Thelema Lodge Calendar for May 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for May 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

May 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Certainty, Not Faith

I slept with Faith, and found a corpse in my arms on awaking; I drank and danced all night with Doubt, and found her a virgin in the morning. -- "Chinese Music," The Book of Lies

    Join Thelema Lodge members and friends gathering every Sunday evening as the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica to celebrate Aleister Crowley's gnostic mass, with guests welcome in communion for the ritual. Arrive by 8:00 at Horus Temple to be ready for the mass to begin shortly after nightfall. For directions and additional information, contact the lodgemaster by telephone well ahead when attending for the first time. Members at this lodge take turns forming mass teams -- mostly amongst ourselves, or with occasional guests -- and volunteer together to serve the community in this celebration. To schedule a mass, first learn the ritual well, then start ahead with two congenial communicants to review it privately, familiarizing yourselves with each other's style and techniques, until you are ready to confer with the lodgemaster for a date on the temple calendar.

    As O.T.O. members, we refer to the organizational tradition of our temple rituals -- and our participation in them -- as the "Gnostic Catholic Church," an "ecclesia" which is "gnostic" and "catholic." It is a venerable name which presents us with some problematic terminology. What it means to be an "ekklesia" depends upon context, but it is an assembly of people, such as might gather to make either civil decisions or religious observances together. It is not a crowd or a company or a household or a clientele, but an open and voluntary set of participants, within a formal environment, where all have their places and learn their work together. Although similar in meaning to the word "college," and primarily used of civil assemblies, "ecclesia" also has strong religious connotations going back to ancient usage. It might mean simply a "meeting," but the impulse, in English, will often be to translate this word as "church," in the social sense of a religious club (rather than as an architectural structure). "Church," however, is itself a distinct word, going back through Anglo-Saxon and Germanic forms to a different Greek term which is also familiar to us in the gnostic mass, "kyriakos" (belonging to the lord), from "kyrios" (master), from "kyros" (power). Our "ecclesia" is thus distinct from a church in that it is defined not as a focus of authority (or a power site) but as a gathering of the people, who are of course the People in the mass. Clergy and ordination and high permission establish a "church," but what we have is instead an "ecclesia," an assembly of people, who share the celebration together.
    What it means to be catholic, in the literal sense, is simply everything; "katholikos" meaning "general" or "universal." (One might say of those with "catholic" tastes that they would swallow just about anything.) As it might modify "ecclesia," what are we to make of "catholica?" It cannot be that any assembly is in fact "universal" in scope or constituency, but rather that this assembly is united by concerns and impulses which are universal; it is an ecclesia gathered for universal purposes (rather than for specific politics). If we are "catholica" it is not to claim world domination, or even to tease the tradition-bound remains of the old aeon's Church of Rome (who use "catholic" to mean "world-wide," and continue to pursue a policy of world domination). The warrant for our catholicism is the law of love under will, by virtue of its general applicability: "the Law is for all."
    "Gnostic," the most familiar and most meaningful of the three terms, is also somewhat problematical. "Gnosis" is the act of coming to know, and the search for that act, and the result of it as well. It might be translated in many ways, as knowledge, recognition, acquaintance, or participation in the truth. Concepts like understanding and wisdom get drawn into this process of knowing, and "gnosis" in ancient usage overlaps the realms of science and philosophy. A "gnostair" (one who knows) is a "witness" who can attest to the experience. Our gnosis, however, is not that of particulars, but is the "gnosis katholikos," universal witness and acquaintance with the all. It is knowledge by direct recognition of the whole truth of things. It is certainty, not faith. And it is what draws the People to assemble and celebrate our mass, as a ritual presentation of universal knowing.
    As Thelemites, although we may meet regularly for liturgical celebrations in an ecclesiastical situation, we do not form "communities of faith" together in the style of traditional churches. In the "Credo" of the gnostic mass, when we stand in temple and affirm together in our mixed voice "I believe," we are not playing the odds on some shabby dogma toward which we then bully ourselves (and whomever we speak with) into unquestioning affirmation. Instead in the gnostic "credo" we focus together upon certainties. The sum of all our best systematic experiments, employing the most sophisticated measurements, so far does indicate that there is a sun in the heavens, an earth beneath us, and a force within. These beliefs, beyond faith, are obvious, and provide the firm basis for our celebration.

They shaped Doubt as a sickle, and reaped the flowers of Faith for their garlands. -- Liber LXV, verse 38

Heart of the Bull

Nature repeats herself, like history. Whatever in Nature we most cherish, whatever we regard as most necessary to our life and joy, we celebrate; thus, all celebration being lyrical or dramatic, we choose the moment of the triumph of our "hero" over death, whether that be the renewal of the earth in spring, or the renewal of the sun at dawn. -- Liber 888

    A picnic and ritual for Beltane will be held on Saturday afternoon 5th May at Lake Temescal in Oakland beginning at mid-day. Gather at the lodge by 11:30 AM or meet at the park (half a mile directly up the hill from Horus Temple) after noon to join in. Bring picnic food and drink to feast and share. Sol goes fifteen degrees Taurus that morning at 4:05 AM for the half- way point of spring and the elemental feast of earth.

