Thelema Lodge Calendar for February 2003 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for February 2003 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, 2003 e.v.

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

February 2003 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Year of the Goat

    The new moon in Aquarius marks Chinese New Year on Saturday 1st February as we welcome the Year of the Goat, opening a festival of celebrations around Thelema Lodge in the center of the season of winter. Join the Buddhist Enochian ritual Saturday evening at 7:00 in Horus Temple, and bring your favorite culinary contributions for the feast afterwards. (Please don't feed the angels.) Sunday 2nd February will be a full day of festivities at the lodge, beginning with a Golden Topaz ritual in Horus Temple in the morning at 11:11, then a break for lunch and some exercise, followed by brother Matt's pentagram seminar in the afternoon at 4:18, and of course the gnostic mass as always on Sunday evening beginning not long after nightfall. The traditional mid-seasonal holiday of Imbolg, or Candlemas, the feast of Saint Brigid the Goddess of the Well, will find Our Father the Sun at fifteen degrees of Aquarius around ten o'clock on Monday evening 3rd February. We will celebrate that evening with the Companions of Monsalvat at Grace North Church, 2138 Cedar Street in Berkeley, beginning at 8:30. Join in for a new Thelemic liturgy, with original choral arrangements by Leigh Ann Hussey, and hear the choir straining in ecstasy as the vaulted sanctuary echoes with a hymn to Babalon the Great, the mighty organ swelling behind them. The following Saturday at noon on 8th February there will be an outdoor Brigid celebration and picnic feast at Sibley Volcanic Park in the Oakland hills, in honor of the lengthening of days and the turning of the year towards springtime. Bring along plenty to eat and drink (packed to carry for half a mile or so), and help the goddess rouse her consort.

Angelic Assemblies

    This month, Michael Sanborn continues the series of experimental Enochian rituals that began at the last Autumnal Equinox, with not one but two Enochian workings in Horus Temple.
    The first is a celebration of the growing confluence between Thelema and Buddhism, as illustrated recently by the ongoing "Golden Topaz Mass" series being performed at Thelema Lodge.
    Why all this interest? One reason is that the adepts of Buddhism have had an uninterrupted lineage of transmission going back many centuries, in contrast to the western mystery tradition, which has only been able to exist free from persecution in recent times (if at all). We westerners, then, can glimpse a depth in the Buddhist teachings that inspires us in the reconstruction of our native spirituality. From another viewpoint, the mysteries are the mysteries whether expressed in the language of the East or the West, and we have much to share with one another.
    It's also significant to remember that Crowley considered himself a Buddhist at the time of the reception of the Book of the Law. A comprehensive study of Buddhism's influence on the foundations of Thelema has yet to be accomplished (see, however "The Three Refuges," reprinted below, for an example of the Beast's early Buddhist writings).
    On Saturday evening 1st February at 7:00 we will open the Enochian Earth of Air sub-quadrant in combination with an invocation of the "Burning Buddha" archetype from The Gaia Matrix Oracle by Rowena Pattee Kryder. The ritual will include the introduction of "The Vice of Kings," or Tonglen practice in a Thelemic context, and will be followed by a discussion of the combination of Buddhism and Thelema and its meaning.
    Our second event marks the transition from the Air Tablet to the Earth Tablet on the day after the festival of Brigid. "The Rite of the Conch" will explore the New Aeon Atziluth as the spiritual realization that is the ultimate result (or Earth) of the Thelemic perspective. It will begin at 8:00 Tuesday evening 11th February, to be followed by a pot luck dinner.

The Three Refuges
by Aleister Crowley

(Chapter XII from "Science and Buddhism,"
reprinted in The Collected Works of

Aleister Crowley, vol. II, 1906)

Buddham Saranangachami.
Dhammam Saranangachami.
Sangham Saranangachami.
I take my refuge in the Buddha.
I take my refuge in the Dhamma.
I take my refuge in the Sangha.

