Thelema Lodge Calendar for November 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for November 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

November 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Fais ce que veulx

    "Do what thou wilt," the Law of Thelema, was formulated in the early sixteenth century of the past aeon as the rule for an ideal religious community of men and women dedicated to fellowship, scholarship, and enjoyment. Saint François Rabelais looked far beyond the mean, confining religious culture of his own age to a time when all could claim the freedom to discover and accomplish their own true wills for themselves, each essentially on an individual basis but working also in concert with others in free and voluntary associations. Our lodge continues in this tradition, inviting participation by all whose will it is to work along with us.
    Thelema Lodge offers a celebration of Aleister Crowley's gnostic mass every Sunday evening, with communicants requested to arrive by 7:30 at Horus Temple to participate. This month will see the 418th consecutive Sunday night mass in the present location of our temple, in the Rockridge neighborhood of Oakland. Gathering as Ecclesia
The Abbey of Thelema, as conceived by Charles Lenormant in his Rabelais et l'architecture de la Renaissance: Restitution de l'Abbaye de Thélème (Paris: 1840), reprinted in French Utopias: An Anthology of Ideal Societies, edited by Frank Manuel & Fritzie Manuel for the series Studies in the Libertarian and Utopian Traditions (New York: 1966, 1971).
Gnostica Catholica in the lodge library, members and friends await the deacon's call which will admit them as "the People" into the Sanctuary of the Gnosis for the Service of the Great Order. Newcomers are invited to take communion with us, and should call the lodge well ahead of time for information and directions. The gnostic mass is a Thelemic eucharist ritual where two elements (cookies and wine) are charged as a talisman by two celebrants (priest and priestess), along with a deacon to assist in sharing the sacrament with all comers.
    Participants in the community of the temple take turns serving the lodge in these clerical roles, and all who attend are encouraged to learn the mass and support it. To serve as a novice in the mass, begin by consulting privately with any previous celebrant here whose performance you have admired, and discuss the various roles. Teams of officers, once they have learned the ritual well together by working in private, may request a date on the temple calendar for a mass at the lodge. Ordination for expert clergy is available in consultation with our gnostic bishops, but in this temple such recognition is viewed as a purely personal achievement, carrying no special authority among all the other priestesses and priests (practiced or potential) who make up our community. Horus Temple, even back twenty-four years ago when it was being newly revived with no established community and was sometimes known as "Grady's amateur hour," has always worked on the Thelemic (or "volunteer") principle. In the fraternal structure of O.T.O. we function by formal hierarchical authority within a civil corporation, but before the sanctuary of the gnosis authority can only come from within.
    Lodge members also share their ritual and study pursuits by offering readings, workings, and classes for the community, either by request or in hopes of interesting wider participation. To attend such an event, speak ahead of time with one of the lodge officers, or with the person listed as the facilitator of the undertaking. Ideas for lodge events are best discussed among the membership, and gradually encouraged forward as they gather momentum. For all scheduling questions the lodgemaster is to be consulted. Before proposing an event for the lodge calendar, have a good idea of who is likely to attend and what sort of time-slot will best accommodate them.


    Under charter from the US Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis, an oasis is maintained at Thelema Lodge for O.T.O. initiation through the Man of Earth grade. This month initiations will be conducted on Saturday 17th November, with all who attend required to speak ahead of time with the lodge officers in order to learn the time and place, and the degree to be worked. The event will conclude in a feast for all, so we also need to let the cook know how many will be in attendance. O.T.O. initiates should continue to study and support the work of each of the degrees to which they have attained, and to participate in the admission of new members to these secret communities. In most cases, applicants for advancement will be expected to have witnessed the ritual of their last degree several times since their own initiation, and should delay further progress until they can do so. Sponsors will want to make a special effort to attend the initiations of their candidates, and should keep in touch with the lodgemaster as the rituals are planned. (Those who are careless of the progress of a candidate though the initiation should not sign as sponsors, and upon repetition of such carelessness will be considered unfit to sign.) Initiation usually takes about two months to schedule, and all candidates must maintain good contact with the lodge during this interim. On the day of the ritual, annual membership dues are collected from the candidate to be sent on to the treasury of the Order, and an additional fee is collected on behalf of the lodge treasury. No advance payment of these dues or fees will be accepted here. Magically, financially, and fraternally, O.T.O. initiation involves a profound and durable commitment, so that candidates should aspire no further than the preliminary Minerval degree so long as they feel any sense of uncertainty about their membership in the Order.

Season of the Witch

The rain comes wearily down, not chasing the dryness, but soddening the streets.
The rain of autumn, not the rain of spring!
So is it in this soul, Lord Adonai. The thought of Thee is heavy and uneasy, flabby and loose, like an old fat woman stupid-drunk in her slum; which was as a young maiden in a field of lilies, arrow-straight, sun-strong, moon-pure, a form all litheness and eagerness, dancing, dancing for her own excess of life.
Adonai! Adonai!

