Thelema Lodge Calendar for August 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for August 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

August 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

In Mysterious Joy

    The A A originated as a membership organization in London when Crowley determined at last to greet the bright new day heralded already by the Golden Dawn. Devotion to the new aeon of Horus and a complete revitalization of spiritual culture was the goal, with the recycled ancient and Theosophical philosophies of the generation of Mathers and Westcott now replaced by a Thelemic corpus of Holy Books. These texts, generated through the mind and hand of Aleister Crowley between 1904 and 1908, in fulfillment of his quite conscious role as prophet and logos of the new times, were collected and printed for the use of members. In 1907 e.v. with the young army officer J. F. C. Fuller, poet Victor Neuburg, and George Cecil Jones, Crowley had pledge forms printed and opened up the A A to the public.
    With The Rites of Eleusis in 1910 e.v. (their author wrote in Confessions a decade later), "I might have made an epoch in the drama, by restoring it to its historical importance as a means of arousing the highest religious enthusiasm." It had been this ideal which suggested the title of the project, despite the fact that its content did not correspond with the cult of Demeter celebrated in the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries. Crowley's alternative was a planetary scheme, with seven weekly performances on consecutive Wednesday evenings that autumn before a subscription audience. Along with the serial publication of The Equinox (1909-1913), the Rites were the first major public project undertaken by the A A Obviously the artistic and dramatic resources of the early London group were considerably strained, just as the attention which the production generated shortly thereafter strained the dedication of several of the prominent members.
    Crowley was uncompromising as artistic director for the Rites. "I would not condescend to theatricalism," he wrote. Instead, "my incorrigible optimism persuaded me that the public were gifted with reverence, intelligence, imagination; and the gift of interpreting the most obscure symbolism" which in fact was meaningless to much of the audience. Some of the Rites, in particular Saturn and Jupiter, had been developed over months of experimental rehearsals at the Equinox offices, while others were thrown together at short notice, partly in a collaborative effort among the performers and crew. "I had no available spare money, no knowledge of the tricks of stage-craft, no means of supplying the proper atmosphere" to fascinate the ignorant. For lack of glamour many of the theatrical ticket- holders became bored or confused, and "what was sublimely effective when performed in private lost most of its power to impress when transferred to unsuitable surroundings" Confessions, chapter 67).
    Despite the slap-dash composition of parts of the production, Crowley thought well enough of the scripts to publish them the following year in Equinox I:6. Later, annotating his own set of that journal for a possible new edition, he designated the Rites as Liber DCCCL (850) in the A A curriculum (without assigning them to any "class" of texts, although presumably they would be fall with the other ritual materials into Class D). There seems to have been no attempt to revive the Rites between their London premier and about 1977 e.v. when Thelemites in the San Francisco Bay area began planning them in conjunction with the newly chartered Thelema Lodge. After twenty-one complete cycles here since then, the Rites (although significantly altered in many of our productions) remain fairly close to their original concept, while the audience has become almost completely different. No longer are we attending in formal evening clothes with formal dramatic expectations. No longer are we afraid of sitting in the dark or on the floor, or bothered about the private proclivities of our performers. And no longer are we paying customers, or strangers, or reporters, demanding a vulgar spectacle of the Rites. Perhaps it may be counted among our achievements at Thelema Lodge that we have, at long last, built up the audience for which Crowley intended his Rites of Eleusis.
    The Rites continue through August and September at twelve day intervals, with those for this month announced below. They are open events, so long as all who plan to attend speak with the producers of each rite in advance for special instructions, confirmation of time and place, and matters of feast management. Many rites will include a meal or refreshments of various sorts, sometimes with contributions solicited, and sometimes by carefully organized catering. Next month the Rites continue with "The Rite of Venus" on Friday evening 7th September with Kallah at Metaversal Lightcraft, then "The Rite of Mercury" on Wednesday evening 19th September with Eric at Cheth House, and finally "The Rite of Luna" at the full moon on Monday evening 1st October with Shirin at Metaversal Lightcraft.

