Thelema Lodge Calendar for May 2002 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for May 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

May 2002 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Among the Joyous Company

    Gnostic mass is celebrated beginning at nightfall in Horus Temple every Sunday evening at Thelema Lodge. All are invited to participate in this Thelemic eucharist ritual by taking communion with the members and friends of the lodge. Arrive by 8:00 to be ready when the deacon summons "the People" into the sanctuary for "the great service of the Order." First-time visitors to the lodge should call well ahead to speak with the lodgemaster at (510) 652-3171 for information and directions. Members of the temple community who are interested in learning this ritual in order to serve the lodge as officers in the mass are encouraged to consult with one of our gnostic bishops or other experienced clergy for guidance and advice, then to assemble their own "mass team" to practice the liturgy privately. Confer with the lodgemaster when your team is ready for a date on the temple calendar.
    Aleister Crowley's Liber XV, the Canon of the Mass for Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, which has been in regular celebration at this lodge now for nearly twenty-five years, is a complex but not especially difficult ritual. The principal speeches of the officers, taken partly from passages in the Book of the Law, are easy to memorize. (The Collects are an exception; they may be memorized by expert deacons, but are usually read out from the rubric.) The movements and gestures of the officers are carefully patterned and tend to fall into sequence almost automatically once their symbolism has been internalized. Flawless performance is not necessary for the celebration of mass, so long as all of the officers (along with, in a greater sense, the assembled People) are working wholeheartedly together to get the ritual right. Prompt and graceful self-correction when a phrase become disordered on a officer's tongue (sometimes with subtle guidance from one of the other officers, or even some experienced member of the clergy among the communicants) does no harm to the service, and may even have the advantage of emphasizing some fine point of the ritual's wording. For the People, most of whom in this temple know what it is to be officiating and perhaps momentarily challenged by one of the numerous minor necessities of the mass, the instant of unfamiliar hesitation can be the occasion for a strengthened identification with the officers, and a quite positive intensification of the focus of communion. Such difficulties may, however, be a bit stressful for the officer who is on the spot, and the way to avoid corrupting our liturgy is for all officers to stay in continual familiarity with the canon of the mass, and to prepare for each celebration by reviewing their roles together as a team. Our temple benefits greatly from the wisdom of quite a few officers who are well into their second decade of service in the gnostic mass at Horus Temple, and even they find that review of the ritual and preparation before each performance are the keys to controlled, effective delivery. Likewise our music master, the brave and talented temple fiddler, is far from faking it in her flourishes at mass, and admits to putting considerable thought into her preparations each week. Unlike other churches in the neighborhood, Thelemites assemble as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica not as an audience to view the performance of some professional spokesman, but as a community of celebration taking turns in the active roles of our ritual. We're not just here to watch and be led, but to share in the work of the sanctuary together.

The Dogs of Beltane

    Sol goes fifteen degrees Taurus on Sunday morning 5th May just after 10:00 o'clock for the feast of Beltane, which the lodge will observe in conjunction with our regular weekly celebration of the gnostic mass that evening. Members also plan to mark the cross-quarter holiday with a morning dog walk and picnic feast in the local hills in honor of springtime. Bring your best four (or however many) footed friends and meet at 10:00 AM in the parking lot of Sibley Volcanic Preserve off Skyline Boulevard at the north-east edge of Oakland. Pack your own picnic to carry for a mile or so, and bring some extra to share. Late-comers can join us near the small labyrinth (a quarter mile north of the large labyrinth) in the park. Lodge dogs Kyle and Maya would appreciate it if everyone would come with a pocket full of dog treats, or some fresh liver brownies.

By the Virtue of the Rod

    Rajas -- Tamas -- Sattva;
    Sulphur -- Salt -- Mercury;
    Galahad -- Bors -- Perceval.
    The Companions of Monsalvat invite all and sundry to a mystery play of the Vision and Workings of the Sangreal, and the Feast thereof, at 8:30 on Friday evening 10th May at Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar Street in Berkeley. For further details, please e-mail or phone Leigh Ann at (510) 849-1970.

Wonder of Wonders

    The great collection of popular medieval Islamic tales known as the Arabian Nights Entertainments is our subject this month for the Section Two reading group at Thelema Lodge. Join us in the library on Monday evening 20th May with Caitlin from 8:00 to 9:30. There will be shared readings of a few of these tales of wonder, enterprise, eroticism, and enlightenment, with some general discussion of their patterns and contexts. Our engagement with this huge narrative compendium will mark a return to the original "Section Two" of the A A reading list, where Crowley recommends "The Arabian Nights, translated by either Sir Richard Burton or John Payne" for the collection's value "as a storehouse of oriental magick-lore." Early on in our "Section Two" project we devoted a pleasant evening to Richard Burton's translation, noting some of the joys and difficulties of his eccentric style, and fascinated especially by his annotations. This time around we will be reading from the translation of John Payne (1842-1916). The private release of Payne's nine-volume edition was complete a year before Burton's ten volumes of the same work appeared (also privately) in 1885. Burton and Payne each admired the other's scholarship, and the more famous Burton paid his younger colleague the compliment of using the earlier version as a foundation for his subsequent translation of many of the stories. Burton's version very often looks as if he had compared Payne's prose, phrase for phrase, with the Arabic text, and only changed it where he felt he could improve upon the younger scholar's understanding or terminology (or where he could find opportunity to employ his vast store of antique and outlandish vocabulary). Payne respected this adoption of his work, and dedicated one of his supplemental volumes to the older scholar. (After the deaths of both translators, Payne's biographer blamed Burton for plagiarism in this regard, but although the bare charge is not untrue it represents a misunderstanding of the relations between the two men, and fails to appreciate Burton's achievement in his great edition of the Nights.) Payne's translation is much easier to read because he did not cultivate Burton's trick of representing strange and obsolete Arabic vocabulary in the stories with regional and archaic English expressions. Both translators follow closely the sense of the original, although Payne tends to tone down some of the erotic vocabulary, which in Burton's version can be outrageously vulgar and direct. Payne's edition has of course been eclipsed by that of Burton, but selections from it are available in used book stores in the excellent abridgement by Joseph Campbell, published as the Viking Portable Arabian Nights (New York: 1952; often reprinted), which also contains a useful digest of the omitted tales.

