Thelema Lodge Calendar for June 2002 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for June 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.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
June 2002 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Summer's Feast and Song
Come away! The volume of the book is open, the Angel waiteth without, for the summer is at hand. Come away! For the Aeon is measured, and thy span allotted. Come away! For the mighty sounds have entered into every angle. And they have awakened the Angels of the Aethyrs that slept these three hundred years.
-- Liber 418, Second Aethyr
Come away to Horus Temple for a celebration of the triumph of Sol in the
noontide of the year at summer solstice on Friday 21st June. The sun moves
into the sign of the crab that morning at 6:24, and the lodge will gather for
a feast beginning in the evening at 7:00. Our communal dinner will be
preceded by a brief ceremonial reading from one of the holy books of Thelema,
and members are invited to contact the lodgemaster in advance to read one of
the parts in this presentation. Bring dinner contributions and drink to
share, and speak with the lodge officers over the preceding days to coordinate
cooking for our feast.
The Ocean of Stories
Set forth once more upon the sea of tales with the Section Two reading
group, which this month will be devoting a second meeting to the Arabian
Nights Entertainments. The group meets with Caitlin in the library at Thelema
Lodge on Monday evening 17th June from 8:00 until 9:30. Join in for further
readings together from the John Payne translation (1882-84), and some
discussion comparing it with the better known version produced almost
contemporaneously by Sir Richard Burton (1885). These editions, the only two
"complete" presentations of the Arabian Nights in English (along with their
various "supplemental" volumes), were privately printed and sold by
subscription, thus successfully avoiding prosecution under existing obscenity
laws. Many of the stories were already well known in England, especially from
Edward Lane's abridged and bowdlerized translation (1838-41), which had become
one of the great Victorian nursery books. Whether or not Crowley encountered
these tales in childhood, by the time he went up to university (October 1895)
he had come to idolize the recently deceased Burton. The crowded bookshelves
in Crowley's student apartment at Cambridge included a set of Burton's Nights,
which he read in the midst of his philosophical and scientific curriculum.
Although well known in the Arabic world, the tales of the Nights were at
that time not much appreciated by educated readers in their own lands, being
dismissed as part of a vulgar sub-literary oral tradition of narrative
entertainment. The Arabic collection known as Alf Laila Wa-Laila (One Thousand
Nights and One Night) had been expanded from a Persian collection, the Hazar
Afsanah (Thousand Tales), augmented by stories and fables from every available
tradition. The classic collection in Arabic contains material dating from the
eighth through the sixteenth centuries, although hardly any two manuscripts
contain all of the same tales, and many include later additions. No
"complete" version was ever made, but the notion of a seemingly inexhaustible
compendium of stories became established, with additional items always
available to extend the collection. Nineteenth century scholarship viewed
these stories as an outgrowth of the ancient Sanskrit tradition of story
collections, but they also contain many elements from the indigenous pre-
Islamic populations of the Near East. Particularly there are many influences
from the dispersed Hellenistic culture of the ancient eastern empire, and
indeed the framing structure of Shahrazad's storytelling is probably Byzantine
in origin. There seems to have been a tradition in medieval Constantinople of "evening stories" which were fantastical and intended for entertainment (as
opposed to the news of the day, valued for its truthfulness).
The influence of Arabic and Persian narrative modes upon literary writing
in Europe can be seen in a number of medieval romances, and especially in the
Italian romance epics of the Renaissance. The most significant influx of
"Oriental" styles of storytelling, however, began with the eighteenth century,
when the Arabic scholar Antoine Galland (1646-1715) began collecting old
Arabic stories in manuscript and publishing French translations from them.
His edition of the Sinbad cycle of seafaring tales (the original of which had
never been associated with the Arabian Nights collection) was so successful in
1701 that Galland and his assistants went on to publish twelve French volumes
of Les Mille et une nuits between 1704 and 1717. It was not a "complete"
version, since much "unsuitable" and problematic material had been omitted,
and Galland also felt free to mix in other Arabic stories never before
included in the Nights. Some of these interpolations, such as the tales of
Aladdin and Ali Baba, became, like the voyages of Sinbad, forever assimilated
into the European versions of the Nights, and indeed characteristic of them.
Printing was not developed in Arabic until the nineteenth century, so when
manuscript dealers in Cairo found demand among European orientalists for
copies of the Arabian Nights which included these well-known extraneous tales,
they were quick to add them in, even when (as apparently happened several
times) they were forced to translate some of them back into Arabic from the
Galland's versions were widely read, and soon translated into English and
many other languages. They established a new style in European writing that
has endured through the three centuries since, making middle-eastern locales,
fantastic and magical situations, and the dream-like shifts of scene and
circumstance which characterize these stories, into familiar literary devices.