And even as the Capture is delight, is not the Chase also delight? For we are lovers from the Beginning, though it pleasure Thee to play the Syrinx to my Pan. Is it not the springtide, and are these not the Arcadian groves? -- "John St John"


    A course of initiation in the Man of Earth grade of Ordo Templi Orientis is available at Thelema Lodge, beginning with the Minerval ceremony of reception, and continuing through the first, second, third, and fourth degrees of Aleister Crowley's Rite of the Mysteria Mystica Maxima, culminating in the degree of Prince of Jerusalem (Perfect Initiate). Initiation rituals are scheduled at the lodge by an application process beginning with the candidate's submission of a signed and sponsored pledge-form for the next eligible degree. (Application forms for each degree are available from the lodge officers at most temple and library events.) Candidacy of at least one month is required, with additional time often necessary for specific rituals to be offered. This month the lodge will offer initiations for advancement in O.T.O. on Saturday 12th May, and one week later there will be initiations into the O.T.O. on Saturday 19th May. All candidates must be in regular consultation with the lodgemaster as their initiation dates approach, and all initiates who wish to attend these events must make their intentions known to the officers of the lodge in advance of the date of the ritual.

To the Heart of the Groves of Eleusis

    Midway through this coming summer the lodge plans to be getting a new cycle of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis underway. This dramatic sequence of planetary rituals, designated Liber DCCCL (850) in the A A curriculum, was prepared for performance in 1910 e.v. by the early A A group whose activities centered on the Equinox offices in London. Since 1978 e.v. there have been twenty-one completed cycles of these rites produced by the greater community of Thelema Lodge, and with our last set still memorable as one of the best ever, we turn to a twenty-second Rites of Eleusis. Caitlin has graciously agreed to manage the Rites for the lodge again this year, and she will convene an open meeting to get the new cycle underway, on Monday evening 14th May at 8:00 in the lodge library. We are looking toward a schedule which begins with "The Rite of Saturn" on Saturday 28th July (in the dark of the moon), and will conclude (at full moon) two and a half months later with "The Rite of Luna" on Monday 1st October. Our progress down through the cosmic spheres of the seven planetary powers will thus be at twelve day intervals.

Strangely the Snake had Changed

    Gnostic saint, scientist, statesman, titan of literature, initiate of various orders of spiritual fraternity, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) provides the subject for our Section Two reading group this month, meeting at 8:00 in the lodge library on Monday evening 21st May. We will be reading from and discussing Goethe's "Märchen" (little story), an alchemical fairy tale or symbolic parable written in 1795. Goethe had begun studying hermetic and alchemical texts at the end of his 'teens in 1768, corresponding at length with several friends regarding his developing insights into esoteric knowledge. He was fascinated with the symbolic narratives of the Rosicrucians, and in particular Andreae's Chemical Wedding (probably first written in 1605, then revised and published in 1616). Using techniques of medieval allegorical narrative, combined with emblematic meditation and elements of folk-style generic story-telling, a tradition of imaginative analogues to individual spiritual transformation had developed during the European Renaissance. Complex symbolic narratives such as the great thirteenth century Roman de la Rose achieved a dense significance of meaning on multiple interacting dimensions, in a manner which invited participation from the reader as their ideas were discussed and their icons manipulated in subsequent cultural structures. Goethe, bringing a level of conservative self-consciousness and Enlightenment maturity to the genre, determined to try his hand at this sort of open-endedly allegorical fantasy. In such a fashion, he claimed, "there will be a good fairy tale to tell at the right time, but it will have to be reborn; it can't be enjoyed in its old skin." He let the task wait upon several decades of study and achievement, during which he was also initiated into the leading freemasonic rites of the time. These contacts, and those with the Bavarian Illuminati as well, were not very satisfactory to Goethe, who found many of the lodges either silly or subversive, and the members uninterested in scholarship or spiritual discipline. In the "O.T.O. Manifesto" (Liber LII), Goethe is named first among the modern members of the "constituent originating assemblies of the O.T.O." despite the fact that his more meaningful contacts tended to be with a refined artistic culture that avoided the slogans and secrecy (and gender segregation) of the fraternities.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

