Thelema Lodge Calendar for September 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for September 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

September 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Sammavayamo

Now I cannot tell whether it is a part of my personal Kamma, or whether the Influence of the Equinox of Autumn should be the exciting cause; but it has usually been at this part of the year that my best Results have occurred. It may be that the physical health induced by the summer in me, who dislike damp and chill, may bring forth as it were a flower the particular kind of Energy -- Sammaváyamo -- which gives alike the desire to perform more definitely and exclusively the Great Work, and the capacity to achieve success -- John St John.1
Season of fruition, of projects realized, harvests gathered, and constructions completed, season of feasting and surplus, time to enjoy the magical bounty of the annual cycle of Sol with our earth, autumn arrives with the equinox on Saturday 22nd September at 4:05 in the afternoon. For Thelemites the autumnal celebration as Sol enters Libra marks an equilibrium in the contest of divine brothers Horus and Set, alternating between the seasons as the cycle moves toward darkness. At each equinox Thelemic communities assemble to reaffirm their collective identities, to celebrate their shared achievements, and (by local tradition, at least) to divine a watchword as a talisman of our times together. As the world's longest continuously active official body of Ordo Templi Orientis (now chartered from the US Grand Lodge of O.T.O.), the membership of Thelema Lodge gathers with long years of lessons learned and seasons celebrated together. In our past are many layers of shared work, done and built upon and now blithely taken for granted as we continue forth. At the heart of our community we have an abiding magical trust cultivated especially by decades of sharing the gnostic mass every week. Come with memories of past glories and plans of work waiting ahead for us. Join members and friends of Thelema Lodge on Saturday afternoon 22nd September, meeting at 2:30 at Horus Temple to caravan together by car up to Tilden Park in the Berkeley hills, where we will share a picnic feast and seasonal ritual. Cars will leave the lodge no later than 3:00, so don't miss out by being late. Bring lots of food and drink to share, packed to carry for a quarter mile on the trail.

Note:
1. Liber 860, Crowley's magical diary from 1908 e.v. Sammavayamo, or "right energy," is the fifth (iron) path, a Pali Buddhist term (cf. Liber 777, Table III, column 75, scale 27).


The Mysteries of Eleusis

"All Art is Magick," Crowley wrote in the chapter on "Gestures" in MTP, and "there is no more potent means than Art of calling forth true Gods to visible appearance." The Rites of Eleusis in 1910 e.v. were experimental in this regard, illustrative of the essential challenges inherent in art, and in magick. In the later chapter "Of Dramatic Rituals" Crowley seems to be presenting some of his findings from this course of experiments, as examples of the ritual methods in use "by certain secret bodies of initiates today." If a god is to be invoked, the divinity will have to be "conceived in a more or less material and personal fashion," and for this reason these rituals are best worked by "such persons as are capable of understanding the spirit of Magick as well as the letter," and "it is important that they should all be initiates of the same mysteries." Under these conditions, Crowley gives some general directions for the construction of rites, and the application of these principles to the Eleusis workings is quite clear.
Such a company being prepared, the story of the God should be dramatised by a well-skilled poet accustomed to this form of composition. Lengthy speeches and invocations should be avoided, but action should be very full. Such ceremonies should be carefully rehearsed; but in rehearsals care should be taken to omit the climax, which should be studied by the principal character in private. The play should be so arranged that this climax depends on him alone. By this means one prevents the ceremony from becoming mechanical or hackneyed, and the element of surprise assists the lesser characters to get out of themselves at the supreme moment. Following the climax there should always be an unrehearsed ceremony, an impromptu. The most satisfactory form of this is the dance. In such ceremonies appropriate libations may be freely used. (MTP, chapter 19)
Although somewhat hurriedly prepared for their original presentation (and never revised or staged again by their author) The Rites of Eleusis have been revived frequently over the past twenty years throughout the O.T.O. and beyond. There have been approximately annual presentations here in the east San Francisco Bay area ever since Thelema Lodge was chartered. Currently we are concluding our twenty-second Eleusis cycle, and "The Rite of Luna" will be closing the ceremonies under a full moon on 1st October. All remaining performances have been scheduled at Metaversal Lightcraft, which is located in Berkeley at 1708 University Avenue. This big beautiful studio space for yoga, dance, kabbalah, astrology, and Thelemic culture is open for classes and events throughout the week, and describes itself on one of its many intricately worded program fliers as "the center for the cultivation of the post-apocalyptic renaissance." Whatever it all might mean, this grand pure vibrant place is entertaining us in gracious comfort for most of the Rites this year, and the venue is much appreciated by all. Special thanks to Johannes Ayres, director of Metaversal Lightcraft, for all the help, hospitality, and participation in our mysteries. A long-time co-celebrant of Eleusis with the lodge, Johann ended up taking on the role of the god-form Sol in that rite this year (when the originally scheduled director was unable to attend), and his last-minute unrehearsed performance was one of the triumphs of this year's cycle.
The Rites are always an adventure, always a challenge to the resources, the discipline, the skills, and the patience of everyone involved, and always seem worth another try (after a few seasons in which to recover from the last presentation). Scripts for the individual rites are often rewritten and sometimes completely reconceived, but the basic tone and structure of the performances is generally within the parameters of the original scheme. The "dramatic structure" of the Rites, according to a 1978 article by theater historian J. F. Brown in The Drama Review (New York University School of the Arts), consists of "nothing so much as a group of secret society initiates dressed in magical robes knocking persistently on heaven's door and being told to go away." Such, perhaps, is the eternal problem of all spiritual aspiration. More than a series of parties, more than a compound variety show, more than a seven act play exploring the absurdities of the human and divine conditions, and more than an enterprise in Thelemic outreach, the Rites of Eleusis has become our favorite opportunity for dramatic ritual invention and cooperation amidst the greater Thelemic community here. The experience, both in terms of ritual magick and dramatic production, has always served us well, developing trust and foundation for other enterprises together. "A body of skilled Magicians accustomed to work in concert," as Crowley mentions in discussing Eleusis in MTP, "may be competent to conduct impromptu Orgia."
Then will I choose you and test you and instruct you in the Mysteries of Eleusis, oh ye brave hearts, and cool eyes, and trembling lips! I will put a live coal upon your lips, and flowers upon your eyes, and a sword in your hearts, and ye shall see God face to face. ("Eleusis," Crowley's 1907 essay in Works volume 3)