Many writers including Voltaire, Samuel Johnson, and William Beckford
successfully imitated Arabic tales in the eighteenth century. Some of the
leading writers of the next century, particularly Coleridge, De Quincey,
Dickens, Meredith, and Stevenson, grew up reading the Arabian Nights, and were
never able to escape its influence on their imaginations. George Meredith's
first novel, The Shaving of Shagpat (1855), included on the Section Two
curriculum, was written in direct imitation of the Nights. Several of the
major literary figures of the century just past, especially Proust, Joyce, and
Borges, likewise read the Nights in childhood and remained devoted admirers of
the work all their lives. The influence was especially strong upon writers in
the fantasy tradition, such as Machen, Dunsany, Cabell, and Clark Ashton
Sir Richard Burton planned his great translation of the Arabian Nights for
nearly thirty years before he seriously got down to work on the text around
1880. Originally he had looked for a collaborator to translate the prose
while he gave his primary attention to the 10,000 lines of Arabic verse
included in the collection, but he could persuade no scholar with the
requisite expertise to take on so vast a project. Burton and his wife sent
out many thousands of circulars offering subscriptions to the first complete
and accurate English version of the Arabian Nights, accompanied by his
extensive commentary. But he had not got much of his work done when, late in
1881, the first volume of Payne's complete translation of the collection was
announced for subscription. At first Burton, who was nearly 60 years old and
in troublesome health, offered to give up his project and assist Payne's work.
They did in fact correspond extensively about the translation, and Payne's
ninth volume bears a dedication "to Captian Richard Francis Burton, in token
of admiration and gratitude for much kindness." When Burton saw that Payne's
subscription project had turned a profit of nearly £4000, and that after
agreeing to a strictly limited edition of 500 copies he had been forced to
turn away 1500 additional subscription offers, Burton got back to work on his
alternative edition with Payne's blessing. Payne's volumes had been lightly
annotated; Burton's were massively so, and included an extensive "Terminal Essay" on the nature and background of the tales. Burton had a special
interest in the poetry of the Nights, which he felt Payne had rendering dully,
and he also enjoyed emphasizing their erotic elements, which Payne had toned
down without censoring. (Burton has been accused of elaborating some of the
erotic passages -- and also of intruding certain racist tensions foreign to
the original.) Burton was seriously ill early in 1882, and had a heart attack
in February 1883, but continued to write in bed. A great deal of his work was
completed very rapidly over the year 1884, and he was still writing notes
until the printer called in the final proofs. When his ten volumes of the
Nights were released in 1885, followed over the next three years by six more
volumes of "Supplemental Nights," Burton had included about 70 more stories
than Payne, but he had relied upon revising Payne's version for at least half
of the prose in his own edition (all of the verse in Burton's translation is
his own). He made many incidental alterations to the vocabulary, partly to
disguise his reliance on the earlier version, and partly because Burton loved
collecting strange and obsolete words and reviving them in his own writing.
The result was a masterpiece of translation and scholarship which is
nevertheless quite stilted, cumbersome, and sometimes fairly silly, so that
Payne's version is usually the more readable of the two (though Burton's notes
alone are worth the bulk of his edition).
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
The Four Dignitaries
The journey continues this month with the Book of Thoth study circle,
meeting in the lodge library on Thursday evening 27th June at 8:00. Join in
as we proceed with our reading of The Book of Thoth, Crowley's last major
literary work, completed just a few years before his death. In May we
concluded our investigation of the "trump" cards, and now begin our progress
through the minor arcana. While the major arcana correspond to the paths
between the Sephira on the Tree of Life, the minor arcana correspond to the
Sephira themselves. Thus a wide range of planetary symbolism becomes
prominent in the suit cards. This month we will begin with the court cards,
and in addition to reading and discussing Crowley's text on Egyptian Tarot, we
will conclude the evening with a meditative ritual involving the images of
Anything Fine is Difficult
The Maat-Tahuti Reading Circle continues this month with two meetings
devoted to reading and discussion of the dialogues of Plato. Meetings are
held at Cheth House in the Berkeley hills on alternate Tuesday evenings
beginning at 7:30. This month on Tuesday 4th June we will look at the
dialogue between Socrates and Protagoras, and two weeks later on 18th June it
will be the dialogue known as Hippias Major (being the longer of Socrates' two
recorded discussions with Hippias). In these dramatized conversations
Socrates demonstrates his distinctive style of criticism, concentrating upon
the usage of Greek moral terminology, and upon the eternal concepts which he
considered to be the true foundation of language. In both of these dialogues
Socrates questions representative philosophers of the itinerant "Sophist"
school, and sometimes he does not seem to argue quite fairly with them. The
results may be less than successful as formulations of the concepts they set
out to investigate, but the process of inquiry and discussion is nevertheless
portrayed wonderfully. Only such an age of great dramatic writing for the
stage could have also produced these informal conversational records of the
interactions between its leading thinkers. The dialogue with Protogoras is as
much concerned with the participants in the discussion and the process of
their exchange as it is with the philosophical content of their arguments. In
it Socrates demonstrates the essential unity of all the virtues, showing that
all human powers and skills result from knowledge. Hippias Major is more
sharply focused; it is one of Plato's early attempts to define the basic virtues, and here the concept under examination is that of "to kalon," the
beautifully ordered symmetry of being and design which lay at the heart of
Greek aesthetic culture. The notions of the well-ordered, the beautiful, and
the elegant seem to have been undifferentiated for the Athenians, a concept
that is often translated by the word "fine."