Mysticism and the Book of Thoth

    On the second and fourth Wednesday evenings of each month the Magical Forum series meets in the library at Thelema Lodge for discussion of selected topics in thelemic magick. Join this group on Wednesday evening 9th May from 8:00 to 10:00 for a paper on mysticism and magical culture, to be offered by Nathan, the coordinator of the forum. Presenting a survey of thelemic techniques used in breaking through the barriers to aspiration on an individual level, the paper will also bring up comparable practices from the Christian, Islamic, and Oriental traditions for comparison. Then on Wednesday 23rd May the Magical Forum hosts a study group exploring Crowley's Book of Thoth, led for us by Paul. This month the major trumps involved will be "The Daughter of the Mighty Ones," the Empress (corresponding to Dalet and Venus), and "The Sun of the Morning, chief among the Mighty," the Emperor trump (presenting Heh and Aries). Read ahead through the rather brief explications of these cards, and note some ideas to contribute to our shared exploration of their meaning, history, iconography, and relations with the other trumps.

Crowley Classics

   The following section of Crowley's travel diary is reprinted from Vanity Fair (London: 24 February 1909), page 232. Readers may refer back to last month's installment in these pages for the account of his reunion with Allan Bennett in mid-February 1902, in Akyab on the remote north coast of Burma.

On a Burmese River

part three

from the note book of
Aleister Crowley

    I ought to have told you when talking of Ceylon, the delightful story of Allan's adventure with a krait. Going out for a solitary walk one day with no better weapon than an umbrella, he met a krait sunning himself in the middle of the road. Most men would have either killed the krait with the umbrella or avoided its dangerous neighbourhood. Allan did neither; he went up to the deadly little reptile and loaded him with reproaches. He showed him how selfish it was to sit in the road where someone might pass, and accidentally tread on him. "For I am sure," said Allan, "that were anyone to interfere with you, your temper is not sufficiently under control to prevent you striking him. Let us see now!" he continued, and deliberately stirred the beast up with his umbrella. The krait raised itself and struck several times viciously, but fortunately at the umbrella only. Wounded to the heart by this display of passion and anger, and with tears running down his cheeks, at least metaphorically speaking, he exhorted the snake to avoid anger as it would the most deadly pestilence, explained the four noble truths, the three characteristics, the five percepts, the ten fetters of the soul; and expatiated on the doctrine of Karma and all the paraphernalia of Buddhism for at least ten minutes by the clock. When he found the snake was sufficiently impressed, he nodded pleasantly and went off with a "Good-day, brother krait!"
    Some men would take this anecdote as illustrating fearlessness, but the true spring is to be found in compassion. Allan was perfectly serious when he preached to the snake, though he is possibly a better man of science than a good many of the stuck-up young idiots who nowadays lay claim to the title. I have here distinguished between fearlessness and compassion; but in their highest form, they are surely identical.
    They managed to give me some sort of a shakedown, and I slept very pleasantly at the monastery. The next morning I went off to breakfast on board to say good-bye to the Captain, who had shewn me great kindness, and afterwards took my luggage and went to Dr Moung Tha Nu, the Resident Medical Officer, who welcomed me heartily, and offered me hospitality during my stay in Akyab.
    He was Allan's chief Dayaka; and very kindly and wisely did he provide for him. I walked back with Allan to the Temple and commenced discussing all sorts of things, but continuous conversation was quite impossible, for people of all sorts trooped in incessantly to pay their respects to the European Bhikku. They prostrated themselves at his feet and clung to him with reverence and affection. They brought him all sorts of presents. He was more like Pasha Bailey Ben than any other character in history.
    "They brought him onions strung on ropes
         And cold boiled beef and telescopes,"
and at any rate gifts equally varied and not much more useful. The Doctor looked in in the afternoon and took me back with him to dinner. Allan was inclined to suffer with his old asthma, as it is the Buddhist custom (non sine causa) to go out of doors at six every morning, and it is very cold till some time after dawn. I wish sanctity was not so incompatible with sanity and sanitation!
    The next day after breakfast Allan came to the Doctor's house to avoid worshippers, but a few of them found him out after all, and produced buttered eggs, newspapers, marmalade, brazil nuts, bicarbonate of potash, and works on Buddhism from their ample robes. We were able, however, to talk of Buddhism, and our plans for extending it to Europe, most of the day. The next four days were occupied in the same way.
    On Sunday I went aboard the S. S. Kapurthala to return to Calcutta. The next day we anchored outside Chittagong, a most uninteresting place. I was too lazy to land. Two days later I got back to Calcutta. Getting my mail, I busied myself in preparing for the great journey.
    It was now definitely settled that our expedition should meet at Rawal Pindi. I only took one day off, when I went to Sodpur snipe-shooting with a friend of Thornton's, with whom I was now staying; Lambe having gone off to Australia.
    I left Calcutta late at night and arrived at Benares the next day. On Sunday I went to the Ganges to see the Ghats, and I also inspected the "Sex Temple," which after all compares unfavourable with the more finished productions of the late Mr Leonard Smithers. The Temple of Kali, was, however, very interesting. Three months earlier I should certainly have sacrificed a goat (in default of a child), and I suppose by this time I may consider myself a pretty confirmed Buddhist, with merely a metaphysical hankering after the consoling delusions of Vedanta.
    I however visited no less a person than Sri Swama Swayan Prakashan Raithila, a Maharaja who has become Saunyasi. After some conversation, he promised me that if I would return the next day he would show me a Yogi. He made a curious prophecy on the spiritual plane which was in a certain sense fulfilled without the torturing language which he used too much; but the prophecy which he made on the physical plane went somewhat astray.

