Thelema Lodge Calendar for April 2002 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for April 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, 2002 e.v.

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

April 2002 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Aiwass Uttering Thelema

"Uttering the word Thelema (with all its implications)" Aiwass overrode "the formula of the Dying God" and brought the bad old days of the Aeon of Osiris to a close. Dictation from the voice of Aiwass was recorded as Liber AL vel Legis, a new sacred text which "makes 'infinite space' speak in the language of the goddess" and offers both a practical and a mystical key to the life of the future in the Aeon of Horus. Readings of the three chapters of this Book of the Law are scheduled in the east bay on the 98th anniversaries of their original reception this month. Chapter one, "the manifestation of Nuit," will be presented by Sirius Encampment on Monday evening 8th April and read by Glenn Turner at her Ancient Ways store at Telegraph and 41st Avenues in Oakland. Call the store at (510) 653-3244 for additional information. Leigh Ann Hussey will read "the hiding of Hadit," chapter two, in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge on Tuesday evening 9th April, with a feast to follow. For chapter three, "the reward of Ra-Hoor-Khuit," Michael Sanborn reads at Cheth House on Wednesday evening 10th April, with another feast afterwards to close out the high holy days of Thelema. For directions call Cheth House ahead at (510) 525-0666. Each reading begins promptly at 8:00, with doors opening at 7:30. Snacks and juice will be welcome contributions at Ancient Ways for the first reading, and on the second and third nights at Thelema Lodge and at Cheth House auditors are urged to contribute dinner dishes and drinks for the communal feasts following these readings.
Crowley's own understanding that a fundamental shift in the spiritual orientation of mankind had been effected by the generation of Liber AL through his working in Cairo in 1904 e.v. was amplified in various descriptions of these events which he published afterwards. In an account of this Equinox of the Gods published eight years later (in the section of The Temple of Solomon the King included in Equinox I:7) we read of the events preceding the Cairo Working, and of Crowley's spiritual preparation for this, the central event in his life as the prophet of the new aeon. He seems to have made himself ready for this role with a year or two of vigorous vacationing, living and playing much as a man of his (idle) class and (inherited) fortune might have been expected to behave, keeping himself merely amused. He led the life of "a traveller and sportsman," and it had been fully two years since he had seriously engaged himself with any "practices of any kind" in magick or yoga, previous to the demonstration ritual with his wife Rose "in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid in November 1903." An expert Alpine mountaineer since his university days, Crowley had been training himself to become one of the world's foremost high altitude climbers, first in Mexico and then in the Himalayas. He also made himself expert with years of training in a number of less noble "sports," including bridge (and other card games), golf, sport fishing, and the gratuitous slaughter of "big game" animals in Asia. Between thrills of this sort he occupied himself with his new wife, for "he knew his duty to the race" and had also become quite fond of her. His reading during those years consisted of the major works of "modern" philosophy, in the writings of "Kant, Hume, Spencer, Huxley, Tyndall, Maudsley, Mansel, Fichte, Schelling, Hegel, and many another." Having left behind him the ritual and qabalistic training of the Golden Dawn, and most of his yoga discipline as well, Crowley was to be found "climbing mountains, skating, fishing, hunting big game, fulfilling the duties of a husband" (and writing erotic poetry about it), all with that "antipathy to all forms of spiritual thought and work which marks disappointment." He felt his spiritual training had been "five years barking up the wrong tree," and "even had he seen in the forest the Tree of Life itself with the golden fruit of Eternity in its branches, he would have done no more then lift his gun and shoot the pigeon that flitted through its foliage" (pages 360-1).
With his sexy although apparently unenlightened wife Rose, Crowley traveled to the edges of Britain's empire, amid the glib and hearty culture of "sporting" tourists. Here he fell into a sort of life for which his childhood religious training, his adolescent religious rebellion, and the painstakingly synthesized religious culture of his early adulthood, had hardly prepared him. He had become l'homme moyen sensuel, an ordinary secular man of the twentieth century; he now "saw life (for the first time, perhaps) with commonplace human eyes. Cynicism he could understand, romance he could understand; all beyond was dark. Happiness was the bedfellow of contempt." Such was the prophet who in Egypt at the end of 1903 "was proposing to visit China on a sporting expedition when a certain very commonplace communication made to him by his wife caused him to postpone it." Rose was newly pregnant, possibly with the fruit of their pyramid chamber ritual together in Cairo on 23rd November (although conception more likely occurred late in October, nine months previous to the full term delivery of Lilith Nuit back in Scotland on 28th July 1904 e.v.). This pregnancy, of a healthy woman twice married but atypically childless at age 29, was the foundation for the Crowleys' great magical operation in Cairo which generated the text of the Book of the Law and ushered in the age of Horus. By his own report the Logos of the new aeon responded to his wife's news of the incipient life with the words "Let's go and kill something for a month or two, and if you're right we'll get back to nurses and doctors." Instead of China they took a boat for Ceylon, where the father-to-be was "occupied solely with buffalo, elephant, leopard, sambhur, and the hundred other objects of the chase," and with "playing bridge, poker, or golf" (pages 362-4).
A few weeks of such amusements were sufficient, and on 28th January 1904 they embarked again for Egypt, reaching Suez ten days later and arriving in Cairo on 9th February, where they took a furnished apartment in the European quarter, close to the national museum of antiquities. We all know the story from this point. Here on 16th March, living for his own amusement in the guise of "oriental despot" Chioa Khan, Crowley performed the ritual of the Bornless One "merely to amuse his wife by showing her the sylphs," which however "she refused or was unable to see." This event set in motion the process which accomplished (23 days later) the words of Nuit in the opening chapter of the new law, followed by the second and third chapters on succeeding days. Missing the sylphs, Rose "became 'inspired,' and kept on saying: 'They're waiting for you!'" The work they had in store, she said, was "all about the child" (pages 364-5). Rose was about five months pregnant by this time, and perhaps in a somewhat heightened state of sensitivity. They made several visits to the Boulak Museum, where the unusually bright colors of exhibit number 666, a stele of the 26th dynasty, caught Rose's attention. When her identification on this stele of Ra Hoor Khuit stood up under her loving husband's rigorous questioning, he at last consented to attempt the working she seemed to have in mind. They set up a writing table in their temple, and there the Beast sat scribbling hurriedly with his Swan fountain pen throughout the noon hours of the three days of 8th, 9th, and 10th April, recording the 220 verses of Liber AL.