Splendour Swooning into Sense

"The Rite of Venus" begins at 8:00 on Friday evening 7th September at Metaversal Lightcraft. Kallah describes her cast during rehearsals as "happy with the strangeness" of her script, and "ready for a little ambiguity," erotic or otherwise. "Venus" is usually a rather sleepy and disaffected sort of show, so we'll see what new directions (or nude erections) she can lead us in this time. Bring sexy snacks, fruit, chocolate, wine, juice, and sweet sticky things to sip and share and hand around. For information about this rite (or if you just want to put her number in your book) call Venus at Cheth House, (510) 525-0666.


Iridescent Indigo

Originally scheduled for Cheth House, "The Rite of Mercury" will be at Metaversal Lightcraft instead, beginning at 7:00 on Wednesday evening 19th September. It can seem a bit difficult to get a grip on this quicksilver ritual sometimes, and one seldom has much of an idea about Mercury ahead of time, so we'll simply have to wait and see what this deftly clever divine performer, no more honest than he ought to be, can get past us this year. Bring your Radix to the Vibration, your Shaking to the Invisible, your Pierced Coils to the Stooping Dragon, and see just how many formulas may be added up in a single speech when you've got intelligence on tap and a wand to stir it with. To know everything, call Eric at Cheth House.


Silence is the Secret

"The Rite of Luna" closes our twenty-second Rites of Eleusis cycle on Monday evening 1st October at the full moon. Arrive by 7:00 at Metaversal Lightcraft for this ritual, and bring a thirst for nine libations with you. If you've been wondering why man no longer dares to walk upon the moon, come to this rite, and see the universe banished before you. Just when you're ready for the midnight of madness, the voice of Pan cries out "Brother Satyr, scourge forth these that profane the sanctuary of our Lady; for they known not the secret of the shrine!" Don't let this happen to you; call Shirin at (510) 639-0783 for information about the shrine's secret.


The Magick Hipster

Meeting Monday evening 17th September in the lodge library, the Section Two reading group will be enjoying the works of Terry Southern (1924-1995), comic novelist, screenwriter, counter-cultural journalist, and indomitable hipster of the 'fifties, 'sixties, and 'seventies. Leaving home in west Texas as soon as he was old enough, Southern's college career was interrupted by a tour of European duty in the Second World War, after which he completed his education on the GI Bill at Northwestern in Chicago and the Sorbonne in Paris. He then achieved limited celebrity in pre-swinging mid-'fifties London with a handful of brief, well crafted comic novels, including the legendary pornographic comedy Candy (unpublished until 1964). As a Hollywood screenwriter in the 1960s he wrote, or did substantial revision on the scripts for, Dr Strangelove (1964), The Loved One (1965, working with Christopher Isherwood), Barbarella (1968), Easy Rider (1969), The Magic Christian (1970), and End of the Road (1970). On Strangelove, for example, Southern was hired to re-work a script by director Kubrick and suspense novelist Peter George, consisting of a serious treatment of George's military thriller Red Alert. Peter Sellers had given Kubrick a copy of The Magic Christian and from that connection arose the notion of converting the tense depiction of a great doomsday bungle into the blackest of comedies. Before Southern came on the job, as the comic re-write man later liked to brag, "it wasn't funny." Following his string of successes in the 'sixties he was less fortunate with regard to the films in which he participated, and "between 1970 and his death in 1995, Southern worked on over forty other [movie] projects, but only The Telephone (1987), directed by Rip Torn, was filmed" (according to biographer Lee Hill). Especially recommended among Southern's books are Candy (his original novella was expanded by "junky poet" Mason Hoffenburg, and the work circulated in typescript for years among friends before censorship let up enough for publication) and The Magic Christian (1959). Films of both stories can be seen on video. Southern's other books include Flash and Filigree (1957), Red Dirt Marijuana (stories, 1967), Blue Movie (1970), Texas Summer (1992), and the new collection of journalism entitled Now Dig This! (2001), as well as an illustrated memoir of touring with the Rolling Stones in the carefree cocaine days of the 1970s.