Previous Crowley Classic                   Next Crowley Classic

from the Grady Project:

   A ninety-minute audio cassette graciously provided by Sirius Oasis contains the twenty year old conversation we have been selectively transcribing in this column for the past couple seasons. Recorded on two consecutive spring afternoons, the impulse -- or at least the occasion -- for the interview came from an oral history course that Glenn was taking, along with the chance to document some reminiscences, even in fragmentary form, of a kid who'd grown up out of the Depression dust bowl to become Aleister Crowley's Caliph. Grady had proved to be a frontier bastard with exceptional intellectual gifts, and it was education that led him out of the poverty, alcoholism, and outlawry into which he had been born. Of the many schools he attended, Grady eventually graduated from Valley Center High School in Valley Center, Kansas, where he lived with his step-brother's family. By working hard there at solid subjects, doing well in math and German, acting in the school play and playing in the marching band, Grady managed a scholarship to Pasadena City College in southern California, about 200 miles from where his father was then living. In Pasadena Grady continued to work hard for three and a half years, while also playing trombone in the Rose Parade every year, working part time in a dime store for $3.50 a week spending money, walking with the Sierra Club, writing poetry, drinking beer with Jack Parsons, and also taking initiation in the O.T.O. Two months after Pearl Harbor, and well ahead of the draft, Grady enlisted in the army and wound up in officer training school, and from there it was only a few short steps to find himself playing chess across a bedroom table with Aleister Crowley.
    As in previous transcriptions from this interview, vocal hesitations and verbal disconnections have been editorially minimized but not altogether eliminated. (In particular, Grady's habitual use of phrases such as "all right, fine" and "okay, fine" has been reduced by two thirds.)

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

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

   Glenn: Right. So, let's get back. So, you spent, like, some of the time with this step-mother, and with your grandparents, it sounds like.

   Grady: Oh, the grandparents were later; this is early on. Okay, fine; now --

   Glenn: And then you ended up going to school, I guess, at your grandparents' place --

   Grady: Now this is the way it worked; I mean, this is the way it happened. All right, we're living in Slick, Oklahoma; I'm a very small child; okay, fine. There was a school house up on the hill. It was made of brick, for both high school and elementary school, and I -- I went there. And I would walk up that street, and -- I wanted an education. I was the only person like that who ever wanted an education; everybody else thought I was dumb. Except if they wanted to write the letter, then they asked me to write a letter. And that's when I started my education.
   Glenn: You, just as a kid, at six or seven or something, decided that that's what you wanted?
   Grady: That's what I wanted; yes.
   Glenn: And they thought it was weird?
   Grady: Here you see {indicating an old photograph of himself} this guy in the bucket hat? Okay; when I was eighteen, or maybe a little earlier, I decided --
   Glenn: Is that picture from when you were eighteen?
   Grady: No, I was twenty there. I decided two things: One, I would grow a mustache; and two, I would smoke a pipe. I had never smoked cigarettes. I've tried several times; I don't like them. But that's the kind of a guy I am; in other words I just decided that "I'm going to do that," so I did it. And that's -- that's like -- an education. I spent more years than I care to think about in that university up there around the corner, studying things which are better forgotten, just because I wanted an education.
   Glenn: {laughs} Yeah. So -- would you complete high school, at this same school you went to grammar school in, or -- ?
   Grady: No; no. That's one of the funny things about it. I, by the time I graduated from high school, I'd gone to at least seventeen different schools, and when you consider that from grade one through grade twelve -- how many different places can you be in one incarnation? Well, what happened was that we were moving. We were Depression kids. Between Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, and California, I went to seventeen different schools before I graduated from high school. And when you stop to think about it, that's also one reason for some of my problems. To this day, I could not diagram a sentence for you, you know, as a --
   Glenn: You missed that section in school? {laughs}
   Grady: No; well, I missed -- you know how I missed it? Because, when I was in Colorado --
   Glenn: They were studying that in the other grade?
   Grady: -- we all were at this level, and when I got to Oklahoma, we were at a different level, and in between the whole god-damned thing got missed.
   Glenn: So who were you traveling with?
   Grady: My parents. You wouldn't believe what it's like, looking out the side of a nineteen-thirties automobile. Looking down at the, ah -- at the -- rattlesnakes; they'd be splattered on the highway. Because, out in Colorado, and in Arizona, in summer, of course the snakes wake up, and they start crawling across the highway, right? And the cars come along, and barrel 'em, right? And you've got a whole carpet of snakes. And I'm looking, and I think, "What? Wow! Here I am, riding over them!"
   Glenn: So this is when your father got out of prison --
   Grady: Yeah.
   Glenn: -- and your step-mother. And maybe your step brothers didn't go, or something; if they were older -- ?
   Grady: They were older; yeah. No; as a matter of fact they didn't go; not because of their fault; it was just -- well, Floyd was a little too fat, and Emmet was a little too dumb. What happened was that when Dad came home from prison, he had a little problem. The problem was he couldn't get a job.
   Glenn: In the 'thirties, yeah. What year was that, I guess?
   Grady: It was nineteen-thirty-five, approximately. He was a known ex-felon. Now who's going to give a job to an ex-felon; you've got to be kidding. So he couldn't get a job. So in order to keep the family going he had to go out and rob a bank now and then. And since this was known, of course, every time there was a bank robbery -- they'd come and pick him up.
   Glenn: {laughs} Oh, I see. That's part of the traveling, I guess?
   Grady: Part of the traveling act; right. {laughs}

