Thelema Lodge Calendar for July 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for July 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

July 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Eleusian Summer

O Thou summer softness of lips,
that glow hot with the scarlet of passion!
I adore Thee, Evoe!
I adore Thee, IAO!

    For our twenty-second cycle this summer, members and friends of Thelema Lodge will produce Aleister Crowley's seven-part dramatic ritual The Rites of Eleusis. Based upon the planetary archetypes (and in particular upon the essential limitations of their specific powers), this sequence of plays, performances, feasts, and garden parties will be realized at twelve day intervals. Each rite is given on the day of the week which its god-form rules, and we open in the dark of the moon with "The Rite of Saturn" on Saturday evening 21st July. "Saturn" will be directed by Kat Sanborn, and held at Cheth House in the Berkeley hills. Arrive by 8:00 for this outdoor performance, and call ahead for directions and information at (510) 525-0666.
    Eleusis continues through the coming two months, including three rites in August. For "Jupiter" on Thursday evening 2nd August we have yet to finalized arrangements with the venue, so contact the lodge for further information or call Leigh Ann at (510) 849-1970. On Tuesday evening 14th August "The Rite of Mars" is scheduled for the Arkadia ritual space in Richmond, which should be confirmed with Sam at (510) 534-5739. A ritual space on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley will accommodate us for "The Rite of Sol" at mid-day on Sunday 26th August; for information contact Michael and Shirin at (510) 639-0783. The Rites continue with Venus and Mercury in September, concluding with "The Rite of Luna" at the full moon on Monday evening 1st October.
    As we prepare this announcement, the later rites in the cycle each have definite god-form volunteers, with planning underway in various stages. There is still time to get involved in some of these productions, and a few auxiliary roles may even be available, as well as various technical assistance positions backstage. Before we get the series underway, we are calling one last planing meeting to coordinate with all the god-forms involved, which will be held in the lodge library on Monday evening 9th July at 8:00 with Caitin. As supervisor for the whole cycle this year, Caitlin will need all the producers of individual rites to keep closely in touch with her through every stage of their planning. All venue arrangements should be finalized before this meeting so that the information can appear in next month's publicity for the cycle. Extensive revisions of the scripts should be discussed with her in advance. Anyone in charge of one of the Rites who is not able to attend this meeting must make alternate arrangements in advance to discuss their progress with her.

Symbol and Similitude

    On Monday evening 23rd July the Section Two reading group meets in the lodge library to share examples of literary allegory and discuss the nature and potential of this indirect style of communication. Join Caitlin beginning at 8:00 for "An Orgy of Allegory" as we explore one of the primary methods of putting meaning into the telling of stories, and of taking it out again as they are told to us. "Allegory" is a term of literary art which everyone seems to recognize, but many have difficulty in defining. It is a method for the presentation of conceptual information in narrative form by artificial analogy with the psychology of interpersonal relations. It is also a method of interpreting narrative texts so that they seem to present a covert conceptual structure within the interactions of their characters. Both types - we might call them active and passive allegory, depending upon whether they are practiced by writers or readers - seem to us old fashioned, if not obsolete, but both are in fact strongly active in the strategies we continue to depend upon for our own presentation and reception of significance in narratives. No single text is assigned this month for the reading group, but all are invited to consider their own experiences of allegory in literature, and to review one or two of their favorite examples. Spiritual and psychological allegories will most likely be central to our discussion, beginning with the medieval traditions from Martianus Capella's Marriage of Mercury and Philology (fifth century C.E.) to the great thirteenth century French study of erotic psychology entitled The Romance of the Rose. Selections from The Faerie Queene of Edmund Spenser, the masterpiece of Renaissance allegory in English, will be offered, and we will also touch upon the classic allegory of Puritanism, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. We will be asking how the sustained metaphor of allegory has influenced the presentation of personal character in literature, and how narrative personification has in turn altered our experience of the abstract concepts thus presented. We will also examine the area where allegory fades into fantasy, which may hold the key to much of the pleasure of this literary trope. Tensions between the metaphorical motivations of allegorical figures and their vestiges of psychological character can establish a fascinating ambiguity which deepens and extends our experience of personality in narrative, while at the same time realizing in immediate human terms the thematic content of their stories.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

Magical Forum

    The Magical Forum offers three evenings this month of instruction and discussion, open to all interested participants. All meetings of the Forum are held in the library at Thelema Lodge on Wednesday evenings from 8:00 until 10:00. On 11th July Nathan will deliver a research paper entitled "Archetypes of Ritual," which will be followed by discussion and critique. The following week on 18th July will see another such paper, the subject of which has not been announced at press time. Then on Wednesday evening 25th July brother Paul has organized a ritual presentation as part of the Forum's ongoing study of Crowley's Book of Thoth, in which a working for the Chariot trump from the "Scales of the Serpent" series will be conducted by Michael Sanborn. For additional information contact Nathan at (510) 601-9393.