The Tiger is Harnessed

    Eleusis this month resumes with "The Rite of Jupiter" on Thursday evening 2nd August at Sequoia Lodge, 2666 Mountain Boulevard, in the Oakland hills. Arrive at 7:30 so as not to be late for the curtain time of 8:00 sharp, with the audience expected to be in their seats by that moment, and no latecomers allowed in. This rite has been recast as a presentation of the "Banquet of Trimalchio" from the Satyricon of Petronious Arbiter, and a complete feast will be provided, with advance reservations necessary for all who plan to be there. For information contact Leigh Ann at (510) 849-1970 or

The Meanest Monad

    "The Rite of Mars" begins at 8:00 on Tuesday evening 14th August at Metaversal Lightcraft, a studio space at 1708 University Avenue in Berkeley. Mars likewise has been re-figured into the cultural patterns of ancient Rome, with inspiration taken from the life of Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus (known to Christian history as "Julian the Apostate"), the last pagan ruler of the western world. Bring food and drink in abundance to this rite, but leave all weapons at home. Military discipline will prevail throughout the evening, with unauthorized fighting strictly prohibited. Call Sam at (510) 534-5739 for information.

A Space for Delight

    On Sunday afternoon 26th August, also at Metaversal Lightcraft in Berkeley, "The Rite of Sol" begins at 2:00. As an eleven year devotee of the Sun in the regular practice of Liber Resh, ritualist Michael Miller plans to stage "very much the traditional Sol" as a tribute to the Lord on this occasion. Food and drinks are invited from all participants for a shared feast at the end. Call Michael and Shirin at (510) 639-0783 for information.

Coeur de Lion

    For celebration of the Lammastide feast of elemental fire, halfway point in the summer season, lodge members and friends will gather at Cheth House on Tuesday evening 7th August. Arrive by 7:30 for the ritual, and bring food and drink to share for afterwards. Cheth House in the Berkeley hills can be reached at (510) 525-0666 for directions and further information. Sol is in the heart of the Lion, with the precise 15° point being crossed at 2:20 AM on the 7th.

Justesse and Homunculus

    This month the Magical Forum series at Thelema Lodge will be on a reduced summer session schedule, meeting only for the Book of Thoth study group on the final Wednesday evening, 29th August. Join us with brother Paul, the facilitator for this Tarot series, in the lodge library from 8:00 until 10:00. Our discussion will focus upon the Adjustment and Hermit trumps in the Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot deck, and the explication of them in Crowley's 1944 text. Read ahead in The Book of Thoth, or simply contemplate the iconography of these cards, and offer your considerations to the group. We will analyze the cards pictorially, symbolically, archetypically, and as divinatory elements, and inquire into the various layers of philosophical commentary supplied for them. From the Magic Sword of the Woman Satisfied to the secret Fire of the spermatozoon, these two trumps combine in the Formula of the Princess, "Fertility in its most exalted sense," which is "the mode of fulfillment of the Great Work."

Balance against each thought its exact opposite.
For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.
And be the Light so bright that no man seeth thee.
Be not moved by aught without or within: keep Silence in all ways.

Ineffable, Incorruptible, Immune

    What, by our definition, is initiation? The First Matter is a man, that is to say, a perishable parasite, bre of the earth's crust, crawling irritably upon it for a span, and at last returning to the dirt whence he sprang. The process of initiation consists in removing his impurities, and finding in his true self an immortal intelligence to whom matter is no more than the means of manifestation. The initiate is eternally individual; he is ineffable incorruptible, immune from everything. He possesses infinite wisdom and infinite power in himself. - MTP, ch. 20
    As a body of members under official charter from the US Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis, and as a local community of Thelemites working our will together in the world, we welcome visitors to nearly all of our rituals, classes, and events at Thelema Lodge. Call ahead for information and directions when attending for the first time. Initiations are the one significant exception, when attendance is strictly limited to active members of the degree being worked. Even here, however, the lodge openly offers membership by initiation to all valid applicants. Those free, of full age, and of good report, who submit application forms as candidates with proper sponsorship from two active O.T.O. initiates, are eligible for initiation and membership at the Minerval level. In due course each may proceed (according to her or his own will) through the complete system of M M M initiations up to the fourth degree and "Perfect Initiate" stage. Initiations will be conducted twice this month at Thelema Lodge, with advancements in the Order to be held on Saturday 18th August, and initiation into O.T.O. set for one week later on Saturday 25th August. All wishing to attend either event are required to make advance arrangements with the officers of the lodge in order to be admitted. To learn the time, place, and grade to be worked, confer with lodge officers at any prior event, or call the lodgemaster at (510) 652-3171. Proper ceremonial attire will be required of all present during rituals other than the Minerval, and a feast for all will follow the ritual on each occasion.

