Thelema Lodge Calendar for January 2002 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for January 2002 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

January 2002 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Raising the Veil of Winter

The Isis of the World hath raised her veil
One moment, that fresh glory of the stars
May glow through winter, where the sun is pale.
                       -- Crowley, Carmen Saeculare.

    Turning a corner in the darkness of the year, we work our way back to the light now with the increasing days. Our lodge ritual for the winter solstice last month found for a symbol of this progress an image from the dark center of Dante's Inferno. Here Lucifer, "emperor of the woeful realm," stands "mid- breast out of the ice" which marks the absolute middle of the earth, the darkest hole in the cosmos. Flapping his great bat-wings as he munches on the lowest of the damned, this monstrous devil seems entirely to bar the way out. But by sneaking in between the strokes of his wings, and squeezing through the ice to catch hold of the great "shaggy flanks" of the dark power himself, descending "between matted hair and the frozen crusts" by clinging to the devil's backside "where the thigh turns just on the thick of the haunch," the cosmic pilgrim and his faithful guide manage to completely reverse their orientation toward the world at this point. Emerging on the other side they ascend the back stairs up through the lower hemisphere to issue at last "forth to see again the stars."

Continual Labor and Enjoyment

    January is the month least rich in Thelemic holidays and anniversaries, and might seem a slow time around the lodge, were it not for the parties perpetuated by certain local devotees of the One True Church of the Great Green Frog. After this past seasons' flurry of aethyrs and events, work here continues much more in the background this month. Great effort guided by expert design and skillful carpentry has gone into the construction of our new altar for the gnostic mass, which will be ready sometime this month after all the sanding and varnishing is done. We also have plans to hang a new veil around it in the temple, which should expand somewhat the seating area for communicants by making the altar easily visible from the sides. Meanwhile, work continues in the lodge library, where newly opened cartons of material continue to be sorted and shelved for the use of members. And on a different front, a long course of complex electronic editing by Bill Heidrick on behalf of the lodge recently has made all sixteen years of our monthly Thelema Lodge Calendar available on line in an enhanced format, accessible at:

The Company of Stars

    Join the members and friends of Thelema Lodge any Sunday evening as always in Horus Temple to participate in our celebration of Aleister Crowley's gnostic mass. Arrive at the lodge by 7:30 to assemble in the library, awaiting the deacon's call for entry into the temple when the officers are ready to begin the ritual. New participants are welcome at mass, and more often than not we have first-time communicants with us, who are given a brief orientation speech from one of our gnostic bishops before going in. To attend the gnostic mass here for the first time, call several days ahead to speak with the lodgemaster for directions and information. It doesn't usually take long to learn the mass, and after mastering the part assigned to "the People" in the ritual (including the Credo, the Anthem, and the various gestures and formulas of response), interested participants may proceed to study the deacon's part. Memorization is not essential for the deacon, but the lines as they are read from the fire altar must be completely comprehended and familiar within the voice of this officer in order for the ritual to succeed. Competence in the deacon's role, although not an absolute requirement for work as priestess, is usually the best preparation, and for priest it is essential to have mastered it. The deacon mediates between the principal celebrants and the assembled communicants, so the role demands precise sensitivity to the pace and style of the other officers, as well as sympathetic awareness of the mood of the People. The roles of priestess and priest are best studied with a partner, and many of our experienced officers will welcome invitations from novices to study these roles together.
    Members here take turns serving the community of Horus Temple in the roles of priestess, priest, and deacon for each mass. In the vulgar calendar year just completed, fully thirty members of the lodge community served as officers in these roles over the course of our fifty-two celebrations of the gnostic mass. These included O.T.O. initiates from Minerval through IX°, under the helpful oversight of our four bishops of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Our most active officer this year wins in two separate categories; Leigh Ann was our busiest priestess (twelve times) and also our most frequent deacon (nine). Our busiest bishop, Caitlin, who was last year's most active mass officer, came in just behind Leigh Ann in both roles (ten times priestess and six deacon). Priestess number three was Pat (seven times on the altar), followed by Tammy (four). Elton was our most active priest, opening the veil eleven times this year, with Ross right behind (ten times), and Samuel following (seven). Lew (priest six times and twice deacon) and Mordecai (five times priest), our two longest-serving officers, each with over fifteen years of experience in the mass, continued to devote their much appreciated expertise to our temple. Matthew, who tied with Paul as our number three deacon (five times each), was also close behind as priest (four times). Thirteen different priestesses, eleven priests, and nineteen deacons celebrated the gnostic mass with us in Horus Temple this past year, with an average attendance throughout of just over 25 persons participating in the weekly liturgy. Along with our core of dedicated clerical membership are many others who also support the mass but step more rarely to the fore. We had a couple two-time priests this year, and three who worked the role but once. There were three three-time, four two-time, and two once-only priestesses. Of our deacons six were up twice, and seven only once, giving just about everyone who was willing to learn the role a chance. In our temple, working celebrants of the mass constitute the majority of the communicants among the People, making it all the more easy for novice officers to learn the workings of our liturgy, encouraged by the active participatory engagement (and even emergency assistance in a rare pinch) available from all points. Not every deacon can be so poised and polished and sure of her saints as Leigh Ann, but her strong example (and mighty memory) are just one of many examples of excellence available in our gnostic celebrations. Put some work into the ritual of the gnostic mass and make yourself part of a new mass team soon, consulting with the lodgemaster when you are ready to request a date on the temple calendar.

