Thelema Lodge Calendar for October 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for October 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

October 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Feasts for Life

    Under the sign of the Scales Thelema Lodge celebrates our foundation, observing the Lesser Feast of the Prophet of the Aeon, Aleister Crowley, on whose birthday our lodge was originally chartered twenty-four years ago this month. Our Crowleymas party for his 126th birthday will be held at Cheth House on Friday evening 12th October, beginning at 8:00. Bring food and drink to share, and items of Crowleyana to read or show. Cheth House in the Berkeley hills can be reached for directions and information at (510) 525- 0666.
    Six days later we celebrate the Lesser Feast of the Prophet's Caliph, Grady McMurtry, who revived the Order from this lodge, serving as Master here until his Greater Feast exactly 93 months later. Grady was born in 1918 e.v. at a tiny settlement called Big Cabin in rural north-eastern Oklahoma, from which he found his way as a teenager to California. Join us at Sirius Encampment in Berkeley beginning at 8:00 on Thursday evening 18th October, again with food and drinks and stories and memorabilia to share. For information and directions call Sirius at (510) 527-2855.
    Also under Libra this month is the Lesser Feast of Jack Parsons, the inspired rocket scientist who introduced Grady to Thelema and prepared him to meet Aleister Crowley. Tuesday 2nd October marks the 87th birthday of Jack Parsons, who died nearly fifty years ago in a laboratory explosion at his home in Pasadena. Join us at Thelema Lodge at 8:00 that evening to celebrate the heritage of this enigmatic and original Thelemite who did so much to set the radical style of Ordo Templi Orientis in California.

The Service of the Great Order

    Gnostic mass in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge is celebrated each Sunday evening at nightfall, with communicants welcome to join lodge members and friends assembled together as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Arrive by 8:00 to await the call to enter when the Deacon shouts "procul, o procul, este profani!" and the unshod masses file in from the library. Aleister Crowley's gnostic mass was written in 1913 e.v. and perhaps first celebrated circa 1914 in London (or later at the Abbey of Thelema in the early '20s e.v.), and first published in 1918. The celebration consists of a pagan eucharist ritual, conducted by a priestess and priest with a deacon to assist them, and shared with the assembled "People" in the temple. We welcome all whose will it is to participate with us in this ritual; those who have not previously attended at the lodge asked to communicate by telephone with the lodgemaster ahead of time for directions to our temple. To serve the lodge as an officer in the mass, members should carefully study the canon of the ritual in Liber XV, and then put together a mass team to privately work with the text until all three prospective officers know it perfectly. In this process one of our gnostic bishops - or some other experienced mass officer - should be consulted for guidance and encouragement, until the team has achieved the confidence and expertise expected in a public celebration of the mass. Then the team is ready to request a date on the temple calendar, which is maintained by the lodgemaster.

Branches in Every Civilized Country

    Initiations for advancement in Ordo Templi Orientis will be performed at Thelema Lodge on Saturday 20th October. Active initiate members of the Order are encouraged to attend initiation rituals for the degrees they have attained, but each is required to communicate in advance with the lodge for details of the time, place, and degree to be worked. Proper ceremonial attire will be required of all present, and there will be no admission of those who have not contacted the officers of the lodge in advance.
    Liber LII (52), the O.T.O. Manifesto, outlines a masonic pedigree for our Order, making the claim that, due to the "confusion" of the "original secret wisdom" of freemasonry, the heads of all the various masonic bodies "determined . . . to recombine and centralize their activities." The story continues that it was "Karl Kellner who revived the exoteric organization of the O.T.O. and initiated the plan now happily complete of bringing all occult bodies under one governance." Upon the model of the freemasonic system of graduated advancement by secret degrees of fraternal initiation, Crowley established for the O.T.O. an Academia Masonica, or mystery school, composed of eleven degrees in three grades. In the first grade, designated Man of Earth, the initiations are numbered zero through four, and consist of dramatic rituals, which are both symbolic and catalytic of personal progress. They are offered by application throughout the world at lodges and oases of Ordo Templi Orientis. Candidates must present themselves free, of full age, and of good report, completing the requisite application form for submission on their behalf to the national Grand Lodge. Initiations from Minerval (0°) through the IV° and P.I. (Perfect Initiate) degree are available at Thelema Lodge, and applications may be requested from officers of the lodge at most temple and library events.