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Rites in Review

This review of the prototype ritual for The Rites of Eleusis was originally published in The Sketch (London: 24 August 1910). Crowley recalled in Confessions that his "Rite or Artemis" in August 1910 e.v. was substantially identical with "The Rite of Luna" as incorporated into Eleusis that autumn. It is pleasant to be able to include in our "Rites in Review" series an unprejudiced and appreciative notice of the dramatic efforts of the Equinox group.

Aleister Crowley's "Rite of Artemis"
reviewed by Raymond Radclyffe

I attended at the offices of the Equinox. I climbed the interminable stairs. I was received by a gentleman robed in white and carrying a drawn sword.
The room was dark; only a dull-red light shone upon an altar. Various young men, picturesquely clad in robes of white, red, or black, stood at different points round the room. Some held swords. The incense made a haze, through which I saw a small white statue, illumined by a tiny lamp hung high on the cornice.
A brother recited "the Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram" impressively and with due earnestness. Another brother was commanded to "purify the Temple with water." This was done. Then we witnessed the "Consecration of the Temple with Fire," whereupon Crowley, habited in black, and accompanied by the brethren, led "the Mystic Circumnambulation." They walked round the altar twice or thrice in a sort of religious procession. Gradually, one by one, those of the company who were mere onlookers were beckoned into the circle. The Master of Ceremonies then ordered a brother to "bear the Cup of Libation." The brother went round the room, offering each a large golden bowl full of some pleasant-smelling drink. We drank in turn. This over, a stalwart brother strode into the centre and proclaimed "The Twelvefold Certitude of God." Artemis was then invoked by the greater ritual of the Hexagram. More Libation. Aleister Crowley read us the "Song of Orpheus" from the Argonauts.
Following upon this song we drank our third Libation, and then the brothers led into the room a draped figure, masked in that curious blue tint we mentally associate with Hecate. The lady, for it was a lady, was enthroned on a seat high above Crowley himself. By this time the ceremony had grown weird and impressive, and its influence was increased when the poet recited in solemn and reverent voice Swinburne's glorious first chorus from "Atalanta," that begins "When the hounds of spring." Again a Libation; again an invocation to Artemis. After further ceremonies, Frater Omnia Vincam was commanded to dance "the dance of Syrinx and Pan in honour of our lady Artemis." A young poet, whose verse is often read, astonished me by a graceful and beautiful dance, which he continued until he fell exhausted in the middle of the room, where, by the way, he lay until the end. Crowley then made supplication to the goddess in a beautiful and unpublished poem. A dead silence ensued. After a long pause, the figure enthroned took a violin and played -- played with passion and feeling, like a master. We were thrilled to our very bones. Once again the figure took the violin, and played an Abendlied so beautifully, so gracefully, and with such intense feeling that in very deed most of us experienced that Ecstasy which Crowley so earnestly seeks. Then came a prolonged and intense silence, after which the Master of Ceremonies dismissed us in these words -- "By the Power in me vested, I declare the Temple closed."

finis


Crowley Classics

The following story first appeared in The International 12:4 (New York: April 1918) on pages 107-110. For nearly six months, ending with this issue, Aleister Crowley took over the editorial responsibilities for this monthly arts magazine, where he was listed on the masthead as "Contributing Editor." Poet and novelist George Sylvester Viereck, a propagandist for the German cause in his other magazine The Fatherland, continued to be listed as editor of The International, but had in fact stepped aside late in the preceding year when the United States at last declared war against Germany. The Fatherland ceased publication, and Viereck took a permanent vacation from The International as well. Crowley was left to assemble the next few International issues with whatever material he could lay his hands on, and ended up putting together most of the March and April issues for 1918 e.v. almost single-handedly, by filling their pages with a miscellany of his own writings under various pseudonyms. In April a new editor was found, and after that issue Crowley's association with the magazine ended. For the March issue he announced an "all-drama number," which included the Gnostic Mass and three of his other plays; for April he supplied four short stories and several poems, each under a different name. One was a tale from the Golden Twigs collection under the pseudonym Mark Wells, another was "Robbing Miss Horniman" under Crowley's own name (reprinted in this column last December), and following the "Peepul-Tree" was "The Ideal Idol," a shorter tale by Cyril Custance (Crowley again). With so many noms de plume complicating the Crowley canon, we can thank Karl Germer for keeping them all straight; as Grand Treasurer General before Crowley's death and Grand Master of the Order afterwards he maintained lists of Baphomet's literary estate which included a complete catalogue of the International material (published in this newsletter in October 1997). Although Germer's plans to collect these pieces as new volumes of Crowley's work only began to be realized a few years ago with the O.T.O.'s second Oriflamme volume, we at least have Germer's list to easily authenticate a marginal (but still enjoyable) work such as this. "The Old Man of the Peepul-Tree" appeared in three sections, which we plan in this column to serialize over three issues, beginning herewith and concluding in November.