                                             ---Liber DCCCLX, John St John

    The scorpion feast of Samhain will be celebrated by Thelema Lodge at Cheth House on Tuesday evening 6th November from 7:00 until 11:00. The midpoint of autumn when Sol passes fifteen degrees of Scorpio will occur at about 7:35 during the ritual, and afterwards we will feast and salute the season. Bring contributions of food and drink for the table, and if you don't know the way to wind through the Berkeley hills to Cheth House call well ahead to Michael and Kat at (510) 525-0666 for directions.

The Vision and the Voice

    As of old around Thelema Lodge The Vision and the Voice is our text for the autumn, and on the anniversaries of these visionary workings we will once again be reading their transcripts as given in Liber 418. Leigh Ann will be our conductor for this year's tour of the aethyrs, and she is the one to speak with ahead of time about attendance and participation in the readings. The object is to construct a visionary series as an analogue to the universe, in the form of thirty concentric spheres of ascent, through which the text provides a key to the magic of initiatory progress. If it all sounds like some great video game, it also corresponds with the pattern of the divine as it manifests in the ancient diagrammatic mythos of the gnostic mystery schools which flourished an aeon ago, and it outlines the cosmic data obtained by John Dee and Edward Kelly in their workings of Enoch more recently.
    The visions of the thirty aires (except for the first two) date from 1909 e.v. when they were recorded by Aleister Crowley and Victor Neuburg on holiday in the Sahara desert. So far as can be made feasible, the original sequence of the visions will be duplicated in our readings, following the times as recorded in the original diary which the participants kept throughout the series. Where the recorded hours are likely to be inconvenient for modern auditors, the schedule will nevertheless be observed, and in many cases those readings will be repeated at an easier time the following evening. Come hear as many of the thirty aires as you can, or just make time for a few of your favorites, or stop in to listen to whatever ones happen to be going on; listeners are always welcome. Leigh Ann's schedule for readings this month is as follows:

TEX(30)Wednesday 14th November at NOX House, 8:00 PM
RII(29)Saturday 17th November (out of town), 2:00 PM
repeated Sunday 18th November in Horus Temple, 6:30 PM
BAG(28)Friday 23rd November at Ashby House, 8:00 PM
ZAA(27)Saturday 24th November at NOX House, 8:00 PM
DES(26)Sunday 25th November at NOX House, 1:10 PM
repeated in Horus Temple, 6:30 PM
VTI(25)Sunday 25th November in Horus Temple, 6:45 PM
NIA(24)Monday 26th November at Ashby House, 2:00 PM
repeated at NOX House, 9:30 PM
TOR(23)Wednesday 28th November at Ashby House, 9:30 AM
repeated at NOX House, 9:30 PM
LIN(22)Wednesday 28th November at Ashby House, 4:00 PM
repeated at NOX House, 9:45 PM
ASP(21)Thursday 29th November at Ashby House, 1:30 PM
repeated at NOX House, 8:00 PM
KHR(20)Friday 30th November at Ashby House, 9:15 AM
repeated at NOX House, 9:00 PM
POP(19)Friday 30th November at NOX House, 10:00 PM

For additional information or directions to any of these locations, call her at Ashby House (510) 849-1970, send e-mail to her at or call NOX House in Oakland at (510) 534-5739. In an operation of this complexity it will be necessary for participants to keep in touch in case of practical alterations to the schedule. Since few will be able to attend every one of the readings, please check in by phone or e-mail whenever, after missing more than a couple of the dates, you have an opportunity of returning to the project. Enochian visions are not for the faint at heart or for the slack of mind, and just as we will work together in the visionary discipline of the spheres, we will also be counting on each other to gather ready and comfortable for each reading to begin at the exact moment of the schedule. Particularly in the case of the first reading of each aire, the hour listed is not an arrival time, nor an estimate for getting underway, but the firmly set instant at which the opening syllable will be delivered. If (as the poet says) you cannot conquer time, at least "let not time deceive you," and arrive a little ahead to be ready.