Voluptuous, Obscene, and Complacent

    On Monday evening 22nd October at 8:00 in the lodge library the Section Two reading group gathers with Caitlin to peer into one of the great creepy books of all time, Mathew G. Lewis's 1796 gothic bestseller The Monk. Lewis (1775- 1818) was a bored young "eurocrat" in the British embassy at The Hague when he decided to devote a few months of his spare time to the composition of a novel, somewhat in the style of his successful contemporary horror writer Ann Radcliffe. But Lewis had been reading the new emotionalized mode of German literature known as Sturm und Drang ("tempest and turmoil"), which starkly characterized the more extreme states of the psyche. Marked by its fascination with youthful extravagance, violence, and naked honesty of feeling, without the shallow optimism of the Enlightenment or the artificial sentimentality of polite literature, this new narrative attitude was nearly unknown to English storytelling. Lewis's gothic thriller completely abandoned the shocking but ultimately rational girls' horror thrillers popular in England during the 1790s (immortalized by Jane Austin's parody of them twenty years later in Northanger Abbey). Instead he produced a raw, alienated extravaganza of unhinged excess which earned him the title (in a review by Charles Lamb) of "master of the art of freezing the blood." Combining occult elements with vicious, obscene, and insane character motivations which were worked out with an elaborate display of psychological verisimilitude, The Monk shocked and fascinated its first readers. Lewis was celebrated in glowing terms by the Marquis De Sade in France, but condemned so strongly by Coleridge and other English reviewers that he agreed to tone down the sex and violence in later editions of his novel. Section Two readers, who may find that they are not altogether immune from Lewis's terrible surprises and scenes of carnage even after two hundred years, are advised to secure an edition based either upon the first edition or upon its author's (surviving) manuscript of the novel.

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Incalculable Luck and Original Marriage

    Fortune (the Wheel) and Lust (Strength) are our trumps this month at the Book of Thoth study group of Thelema Lodge's "Magical Forum" series. Gather 'round the old Thoth Tarot deck on Wednesday evening 24th October in the lodge library with Paul, who is the facilitator for this shared study project, from 8:00 until 10:00 for a discussion of the imagery and symbolism of these two cards, and their relationships within the Thoth deck. Atu X, Fortune, in the palm of the hand, presents the cosmos of stars as a massive wheel on spokes, defining in the force of its motion the "mysterious energy triform" which sustains all natural processes. Salt, sulfur, and mercury as alchemical principles, (or function, inertia, and power, the three Gunas: Sattvas, Tamas, and Rajas) are figured on the card as monstrous Typhon, enigmatic Sphinx, and composite Hermanubis. Caught up in a continual process of indefinite revolution, the card cries out for some resolving final thunderbolt from beyond, for "a Unity of supreme attainment and delight" which is not contained within the system of the Wheel. In Atu XI, the "rapture of vigour," one of the basic themes of Liber AL, is central to the symbolism of the fiery Lion Sun trump Lust. The earlier Lovers card, by way of contrast, presents a refinement of marriage, while Lust's raw depiction of "marriage as it occurs in nature" shows us "the will of the Aeon" of Horus. If the central secret of the old aeon was that of incarnation and the mystery of fatherhood, here we see the new "physical-magical formula for attaining initiation, for the accomplishment of the Great Work" in an understanding attained through "union with the many." This result, the fulfillment of Horus, is shown on the card as "an emblem of the new light, with ten horns . . ."

Crowley Classics

   The present installment is the second of this story's three parts, originally published in The International (New York: April 1918), and serialized in our pages over three months, with the conclusion to follow in the November issue.

The Old Man of the Peepul-Tree

by Aleister Crowley
(under the pseudonym of James Grahame)