The Communicating Spirit

    "In such a work of practical Magick as the preaching of a new Law, these methods [advertisement and secrecy] may be advantageously combined; on the one hand infinite frankness and readiness to communicate all secrets; on the other the sublime and terrible knowledge that all real secrets are incommunicable. If this were not the case, individuality would not be inviolable. No man can communicate even the simplest thought to any other man in any full and accurate sense. For that thought is sown in a different soil, and cannot produce an identical effect." -- Magick in Theory and Practice, chapter 9 (with footnote appended). How can the lodge best facilitate communications between members and friends of the O.T.O. in our area (and beyond)? For many years we have enjoyed the opportunities afforded by this monthly newsletter, the Thelema Lodge Calendar, which until a few months ago was printed and mailed free to all local members and to official bodies of the Order throughout the world. Presently we continue to produce the newsletter in very much the same form with which we are all familiar, although its distribution (still for free) is now electronic over the internet rather than on paper. Transition invites reassessment in any project, and several members have taken a new interest in the lodge Calendar based upon the expanded potential of its new form. We may want to bring some fresh effort to this enterprise, and perhaps even a new definition of what we expect from it. In addition, the lodge maintains an outstanding web page, to which several members have expressed an interest in contributing. All interested lodge members are invited to a meeting on Sunday afternoon 22nd July at 4:18 in the library to discuss these media issues. Wherein lies the utility of our publication efforts, and how can they best be maximized under new conditions? How much effort are we willing to organize on a regular basis each month to write, edit, and distribute our announcements, studies, and opinions? What do we all want from our publication, both as readers and as contributors? Bring ideas to this meeting and volunteer to increase your involvement in this work.

Rites in Review

   What follows is a foolish and dishonest review of the opening night of the original Rites of Eleusis production ninety-one years ago, which preserves some interesting details about Crowley's "Rite of Saturn." It is reprinted from The Looking Glass, a vulgar weekly tabloid trading in artificial enthusiasm and scandal-monging denouncements (London: 29 October 1910). Shortly after this article appeared (along with several similar reviews in other papers, shorter and less leering, which also drew attention to Thelema as a "new religion"), a popular mythology began to surround Crowley in the mass media which has not quite died away even to this day. The sinister promotion of a "new religion" as camouflage for predatory occultism and ordinary crime was appropriated in a fictional context almost immediately, in the annual Christmas ghost story (apparently written in November or December of 1910 for yule-tide delivery that year) by the Provost of Eton, noted scholar of religious and medieval arcana M. R. James (1862-1936). "Casting the Runes" recounts a malicious magical working designed by the theatrically villainous occultist Karswell, whose character is outlined with some reported details borrowed from fresh newspaper accounts of Crowley. Karswell, as the hero learns, "had invented a new religion for himself, and practiced no one could tell what appalling rites." (In other ways, including his magical techniques, literary output, and regular use of the British Library, Karswell is closer in character to Montague Summers, who was also better known to James.)
    The photograph of Leila Waddell leaning over the supine Crowley upon the altar of Saturn at the conclusion of the rite, which is deliberately misconstrued by the dirty-minded patriarchal hypocrite who wrote this (anonymous) article, is too dark to be easily reproduced. It can be seen in Keith Richmond's edition of The Rites of Eleusis (Thame, Oxon, UK: Mandrake Press, 1990). The "apparently very young girl" who danced in the performance was an adult actress of diminutive stature from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts named Ione de Forest, who had auditioned for the role without any previous involvement in the "Equinox" group. The "Victoria Street . . . private matinee performances" condemned in the final lines of this piece were the dress rehearsals for the Rites, which were held in the editorial offices of the Equinox and were open only to A A members.