Faictz ce que vouldras

    In a return to the core curriculum of the original A A bibliography, our Section Two reading group meets this month in appreciation of the gnostic saint and Thelemic forerunner François Rabelais. His five encyclopedic books of scholastic, social and religious satire were written in the 1530s and '40s, negotiating the complex politics between various secular and ecclesiastical authorities in France. Stringing together his endless sequence of anecdotes are the characters of Gargantua, Pantagruel, and Panurge, whom we follow at their oversized adventures in a leisurely romance fashion, amid a great deal of drinking and destruction, throughout the messy, desperate world of Renaissance France. The works of Rabelais will be our subject for reading and discussion on Monday evening 26th November in the lodge library, beginning (a little early this month) at 7:30 with Caitlin. Bring any of the multitude of translations which you may have been using (the old French original being extraordinarily difficult), and we will compare their virtues in pursuit of this enjoyable, extensive, and problematic text.
    Nothing is known of his childhood, but Rabelais lived to be about sixty years old at his death in 1553. His education and early vocation was molded within two of the great orders of religion, first the Franciscan and afterwards the Benedictine, which he left to practice as a physician before pursuing his mature career as a writer, courtier, and humanist. Over the last two decades of his life Rabelais published a miscellany of narratives, commentary, and catalogues in which he satirized the excesses of his age. Its multiple volumes addressed a vast range of concerns, and were not collected into a single book until the posthumous edition of 1567. When his first great satiric adventure of Pantagruel appeared in 1532 it was formally condemned as obscene and sacrilegious by a committee of theologians at the Sorbonne. Then, following it up in 1534 with another rambunctious ramble entitled Gargantua (a "prequel" to the earlier book, which it precedes in collected editions), Rabelais again had to run for cover to his powerful ecclesiastical and royal patrons in order to avoid the heat. In fact, each of his subsequent volumes stirred up enormous trouble, and there is evidence that he spent time in prison toward the end of his life, although before long strings were pulled to get him out.
    With his huge range of interests Rabelais was one of the great minds of the Renaissance, and in the Abbey of Thelema he looked forward into our own new aeon with a vision of cultivated equality and integrated scholarship, constituted under the sole rule of "Do what thou wilt." "Rabelais was a great adept, a sort of prophet of Thelema," Crowley wrote late in 1926 e.v. to preface his essay on "The Antecedents of Thelema," in which he credits "the sublime Doctor" for setting forth "in essence the Law of Thelema, very much as it is understood by the Master Therion himself." Earlier Crowley had afforded Rabelais pride of place at the conclusion to the magical education of his "son" Frater Achad as outlined in Liber Aleph, where the final enigmatic lesson concerns Panurge's oracle of the bottle and its supremely magical password, "Trinc".

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Bummer Trumps

    Among the more problematic of the Atus in Tarot are this month's subjects for the Book of Thoth study group, meeting with Paul in the lodge library on Wednesday evening 28th November at 7:30. (Please arrive half an hour earlier than our regular time for this meeting, so that those participants who are following the readings from The Vision and the Voice will have a chance to hear TOR and LIN at NOX House afterwards.) The Hanged Man (XII) and Death (XIII) may not be quite so sinister as their titles imply, but both are especially complex symbols for which Crowley provides multi-layered commentary. The baptismal "death" of initiation depicted in the Hanged Man trump figures a kind of marriage which may be mistaken for sacrifice, although from a Thelemic perspective as the "annihilation of the self in the Belovèd" it implies "the condition of progress." Nevertheless with its illusionary suggestions of "an evil legacy from the old Aeon," it is "the card of the Dying God." Likewise the Death (or putrefaction) trump seems to invite unenlightened misinterpretation. In "the corruption of the Tradition" as "misunderstood, deformed, and distorted by the Black Lodge" the natural meaning of this card is turned "into a senile and fiendish symbol." By tracing within its imagery an ascending trinity of the scorpion, the serpent, and the eagle, however, Crowley demonstrates its erotic energy, showing Death as "the completion of the card called Lust" in the mystery of conception. This card, despite all the fish jokes connected to it, conceals "a compendium of universal energy in its most secret form."

Crowley Classics

   This month's third installment concludes our story, originally published in The International (New York: April 1918), and serialized here in our newsletter over the autumn.

The Old Man of the Peepul-Tree

by Aleister Crowley
(under the pseudonym of James Grahame)