The Sun and Moon Conjoined

This month at 8:00 on Thursday evening 25th April in the lodge library the Book of Thoth study group plunges into the mysteries of Trumps XVIII and XIX, The Moon and The Sun. Qabalistically these cards are the pictorial glyphs of paths 29 and 30 upon the Tree of Life, connecting the spheres of Malkuth and Netzach in one case, and Yesod and Hod in the other. Despite their differences in starting and ending places upon the Tree, these paths present many interlaced ideas. Of the Moon Trump Crowley writes in The Book of Thoth, "It may be called the Gateway of Resurrection" (page 111). Furthermore, in the "system of the Old Aeon, the resurrection of the Sun was not only from winter, but from night; and this card represents midnight. . . . For this reason there appears at the bottom of the card, underneath the water tinged with graphs of abomination, the sacred Beetle, the Egyptian Kephera, bearing in his mandibles the Solar Disk" (112). Similarly, Crowley describes the Sun Trump by saying, "This is one of the simplest of the cards; it represents Heru-ra-ha, the Lord of the new Aeon, in his manifestation to the race of men as the Sun spiritual, moral, and physical. He is the Lord of Light, Life, Liberty, and Love. This Aeon has for its purpose the complete emancipation of the human race" (113). These ideas that touch upon the theme of rebirth are interestingly paralleled, in some respect, upon the Tree of Life, for both paths lead the aspirant before the gate of equilibrium and perfection, in the sphere of Tiphareth. Join us for further exploration of these and other ideas as we delve deep into the mysteries of the Egyptian Tarot.


The Dialogues of Plato

"The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato." -- A. N. Whitehead
The Maat-Tahuti Reading Circle, in association with Thelema Lodge and Academy Arkadia, begins an exploration of the Platonic dialogues on Tuesday evening 16th April, starting at 7:30 at Cheth House in Berkeley. We intend to cover the dialogues in their entirety, using as a map the seven tetralogies of Bernard Suzanne, available online at:
http://plato-dialogues.org/tetralog.htm
We begin with the early and seldom studied dialogue Alcibiades. Call (510) 525-0666 for more information.