Come to Middle Earth

    Monday evening 21st January finds the Thelema Lodge "Section Two" group riding the bandwagon to Middle Earth with selected readings from The Lord of the Rings and other writings of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973). Choose a passage or two that stands out in your memories from past readings of these "fantasy" classics, and gather around the fire in Horus Temple to read them once more with us. Tolkien, an Oxford professor of Germanic philology, constructed in his fiction an idealized pagan world of the bronze age, still recognizably English in many details, with foreign powers appearing as various species of more or less monstrous races. His tales of Middle Earth face readers squarely with one of the central challenges of Crowley's "Section Two" curriculum for A A Probationers: the difference between ritual magick and the magic of folklore and fiction. Whereas ceremonial magick in ritual provides a pattern for the concentration of will which functions like a yoga of belief for the participants, the magic of fiction simply extends this function into an artificial "fantasy" of power. Untrained, undisciplined magical amateurs often fail to observe this difference, allowing their work to depend upon drama and confusion as they misrepresent their conditions in order more freely to imagine their results.
    Designated "fantasy" for its innovative treatment of traditional elements from history and folklore, Tolkien's quest story involves a variety of characters from invented races which are fully rational but incompletely human. The success of this concept set an example which not only rescued the "fantasy" genre from such dreamy fairy tales as those of George Macdonald and Lord Dunsany, but also revolutionized the related genre of science fiction (which simply substitutes a pseudo-scientific technology for the pseudo- magical technology of Middle Earth) with similar invented races. Tolkien began by drafting long accounts in imitation of medieval chronicles, the Islandic sagas, and their Victorian adaptors such as William Morris and Andrew Lang. Then he used these invented myths and histories as background for a children's adventure tale, successfully published in 1937 e.v. as The Hobbit. Professionally expert at mining medieval sources for names, stories, and symbols, and now having painstakingly trained himself as a storyteller, Tolkien wrote during the war years and their aftermath his epic narrative of the ring-bearer's journey through the close of the Third Age of Middle Earth. The Lord of the Rings was published in three volumes during the mid-1950s and slowly developed a cult following of enormous proportions. Tolkien did perhaps more than any other writer of our times to popularize the values of the ancient pagan culture of northern Europe, making them available for popular revival during the 1960s and beyond. The O.T.O. itself, as it was being reorganized during this period, may well have absorbed imprints from Middle Earth into the culture of Thelema, as Hymenaeus Alpha sat teaching Tarot at the Renaissance Faire in the 1970s, and copies of the Book of the Law reached the Society for Creative Anachronism. It may be said that Tolkien fulfills much the same role for Thelemites today that Saint Richard Wagner did for Crowley's own generation, and if so we have made considerable progress in the direction of humane decency with respect to our transmissions of pagan spiritual culture from the middle ages.

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The Cause Behind All

    Concerning "the Wheel of the TARO" Crowley gives some advice for the student of magick in Liber 333: "Meditate long and broad and deep, O man, upon this Wheel, revolving it in thy mind. Be this thy task, to see how each card springs necessarily from each other card, even in due order from The Fool unto The Ten of Coins. Then, when thou know'st the Wheel of Destiny complete, may'st thou perceive THAT Will which moved it first. (There is no first or last.) And lo! thou art past through the Abyss." In his commentary upon this passage he explains that all other great symbolic wheels "refer to the universe as it is; but the wheel of the Tarot is not only this, but represents equally the Magical Path. This practice is therefore given by Frater P. to his pupils; to treat the sequence of the cards as cause and effect. Thence, to discover the cause behind all causes. Success in this practice qualifies for the grade of Master of the Temple." Through all the years of his magical progress, as S. H. Soror I.W.E. 8 = 3 A A [Martha Küntzel] reports in her 1944 e.v. prefatory "note" to The Book of Thoth, for Crowley himself (as Frater P. and beyond) "the Tarot was his daily companion, guide, and object of research." Guided by continual study of its symbols, he eventually claimed the grade of Magister Templi on 3rd December 1910 e.v. as Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici. More than thirty years later in completing one of his last major works in The Book of Thoth, Crowley assembled a lifetime of divination and research into a treatise on this universal system of symbolism.
    We may not all qualify for so exalted a grade as Frau Küntzel right away, but our study group for The Book of Thoth proceeds with lively discussions and critical readings of this text and of the cards themselves. Reorienting itself somewhat this season, the group will be switching meeting times to the fourth Thursday evening of each month. Also, at the request of some participants returning to this enterprise after a few months away, we will be doubling back slightly and revisiting two trumps originally scheduled in our series last autumn. This month's meeting in the lodge library will thus be on Thursday evening 24th January from 8:00 until 10:00, and will cover the Atus of the Hanged Man and Death (XII and XIII). As the card of baptism, both in "the annihilation of the self in the Belovèd" and as "the spiritual function of water in the economy of initiation," the Hanged Man trump represents not sacrifice but progress toward ecstasy, the universal movement which was once known as "worship." In the martial and piscine Atu of Death, putrefaction is shown in "rhythmical undulation" with the process of life as the serpent and the eagle transcend the scorpion, while the mercurial fish "as the continuing elastic element in nature" reveals "a compendium of universal energy in its most secret form."