    In the matter of the seven thousand dollar motorcar Sieglinda, although German by birth, had taken French leave. Without asking the proprietor, she had ordered it to be at the door; it was the last day. "Pretty mean, I think," she said, as they drove up town. "I do him a house like that, and all I get is a measly eight hundred and fifty-six dollars. I know now that I could have got a commission on everything I bought." "I'm glad you didn't," said her brother; "I never liked tradesman's ways, and I never will."
    When they were dressed for dinner they drove to the McAlpin, told the chauffeur to call for them at the Opera at eleven, and after one more Banquet of Jupiter, walked up through the snow to the Metropolitan. The wine and the music made them mad; starved of every pleasure as they had been for months, the lure of the old life took hold of them, and they abandoned themselves wildly to the intoxication of the moment. The future? Bah!
    Sieglinda had stuck at nothing in her daring; she had borrowed her rich man's box. Siegmund noticed that she had bowed very sweetly to a dapper little gentleman opposite, before the curtain rose, and he would probably have asked a question, had not the first bars of the overture rapt him away into the world of that other Siegmund and Sieglinda after whom he and his sister had been called.
    Just as the last curtain fell, the door of the box opened, and the little gentleman walked in. "Mr Damff; this is Graf von Eichen." They shook hands, exchanged a few general remarks; the trio went off to Noel's, where Sieglinda, determined to get the last minute out of her Day of Fairyland, ordered a splendid supper. But even as the clams arrived the day was spoilt for Siegmund. The band struck up. "O God!" he cried, rising from his seat, "there's that nightmare again!" "I can understand," said Mr Damff, smiling, "that it must get a good deal on your nerves. Every rose has its thorn." "I don't see any rose about it," snapped Siegmund. Mr Damff was embarrassed. "I'm sorry," he said, turning deferentially to Sieglinda. "I seem to have said the wrong thing. But I certainly understood from you ----" Sieglinda interrupted him. "The boy doesn't know," said she; "I'll break it to him gently. It's degrading and horrible, I know, dear," she went on, putting a slim hand on her brother's, "but the fact is that you're my rich man. That house is yours; it all came out of the profits of that song you threw on the floor eight months ago!"
    "Good God, Sieglinda!" cried the boy, "you sold that muck! I'll never look myself in the face again. But --" he caught his breath. "That was a tune you hummed; I thought you had picked it up on Broadway!"
    "And I didn't know I was humming it! Ach, du lieber Gott!" she cried, lapsing into German, as a great light broke in upon her, "so that was what the wind said to the Old Man of the Peepul-Tree!"
    Of course her hearers did not understand her. Over yet another bottle of champagne -- Sieglinda had now drunk merely six during the day -- she told the story of her picnic in the park. "So," she concluded, "while I slept the wind spoke with the old man, and they put the song into my brain, and I got the habit of humming it -- and oh! Siegmund darling, you're rich, and we'll never have any more trouble in the world again!"
    "If your conscience troubles you," said Mr Damff, "about the quality of the music you are inflicting on humanity, let me reassure you. The Gräfin did not mention it, but I have the honor to be a director of the Metropolitan Opera House, and the purpose of our meeting tonight was that I might tell you that we have decided to produce your Heine's Tod, and to discuss the preliminaries. I hope you will allow me to order another magnum of this very delightful champagne."
    It was ordered; but the error was fatal; from that moment the proceedings became so far from lucid as to baffle the historian. Presently, however, Damü rose (as best he could) and took his leave. The twins insisted on driving him home to his apartment on Riverside Drive. When they had said good night for the twentieth time, always with increasing etiquette, the champagne continued its conversation; it was impossible, absurd, and immoral to go home; there was only one thing to be done, and that was to do what politeness urged, to pay a visit of thanks to the Old Man of the Peepul--Tree.
    The blizzard of the earlier day had died down to utter stillness; the full moon westering slowly, the twins huddled together in the automobile, babbling a thousand phrases of delight over and over. When they came to the Park, they thought it better to walk; Sieglinda knew the way. So they left the chauffeur, and ran hand in hand over the snow, the champagne and the success fighting in their young blood for mastery in the sublime art of being mad. Soon they came to the stream, its current frozen, its banks aflower with wind-- blown blossoms of snow. They came to the Peepul--Tree. "Oh you dear darling Uncle Tree," shouted Sieglinda, "how happy you have made us! And I've brought your nephew to see you!" She clasped the trunk, and kissed it madly in sheer delirium of pleasure. Siegmund followed her example, and broke into a flood of song from his last opera.
    At that moment they realized that they were very drunk. Sieglinda slid to the snow, swooning; her brother bent above her to revive her. He must have lost his senses at the same moment; for what followed is neither reasonable nor natural. They could both hear (or so they always swear) the chuckling of the sacred tree.
    Bye--and--bye the chuckling became articulate. "Very pretty and very thoughtful of you!" said the little cracked old voice; "this has been a very pleasant visit; I haven't enjoyed myself so much for years. Still, it's very cold for humans; I think you'd better be running off to the car. But come and see me often. Goodbye, my dear children, for the present; and remember, Sieglinda, your first son must be called Gautama as well as Siegfried, in honor of the man who attained emancipation under the boughs of my great--grand-- father." So they must have been unwise in the matter of champagne; for the most garrulous old trees never talk like that to people who are sober.
    Sieglinda was indeed what philosophers have called "suspiciously sober" when they reached the car; her "Back to 63rd Street!" was portentiously precise.
    But they never forgot the peepul--tree; and they planted shoots from him in the courtyard of the old Schloss, which they bought back from the new--comers on the proceeds of Siegmund's first opera, so that the Oak of the von Eichens might have worthy company. It is, however, a shocking circumstance that the younger generations of the peepul--tree, like those of the great apes, have a deplorable tendency to small talk, and even to scandal.