The Old Man of the Peepul-Tree

by Aleister Crowley
(under the pseudonym of James Grahame)

I.

At the office in Cortlandt Street they had told Sieglinda Von Eichen that they had no further use for her services. She had been "cheeky," it seemed, to Mr Grossmann. So she stood in Lower Broadway at eleven o'clock in the morning with exactly fifteen dollars in the world, and about as much prospect of a future as has the shell of a peanut. She was certainly not going to spend a nickel on the subway. It was not so very many miles to 108th Street, and the day was a glory of May.
But when she reached Park Place she changed her mind. It would be no use returning to the tiny flat where she lived with her twin brother Siegmund; she would only disturb him, very likely at the critical moment of the last act of his great opera, the one that was really going to be accepted, and make them rich and famous.
She believed absolutely in her brother's genius: the sympathy between them was immense, even for twins. But Siegmund was incapable of any kind of work but the one. He had tried, when the necessity arose. Their father had died in their infancy; their mother had been induced to speculate by a rascally cousin, and in the crash of 1907 she had lost every penny. Siegmund had had to come back from Heidelberg, and Sieglinda from the family in Paris who were "finishing" her; their mother's brother, in New York, had offered them a home. They crossed the ocean. But their ill luck pursued them; a month or two later the uncle died intestate, and his son, who had always hated the twins as likely to come between him and his inheritance, lost no time in driving them from the house with insult. Between them they had had a few hundred dollars, enough to keep from starvation while they found something to do. Sieglinda did not know a note of music technically; though she had a fine ear and finer enthusiasm, all capacity in that line was concentrated in her brother; so she learnt stenography, and gave German lessons in the evening when she could get pupils.
Siegmund had enthusiastically decided to be a chauffeur; but his teacher had dissuaded him from proceeding. "I've a hunch," said he, "that there'll be trouble sooner or later; going off in them trances like a guy what's doped is hell when you're pushing a fast car -- no, sir!" The same amiable impediment pursued him in every employment; his first morning as a clerk in a German bank had been his last; for, having been entrusted with copying a list of figures into a ledger, he had broken off after about six lines, and filled five scrawled pages with the opening passages of a sonata which meant nothing to the bank.
Sieglinda quickly recognized that it was useless to try to alter this disposition; besides, she rather admired it. She cheerfully shouldered the whole responsibility of the finance of the family, telling him that it was really the best policy in the long run. Why waste a genius, capable of earning millions, for the sake of ten dollars a week? So she slaved on in various offices, never getting a good position; wherever she had happened to be, her aristocratic manner was one drawback, and her unapproachability another. Her "cheeking" of Mr Grossmann had been, at bottom, a refusal to join him at supper.
So, after all, she would not go home. She would take the elevated and spend the day in Bronx Park. She would economize the nickel at lunch; a delicatessen picnic in the park would certainly be better than the flesh-pots of Childs'; yes, she would actually save money.
This calculation was, however, in error; her proposed squandering of the nickel was as fatal as Eve's first bite of the apple; and in the delicatessen store her lunch made a decidedly large hole in one of her dollars.
In another half-hour or so she was in the park; she wandered for awhile among the animals, then sought a remote corner for her picnic. She found a patch of green by the bank of the stream, shaded by a great peepul-tree, the sacred fig of India; and, having been born and bred to politeness, she apologized to the tree before taking her seat in its shadow. "Uncle Tree," so she began her prattle, "I hope you won't think it rude of me to introduce myself. But I am really a relative; my mother always said my father was the Old Man of the great oak in the courtyard; indeed, he was a very great elf, one of Wotan's own children, or so he always boasted. So I hope you'll let me eat my lunch under your branches. I'll pay you rent, you know; I'll sing you the May-Song." Then she sang Heine's master-lyric:

"In the marvellous month of May
         With all its buds in blossom,
Love made his holiday
         Prankt out within my bosom.