Astounding Mastery of Rhythm and Rime

    In his Confessions Aleister Crowley offers a magician's definition of poetry: "A poem is a series of words so arranged that the combination of meaning, rhythm, and rime produces the definitely magical effect of exalting the soul to divine ecstasy." Shortly later in the same work he refers to "that quintessence, limpid truth, opalescent with lyrical light, which constitutes poetry." Throughout his life Crowley had incredible confidence, both in the power of poetry and in his own poetic achievements. Again in Confessions he wrote that "as a poet" he considered that his "technique was perfect; it had shaken off from its sandals the last dust which they had acquired by walking in the ways of earlier masters. I produced lyric and dramatic poetry which shows an astounding mastery of rhythm and rime, a varied power of expression which has no equal in the history of the language, and an intensity of idea which eats into the soul of the reader like vitriol." He continued this assessment of his own work with some of the most exalted claims ever made on behalf of poetry: "There was an almost continual outpouring of the Holy Spirit through my mind. The spring of poetry shot crystal clear from the hidden furnace of my being into the pure and brilliant air, and fell and fertilized the earth about the sacred hill. A thousand years from now men will still gather round in wonder and worship to gaze upon the gorgeous pageant of flowers that grow upon the glowing grass and to feast upon the ripe fruits that burden the two great trees which tower like pillars for a gateway to my garden -- the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life." Join us at Thelema Lodge this month on Friday evening 18th January to harvest some winter fruit with our new "Two Great Trees" poetry reading group, which will meet on a monthly basis to cultivate the appreciation of verse in oral delivery. Gather around the fire in Horus Temple from 8:00 until 10:00 to be part of this literary enterprise, which is being organized by Brother Paul. Pick out half a dozen short poems which you already know well to bring along and read (or as many short selections from longer works), which may be either familiar favorites, recent discoveries, or your own inventions.

Crowley Classics

   Originally published in The Fatherland 4:6 (New York: 15 March 1916) on pages 85 and 86, this is one of the odder and more problematic of Crowley's "German propaganda" essays. It is difficult to square the contents of this article with Crowley's own biographical record, so that it seems likely he is reporting as his own here experiences either repeated from another's account or in some manner fictionalized. Crowley himself did not return to Great Britain at all during 1915 or 1916 e.v. and traveled only within North America during the Great War (after arriving in New York from London around the end of October 1914 aboard the Lucitania.