Orderly Decorous Ceremonies
A second planning meeting for this summer's cycle of The Rites of Eleusis
will be held in the lodge library on Monday evening 3rd June at 8:00. The
Rites have been scheduled over the late summer and early autumn, at twelve day
intervals beginning with "The Rite of Saturn" on Saturday 10th August,
followed by "Jupiter" on Thursday 22nd August, "Mars" on Tuesday 3rd
September, and so on down through the spheres of the gnosis to ground out as
Pan in "The Rite of Luna" at the full moon on Monday 21st October. Last
month's organizational meeting got things well under way, with nearly all of
the individual production responsibilities assigned to their "god-forms." We
need to select venues for this cycle, and that will be the focus of our
meeting this month. In addition, anyone wishing to become involved in one or
more of the productions is encouraged to attend this meeting and lend a hand
in their planning. Assistance with feast preparation, costuming, and
logistics will be especially welcome. A number of roles in the rituals are
still available, as well as many opportunities for technical support. Contact
Caitlin for information about our plans for this Rites cycle, or to be put in
touch with any of the year's seven god-forms.
When Crowley originally staged this seven-part serial drama (at Caxton Hall
in London in the autumn of 1910 e.v.) it amounted to a sort of magical variety
show, spotlighting the ritual and artistic talents of the early A A
membership under his direction at the time. Although somewhat hastily
organized by a group of theatrical amateurs, the original Rites were well
publicized and made quite a splash that season in the drama columns of the
daily papers. When some of this media attention became bullying and
inaccurate, Crowley was given the opportunity to reply in The Bystander,
providing his own characterization of the performances. Here he wrote that
"the rites of Eleusis, as now being performed at Caxton Hall, are orderly, decorous ceremonies. It is true that at times darkness prevails; so it does in some of Wagner's operas and in certain ceremonies of a mystical character which will occur to the minds of a large section of my male readers [i.e.
freemasons]. There are, moreover, periods of profound silence, and I can quite understand that in such an age of talk as this, that seems a very suspicious circumstance!"
The rare 1904 volume Snowdrops from a Curate's Garden, a collection of obscene sketches in verse and prose, contains many autobiographical fantasies based upon Crowley's early married life and travels with Rose. She was stylish and attractive and fun, but uncultivated and unphilosophical, and apparently altogether unenlightenable. Her poetic husband found she was not interested in his established styles of late-Romantic (Swinburnesque) rhapsodies, or snidely sophisticated, perversely playful "modern" (Browningesque) dramatic lyrics. Rose was happy to be entertained with indecent jokes and sexy stories, but otherwise she preferred reading magazines to Aleister's literary accomplishments. In order to cater to the tastes of his beloved consort, Crowley produced the Snowdrops volume, which as he knew would be unpublishable in England. As with a number of his other more daring literary collections, Crowley amused himself by creating, in this introduction, an elaborate fictitious persona upon whom the production of such dreadful material could be blamed.
Snowdrops from a Curate's Garden
by Aleister Crowley
Two philosophers of an empirical type, R. Browning and J. Christ, agree in
disputing the possibility of obtaining a silk purse from the traditional sow's
ear. Can rapes spring from horns? or pigs from whistles? asks the latter;
while the former (by the mouth of his sophistical hero Caponsacchi), declines
to believe the sexton who claims to have transfixed a scorpion on the very act
of issuing from the mouth of Madonna, and suggests (what seems to us quite as
improbable) that it issued from the sexton himself . . .
| By way of the ordure corner . . ."1
At first sight it may seem that Science endorses this dogma in its fullest
sense; but the truth is that if we apply the fundamental fact to man, we are
led into error. For the nature of no man is simple thorn or simple grape: in
the incalculable tale of his ancestors must inevitably be found, not only both
these types, but a host of others.
Further, in the complex chemical nature of the cerebral secretions lies the
profound possibility of extraordinary divergence from the normal. So many, so
fickle, are the combinations which constitute Cerebrin, Lethicin, and the
rest; so subtly is the thought dependent upon changes proximate or remote in
the composition of the organism, that we must expect character -- which is but
the statement of the sum of deep-seated habits of thought -- to show similar
instability. The word "habit" may seem to invalidate such a conclusion; but
must we expect habits to be homogenous? Must the religious man be also
merciful? We know that it is not so.