Previous Grady Project                  To be continued

Primary Sources

   Grady on a Roll:
    Grady McMurtry writes in answer to Crowley's letter of 18th August, 1943 e.v. (See last month's "Primary Sources". After a brief nod to conflicted love life and an expression of country honor -- "Paternity!" -- Grady discusses surrealist music, poetry and Technocratic economics. A question about books on Qabalah comes in. Finally, the letter ends with a list of enclosed poems and a fragment of "Space Tides: A Prophesy" (See the TLC for December 1992 e.v. for the full poem). The tone of the letter is that of a brash, young Grady.

1803rd Ord MM co. (Avn)
68th Service Group
APO 182, Unit #1 % Postmaster
Los Angeles, California
September 2, 1943

Care Frater:

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

Old business first: No, I was not surprised that Claire was the only one who came out with a clean slate. But I had to be sure and the quickest way of finding out was to ask someone on whose judgment I could rely. What is all this about "The question of Paternity"? I certainly raised no such question.

I really must apologize for going "on and on" about the Claire question -- I distinctly remember thinking to myself "This may bore him to death but I might as well finish now that I have started.

You wanted to know what DeCasseres and Smith had to do with the Question? The answer is: nothing. I introduced their poems merely as an illustration of some thoughts I had in mind, as I said, I believe. At the present time I am interested in a project of using words in a poetic form to lead the mind "around the bend". Explanation -- your "involuted curve". Some surrealists, if I interpret what I think I see correctly, apparently attempt to show us visually what we might call the "fourth dimension". The music of Sibileus, for one, would seem to lead the mind "up and over the edge". Or some of that of Debussy. To follow the thoughts of a student of the higher mathematics as he peruses his "powers" and dimensions by "sines of the times" one might perforce walk "out of this world". Therefore it would seems logical that a continuity of words in poetic form might be capable of leading the mind into a mental state that would point, at least, to worlds "out of space and time". This while the mind is in the "rational" state -- if successful it should be of aid in conditioning the average mind to the concepts of the "irrational" mind. While I certainly have no intention of copying either DeCasseres or Smith I think that much can be gained from a study of their works. I have no scruples against standing on the shoulders of giants that I might see farther.

You speak of "sitting down to write poetry" -- I am well aware of sitting down and swearing to myself that I would write a certain kind of poem in a certain way -- and producing exactly nothing. It certainly has to be spontaneous.

At the moment I am reading your "Ascension Day" and "Pentecost" which I am enjoying immensely. I never realized you had such a gargantuan sense of humor.

You spoke of there being "something wrong deep down inside" of me. I am enclosing copies of my first three poems (Wahlpurgisnacht, Dream of the Ghoul, and Entropy) for your perusal in this connection. I have not attempted to rewrite and polish them but have left them as originally finished. As such I believe that they probably furnish a clearer insight into my thinking than any others as they were certainly spontaneous. I had to write them.

New business: "Voyager" is the framework of another project I have in mind, of which "Cyclops" and "When Day Is Done" are examples. In this I hope to handle everything from the sagas of the spatial engineers to sonnets that, but their very weirdness of setting and theme, will be like looking through a microscope into another world. "The Gnome" is my reaction to the desert heat. I might mention those poems that are not dated are all over a year old.

I believe that I forgot to thank you for the copy of "The City of God". I do so now.