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The Aeon, The Universe, and All

    Join us Thursday evening 30th May at 8:00 in the lodge library as we continue our monthly reading of Crowley's work on the Egyptian Tarot, The Book of Thoth. This month we complete our investigations of the major arcana with trumps XX and XXI: The Aeon and The Universe. Our discussion will be followed by meditative ritual work focusing on the cabbalistic paths described by the evening's readings. The Book of Thoth study group is an interactive opportunity for mutual instruction, now in its second year at Thelema Lodge.

Right You Are, Socrates!

    Gather at Cheth House on alternate Tuesday evenings this season with the Maat-Tahuti Reading Circle to read and discuss the complete Dialogues of Plato. This month's meetings are on 14th and 28th May, beginning early at 7:30 for two-hour sessions over our tea and tomes. The subjects for May will be the early dialogues Laches and Charmides, respectively concerned with the difficulties in defining the virtues of courage and temperance. The general scheme for our engagement with these classic philosophical conversations is based upon an organization of the Dialogues into sets of four; see "Plato's Tetralogies" by Bernard Suzanne, available online at:

Eleusis' Rude Beginnings

    Planning for our twenty-third annual cycle of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis will begin with an open meeting this month on Monday evening 13th May in the lodge library. The production is scheduled to open mid-way through the summer, and Caitlin has agreed to coordinate the cycle for us once again. We will begin our "series of symbolical ceremonies" with Leigh Ann's long-awaited presentation of "The Rite of Saturn" on Saturday evening 10th August. Then at intervals of twelve days we descend through the planetary spheres, concluding with "The Rite of Luna" at the full moon on Monday evening 21st October 2002 e.v. These rites were originally presented "to illustrate the magical methods followed by a mystical society which seeks for illumination by ecstasy," and they were revived here when our lodge was young for very much the same purpose. Those wishing in any way to assist with the rites are invited to attend, and anyone who is considering the responsibility of directing one of the productions will need to be present (or represented) at this meeting. Each cycle demands a great deal of preparation, so enthusiasm in all directions will be welcome at this initial planning session. One point about the Rites may be useful to recall; as Crowley explained in his essay "The Rites of Eleusis: Their Origin and Meaning" (1910 e.v.), "The ceremonies developed from very rude beginnings."

Crowley Classics

   In this issue we conclude Crowley's six-part essay on the problem of addiction. First published as a magazine article in The International (New York: October 1917) on pages 291-4, this piece shows the Beast as a master of philosophical comedy, organizing a great deal of information (and untold experience) relevant to the drug. The first two sections of the essay appeared in this column last month: part I dealt with the moral paradox of drug-induced happiness, and the promise of cocaine; part two gave an account of addiction, toxicity, and mental illness associated with abuse of this drug.


by Aleister Crowley


    Much of this is well known; the dramatic sense has forced me to emphasize what is commonly understood, because of the height of the tragedy -- or of the comedy, if one have that power of detachment from mankind which we attribute only to the greatest of men, to the Aristophanes, the Shakespeares, the Balzacs, the Rabelais, the Voltaires, the Byrons, that power which makes poets at one time pitiful of the woes of men, at another gleefully contemptuous of their discomfitures.
    But I should wiselier have emphasized the fact that the very best men may use this drug, and many another, with benefit to themselves and to humanity. Even as the Indians of whom I spoke above, they will use it only to accomplish some work which they could not do without it. I instance Herbert Spencer, who took morphine daily, never exceeding an appointed dose. Wilkie Collins, too, overcame the agony of rheumatic gout with laudanum, and gave us masterpieces not surpassed.
    Some went too far. Baudelaire crucified himself, mind and body, in his love for humanity; Verlaine became at last the slave where he had been so long the master. Francis Thompson killed himself with opium; so did Edgar Allen Poe. James Thomson did the same with alcohol. The cases of de Quincey and H. G. Ludlow are lesser, but similar, with laudanam and hashish, respectively. The great Paracelsus, who discovered hydrogen, zinc, and opium, deliberately employed the excitement of alcohol, counterbalanced by violent physical exercise, to bring out the powers of his mind.
    Coleridge did his best while under opium, and we owe the loss of the end of Kubla Khan to the interruption of an importunate "man from Porlock," ever accursed in the history of the human race!