In the marvellous month of May
         With all its birds in choir,
I caught her heart away
         With the song of my desire."
So, without further ceremony, she sat down and rested her back against the trunk of the peepul-tree, opened her package, and began her lunch.
When she had finished, and quenched her thirst in the stream, she returned to the tree and lit a cigarette.
Now then the point is -- exactly when did Sieglinda doze off that afternoon? Even she admits that she was asleep part of the time; but she holds out stoutly that she was perfectly awake all the while that her cigarette lasted, for she remembers throwing the end away into the stream. And it was certainly while she was smoking that she began her conversation with the old man of the tree. "Uncle," she said, "you are much older than I am; I do wish you would give me some advice. I won't ask you hard things, for instance, what sin I committed in a previous life; for I must have, don't you think, to be out here in a country where they feed snakes and hyenas, and leave men and women to starve. No; but I do wish you could tell me where to look for a new job -- and oh! I should like a decent one, somewhere where they had good manners, and didn't leer all the time, even if there was very little money in it!"
"My dear," replied the funny little old voice which she was sure came from the elf, "you couldn't have come to a better person. I'm not only a sacred kind of tree, you know; I come of a very special family. My own grandfather is the famous Bo-Tree at Anuradhapura, with a big platform round him and gifts and pilgrims every day from every airt of the four winds; and his father, as you know, was the great tree of Buddha-Gaya, under which the Buddha sat when he attained emancipation. So you being connected with Wotan, my dear, I'm quite glad to think I have such a pretty little niece." (It must have been the tree talking; Sieglinda wouldn't have made up a thing like that about herself, would she?) "I must say," the voice went on, "I don't at all like the idea of one of us working; our business has always seemed to me to be beautiful, and enjoy life, and praise God. I think the best way will be for you to forget your troubles for a little while; I feel a breeze in my hair, and perhaps I will be able to sing you to sleep. Then I'll have a talk with the wind; perhaps between us we may be able to do something." So Sieglinda settled herself more comfortably, and in a little while was fast asleep. When she woke up the sun was already low over the Hudson; so she picked herself up and went home. She had forgotten all about the old man, and only remembered that she must buy an Evening Telegram and hunt through the advertisements for another job.

(to be continued)

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from the Grady Project:

This will be our final segment of the interview conducted as part of Glenn's oral history project with Grady twenty years ago. Many thanks to Sirius Encampment for the cassette tape from which this interview has been transcribed.

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

in Berkeley, 7th April 1981 e.v.

(twelfth extract)