    This formula of adhesion to Buddhism is daily repeated by countless millions of humanity; what does it mean? It is no vain profession of reliance on others; no cowardly shirking of burdens -- burdens which cannot be shirked. It is a plain estimate of our auxiliaries in the battle; the cosmic facts on which we may rely, just as a scientist "relies" on the conservation of energy in making an experiment.
    Were that principle of uncertain application, the simplest quantitative experiment would break hopelessly down.
    So for the Buddhist.
    I take my refuge in the Buddha. That there was once a man who found the Way is my encouragement.
    I take my refuge in the Dhamma. The Law underlying phenomena and its unchanging certainty; the Law given by the Buddha to show us the Way, the inevitable tendency to Persistence in Motion or Rest -- and Persistence, even in Motion, negates change in consciousness -- these observed orders of fact are our bases.
    I take my refuge in the Sangha.
    These are not isolated efforts on my part; although in one sense isolation is eternally perfect and can never be overcome (i.e. on normal planes), in another sense associates are possible and desirable. One third of humanity are Buddhists; add men of Science and we form an absolute majority; among Buddhists a very large proportion have deliberately gone out from social life of any kind to tread these paths of Research.
    Is the Way very hard? Is the brain tired? The results slow to come? Others are working, failing, struggling, crowned here and there with rare garlands of success. Success for ourselves, success for others; is it not Compassion that binds us closer than all earthlier ties? Ay, in joy and in sorrow, in weakness and in strength, do I take my refuge in the Sangha.

Admonish the Water

    The gnostic mass, our weekly thelemic communion ritual, is celebrated according to the canon in Aleister Crowley's Liber XV every Sunday evening in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge, beginning not long after nightfall. Communicants are welcome at mass, and should arrive at 7:30 to await their summons into the sanctuary of the gnosis. First-time guests please call the lodge well ahead of time for directions to the temple and additional information. To serve the lodge at mass as an officer in the liturgy, learn the mass completely, form a team to work with, and consult with other active mass officers for encouragement and suggestions; then contact the lodgemaster when you're ready for a date on the temple calendar. The gnostic mass has been the focal point of our Thelemic community for over twenty-five years, and provides the best opportunity for guests to meet the members of the lodge and to participate in the traditions of the world's oldest continually functioning official body of Ordo Templi Orientis.
    Thelemites assembling for the gnostic mass form by their congregation a church known as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, which like any church may be called upon to witness significant transition points in the lives of its members. This month the lodge will offer a forum for discussion of personal rituals (such as baptism and ordination) within our church, to be held in Horus Temple on Sunday afternoon 23rd February at 4:18. Members of the temple clergy, led by gnostic bishops T Theodora and T Mendacious, along with other interested communicants, will conduct an informal examination of the theory and practice of such rituals, locally and in the E.G.C. generally. Baphomet's note on these rituals near the end of Liber XV mentions marriage, the baptism of children, and their confirmation at puberty, along with administration to the sick. (There is an unspecified category of "celebration" mentioned first which may not pertain to any particular participant, but one can only guess at the circumstances which this clause was meant to address.) The note goes into no detail, but lists these rituals as exceptions to the general principle that "none other should be present" at the celebration of mass than "people who intend to communicate." This implies that such ceremonies would consist in a special celebration of mass, presumably with additions made to introduce the persons being baptized or confirmed, or "the two to be married," as the only communicants (other than the priest). Although the note's wording seems plain, its suggestions have not been generally implemented within the E.G.C. as we know it. Weddings at Thelema Lodge over the years have often involved special celebrations of the mass, with an interpolated interlude featuring the couple and their mutual enterprise, but seldom has the communion been restricted to the wedding couple. Baptism and confirmations have often consisted of a ceremony added on to the weekly mass in which all present have taken communion, and they have been administered to adult members (rather than to the children and teenagers for whom they seem intended). Regarding the ordination of priests (perhaps a redundancy, or even a contradiction in terms, among a gnostic congregation), Liber XV tell us only that "certain secret formulae of this Mass are taught to the Priest in his Ordination." This seems to have little to do with the bald loyalty oath that is currently being administered to priests who opt for "official" gnostic clerical status. Furthermore, there is nothing in the mass suggesting the formal recognition of deacons, and the qualifications for priestess which Liber XV sets forth -- virginity, dedication, or perhaps whoredom -- do not require a ceremony. What then is the meaning of such sacraments of personal accomplishment, are they necessary, and in what circumstances might they best be offered? Attend this discussion forum to share ideas and impressions of these special ecclesiastical experiences in the lives of Thelemites, and help set the tone with which they may be offered here in the future.