    Consider the debt of mankind to opium. It is acquitted by the deaths of a few wastrels from its abuse?
    For the importance of this paper is the discussion of the practical question: should drugs be accessible to the public?
    Here I pause in order to beg the indulgence of the American people. I am obliged to take a standpoint at once startling and unpopular. I am compelled to utter certain terrible truths. I am in the unenviable position of one who asks others to shut their eyes to the particular that they may thereby visualize the general.
    But I believe that in the matter of legislation America is proceeding in the main upon a totally false theory. I believe that constructive morality is better than repression. I believe that democracy, more than any other form of government, should trust the people, as it specifically pretends to do.
    Now it seems to me better and bolder tactics to attack the opposite theory at its very strongest point.
    It should be shown that not even in the most arguable case is a government justified in restricting use on account of abuse; or allowing justification, let us dispute about expediency.
    So, to the bastion -- should "habit-forming" drugs be accessible to the public?
    The matter is of immediate interest; for the admitted failure of the Harrison Law has brought about a new proposal -- one to make bad worse.
    I will not here argue the grand thesis of liberty. Free men have long since decided it. Who will maintain that Christ's willing sacrifice of his life was immoral, because it robbed the State of a useful taxpayer?
    No; a man's life is his own, and he has the right to destroy it as he will, unless he too egregiously intrude on the privileges of his neighbors.
    But this is just the point. In modern times the whole community is one's neighbor, and one must not damage that. Very good; then there are pros and cons, and a balance to be stuck.
    In America the prohibition idea in all things is carried, mostly by hysterical newspapers, to a fanatical extreme. "Sensation at any cost by Sunday next" is the equivalent in most editorial rooms of the alleged German order to capture Calais. Hence the dangers of anything and everything are celebrated dithyrambically by the Corybants of the press, and the only remedy is prohibition. A shoots B with a revolver; remedy, the Sullivan law. In practice, this works well enough; for the law is not enforced against the householder who keeps a revolver for protection, but is a handy weapon against the gangster, and saves the police the trouble of proving felonious intent.
    But it is the idea that was wrong. Recently a man shot his family and himself with a rifle fitted with a Maxim silencer. Remedy, a bill to prohibit Maxim silencers! No perception that, if the man had not had a weapon at all, he would have strangled his family with his hands.
    American reformers seem to have no idea, at any time or in any connection, that the only remedy for wrong is right; that moral education, self-control, good manners, will save the world; and that legislation is not merely a broken reed, but a suffocating vapor. Further, an excess of legislation defeats its own ends. It makes the whole population criminals, and turns them all into policemen and police spies. The moral health of such a people is ruined for ever; only revolution can save it.
    Now in America the Harrison law makes it theoretically impossible for the layman, difficult even for the physician, to obtain "narcotic drugs." But every other Chinese laundry is a distribution centre for cocaine, morphia, and heroin. Negroes and street peddlers also do a roaring trade. Some people figure that one in every five persons in Manhattan is addicted to one or other of these drugs. I can hardly believe this estimate, though the craving for amusement is maniacal among this people who have so little care for art, literature, or music, who have, in short, none of the resources that the folk of other nations, in their own cultivated minds, possess.


    It was a very weary person, that hot Summer afternoon in 1909, who tramped into Logroño. Even the river seemed too lazy to flow, and stood about in pools, with its tongue hanging out, so to speak. The air shimmered softly; in the town the terraces of the cafés were thronged with people. They had nothing to do, and a grim determination to do it. They were sipping the rough wine of the Pyrenees, or the Riojo of the South well watered, or toying with bocks of pale beer. If any of them could have read Major-General O'Ryan's address to the American soldier, they would have supposed his mind to be affected.
Alcohol, whether you call it beer, wine, whisky, or by any other name, is a breeder of inefficiency. While it affects men differently, the results are the same, in that all affected by it cease for the time to be normal. Some become forgetful, others quarrelsome. Some become noisy, some get sick, some get sleepy, other have their passions greatly stimulated.

    As for ourselves, we were on the march to Madrid. We were obliged to hurry. A week, or a month, or a year at most, and we must leave Logroño in obedience to the trumpet call of duty.
    However, we determined to forget it, for the time. We sat down, and exchanged views and experiences with the natives. From the fact that we were hurrying, they abjudged us to be anarchists, and were rather relieved at our explanation that we were "mad Englishmen." And we were all happy together; and I am still kicking myself for a fool that I ever went on to Madrid.
    If one is at a dinner party in London or New York, one is plunged into an abyss of dullness. There is no subject of general interest; there is no wit; it is like waiting for a train. In London one overcomes one's environment by drinking a bottle of champagne as quickly as possible; in New York one piles in cocktails. The light wines and beers of Europe, taken in moderate measure, are no good; there is not time to be happy, so one must be excited instead. Dining alone, or with friends, as opposed to a party, one can be quite as ease with Burgundy or Bordeaux. One has all night to be happy, and one does not have to speed. But the regular New Yorker has not time even for a dinner- party! He almost regrets the hour when his office closes. His brain is still busy with his plans. When he wants "pleasure," he calculates that he can spare just half an hour for it. He has to pour the strongest liquors down his throat at the greatest possible rate.
    Now imagine this man -- or this woman -- slightly hampered; the time available slightly curtailed. He can no longer waste ten minutes in obtaining "pleasure;" or he dare not drink openly on account of other people. Well, his remedy is simple; he can get immediate action out of cocaine. There is no smell; he can be as secret as any elder of the church can wish.
    The mischief of civilization is the intensive life, which demands intensive stimulation. Human nature requires pleasure; wholesome pleasures require leisure; we must choose between intoxication and the siesta. There are no cocaine fiends in Logroño.
    Moreover, in the absence of a Climate, life demands a Conversation; we must choose between intoxication and cultivation of the mind. There are no drug-fiends among people who are primarily preoccupied with science and philosophy, art and literature.