No Law in Cockaygne

The Section Two reading group presents Cockaigne night at Thelema Lodge this month when we meet on Monday evening 22nd April. Join us in the lodge library with Caitlin from 8:00 until 9:30 for reading and discussion of the Land of Cockaygne in fantasy and tall tales. Cockaigne is a tradition of late medieval folklore in northern Europe, probably related to celebrations of Carnival at the end of the winter. The Land of Cockaigne is the Cloud Cookoo- Land of ancient Greek comedy, the fool's paradise, the fortunate isle, and later the Big Rock-Candy Mountain in the American west. In literature it is described in a number of popular verses from the fourteenth century, with the Dutch accounts perhaps the most interesting, French and English versions also known, and related traditions described in a number of neighboring languages. Cockaygne is the ultimate daydream, a land not simply of plenty but of hyper- abundance. In particular it is a glutton's paradise, an endless dinner table of good solid food, washed down with a continuous stream of wine. This land is often located on an Atlantic island (like the Hesperides or the Fortunate Isles), but geographically the descriptions do not even rise to the level of fiction; they are merely a set of rhetorical tropes, never integrally constructed as the elements of an imagined world. The descriptions of Cockaygne vary considerably, and they tend to be rambling, vulgar, and silly. It is not a coherently imagined place but a reaction to deprivation and uncertainty in ordinary medieval life, and an invocation of ideal ease and pleasure. Running around this land are animals ready to eat; roast pig on the hoof is a favorite, with a knife stuck in its back, offering slices of pork free to all. Roast birds call out their offers to fly into the mouths of anyone hungry. The streams flow with milk, honey, wine, and oil, the houses are made of pastries and puddings, while the shingles on their roofs turn out to be biscuits. Some folklorists have concluded that the Cockaygne tradition, most likely maintained by popular oral performances in conjunction with Carnival, may have been partly based upon hallucinations of abundant food experienced by hungry victims of famine or practitioners of monastic fasting.
Cockaygne is an alternative to paradise, a heaven on earth, an anarchic utopia, a harmonized commonwealth of perpetual plenty, a working man's Abbey of Thelema. The abundant food and drink on offer here are not the fancy feasts of the nobility, but the ordinary fare (enjoyed in good times and dreamt of in bad) of tradesmen's families in the boom towns of early modern Europe. The tradition seems also to have been popular with monks, and the Middle English verse parody describing "The Land of Cokaygne" is largely concerned with monastic frolics. Like most celebrations of cultural inversion, it may seem like innocent fun, but it conceals deeply subversive implications: the very knowledge of such a place implies a radical criticism of concepts like "paradise," "heaven," "utopia," "the common good," and "free will." Cockaygne is also closely related to the orality of western religion, and specifically of Christianity, where the central rite consisted in devouring the "body of god" and drinking his blood at the communion lunch service. The pig offering slices of pork from its roast flank is so near to the messiah who says "this is my body" to the faithful diners that one may never be able to enter the church with quite the same straight face or simple faith again. As a forerunner of the Abbey of Thelema, the Land of Cockaygne also illustrates some of the challenges of complete freedom of the will. Its name was taken from a small sweet cake called in early French cocanha (with variants in many European languages, including our word "cookie"), which might best be translated simply as a "treat." Later when the narcotic alkaloid of coca was extracted and named after this mythical land of pleasure, the term was a pun on the name of its New World plant source and of the fabulous land which seemed to anticipate its (initially) pleasant effects. There is no law in Cocaigne save, Do that which seems good to you.

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Crowley Classics

This philosophical and pharmacological essay was first published in The International (New York: October 1917), 291-4. The original editors, George Sylvester Viereck and his associate Joseph Bernard Rethy, added the following note at the head of this piece when it appeared as the lead article in their magazine: "We disagree with our gifted contributing editor on some points, but nevertheless we regard this article as one of the most important studies the deleterious effects of a drug that, according to police statistics, is beginning to be a serious menace to our youth." The essay is in six sections, and will appear in these pages in parts, beginning here and to be continued in our next issue.

COCAINE

by Aleister Crowley

"There is a happy land, far, far away."

                                        -- Hymn

I.