    Things went from bad to worse with the twins. No one seemed to want a typist. Sieglinda was pretty and clever enough for the chorus; but she read the American Sunday papers, and knew that as a merely modest girl, she had no chance for an engagement. New York managers, it appeared, insisted on a type of Virtue so rigorous that it left Lucrece, Penelope, and the mother of the Gracchi among the also rans. She had seen chorus-girls, too, and even heard them discuss Virtue; anyhow, for one reason or another, she did not apply for an engagement.
    Siegmund's inspirations, too, failed him even as her purse shrank; he spoilt paper at an alarming rate. One day when she came in from a vain search for work she caught him in the very act of dashing another failure to the floor. "Oh tosh! infernal beastly tosh!" he yelled; "really, Sieglinda, you must learn to keep your mouth shut!" "What have I done now?" she laughed. "It's that ghastly tune you've been humming for a month; Broadway Bliss it comes from, I suppose, by the sound of it; I wrote it down to feast my eyes upon the ghastly and upon my soul and conscience, I think it's too bad even for Broadway." "I'm sorry, boy; I didn't know I was annoying you. I don't usually hum, do I?" "Never heard you before; it's that eternal search for work. O my God! I wish I could have learnt to push a car. The music I'm writing now-a-days sounds rather like one, too; a Ford, on a country road, with a tyre gone. Lord! I think I'll send it round as a Futurist Opera!"
    Nearly a month later, Sieglinda declared that she had found a job. It was not regular work, apparently; she was in and out at all hours, sometimes extremely tired. It went on for nearly six months before Siegmund noticed anything wrong. Then he asked her what her work was. She told him that she had turned her good taste to account, and had been employed to decorate and furnish a house on East 63rd Street for a very rich man. She deserved more pay than she was getting; perhaps he might do more for her later on. "Do you see him often?" "Every day." "Ever make love to you?" "Oh no! He takes no more notice of me than if I were a piece of wood. And he never spends a penny except on this fad of having a fine house. I go shopping for him in a seven thousand dollar car; and I hate to take the subway home. He's musical, by the way; I've done him the finest music room in America; perhaps I'll be able to interest him in your work, one day." "I don't work. I can't work. A chunk of cheese has more ideas than I've had for the best part of a year!" "Oh well, inspiration will come. If we could only get out of this horrible struggle to live from day to day! If that house were only mine instead of his! It ought to be. I made it. I took a common mass of brick and stone, and turned it into Paradise. And all I've got out of it - six months and more living like a slave - has been about four hundred dollars! And the house will be ready in three weeks or so - and then what shall I do?"
    Ten days later she came to him in tears. "Siegmund," she cried, "the man wants me to live in his house." "Don't you do it, girl!" said her brother; "don't forget the oak, and the three greyhounds, and the bend or!"
    It was another month before the house was finished. On the day, she came home at noon, jubilant, "What do you think," she said, "I've got a whole hundred dollars extra as a bonus, and the promise of another job; and we're going to have a Day in Fairyland. Come along; we're going to lunch downtown, and then I'll take you to see the house, and then we'll come home and dress for dinner for the first time in a year, and I've got seats to Die Walküre tonight, and then we'll go on to supper at a cabaret! There!"
    Two hours later they had finished a lunch at the Knickerbocker which was a landmark in the life of the head waiter. Sieglinda was not going to spoil a Day in Fairyland for ten dollars one way of the other.
    So, with very threadbare cloaks tight over poor worn clothing, these waifs of fortune faced the ice and snow of Manhattan's coldest February, and made their way to East 63rd Street, the good wine tingling in them till they laughed merrily at the bitter wind of winter, as it cut into their young faces.
    The house on 63rd Street stood well away from either avenue. It was taller than its immediate neighbors, and the woodwork was of the same dull red as the granite of which it was built. Sieglinda produced a key, and they entered.
    The hall was remarkable for the waved stripes of tawny yellow and black, the tiger-heads that lined the walls, and the tiger skins that covered the floor.
    Sieglinda led the way into the room on the life, which extended the whole depth of the house. One could hardly give a name to such a room. Walls and ceiling were covered with a Japanese paper of old gold; the floor was of mahogany, and the only furniture in the room was dull red lacquer, cabinets and trays and little tables. In the centre of the floor was a great rug of blue without a pattern, raised from the floor by mattresses to the height of about a foot. At the far end of the room stood a great golden figure of Buddha, between two monstrous vases of porcelain of the same deep thrilling blue as the rug. Siegmund gasped his glory. "I thought this would inspire you," said Sieglinda. They went into the opposite room. Here all was in perfect contrast. The whole room was panelled in ebony; in the centre stood an oblong table of the same wood, with ancient tall-backed chairs evidently of the same craftsmen's handiwork. Against the walls stood oaken chests, black with age; and of each of them a single silver statue. At the upper end of the room hung a crucifix of ivory, with three tall silver candlesticks on each side of it. The candles were of yellow wax. Facing this was a single picture, a group of dancers by Monticelli.
    Sieglinda led the way upstairs. Here was a modern sitting-room, evidently designed for a woman. The main motive was steel-blue, harmonized with ruddy amber. Everything in this room was soft; it was, as it were, an archetype of cushions! The pictures were all landscapes by Morrice. The room opposite was as typically a man's. Great leather arm chairs and settees stood on every side. A huge cigar cabinet of cedar was opposite the open fireplace, with a long narrow table between them which divided the room into two halves. One half contained a billiard table, and its walls were covered with sporting prints; the other had a card table and a chess table, but no other furniture except chairs. On the walls were nudes by the best masters, Manet and John, and O'Conor, and Van Gogh, and Gauguin, culminating in a daring freak by Cadell, and a solemn and passionless eccentricity by Barne.
    The third floor was guarded by a single door. It was all one room, a bedroom lined in rose marble, with a vast antique basin of the same material, in which a fountain, a reduced copy of the "Universe" of the Avenue de l'Observatoire, played. Around the room stood many a masterpiece of marble and of bronze, the Drunken Satyr and the Dancing Faun, Diana of the Ephesians and the terminal Hermes of the Aristophanes of sculpture, Marsyas and Olympas, the goat-piece of the unknown master of Herculaneum, the Femmes Damnées of Pradier, the Bouches d'Enfer of Rodin and his Epervier et Colombe. All these were grouped about the great bed, which rose from the floor like a snowy plateau lit with Alpenblühn. There were no pillars, nothing but a table-land of ease, swelling like a maid's bosom from the marble. One could hardly say where floor left off and bed began, save that around the rising curves of rosy purity stood eight Cupids wreathed in flowers.
    Light, in this room came pale and timid, like a girl's first love, through trellises of ground glass. But the room was not dark, for there was no color in it deeper than the bronzes; and they like islands in the rose-white loveliness that girt them like a sea. The ceiling was a single sheet of polished silver.
    From this room brother and sister mounted to the highest floor. Here was the music room, a chapel of carved walnut, lofty and Gothic, endowed with a great organ; its choir ready to become vocal at the waving of the wand of a magician, for every king of musical instrument was in its place.
    Siegmund for the first time exhibited manly firmness. "I am going straight out of this house," he cried angrily, "and my permanent address will be the Hudson River!"