    However, let us concede the prohibitionist claims. Let us admit the police contention that cocaine and the rest are used by criminals who would otherwise lack the nerve to operate; they also contend that the effects of the drugs are so deadly that the cleverest thieves quickly become inefficient. Then for Heaven's sake establish depots where they can get free cocaine!
    You cannot cure a drug fiend; you cannot make him a useful citizen. He never was a good citizen, or he would not have fallen into slavery. If you reform him temporarily, at vast expense, risk, and trouble, your whole work vanishes like morning mist when he meets his next temptation. The proper remedy is to let him gang his ain gait to the de'il. Instead of less drug, give him more drug, and be done with him. His fate will be a warning to his neighbors, and in a year or two people will have the sense to shun the danger. Those who have not, let them die, too, and save the state. Moral weaklings are a danger to society, in whatever line their failings lie. If they are so amiable as to kill themselves, it is a crime to interfere.
    You say that while these people are killing themselves they will do mischief. Maybe; but they are doing it now.
    Prohibition has created an underground traffic, as it always does; and the evils of this are immeasurable. Thousands of citizens are in league to defeat the law; are actually bribed by the law itself to do so, since the profits of the illicit trade become enormous, and the closer the prohibition, the more unreasonably big they are. You can stamp out the use of silk handkerchiefs in this way: people say, "All right: we'll use linen." But the "cocaine fiend" wants cocaine; and you can't put him off with Epson salts. Moreover, his mind has lost all proportion; he will pay anything for his drug; he will never say, "I can't afford it;" if the price be high, he will steal, rob, murder to get it. Again I say: you cannot reform a drug fiend; all you do by preventing them from obtaining it is to create a class of subtle and dangerous criminals; and even when you have jailed them all, is any one any the better?
    While such large profits (from one thousand to two thousand per cent.) are to be made by secret dealers, it is to the interest of those dealers to make new victims. And the profits at present are such that it would be worth my while to go to London and back first class to smuggle no more cocaine than I could hide in the lining of my overcoat! All expenses paid, and a handsome sum in the bank at the end of the trip! And for all the law, and the spies, and the rest of it, I could sell my stuff with very little risk in a single night in the Tenderloin.
    Another point is this. Prohibition cannot be carried to its extreme. It is impossible, ultimately, to withhold drugs from doctors. Now doctors, more than any other single class, are drug fiends; and also, there are many who will traffic in drugs for the sake of money and power. If you possess a supply of the drug, you are the master, body and soul, of any person who needs it.
    People do not understand that a drug, to its slave, is more valuable than gold or diamonds; a virtuous woman may be above rubies, but medical experience tells us that there is no virtuous woman in need of the drug who would not prostitute herself to a ragpicker for a single sniff.
    And if it be really the case that one-fifth of the population takes some drug, then this long little, wrong little island is in for some very lively times.
    The absurdity of the prohibitionist contention is shown by the experience of London and other European cities. In London any householder or apparently responsible person can buy any drug as easily as if it were cheese; and London is not full of raving maniacs, snuffing cocaine at every street corner, in the intervals of burglary, rape, arson, murder, malfeasance in office, and misprision of treason, as we are assured must be the case if a free people are kindly allowed to exercise a little freedom.
    Or, if the prohibitionist contention be not absurd, it is a comment upon the moral level of the people of the United States which would have been righteously resented by the Gadarene swine after the devils had entered into them.
    I am not here concerned to protest on their behalf; allowing the justice of the remark, I will say that prohibition is no cure. The cure is to give the people something to think about; to develop their minds; to fill them with ambitions beyond dollars; to set up a standard of achievement which is to be measured in terms of eternal realities; in a word, to educate them.
    If this appear impossible, well and good; it is only another argument for encouraging them to take cocaine.

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from the Grady Project:

Originally published in The Magickal Link volume II, number 7 (July 1982) on pages 1-2, this is the second part of a series of monthly articles "On Technical Information and Curriculum."