In the infinite variety of character thus formed we occasionally meet a
case in which distaste of the normal, vital scepticism, or some similar trait,
may push the individual to contrary poles of thought and action. We shall err
if we fail to recognize the common basis of the audacities of piety and
impiety which may manifest in the same man.
As one of our great specialists has shewn, it is unphilosophical, indeed
contrary to proved fact, to suppose that a man like Jabez Balfour2 is
necessarily insincere. His cruel frauds, his callous scepticism are no less
genuine and no more so than his narrow religious convictions. As well accuse
a typewriter of deceit because it is capable of writing both the brilliant
good sense of a Hall Caine and the vapourish outpourings of a Meredith!
As well accuse a spaniel of hypocrisy because he will retrieve game, and
yet refuse to devour it.
The outlines of this truth have been allegorically sketched by R. L.
Stevenson in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Outlines, for in reality there are as
many sides to character as there are ideas capable of influencing the
individual. No doubt, in all cases the one is leavened by the many; even in
stark madness there is an underlying essential harmony.3 This is of course
the case, but such harmony dwells far deeper than anything which we commonly
intend by character.
Such an expression of violences is found in the author of the following
It is the custom to study, even if briefly, the life of a great writer from
the biographical standpoint. In this case it is impossible to follow the
usual course, for I have no wish to blast the useful public career of the most
talented artist of our day, and there can be no doubt that precision of
allusion would cause his innumerable friends to recognize in the infamous
blackguard who penned these abominations the saintly and delicate-minded hero
of their dreams.
But there is at my disposal sufficient matter of a noncommittal character
to enable me to indicate for the purposes of the student the circumstances in
which K--- has lived, and lives. He was born about the year 1860 in a hunting
shire of England. His parents were of that lesser class of county magnate
which does not care to make any great show. They had enough self-respect to
live the life of their choice. The boy, delicate in his youth, was not able
to bear the roughness of public school for long, but he passed with honours
through Oxford, respected for his piety and learning by his professors and (I
am ashamed to say) adored by a certain unsavoury coterie for the babyish
beauty of his face, with its unfathomable eyes, its small and scarlet mouth,
and the impudent cynicism of his -- bottomless lust, I would say, but for the
peculiar inappropriateness of the epithet. In a word he was the foremost
scholar and courtesan of his year.
It would be admittedly ridiculous to claim the latter note of his life as
hypocritical; only prigs will so stigmatize the former. A boy of 20 does not
render Thomas à Kempis into Greek Anapaests4 without genuine scholarship and
equally sincere piety. Yet he is the author of the nauseous hexameters
"Hail to the f---ing lips of an open Athenian a---"
He it was who capped the hexameter in St James:
"Husbands! love your wives and be not bitter against them!" with
"Husbands! f--- them often, or surely somebody else will!"
A few examples of his quaint, often recondite, wit will delight all who
One night in Paris some of us took him to No. 8 rue Colbert. He was very
disgusted, and remarked, "My uncle might stay, if he came, but I'm off." None
of us saw any joke, but I happened to call at the old gentleman's house the
next day, and found him suffering from gout in both thumbs!
On another occasion he walked into a house in Paris, lazily surveyed the
grinning girls, snapped out "Une douzaine de Marennes!" and made for the door.
He it was who painted a number in immense characters on the door of a girl he
disliked. He had at one time a small studio. Two nuns came thither a-
begging. Opening the door to receive them, he wittily cried "Pas de Modèles"
in the monotone of disgust which artists so quickly learn, and banged the
door. On another occasion he caused to be printed and stuck up in all the
urinoirs of the Latin Quarter the following smart satirical parody on French
quack advertisements, directing it against the crapulous punk whom he also
speaks of in the following pages under the pseudonym of "Sal B-----s," which I retain.
TRAITEMENT TRES OFFENSIF ANIMAL
Guérison de l'impuissance dans 2 minites
par un simple massage
PAR UNE SEULE APPLICATION
du Salecon Anglo-Négro-Hollandais:
Gonorrhée en 3 à 5 jours,
Syphillis en 3 semaines
Prix de l'application: 1 franc
ENCULMENTS: UNE SPECIALITE DE LA
Enlèvement des fromages du prepuce
dans la salle dentaire
Et rien qu'en jetant les yeux sur le Docteur
les constipations les plus obstinées disparaissent
SENTEZ LE DOCTEUR ET MEFIEZ-VOUS
Cabinet (et urinoir) de Docteur 69, rue
I might multiply examples, but to what good purpose?