Of all the Graces that cluster about the throne of Venus the most timid and elusive is that maiden whom mortals call Happiness. None is so eagerly pursued; none so hard to win. Indeed, only the saints and martyrs, unknown usually to their fellowmen, have made her theirs, and they have attained her by burning out the Ego-sense in themselves with the white-hot steel of meditation, by dissolving themselves in that divine ocean of Consciousness whose foam is passionless and perfect bliss.
To others, Happiness only comes as by chance; when least sought, perhaps she is there. Seek, and ye shall not find; ask, and ye shall not receive; knock, and it shall not be opened unto you. Happiness is always a divine accident. It is not a definite quality; it is the bloom of circumstances. It is useless to mix its ingredients; the experiments in life which have produced it in the past may be repeated endlessly, and with infinite skill and variety -- in vain.
It seems more than a fairy story that so metaphysical an entity should yet be producible in a moment by no means of wisdom, no formula of magic, but by a simple herb. The wisest man cannot add happiness to others, though they be dowered with youth, beauty, wealth, health, wit, and love; the lowest blackguard shivering in rags, destitute, diseased, old, craven, stupid, a mere morass of envy, may have it with one swift-sucked breath. The thing is as paradoxical as life, as mystical as death.
Look at this shining heap of crystals! They are Hydrochloride of Cocaine. The geologist will think of mica; to me, the mountaineer, they are like those gleaming feathery flakes of snow, flowering mostly where rocks jut from the ice of crevassed glaciers, that wind and sun have kissed to ghostliness. To those who know not the great hills, they may suggest the snow that spangles trees with blossoms glittering and lucid. The kingdom of faery has such jewels. To him who tastes them in his nostrils -- to their acolyte and slave -- they must seem as if the dew of the breath of some great demon of Immensity were frozen by the cold of space upon his beard.
For there was never any elixir so instant magic as cocaine. Give it to no matter whom. Choose me the last losel on the earth; let him suffer all the tortures of disease; take hope, take faith, take love away from him. Then look, see the back of that worn hand, its skin discolored and wrinkled, perhaps inflamed with agonizing eczema, perhaps putrid with some malignant sore. He places on it that shimmering snow, a few grains only, a little pile of starry dust. The wasted arm is slowly raised to the head that is little more than a skull; the feeble breath draws in that radiant powder. Now we must wait. One minute -- perhaps five minutes.
Then happens the miracle of miracles, as sure as death, and yet as masterful as life; a thing more miraculous, because so sudden, so apart from the usual course of evolution. Natura non facit saltum -- nature never makes a leap. True -- therefore this miracle is a thing as it were against nature.
The melancholy vanishes; the eyes shine; the wan mouth smiles. Almost manly vigor returns, or seems to return. At least faith, hope, and love throng very eagerly to the dance; all that was lost is found.
The man is happy.
To one the drug may bring liveliness, to another languor; to another creative force, to another tireless energy, to another glamor, and to yet another lust. But each in his way is happy. Think of it! -- so simple and so transcendental! The man is happy!
I have traveled in every quarter of the globe; I have seen such wonders of Nature that my pen yet splutters when I try to tell them; I have seen many a miracle of the genius of man; but I have never seen a marvel like to this.

II.

Is there not a school of philosophers, cold and cynical, that accounts God to be a mocker? That thinks He takes His pleasure in contempt of the littleness of His creatures? They should base their theses on cocaine! For here is bitterness, irony, cruelty ineffable. This gift of sudden and sure happiness is given but to tantalize. The story of Job holds no such acrid draught. What were more icy hate, fiend comedy than this, to offer such a boon, and add "This you must not take?" Could not we be left to brave the miseries of life, bad as they are, without this master pang, to know perfection of all joy within our reach, and the price of that joy a tenfold quickening of our anguish?
The happiness of cocaine is not passive or placid as that of beasts; it is self-conscious. It tells man what he is, and what he might be; it offers him the semblance of divinity, only that he may know himself a worm. It awakens discontent so acutely that never shall it sleep again. It creates hunger. Give cocaine to a man already wise, schooled to the world, morally forceful, a man of intelligence and self-control. If he be really master of himself, it will do him no harm. He will know it for a snare; he will beware of repeating such experiments as he may make; and the glimpse of his goal may possibly even spur him to its attainment by those means which God has appointed for His saints.
But give it to the clod, to the self-indulgent, to the blasé -- to the average man, in a word -- and he is lost. He says, and his logic is perfect; This is what I want. He knows not, neither can know, the true path; and the false path is the only one for him. There is cocaine at his need, and he takes it again and again. The contrast between his grub life and his butterfly life is too bitter for his unphilosophical soul to bear; he refuses to take the brimstone with the treacle.
And so he can no longer tolerate the moments of unhappiness; that is, of normal life; for he now so names it. The intervals between his indulgences diminish.
And alas! the power of the drug diminishes with fearful pace. The doses wax; the pleasures wane. Side-issues, invisible at first, arise; they are like devils with flaming pitchforks in their hands.
A single trial of the drug brings no noticeable reaction in a healthy man. He goes to bed in due season, sleeps well, and wakes fresh. South American Indians habitually chew this drug in its crude form when upon the march, and accomplish prodigies, defying hunger, thirst, and fatigue. But they only use it in extremity; and long rest with ample food enables the body to rebuild its capital. Also, savages, unlike most dwellers in cities, have moral sense and force.
The same is true of the Chinese and Indians in their use of opium. Every one uses it, and only in the rarest cases does it become a vice. It is with them almost as tobacco is with us.
But to one who abuses cocaine for his pleasure nature soon speaks; and is not heard. The nerves weary of the constant stimulation; they need rest and food. There is a point at which the jaded horse no longer answers whip and spur. He stumbles, falls a quivering heap, gasps out his life.
So perishes the slave of cocaine. With every nerve clamoring, all he can do is to renew the lash of the poison. The pharmaceutical effect is over; the toxic effect accumulates. The nerves become insane. The victim begins to have hallucinations. "See! There is a grey cat in that chair. I said nothing, but it has been there all the time."
Or, there are rats. "I love to watch them running up the curtains. Oh yes! I know they are not real rats. That's a real rat, though, on the floor. I nearly killed it that time. That is the original rat I saw; it's a real rat. I saw it first on my window-sill one night."
Such, quietly enough spoken, is mania. And soon the pleasure passes; is followed by its opposite, as Eros by Anteros.
"Oh no! they never come near me." A few days pass, and they are crawling on the skin, gnawing interminably and intolerably, loathsome and remorseless.
It is needless to picture the end, prolonged as this may be, for despite the baffling skill developed by the drug-lust, the insane condition hampers the patient, and often forced abstinence for a while goes far to appease the physical and mental symptoms. Then a new supply is procured, and with tenfold zest the maniac, taking the bit between his teeth, gallops to the black edge of death.
And before that death come all the torments of damnation. The time-sense is destroyed, so that an hour's abstinence may hold more horrors than a century of normal time-and-space-bound pain.
Psychologists little understand how the physiological cycle of life, and the normality of the brain, make existence petty both for good and ill. To realize it, fast for a day or two; see how life drags with a constant subconscious ache. With drug hunger, this effect is multiplied a thousandfold. Time itself is abolished; the real metaphysical eternal hell is actually present in the consciousness which has lost its limits without finding Him who is without limit.