Abstruser Musings

Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

    The "Section Two" reading group at Thelema Lodge meets each month to share literary studies, to cultivate the sacredness of texts, and to expand the possibilities of language as a medium for the work of the will. Meetings consist of reading and discussing together from a selected work or author, or more generally upon an agreed topic. Some are suggested by the A A curriculum, or by one of Crowley's other reading lists, while others we have picked out ourselves along analogous lines, of for our own reasons. The group meets (typically on the third Monday) in the lodge library with Caitlin, from 8:00 until 9:30. This month's gathering on Monday evening 20th August will be devoted to the writings and thought of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), the most interesting and intelligent of the English "Romantic" poets. An impoverished scholar, dependent upon prizes and scholarships for his Cambridge studies, Coleridge (like Crowley a century later) spent three years in college there and then went down without bothering to take his degree. As a young man his associations with radical politics, nonconformist religion, and with poets such as Wordsworth and Southey, promised great things. In fact he lacked discipline and wasted much of his literary career on journalism or on minor and uncompleted projects, dampening his efforts by opium addiction and habitual self-doubt, wasting his time on quarrels with most of his friends. Famous as a revolutionary democrat while still at university, Coleridge and his friends designed a utopian project to emigrate to Pennsylvania among the newly independent United States. There twelve couples would live on a communal farm without individual ownership, educating their children for a new age of enlightenment, free of the bad old moral baggage of prejudice and selfishness and guilt. Raising the money to set out proved beyond the cooperative ability of the leaders who had talked up this scheme, so that it never got off the ground, but the idea of an isolated commune where a mixed fraternity could live and work in harmony was always the foundation for Coleridge's social ideals and lifestyle. He survived to become known as a literary genius on the basis of a dozen or so of his poems, and to retire into respectable Tory Anglicanism.

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To the Stars

    As we post this issue the lodge has received news of the death of our dear sister Grace at her home in Berkeley on Friday 27 July 2001 e.v. She was in her seventieth year, and leaves a large family scattered about the world. A dedicated member of Thelema Lodge for many years, an active V° initiate of O.T.O., and a studious Neophyte of the A A, Grace was much loved and much involved in our community. She did not need a surname, and even at her most formal, during her career as a teacher in the Oakland public schools, she was simply Grace. As the lodge's astrologer she taught many classes in her amazing Temple of Astrology on Blake Street, and cast horoscopes for most of us. She also calculated the precise times of the cross-quarter holidays for the lodge newsletter, and was frequently our host for Rites of Eleusis and other rituals in the lush garden under the huge trees of her lovely back yard. So often Grace was with us to provide a wisdom and a balance, a determination and an investigative curiosity, that enabled our plans to take form, our work to take shape, ourselves to take heart. The universal motion of the heavens and its correspondence with the Thelemic microcosm was her lifelong study, and Grace in her younger days had known and worked with such great astrologers as Dane Rudhyar and Marc Edmund Jones. Grace died of in her sleep after having spent a week during which she seemed to those closest to her to be arranging her affairs and resolving her conflicts. She was at mass in communion with us on her final Sunday, when none of us knew she was taking her leave, and the following mass was celebrated in her memory. Now the sorrow at her loss, and the celebration of her wonderful life, are with us as we bid farewell to our brave, beautiful friend.

    I have risen! I have risen! as a mighty hawk of gold!
    From the golden egg I gather, and my wings the world enfold.
    I alight in mighty splendour from the thronéd boats of light;
    Companies of Spirits follow me; adore the Lords of Night.
    Lo! I come to face the dweller in the sacred snake of Khem;
    Come to face the Babe and Lion, come to measure force with them!
    Ah! these locks flow down, a river, as the earth's before the Sun,
    As the earth's before the sunset, and the God and I are One.
    I who entered in a Fool, gain the God by clean endeavour;
    I am shaped as men and women, fair for ever and for ever.

Rites in Review

    In conjunction with our on-going presentation of the twenty-second local season of the Rites of Eleusis we offer two more early reviews of "The Rite of Saturn." The occasion was its original public performance ninety-one years ago by members of Crowley's early A A group which met (and rehearsed) in the London offices of The Equinox. The second of these two pieces appeared in the Morning Leader (London: 15 October 1910), and the other probably on the same date in some similar daily paper, although the clipping in which it was preserved is not identified.