Lifting the Mask from England

by Aleister Crowley

    Things are by no means pleasant, either between the Allies themselves or even between the heterogeneous components of "Kitchener's Kippers." The English despise and distrust the French; the old story about the rout of Mons being caused by the non-appearance of two French armies is still current. The reason of it is variously given as treachery resulting in the shooting of two French generals, failure to receive orders, and various other causes. But the feeling remains that the French did fail to support them, however it may have happened. And as the British expedition was pretty well wiped out, one can understand the soreness of the feeling. On the French side is the deep- seated, inherited distrust of "perfidious Albion." Every Frenchman knows instinctively that if a moment should ever arrive when it would be to England's interest to quit or change sides, she would not hesitate for a moment.
    There is also infinite jealousy between British and Colonial troops. The Colonials are contemptuous of discipline and "boiled collars," and each man fancies himself a hero. The British retaliate by contempt of the provincialisms of the Colonials. But worse than all this is the absolute conviction of Scotch, Irish, and Welsh troops, as well as of all the Colonial troops, that they are deliberately sacrificed in battle, in order to spare the English regiments. History, of course, abounds in instances where this has been done. In some cases Celtic regiments have been deliberately shelled by their own artillery. You cannot expect men to fight if they suspect this sort of thing. The feeling in South Wales among the miners against conscription is almost entirely due to the idea that the Government would be very pleased if their numbers were reduced by fifty per cent or so. The feeling in Ireland is, of course, well known. It is this absence of solidarity in the nation, or rather nations, which has been the eternal stumbling-block. This more than any other is the reason that conscription has become necessary.
    Another reason for the unpopularity of the service was the complete incompetence and even carelessness shown by the Government in the early days of the war, with regard to providing creature comforts for the men. The usual red tape has also been employed to a devastating extent in the drawing of allowances. Women who can barely read and write have been bombarded with forms which would puzzle a college professor, and expected to fill them out satisfactorily. The restrictions on drink have caused even greater trouble. Similar remarks apply to the questions of sexual morality. It is no good to appeal to people on the ground that they are high-spirited patriots, possessing all the virtues, when at the same time you are treating them as if they were the lowest criminals, wallowing in every possible vice.
    During my stay I was naturally the centre of a great deal of interest, as having spent so long in America. Every one was anxious to know the real attitude of the American public toward the war. I explained that the national characteristics had not in any way been altered by the Atlantic. The Anglo- Saxon was all volubility, sentimentality, and slop. Snobbishness, hypocrisy, and money-bags were the three persons in his trinity. The Irish were jubilant, feeling that the hour of revenge for their long martyrdom had struck at last; but were content to wait and work in the dark for a little longer. The Teutons (I continued) said little. If one judged from the volumes of talk one would imagine that nine Americans in ten hated Germany. But the Teuton, realizing that acrimonious conversation does no particular damage, keeps his breath to cool his porridge. I said I regarded it as certain that America could not openly enter the war without political disruption, possibly of a very violent character. The more thoughtful of those who discussed the matter with me seemed to regard these considerations as an excuse for President Wilson. There was also the argument that America was helping the Allies more by staying out, than she could do by going in. But everywhere met the same ingrained assumption that there were no two sides to the question; and those who, being incapable of anything but the most superficial thought, reacted simply to facts without consideration of what they might imply, merely overflowed with vulgar abuse.
    I found one man, however, who appeared fairly well acquainted with the real situation in America. "The whole affair," he said to me, "is evidently politics and graft. Wilson does not mean to get into trouble at any price, because he knows that it would mean his political ruin. He sends these idiotic notes to us and the Germans, merely in the hope of catching votes. The fatuity of his whole proceeding is obvious. Neither we nor Germany are foolish enough to take any notice of him. The old dog has no teeth; and if he had, he would not dare bite. Why do not the Teutons avoid these tedious diplomatic exchanges by painting their torpedoes in plain letters: "Peace on Earth, Good-will towards Men." "I should hate to be misunderstood." "With the compliments of the season." "To show our affection for America," and re- christen the U-boats "Oscar III," "IV," and so on? What the Yankees do not understand is that this little scrap with Germany is only a family quarrel. We are mostly of the same blood, our royalties are closely related, our languages are cognate, our interests are not particularly conflicting. We shall very soon kiss and make friends and proceed to recoup ourselves -- by taking over North and South America as going concerns. Wilson's blundering diplomacy has given both of us every excuse for making war when it suits our convenience. The British and German Navy are both entirely unimpaired, neither of us have lost a single capital ship, and if necessary we could send over an invading force, not of a few hundred thousand men, as their alarmists diffidently suggest, but of just as many million as might be necessary to reduce the whole continent to the status of a conquered province. In any case, that is the only natural state for them. They have lost all idea of liberty. Look at their Blue Laws and their Lizzie Laws. Look at how they present themselves to be exploited by people with no moral or social superiority, but merely greater skill in robbery. Look at the way in which they endure our impudence, which is far greater than any Germany has given them. Trust me, we'll make another India of the U. S. A." The ignorance and bad taste of these remarks are positively alarming, when one considers that the man who uttered them has an international reputation as a thinker. Evidently the war has been too much for his poor mind.
    I had only been about ten days in London when my psychological studies were definitely interrupted in a manner wholly unexpected. I asked an old friend named Carruthers to join me in a chop at the Club, and we had reached the coffee (fortunately) before the waiter appeared and informed me that a gentleman was waiting to see me on business. I guessed that the blow had fallen, and went out as a sheep to slaughter. I was right. A very polite individual introduced himself as Inspector Simpson; but instead of placing gyves upon my wrists, he merely hoped that I was well, and could he have the pleasure of a few minutes' conversation with me? I was, of course, only too delighted. He then said that the Government was not at all angry with me; they did not wish to prosecute me, oh dear, no, far from us be any such thought! I realized for the fifteen-hundred-and-forty-first time in my life the inestimable value of family connections and close friends in high places. I told him, however, as in duty bound, that I should glory in suffering for the truth. He reminded me that this was England, and that the truth would never appear. I had no further remarks to make. Well, I said, "What can I do for you? If you don't want to prosecute me -- what is it? Do you want to make me Foreign Secretary? You might do worse. I would have the boys out of the trenches by Easter. It only needs a little give and take, a little common sense." No, he said, the position was this: Averse as they were to any public scandal, the press would certainly get wind of my presence in London, and embarrass the Government by insisting upon making a fuss. He therefore proposed to call for me in his automobile at eight o'clock the following morning and wish me Goodspeed.
    I asked him whether he could not postpone the journey for twenty-four hours, as I had some very important business to settle with my lawyer the following morning. His paws retracted for a moment, exhibiting the claws beneath, still in a half hidden way. He was very sorry, he said, but his orders were formal. He was sure that I would not put him to the inconvenience of getting them changed. There was such a lot of red tape about these trifles. . . . I knew what he meant, and agreed. So I excused myself to my guest, took a taxi down to my lawyer's home in the country, and spent the night settling up my business. In the morning Simpson took me down to Tilbury in his car, and put me on to a transport, one of six. There must have been fifteen to twenty thousand men aboard. Our little flotilla steamed out of the Thames, and the following morning I was put off on to a fishing smack which took me into Flushing. I was terribly puzzled at the time, to know what on earth these ships were doing sailing north. But the mystery is now clear, from information received. It appeared that there are still so many spies in such places as Calais and Dover, that they do not care to send transports through the Channel, as their presence is sure to be reported to the enemy; they therefore send them around the north of Scotland into the Atlantic where their destination could not be spied upon.
    As for me, I went to stay with a good friend of mine near Amsterdam, where I was joined by someone from Berlin who had a special desire to hear my news, and communicate his own. A small and selected part of the very interesting conversation which I had with him may form the subject of another paper. He went back after three days, and as for me, once more I concealed myself and sailed for the Land of the Free by the Ryndam, where my knowledge of English was increased by the personal instruction of Father Neptune as to the meaning of the term seasickness.