to be continued

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from the Grady Project:

Originally published in The Magickal Link volume II, number 6 (June 1982) on pages 1-2, this essay is part of a short series of consecutive monthly articles, "On Technical Information and On Curriculum," which will be serialized in this column much as they were first presented twenty years ago in the Link.

On Technical Information
part one

by Hymenaeus Alpha 777

I never cease to marvel at the amount of technical information Crowley has tucked in the back of his head. And the simplicity with which he had it organized. Once you have this computer matrix firmly in mind, you can spin in any direction. Crowley worked Themelic Magick. How did he think? Let's take the formula

AlephTawYodReshAlephReshAleph

Seven letters, seven planets. Simple. Maybe. Let's take a comparison check using Earth, Asia, Asiah, Material world:

Revelation
2:1-3:14
column
XXXVI
column
XIV
column
CLXXV
777
Line
EphesusSaturnUniverseTau32
SmyrnaSunSunResh30
PergamosMarsTowerPe27
ThyatiraVenusEmpressDaleth14
SardisMercuryMagusBeth12
PhiladelphiaJupiterWheelKaph21
LaodiceaMoonPriestessGimel13

Check columns II through XLI just off hand. The seven Chakras are assigned to the Sepheroth (column CXIII).
Now you have a matrix. You might as well get used to working with it. It will be your paradigm for how this knowledge is organized. As Regardie has observed, "In writing 777, Crowley invented a whole new literature." Or, "Universes destroyed, created, and maintained while you wait."
With Revelation 4:4 we start getting twenty-four a lot. Twenty-four equals the number of "Elders" of the Apocalypse, suggesting a Judgmental factor in the relation of ARIK ANPIN = 422 and ZOIR ANPIN = 478, since twenty-four divided by two equals Twelve Signs of the Zodiac (column CXXXVII) of which we each have one, Twelve Tribes of Israel (column CXLI), Twelve Stars of the Crown, etc. Also a lot of sevens. Seven Torches, Seven Spirits of God, Seven Seals (and we will remember Aleister Crowley's Seven Rites of Eleusis), Seven Horns, and Seven Eyes to be studied in relation to the Seven Cities of Earth in your matrix, seven being the number of Venus in the Sephiroth and Zain in the Paths. Also seven is considered to be an "unstable" number, Venus being a weak planet that low on the Tree -- and for other reasons that make Venus what She is -- and Zain equals Sword / Mind / Gemini / Air.
With Revelation 7 we start getting a lot of fours. Four Angels, Four Corners of the Earth, Four Winds, Four Living Creatures, Four Corners (note that diagonal lines through the center would give you a Saint Andrews / Templar Cross) of the Golden Altar -- and that Golden Altar can talk, man! (Revelation 9:13) -- sounds like one of those far-out trips on Star Trek where they find the whole thing is run by some out-of-date computer -- or waking up to the idea that this whole universe is really just some kid playing Pacman at the local arcade -- four being solidity (see four of Disks, Thoth deck, for the Four Gated City / Map of Atlantis / Buddhist stupa / Pyramid etc.) -- Jupiter -- two squared -- Chesed in the Sephiroth -- Venus in the Paths -- etc. Also more sevens. Why was it necessary to shut up what the Seven Thunders had to say? The Angel who delivers it has got to be the "Sag" card in the conventional deck. And that far-out "small scroll" -- about the size of Liber AL, I would say off-hand -- "sweet as honey but bitter to digest" (Revelation 10:9). Pure speculation -- it says here -- until we start running into those "three-and-one-half times trips" (Revelation 11:9, etc.), when it starts becoming pretty obvious that we are talking about your own Psychic Body and how to construct it -- a la Egyptian Pharaoh style -- but then we are heavy into the Egyptian trip -- Ank-f-n-Khonsu having been a Prince of Egypt -- and who was that other guy? Oh, yeah, Moses. Three-and-one-half being the number of times the Kundalini serpent coils about the base of the spine, thus providing the Lead (Saturn card, Atu XXI) for the alchemical transformation into the Gold of Tiphereth (see Caduceus in Levi's BAPHOMET) and other purposes.
More on 777 next time.