An Amazing Sect

    We propose under the above heading to place on record an astounding experience which we have had lately in connection with a sect styled the Equinox, which has been formed under the auspices of one Aleister Crowley. The headquarters of the sect is at 121, Victoria Street, but the meeting or seance which we are about to describe, and to which after great trouble and expense we gained admittance under an assumed name, was held in a private room at Caxton Hall. We had previously heard a great many rumours about the practices of this sect, but we were determined not to rely on any hearsay evidence, and after a great deal of manoeuvring we managed to secure a card of admission, signed by the great Crowley himself. We arrived at Caxton Hall at a few minutes before eight in the evening -- as the doors were to be closed at eight precisely -- and after depositing our hat and coat with an attendant were conducted by our guide to the door, at which stood a rather dirty looking person attired in a sort of imitation Eastern robe, with a drawn sword in his hand, who, after inspecting our cards, admitted us to a dimly lighted room heavy with incense. Across the room low stools were placed in rows, and when we arrived a good many of these were already occupied by various men and women, for the most part in evening dress. We noticed that the majority of these appeared to be couples -- male and female. At the extreme end of the room was a heavy curtain, and in front of this sat a huddled-up figure in draperies, beating a kind of monotonous tom-tom.
    When all the elect had been admitted the doors were shut, and the light, which had always been exceedingly dim, was completely exhausted except for a slight flicker on the "altar". Then after a while more ghostly figures appeared on the stage, and a person in a red cloak, supported on each side by a blue-chinned gentleman of some sort of Turkish bath costume, commenced to read some gibberish, to which the attendants made responses at intervals.
    Our guide informed us that this was known as the "banishing rite of the pentagram."
    More Turkish bath attendants then appeared, and executed a kind of Morris dance round the stage. Then the gentleman in the red cloak, supported by brothers Aquarius and Capricornus -- the aforesaid blue-chinned gentlemen -- made fervent appeals to Mother of Heaven to hear them, and after a little while a not unprepossessing lady appeared, informed them that she was the Mother of Heaven, and asked if she could do anything for them. (She may be seen in the photograph on page 140 sitting on the chest of "the Master" -- Mr. Crowley -- and apparently endeavouring to perform some acrobatic feat.) They beg her to summon the Master, as they wish to learn from him if there is any God, or if they are free to behave as they please. The Mother of Heaven thereupon takes up the violin and plays not unskillfully for about ten minutes, during which time the room is again plunged in complete darkness. The playing is succeeded by a loud hammering, in which all the robed figures on the stage join, and after a din sufficient to wake the Seven Sleepers the lights are turned up a little and a figure appears from the recess and asks what they want. They beseech him to let them know if there is really a God, as, if not, they will amuse themselves without any fear of the consequences. "The Master" promises to give the matter his best attention, and, after producing a flame from the floor by the simple expedient of lifting a trap- door, he retires with the Mother of Heaven for "meditation," during which time darkness again supervenes. After a considerable interval he returns, flings aside a curtain on the stage, and declares that the space behind it is empty and that there is no God. He then exhorts his followers to do as they like and make the most of life. "There is no God, no hereafter, no punishment, and no reward. Dust we are, and to dust we will return." This is his doctrine, paraphrased.
    Following this there is another period of darkness, during which the "Master" recites -- very effectively, be it admitted -- Swinburne's "Garden of Proserpine." After this there is more meditation, followed by an imitation Dervish dance by one of the company, who finally falls to the ground, whether in exhaustion or frenzy we are unable to say.
    There is also at intervals a species of Bacchae revel by the entire company on the stage, in which an apparently very young girl, who is known as the "Daughter of the Gods," takes part.
    On the particular occasion we refer to the lights were turned up at about 10:15, after a prolonged period of complete darkness, and the company dispersed. We leave it to our readers, after looking at the photographs -- which were taken for private circulation only, and sold to us without Crowley's knowledge or consent, and of which we have acquired the exclusive copyright -- and after reading our plain, unvarnished account of the happenings of which we were an actual eye-witness, to say whether this was not a blasphemous sect whose proceedings conceivably lend themselves to immorality of the most revolting character. Remember the doctrine which we have endeavoured to faintly outline -- remember the periods of complete darkness -- remember the dances and the heavy scented atmosphere, the avowed object of which is to produce what Crowley calls "ecstasy" -- and then say if it is fitting and right that young girls and married women should be allowed to attend such performances under the guise of the cult of a new religion.
    New religion indeed! It is as old as the hills. The doctrines of unbridled lust and license, based on the assumption that there is no God and no hereafter, have been preached from time immemorial, sometimes by hedonists and fanatics pure and simple, sometimes by charlatans whose one thought is to fill their money-bags by encouraging others to gratify their depraved tastes.
    In the near future we shall have more to say about this man Crowley -- his history and antecedents -- and those of several members of the sect -- and we also hope to be in a position to give a description of the "happenings" at the flat in Victoria Street on the occasion of what we may call "private matinee performances."