On the other hand, he would employ his fine wit in the service of piety and
charity. Many is the good and generous deed done by him under the cover of a
light practical joke or quaint whim. Still less need I speak of this side of
my friend; all the world knows more than I could say. His character was more
than dual, however. Not only did the "r" of predicor vanish and return, as in
the epigram of Priapus, but the devotion to literature of all kinds bore many
diverse fruits. Before he was thirty he had published a volume of semi-sacred
verse, a notable collection of Carmina Mariana, a short and most lucid history
of the metaphysical controversies which culminated in the birth of
Scholasticism, a contribution to the Encyclopaedia Britannica on some
refinements of electric measurement, a series of articles on a micrococcus
which he supposed himself to have discovered (his only failure, for he proved
himself to be mistaken, and manfully recanted in a very honourable letter to
the Editor), a short study of heraldry, which made an immense impression on
the small body of thinkers who interest themselves in this curious question,
and his revolutionary masterpiece upon the relation between Comparative
Anatomy and Political Science.
In his personal life he had similar breadth of experience.
He was beloved of the thieves and prostitutes in an obscure drinking-cellar
in Belleville, the most dangerous quarter of Paris, not as a comrade, but as a
missionary. He was at home in the most exalted social circles, and it is a
well-known fact that many persons of importance relied on his subtle intuition
and keen vision to resolve political difficulties which baffled their less
Sought after by rich and poor for his personal beauty, he yielded to none,
save a single boat-captain on a Seine steamer, to whom he continued faithful
until his marriage. But the devotion to his young and beautiful wife exacted
too much, imposed too severe a strain upon his constitution. They had been married barely a week when he took her to the infamous T------ Club in Cairo,
where the dissolute officers of the Army of Occupation, merchants, fish-
porters, pimps, all the cream of Egyptian society and its dregs, gathered
every Wednesday night to commit appalling orgies.
He gave her to their tender mercies and saw her violated a dozen times
before his eyes. In a month no more debauched woman walked the streets than
this dainty English girl.
She became a mother, after innumerable adulteries on both sides, committed
shamelessly in each other's presence, even in spinthriae of ten of more
persons; it was during the severe physical strain which her confinement
imposed upon him that he wrote the Nameless Novel.
All this time of his marriage, about two years, he had been also performing
miracles of piety. Ordained three years before, he rapidly gained the favour
of his superiors by his modesty and eloquence. He obtained a valuable private
chaplaincy in Paris, a most suitable post, allowing him plenty of leisure for
other work. During this period a delicious volume of hymns came from his pen,
and his self-sacrificing ministrations to the poor were the wonder of the
His evenings were spent in that witty and high-thinking informal club which
met nightly at the restaurant Au Chien Rouge, whose members are so honoured in
the world of Art. There he met C--- the brilliant but debauched sculptor,
caustic of wit, though genial to his friends; N---, the great painter, whose
royal sense of light made his canvases into a harmonious dream; he also the
sweet friend of Bacchus, who filled him with a glow and melody of colour and
thought. There, too, were D--- and L---, the one poet and philosopher, the
other painter and -- I fear -- paederast. Twins in thought, the two were
invincible in argument as they were supreme in their respective arts. Often I
have sat, a privileged listener, which D---'s cold acumen and L---'s superb
indignation, expressed in fiery swords of speech, would drive some luckless
driveller from the room. Or at times they would hold down their victim, a
bird fascinated by a snake, while they pitilessly exposed his follies to the
delighted crowd. Again, a third, pompous and self-confident, would be led on
by them, seemingly in full sympathy, to make an exhibition of himself, visible
and hideous to all eyes but his own. L---, his eager face like a silver moon
starting from a thundercloud, his hair, would pierce the very soul of a
debate, and kindle it with magic joy or freeze it with scorn implacable. D---
, his expression noble and commanding, yet sly, as if ever ready to laugh at
the intricacies of his own intellect, sat next to him, his deep and wonderous
eyes lit with strange light, while with words like burning flames of steel he
tore asunder the sophistries of one, the complacencies of another. They were
feared, these two! There also did he meet the well known ethicist, I---, fair
as a boy, with boy's golden locks curling about his Grecian head; I---, the
pure and subtle-minded student, whose lively humour and sparkling sarcasm were
as froth upon the deep and terrible waters of his polished irony. It was a
pity that he drank. There the great surgeon. and true gentleman, in spite of
his exaggerated respect for the memory of Queen Victoria, J---, would join in
with his ripe and generous wit. Handsome as a god, with yet a spice of
devil's laughter lurking there, he would sit and enjoy the treasures of the
conversation, adding at the proper interval his own rich quota of scholarly
Needless to say, so brilliant a galaxy attracted all the false lights of
the time. T---, the braggart, the mediocre painter, the lusty soi-disant maquereau of marchionesses, would seek admission (which was in theory denied
to none). But the cutting wit of C--- drove him headlong, as if by the
Cherubim, from the Gates of the Garden of Eden. G---, the famous society
painter, came one night, and was literally hounded out of the room by a swift
and pitiless attack on the part of D--- and the young ethicist. A
bulletheaded Yankee, rashly supporting him, shared the same fate, and ever
after sat in solitary disgrace downstairs, like a whipped hound outside its
master's door. The subject of conversation did not matter. A fool reveals himself, thought he talk but of greasing gimlets, in such a fierce light as
beat upon the Chien Rouge. Nor could any fool love long in that light. It
turned him inside out; it revealed him even to himself as a leper and an
outcast; and he could not stand it.