On Technical Information
part two

by Hymenaeus Alpha 777

    With Revelation 11:3 we start getting twos. Two witnesses / olive trees / lamp stands. As if we didn't already have two Eyes of Horus, two prophets, and with Revelation 11:8-9 we get that "great City (Pyramid / Stupa / map of Atlantis / etc.) whose mystical name is Sodom and Egypt (land of Ank-f-n- Khonsu) -- where their Lord also was crucified (Osiris risen)." Seems crucifixion of a God is not new to Christianity. Also two is Chokmah / Ajna chakra, and also a possible solution as to how one "raises" the Third Eye. If you will take a detailed look at the Yogin psychic body chart you will note that the two leaves on each side of the "Third Eye" bulb are marked with the same letters as the two leaves on each side of the Sahasrara chakra, the Venus path (Binah-Chokmah) being the horizontal component (a position Venus seems to appreciate) and the Sahasrara chakra being at the top of the Sushumna fire column in the middle of the spine as the vertical component. Certainly explains the Kundalini serpent on the Tau cross Moses raised in the desert, apparently his form of the Ankh. And another "three-and-one-half days," Revelation 11:9.
    With Revelation 12 we get a lot of mystical creatures that can be variously explained, and "seven heads, ten horns." (One is tempted to say "tin horns.") So seven heads equals seven chakras; ten horns equals ten Sepheroth. So what else is new? Maybe the fact that Koran and Kabbalah come from the same source. Koran / Quran -- Qof-Resh-Nunfinal = 350 (the horn; head). Now a horn is an instrument of communication and for transmitting or receiving energy. If you had ten of them working in synchro-mesh you would be rather formidable. Even if you only had four. Like that far-out computer complex / golden altar, with a bullhorn ("now hear this!") on each corner, must be some raunchy broadcasting station. Or only two -- Pan only has two -- like our Baphomet. When a certain forever-young lady of the Order recently said to me, "I've always thought of my Angel as having horns," I immediately thought of Pan / Hermes / Baphomet, and of course Alexander (the Great, not "the Grape") and the bust showing him wearing the "Horns of Amoun." They look like a conventional ram's horns curled back above the ears; but in Egypt those horns would be the Feathers of Amoun. They are two, pointing up, facing away, and thus equal the two wings of Maat / Balance / Justice / Truth. And since Libra is blindfolded like any candidate to the Mysteries, Justice / Truth obviously must have a different way of knowing than our usual rationality / monkey brain. More like a sense of direction, like Cupid and His far-out Shaft of Flowers. Those feathers remind me of the upright antennae of some moths. Obviously sensing organs. But in what dimension?
    As for Kabbalah / Qabalah -- Qof Bet Lamed = 132 (to receive). Again, communication. But how to receive? Look at the words: Qof Bet Lamed and Qof Resh Nunfinal. Both begin with Qoph -- Qof = 100 (back of the head) -- Pisces / two moons connected / the feet (thus establishing a power-pole connection between the back of your head and your feet) / Eliphas Levi's Baphomet pointing at two moons / etc. Beth -- Bet = 2 (house) -- Magus; and Lamed -- Lamed = 30 -- Libra (balance). So when you have reached that state of Initiate Innocence where you have with great labor balanced the male / rational / solar part of your nature with the female / lunar / intuitional side, you just might achieve what in Scotland has been known for centuries as "developing the second sight," the ability to see "on the astral" (whatever the hell that is). If so, you might start hearing voices and seeing things that are not there. If so, for gods' sake don't tell anyone. In this country you could end up spending the rest of your life committed to an insane asylum. In the old days they used to burn nice little old ladies at the stake because they couldn't tell them how they knew that certain plants were medicinal. They just knew. So keep your cool and don't be fuel.
    So far we have emphasized 777, but Liber D equals Sepher Sepheroth, and every time I number a word you are expected to check that number, since Sepher Sepheroth is the ship's code book -- be the first kid on your block to have a copy of the Ship's Code Book! -- with your very own Eye of Horus seal ring! -- Ship -- Aleph Nun Yod Hay = 66 -- "The Aleph Fish Creates the Window." And it's a far-out Code Book. Sort of like Dungeons and Dragons. You want to know about Dragons? Try 450 = Taw Nunfinal -- the Dragon. Sounds like a big mother. Dragons -- Taw Nun Yod Nun Yod Memfinal = 560 (and 550). Draco Magnus -- Taw Nun Yod Nunfinal    Gimel Dalet Vau Lamed = 553. Draco -- Taw Nun Yod Nunfinal = 510 (and see 440). But what is a dragon, daddy? Well, kids, it seems that a dragon is very much like your mother (Saturn be praised) when She used to go to the beauty parlor to her Her hair curled (shades of Medusa), because that is exactly what it means: Taw Lamed Yod = 440 -- the Great Dragon, means "curls." Cute name for a Dragon. Or how about mountains. Want a mountain? Try Hay Resh Resh Yod    Tzaddi Aleph Vau Nunfinal. = 571 -- the Mountain of Zion. Tzaddi Yod Vau Nunfinal = 156 -- the City of the Pyramids (Equinox I:5, page 103) / BABALON, the Victorious Queen / Jane Wolfe's number.
    Oz, as in Liber Oz, equals 77 (goat), but for 888 = Jesus (Greek numeration) we have to go to Equinox I:5, page 107.
    More next time.

to be continued

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from the Library Shelf

    These two stories have been selected from the Payne translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments, The Book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, now first completely done into English prose and verse, from the original Arabic, by John Payne, in nine volumes (London: printed by private subscription, 1882-84). The text was transcribed from a facsimile reprint, the Khorassan edition (London: by private subscription, 1901). The first tale is told on the 412th, 413th, and 414th nights, appearing on pages 276-281 of the fourth volume. Our second selection is from volume 4, pages 137-41 (Nights 353-5)

The Apples of Paradise
A Tale from the Arabian Nights

translated by John Payne (1883)