Crowley Classics

   This section is reprinted from Vanity Fair (London: 31 March 1909), page 393, and describes Crowley's final day as an idle tourist near Delhi in India, before meeting with Eckenstein and the other climbers of the K 2 expedition. He spent Saturday 22nd March 1902 killing magar (crocodiles), managing to impress himself as well as his hired native boat crew with the slaughter. This installment concludes the series of "Burmese" articles which Crowley extracted from his travel diaries for sale to his friend Frank Harris's magazine Vanity Fair. Crowley's serialized account of the Chogo Ri (or K 2) ascent, which takes up where this selection leaves off, had already appeared in Vanity Fair the previous summer (July to September 1908) in eight sections. (It was reprinted in our newsletter two years ago, beginning in March 1999.) A subsequent Vanity Fair series providing an account of Crowley's Kangchenjanga expedition of 1905 was published in the autumn of 1909. (That series we reprinted here last year.) The lodge thanks Caliph Hymenaeus Beta for his generosity in having these articles copied for us from the O.T.O. archives.

On a Burmese River

part five

from the note book of
Aleister Crowley

    On Saturday I went off to Oakley, magar-shooting. Maiden, the proprietor of the Hotel, came with me and provided most admirable tiffin. I lent him my Mauser, and relied myself upon the .577. After getting permission from the Engineer in charge of the Canal Works, we put off in a small boat and rowed up the stream. Very soon we saw a fine big crocodile on the banks; but as they are very suspicious beasts, and slide into the water at anyone's approach, we determined to try a long shot. I crawled into the bow of the boat, and while the natives held the boat steady loosed off at about 130 yards. The shot was either a very good one or a very lucky one; for the magar was certainly mortally wounded by it. We rowed rapidly up to the beast to find him lashing about in a couple of feet of water and bleeding profusely. I had almost certainly shot him through the heart.
    Unfortunately this is of very little use with these reptiles. We got up as close as the natives could be persuaded to go. There certainly was some risk if we had gone quite close in, but we ought to have ventured near enough to drive a boat-hook into the mud between him and the deep water, but they could not be persuaded to do this, and there was no time for argument. Maiden sat up in the middle of the boat and fired fifteen Mauser cartridges into the struggling crocodile, which I think was a proceeding of doubtful utility. He persuaded me, however, to fire a couple more cartridges myself, which I did, right down the beast's throat. The second shot very nearly led to a catastrophe, as our craft was not at all steady, and the recoil of the heavy express sent me an awful cropper backwards on to the gunwale of the boat. Luckily, no harm came of it. I was now more anxious than ever to get hold of the beast or to pin him with the boat-hook, but though his struggles were gradually ceasing, nothing we could do was any good; little by little he slid off the shallow into the deep water and sank. After hunting about for twenty minutes we gave it up as a bad job.
    Rowing slowly up the stream, we soon caught sight of another fine beast, though not quite so big as the one we lost. I took, however, an extraordinarily careful shot at it, and had the good luck to smash the spine. Everyone thought I had missed, but I swore that was impossible. Certainly the beast did not move as we rowed towards it. I sent the natives on to the bank, and after an infinite display of funk, they ventured to catch hold of its tail; of course it had been shot stone dead. We got the body on board and rowed back to tiffin. A further excursion in the afternoon produced nothing; so we gave it up, and after a cup of tea drove back to Delhi with our prize. In the evening Maiden asked me round to his house to meet some people who were interested in what they called the "willing game." (The rules are that you must not set about doing anything, but sit down and wish it were done.) The conversation, however, soon degenerated into a lecture on Buddhism. I got carried away by my subject, and preached the Good Law for four hours on end, and I am afraid bored my hearers immensely. The following day (Sunday, 23rd March) I went off by the mail, intending to meet the party at Rawal Pindi; but, as luck would have it, they were in the train; so of course I got into their carriage and was introduced to the other four who were with Eckenstein.
    The "K 2" expedition had begun.


Previous Crowley Classic                   Next Crowley Classic

from the Grady Project:

   This month marks the sixteenth anniversary of the Greater Feast of Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha, who served as master of Thelema Lodge for exactly 93 months from its founding on 12th October 1977 until his death on 12th July 1985 e.v. The following interview with him was conducted four years earlier, soliciting recollections from his childhood and teenage years more than fifty years before. Despite the poverty and hardship of his upbringing, Grady seems to have had little awareness of personal disadvantage. What he endured was the common prospect of everyone he knew, and the only way out for any of them seemed to at the time to involve radical changes in the domestic and commercial foundations of life. In the Oklahoma "Dust Bowl" that meant abandoning the farmsteads and heading west; later when he had made it to California it seemed to mean radical criticism of the economic and cultural life of America. The Second World War totally disrupted these schemes for a "technocratic" social revolution, but at least America's eventual victory gave Grady's career (and that of many of his countrymen) a whole new start, just as the "GI Bill" offered renewed opportunity for education of which he took full advantage.