I do not blame you for walking out on econ -- I would have to -- having had some training in the exact sciences of chemistry, engineering physics and the higher mathematics myself. However, as I had no considerable extracurricular schooling in a system of economics that is as hard and fast as a course in Calculus (a system which I doubt that you are acquainted with as it is the only school of economic thought that I know of indigenous to the North American Continent) I found study of economic systems and history afforded by my "learned professor" to be very interesting and necessary, in fact, for a complete picture. I won't say a complete understanding.

Much of what I have learned has been from books, this has been necessary since I have had no other guidance. Nonetheless I realize the fallacy of leaning to heavily on such a foundation for education and so am striving to bring my intuition and native intelligence into focus. This is apt to be a slow process, however, as there are so many things which I still have to learn -- from books.

I became acquainted in my economic studies with the theories of Malthus on the rise and fall of populations. They are very good theories for the time and place they were meant for but you still don't multiply peaches by pears to get apples. As a matter of fact, I think it would be a very good idea to eliminate a third of the words' population -- the third lowest in physical attributes and mental capacity -- but what kind of a machinery are you going to set up for such a project? I submit that the present method of war is not the Answer. And please don't call the present state of chaos "your practical system". I shudder to think of it.

You are absolutely correct about the thoughts and opinions of my acquaintances. So far as ideals they might well be a phalanx of robots. From your travels here you are probably aware that any American who publicly bows his head in reverence before one of his own gods automatically expects a rabbit-punch for being such a sucker. It has a certain detrimental effect on independent thinking.

You will have to put the "Arcanum" error down to youthful enthusiasm while trying an unknown language. What I meant, of course, was "secret of secrets".

Comments: You say that outdoor living, plus natural food and reasonably hard work will most certainly produce character in a man? Now would you be surprised if I were to say that that is what I was trying to tell you? It is only too true that "the mechanical repetition of a brainless job does just to opposite". Which is one of the conclusions I was striving for in my short treatise on economics! (Speaking of pedantry -- you are quite right -- but at the same time I am reminded of a footnote on page 167, Volume I, "The collected Works of A.C."). Take a certain section of the world (in this instance that section resting on the N. American continent) in which a culture of abundance would have replaced the economics of scarcity. It would then become apparent that, as manual labor would merely be a slower way of doing work, the proper method of building the physical body of the individual would be a carefully supervised course of physical development for each individual. As cost would no longer be an item (remember that prices are not values) the best food would be available, and as it would be to the manifest best interests of the society to encourage each individual in his natural talents to bring out the best that is in each of them -- plus instilling what discipline is needed through studies of exact science, military training, or other medium -- it could hardly be any other way than that a man's daily work should develop his character. You seem to have misunderstood on another point. The machinery of the economy of abundance is definitely not in operation now, although it is the natural trend to such a condition that is giving our present system such a bellyache, i.e., either highest prosperity or deepest depression. But then -- as Mr. Churchill puts it -- "It is very easy to plan a war if you don't have to carry those plans out".

As you ask for money without diffidence -- so I ask for advice. I recently picked up a small book titled "The Cabala" by Bernard Fick, Ph D, DD, published 1913 by the Open {...} Publishing Co. It depicts the Sepher ha- Zohar as being a forgery published in the 13th Century by a Moses de Leon who falsely attributed it to "the Tanaite rabbi Simon be Jochai". Its mystic system of numbered letters is compared unfavorably with certain obviously stupid numbers rackets, the book "The Kabbalah Unveiled" by S. L. M. Mathers, London, 1887, is represented as being only a translation of some parts of the Zohar which Knoor von Rosenroth had rendered into Latin. His pillar arrangement of the Tree of Life, or "Decade Sephiroth", appears very similar to the one that I copied from one of your books. This book certainly appears well documented. Being but a beginner in this work, and therefore uncertain in the face of such apparently well grounded argument, I would appreciate an opinion as to the veracity and trustworthiness of this work.

You say that you have lived in an interesting era and feel sorry for me who live in such a drab world. I see your point. I also see something else. If we are able to apply even our present knowledge correctly after the war -- then it will be I who will be sorry that you are not around to enjoy some real living, some real people and some real work and creation. A remark of yours illustrates what I mean. You comment that the arrival of my letter was a "marvel of rapid transit". To you it may be. To me it is a shame and a disgrace. There is absolutely no reason on earth why that letter shouldn't have arrived in a matter of hours or minutes instead of days. I have an opinion (not forgetting that I am ever less of a psychologist than an economist) to the effect that no matter how great an intellect may be, it is nevertheless conditioned to life by {...} circumstances and surroundings of the era in which reared and that is therefore "natural" for that person to think in terms of that day and age. To readjust that person to a new set of values is to change the personality of that person. I take it that the original Crowley underwent several such transmutations. I am interested in knowing, if that is so, if he has once again returned to somewhere near that state. I was raised in a world where the telephone and radio were taken as a matter of course, as natural as the flowers in spring tra la. The young man of 80 years from now will certainly have different concepts. How he will think, what "impossible" things he will take for granted, should be interesting. In re that letter again, I was referring to the transmission of the actual material letter, transmission of correspondence by telephone or television would be just as easy.