Medicine of Metals

    Brother Matt Marcus shares with Thelema Lodge the endeavors of his ongoing study group this month with a seminar on Sunday afternoon 2nd February in Horus Temple at 4:18. The subject will be the pentagram ritual, of which Crowley made the claim that "Properly understood it is the Medicine of Metals and the Stone of the Wise." We shall explore the spiritual aspects of this ritual from the standpoint of the Tree of Life, Hebrew gematria, and the geometry of the pentagram itself in order to gain greater facility and understanding of a ritual that is important for every practicing magician. Our inquiry will cover material ranging from practical aspects of the ritual in Liber O to the famous Fibonacci sequence and Golden Ratio, which characterize various aspects of nature. Whether a seasoned veteran of the ritual or a first-time practitioner, we invite you to join us a few hours before the gnostic mass for an entertaining and enlightening discussion.

The Magical Forum presents:

A Philosophical Consideration

    This month the Magical Forum will host a presentation by Nathan entitled "Understanding is Transcendent," on Wednesday evening 12th February at 8:00 in the lodge library. It will be a series of reflections on the meaning and significance of the logos, a Greek word with a variety of meanings. For the earliest Greek philosophers it designated the fundamental order and rationality of the cosmos, as a universe not totally random but structured in a meaningful manner. Logos therefore fundamentally means meaningfulness itself, and we will enquire after the nature of this meaningfulness. What is it in virtue of which all things are meaningful? A series of specific arguments will be presented, largely drawn from the work of the 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, that understanding, intelligibility, or logos, is not constructed out of our experience, but in fact ontologically precedes it, as the condition of the possibility of us having any experience at all. The implications of this view for the nature of consciousness will also be explored. The Magical Forum is an ongoing series of monthly presentations at Thelema Lodge on a variety of topics germain to the work of the Order and the interests of the community. Anyone can contribute, and if you are interested in presenting an original paper or ritual please contact the facilitator, Nathan, at