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

in Berkeley, 7th April 1981 e.v.

(tenth extract)

    Glenn: Were your family, like, Holy Rollers? Did they go to Pentecostal things?

    Grady: My father was probably an atheist. I don't think he believed in anything.

    Glenn: So he didn't bring that, but what about your mother; did your - ?

    Grady: No, she was not either.

    Glenn: So - only the grandparents - got that?

    Grady: My grandmother was not. (Now, heaven help me if I'm wrong.)

    Glenn: She may have had her own sort of thing -

    Grady: My grandmother looked exactly like you.

    Glenn: That's hard to believe, if she was part Cherokee.

    Grady: No, this is not my Cherokee grandmother. This is my grandfather's wife.

    Glenn: Uh-huh. Oh, your father's -

    Grady: My father's mother; my grandmother.

    Glenn: Oh, okay; I get it. Right; the one who raised -

    Grady: The one who raised me -

    Glenn: - the five sons. I get it.

    Grady: Well, anyway, what I think, Glenna, is that she actually worked herself to death, because -

    Glenn: Your grandmother?

    Grady: Yeah. Because, I remember looking at her when she was dying, in the bed. I kissed her. And I cried. And I think what happened was this. She grew up, in rural Oklahoma, in like the late - what? - nineteenth century? And she knew my grandfather as a child. They used to sleep in the same room together - you know, when everybody came together. At Pressure Mountain, when the Holy Roller convention, and everybody was doing everything. Anyway - and of course they pile the kids in a room, right?

    Glenn: Yeah, like we do these days; yeah.

    Grady: Nobody's fucking - but everybody knew each other. Fine. So, then, she grew up, and she married my grandfather, and then she discovered something, and that is that life is nothing but hard work.

    Glenn: She noticed that too, huh?

    Grady: And you love the people you're with - you love your family - but life was nothing but a lot of work. And I think what happened was that she actually worked herself to death.

    Glenn: So she died, like - ?

    Grady: In her sixties.

    Glenn: - in her sixties. Well, that's not a bad -

    Grady: No.

    Glenn: - that's not that young, really.

    Grady: Grand-dad lived till his nineties, and married again, for god's sake.

    Glenn: My goodness; that's long.

    Grady: Oh, but matter of fact, I think it's remarkable. {laughs}

    Glenn: Yeah. So, were you, living with them when your grandmother died? Or had you already moved?

    Grady: No, I was with them when my grandmother died. Okay, back to Colorado. Okay?

    Glenn: Okay. Yeah, side track; but that was interesting.

Previous Grady Project                  (to be continued)

Primary Sources

   Across the Channel:
   Here are four letters from Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley, in the first half of 1944 e.v. During this period Grady was shifted over to France and his visits to Crowley became limited. In a way, that's an advantage for the historian, since this separation forced Grady to take up issues in writing that otherwise might have passed unrecorded in chats. The first letter asks for instruction on Liber Resh, mentions Crowley's health problems and discusses Grady's financial contributions. The second letter backs off a bit from the promotion of Technocracy featured in the earlier correspondence and continues plans for public relations to improve Crowley's reputation -- complicated by the request that Crowley claim never to have been convicted of a crime. Crowley was convicted of one: the unlawful obtaining of defendant's correspondence in the civil case in the 1930's. In the third letter Grady critiques chapters proposed for Magick without Tears. In our final selection, there's a little bit on borrowed books and contributions; but most of the letter takes up quotes from Jack Parson's correspondence. The latter is particularly interesting, showing Jack's gradual withdrawal from OTO enthusiasm and his waxing interest in Witchcraft as well as Lovecraftian themes.

  1475th Ord MM Co (Avn) (Q)
APO 149, U.S. Army
21 March 1944
Dear A. C.,

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

Just a quick note. Business, you know.

You are quite right about Liber Resh. Came to the same conclusion myself the day after I mailed your letter which maybe is an argument for writing out one's problems for clarity purposes. Could you send me the four adorations? Don't forget such instructions as which direction to face although I should think it would be deosil.

Your health. Is there any way that medicine of yours can be purchased in the States and shipped over? Is it an ephedrine you are using? I know one person who had trouble with asthma who was greatly helped by ephedrine capsules. Easier to ship that {than?} liquids. If you can let me know the specifications I may be able to do some good in that line. Don't get me wrong if I sometimes seem flippant about that. I want you around to see if the big deal comes off according to plan. And the results thereof.