Grady: -- So I went out looking. I looked for many years. One thing I found was something - oral history, right? Is this thing rolling? Okay, oral history. First thing I found was, a number of years later, something called Technocracy, of which I'm not particularly proud at the present time, but -
Glenn: You found it then -
Grady: - but I found it then. And at the time it was the solution, because at that time - this was the late nineteen-thirties; 'thirty-seven, 'thirty- eight, 'thirty-nine, approximately. I had graduated from high school in Kansas in 1937, so it had to be 'thirty-eight, 'thirty-nine. (It was in Valley Center, Kansas, I graduated from high school.) I found something called Technocracy. Now at the time I was a student of engineering and physics at Pasadena Junior College in Pasadena. My best friend was Paul Freehaber. Beautiful guy. Dead many years. Had a bad heart. He died at home, when I was in combat, in Normandy, and I couldn't believe it; "I'm supposed to be dead -"
Glenn: Oh, no.
Grady: - yes, yes.
Glenn: That's karmic, in a weird way -
Grady: Yeah, I couldn't believe it. I got at letter from his sister, in Pocatello, Idaho, telling me that Paul was dead, and I sat - I sat down in my muddy combat boots in this god-damned fucking, god-damned, you know - tent, in the field there in Normandy, and I said, "What? But I'm supposed to be dead; how come Paul is dead? Paul is a good guy." He was a beautiful person. And, so, anyway, this was in the days when - oral history, okay? - this was in the days when they were polishing the mirror for Mount Palomar. And -
Glenn: This was in Pasadena, California?
Grady: In Pasadena, right. Right, at Cal Tech, where I would meet Jack Parsons, which was the whole god-damned point, right?
Glenn: Right.
Grady: But we'll get back to that later.
Glenn: You were at Cal Tech?
Grady: No, I was a Pasadena Junior College.
Glenn: Oh, I see; which is near by Cal Tech.
Grady: Paul was at Cal Tech, and so was Jack Parsons. Now, oral history, right; check. Okay, fine. Well, it was like this, and I think this is interesting, for future history, because it helped to shape me in whatever way I am, or whatever. Anyway, I had a bicycle; I couldn't afford an automobile. The first time I got laid I did afford an automobile. Anyway, oral history -
Glenn: {laughs} Yeah; cars are tied up that way, as a rite of passage, I think, for Americans.
Grady: {laughs} The reason I got laid the first time was because {laughs} I had bought this old beat-up - I don't know what type of an automobile it was; I don't think they even make them any more - for about thirty bucks, which I couldn't afford. And one night I was driving this crew of kids from Pasadena over to Los Angeles, to do a trip. There was the first piece of freeway in Los Angeles, which was the freeway from Pasadena over to LA, right. We come up over the rise; I'm driving, right. My gal, who I'm trying to get laid, is sitting next to me, and there's a couple of other people in the back, right. And as we did so, here's Amiee Sample Macpherson's temple - you remember her? - probably a very wonderful lady in her own way. Anyway, there was this sign that said in black - I'm sorry, in red - neon, said "Jesus saves." And I looked at it, and I said "He must have quite a pile by now." And it wasn't till later I discovered - she said, "That's when I fell in love with you." You know, anybody who had a sense of humor like that - {laughs}
Glenn: {laughs} That's great. So - but you had a bicycle first -
Grady: Now, so, what happened was this. Like for example, I took my bicycle in the evenings. It was a high-speed bicycle. It wasn't a ten-gear, but it was high-speed. It was a British racing bike. And I would go spinning down to Cal Tech. And they were manufacturing the mirror that would become the great eye of Mount Palomar. The "prime" on the two-hundred-incher, right.
Glenn: Oh, yes.
Grady: Anyway, the way it worked was this. They had this viewing room; it's sort of like Star Trek, you know. Which meant that of course you couldn't breathe here, because they didn't want your breath up there, because they were polishing the mirror. Now, the way the mirror was polished was this. You put your - or, this great iron metal arm, right out of Star Trek, right. It went up like this. It had three divisions, and on the end of each division there was this pad, like of, you know, when you're washing dishes, you know, like this metal pad. And they had it programmed, according to mathematics, that as this thing went around like this, it would take off just enough glass that when it was through you would have a mirror that could see into infinity, actually. Fantastic. And over inside, there was this rocket laboratory, which was mostly a bunch of pipes. Well, I didn't meet Jack then; I met him later. The way I met him, the way I got into Thelema, was through science fiction, because Paul and I were headed into science fiction. Since I didn't have much money, about the only way I could see the Sunday comics was going by Paul's place on Sunday, because he has some family money and he could afford the Sunday comics. And on Friday night it was our habit to catch a big red car from Pasadena over to Los Angeles, to attend the Los Angeles Science Fiction Club meeting. Now this is on the fifth floor of the Clift Cafeteria, and it was called the Little Brown Room. And the reason we met there was because, as you know, in any big city they have multi-story cafeterias (like New York City, for example) and they obviously empty from the top down, and on Friday night everybody goes home, right. So obviously the upstairs is vacant, and available for rent - cheap. That's why we went there. And also, you could walk out into the dining rooms and get all the bug juice you wanted, right out the bug juice thing. And that's when I met Ray Bradbury. He was a student in LA High at the time. And {laughs} this - but - I could tell you stories like that all year. {laughs} Anyway -
Glenn: So how did you get into science fiction? Did you read it, like, in high school, or -- ?
Grady: Yes.
Glenn: So you got into it then -
Grady: I've been a science fiction buff since I was in my 'teens. I remember a day in Oklahoma - Grist, Oklahoma, of all places - walking to high school - walking to high school, or it must have been junior high - one morning, and, you know, the sun's just come up, and I'm walking to school, you know, and the drug store is just opened and the guy had put out the book rack, here in front. And I looked, and here is a copy of Astounding Science Fiction, and here is the picture of the "Red Perry." Now, I wonder whether you know what the "Red Perry" science fiction story is about. But there's a beautiful picture. And I remember so vividly, because years later it had become rather interesting to realize that I've been a science fiction buff since then. And that was - that must have been at least 'thirty-five.
Glenn: And this is something you just - as a young person, you just happened to like books -
Grady: Yes.
Glenn: - and you saw this book; it caught your fancy -
Grady: Yes -
Glenn: - and then you ended up just buying one, because they looked neat? Or something? Or, getting one?
Grady: And writing poetry. Now, what happened was this. So, like I said, I'm on this odyssey - this pilgrimage - whatever you want to call it, looking for - "Where are my people? Where are my people?" You know. And so Paul Freehaver and I are going over to Los Angeles for the science fiction convention. Oh, Ray Bradbury; this might be interesting; one night we were going - so, we had this big long table there, right, and there are all these original paintings by Bonestell, and whatever, of all those foreign planets and so forth. We were heavy into science fiction. There were only two women involved. One was named Mohno and the other was named Pogo. Now, Mohno was small, old, rather wizen, and nobody had any hots for her. Pogo was big, blond, buxom; everybody had the hots for her. {laughs} She finally wound up marrying some science fiction editor. It wasn't that we - like, for example, with Beverly, I've talked with this - with Beverly, I've said, "Look, we weren't trying to keep any women away; we wanted to have more, but where were you?" And she said, "Well, I'm just not social, that's all." And she -
Glenn: Beverly who?
Grady: Beverly Senseman, our Grand Secretary General.
Glenn: Ah, right.
Grady: She said, "I was reading science fiction in those days, but I just wasn't coming around because I'm not social." Well, that's the way it goes. So anyway, one night we're sitting there at the big long table, you know, and there's this asshole running up and down the other side of the room, you know, behind the table, with a horrendous rubber mask on, trying to scare the kids, especially the girls. And I'm wondering who or what that idiot is. And so he takes his mask off, and - shit - it's only Ray Bradbury.
Glenn: {laughs}
Grady: That dumb-dumb with a mask on. How did I know he was going to become one of the world's most famous science fiction [writers]?

The tape ends at this point.