New "Religion"

Strange Rites Performed in Semi-Darkness

    Harmless eccentricity is the chief quality in The Rites of Eleusis, the first of which was performed at the Caxton Hall last night.
    One is told that Mr Aleister Crowley, who presides over these rites, has invented a new religion, and that his idea is to plant Eastern transcendentalism in English soil under the guise of ceremonial magic. But, if one may judge by the first act of the Rite of Saturn, Mr Crowley's sole claim to originality is the belief that what would merely by yawned at in the light becomes impressive in the semi-darkness. And perhaps that error has been made before.
    An atmosphere heavily charged with incense, some cheap stage effects, an infinity of poor reciting of good poetry, and some violin playing and dancing are the ingredients of the rite.
    There is nothing to give offense to the most sensitive. The Mother of Heaven, who plays the fiddle with considerable technical skill, but no inspiration, is probably not intended to represent any figure in other religions. Some of the poetry, such as passages of Swinburne, is mildly erotic, but rendered in a sing-song voice, with little expression, was void of passion.
    Positively the only relief in a dreary performance was afforded by a neophyte falling from his stool, which caused mild hilarity among a bored and uncomfortable audience, most of whom were perched upon small wooden stools a foot from the floor. Mr Crowley says that the end aim of his rites is ecstasy. Somebody ought to tell him that ecstasy of any kind is impossible when your foot has gone to sleep.

Rites of Eleusis

Classicism and Mysticism at Caxton Hall

    The first Rites of Eleusis was held at Caxton Hall last night by the mystical society of which Mr Crowley (of the "Equinox") is the chief. It was the Rite of Saturn. The rites of Jupiter, Mars, Sol, Venus, Mercury, and Luna follow on successive Wednesdays, and unless a more cheerful tone is imparted than Saturn gave, the people who have paid five guineas for the whole lot will have committed suicide before they reach Luna.
    The Leader worshiper sneezing through a fog of incense, entered the temple of Saturn, which was lit by one feeble blue light. Most of the ritual was held in total darkness, though once there was a methylated spirit fire, which betrayed an audience of ladies and gentlemen in evening dress, sitting most uncomfortably on very low bamboo stools. After a litany of lamentation, the lights went out. After that it was all lamentation -- though once there was a jolly interval when a traitor in the temple was discovered, and slain, howling bitterly. The ritual is really an appeal to Saturn to explain the riddle of the universe. He explains it, "Death." "There is no God." "There is nothing behind the Veil but a pinch of dust." In the end, the veil is rent asunder, and the Master of the Temple is found dead, having recited "O melancholy brothers, dark, dark, dark!" and committed suicide.


Crowley Classics

   This essay was first published during the course of the original production of
The Rites of Eleusis in 1910 e.v. in the London theatrical magazine The Bystander, and later reprinted in The Equinox 3:10 (New York: Thelema Publications, 1986, revised 1989). Crowley wrote this and several other small essays to publicize and explain the Eleusis cycle, and to respond to the ridiculous denunciations of Eleusus which were being used to sell low-brow newspapers at the time. The presentation of Crowley in the British public press (except in connection with his previous mountaineering feats) began in 1910 with coverage of the "Rosicrucian" trial that summer. In newspapers accustomed to piecing legal coverage together out of selected transcripts of trial proceedings, this copyright suit provided some especially entertaining copy, and several papers played it for all it was worth. When that autumn Crowley himself decided to conduct a publicity campaign around the theatrical production of the Rites, he was not without takers in the journalistic jungle. For decades after his death, Crowley's reputation never recovered from the coverage which began with the more bigoted of these 1910 accounts. Here is the Master's reply to the fray.

Concerning "Blasphemy" in General
and the Rites of Eleusis in Particular

by Aleister Crowley

Pioneers, O Pioneers!

    Whenever it occurs to anyone to cut a new canal of any kind, he will be well advised to look out for trouble. If it be the isthmus of Suez, the simple-minded engineer is apt to imagine that it is only a question of shifting so much sand; but before he can as much as strike the first pickax into the earth he finds that he is up against all kinds of interests, social, political, financial, and what-not. The same applied to the digging of canals in the human brain. When Simpson introduced chloroform, he thought it a matter for the physician; and found himself attacked from the pulpit. All his arguments proved useless; and we should probably be without chloroform today if some genius had not befriended him by discovering that God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep before He removed the rib of which Eve was made.

The Abuse of the Gutter

    Nowadays a movement has to be very well on the way to success before it is attacked by any responsible people. The first trouble comes from the gutter. Now the language of the gutter consists chiefly of meaningless abuse, and the principal catch-words, coming as they do from the mouths of men who never open them without a profane oath or a foul allusion, are those of blasphemy and immorality. The charge of insanity is frequently added when the new idea is just sufficiently easy to understand a little. There is another reason, too, for these three particular cries; these are the charges which, if proved, can get the person into trouble, and at the same time which are in a sense true of everybody; for they all refer to a more or less arbitrary standard of normality. The old cry of "heresy" has naturally lost much of its force in a country nine-tenths of whose population are admittedly heretics; but immorality and insanity are today almost equally meaningless terms. The Censor permits musical comedy and forbids Oedipus Rex; and Mr Bernard Shaw brands the Censor as immoral for doing so. Most people of the educated classes will probably agree with him.