In such a circle humbug could not live. Men of high intellectual
distinction, passing through Paris, were constant visitors at the Chien Rouge.
As guests they were treated with high honour; but woe to the best of them if
some chance word let fall led D--- or L--- to suspect that he had a weak spot
somewhere! When this happened, nothing could save him: he was rent and cast
to the carrion beasts for a prey.
How often have I seen some literary or pictorial Pentheus, impious and
self-sufficient as he, disguise himself (with a tremor of fear) in his noblest
artistic attire, as the foolish king in the bassara of the Maenads!
How often have I seen Dionysus -- or some god -- discover the cheat and give
him over to those high-priests of dialectic, D--- and L---, to be stripped and
ravaged amid the gleeful shrieks of the wit-intoxicated crowd! But once the
victim was upon the altar, once he rose from his chair, then what a silence
fell! Frozen with the icy contempt of the assembly, the wretch would slink
down the room with a scared grin on his face, and not until he had faced that
cruel ordeal, more terrible (even to a callous fool) than an actual whipping
would have been, not until the door had closed behind him would the silence
break as someone exclaimed "My God, what a worm!" and led the conversation to
some more savoury subject.
On the other hand, there was B---, a popular painter, upon whom the whole
Dog pounced as one man, to destroy him.
But when they saw that his popular painting was not he, that he had a true
heart and an honest ambition, how quickly were the swords beaten into
absinthes, and the spears into tournedos!
S---, again, with a face like a portrait by Rembrandt, a man of no great
intellect, but making no pretension thereto, how he was loved for his jolly
humour, his broad smile, his inimitable stories!
Yet it must not be supposed that the average man, however sincere, had much
of a welcome there. Without intention to wound, he was yet hurt -- the arrows
of wit shot over his head, and he could never feel at home.
I am perhaps the one exception. Without a ghost of talent, even in my own
profession -- medicine -- I had no claim whatever to the hospitality of the
Dog. But being perfectly unobtrusive, I dare say I was easy to tolerate,
perhaps even of the same value as a background is to a picture, a mere patch
of neutral colour, yet serving to harmonize the whole. Certainly nothing but
my silence saved me. The remark a few pages back about Hall Caine and
Meredith would have caused my instant execution, by the most painful, if the
least prolonged, of deaths.
Aye! no society, since men gathered together, was ever so easy to approach,
to seat oneself among, to slip away from, or to be hurled in derision from
Dreaded as they were by the charlatan, no set of men could have been more
closely-knit, more genial, more fraternal. United by a bond of mutual
respect, even where they differed -- of mutual respect, I say, by no means of
mutual admiration, for it was the sincere artistry that they adored, not the
technical skill of achievement -- they formed a noble and harmonious group,
the like of which has perhaps never yet been seen.
Of this circle K--- was an honoured member. Perfectly at home in all
societies, he endeared himself to this one by his singular versatility and
charm, his sincerity and brilliance. Once they grasped the many-sided nature
of his mind -- an operation which took about two hours' hard work on the part
of D--- and L---, for K--- dissimulated, with amusing effrontery, the real
harmony of his character -- they knew him for a man, and loved him.
It was at the Red Dog that I first had the pleasure of meeting him. He was
then living apart form his wife, who had returned to Cairo for the sake of its
vice, and he occupied a small flat in the Avenue Matignon; I was myself living not far away, and about ten o'clock we left the Dog, and he suggested that I
should walk home with him.
Near the Place St Michel, however, he suddenly hailed a closed cab -- it
was the depth of winter -- and motioned me to enter. I was exceedingly
surprised, for he was fond of walking, and hated travelling by any kind of
vehicle. Near the Pont-Neuf he stopped the cab, removed his great blue cloak
and coat (an elaborate tunic trimmed with ermine, for he was an eccentric in
costume to the point of monomania) and stepped outside with me, bidding the
cabman to wait. We stood in the shadow of a large urinoir and he anxiously
consulted his watch. "Damn the b---!" he exclaimed after a few minutes, "will
she trick me after all? Or has my note miscarried?"
I was more and more astonished, even embarrassed, but I dared not question
him. Suddenly, however, there resounded the echo of a pitiful cry apparently
proceeding from a house which stood upon the quay. A smile of pleasure chased
the frown from his face. In a few moments came the sound of softly running
feet upon the road, and a disheveled woman with a face set hard like ivory
dipped into the light. A movement -- his strong nervous hand pressed me back
-- she stood upon the parapet and dived. Like a flash he was after her, and
almost before I could reach the edge of the river he was swimming steadily to
the steps with the unhappy girl. He bundled her into the cab with but little
assistance from me, and, giving a brief excuse -- and a louis -- to the
constable who ran up, we drove off home. He revived her with a million kisses
and endearments -- rather embarrassing for a third party -- and when her eyes
opened and she saw his boyish face she had only one word -- "It isn't true
then? Oh my God, it isn't true?" -- and fell to murmuring his name with every
accent of infinite love and tenderness.