That £20 a month has little Louis over the barrel but if you need it you can have it. Whatever paper you want to put is OK by me. First payment will start this month. Shall we forget about that five dollars a month pledge for awhile? How soon could I have a copy of each of the 50 letters you have already written? (I don't mean that, I mean 'copies of the letters you have written.') I am very interested in them. Will hope to pick up my Book of Thoth when I am in next.

    Love is the law, love under will.


  1475th Ord MM Co (Avn) (Q)
APO 149, U.S. Army
28 April 1944

Dear A. C.,
    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

Am taking time out to answer some of your correspondence. On looking about I find six letters, including the two large selections, "The Three Schools of Magick" arrived just the other day. Perhaps I had best point out that my address is now APO 149, which is perhaps why it was so long in getting here. Will get on to the letters as soon as at all possible. Also the 1000 word treatise. Seems I must have erred in my diatribes somewhere. The world is most definitely not ready for any such thing as a Technocracy. I tried to be at pains to point out that only the north American continent was. But that will be come clear when I have finished my little pamphlet.

Told you I believe when I was there that I had written Jack. Have no idea how long it will be before he replies.

You say that my plan is all right but that it needs a very thing edge. That should be simple enough. Just run through and check the main points and you have it - I should think. Unfortunately I seem to have misplaced my copy or I would illustrate. Well, for instance, where the administrative branch is concerned - so start with only the Executive and one secretary - later we branch out to fill in the other functions as the project goes rolling. Such a small staff could obviously handle only a select part of the necessary preparatory work - so they would have to concentrate on particular subjects - marshal their data on certain eye-catching, easy-to-prove facts - such as the fact that "this man Crowley has actually never been convicted by an English court", etc. Once that thin edge is inserted the rest should come in sequence. The additional personnel attracted by this news, the additional facilities available. That is the way I see it, anyway. Incidentally, I still don't know how we can prove that you started the V campaign.

I don't blame you for taking a whack at me for my obstinate attitude but here, I'll quote from your letter of the 9th - "try to understand my objections made with intent to learn, not to attack; and be ready with answers, not declamations!" That is just the trouble! I've always been ready with answers - brimming over with them - but You just ignored the subject and wouldn't ask questions - so I sez to myself sez I - "look McMurtry, maybe if you use a sledge hammer you will jar some kind of a reaction out of him". Well, there was a reaction, anyway. As long as I am learning I am thankful that I have a teacher who may slap me down with one hand but lift me up with the other. Must close now.
    Love is the law, love under will

        {signed} H A 777

93 93/93

{in hand - "Incl." and the names of two or three poems that cannot be made out clearly)


  1475th Ord MM Co (Avn) (Q)
APO 149, U.S. Army
20 May 1944

Dear A. C.,

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

Having gotten around to the letters here are the notes I made as I read through:
XIV subject is not stated clearly at beginning - what question was asked?
XV Magical Memory - too vague and friendly - let's get to the point!
XVI Certainly p. 9 second mind, party of the second part, not explained
XVII Do Angels cut themselves shaving? good
XVIII Secret Chiefs - very good. Clear and concise. To the point.
XIX "Occult" science - good
XX To distinguish true gold from false good - good
Incidentally, speaking of a "new electricity", what do you think of the recent discovery that magneticism may be induced to flow like electricity?
XXX Mother Love - men are uncouth
The magical formula of man is Life - to drive out
The magical formula of woman is Death - to crush in
XXXI On having a sense of humour - to much flesh and not enough meat - all very true but not very satisfactory to someone looking for a serious answer.

I have left them in that form as first impressions are often valuable aids to correcting a fault which if we are familiar with it, would never occur to us as such. On rereading XIV it makes much better sense - but I think that it should be rewritten with a view to being more definite in what you are talking about. XV is much better but the humor is spun into froth unnecessarily. The humor is OK, just too much gadding about. Of course a great deal depends on how you intend to publish them. If it is going to be a question and answer thing then you need not be so specific in your answers, on the other hand if it is to be "a collection of fifty letters from A. C. to Soror F. Y." then the subject matter will have to be more clearly defined. It says here. I am taking into consideration that part of the reason for writing these is to be able to give a question a proper answer - which is alright so long as it is a personal matter - but if it is to be published for general use then the problem resolves itself to either ? and ! or individual essays.