Quoth Abou Bekr Mohammed ibn el Ambari:1
    I once left Ambar, on a journey to Ammouriyeh, in the land of the Greeks,2 and alighted midway at the monastery of El Anwar,3 in a village near Ammouriyeh, where there came out to me the prior of the monastery and superior of the monks, Abdulmesih4 by name, and brought me into the monastery. There I found forty monks, who entertained me that night with the most liberal hospitality, and I saw among them such abounding piety and diligence in devotion as I never beheld the like of in any others. On the morrow, I took leave of them and went on to Ammouriyeh, where I did my business, and returned to Ambar without again visiting the monastery.
    Next year it befell that I made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and as I was compassing the Holy House, behold, I saw Abdulmesih the monk also making the circuit of the Kaabeh, and with him five of his fellows, the monks. When I was certified that it was indeed he, I accosted him, saying, "Art thou not Abdulmesih er Rahib?"5 "Nay," answered he; "I am Abdallah er Raghib."6 Therewith I fell to kissing his hoary hairs and weeping; then, taking him by the hand, I led him aside into a corner of the sanctuary and said to him, "Tell me the manner of thy conversion to Islam." "It was a wonder of wonders," answered he; "and befell thus. Know that, not long after thy visit to us, a company of Muslim devotees came to the village, in which is our monastery, and sent a youth to buy them food. He saw, in the market, a Christian damsel selling bread, who was of the fairest of women, and became then and there so passionately enamoured of her, that his senses failed him and he fell on his face in a swoon. When he revived, he returned to his companions and told them what had happened, saying, 'Go ye about your business; I may not go with you.' They blamed him and exhorted him, but he paid no heed to them; so they left him and went on, whilst he entered the village and seated himself at the door of the woman's shop. She asked him what he wanted, and he told her that he was in love with her, whereupon she turned from him; but he abode in his place three days, without tasting food, with his eyes fixed on her face.
    "When she saw that he departed not from her, she went to her people and acquainted them with her case, and they set the boys of the village on him, who pelted him with stones and bruised his ribs and broke his head; but, for all this, he would not budge. Then the people of the village took counsel together to kill him; but one of them came to me and told me of his condition, and I went out to him and found him lying prostrate on the ground. So I wiped the blood from his face and carried him to the convent, where I dressed his wounds, and he abode with me fourteen days. But, as soon as he could walk, he left the convent and returned to the door of the woman's shop, where he sat gazing on her as before. When she saw him, she came out to him and said, 'By Allah, thou movest me to pity! If thou wilt enter my faith, I will marry thee.' 'God forbid,' answered he, 'that I should put off the faith of the Unity and enter that of Plurality!'7 Quoth she, 'Come in with me to my house and take thy will of me and go thy ways in peace.' 'Not so,' answered he, 'I will not barter the pious service of twelve years for the lust of a moment.' 'Then depart from me forthright,' said she; and he rejoined, 'My heart will not suffer me to do that;' whereupon she turned her face from him. Presently the boys found him out and began to throw stones at him; and he fell on his face, saying, 'Verily, God is my keeper, who sent down the Book and who protecteth the righteous!'8 At this juncture, I sallied forth and driving away the boys, lifted his head from the ground and heard him say, 'O my God, unite me with her in Paradise!' Then I took him in my arms, to carry him to the monastery; but he died, before I could reach it, and I dug him a grave without the village and buried him there.
    "In the middle of that night, the people of the village heard the damsel give a great cry, and she in her bed; so they flocked to her and questioned her of her case. Quoth she, 'As I slept, the Muslim (whom ye wot of) came in to me and taking me by the hand, carried me to the gate of Paradise; but the keeper denied me entrance, saying, "It is forbidden to unbelievers." So I embraced Islam at his hands and entering with him, beheld therein palaces and trees, such as I cannot describe to you. Moreover, he brought me to a pavilion of jewels and said to me, "This is my pavilion and thine, nor will I enter it except with thee; but, after five nights, thou shalt be with me therein, if it be the will of God the Most High." Then, putting his hand to a tree that grew at the door of the pavilion, he plucked therefrom two apples and gave them to me, saying, "Eat this and keep the other, that the monks may see it." So I ate one of them and never tasted I aught sweeter than it. Then he took my hand and carried me back to my house; and when I awoke, I found the taste of the apple in my mouth and the other in my hand.' So saying, she brought out the apple, and it shone in the darkness of the night, as it were a sparkling star. So they carried her to the monastery, where she repeated to us her vision and showed us the apple; never saw we its like among all the fruits of the world. Then I took a knife and cut the apple into as many pieces as we were folk in company; and never knew we aught more delicious than its taste nor sweeter than its scent; but we said, 'Haply this was a devil that appeared to her, to seduce her from her faith.' Then her people took her and went away; but she abstained from eating and drinking till the fifth night, when she rose from her bed and going forth the village to the grave of the young Muslim, threw herself upon it and died.
    "Her people knew not what was come of her; but, on the morrow, there came to the village two Muslim elders, clad in hair-cloth, and with them two women in like garb, and said, 'O people of the village, with you is a woman of the friends of God,9 who died a Muslim, and we will take charge of her, instead of you.' So the damsel's family sought her and found her dead on the young Muslim's grave; and they said, 'This our sister died in our faith, and we will take charge of her.' 'Not so,' rejoined the two old men; 'she died a Muslim and we claim her.' And the dispute waxed hot between them, till one of the Muslims said, 'Be this the test of her faith. Let the forty monks of the monastery come all and essay to lift her from the grave. If they succeed, then she died a Nazarene; if not, one of us shall come and lift her up, and if she yield to him, she died a Muslim.' The villagers agreed to this and fetched the forty monks, who heartened each other and came to her, to lift her, but could not. Then we tied a great rope around her middle and tugged at it with our might; but the rope broke in sunder, and she stirred not; and the villagers came and joined their endeavour to ours, but could not move her from her place. At last, when all our devices failed, we said to one of the two old Muslims, 'Come thou and lift her.' So he went up to the grave and covering her with his mantle, said, 'In the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful, and of the Faith of the Apostle of God, on whom be peace and salvation!' Then he lifted her and taking her in his bosom, betook himself with her to a cave hard by, where they laid her, and the two women came and washed her and shrouded her. Then the two elders bore her to the young Muslim's grave and prayed over her and buried her by his side and went their way.
    "Now we were witness of all this; and when we were alone with one another, we said, 'Of a verity, the Truth is most worthy to be followed;10 and indeed it hath been publicly manifested to us, nor is it possible to have a clearer proof of the truth of Islam than that we have seen this day with our eyes.' So I and all the monks embraced Islam and on like wise did the people of the village; and we sent to the people of Mesopotamia for a doctor of the law, to instruct us in the ordinances of Islam and the canons of the Faith. They sent us a pious man, who taught us the rites of devotion and the tenets of the faith and the service of God; and we are now in great good case. To God be the praise and the thanks!'"