Written at Hrumachis Encampment in the Valley of Salt Lake City, where I slept below the salt and drank Androgyny Apple Juice in the Garden of Eve. May they see the clear Light of the Void. And you also.

to be continued

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from the Library Shelf

This verse fantasy is preserved in Middle English as part of British Museum manuscript Harley 913, a collection of monastic entertainments which seems to have been written in Ireland by English monks around the beginning of the fourteenth century. On the most simple level the account is a satire upon the religious disciplines of temperance, celibacy, regularity, and restraint. It is an outrageous example of several related medieval genres: tall tales out of far-off lands, accounts of ideal communities, and descriptions of feasting and entertainment. It offers also an implicit critique of the life of its audience, especially in the ideals of unrefined abundance and unproductive ease which it parodies. Similar verse accounts of the land of Cockaygne exist in Old French (the so-called "Fabliau de Cocagne") and in fourteenth-century Dutch.
In preparing the following translation into modern English I have worked from the text of Bennett & Smithers in their collection Early Middle English Verse and Prose (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1968). Intended for oral performance, the verse lines each have four basic stresses, but are quite free with regard to unstressed syllables; they are rimed in couplets. This modern version translates line for line, except for a few slight transpositions within the couplets. It strives to preserve the original rime words where possible (in perhaps a quarter of the couplets), even in a few cases where this leaves us with imperfect or silly rimes. In a few places I have had to guess as to the meaning of an obscure line, and once or twice I have slightly amplified an idea in order to clarify it.