Insanity and Blasphemy

    As for insanity, it is simply a question of finding a Greek of Latin name for any given act. If I open the window, it is on account of claustrophobia; when I shut it again, it is an attack of agoraphobia. All the professors tell me that every form of emotion has its root in sex, and describe my fondness for pictures as if it were a peculiarly unnatural type of vice. It is even impossible for an architect to build a church spire without being told that he is reviving the worship of Priapus. Now, the only result of all this is that all these terms of abuse have become entirely meaningless, save as defined by law. There is still some meaning in the term "Forger," as used in general speech; but only because it has not yet occurred to any wiseacre to prove that all his political and religious opponents are forgers. This seems to me a pity. There is, undoubtedly, a forged passage in Tacitus and another in Petronius. Everyone who studies the classics is, therefore, a kind of accomplice in forgery. The charge of blasphemy is in all cases a particularly senseless one. It has been hurled in turn at Socrates, Euripides, Christ, El- Mansur, the Baab, and the Rev. R. J. Campbell.

The Morality Red Herring

    Legal blasphemy is, of course, an entirely different thing. In the recent notorious case where an agent of the Rationalist Press Association, Harry Boulter by name, was prosecuted, the question proved to be not a theological one at all. It was really this, "were the neighbours being annoyed?" "was the man's language coarse?" and the Judge and Joseph McCabe agreed that it was. But in modern times no one has ever been prosecuted in any civilized country for stating philosophic propositions, whatever may be their theological implications. We have no longer the Casuists of the Inquisition, who would take the trouble to argue from Bruno's propositions of the immanence of God that, if that were so, the doctrine of the Incarnation was untenable (and therefore he shall be burned). It is only the very narrowest religious sects that trouble to call Herbert Spencer an Atheist. What the man in the street means by Atheist is the militant Atheist, Bradlaugh or Foote; and it is a singular characteristic of the Odium Theologicum that, instead of arguing soberly concerning the proposition, which those worthies put forward, they always try to drag the red herring of morality across the track. Of all the stupid lies that men have ever invented, nothing is much sillier than the lie that one who does not believe in God must be equally a disbeliever in morality. As a matter of fact, in a country which pretends so hard to appear theistic as England, it requires the most astounding moral courage, a positive galaxy of virtues, for a man to stand up and say that he does not believe in God; as Dr Wace historically remarked, "it ought to be unpleasant for a man to say that he does not believe in Jesus;" and my dislike to Atheism is principally founded on the fact that so many of its exponents are always boring me about ethics. Some priceless idiot, who, I hope, will finish in the British Museum, remarked in a free-thinking paper the other day, that they need not trouble to pull down the churches, "because they will always be so useful for sane and serious discussion of important ethical problems." Personally, I would rather go back to the times when the preacher preached by the hour-glass.

The Pot and the Kettle

    I have always been very amused, too, in this connection of blasphemy by the perusal of Christian Missionary journals, on which I was largely brought up. They are full from cover to cover of the most scandalous falsehoods about heathen gods, and the most senseless insults to them, insults penned by the grossly ignorant of our religious population. It is only in quite recent years that the English public have discovered that Buddha was not a God, and it was not the missionaries that found this out, but scholars of secular attainment. In America, particularly, the most incredible falsehoods are constantly circulated by the Missionary Societies even about the customs of the Hindoos. To read them, one would suppose that every crocodile in India was fed with babies as the first religious duty of every Indian mother; but, of course, it is most terribly wicked for the Hindoo to make fun of the deities of the American. For my part, who have lived half my life in "Christian" countries and half my life in "heathen" countries, I cannot see much to choose between the different religions. Their arguments consist, in the end, of passionate assertion, which is no argument at all.

Religion and Draw-Poker

    There is an excellent story - much better known in India than in England - of a missionary, who was explaining to the poor heathen how useless were his gods. "See!" said he, "I insult your idol, he is but of dead stone; he does not avenge himself, or punish me." "I insult your God," replied the Hindoo, "he is invisible; he does not avenge himself, or punish me." "Ah!" said the missionary, "my God will punish you when you die;" and the poor Hindoo could only find the following pitiable answer: "So, when you die, will my idol punish you." It was from America, too, that I obtained the first principle of religion; which is that four to a flush are not as good as one small pair.