Will you want these copies back? If not would like to keep them. Have received nothing from Jack. Perhaps he is cogitating. Or vegetating. I wrote Germer a letter last night. Have initiated a rather well educated sergeant of mine to chess so am in hopes of having a playmate one of these days. I'm sending this to Aston Clinton as you haven't written otherwise.
    Love is the law, love under will.


  1475th Ord MM Co (Avn) (Q)
APO 149, U.S. Army
{Undated, probably c. June 20 - 28, 1944}

Dear A. C.,


By the heading you will note that my tour of the world at the Army's expense is progressing apace. Unfortunately I know no one {in} France to whom I can go for a good game of chess or who can improve my way of thinking like I did when I came to England. Perhaps you can help me out with names and addresses of people who may or may not be around when we have taken over the rest of this fair country.

Did you receive my money order as of the 3rd June? I sent it to your present address. If not let me know as soon as possible. Incidentaly {sic} how many $80 payments have you received on the fifty letters anyway? I've lost all count although I retain the stubs of a number of payments. Also there is a question that I asked some time ago about what proof there was that you were the author of the V sign. I am very interested in this as it has such widespread practical implications. Please try to answer these two questions in your next letter.

I sent Sutherland's Lasker to him while I was still in England. Hope he received it in good condition. Would still like to have one. Maybe he could pick me up a copy of "The Pleasure Palace of Kubla Khan" - something I would very much like to have. I don't suppose my copy of the Tarot is ready yet but you can send it along as soon as it is as we are getting our mail regularly over here. Have the finance difficulties in the Tarot resolved themselves yet? I hope so.

Received a letter from Jack just before I left. He is unhappy about the Lodge - says that "I am a little sour on the O.T.O. inasmuch as by experience I doubt the value of membership coming in except via previous experience and individual training of the A A sort. It seems to me the early grades (which are all we have here) are too free in admitting non-descripts and too lax in that they do not provide a definite program of training and qualifications. The better people I have met always seem to come via an interest in A A aspects. I think we need some A.B.C.'s of organization, a handbook for prospects, and new members and above all for poor benighted lodge -heads like myself." I told him about the fifty letters as a handbook for prospects. Unfortunately he also went into some terrible drivel about - should I visit Brittany - to "watch by moonlight for Dahut, the Shadow Queen, that Malgven called the Star of Death, listen for the bells of Ya, and the Druid whispering Mananann! O Mananann!" At least it looks like drivel to me. I know that witchcraft is all very interesting and has its place etc but to go into it to the detriment of the work as a whole seems such a waste of time and talent. After all it is only a small part of the task. Perhaps when Jack receives his Tarot he will find its proper relation.

Well night is coming on and I must crawl back into my hole in the ground. Wish I could tell you what is going on over here but until I see you will have to let you rely on the papers.

Au revoir!

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part LVII -Parsing Hebrew texts.

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

    If you want to work Qabalah, remember that the Tree of Life is only one part of it. Some writers, including Gareth Knight, seem to suggest that Qabalah is only the Tree of Life. Qabalah and the Tree of Life have an intimate relationship just as the Great Temple at Jerusalem had an intimate relationship with Judaism. Without the Temple you still have a hell of a lot of Judaism. Without the Tree of Life you still have a hell of a lot of Qabalah. The Tree is a focus, but it is not "the" way of drawing all Qabalah into a simple relation. It's perhaps the quickest way of starting a study of Qabalah, if you only have a limited amount of time. If you have a lot of time the best way of getting into this discipline is just by going at it like you go at life. Grab the nearest part to hand and work on it.
    Here's a simplified application of other techniques. Take a copy of the Torah. Open it to one page. Pick one verse at random, to take an example: 28 in chapter 32 of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy is the last of the first five books, the Torah proper and holiest part of the Bible by tradition. 32 is the number of paths on the Tree of Life. 28 is the path of Qof and the Moon Trump in Tarot. This is a sign that we have a good item, a confirmation of value at first glance. The English translation of this verse is: "For they are nations void of council and there is no understanding in them." Not pleasant, but there's always more than may appear on the surface. Let's play with the spelling of the thing in Hebrew. First, write it down to get into the direct feel of the thing:


Notice that the Hebrew text is a lot shorter than the English translation, partly owing to the omission of vowels. Consider first the literal meaning. Then take up alternative ways of analysis. In orthodox practice, the next step would be to study the writings of the scholars, to see what others have made of this verse in the context of history. "Arcane" methods come after that. There are tables of Temurah, which allow substitution of letters to transform the words into other words. Full Gematria can be applied, taking the total numeric values for each word, letter by letter, and substituting other words having the same totals. Those approaches require extensive knowledge of Hebrew for full application, but some analysis can be made with less effort. The first two letters signify "for": Yod is 10 and Koph is 20, together totalling 30. That's equivalent to the Hebrew letter Lamed, which also has the value 30. KafYod is like saying Lamed, which is associated with "pushing toward". This suggests that the statement is not simply a condemnation. It's said to encourage people by pushing them. If you are a nation void of council, you need to get your act together! The first two letters tell us that by literal meaning and number association. We can look at other combinations of numbers and words to obtain more insight. There is also a method of studying the fundamental meanings of the letters in themselves. Koph suggests a whirling motion, partly by its letter name, a "closed hand". Yod signifies a creative energy, and its name means an "opened hand". Reading each of the first two letters as two "words" instead of one composite word: this is an open hand followed by a closed one, a whirling motion of creation, a seizing of something. The next three letters are Gimel, Vau and Yod. Gimel is a mystery. Vau is union. Yod is creation. "The mystery is united to the creating process" would be a way to read this by the symbolism of the letters. The first two words then become: 65 a turning of the creative force, the mystery is united to creation. Applying the same technique, but without going into letter by letter details, the following words signify:

    Pure existence is channeled into images.
    A clearly seen thing is caught up with the union of all things.
    Order passes into substance, yielding order.
    Unite to pure existence in creating a change.
    Through the passage of order in substance -
    The world passes into union with change and order.

    All this was obtained by meditating on the letters and certain Qabalistic meanings that have become attached to the letters. Look back at the literal meaning of the verse and compare it to the result produced by this method. The literal meaning states what's wrong: no counsel. The meditation suggests the need to work hard to discover a way through the situation. Another approach to the verse would be to match Tarot cards to the letters, effectively doing "a reading" on the verse. Coph and Yod would be the Wheel of Fortune and the Hermit. Various correspondences can be used, including astrological symbols, colors and others from the tables in Crowley's Liber 777. This sample verse says negative things on the face, but the very first two letters mitigate that negativity. A more subtile approach to obtaining meaning involves less thinking and more immersion in direct meditation. Just by staring at the individual letters, the shapes of the letters can seem to dance in relation to one another and transmute. Some letters are like combinations of others in their very shapes. It is possible to see other words take form, not written but in the mind alone.

    It's best to use English translations from a Hebrew/English "Old Testament" in studies of this kind, rather than a Christian sectarian one. Since a Jewish text is intended for people who often can read the Hebrew, the translators have to be careful with the English. Even so, there are subtle problems. Long ago, before the coming of Christ, Jewish writings were kept in scrolls which didn't make separations between words. All the letters were written one after the other without division, and there was no punctuation. In those times Hebrew didn't use vowel points, the little dots around the letters that show how to pronounce words. They only had the consonants, and the reader had to associate vowels with the words by a process half tradition and half meditation. The oldest forms of the Torah gave rows of Hebrew letters without division or punctuation. Since Hebrew is composed of short words, there's a lot of reuse of the same letters and groups of letters. It's like Chinese. If you read something written in Chinese characters you can usually interpret it in several different ways. The same is true of the old way in which the Torah was written. When you run all these letters together, leaving out the vowel points and the divisions between words, you can get half a dozen meanings depending on how you divide the text into words in your mind. The particular composition of breaks of words and assignment of vowels that occurs in modern editions of the Torah was done in the time of the Masoretes. The Masorets were a Jewish group of scholars. They collected clues to what the Torah was supposed to be and used the vowel points to force "accepted" pronunciation, also dividing the lines of text into words. This started around the year 800 e.v and took several centuries to be completed. To restore the text to nearly it's original form, remove the vowel points and separations between words. That's the way formal Torah scrolls are now made, the kind used in synagogues. You can't accurately translate a book made like that. Each line would have to be rendered into five to ten lines to get most of the possible meanings into a "linear" language like English. It's how the Book was intended to be read, with layers of meaning compressed into short bursts of text.

Previous part (LVI).                   Next: A talisman.

Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for July 2001 e.v.

7/1/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/8/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/9/01Planning Meeting for the Rites of
Eleusis, 8:00PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/11/01Magical Forum with Nathan. "The
Archetypes of Ritual". 8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/14/01O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/15/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/18/01Magical Forum with Nathan.
8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/21/01The Rite of Saturn at Cheth House
in Berkeley 8:00PM
(510) 525-0666
7/22/01Lodge Media meeting 4:18(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/22/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/23/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: An Orgy of Allegory
8PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
7/29/01Gnostic 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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