Werdan the Butcher His Adventure with the Lady and the Bear
A Tale from the Arabian Nights

translated by John Payne (1883)

    There lived once in Cairo, in the days of the Khalif El Hakim bi Amrillah, a butcher named Werdan, who dealt in sheep's flesh; and there came to him every forenoon a lady and gave him a dinar, whose weight was nigh two and a half Egyptian dinars, saying, "Give me a lamb." So he took the money and gave her the lamb, which she delivered to a porter she had with her; and he put it in his basket and she went away with him to her own place. This went on for some time, the butcher profiting a dinar by her every day, till at last he began to be curious about her and said to himself, "This woman buys a dinar's worth of meat of me every day, paying ready money, and never misses a day. Verily, this is a strange thing!" So he took an occasion of questioning the porter, in her absence, and said to him, "Whither goest thou every day with yonder woman?" "I know not what to make of her," answered the porter; "for every day, after she hath taken the lamb of thee, she buys fresh and dried fruits and wax candles and other necessaries of the table, a dinar's worth, and takes of a certain Nazarene two flagons of wine, for which she pays him another dinar. Then she loads me with the whole and I go with her to the Vizar's Gardens, where she blindfolds me, so that I cannot see where I set my feet, and taking me by the hand, leads me I know not whither. Presently, she says, "Set down here;" and when I have done so, she gives me an empty basket she had ready and taking my hand, leads me back to the place, where she bound my eyes, and there does off the bandage and gives me ten dirhems." "God be her helper!" quoth Werden; but he redoubled in curiosity about her case; disquietude increased upon him and he passed the night in exceeding restlessness.
    Next morning, (quoth Werdan,) she came out to me as of wont and taking the lamb, delivered it to the porter and went away. So I gave my shop in charge to a boy and followed her, unseen of her; nor did I cease to keep her in sight, hiding behind her, till she left Cairo and came to the Vizar's Gardens. Then I hid, whilst she bound the porter's eyes, and followed her again from place to place, till she came to the mountain and stopped at the place where there was a great stone. Here she made the porter set down his crate, and I waited, whilst she carried him back to the Vizar's Gardens, after which she returned and taking out the contents of the basket, disappeared behind the stone. Then I went up to the stone and pulling it away, discovered behind it an open trap-door of brass and a flight of steps leading downward. So I descended, little by little, into a long corridor, brilliantly lighted, and followed it, till I came to a (closed) door, as it were the door of a room. I looked about till I discovered a recess, with steps therein; then climbed up and found a little niche with an opening therein giving upon a saloon.
    So I looked in and saw the lady cut off the choicest parts of the lamb and laying them in a saucepan, throw the rest to a huge great bear, who ate it all to the last bit. When she had made an end of cooking, she ate her fill, after which she set on wine and fruits and confections and fell to drinking, using a cup herself and giving the bear to drink in a basin of gold, till she had heated with the wine, when she put off her trousers and lay down. Thereupon the bear came up to her and served her, whilst she gave him the best of what belongeth to mankind, till he had made an end, when he sat down and rested. Presently, he sprang to her and served her again; and thus he did, till he had furnished half a score courses, and they both fell down in a swoon and abode without motion.
    Then said I to myself, "Now is my opportunity," and taking a knife I had with me, that would cut bones before flesh, went down to them and found them motionless, not a muscle of them moving for their much swink. So I put my knife to the bear's gullet and bore upon it, till I severed his head from his body, and he gave a great snort like thunder, whereat she started up in alarm and seeing her slain bear and me standing with the knife in my hand, gave such a shriek that I thought the soul had left her body. Then said she, "O Werdan, is this how thou requitest me my favours?" "O enemy of thine own soul," replied I, "dost thou lack of men that thou must do this shameful thing?" She made me no answer, but bent down to the bear, and finding his head divided from his body, said to me, "O Werdan, which were the liefer to thee, to hearken to what I shall say to thee and be the means of thine own safety and enrichment to the end of thy days, or gainsay me and so bring about thine own destruction?" "I choose rather to hearken unto thee," answered I. "Say what thou wilt." "Then," said she, "kill me, as thou hast killed the bear, and take thy need of this treasure and go thy day." Quoth I, "I am better than this bear. Return to God the Most High and repent, and I will marry thee, and we will live on this treasure the rest of our lives." "O Werdan," rejoined she, "far be it from me! How shall I live after him? An thou kill me not, by Allah, I will assuredly do away thy life! So leave bandying words with me, or thou art a lost man. This is all I have to say to thee and peace be on thee." Then said I, "I will slay thee, and thou shalt go to the malediction of God." So saying, I caught her by the hair and cut her throat and she went to the malediction of God and of the angels and of all mankind.
    Then I examined the place and found there gold and pearls and jewels, such as no king could bring together. So I filled the porters's crate with as much as I could carry and covered it with the clothes I had on me. Then I shouldered it and going up out of the underground place, set out homeward and fared on, till I came to the gate of Cairo, where I fell in with ten of the Khalif's body-guards, followed by El Hakim11 himself, who said to me, "Ho, Werdan!" "At thy service, O King," replied I. "Hast thou killed the woman and the bear?" asked he and I answered,"Yes." Quoth he, "Set down the basket and fear naught, for all the treasure thou hast with thee is thine, and none shall dispute it with thee." So I set down the basket, and he uncovered it and looked at it; then said to me, "Tell me their case, though I know it, as if I had been present with you." So I told him all that had passed and he said, "Thou hast spoken the truth, O Werdan. Come now with me to the treasure."
    So I returned with him to the cavern, where he found the trap-door closed and said to me, "O Werdan, lift it; none but thou can open the treasure, for it is enchanted in thy name and favour." "By Allah," answered I, "I cannot open it;" but he said, "Go up to it, trusting in the blessing of God," So I called upon the name of God the Most High and going up to the trap-door, put my hand to it; whereupon it came up, as it had been the lightest of things. Then said the Khalif, "Go down and bring up what is there; for none but one of thy name and favour and quality hath gone down there since the place was made, and the slaying of the bear and the woman was appointed to be at thy hand. This was recorded with me and I was awaiting its fulfilment." Accordingly, I went down and brought up all the treasure, whereupon the Khalif sent for beasts of burden and carried it away, after giving me the porter's crate, with what was therein. So I carried it home and opened me a shop in the market. And (quoth he who tells the tale) this market is still extant and is known as Werdan's Market.


