had time to read as carefully as I should wish; but on a casual perusal, they seem to shew considerable advance on previous efforts. But do be careful, dear boy; you write 'the Secret of Arcanum' -- Arcanum is merely the latin word for 'secret'; it makes the poem nonsense. Never mind -- not only will you grow up, but you are growing.

    Love is the law, love under will

Yours sincerely,
      {signed} Aleister Crowley

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From the Outbasket

    Here are the annual demographics of the O.T.O. from International Headquarters. These membership totals have been obtained from active central accounts at the end of February 2001 e.v.: 3,895 all, 2,960 of which are initiates.

ADV 200
Associates 735
Minervals 946
Ist Degrees 734
IInd Degrees 468
IIIrd Degrees 369
IVth Degrees 238
Vth Degrees 124
Higher Degrees 81


    In the list which follows, all data is drawn from the International mailing list. Accordingly, the membership counts here are less than the actual total count, owing to changing and lost addresses.

    Known OTO member addresses by regions at end February 2001 e.v.
(Associates and initiates both) Total: 3,629 in 55 countries.


Alabama 15 Missouri 28
Alaska 1 Montana 4
Arizona 73 Nebraska 13
Arkansas 12 Nevada 48
California 372 New Hampshire 6
(North Cal: 176) New Jersey 41
(South Cal: 196) New Mexico 19
Colorado 53 New York 103
Connecticut 10 North Carolina 21
Delaware 6 North Dakota 2
Dist. of Columbia 5 Ohio 35
Florida 86 Oklahoma 35
Georgia 82 Oregon 135
Guam 1 Pennsylvania 87
Hawaii 5 Puerto Rico 1
Idaho 17 Rhode Island 1
Illinois 60 South Carolina 7
Indiana 88 South Dakota 2
Iowa 1 Tennessee 26
Kansas 40 Texas 242
Kentucky 18 Utah 33
Louisiana 25 Vermont 1
Maine 4 Virginia 26
Maryland 35 Washington 94
Massachusetts 40 West Virginia 12
Michigan 50 Wisconsin 39
Minnesota 43 Wyoming 2
Mississippi 7 Military AOP 9




Alberta 17 New Brunswick 1
British Columbia 61 Ontario 55
Manitoba 1 Quebec 7
Newfoundland 1 Saskatchewan 1







Previous years:


Detail of February 2000 e.v. Demographics (last year)

    ---- International OTO Treasurer General (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for April 2001 e.v.

4/1/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
(Feast of Fools)
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/7/01Full Moon in Libra 8:22 PM
4/8/01Feast of Liber AL Chapter I 6:00PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/8/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/9/01Feast of Liber AL Chapter II 7:30PM
at Cheth House in Berkeley
(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
4/10/01Feast of Liber AL Chapter III 7:30PM
at Cheth House in Berkeley
(510) 653-3244Sirius Oasis
4/11/01Magical Forum with Nathan 8:00PM in
the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/15/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/16/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Odyssey of Homer
8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/21/01OTO initiations. Call to attend.(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/22/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/23/01New Moon in Taurus 8:26 AM
4/25/01Magical Forum with Paul 8PM in the
library: Book of Thoth Study Circle
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/29/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(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.

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

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

Internet: (Submissions and internet circulation only)

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