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Primary Sources

Grady, Galilee, and the Belgae:
This time we have three of Grady McMurtry's letters to Crowley. The first is from March of '44 e.v. while the other two are from the latter part of that year, after Grady was shifted to station in Belgium. It's interesting to see the change in approach. In the March letter, Grady has more detail and argues directly. In the latter, some of the same themes are present, but the focus is more on practical matters. Attachments mentioned in the first letter can mostly be found in previous TLC's, but the critique of Crowley's Scientific Solution will be printed here in an issue yet to come, along with that Crowley text.

To access Grady's letters to Crowley in chronological sequence, see the bottom portion of the Crowley text index on the website.

1475th Ord MM Co (Avn)(Q)
APO 638, U.S. Army
8 March 1944

Care Frater A.C.

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

Is there some other initial I can address you by in letters? The Cara Frater is so formal.
I don't blame you for not being very happy about me; Neither am I. I am in a good position from a practical point of view, no doubt, but there is a catch. Responsibility. And it cannot be brushed lightly aside if I wish to keep or better my position. What is my responsibility? First - my men; they must be fed, clothed, taken care of, their moral kept high and they must be trained, trained so well that they can carry on if I should fall. Melodramatic? Maybe. Second - my work in the field. A unit exists only to accomplish its mission - and my men must not only be soldiers but also know their work. Is it little wonder that when I relax I try to relax totally? So you see that this is a good position - yes - but also a restricted one. As a leader men follow my example as a soldier; therefore I must be the best soldier in the outfit - and that is a restriction when it comes to the Work - for how can I expect them to put their faith in some raving maniac who goes skipping over the fields adoring the advent of spring? If I were a free agent it would be different; if I were adept it would be different - If. But I'm not adept and I'm not a free agent - and I am most unhappy about the whole affair.
I was in apathetic gloom when you did the Adorations? Yes, quite. And why shouldn't I be? I'm going on 26 now. I've been in the army long enough that I am drawing longevity pay - and the war may be over in ten months - or ten years. And how much of the Great Work have I accomplished? Nothing. Absolutely nothing! The best years of my life trickling through my fingers - and even that is a selfish view when I think of my fallen comrades. Have I mastered the secrets of the Temple, is my work well on its way, can I even show you so much as a simple adoration, some small ceremony of my own, for your judgement as to whether or not I am on the right track? No. It is true that I did not stand up and cheer when you were making the Adorations - but that does not mean that I wasn't thinking of them. One thing I was thinking of, which may be erroneous, was that the Adorations you were performing were your own particular property - Are they supposed to be a function of all members of the Lodge? If so my mistake probably came about by never having seen other members perform same.
Restriction has hampered my application to the Work - but much of my work is done with the surface mind while I go on thinking - deeply and slowly - perhaps as Sterling said:
Where the deep tides roll mightly
On dark Galilee
Or is Galilee deep enough to make that apt? Anyway in my way I come to certain conclusions, and usually know shy. And some of my conclusions do not appear to agree with what you have told me. I use "appear" because upon analysis I usually find that what you have told me is true - as far as it goes. But it doesn't go far enough. It only takes in part of the total problem. My conclusions are now complete enough that I may lay them before you. Your campaign problem appears to me to be only part of a total project. And the lesser part at that. After all - even if we don't clear your name today it will be cleared when the Law of Thelema is accepted. So the main problem is to give the Law a fair chance to be accepted. That is the grand plan. Of course if, as you point out, we can get your name cleared now, that will boost the other. But there are greater forces at work. Again I refer to a basic change in living that would make the Law of Light, Life, Love and Liberty as natural as making a profit is today. For the two are integral. The number of thinking people, that is people who will take time to "think," analysis and come to a conclusion on the Law, any conclusion, is negligible in comparison to the majority - yet to say that the majority are therefore morons is childish. Not up to the standard we want perhaps - but certainly not morons. It is with this in mind that I have reviewed the "Scientific Solution" and have inclosed my findings on that.
I know that I have gone over some of this before - especially the economic part. And that you chose to disregard it because it is in the future. But you can not disregard it - for the present Aeon encompasses this very future! Realize that. These economic forces are at work and sooner or later - sooner in some parts of the world - they will make themselves manifest. Already they are laying off men in the States. Already the bulk of the equipment has been furnished. Already they are reconverting to peace time manufacture - do you realize what that means? It's bad enough if you do not but if you will not then I can't make you.
Instead of writing the rest as part of the letter I've written them down separately. The inclosures include (1) outline for the campaign in duplicate so you can correct one copy and send it back if you wish, (2) notes on "Scientific solution", (3) notes on why outline is incomplete, (4) poem "The Seeker".
Love is the law, love under will.
Fraternally

-oOo-

1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149, % PM, NY NY
21 Oct. 1944
Belgium