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from the Grady Project:

   This polemical essay was originally written for The Magickal Link, Official Monthly Bulletin of Ordo Templi Orientis, where it appeared in April 1982 e.v. on the first two and one-third pages. The sectarian spirit evinced in this article seems a bit old-fashioned after twenty years, but in Grady's critique Thelemic culture is cast as a very personal heritage, and his denunciations (echoing those of Crowley, which he quotes) are usually based upon personal encounters with the "revisionists." The implied object of some sort of "Aleister Crowley Orthodoxy" is a bit disturbing to consider, but can not have been intended very seriously. The article includes a robust, insulting romp through the ranks of the laughable faux-O.T.O. organizations of that day (most of which existed only on paper), which seemed to spring up like weeds following the fallow decade of the Order from the middle 'fifties to the middle 'sixties e.v.

On Aleister Crowley Revisionism
by Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha X°

    Probably the first to revise Aleister Crowley's teachings was Norman Mudd, a mathematics professor who, after Cefalu, proved, with mathematical precision, a number of things that Crowley found most unlike. He then drowned himself. Crowley was not fond of him. When I asked about Mudd one day at 93 Jermyn Street he frowned, snorted, said, "Oh, you mean that idiot who loaded his pockets with rocks and walked into the sea?" Surely a lesson to all future revisionists, but they still try.
    Then came Frater Achad and the Achad Tree. Crowley himself condemned it (note 1, page 7, MT&P) and it has certainly had a strange history with firm believers who have taken it to extravagant lengths, and equally firm opponents who agree with Crowley that turning the OTz ChIIM ( = 228) upside down by interchanging the leaves is dangerous nonsense. Personally I agree with Crowley. Intellectual brilliance will not get you across the Abyss.
    Next on my check list (this is infinitely expandable) was a friend of mine, Jack Parsons, who with his Babalon Working supposedly brought down a Fourth Chapter of Liber AL. This seems to have set a trend. And it is a beautiful example of a magician seriously at work. But I can not accept it as a valid Fourth Chapter of Liber AL. He did, however, add something new to the brittle intellectualism of Mudd and Achad: passion! His feeling for Babalon is poignant. And his ability as a poet makes him worthy of consideration -- even if only as a model of what not to do.
    Then there was Level Press, operated by a Mr Lee Heflin. Mr Heflin has a curious fixation about Liber AL. He refuses to believe it is "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," but changes it to "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law." Now this might make sense from some angelic point of view -- angels living in a world of no-time where everything is happening all at once like the current inside a telephone line -- but humans live in a world of renewal and decay. It wouldn't be so bad if he were up-front, but his method of penetrating the Thelemic consciousness is interesting. In general it consists of publishing a Crowley book and inserting "Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law," without notice to the unwary that this is directly counter to Liber AL and Crowley. Why he should try to redirect the Thelemic current at this late date by calling blind signals from an unseen sideline is every Thelemite's business.
    The phenomenon known as "Fourth-Chapter-of-Liber-AL-itis" is a hard fish to pin down, because what is trumpeted as such among a few chosen insiders may not exactly say that when read. Also the authors are heavy into concealing their personal glory by ascribing the actual message to a Thelemic source. We have two candidates in that category. First, The Book of Perfection (93 Publishing, 1977) as delivered to 777 by Aiwass. Since Aleister Crowley designated me as GR:Upsilon-Mu-Epsilon-Nu-Alpha-Iota-Omicron-Sigma  Alpha 777 you might think that I wrote it. Not so. Pick a number, any number. It's the Wheel of Fortune, folks! 777, like any number, can be claimed by anyone. Proof is another matter. The Book of Perfection is an endless repetition of words from Liber AL, especially those great big heavy HO-HO-HO ones, and other sources, and about as original as a frozen TV dinner. The only thing that interested me was page 73, where it is written "This book shall be sent to the Temple of the East in its original and typewritten copy." The game's afoot, Watson! This solves a mystery. About five years ago I received a large manila envelope in the mail. It had an Oregon return address, but no name of sender. It was postmarked "JAN 20 '72". Inside were two documents, one in manuscript and a typed copy. It contained Liber Jiha'ad and other material presumably published in The Book of Perfection. Since it was said to be communicated by Aiwass, presumably the same angel Aiwass who transmitted Liber AL to Aleister Crowley, I take it that we are supposed to take it as an authentic communication from the Gods of Thelema. That seems unlikely since the envelope containing this thundering nonsense was addressed to: Mr Kenneth Grant, c/o O.T.O., P. O. Box 2043, Dublin, CA 94566 -- which happened to be the address of Hymenaeus Alpha a.k.a. Grady Louis McMurtry. Now it just so happens that I met Mr Grant in Aleister Crowley's presence, in A.C.'s room at the Bell Inn, Aston Clinton, circa 1944 e.v. Since Aleister Crowley could obviously tell Mr Grant from Mr McMurtry at least long enough to introduce us, I am sure that this angel Aiwass could also do the same. Since he did not, I can only conclude that the Aiwass communicating The Book of Perfection is not the same Aiwass that transmitted Liber AL to Aleister Crowley.