(to be continued)

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from the Grady Project:

   Originally published by Thelema Lodge twenty years ago in The Magickal Link, this little essay appeared as a four part serial. We offer it here in two installments, with the first and second sections this month and the remaining sections three and four to follow together in our next issue.

The Four Rivers of Paradise

by Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha X°

part one

    One day, some years ago, the lady I was living with at the time, who happened to be a member of the Book of the Month club, said laughingly, "As a prize, I could get you a copy of the Bible. But of course you do not read the Bible, do you?"
    Item: Genesis 2. "From Eden a river flowed to water the park, which on leaving the park (Da'ath - the Visudha chakra) branched into four streams. The name of the first is Pison." = 446. Check your Sepher Sephiroth - just like Aleister Crowley laid it out for you. (Note: at this point we go into technical equations. 66 = , a "Ship." You are now reading the ship's code book.) But to get to the Visudha chakra, you have to bring the energy down through the Brahma chakra (or Sahasara chakra, depending - ), but in the Qabala we call it Kether. ( = 620 - the Crown.) This energy is called "Mezla" ( = the influence from most high = 78.)
    Once this energy hits Da'ath ( = 474) - you must understand, of course, that the psychic body does not exist until created - it splits into four rivers. The first of which is Pison. Like I said. It goes from your throat chakra to your right shoulder. Geburah. Check column LVI in your 777. This happens to be fire, sight, Mars, and the South. To resume from Genesis 2. ". . . Pison, the one which flows all round the land of Havilah (translation: Mars) where there is gold - fine gold in that land! with pearls and beryls; the name of the second is Ghihon ( = 77)." It is West. It goes to your left shoulder and is called Chesed. Jupiter.
    To be continued. If there is a continuity.

part two

    Okay. Back to Genesis 2. Your education is about to begin.
    This is the story of the four rivers of Paradise. Sometimes known as the Map of Atlantis.
    We have gone through Pison and Ghihon. Technically Mezla is not one of the rivers, but the Source, like the Ganges.
    The third river is Hiddekel ( = 139). This goes from the Visudha chakra to the Anahata chakra (translation: to Tiphereth - your heart, Sun, life, compassion, beauty; also known as the Spider, Pelican, and/or 5= 6, depending). It is East.
    The fourth river is Pharath. The Euphrates. It is the North (and we will remember the relation of Nuit to the North, as of Hadit to the South). It is = 680. It is the path from the Visudha chakra to Yesod. The Foundation. The World card in the Tarot. You. The person who took this incarnation. The Cosmic Dancer. And we will remember Revelation 16, verse 12, "The sixth poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its waters were dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East."
    And who are the kings from the East? Well, we happen to be the Order of the Temple of the Orient. And it is written (AL III:45), speaking of the Scarlet Woman, "Then will I lift her to pinnacles of power: then will I breed from her a child mightier than all the kings of the earth. I will fill her with joy: with my force shall she see & strike at the worship of Nu; she shall achieve Hadit."
    There is a very great mystery here. Well, the way this article got started was that one day this gal I was living with said, "I don't understand that." Meaning the sentence, ". . . she shall achieve Hadit." I just looked at her strangely. My god, this woman had been into Thelema for thirty years. But it is like Aleister Crowley wrote to Karl Germer once, "It is incredible, but after all these years you do not know how Magick works." It does take a certain knack.
    For example, at the O.T.O. Tarot reading booth at the Ren(naissance) Faire recently there was a certain couple. He had invented his own Tarot deck and I saw no objection. After all, how many times during that fantastic year of 1969-1970 did I say to anyone who would listen, and there were damn few - sorry, just ran out of space.