The Land of Cokaygne
an anonymous Middle English poem

Beyond the sea to the west of Spain
There lies a country called Cokaygne.
No other land under heaven's sun
Comes close to this for joy and fun.
Though Paradise be merry and bright,
Cokaygne's an even fairer sight;
In Paradise what do you see
But grass and flowers and greenery?
Though there be joy beyond repute,
They don't get any food but fruit.
No tavern, booth, nor drinking bench;
Just water there your thirst to quench.
Two men only, with whom to talk,
Old Elijah and Enoch.
(They must be bored, so long to be
Stuck there without more company.)
But meat and drink abound in Cokaigne,
Without the least trouble, toil, or strain;
Wholesome food and sparkling wine
At breakfast, lunch, and dinner-time.
I tell you true -- forget your cares --
No land on earth at all compares;
There's nowhere under heaven, I'm sure,
Where such bliss and joy occur.
There is many a pleasant sight;
And it's always day; they don't have night.
There is no conflict and no strife,
They have no death, but endless life.
They've got their favorite clothes to wear;
There's neither man nor woman angry there.
You'll find no snake, no wolf or fox,
No stallion, mare, no cow nor ox.
They hunt no deer -- God knows -- they keep
No pigs or goats, and heard no sheep;
They don't breed horses -- mare with stud --
They've other things to heat the blood.
You'll not find fly or flea or louse
On shirts in town or beds in house.
They don't have thunder, sleet, or hail,
You'll see no nasty worm or snail,
No storms, no rain, no wind unkind.
No man or woman there goes blind.
It's all a lark, a joy, a game;
Good luck to him who plays the same!
The rivers there, both large and small
Flow with wine or honey, milk or oil;
Water's not used for anything
Except to look at, or for washing.
They have every kind of fruit
And every happiness to boot.
There you'll find a pretty abbey
Full of monks both white and grey;
Where all the rooms and all the halls
Are made of pastry; all the walls
Are steak and fish and fancy meat,
As good as any man could eat.
Of biscuits are the shingles made
On cloister, hall, and colonnade.
Even each nail is a rich treat
Fit for a prince or king to eat.
There everyone may eat his fill;
It's all for free, have what you will!
In liberty the young and old
Do as they please, both meek and bold.
Their cloister there is broad and bright,
Lofty, well-designed, and tight,
And the pillars of that cloister all
Are cut from sparkling crystal,
Attached to base and capital
Of jasper green, and red coral.
A central meadow holds a tree
So very pleasant there to see;
The root is ginger and galangal,
Of sedum are the branches tall,
And mace the flowers thereupon,
The bark is fragrant cinnamon;
Cloves grow in front, and in the back
Of spicy berries there is no lack.
There are roses also, red of hue,
And pale lilies, quite a few.
Day there is not followed by night.
(Wouldn't that be quite a sight?)
From this abbey flow four streams
Of molasses and rich creams,
Of lotion and of hot spiced wine,
Worth any price you might assign.
These streams the whole great world enfold,
Carrying precious gems and gold.
There are sapphires and uniunes,
Carbuncles and astiunes.
Emerald, jacinth, and prase,
With beryl, onyx, and topaz,
Also amethyst and crisolite,
Calcedony and apetite.
Many lovely birds you hear:
The thrush and nightingale sing clear
With the lark and golden oriole;
With all their songs the air is full.
They never stop, with all their might,
Merrily singing all day and night.
I'll tell you more, if I find wit:
Geese there, all roasted on a spit,
Fly to that abbey (may God it please)
And call out "Geese! get your hot geese!"
Plenty of garlic they bring along
Well prepared and rich and strong.
Sweetmeats, fully conscious, fall
Down into the mouths of all
With delicious sauce poured on
Made of ground cloves and cinnamon.
They never talk of temperance here;
They all drink deep and have no fear.
When the monks go in to mass
The windows there, all made of glass,
Are transformed into crystal bright
To give the monks a better sight;
But when the masses all are said,
And the books have all been read,
The crystal turns back into glass
Just as before this came to pass.
The younger monks take off each day,
After their meals, to fly and play;
No hawk or falcon is so swift
At flying; off the ground they lift.
Some monks get higher than they should
Flapping hard with habit and hood,
But when the abbot sees them fly
He's happy they can go so high.
Later he calls them all along
To come inside for evensong
And they still won't descend to ground,
But far away they soar around.
All this, of course, the abbot sees;
When from him each of his monks flees,
He finds a girl along the way,
And pulls her skirts up for display,
Then makes a drum-beat with his hand
To call the monks back down to land.
When the monks this sight descry
To the girl they swiftly fly;
Around the willing wench they press
To help her out of her spring dress.
When they're done with her they think
They'll go back home to have a drink,
And tuck, in well-contrived procession,
Into their supper-time collation.
Another abbey is nearby
And this one is a nunnery,
Up the river of sweet milk,
Where nuns wear underware of silk.
When they get hot in summertime
These young nuns hire a boat and climb
Aboard to row upon the river --
With oars they stroke, with rudder steer.
When they've gone a good long way
They all strip naked in their play
And jump into the river's brim
To have themselves a secret swim.
Any young monks who notice this
Take flight at once to snatch a kiss,
Arriving quick to catch them one.
Each monk picks out a favorite nun
And carries off, secure, his prey
Back to their good abbey grey,
To teach those nuns some worship new:
With joy all up and down they screw!
The monk who really does this best,
And looks the nicest when undressed,
Shall easily have, without a fear,
Twelve new wives for every year;
And that's his right -- no special favor --
Just to give his life some savor.
Whichever monk can screw the best,
And has his girlfriend most impressed,
He's the one, as God will have it,
Who'll be promoted next to abbot.
To reach this land of lenience
You first must do some great penance:
Seven years in rank pig shit
You've got to wade, despite your wit,
So deep it reaches to your chin --
That's the only way that you'll get in!
Courteous men of noble birth,
May you never leave this earth,
You who stand up on your feet
Fulfilling this penance complete,
May you reach that land of play
And nevermore be turned away.
We pray to God so mote it be!
Amen -- for holy charity.
translated by John Brunie

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From the Outbasket

Here are the annual demographics of the O.T.O. from International Headquarters. These membership totals have been obtained from active central accounts at the end of February 2002 e.v.: 4,153 all, 3,020 of which are initiates.

ADV 260
Associates 873
Minervals 995
Ist Degrees 739
IInd Degrees 457
IIIrd Degrees 362
IVth Degrees 259
Vth Degrees 119
Higher Degrees 89

--oOo--

In the list which follows, all data is drawn from the International mailing list. Accordingly, the membership counts here are less than the actual total count, owing to changing and lost addresses.