    Still I suppose it is useless to contest the popular view that anyone whom any fool chooses to call an Atheist is liable to conduct "orgies." Now, can anyone tell me what orgies are? No? Then I must reach down the Lexicon. Orgia, only used in the plural and connected with Ergon (work), means sacred rites, sacred worship practiced by the initiated at the sacred worship of Demeter at Eleusis, and also the rites of Bacchus. It also means any rites, or worship, or sacrifice, of any mysteries without any reference to religion; and Orgazio means, therefore, to celebrate Orgies, or ceremonies, or to celebrate any sacred rites. It is really a poor comment upon the celebration of sacred rites that the word should have come to mean something entirely different, as it does today. For the man in the street Orgie means a wild revel usually accompanied by drunkenness. I think it is almost time that someone took the word Orgie as a Battle Cry, and, having shown that the Eucharist is only one kind of orgie to restore the true enthusiasm (which is not of an alcoholic or sexual nature) among the laity; for it is no secret that the falling away of all nations from religion, which only a few blind- worms are fatuous enough to deny, is due to the fact that the fire no longer burns in the sacred lamp. Outside a few monasteries there is hardly any church of any sect whose members really expect anything to happen to them from attending public worship. If a new Saint Paul were to journey to Damascus, the doctor would be called in and his heavenly vision diagnosed as epilepsy. If a new Mahomed came from his cave and announced himself a messenger of God, he would be thought a harmless lunatic. And that is the first stage of a religious propaganda.

The Stations of the Cross

    Now the real messenger of God can always be distinguished in a very simple way. He possesses a mysterious force which enables him to persist, heedless of the sneers and laughter of the populace. It then strikes the wiser people that he is dangerous; and they begin on the blasphemy and immorality tack. In the life of our Lord, this will be noticed. In the first place, there was just the contemptuous "he hath a devil," which was the equivalent of our "he's just a crank," but when it was found that this crank had adherents, men of force and eloquence like Peter, to say nothing of financial genius like Judas Iscariot, the cry was quickly changed into wild accusations of blasphemy and allegations of immorality. "He is a friend of publicans and sinners." A same Government only laughs at these ebullitions; and it is then the task of the Pharisees to prove to the Government that it is to its interest to suppress this dangerous upstart. They may succeed; and thought the Government is never for a moment blind to the fact that it is doing an injustice, the new Saviour is crucified. It is this final publicity of crucifixion (for advertisement is just as necessary in one age as another) that secures the full triumph to him whom his enemies fondly suppose to be their victim. Such is human blindness, that the messenger himself, his enemies, and the civil power, all of them do exactly the one thing which will defeat their ends. The messenger would never succeed at all if it were not that he is The Messenger, and it really matters very little what steps he may take to get the message delivered. For all concerned are but pawns in the great game played by infinite wisdom and infinite power.

Orderly, Decorous Ceremonies

    It is, therefore, a negligible matter, this abuse, from whatever source it comes. It should waste my time if I were to prove that the rites of Eleusis, as now being performed at Caxton Hall, are orderly, decorous ceremonies. It is true that at times darkness prevails; so it does in some of Wagner's operas and in certain ceremonies of a mystical character which will occur to the minds of a large section of my male readers. There are, moreover, periods of profound silence, and I can quite understand that in such an age of talk as this, that seems a very suspicious circumstance!


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from the Grady Project:

This oral history interview tape provided by Sirius Oasis records a conversation twenty years ago with Aleister Crowley's Caliph. With some slight cutting to minimize repetition and confusion, our selections have included nearly all of it, and we are now nearing the end of the conversation. There will be just one more extract next month before the tape runs out.

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

in Berkeley, 7th April 1981 e.v.