(to be continued)

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from the Library Shelf

    The article by Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859) from which this section has been extracted was based upon a dissertation in Latin by a German university professor, J. G. Buhle (1763-1821), who originally presented it to the Philosophical Society of Göttingen in 1803. The English version appeared in four parts in the London Magazine during 1824, where it was identified as De Quincey's translation from Buhle, and it has seldom been reprinted since, becoming quite a scarce text. Although De Quincey spoke in 1847 of revising and reissuing it, he never accomplished this, and because of its status as a translation the "Inquiry" was excluded from David Masson's 1897 collected edition of De Quincey's Works. (Our text comes from an 1886 edition of De Quincey's Confessions which appends this and a number of other obscure magazine articles.)
    De Quincey informs his reader that, because he could not find in English "any work which had treated this question with much learning," he saw fit to present a version of Buhle's research in translation which "abstracted, rearranged, and in some respects . . . improved" the original. The scholar whom De Quincey identifies only as "Mr. Nicolai," author of a book "on the charges against the Templars," presumably published in the late eighteenth century. Buhle chose to structure his arguments as a sort of debate with Nicolai, and De Quincey maintains this style of presentation in parts of his version of the piece. In his 1847 essay upon "Secret Societies" De Quincey jovially introduces a debunking discussion of the masons by claiming that "the whole bubble of Freemasonry was shattered in a paper which I myself threw into a London journal about the year 1823 or 1824." His reference is to the "Inquiry," and he goes on to comment upon the "authorship" of the translated article. "It was a paper in this sense mine, that from me it had received form and arrangement; but the materials belonged to a learned German -- viz. Buhle; the same that edited the Bipont Aristotle, and wrote a History of Philosophy. No German has any conception of style. I therefore did him the favour to wash his dirty face, and make him presentable amongst Christians; but the substance was drawn entirely from this German book. It was there established that the whole hoax of masonry had been invented in the year 1629 by one Andreä; and the reason that my exposure could have dropped out of remembrance is, probably, that it never reached the public ear; partly because the journal had a limited circulation; but much more because the title of the paper was not so constructed as to indicate its object, or to throw out any promises of gratification to malice. But it was malicious: though I was foolish enough to dissemble in its title that part of its pretensions. A title which seemed to promise only a discussion of masonic doctrines must have repelled everybody; whereas it ought to have announced (what in fact was accomplished) the utter demolition of the whole masonic edifice."
    As this final section opens, De Quincey's orchestration of Buhle's argument is refuting Nicolai's theory that freemasonry arose from the submerged traditions of the Templars. The rude carping tone of De Quincey's language was a common feature of nineteenth century journalism, and although it appears somewhat childish to us, it has the advantage of alienating the reader sufficiently for the (many and considerable) points of prejudice and ignorance which find their way into the argument to be especially noticed.


an extract from the
"Historico-Critical Inquiry into
the Origins of the Rosicrucians
and the Freemasons"

(part three of the fifth section of the Conclusion to the essay)