At his house my astonishment was tenfold. Ready and waiting for us were
hot drinks of every kind, blankets toasting before a splendid fire, a bright
open bed in the luxurious room -- in ten minutes he had her nude and dry and
warm and happy. He dismissed me queerly: "I suppose I must follow," he
laughed, lifting her tenderly into bed with yet another kiss. "I'll tell you
about it one day."
So I left him. She was his mistress for more than a year -- perhaps is so
still. It turned out that he had spent six weeks driving the poor child,
whose only folly was her love for him, to suicide, by a calculated series of
abominable cruelties, above all by his refusal to return her love. The final
"coup" was as I have described; he had foreseen all, provided for all.
Such incidents are characteristic of the man; he had not (I firmly believe)
even the excuse of love for her.
As I have observed, the Nameless Novel was written during his wife's
convalescence. The verses which composed the Bromo Book are due to many
occasions. Some are mere exercises in metre. If he heard a new form of
rhyme, as in the "Sailor ashore," he would compose in it, and, lest his vanity
should lure him into publishing one of such exercises, he chose words which
would make it impossible.
I obtained the MS. by a simple act of burglary. Being sure that he would
never consent to their publication I had no scruples, for he might have
destroyed them. It seems to me that the most versatile genius of this,
perhaps of any age, is best served by exhibiting that genius, even where, as
at present, it turns to the most incredibly loathsome forms. The portrait of
the Twelve Disciples would be sadly marred by so inartistic a blunder as the
exclusion of Judas Iscariot.
1. It may be noted that this pure young man who loves Pompilia in such a
virginal manner has some pretty foul ideas.
2. Or even Arthur.
3. Thus the visions of a St Francis assume the eidola of his maudlin
devotion; those of a St Anthony are tinctured by the physiological reaction
against his senseless austerities.
4. It must be understood that this was not exactly what he did, but an
analogy as near as is consistent with his incognito. So throughout.
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from the Grady Project:
Originally published in The Magickal Link volume II, number 8 (August 1982) on pages 1-2, this piece is part of a series of articles "On Technical Information and Curriculum," lately reprinted in these pages.
by Hymenaeus Alpha 777
What I have been doing in the last two articles "On Technical Information"
is to acquaint you with a small portion of the plethora of information you are
facing, and the simplicity with which it can be organized. There will be
more, but at this point we consider how to study. That is curriculum.
When I submitted "On Technical Information (2)," der Heidrick said, "Grady,
this is impossibly compressed."
I: How many of the kids do you think will get it?
He: About a quarter.
I: That's the whole idea. The bright ones will get it; the rest will ask
questions. That's why they invented dictionaries. It's time we got them out
of Sand Box I. They want to be Thelemic Magicians. Let them learn how to
organize the material of their discipline so they can apply it. For our
purposes Magick is defined "The Physics of Metaphysics."
Curriculum is your specific course of study. It is divided into the
subjects of your discipline. Take a shoe box (the one you swiped your rolling
lid from), and a handful of file folders. Mark each folder with the name of a
subject: Kabbalah, Tarot, Crowley, Latin, Sepheroth (Liber D), Astrology, etc.
Set aside a stack of 8" by 11" three-hole punched pads for work sheets that
will be filling these folders. The three-hole note paper is so you can later
file them in your three-ring binder as your "executive loose leaf notebook."
After all, that is your Thoth Tarot deck. An executive's loose leaf notebook
on the pyramid mysteries of Egypt. Seen via the computer grid that is 777.
Next set aside a separate folder and tear out twenty-two pages from your
pad. Mark each page "Z" to "A." Put "A" on the bottom and "Z" on top. Words
in the Hebrew code are spelled right to left so it is easier to read them back
to front. Gets you to thinking upside-down like a typesetter. Believe me,
this will stand you in good stead when you start revolving the cycles. Then
as you go through and start numbering the Hebrew words in your 777, 418,
Kaballah Denudata, Masonic readings, etc., you will start to build your
knowledge of the Ship's Code Book and you will start getting acquainted with
words like ZRO ( = 277). Why is that important? According to Crowley, in
his story Atlantis, the production of ZRO (that is, "sow, propagate; seed,
semen") was the principal object of the priests of Atlantis. Crowley was not
always kidding. I suggest you take him seriously. Also other goodies:
ZION = 156
Will-Power = 346
Vrihl = 251
The Understanding (Binah) = 67
The Tree of Life = 228
Torrentes Aquarum = 291
(O yez -- get a Latin-English
Skull (Golgotha) = 466
NUIT, THE STAR GODDESS = 75
Long of Nose = 352
The end; appointed time = 190
Controversia Domini = 217
Choronzon = 333
Aquarius = 44
And how do we get all those groovy English equivalents from the Hebrew-
Egyptian fire alphabet? Well, you just invent your own, like Tarzan learning to read from a book he found in a jungle hut. But it's handy to have a guide.