You say that I show no evidence of original thought -- maybe not -- but I wouldn't exactly call half a dozen thoughts expressed in this and other letters as being the result of conventional though processes, either. I wish to express my appreciation for your answering my letters and putting me straight on so many things. The Order, which had become merely something abstract and unreal, a phantom organization with a monstrously bloated creature variously named Crowley, Baphomet, Therion, etc. somewhere in the mists has again become a living entity, something worth knowing and learning about, so it is that once again I am proud to be able to say, and mean,

Love is the Law, Love under Will!

          Fraternally, in the Bonds of the Order.

   Walpurgisnacht           When Day is Done
   Dream of the Ghoul     {crossed out "Just Call Me"} Urnie
   Entropy                       The Gnome
   Unhallowed Eve         Voyager

    Here is a fragment that may give you some idea of what I mean by "around the bend")

    -- -- As men marooned
    On racing meteors have gazed
    With fevered eyes -- their brains attuned
    To Dusky phantoms on the glazed
    Backdrop of stars -- in dream they see
    The sleeting comets crash and burn
    And gaunt ribbed worlds flap hopelessly
    About a guttered sun -- whose urn
    Of ashes could spills in the gloom --
    These drifting clouds of dust set free
    May sail the dead high seas of doom
    Forever -- yet may never see
    Nor spume in breakers on the shore
    Of worlds that spin in hyperspace ---- --
    Beyond the ken of terrene lore
    Are planets out of time and place.

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New Book by James Wasserman

    Copy just received in late April: The Militia of Heaven by James Wasserman, Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont, $16.95 in quality paperback, ISBN 0- 89281-859-X, 318 pages with maps and index. Brother Jim has been in O.T.O. over 25 years and has favored us with many titles, such as: Art and Symbols of the Occult and The Egyptian Book of the Dead. His work in editing includes Aleister Crowley and the Practice of the Magical Diary and many other books that grace the shelves of Thelemites. The present text explores in depth the History of the "Assassins" of Hasan-i-Sabah, the Templars, the Crusades and the great movements of Cathars and Albigensians that have been only touched upon in these pages of the TLC.

    Here is the Table of content of The Militia of Heaven:


   Chapter One: An Introduction to Secret Societies.

   Part One -- Setting the Stage
   Chapter Two: Historical Background of the Crusades

   Part Two - The Order of Assassins,
   Chapter Three: The Assassin Myth Chapter Four: Islamic Roots
   Chapter Five: Teaching is Ismailism
   Chapter Six: Enter Hasan
   Chapter Seven: An Overview of Hasan's Assassins
   Chapter Eight: After Hasan
   Chapter Nine: The Syrian Assassins
   Chapter Ten: The Nizari Ismailis Today
   Chapter Eleven: Reflections on the Assassin Order

   Part Three -The Knights Templar
   Chapter Twelve: The First Crusade
   Chapter Thirteen: An Overview of the Order
   Chapter Fourteen: The Early Years
   Chapter Fifteen: The Second Crusade
   Chapter Seventeen: The Third Crusade
   Chapter Eighteen: The Fourth Crusade
   Chapter Nineteen: The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade
   Chapter Twenty: The Fifth Crusade
   Chapter Twenty-one: The Sixth Crusade and the Battle of La Forbie
   Chapter Twenty-two: The Seventh Crusade and the Rise of Baybars
   Chapter Twenty-three: The Eighth Crusade and Final Defeat
   Chapter Twenty-four: The Last Years of the Knights Templar
   Chapter Twenty-five: The End of the Order
   Chapter Twenty-six: Reflections on the Templar Order

   Part Four -- Afterward
  The Path of the Mysteries

   The Nine Degrees of Wisdom
   In Praise of the New Knighthood

      followed by Endnotes, Bibliography, Index and maps.

    The book comes highly recommended by Christopher S. Hyatt, Hymenaeus Beta and Michael Aquino.

From the Outbasket

    This Month, 290 years ago: A bit from the Spectator of Addison and Steele.

    It's good to have side projects. One of mine is entry of texts to computer format. Here's an excerpt from The Spectator No. 60, dated Wednesday, May 9th, 1711 e.v. Given time, I'll likely have the entire eight volumes of this natural precursor of the TLC in computer readable format. That will take a while...
    This selection, by Addison, details an odd sort of relative of literal Qabalah, the Chronogram a method of obscurely dating coins. Also included is a bit on bouts-rimez, a sort of mechanical poetry challenge. The former method may give our readers some ideas for design of the personal Lamen. The latter is a novelty worth resurrection for our many poets at times when inspiration is slow but the itch is prodigious.