by Thomas De Qunicey

    But, says Mr. Nicolai, the Templars had a secret, and the Freemasons have a secret; and the secrets agree in this, that no uninitiated person has succeeded in discovering either. Does not this imply some connection originally between the two orders; more especially if it can be shown that the two secrets are identical? Sorry I came, my venerable friend, to answer - No. Sorry I am, in your old days, to be under the necessity of knocking on the head a darling hypothesis of yours, which has cost you, I doubt not, much labour of study and research - much thought - and, I fear also, many many pounds of candles. But it is my duty to do so; and indeed, considering Mr. Nicolai's old age and his great merits in regard to German literature, it would be my duty to show him no mercy, but to lash him with the utmost severity for his rotten hypothesis - if my time would allow it. But to come to business. The Templars, says old Nicolai, had a secret. They had so; but what was it? According to Nicolai it consisted in the denial of the Trinity, and in a scheme of natural religion opposed to the dominant Popish Catholicism. Hence it was that the Templars sought to make themselves independent of the other Catholic clergy; the novices were required to abjure the divinity of Christ, and even to spit upon a crucifix, and trample it under foot. Their Anti-Trinitarianism Mr. Nicolai ascribes to their connection with the Saracens, who always made the doctrine of the Trinity a matter of reproach to the Franks. He supposes that, during periods of truce in captivity, many Templars had, by communication with learned Mohammedans, become enlightened to the errors and the tyranny of Popery; but at the same time strengthening their convictions of the falsehood of Mahometanism, they had retained nothing of their religious doctrines but Monotheism. These heterodoxies, however, under the existing power of the hierarchy and the universal superstition then prevalent, they had the strongest reasons for communicating to none but those who were admitted into the highest degree of their order - and to them only symbolically. From these data, which may be received as tolerably probable and conformable to the depositions of the witnesses on the trial of the Templars, old Mr. Nicolai flatters himself that he can unriddle the mystery of mysteries - viz., Baphomet (Baffomet, Baphemet, or Baffometus); which was the main symbol of the Knights Templars in the highest degrees. This Baphomet was a figure representing a human bust, but sometimes of monstrous and caricature appearance, which symbolised the highest object of the Templars; and therefore upon the meaning of Baphomet hinges the explanation of the great Templar mystery.
    First, then, Mr. Nicolai tells us what Baphomet was not. It was not Mohammed. According to the genius of the Arabic language out of Mohammed might be made Mahomet or Bahomet, but not Baphomet. In some Latin historians about the period of the Crusades, Bahomet is certainly used for Mahomet, and in one writer perhaps Baphomet (viz., in the Epistola Anselmi de Ribodimonte ad Manassem Archiepiscopum Remensem, of the year 1099, in Dachery's Spicilegium, tom. 11, p. 431, - "Sequenti die aurorâ apparente altis vocibus Baphomet invocaverunt; et nos Deum nostrum in cordibus nostris deprecantes impetum fecimus in eos, et de muris civitatis omnes expulimus.") Nicolai, supposing that the cry of the Saracens was in this case addressed to their own prophet, concludes that Baphomet is an error of the press for Bahomet, and that this is put for Mahomet. But it is possible that Baphomet may be the true reading; for it may not have been used in devotion for Mahomet, but scoffingly as the known watchword of the Templars. But it contradicts the whole history of the Templars - to suppose that they had introduced into their order the worship of an image of Mahomet. In fact, from all the records of their trial and persecution, it results that no such charge was brought against them by their enemies. And, moreover, Mahometanism itself rejects all worship of images.
    Secondly, not being Mahomet, what was it? It was, says Mr. Nicolai, , i.e., as he interprets it, the word Baphomet meant the baptism of wisdom; and the image so called represented God the universal Father - i.e., expressed the unity of the Divine Being. By using this sign therefore, under this name, which partook much of a Gnostic and Cabbalistic spirit, the Templars indicated their dedication to the truths of natural religion.
    Now, in answer to this learned conceit of Mr. Nicolai's, I would wish to ask him -
    First, in an age so barbarous as that of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, when not to be able to read or write was no disgrace, how came a body of rude warriors like the Templars to descend into the depths of Gnosticism?
    Secondly, if by the image called Baphomet they meant to represent the unity of God, how came they to designate it by a name which expresses no attribute of the deity, but simply a mystical ceremony amongst themselves (viz, the baptism of wisdom)?
    Thirdly, I will put a home question to Mr. Nicolai; and let him parry it if he can: How many heads had Baphomet? His own conscience will reply - Two. Indeed, a whole length of Baphomet is recorded which had also four feet; but, supposing these to be disputed, Mr. Nicolai can never dispute away the two heads. Now, what sort of a symbol would a two-headed image have been for the expression of unity of being? Answer me that, Mr. Nicolai. Surely the rudest skulls of the twelfth century could have expressed their meaning better.
    Having thus upset my learned brother's hypothesis, I now come forward with my own. Through the illumination which some of the Templars gained in the East as to the relations in which they stood to the Pope and Romish church, but still more perhaps from the suggestions of their own great power and wealth opposed to so rapacious and potent a supremacy, there gradually arose a separate Templar interest no less hostile to the Pope and clergy of Rome than to Mahomet. To this separate interest they adapted an appropriate scheme of theology; but neither the one nor the other could be communicated with safety except to their own superior members: and thus it became a mystery of the order. Now this mystery was symbolically expressed by a two-headed figure of Baphomet: i.e., of the Pope and Mahomet together. So long as the Templars continued orthodox, the watchword of their undivided hostility was Mahomet: but as soon as the Pope became an object of jealousy and hatred to them, they devised a new watchword which should covertly express their double-headed enmity by intertwisting the name of the Pope with that of Mahomet.1 This they effected by cutting off the two first letters of Mahomet, and substituting Bap or Pap - the first syllable of Papa. Thus arose the compound word Baphomet; and hence it was that the image of Baphomet was figured with two heads, and was otherwise monstrous in appearance. When a Templar was initiated into the highest degree of the order, he was shown this image of Baphomet, and received a girdle with certain ceremonies which referred to that figure. At sight of this figure in the general chapters of the order, the knights expressed their independence of the church and the church creed, by testifying their abhorrence of the crucifix, and by worshipping the sole God of heaven and earth. Hence they called a newly-initiated member a "friend of God, who could now speak with God if he chose" - i.e., without the intermediation of the Pope and the church. Upon this explanation of Baphomet, it becomes sufficiently plain why the secret was looked upon as so inviolable that even upon the rack it could not be extorted from them. By such a confession the order would have exposed itself to a still more cruel persecution, and a more inevitable destruction. On the other hand, upon Mr. Nicolai's explanation, it is difficult to conceive why, under such extremities, the accused should not have confessed the truth. In all probability the court of Rome had good information of the secret tendency of the Templar doctrines; and hence, no doubt, it was Pope Clement V proceeded so furiously against them.
    Now then I come to my conclusion, which is this: If the Knights Templars had no other secret than one relating to a political interest which placed them in opposition to the Pope and the claims of the Roman Catholic clergy on the one hand, and to Mahomet on the other - then it is impossible that there can have been any affinity or resemblance whatsoever between them and the Freemasons; for the Freemasons have never in any age troubled themselves about either Mahomet or the Pope. Popery2 and Mahometanism are alike indifferent to the Freemasons, and always have been. And in general the object of the Freemasons is not political. Finally, it is in the highest degree probable that the secret of the Knights Templars perished with their order: for it is making too heavy a demand on our credulity - to suppose that a secret society never once coming within the light of history can have propagated itself through a period of four centuries - i.e., from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century, in which century it had been shown that Freemasonry first arose.