Dear A.C.,

Yours of 28th Sept. Hove to the other day so have taken the night off, it is now past 0130 AM, to get your 'Artemis' off to you. It is being forwarded under separate cover. This is the only time of day I can corral the typewriter from its official duties - as well as being the only time of day I have to write. Not wishing to trust my only copy to the hands of unknown censors who might cut some of it or remove the thing entirely, thus forwarding an empty envelope to you, I have made a carbon copy which I am forwarding while I retain the original you sent me. I am inclosing in this letter three poems of recent origin - "In September", "The Cynic", and "Normandie in June". The first I put a great deal of work on and I hope it stands up to your test, this second I make absolutely no defense of it - it just came that way, and the third was a spur of the moment thing which may or may not be indifferent.
Have still been unable to find any practicable means of forwarding money to you direct. The post office refuses, still, to make out money orders to the U.K. I have written to Jack requesting information as to his receipt and forwarding of the $80, for July. No reply as yet. I sent nothing for September or October. My commitment had been filled and money was needed elsewhere. I shall, however, endeavor to dispatch $80, on the 1st of Nov. - if not directly at least to Germer. Perhaps Finance has some English notes which I could exchange for and send via registered mail. Will try. I have no objections to your method of paying me for the money I put into the Tarot - I would, however, like to have a receipt or notation to this effect that you received the second fifty pounds. That, according to my files, came though in or around January and February. I won't expect receipt for the 100 lbs on the fifty letters until you know definitely that Jack forwarded the $80 I sent him.
Don't believe I was permitted to name towns visited in previous letters. If not the list reads something like this; Cherbourg, Valognes, Mounteburg, St. Mare Eglise, Carentan, Isigny, St. Lo, Vire, Avranches, Dol, Mont St. Michael, Chartres, Paris, Leon, Rheimes, Brussels, etc. They do say that travel is educational.
Doubt if I will get a chance to see Falconer as we are up in Belgium now. Think I will drop her a note anyway.
Have a deal on for "La Gauloise" which may break it wide open. Hope to be able to tell you more that it in the near future.
Any progress organizing the group? Hope to hear good news from you on that soon. That would give us an entirely new set of factors to coordinate but well worth the bother.

as ever,

-oOo-
1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149, % PM, U. S. Army
6 Nov. 1944
Belgium

Dear A.C.,

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Yours of the 16 Oct to hand. Yes, one or two of your letters must still be floating around. I have heard nothing of a theft of the 373 pounds you speak of and as for the Caliphate I remember no concrete proposal - just a vague reference once. My prospects for the ninth degree - frankly I am puzzled. Very much so. Just how could such a project be undertaken by mail? I just don't see it. And then there is the time element. You gave me a considerable build up on that sometime before I left England. I expressed my interest by letter and let you know that I couldn't expect to stay in England forever - but when I came to see you the subject couldn't be brought to a head. So you see. I am just now getting settled down and clearing the decks for action on that project we were speaking of before I left. Yet you seem to think that I have been on some kind of excursion over here with nothing to do but write poetry and so setting up exercises. Sorry - just a little browned off. Now that things have quieted down a bit expect to get some constructive work done in the near future.
Yes, Jack has aspiration. Plenty of it. He may have shown faulty judgment from time to time but he was certainly trying hard. And he was under considerable obligation to Smith - which thickened the plot and made him appear in a worse light than he really should have. If only he can get, or has gotten, that idea of witchcraft out of his head as a primary basis of operation then he will quite probably turn out to be first rate. After extolling Jack's virtues, you say that I should look to my laurels - or something - it is spelled bays or lays. Am I supposed to be provoked into competition with Jack? If so you will find no takers. Sorry. We think differently, Jack and I, and it is quite possible that a sharing of responsibility would be advisable. I don't think that Jack's program will be successful as is. Even you, and I say it in profound respect for you, did not succeed. Why? "Circumstances. Precisely. Circumstances over which you had no control. You remember my 'Method is more important than product' dictum? The Way, The Truth, the Light, etc. Without the method there is no product. Jack is up against the same thing. So I have set myself the task of the Hymenaeus Alpha - to prepare the ground. Once that is done it makes little difference who is Caliph - naturally I would consider it an honor - but first I must be practical. Having set this task for myself it is quite possible that for a year or two I will not have the necessary time to devote to your work. Jack, I presume, will. Either way the end result will be the same. The decision is yours.
No, I do not have a typescript of the Tao Teh King, I returned that to you in London. Must knock off now - glad to hear that Jack finally sent that $80. Gad, I sent it to him the first of July.
Love is the law, love under Will. {sic}

yours,

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for September 2001 e.v.

9/2/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/7/01The Rite of Venus at Metaversal
Lightcraft in Berkeley 8:PM
(510) 525-0666
9/9/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/16/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/17/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: comic novels by Terry
Southern 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/19/01The Rite of Mercury at Metaversal
Lightcraft in Berkeley 7:PM
(510) 525-0666
9/22/01Atumnal Equinox ritual at Tilden
Park, cars leaving Lodge 3 PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/23/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/26/01Magical Forum with Paul. Book of
Thoth study group. 8PM Library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
9/30/01Gnostic 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.

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

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