    Our final exhibit is Liber vel OVIZ 93 sub figura LXXVI as delivered by OVIZ to PRZOVAL 8 = 3 (The Khabs Temple, 537 Jones Street #8475, San Francisco, CA 94102). The text is the usual reshuffling of words from Liber AL, no new revelations I could find, and "Privately printed by the O.T.O.", or so it says. Which O.T.O. it does not say. But what is really interesting is the "Introduction". For one thing it lets me off the hook as a possible author since it proclaims openly its hostility to "the near total degeneration and fall of the existing Crowley pseudo-cults such as Hymenaeus Alpha's Rosicrucianised O.T.O." Apparently they have never been around to see our Gnostic Mass. As for the phrases such as "The Master of A.A." and "The Brothers of A.A.", etc., apparently the author of this work didn't even check the Sigil of A A, clearly printed, in which the honor marks () after each letter are clearly shown. Now the honor (fire) marks indicate that A A is an inner, higher Order than O.T.O. (no honor marks). But that is hardly surprising considering that this particular Aiwas is spelled OVIZ. Crowley accepted three spellings of Aiwas: Ayin-Yod-Vau-Zain = 93; Aleph-Yod-Vau-Aleph-Samekh = 78; alpha-iota-digamma-alpha-sigma-sigma = 418 in the Greek cabala. In each instance the Yod (I) is before the Vau (F) and is properly pronounced "Aiwas". With the Vau before the Yod, however, it is properly pronounced OEH-veh! I doubt if Crowley's Aiwas would appreciate such a misinterpretation.
    And now for the dessert. Just as we in Aleister Crowley's O.T.O. have our private recognition signals, verbal and written, we also have a private accord, never before published that I know of, that a Fourth Chapter of AL is concealed in the Third Chapter. Horus is a double God. As you will remember (AL III:35), The half of the word Heru-ra-ha, called Hoor-pa-kraat and Ra- Hoor-Khut, it having been the spell of Ra-Hoor-Khuit that was raised.
    As for finding the unknown and unidentified author/s of Liber vel OVIZ 93, that should not be difficult. All we have to do is join the foray and call out the Baker Street Irregulars for -- as Sherlock Holmes would say, It's elemental, my dear Watson!
Written in the INFERNO CLUB in Columbus, Georgia,
and for all you other Thelemic buckaroos out there!
H. A. 777
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    Aleister Crowley's own spiritual culture arose partly out of his family background in one of the radical dissenting sects of Victorian Protestant Christianity. Especially since the religious wars of two centuries previous, the sectarian traditions in English religion had expanded to include a vast array of attitudes toward the problems of worship, morality, and social organization, including some radical notions which remained mostly underground but still survived to influence the language and thinking of "Plymouth Brethren" families like the Crowleys. Evangelists dismissed as "Ranters" had preached a radical anarchism which in some ways resembled Thelema, and in mid- seventeenth century England their message alarmed and fascinated many, becoming notorious as a cultural extreme. "Ranters" were famous for smoking in church, or for holding services in ale houses, and for swearing and telling obscene jokes while worshipping. Like some of the ancient gnostic sects, they were rumored to achieve a level of religious enthusiasm which led to orgies after their meetings, and were sometimes said to oppose marriage in preference for promiscuity. In a satirical drama called The Jovial Crew, or, The Devil Turned Ranter, being a Character of the Roaring Ranters of these Times (1651) they preach and sing of their freedom to enjoy traditional vices in a pious spirit. ("Swive" is the Middle English verb for copulation.)

    No hell we dread when we are dead,
    No Gorgon nor no Fury;
    And while we live, we'll drink and swive
    In spite of judge and jury.
               Come away, make no delay, of mirth we are no scanters,
               Dance and sing all in a ring, for we are Jovial Ranters.

    Come on my boys, receive your joys,
    And take your fill of pleasure,
    Shoot for shoot, away, let's do't,
    But we must have our measure.
               Come away, make no delay, of mirth et cetera.

    All lie down, as in a swoun,
    To have a pleasing vision,
    And then rise with bared thighs;
    Who'd fear such sweet incision?
               Come away, make no delay, of mirth et cetera.

    About, about, ye Jovial rout,
    Dance antic like hob-gobblins;
    Drink and roar, and swear and whore,
    But yet no brawls or squablings.
               Come away, make no delay, of mirth et cetera.