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from the Grady Project:

   Originally published by Thelema Lodge in The Magickal Link, 1:12 & 2:1 (December 1981 & January 1982) in Grady's regular front-page column "From the Caliph," these two sections complete the four-part essay begun here in last month's issue.

The Four Rivers of Paradise

by Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha X°

part three

    Okay, Genesis 2, part three. The Four Rivers of Paradise.
    So this guy had invented his own Tarot. And that is okay. After all how many times during that fantastic year of 1969--1970 e.v. did I say to anyone who would listen, "When we get this Tarot deck published, it will cause a whole new psychic vibration in the Universe"? And this is exactly what happened, and that is good. Unfortunately something else happened which is not good. Because this guy's old lady came over to me when I was reading Tarot cards at Ren. Faire (I drop back on the Waite or Rider deck on occasion just for variety. If anybody can find a set of the Manley P. Hall deck, for God's sake forward it to me -- I lost mine.) and laid out a spread. It was rather interesting. After all, every Tarot reader has their own way of reading the psychic mirrors we call Tarot. But then she started to explain to me how she was going to change the cards around on the Tree of Life. Unfortunately, that is verboten. For a very simple reason. Those twenty--two cards, the twenty--two Major Arcana, happen to represent various aspects of your psychic body. For example, Binah happens to be the pituitary gland in the back of your head. Sometime I must explain to you why Pisces is represented by a double moon that represents the back of your cranial cavity. Or why the Hierophant, the Taurus card, goes from Chokmah (your Agna chakra) to Chesed.
    But Aleister Crowley says it better. Note 1, page 7, Magick in Theory and Practice (the original), he says:

One who ought to have known better [Frater Achad] tried to improve the Tree of Life by turning the Serpent of Wisdom upside down! Yet he could not make his scheme symmetrical: his little remaining good sense revolted at the supreme atrocities. Yet he succeeded in reducing the whole Magical Alphabet to nonsense, and shewing that he had never understood its real meaning.

    The absurdity of any such disturbance of the Paths is evident to any sober student from such examples as the following: Binah, the Supernal Understanding, is connected with Tiphereth, the Human Consciousness, by Zain, Gemini, the Oracles of the Gods, or the Intuition. That is, the attribution represents a psychological fact: to replace it by the Devil is either humor or plain idiocy. Again, the "Fortitude," Leo, balances Majesty and Mercy with Strength and Severity. What sense is there in putting "Death," the Scorpion, in its stead?
    If you see what I mean.

part four

    So, Genesis 2, part four. The Four Rivers of Paradise and why each Tarot card represents a mirror of your psychic body. In the Egyptian pyramid mysteries, there were twenty--two Pylons (a Pylon is a gate), the twenty--second of which was invisible. That is what we would call The Fool. Twenty--two Pylons, twenty--two Major Atu of Thoth in the Tarot. If you could not find the Invisible One, you were obviously not an initiate. You were also dead. But I will explain that some other time. In the Orient, that is what is called a joke.
    But what is not a joke is the Kabbalah Denudata. Personally I use the Mathers edition (London: 1951). On plate viii, facing page 41, there are two hexagrams. The upper is ARIK ANPIN (or Macroprosopus, if you prefer), and the lower is ZAUIR ANPIN (you, Microprosopus).
    Now, the doctrine is this. There is a Cosmic Psychic Body, what you might call "God," Macroprosopus; us, before we took our incarnation. And then there is you, Microprosopus, the individual, male or female as the case may be. And since your small psychic body is but a reflection of that Vast Countenance, obviously it must change as that body changes. This is the key to the Precession of the Equinoxes. The Cosmic Psychic Body changes one aspect every 2000 years, which is reflected in what we call Tarot. In this aeon, it is the transfer of the Aries card with the Aquarius card. If this is not true, then the Book of the Law is wrong, and Thelema is a lie.
    But it is impossible for the Book of the Law to be wrong: for it is written (AL III:19) "That stélé they call the Abomination of Desolation . . ." -- and where have we heard that before? Try your Book of Daniel or the Apocalypse of St John. Which brings us to the question as to whether the Book of the Law happens to be the Seven Thunders of Revelation. Revelation 10:

Then I saw another strong angel descend from heaven; he was clad in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, his face like the sun, his limbs like columns of fire, and a small scroll open in his hand. He set his right foot on the sea, his left upon the earth [note Temperance card, Waite deck] and shouted like a lion roaring: and at his shout seven thunders gave voice. After the seven thunders had spoken, I was going to write it down; but I heard a voice from heaven saying "Seal up what the seven thunders said, do not write it."
Which makes us about the middle of the Apocalypse when the appalling abomination will be set up in the temple. And when is that? Daniel 10:14, "So I asked, 'O my lord, what is to be the last phase before the end?'" When the "appalling abomination had been set up." If you were a pious Jew with the gift of prophecy in the Babylonian captivity and looked down to the end of Time and saw the Stélé of Revealing of a Prince of Egypt exalted on the High Altar of the Holy of Hollies, as we do every time we enter the Temple, you would freak out. So did Daniel.
    Anyone else want to know if I read the Bible? Crowley memorized it.
---------- H.A. 777

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from the Library Shelf

    This little biographical article originally appeared in Vanity Fair (New York: June 1915), on page 43. It is obviously based upon an interview with its subject, who had only just begun publishing in New York at the time and was hardly known in this country. Most of his journalistic output in that year consisted of a series of oddly unbalanced magazine articles which seemed to support the German cause against England during the Great War. Previous to the present account, only one such article had appeared. Entitled "Honesty is the Best Policy," it was published in January 1915 in Viereck's weekly magazine The Fatherland, and also appeared in a German translation. It is unlike his later pro--German articles in that it clearly identifies its author as "Mr Aleister Crowley, the famous English poet" with no mention at all of any claim to Irish nationality. In the summer of 1915 e.v., before participating any further in Viereck's propaganda campaign, Crowley conducted a small campaign of his own in the media in order to establish his "true" nationality as Irish. (The claim was more or less a fiction; although he had never been to Ireland, he recalled from his father a family tradition that the Crowleys were in some sense Celtic.) The present article was perhaps the opening of his Irish campaign, and also apparently Crowley's first contact with the New York magazine Vanity Fair, to which he shortly afterwards began selling articles, reviews, and literary translations. A few weeks later he mounted a classic "publicity stunt" in New York harbor, taking a party of newspaper men out near the Statue of Liberty in a hired boat, where he gave a speech declaring Irish independence and then tore up some paper (said to be his British passport) and threw it out into the water before anyone got a good look. Afterwards he took the reporters out to a good breakfast and gave them copies of his speech. Incredibly, he seems to have been taken completely at his word, and received a long write--up in the New York Times, which not only printed his entire speech, but a few days later ran a letter signed "Alex C. Crowley" explaining how the "true flag of Ireland is a red sunblaze on a green ground." Immediately afterwards he began the series of "German" articles, which were not limited to Viereck's publications but also appeared in several other journals. In these articles he was now "the famous Irish poet" and consistently claimed to be an Irishman. Once the United States entered the war on Britain's side (more than two years later), Crowley just as quickly dropped the Irish guise, and never again seriously pretended to be anything other than an Englishman. (The reputation assumed during his career as a propagandist continued to haunt him long after his death, and one still runs across unconnected references to Crowley as an Irish mountaineer, or an Irish poet.)

Aleister Crowley:
Mystic and Mountain Climber

by Arthur Loring Bruce

    All the Britons who are not fighting in the Great War seem to be coming to New York this year. One of the most extraordinary of our recent British visitors is Aleister Crowley, who is a poet, an explorer, a mountain climber, an "adept" in mysticism and magic, and an esoteric philosopher; in short a person of so many sides and interests that it is not wonder a legend has been built up around his name. He is a myth. No other man has had so many strange tales told of him.
    He is an Irishman, and was educated at Malvern and Trinity College, Cambridge, as a preparation for the highly respectable and sedate Diplomatic Service. But such a mission was not to his taste. He soon found that he had no liking for the beaten tracks in life. So he became an "adept," a mystic, a wanderer on the face of the earth.
    He has published more volumes of poetry than he has lived years, and has climbed more mountains than he has lived months.
    The Equinox, his work on occultism, is only a part of the gigantic literary structure which he has built up in the past five years, yet the work contains the stupendous number of two and a half million words.
    Mr Crowley has a habit of disappearing suddenly from Paris, only to bob up again in Zapotlan, Tali Fu, Askole, Hambantota, or Ouled Djellal. To him a long journey is an achievement, a satisfying thing in itself, like the "hidden knowledge" which he is forever in search of. In 1900 he explored Mexico without guides. Two years later he spent three months in India at an altitude of 20,000 feet. In 1906 he crossed China on foot. The success of his magic-- drama, The Rites of Eleusis in 1910, in London, did not tempt him to settle down there for long as he was next heard of in the heart of the Sahara.
    As a naked Yogi he has sat for days under the Indian sun, begging his rice. Like every true magician he has experimented with hundreds of strange poisons in order to discover the Elixir of Life and the Elixir of Vision. He has devoted much time to the art of materializing divine influences, which he does by the aid of secret incenses; of invocations; and of rituals inherited from the Gnostics and Rosicrucians. He once masqueraded through a Cairo season as a mysterious Persian prince. He shocked the orthodox by his book The Sword of Song -- which was virtually an attack upon everything established -- but soon compelled them to forgive him because of the religious fervor of his next volume -- a book of devotional hymns. He holds -- like all good mystics -- that "All thought, or speech, is false: Truth lies in divine ecstasy beyond them."
    He lives in Paris when not on his travels. One of his friends is Augustus John, the painter, one of whose beautiful sketches of Mr Crowley we are privileged to print.