1. Those who are acquainted with the German Protestant writers about the epoch of
    the Reformation, will remember the many fanciful combinations extracted
    from the names Pabst (Pope) and Mahomet by all manner of dislocations and
    inversions of their component letters.
2. In rejecting Roman Catholic candidates for admission into their order -- the reader
    must remember that the Freemasons objected to them not as Roman Catholics,
    but as persons of intolerant principles. -- Translator.

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Primary Sources

   Libers, Gall in Gaul, and loss:
   Continuing our publication of Grady McMurtry's correspondence with Aleister Crowley, here are letters from Grady in the first quarter of '45 e.v. These run from a brief comment on receiving OTO degree instructional Libri, through forcing an interview, to annotation of the death of a Soror -- with note of an enclosed poem on the end. Along the way, Jack Parsons and W.T.Smith are discussed. Kenneth Grant and Frieda Harris have mention.

    We begin with Grady back in France.

1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149. U.S. Army
17 January 1945

Dear A. C.,

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

The Liber De Natura Deorum came in today in good condition. Am anxiously awaiting De Arte Magica.

By the heading you will note that I am in France now. One of the reasons why I haven't written sooner. Practically impossible to get any work done so far - moving around can disrupt one's activities for days on end. Then again the locale, area or living facilities into which one moves may not be so comfortable or inductive to writing as one has become accustomed to. And of course one's primary mission of winning the war always has priority number one on time available.

I don't suppose you have moved as yet. Or have you? Saw Frieda before leaving London. She said she was coming out to see you that week so perhaps she mentioned the visit. Last time I was able to visit my friends in Brussels I obtained the name of a prominent music director in Paris to whom, should I be lucky enough to visit the French capital in the near future, I shall certainly present La Gauloise - if I can find him. No hope of having Liber Aleph typed off in the near future I don't suppose. In the meantime am hanging on to Karl's copy - for which he won't love me. Speaking of whom - on my return I found a Christmas package from Sascha Andre, and Karl too I presume though his name wasn't mentioned in the return address. It contained candy, cake and razor blades - items always welcome over here. Have you heard from Kenneth Grant recently? Haven't had time to write to either him or Louie the 1st although I hope to soon. Which reminds me that I haven't written to Jack either which I promised you I would do immediately. Having nothing more to discuss at the moment think I will knock off and write to Jack now.

          Love is the law, love under will.
          {Note in handwriting illegible}


1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149. % PM, NY, NY
3 Feb. 1945

Dear A.C.,

Sending along 1000 Francs this month (equivalent to $20 or 5 pounds) to your new address. I was very painstaking in pointing out that it was Mr and not Mrs or Miss. Trust you will have no trouble this time. Thanks for the receipt - I must get busy totalling up my credit slips. With two jobs on my hands at the same time I've hardly had time to turn around except on business.

Letter from Jack dated the 14th of Dec. He gave me an idea of their program and I must say it sounds constructive enough. He didn't mention Smith but seemed to think that Regina could be induced to come back and help out with the work. She would be a great asset to him in many ways - taking care of classes, coaching new members or old in the proper way to perform the Mass, etc. Seems he has sold out the one business and gone into another - I suspect that one reason was to put him back on his feet financially. But then he will probably need considerable capital to get his new interprises {sic} going - he seems to be supporting the entire lodge out there out of his own pocket.

I have news of La Gauloise but I can not guarantee its importance. By cunning and bad manners I practically forced my way into the presence of Charles Münch, Chef d'Orchestre of a Symphony in Paris, and presented the manuscript. or score, or whatever it is. Anyway - seems Mr. Münch has his telephone listed privately to keep away the thundering herd - so I couldn't call him up, and when by shear luck I secured his address and tracked him to his lair no one would answer the front doorbell of any of four apartments - all at the same address. So I wondered my way up the back stairs - it said "Service" and I'm a serviceman - and by pounding hither and pounding yon I finally located the apartment. Then all I had to do was get by an assortment of menials intent upon keeping common trash away from His Majesty. After a lot of obstinate "No compree's" was finally ushered into The Presence and found a quite amiable chap - as quite often happens in such cases. One glance at the score and he was profuse with his tres bons but was puzzled as to what I wanted him to do with it. After explaining same he promised to quote recommend unquote the song to certain people interested in popular music and having access to the airways. He gave me a shot of excellent cognac before I left and took my address there the matter stands. So far I've heard nothing spectacular.