Currently recorded OTO member addresses by regions at end February 2002 e.v.
(Associates and initiates both) Total: 3,741 in 58 countries.


UNITED STATES TOTAL: 2,185

Alabama 17 Missouri 36
Alaska 1 Montana 3
Arizona 79 Nebraska 12
Arkansas 14 Nevada 44
California 368 New Hampshire 6
(North Cal: 174) New Jersey 31
(South Cal: 194) New Mexico 17
Colorado 46 New York 107
Connecticut 9 North Carolina 26
Delaware 6 North Dakota 2
Dist. of Columbia 4 Ohio 31
Florida 95 Oklahoma 36
Georgia 78 Oregon 127
Guam 1 Pennsylvania 71
Hawaii 6 Puerto Rico 1
Idaho 17 Rhode Island 4
Illinois 66 South Carolina 7
Indiana 75 South Dakota 4
Iowa 4 Tennessee 24
Kansas 37 Texas 233
Kentucky 15 Utah 43
Louisiana 21 Vermont 1
Maine 6 Virginia 29
Maryland 27 Washington 86
Massachusetts 43 West Virginia 11
Michigan 52 Wisconsin 37
Minnesota 48 Wyoming 2
Mississippi 6 Military AOP 13


EUROPE TOTAL: 1,065

AUSTRIA 5 ITALY 92
BELGIUM 4 MACEDONIA 9
BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA 1 MALTA 1
BULGARIA 12 NETHERLANDS 21
CROATIA 125 NORWAY 130
DENMARK 20 PORTUGAL 2
ENGLAND 145 RUSSIA 4
ESTONIA 1 SCOTLAND 10
FINLAND 10 SLOVENIA 85
FRANCE 23 SPAIN 11
GERMANY 122 SWEDEN 114
GREECE 7 SWITZERLAND 2
HUNGARY 1 UKRAINE 1
ICELAND 9 WALES 2
IRELAND (N&S) 5 YUGOSLAVIA 91


CANADA TOTAL: 151

Alberta 16 New Brunswick 1
British Columbia 70 Ontario 56
Manitoba 1 Quebec 6
Newfoundland 1


OCEANIA & ASIA TOTAL: 155

AUSTRALIA 78 NEW ZEALAND 26
BAHRAIN 1 PHILIPPINES 1
CYPRUS 1 TAIWAN 5
ISRAEL 12 TURKEY 5
JAPAN 24 U. ARAB EMIRATES 1
MALASIA 1


PANAMERICA (exp. US&CAN) TOTAL: 165

ARGENTINA 2 CUBA 1
BARBADOS 1 GUADELOUPE 1
BOLIVIA 1 MARTINIQUE 1
BRAZIL 150 MEXICO 2
CHILE 1 ST. KITTS 1
COLUMBIA 2 URUGUAY 2


AFRICA TOTAL: 20

IVORY COAST 1 SOUTH AFRICA 17
NIGERIA 2

Previous years:

2/912/922/932/942/952/962/972/982/992/002/01
ADV54729190871041188899122200
Assoc.211273317221246286375223348581735
Min.526605660642706889890898820873946
Ist457483485487573700685727670685734
IInd249291290311378441447451459427468
IIIrd178198221226225296325331307328369
IVth80111125160194204212239239224238
Vth65677066102113107118119116124
Higher2431293535415754647481
============================================
Total1,8442,1312,2882,2382,5463,0743,2163,1293,1253,4303,895

Detail of February 2001 e.v. Demographics (last year)

---- International OTO Treasurer General (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for April 2002 e.v.

4/1/02Feast of All Fools
4/7/02Office of Thelemic Hours, 7:30PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/7/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/8/02Liber AL Chapter 1, 8:00PM
at Ancient Ways, Oakland
Sirius Camp
4/9/02Liber AL Chapter 2, 8:00PM
at Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge
(bring food and drink for feast!)
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/10/02Liber AL Chapter 3, 8:00PM
at Cheth House in Berkeley
(feasting to follow: bring food
and drink!)
Independant
4/12/02New Moon in Aries 12:21 PM
4/14/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/16/02Maat-Tahuti reading group at Cheth
House: The Dialogues of Plato 8PM
Independant
4/21/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/22/02Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Land of Cockaygne
medieval fantasy 8PM in library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/25/02The Book of Thoth study group
8:00PM library with Paul
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
4/26/02Full Moon in Scorpio 8:00PM
4/28/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

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

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

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

Internet: heidrick@well.com (Submissions and internet circulation only)

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