For comparison, the third paragraph of the tale is given below in the translation of Sir Richard Burton, from The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night: A Plain and Literal Translation of the Arabian Nights Entertainments made and annotated by Richard F. Burton (London: 1885, reprinted 1934), page 1557.

    Thence I looked inside and saw the lady cut off the choicest parts of the lamb and laying them in a saucepan, throw the rest to a great big bear, who ate it all to the last bite. Now when she had made an end of cooking, she ate her fill, after which she set on fruits and confections and brought out the wine and fell to drinking a cup herself and giving the bear to drink in a basin of gold. And as soon as she was heated with wine, she put off her petticoat-trousers and lay down on her back; whereupon the bear arose and came up to her and stroked her, whilst she gave him the best of what belongeth to the sons of Adam till he had made an end, when he sat down and rested. Presently, he sprang upon her and rogered her again; and when he ended he again sat down to rest; and he ceased not so doing till he had futtered her ten times and they both fell to the ground in a fainting fit and lay without motion.
1. The most learned grammarian of his day. He flourished at Baghdad in the
    first half of the tenth century.
2. Anatolia.
3. The Lights.
4. Servant of the Messiah.
5. The monk.
6. The desireful servant of God. Abdallah is the name commonly given to a
    Christian convert to Islam. This question and answer are a good example of
    the jingle of rhymes so much affected by the Arabs.
7. i.e. of gods, "chirk."
8. Koran vii, 195.
9. i.e. saints.
10. Koran x, 36.
11. El Hakim bi Amrillah, sixth Fatimite Khalif of Egypt (A. D. 995-1021), a
    cruel and fantastic tyrant, who claimed to be an incarnation of the Deity.
    He was the founder of the religion of the Druses, who look to him to
    reappear and be their Messiah.

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for May 2002 e.v.

5/1/02May Day
5/5/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/10/02Rood Mass at Grace North Church
Berkeley, 8:30PM
(510) 849-1970
5/12/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/12/02New Moon
5/13/02Rites of Eleusis Planning Meeting
8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/14/02Maat-Tahuti reading group at Cheth
House: The Dialogues of Plato 7:30PM
5/19/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/20/02Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Arabian Nights, trans.
by John Payne 8PM in library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/26/02Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
5/26/02Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse
5/28/02Maat-Tahuti reading group at Cheth
House: The Dialogues of Plato 7:30PM
5/30/02The Book of Thoth study group
8:00PM library with Paul
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

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

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