Novellino of Masuccio

    Liber Artemis Iota vel Del Coitu Scholia Triviae (Book 666) is a late work of Crowley's consisting of commentary upon selected verses from the Book of the Law, together with instructions in "sexual morality." (It is available in chapter 15 of Magick Without Tears.) It closes with a brief curriculum for study, practice, and "original research" in the discipline of erotic enthusiasm, with a bibliography of classic erotica offered in the "study" section. Apart from a few obscure nineteenth-century French pornographers covering specialty subjects, this reading list will for the most part be familiar to participants in the Section Two reading group. After listing other A A and O.T.O. instructional works, Crowley turns to ancient and medieval literature: "There are also various classics of the subject, helpful to assimilate the romantic and enthusiastic atmosphere proper to the practice of the Art: one may instance Catullus, Juvenal (especially the sixth Satire), Martial, Petronius Arbiter, Apuleius, Boccaccio, Masucci, Francois Rabelais . . ." and so on to Balzac and other French writers of the nineteenth century. The only author here who is not widely available in a variety of translations is the almost completely obscure Italian Renaissance storyteller called Masuccio. His collection of fifty stories, the Novellino, will be our subject for reading and discussion this month when the Section Two group assembles with Caitlin in the lodge library on Monday evening 17th February from 8:00 until 9:30.
    Few facts are established regarding the life of Masuccio Salernitano, a Neapolitan courtier who served as secretary to Roberto di Sanseverno in the administration of the notorious Ferdinand I, King of Naples in the middle of the fifteenth century. His very name, which survives as a story-teller of Italian village life in the Novellino (1476), is now thought to be false, the pseudonym of one Tommaso Guardati (born in Salerno about 1415, and last known alive in the 1470s). His stories, in the style of Boccaccio's Decameron (1351), are part of a long tradition of Italian collections of short prose tales. Other notable novellieri (short story authors) include Giovanni Fiorentino (Pecorone, 50 tales, about 1380), Giovanni Sercambi (Novelliero, 155 tales, about 1385), Franco Sacchetti (Trecentonovelle, 300 tales, about 1390), Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti (Porretane, 61 tales, 1478), and Matteo Bandello (Novelle, 24 tales, 1554). They also had imitators in French, such as Christine de Piza (The City of Ladies, early 15th century) and Marguerite de Navarre (Heptameron, early 16th century). Masuccio's collection has not been extensively studied, and seems nearly unknown and unavailable today. It was probably as a Cambridge undergraduate that Crowley encountered the only English translation known to have been published, which he recalled a lifetime later as he prepared Liber Artemis Iota. The deluxe two-volume edition translated by W. G. Waters (London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1895), beautifully designed and lavishly illustrated with engraved plates, was issued in such a limited edition (only "two hundred and ten copies for England and America") that it has remained extremely rare, and has never been reprinted. Although it also appears in the "O.T.O. Curriculum" appended to the great 1997 revised edition of Crowley's Book Four, few readers have had reference to this text up to now. Thelema Lodge, however, has recently obtained an electronic copy of a complete digital scan of the book, which can be made available to interested readers.
    In subject matter the Novellino participate fully in the erotic concerns which were earlier established for this genre by the tolerant sexual morality of the Decameron and of the fabliaux tradition out of which such stories emerged into literature. Not all of his stories are sexual, but the vast majority are concerned in the affairs of lovers. Characters are drawn from all walks of Italian life, with a few venturing into foreign lands or even being carried off by barbarian pirates. Unusual sexual combinations and group unions are a special interest of the Novellino, with several stories involving partner exchanges between two couples. Issues of rape and sexual slavery are explored, along with incest and prostitution and all of the varieties of adultery. The sample tale from Masuccio which appears later in these pages suggests the happy formation of a durable group marriage arrangement which is more advanced than anything which Boccaccio -- himself relatively enlightened in such matters -- could have condoned. Masuccio depicts a wide variety of responses to the problem of jealousy, some murderously violent or coldly hateful, others freely forgiving or simply unconcerned, leading either to the liberation or the reunion of the divided partners. Ritual sex is a topic, as well as sexual mysticism and the spiritual implications of erotic enthusiasm. Although in no sense pornographic or salacious, the collection evinces a thorough fascination with sex, and a degree of respect for sexual desire which is quite unusual in the literature of its age.

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The Sevenfold Wonder

    The seven Filii Lucis [Sons of Light] appeared like seven young men, all with bright countenance, white apparelled with white silk on their heads, pendant behind, with a wreath down to the ground, all apparelled of one sort. Every one seemed to have a metalyn ball in his hand: the first of gold, the second of silver, the third of copper, the fourth of tin, the fifth of iron; the sixth tossed between his two hands a round thing of quicksilver; the last had a ball of lead. The first had on his breast a round tablet of gold, and on it written a great "I," and the second on his golden tablet had his name also written; and every one orderly coming forth showed his names upon their golden tablets. At their departing they made curtsy, and mounted up to heavenward.
    Visions of angels setting forth the innumerable details of the universal emblem of creation entitled Sigillum Dei Aemeth were narrated by Edward Kelly and recorded by John Dee over the course of several years of scrying. The extracts here quoted were received on 21st March 1582 during their early work together, as they generated the fundamentals of what was to became known as "Enochian" magick. Their practical notes for this comprehensive system of angelic interrogation and employment, most of which they themselves never ventured to put into practice, are the subject for the Heptarchia Mystica series at Thelema Lodge. These Enochian seminars are taught for us by brother Charles Humphries on alternating Wednesday evenings, and meet next on the 5th and 19th of February from 8:00 until 10:00 in the lodge library. Don't miss the endless parade of heavenly messengers, who are sometimes not above behaving in the most extravagant and outrageous manner in order to hold one's attention.
    Septem Filii Filorum [seven Sons of the Sons] appeared like seven little children, like boys covered all with purple, with hanging sleeves, like priests' or scholars' gown-sleeves; their heads attired all after the former manner with purple silk. They had three-cornered tablets on their breasts, and the tablets seemed to be very green, and on them the letters of their names written. The first two letters made in one type, of "E" and "L" [combined into a single letter]. They made reverences to Michael (who called the first and these) and so mounted up to heavenward.