Ours happens to be:
Let's take a practical example. Crowley says someplace that the Tree of Life
and the Thirty Aethyrs coincide only at certain points. So take the Index of
Aethyrs in your 418. Note which ones relate to a Thoth card. On a work sheet start with:
Atu I, The Magus Third Aethyr, ZON
for the paths and work down. Also start a separate sheet for the Sepheroth
(1) Kether Aethyrs 21 and 16
You will find quite a different universe. A world of planes and islands
where reality exists only where certain vibrations coincide. Rots of ruck, and good hunting!
Oyez -- If you prefer to use "X" for Aleph and save "A" for the Greek
Kabbalah, Ararita would look like this:
X Th ' R X R X
---- H. A. 777
Inspired by Hadit Encampment, where they know NOT ( = 129) what they do.
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from the Library Shelf
This story comes from 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). This tale is told on the 398th night (pages 244-5 of volume 4).
The Khalif El Mamoun and
the Pyramids of Egypt
A Tale from the Arabian Nights
translated by John Payne (1883)
It is told of the Khalif El Mamoun, son of Haroun el Reshid, when he
entered the God-guarded city of Cairo, was minded to pull down the Pyramids,
that he might take what was therein; but, when he went about to do this, he
could not avail thereto, for all his endeavour. He expended great sums of
money in the attempt, but only succeeded in opening up a small gallery in one
of them, wherein he found treasure, to the exact amount of the money he had
spent in the works, neither more nor less; at which he marveled and taking
what he found there, desisted from his intent.
Now the Pyramids are three in number, and they are one of the wonders of
the world; nor is there on the face of the earth their like for height and
fashion and skillful ordinance; for they are builded of immense rocks, and
they who built them proceeded by piercing one block of stone and setting
therein upright rods of iron; after which they pierced a second block of stone
and lowered it upon the first. Then they poured melted lead upon the joints
and set the blocks in geometrical order, till the building was complete. The
height of each pyramid was a hundred cubits, of the measure of the time, and
it was four-square, each side three hundred cubits long, at the bottom, and
sloping upward thence to a point. The ancients say that, in the western
Pyramid, are thirty chambers of vari-coloured granite, full of precious stones
and treasures galore and rare images and utensils and ungents, so that they
may not rust till the day of Resurrection. Therein, also, are vessels of
glass, that will bend and not break, containing various kinds of compound
drugs and medicinal waters. In the second Pyramid are the records of the
priests, written on tablets of granite -- to each priest his tablet -- on which
are set out the wonders of his craft and his achievements; and on the walls
are figures like idols, working with their hands at all manner of crafts and
seated on thrones. To each pyramid there is a guardian, that keeps watch over
it and guards it, to all eternity, against the ravages of time and the
vicissitudes of events; and indeed the marvels of these pyramids astound all
who have eyes and wit. Many are the poems that describe them, thou shalt
profit no great matter thereby, and among the rest, quoth one of them:
The high resolves of kings, if they would have them to abide
In memory, after them, are in the tongues of monuments.
Dost thou not see the Pyramids? They, of a truth endure
And change not for the shifts of time or chances of events.
Consider but the Pyramids and lend an ear to all
They tell of bygone times and that which did of yore befall.
Could they but speak, assuredly they would to us relate
What time and fate have done with first and last and great and small.
I prithee, tell me, friend of mine, stands there beneath the sky
A building with the Pyramids of Egypt that can vie
In skillful ordinance? Behold, Time's self afraid of them,
Though of all else upon the earth 'tis dreaded, low and high.
My sight no longer rests upon their wonderous ordinance,
Yet are they present evermore unto my spirit's eye.
Where's he the Pyramids who built? What was his tribe,
His time and what the place where he was stricken dead?
The monuments survive their lords awhile; then death
O'ertaketh them and they fall prostrate in their stead.
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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for June 2002 e.v.
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Rites of Eleusis Planning Meeting
8PM in the library
|Ancient Ways Festival
|Ancient Ways Festival
|Ancient Ways Festival
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|New Moon. Solar Eclipse in Gemini
|Maat-Tahuti reading group at Cheth
House: The Dialogues of Plato 7:30PM
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Arabian Nights, trans.
by John Payne 8PM in library
|Summer Solstice feast and ritual
7:00 PM in Horus Temple
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Full Moon. Lunar Eclipse in
Capricornus 2:42 PM
|Maat-Tahuti reading group at Cheth
House: The Dialogues of Plato 7:30PM
|The Book of Thoth study group
8:00PM library with Paul
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
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