    For an actual sample of "Ranter" literature, this extract from The Light and Dark Sides of God, an 84 page pamphlet by Jacob Bottomley published illegally in 1650, is available in an appendix to Norman Cohn's The Pursuit of the Millennium: Revolutionary Millenarians and Mystical Anarchists of the Middle Ages (London: Secker & Warburg, 1957, revised 1970), "The 'Free Spirit' in Cromwell's England: The Ranters and their Literature." For presentation here, the spelling and punctuation have been regularized with modern practice wherever possible. It is easy to see verbal parallels between "Ranter" texts such as this and certain formulas in Crowley's gnostic mass; compare the Priest's speech on the second step, for example, with the opening sentences given below from Bottomley's pamphlet. Such gnostic ideas found in early modern radical Protestantism remind us of the illusionary nature of old historical categories such as "gnosticism." Scholars tend nowadays to deny the integrity of gnosticism as a tradition, stressing the specific teachings of separate groups which were only equated long after the fact by their political and theological opponents. Likewise the term "Ranters" is obviously suspect, having been imposed by the mass media of its day as a slur upon "stand up" preachers such as the frequently arrested Bottomley (whose rhetoric also reminds one a bit of Lenny Bruce).

A Ranter Looks at the Dark Side of God

by Jacob Bottomley (1650)

I. Concerning God

    O God, what shall I say thou art, when thou canst not be named? What shall I speak of thee, when in speaking of thee, I speak nothing but contradiction? For if I say I see thee, it is nothing but thy seeing of thy self; for there is nothing in me capable of seeing thee but thy self. If I say I know thee, that is no other but the knowledge of thy self; for I am rather known of thee, than know thee. If I say I love thee, it is nothing so, for there is nothing in me can love thee but thy self; and therefore thou dost but love thy self. My seeking of thee is no other but thy seeking of thy self. My delighting enjoying thee, is no other but thy delighting in thy self, and enjoying of thy self after a most unconceivable manner.
    . . . thou being the life and substance of all creatures, they speak and move, yea, live in thee; and whatever any creature is, it is that as it is in thee . . . Lord, whither shall I go from thy presence? For it is thy presence and being that is the substance and being of all creatures and things, and fills heaven and earth and all other places . . . Nay, I see that God is in all creatures, man and beast, fish and fowl, and every green thing from the highest cedar to the ivy on the wall; and that God is the life and being of them all, and that God doth really dwell, and (if you will) personally (if he may admit so low an expression) in them all, and hath his being no where else out of the creatures . . .
    Did men see that God was in them, and framing all their thoughts and working all their works, and that he was with them in all conditions: what carnal spirit would reach out to that by an outward way, which spiritually is in him, and which he stands really possessed of, and which divine wisdom sees the best, and that things can be no otherwise with him? . . . [Formerly I] thought that my sins or holy walking did cause [God] to alter his purpose of good or evil to me, but now I cannot look upon any condition or action, but methinks there appears a sweet concurrence of the supreme will in it. Nothing comes short of it, or goes beyond it, nor any man shall do or be any thing but what shall fall in a sweet compliance with it; it being the womb wherein all things are conceived, and in which all creatures were formed and brought forth.
    . . . As all things were let out of God, so shall they all give up their being, life, and happiness unto God again . . . Though the clothing dissolve and come to nothing, yet the inward man still lives; though the shadow dies, yet the soul or substance, which is God, lives to all eternity. Further, to me it is clear that there is nothing that partakes of the divine nature, or is of God, but it is God. The reason is because there are no distinctions in God, he being one individed [sic] essence . . . I cannot see . . . that [God] is capable of any degrees of more or less, or that he loves one man more than another, or hates one man more than another . . . I cannot see that there is love and hatred in God, or any such passions. That which admits of degrees is not perfect. . . . And God loves the being of all creatures; yea, all men are alike to him, and have received lively impressions of the divine nature, thought they be not so gloriously and purely manifested in some as in others; some live in the light side of God, and some in the dark side. But in respect of God, light and darkness are all one to him, for there is nothing contrary to God, but only to our apprehension . . . I do not apprehend that God was only manifest in the flesh of Christ, or the man called Christ; but that he as really and substantially dwells in the flesh of other men and creatures, as well as in the man Christ.

II. Concerning Heaven

    . . . then men are in heaven, or heaven in men, when God appears in his glorious and pure manifestations of himself, in Love and Grace, in Peace and rest in the Spirit . . .
    . . . I find that where God dwells, and is come, and hath taken men up, and wrapped them up into the Spirit, there is a new heaven and a new earth, and all the heaven I look ever to enjoy is to have my earthly and dark apprehensions of God to cease, and to live no other life than what Christ spiritually lives in me.

III. Concerning Sin

    . . . though men act in darkness, yet God is there veiling his glory, and so they must needs sin; for sin is properly the dark side of God which is a mere privation of light. Further, we must consider that God gives not any law or rule out of himself, or beyond his own glory . . . sin itself doth as well fall in compliance with the glory of God, as well as that which we call grace and goodness; for sin abounds that grace may abound much more . . .
    And whereas some may say, "Then men may live as they list, because God is the same, and all tends to his glory, if we sin or if we do well." I answer them in the words of the Apostle: "Men should not sin because grace abounds; but yet if they do sin, that shall turn to the praise of God, as well as when they do well." And so the wrath of man praises God as well as his love and meekness, and God [is] glorified in the one as well as the other. And however this may seem to countenance that God is the author of sin, and wills sin, yet to me it is plain that there is nothing that hath being but God, and sin being a nullity, God cannot be he author of it, and so [it] falls not within the decree of God . . .
    Further, I see that the reason why we call some men wicked and some godly is not anything in the men, but as the divine being appears more gloriously in one than in another. So we say the one is a saint and godly, and the other is wicked and profane, and yet the one acts as he is carried forth by the supreme power, and so doth the other. And if there be any difference it is not in respect if the creature, of what it is or doth, for the same divine being is in the other as well as the other, but only it doth not manifest itself in the one as the other . . .
    [God's] will is his power, and his power is his will; and by the self same act that he wills things, by the self same act he doth things. And it is our weakness otherwise to apprehend, for God being one and entire, admitting of no distinction or division in himself, he admits of no variations, but all things are as that supreme will acts and brings them forth. And I see according to the counsel of his will; they did no more that crucified Christ, than they that did embrace him.
    These things I write, not to countenance any unseemly act or evil in any man . . .