...There is another near relation of the anagrams and acrostics, which is commonly called a chronogram. This kind of wit appears very often in many modern medals, especially those of Germany, when they represent in the inscription of the year in which they were coined. Thus we see on a medal of Gustavus Adolphus the following words, ChrIstVs DuX ergo TrIVMphVs. If you take the pains to pick the figures out of several words, and range them in their proper order, you will find they amount to MDXXVVVII, or 1627, the year in which the medal was stamped; for as some of the letters distinguish themselves from the rest, and overtop their fellows, they are to be considered in a double capacity, both as letters and as figures. Your laborious German wits will turn over a whole dictionary for one of these ingenious devices. A man would think they were searching after an apt classical term, but instead of that they are looking out a word that has an L, an M, or a D in it. When therefore we meet with any of these inscriptions, we are not so much to look in them for the thought, as for the year of the Lord.
The bouts-rimez were the favourites of the French nation for a whole age together, and that at a time when it abounded in wit and learning. They were a lift of words that rhyme to one another, drawn up by another hand, and given to a poet, who was to make a poem to the rhymes in the same order that they were placed upon the list: the more uncommon the rhymes were, the more extraordinary was the genius of the poet that could accommodate his verses to them. I do not know any greater instance of the decay of wit and learning among the French (which generally follows the declension of empire) than the endeavouring to restore this foolish kind of wit. It the reader will be at the trouble to see examples of it, let him look into the new Mercure Gallant; where the author every month gives a list of rhymes to be filled up by the ingenious, in order to be communicated to the public in the Mercure for the succeeding month. That for the month of November last, which now lies before me, is as follows:

   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Lauriers
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Guerriers
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Musette
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Lifette

   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Caesars
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Etendars
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Houlette
   -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Folette

One would be amazed to see so learned a man as Menage talking seriously on this kind of trifle in the following passage:
    'Monsieur de la Chambre has told me, that he never knew what he was going to write when he took his pen into his hand; but that one sentence always produced another. For my own part, I never knew what I should write next when I was making verses. In the first place I got all my rhymes together, and was afterwards perhaps three or four months in filling them up. I one day shewed monsieur Gombaud a composition of this nature, in which, among others, I had made use of the four following rhymes, Amaryllis, Phyllis, Marne, Arne; desiring him to give me his opinion of it. He told me immediately, that my verses were good for nothing. And upon my asking his reason, he said, because the rhymes are too common; and for the reason easy to be put into verse. "Marry," says I, "if it be so, I am very well rewarded for all the pains I have been at." But by monsieur Gombaud's leave, notwithstanding the severity of the criticism, the verses were good.' Vid. Menagiana. Thus far the learned Menage, whom I have translated word for word.
    The first occasion of these bouts rimez made them in some manner excusable, as they were tasks which the French ladies used to impose on their lovers. But when a grave author, like him above mentioned, tasked himself, could there be any thing more ridiculous? Or would not one be apt to believe that the author played booty, and did not make his list of rhymes till he had finished his poem?

    From time to time, I'll drop in a few other bits from the Spectator.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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TLC on the Web -- Update

    The Thelema Lodge Calendar on the web at: (This link now displaced by the present website -- update note 8/22/20) now includes all issues from 1998 e.v. to the present, although the 1998 set still needs some work on internal links and descriptions.
    A "Crowley texts" indexing resource has been added. Just under the link for the current issue, readers can click through to see an interactive table of Crowley articles and letters. In a few days, the Crowley references from 1998 issues will be included there. Just taking the TLC's from 1999 e.v. through the present, there are over 40 items by Crowley. Using this indexing link, you can quickly find any of them. It's too early to estimate accurately now; but, after all fifteen years of back issues are on the site later this year or early next, between 200 and 300 rare Crowley texts will be available instantly to our readers via this resource.
    TLC back issues, with illustrations and internal links, are being added to the site at the rate of two or three annual sets per month. These are accessible by the year, by the issue and via content tables linking directly to the articles and features. Click a year to reach the table of content for that year. The individual letters of each month abbreviation link to: table of content for that issue, top of that issue, and the calendar of events at the bottom of that issue, in order.

Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for May 2001 e.v.

5/1/01May Day
5/5/01Beltane Picnic Feast at Lake
Temescal 12:00 Noon
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/6/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/7/01Full Moon in Scorpio 6:54 AM
5/9/01Magical Forum with Nathan. A paper
on Mysticism and magical culture
8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/12/01O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/13/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/14/01Planning Meeting for the Rites of
Eleusis at 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/19/01O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/20/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/21/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Goethe's "Fairy Tale"
8PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/22/01New Moon in Gemini 7:46 PM
5/23/01Magical Forum with Paul on The Book
Of Thoth Study Circle 8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/27/01Gnostic 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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