(eleventh extract)

    Grady: Hum. Okay; so anyway - Now we had - I had another uncle, who was living in Sentinel, Colorado - I guess it's Sentinel, Colorado; it's called Grand Junction. This is where a couple rivers that come to there gather, and there is a little place called Fruita. It's just a little town - just a -
    Glenn: This in Colorado?
    Grady: In Colorado, south from Grand Junction, okay. We used to go out to the river and catch carp. Carp are bottom-feeding fish, but that's it; we were hungry. And shoot rabbits, with our twenty-twos. And Dad had a job with a rancher, where he was doing a butcher trip, and there was this creek, where the muskrats were living, and we were about a mile and a half from town, aprox. They didn't have any school busses, to pick me up. Every morning, in the cold of winter, when it was literally so cold that you could see the snowflakes condensing out of the air, I had to walk down a mile and a half into town to go to school, and a mile and a half back in the evening. On the mile and a half back in the evening I would pick, like asparagus - wild asparagus -
    Glenn: Oh, wow. So you lived there for, what - ?
    Grady: For about a year.
    Glenn: - for about a year. So did you enjoy the schooling stuff that you were doing, or was it sort of, I guess, like any young person, or - ?
    Grady: Um, actually, at the time, it just seemed like everyday ordinary existence. Only looking back at it do I think that there may have been something remarkable about it. Ah, I enjoyed it, yes. Look, I love education; I'm a print junky.
    Glenn: Right. Let's go through some of this quickly, and see if we can get up to when you started getting into occult things.
    Grady: Oh; that's very simple -
    Glenn: Is that later in your life, or - ?
    Grady: No; all right - yes and no. Okay, yes - and no. The story is -
    Glenn: Okay.
    Grady: Okay, now, what happened was this. Uh - you can call it stupid if you want to. It's entirely up to you. But what happened was this. As you know I'm a double Libra, and a romantic, and all that sort of jazz, right? Now, ah - but I'm not stupid, either. I may be dumb, but I'm sure not stupid. So, anyway, um - there came a time in my life when I was very very young, and I was living with my grandfather and my grandmother - and my grandmother I remember with great affection; my grandfather, I remember him with great respect, but not necessarily affection - ah - like on Sundays and Wednesday evenings. Wednesday evenings we had prayer meeting, right? It's Holy Roller, right. Wednesday evening you have prayer meeting, right. Sure; always, always. It's part of ancient Presbyterian tradition, or whatever they call it. Okay, fine. So, ah - we're, ah - living here, and, um - so what happened, what really happened was this: the reason I became a Thelemite. We had a woman preacher. Now in unordained ministry, which the Holy Rollers are, of course, it's nothing unusual. In fact, in your modern witchcraft tradition you might take note of the fact that, among unordained ministries you've had women ministers for years.
    Glenn: Yeah.
    Grady: All right; okay, fine. And one of them was. Now, I had a rather painful decision, very young, very innocent, and very open. I fell in love with her.
    Glenn: With the minister?
    Grady: Yeah?
    Glenn: Oh.
    Grady: She would be up there on the podium, you know, preaching away. And then one day she disappeared. And I said, "Why," you know; "what happened?" And they told me, "Oh, well; she was doing a sex trip with Joe Blow." What - what? This is my hero, this is my - what?
    Glenn: You mean - ?
    Grady: At that moment I became an anti-Christian.
    Glenn: You mean they got rid of her because she was doing this?
    Grady: No, they didn't get rid of her.
    Glenn: She just - ?
    Grady: She just split.
    Glenn: Oh, she just split with so-and-so.
    Grady: But I was so completely disillusioned -
    Glenn: Uh-huh.
    Grady: Now I have hypoglycemia, which means I love sweets. Now, in depression Oklahoma there's only one place I can get sweets, and that was at Christmas. Cause at Christmas they brought out all the candy, right. I walked away from it. "No!" I walked away from it; I said "No, I won't. I can't."
    Glenn: You somehow equated the sugar with the Christian - ?
    Grady: The point was, I'd made a commitment I will not, under any circumstances, submit to that type of trip. I mean, seeing as she had done something - what can I say?
    Glenn: So what was the "trip?" I'm not quite sure what - ?
    Grady: The trip was that, um - that, um - by, um - balling this guy, and disappearing from our scene, she had -
    Glenn: Broken her commitment or something?
    Grady: - broken her commitment to being a preacher of the faith. And that's when I became disillusioned. Um, that's when I split from the Christian church. And, um - I went out looking: where, what, will, you know - where do I belong?
    Glenn: So did you feel identified with her, or did you feel angry with her?
    Grady: Both. Like Margot Adler, you know, who wrote Drawing Down the Moon, or something -
    Glenn: Yeah.
    Grady: - said to me on that TV tape - which is upstairs if you want to hear it, by the way -
    Glenn: Yeah, I'd like to, at some point.
    Grady: She said, "Anger and ecstasy, both at the same time." I said, "Yes, I know." She said, "There's your problem."
    Glenn: What was that, at the same time?
    Grady: Anger and ecstasy.
    Glenn: Uh-huh.
    Grady: In other words, I was angry with her, and at the same time, I just split; I said "fucking forget it!" So I went out looking. I looked for many years.