From a sketch by Augustus John

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Primary Sources

   Into the Heart of Darkest Germany:
   Three letters from Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley in 1945 e.v. These discuss poetry, economics, W.T. Smith at Agape Lodge, funds contributed and Kenneth Grant. During this time Grady was posted from France to Germany.

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

Dear Aleister,

Yours of the 8th March came in today and just in time too as I have finally finished rewriting and re--re--revising my Dynamics of Equilibrium. Was intending to get it off to you tonight anyway. Taking your criticism of "but what does it mean" to heart I have rewritten entire sections of it -- leaving off everything I possibly could that might tend to confuse the issue. In addition I have added a general outline in front that should be helpful in orienting yourself if some passage is obscure and you want to know what its relationship is to the subject as a whole -- and also added a sheet "Some Notes on Energy" to the back so that many terms you may not be familiar with should now be explained. That "Ab origine ad finem" I took from my notes on Latin phrases which I copied from that book you loaned me. It seemed appropriate considering the range of the subject. I'm not too sure that that quotation from my "Pangenetor!" exactly fits -- what do you think? This should clear up that misunderstanding we had some time back when I wrote to you something like "for the next few years I may not have time for your work". You interpreted that as meaning that I thought Magick was your work -- and replied to the effect that Magick was an individual's work. Perfectly right -- only that was not what I had been speaking of. Just as I have pointed out in D of E that even tho the opposition has been removed the work of building remains to be done -- just so even tho the state of economics on the North American continent may be as a ripe fruit waiting to be plucked it still has to be plucked. That 90% industrial shutdown must not be allowed to occur because if it does there will be no way to start again. The poor old system will have had so many shots in the arm that there will finally come a time when the adrenaline of government credit will fail to rouse the corpse. To avoid chaos there must be a peaceful transition from an Economy of Scarcity to the Economy of Abundance -- that means a lot of work. Campaigning, education, pamphleteering -- until finally we have enough electorial strength to call for, and pass, a referendum. So you can see why I look forward to several years passing before I can finally have time to go into Magick wholeheartedly. But when I do! Oh, brother. I'll want you around just to watch my smoke. It's something like an ambitious law student holding himself in check for a few additional years in order to completely master his subject while his classmates drop out to take up practice so that they can start making money now. Sure, they'll make a little money now -- but wait until the boy with the big guns moves up. That's the pay off.

You should the the {sic} two sets of Luxoumburg {sic} stamps by now. The candy you have mentioned several times has as yet failed to appear. Possibly this is because of the new regulations which the girl did not know about. If you have the Stieg you will note that I have affixed a certificate stating that the package was not worth over two pounds sterling -- I presume that some such regulation also applies now to merchandise being mailed to the American postal system. Up until a few days before I sent the Stieg no such regulation was in effect.

Will be awaiting your answer on D of E. Want to send it to Jack, Germer, etc, but want to be sure that you understand it before I sent it to them. I want to use it as the basis of actions for intelligently applying our forces to bring about an era of abundance. Once that is done we can apply our full energy to the organization of the Temple. But to give it authority I need your approval.
As ever,


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

Dear Aleister,

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

Considering the postscript on yours of 15 March have not written Jack terminating friendship. Had a letter from him a few days ago but he said nothing about Smith. You mentioned some letters pertinent to that matter that you had intended sending. Would like to see them to get myself straightened out on the point. Just how far did Smith go on his project? Or did he ever actually start? And how has Jack come clean? Jack tells me that an old acquaintance of mine from San Francisco is staying with him now. One Louis Goldstone -- a young fellow with considerable artistic talent. Jack seems to think that he may be with us soon.