1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149. U.S. Army
12 Feb. 1945

Dear Aleister,

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

Two of your letters came in today, one dated 31 Jan & the other 7 Feb. so that I received news of your predicament on being struck at the same time with the news of its solution. Glad you like your new surroundings - just how would reach them from London should I be so lucky as to return to the UK on a visit? I sent a 1000 francs this month, which you should have received by this time, and hope to double it in the 1st of next.

Received a letter from Kenneth Grant the other day which I have answered. Do hope you can succeed in getting him out there to help you - he would be of invaluable service. In Jack's last letter he referred hopefully to the "50 Letters", as he called them, and wondered if there was any chance of his receiving some in the near future. I suppose he mentioned this to you as I note that you have also received the information that he has purchased the place at 1003. The candy hasn't arrived as yet but will be expecting it - the mail service has been very poor ever since the Christmas rush.

I say, old bean, I have what I consider a most delightful book of fantasy which you might enjoy flipping through. It is a collection of caricatures by William Steig called "The Lonely Ones". I find it extremely amusing to connect the satire with friends or acquaintances - for instance the one entitled "Very few understand my works" reminds me of Jack, "Whoever wants the answer must come to me" reminds me of you as I once thought of you, "I am at one with the universe" reminds me to take a second look at myself, and "Meditation will reveal all secrets" reminds me of Germer, for some reason. Then we have all known people like those captioned "People are no damn good!", "Mother loved me but she died", and the out-of-this-world expression that says "I can't express it". I think that you will find it amusing so will bundle it with a companion book - potboiler by the same pen, unfortunately - and try to get it off tomorrow.

Love is the law, love under will.

            Yours ever,

1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149. U.S. Army
6 March 1945

Dear Aleister,

Found your of 21 Feb. waiting for me when I came in last night - and must admit that I am a very puzzled little boy. Who is the failure - groping on all four for crumbs - Smith or Jack? With your reference to 132 it must be Smith - and if so them I am even more puzzled because I have never expressed the opinion that his experiment would be a failure. In fact I was rather depending on him to carry it off. I think that the mix-up must be that you are confusing my statement that "I do not think that Jack will succeed with his present plan" with Smith. Apparently there is some news from California that I have not received as yet. I note then perhaps it would be best if you explained it slowly and carefully. This brings to mind that it is quite possible that I was guilty of ambiguity in my remark concerning Jacks' success. I was thinking in terms of a mass formation along Thelemic lines, and it is quite possible that Jack is more interested in building a small, but very solid, group. Which is, with the facilities he has at hand, a very practical viewpoint. A slight conflict of theory, as applied to future possibilities, and practice, as applied to present circumstance.

Will attempt to procure the stamps next time I visit Luxembourg. Were the ones I sent of any use? Hardly likely. If the recipients are earnest stamp collectors they probably already have them.

Yours of 28 Feb. came in today. Trust you are well again by now. That is always a nasty business. Will have to drop in on Münch the next time I am around that way and see if he has been able to do anything with the song. I have a cheap pen in my junk some place that I have been keeping in anticipation of that inevitable day when I will lose my Parker 51 - shall I sent it along? Got ten pound off to you this month as of the 1st. How long does it take them to come through? Some time, I should think. Sorry to hear of Regina's death, I had no idea that her condition was so critical. Sending along my latest dabble.

Yours ever,

{note of enclosed poem}To my Fallen Comrades

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for October 2001 e.v.

10/1/01The Rite of Luna at Metaversal
Lightcraft in Berkeley 8:PM
(510) 639-0783
10/2/01Lesser feast of Jack Parsons
(feast and reading) 8PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
10/7/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
10/12/01Lesser feast of Aleister Crowley(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
(feast and reading) 8PM at Cheth House
10/14/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
10/16/01New Moon in Libra 12/23 PM
10/18/01Lesser feast of Grady McMurtry(510) 527-2855Sirius Camp
(feast and reading) 8PM at Sirius Camp
10/20/01OTO Initiations, call to attend(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
10/21/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
10/22/01Section II reading group with(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
Caitlin: Matthew Lewis's "The Monk"
8PM in the library
10/23/01Sol enters Scorpio 1:26 AM
10/24/01Magical Forum with Paul. Book of(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
Thoth study group. 8PM Library
10/28/01Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
10/31/01Blue Moon full in Taurus 9:41 PM

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

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

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

Internet: (Submissions and internet circulation only)

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