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Primary Sources

   Grady and the Gauls:

   Here are two more letters from Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley, written in 1944 e.v. Grady was attempting to find public support for "La Gauloise", a song Crowley wrote "for the fighting French" and hoped to see adopted as a new French national anthem. That was a considerable long-shot, since even getting it sung in public appeared to be a sufficient difficulty. Considering the salute to the liberating troups in flowers and ripe tomatoes, perhaps it was just as well... These letters also discuss Grady's poety in passing and the difficulty in getting money to Crowley.

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

Dear A. C.,

In receipt of the package of songs. Will be happy to start handing them out but first must have one question cleared. Does the tune in any way resemble that of the present French national anthem? I must know as otherwise it is meaningless. Forward me a copy of the music as soon as possible.

If you wish I will send the nest {sic} money order to Germer. I don't know exactly why I sent the last one to Jack except that I had just received a letter from him and Germer never even entered my mind.

It isn't necessary to add "France" to my address. In fact the army censor might decide to get downright nasty about it. It is just that Army mail bags might fall into enemy hands and that is not a good idea from a security point of view. As you doubtless know it is raining quite about {sic} over here and as a result our mail is sometimes a bit damp when we get it. Lack of adequate housing facilities for the millions of mail bags. Anyway this has given rise to a common saying that our mail has "come in on the tide". Which of course I suppose it has - only not in that sense.

Aha! So you finally received that "Convoy Rolling" piece of drivel? No wonder you looked puzzled when I mentioned it. Or perhaps you don't remember. I was there one evening and asked you how you liked it, you nodded your head very sagely although with a puzzled look in your eye and I thought at the time that you must not have heard me aright. Anyway there is a certain satisfaction in rolling a 6x6 - "where the wheeling convoys roll" - but I suppose one has to have grease on the hands and ball bearings in the head to appreciate it. Someday I may write that thing over and do it right. On rereading yours of 6 July I notice that you had hoped to get the package to me before 14 July. No such luck.

Let me hear from you soon.



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

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

Sorry not to have written sooner but business has been rather pressing. The book arrived in good shape for which I offer thanks. Have hardly had time to do more than glance at the cards, however. Other glad tidings have to do with your song, "La Gauloise". I am happy to report that it will be given the benefit of a public rendition at a town that shall remain unnamed and at a date that shall remain unspecified - although I believe I can say that it will be in the near future. The reason that I am rather cautious in that respect is that some time ago we were told that we could name certain towns that we had been in - and today I received a letter informing me that all place names had been censored. Unfortunately I have moved from the locality where the song fest is to be so I won't be able to give you report as to its reception but I shall try, try again. Maybe I can get into Paris someday long enough to do some good in that respect. Happened to be out on the road the other day when the French were celebrating the fall of Paris. Or rather, the liberation of Paris. Everyone was shouting "Paris libere" and "Sank you American" - wine and cider were to be had for the stopping. Some of them more enthusiastically throwing roses and flowers - even apples and tomatoes. Those who threw tomatoes were more enthusiastic than sensible as many of my boys found when a ripe tomato would splatter through their outstretched hands.

Yes, I meant Coleridges' "Kubla Kan". Please send it if you can as I am very much interested in getting a copy.

Although I won't be able to give you a report as to the public reception of "La Gauloise" I can say that the music professor to whom I was directed was very enthusiastic about it. He seemed to think that it would go over well. Must close now. Love is the law, love under will.

as ever

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for August 2001 e.v.

8/2/01The Rite of Jupiter at Sequoia Lodge
in Oakland 7:30 PM
(510) 849-1970
8/3/01Full Moon in Aquarius 10:56 PM
8/5/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/7/01Feast of Lammas at Cheth House
in Berkeley 7:30 PM
(510) 525-0666
8/12/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/14/01The Rite of Mars at Metaversal
Lightcraft in Berkeley 8:PM
(510) 534-5739
8/18/01O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/18/01New Moon in Leo 7:55 P.M.
8/19/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/20/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The poetry of S.T.
Coleridge 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/25/01Initiations into OTO (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/26/01The Rite of Sol at Metaversal
Lightcraft in Berkeley 2:PM
(510) 534-5739
8/26/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
8/29/01Magical Forum with Paul. Book of
Thoth study circle. 8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

    The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.

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

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

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