Have computed the total of my contributions. After having tallied my receipts and balance them against the sums you have acknowledged receiving in your letters I came out with a total figure of $1,045. This lump sum maybe broken down as follows: $20 -- paid upon receiving first three grades; $65 -- monthly contributions in small amounts from Dec. 1942 to Jan. 1944 (either directly to you or to you through the transfer); $400 -- in two £50 installments at 20% interest, completed 3 March 44; $400 in five £20 installments completed 2 Aug. 44; and $160 -- contributed since that time ($80 -- 2 Nov. 44, $80 -- 2 Feb. 45, $40 -- 3 March 45, $20 -- 2 April 45). Now the first $400, plus interest, will amount to $480 by 1 July 45, a few months form now, but will not be collected because of our understanding on the backlog copies of the Book of Thoth. I now propose that that money be transferred from my Book of Thoth account and credited to my initiation fees account. If you wish you may knock off the $80 interest, 20% is rather high, and leave it as a straight $400 loan as tallied in my total of $1,045. Thus whatever interest I have in the books you are now holding for me should revert to you. I know that they would be handy to have around later but I am willing to take the loss to get this fee business straightened out. The second $400 is the loan for the 50 letters on which my payment is to be from the royalties of the book, as I understand it. Subtracting this $400 from the $1,045 we have a total of $645. As total fee amounts to $607 this leaves a balance of $38 in my favor as a general contribution. If you still wish to save the copies of the Book of Thoth for me you can credit it to that account with my future contributions until I again build up the required $400.

Still no word from you concerning my revision of "The Dynamics of Equilibrium" I really must get busy on "The Evolution of Economics" in which I intend to go into the economic side in much greater detail -- even bringing in one general section on finance which I had to leave out because it was supplementary rather than essential. Also "The Trend of Social Change" in which I will have room to expound on the unlimited possibilities of education, research and the application of Thelema to a high energy civilization.

Think that's all for now. Is Grant with you? If so give him my regards.

Love is the law, love under will.

         Yours ever,

P.S. The figure $160 contributed since August includes the $20 I got off to you today. Did you receive the $40 I sent last month?


1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149, U. S. Army
26 April 1945

Dear Aleister,

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

Have two letters from you that have been trying to get time to answer. Must dash this off in a rush. Thanks for the correspondence re. Smith. Gives me a much better idea about the whole situation.

We are now deep in the heart of darkest Germany, so the legionaire probably said as he wrote to the folks in the old home town some years ago, and seem to be well on our way to getting the war over. If you think the blitz on London was bad you should see some of these cities. Many of their small towns were passed through quickly and are undamaged but I have yet to see a city that wasn't a large scale rubbish heap. Most from bombing. I suppose there are a few, such as Heidelberg which is supposed to be untouched, but I haven't found them.

Thanks for the certificate. Which straightens that out. Plan to keep up the $20 per month as long as possible. Certainly for the near future. Once I am placed on inactive duty I may find myself in difficulties.

Grant has neither written concerning Dynamics nor answered my Letter. Perhaps I soared him off with some remark which he may have taken too seriously. If so it was unintentional. Think I'll write to him again.

Orson Wells should be able to do things in a big way with "Mortadello". Might be just the thing to start off a whole new line of play writing in verse -- just as the ballet skit in "Oklahoma" has set a new fashion on Broadway. To say nothing of reawakening interest in your work.

Perhaps this will make do for Steig's omission of a:{doodle of a head with flames coming out}
    "Portrait of a Man with Technocracy on the Brain"

Here is a bit of verse I had intended sending some time ago. Must go now.

Love is the law, love under will.

   Yours ever,

Incl: Bitterness

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for November 2001 e.v.

11/4/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/6/01Feast of Samhain at Cheth House 7PM(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
11/11/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/14/01Liber 418 readings begin 8PM
with TEX (30) at NOX House
(510) 534-5739
11/17/01Initiations into OTO call to attend(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/18/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/18/01Liber 418 RII (29) 6:30
11/23/01Liber 418 BAG (28) 8PM at
Ashby house in Berkeley
(510) 849-1970
11/24/01Liber 418 ZAA (27) 8PM at
NOX House Oakland
(510) 534-5739
11/25/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/25/01Liber 418 DES (26) 6:30
11/25/01Liber 418 VTI (25) 6:45
11/26/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Rabelais 7:30 in library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/26/01Liber 418 NIA (24) 9:30 PM at
NOX House Oakland
(510) 534-5739
11/28/01Magical Forum with Paul. Book of
Thoth study group. 7:30PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/28/01Liber 418 TOR (23) 9:30 PM at
NOX House Oakland
(510) 534-5739
11/28/01Liber 418 LIN (22) 9:45 PM at
NOX House Oakland
(510) 534-5739
11/29/01Liber 418 ASP (21) 1:30PM
Ashby house in Berkeley
(510) 849-1970
Repeated at 8PM at NOX House(510) 534-5739
11/30/01Liber 418 KHR (20) 9:15AM
Ashby house in Berkeley
(510) 849-1970
Repeated at 9PM at NOX House(510) 534-5739
11/30/01Liber 418 POP (19) 10PM at
NOX House Oakland
(510) 534-5739

    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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