IV. Concerning Hell

    I was continually suffering the torment of hell, and tossed up and down, being condemned of myself . . . And this is that I found til God appeared spiritually, and showed me that he was all the glory and happiness himself, and that flesh was nothing . . . God . . . brought me into the glorious liberty of the Sons of God, whereas I was before in bondage to sin, law, an accusing conscience (which is hell) . . .
    [The soul] came immediately from God, and is no other but of God, and if I may say further without offence, it is God; for that which is of God is God, because God cannot be divided . . . How this soul, as men speak of, should be impure and sinful, I know not, for how flesh should defile a spirit I cannot imagine . . .
    The truth is, there is nothing lives to all eternity but God; everything below God perisheth and comes to nothing. And as all things had their subsistence and being in God, before they were ever manifested in the world of creatures, so in the end whatsoever is of God, or God in the world, at the end of it they shall all be wrapped up into God again. And so as God from all eternity lived in himself, and all things in him, so when he shall cease to live in flesh and creatures, he will then live in himself unto all eternity, and will gloriously triumph over sin, hell, and death. And all creatures shall give up their power and glory unto God, back again from whence it originally came, and so God shall be all.

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Primary Sources

   Frieda and the Gambit:
   Here are two letters from Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley, written in 1945 e.v., set in the time of wind-up of WWII in Europe. Grady mentions problems with Frieda Harris, a letter to Frederic Mellinger, rotation out of Germany and Chess. Koestler's "The Yogi and the Commissar" makes a brief round trip.

729th Air Materiel Sqdn
487th Air Service Group
APO 149, % PM, NY, NY
1 July 1945

Dear Aleister,

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

Got your "The Yogi and the Commissar" of the other day. You should be receiving it soon. Frieda and I had a few words as she refused to mail it to you. She wasn't doing me any favors; I though she was a friend of yours. Being an American Serviceman I couldn't mail it through an English post office and the Red Cross doesn't accept parcels, so I had to bring it with me and mail it from over here.

I have written to Frederic and hope to hear from him soon. Have gotten to work on that book and have it about half done. It should be ready in a week or so, depending on how many trips on Army business I have to make, of course.

Note change of address. Same outfit -- just new name.

Love is the law, love under will.


1930th Ord. Amunition Co. (Avn)
APO 744, U. S. Army
20 July 1945

Dear Aleister,

This will let you know that I have yet another change of address and also that I probably will not be seeing you for some time. Unless you come to the States within a year or so, of course. I do not expect to be back there until then myself. Pulling me out of Germany at this time was sad indeed -- considering that I was about the only man in the company who could speak German well enough to get around. Actually I didn't mind that so much as I did the anticipated "Battle of Prague". I think I mentioned taking liberty run convoys into Pilsen -- while there I met certain delightful young things who had come over into the American zone to visit Pilson for purposes of dancing -- it being impossible to dance in Prague for some reason. Now I read in the Stars & Stripes that the Russians are evacuating that city -- so here I am far back in la belle France wondering what to do with these addresses in my little black book! We will now recite three verses of "The City of Dreadful Night".

There doesn't seem to be much chance of playing chess around here but at my last station I was the unofficial champion of an impromptu club. I was beating all comers with regularity, anyway. I seem to be able to make a powerful offensive with a modification of that Danish gambit you demonstrated. Allowing the pawn to become well developed before administering what we call in American football "The Mousetrap", with the bishops doubled and the knights playing merry hell with the castled king. Speaking of football -- I've used another expression they commonly employ "the line-drive play" in this bit of verse. Somehow I seem to be stuck with that particular form. Like a cracked record grinding out the same old tune.

Trust that the "Yogi" has arrived by now. Has Frieda mentioned my having her Rabelais? if so tell her to keep her shirt on as I will sent it as soon as I have finished reading it. Don't be surprised if there is some delay in my answering your next letter as I may not receive it for some time,

Yours ever,

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for January 2002 e.v.

1/1/02Vulgar New Year 2002
1/6/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/13/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/18/02Poetry Reading Group in Horus Temple
8:00 PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/19/02Sol enters Aquarius 10:02 PM
1/20/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/21/02Section II reading group with
Caitlin: J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord
of the Rings
8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/24/02The Book of Thoth reading group
8:00PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/27/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/28/02Full Moon in Leo 2:50 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)

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