Crowley Classics

   Crowley's addresses to the readers of his poems include some of his most playful and dishonest presentations of himself. About the long poem Orpheus he recounts in Confessions how he wrote most of it while traveling around the world, beginning the work while staying in San Francisco (mostly in Chinatown) in 1901. "For some time," he writes in chapter 26, "I had been contemplating a lyric poem in which everything in the world should be celebrated in detail. It was a crazy notion -- one of those fantastic follies which is impossible in nature -- a species of literary 'squaring the circle.' I doubt whether it was a genuine impulse. Its motive was the vanity and vulgarity of attempting something big. It was the American passion for tall buildings and record processions in another form. It was probably my reaction to the spiritual atmosphere of California. In any case, the worst happened. I began it!" Clouds Without Water was written a few years later, also on several continents, and Crowley remained proud of it as a technical achievement in verse. "It may well be that history will say that Clouds Without Water, a story told in quatorzains, as Alice [an Adultery] is in sonnets, is my supreme lyrical masterpiece." He was especially pleased in later life to hear the Shakespeare scholar Louis Wilkinson declare it "the most tremendous and the most real love poem since Shakespeare's sonnets"(Confessions, chapter 43).

Two Poetical Prefaces
by Aleister Crowley


to the readers of Orpheus

    May I who know so bitterly the tedium of this truly dreadful poem be permitted to warn all but the strongest and most desperate natures from the task of reading or of attempting to read it? I have spend more than three years in fits of alternate enthusiasm for, and disgust of, it. My best friends have turned weeping away when I introduced its name into conversation; my most obsequious sycophants (including myself) were revolted when I approached the subject, even from afar.
    I began Book I in San Francisco one accursed day of May 1901. I was then a Qabalist, deeply involved in ceremonial magic, with a Pantheon of Egypto-Christian colour, in fact, the mere bouillon of which my Tannhauser was the froth. The idea was to do the "biggest thing ever done in lyrics." I bound myself by an oath to admit no rhyme unless three times repeated; to average some high percentage of double rhymes -- in brief, to perform a gigantic juggle with the unhappy English language. The whole of this first book is technically an ode (!!!) and was so designed. So colossal an example of human fatuity truly deserves, and shall have, a complete exposure.1
    Book I was finished in Hawaii, ere June expired, and Book II begun.
    I had just begun to study the Theosophic writings -- their influence, though slight, is apparent. So intent was I on producing a "big" book that the whole of my Argonauts was written for the shadow-play by which Orpheus wins Eurydice to an interest in mortal joys and sorrows. Also -- believe it! -- I had proposed a similar play in Book III, to be called "Heracles" or "Theseus," by performance of which Persephone should be moved, or Hades overwhelmed.
    But luckily I was myself overwhelmed first, and it never got a chance at Hades. Book II, then, and its Siamese twin, were written in Hawaii, Japan, China, Ceylon, and South India, where also I began Book III. That also I finished in the Burmese jungle and at Lamma Sayadaw Kyoung at Akyab.
    During this period I was studying the Buddhist law; and its influence on the philosophy of the poem is as apparent as that of Hinduism on Book II.
    The summer of 1902 asked another kind of philosophy -- the kind that goes with glacier travel in the Mustagh Tagh. Orpheus slept.
    Book IV was begun in Cairo on my way to England, and bears marks of confirmed Buddhism up to the death of Orpheus.
    But the more I saw of Buddhism the less I liked it, and the first part of Book IV is flatly contradicted by its climax.
    This is a pitiable sort of confession for a man to make!
    What was I to do? I could not rewrite the whole in order to give it a philosophic unity. Gerald Kelly forcibly prevented me from throwing it into the river at Marlotte, though he admitted quite frankly that he could not read even through Book I and did not see how any one could. Tell me, he said, conjuring the friendship of years, can you read it? Even a poet should be honest; I confessed that I could not!
    Taking it in sections, with relays and an ambulance, we could see no fault in it, however. It is clumsily built; it is all feet and face; but you cannot make a monster symmetrical by lopping at him.
    Still, we cut down every possible excrescence, doctored up the remains so as to look as much like a book as possible (until it is examined), and are about to let it loose on society.
    The remaining books all share this fatal lack of Architecture; but they are not so long; there is some incident, though not much; and they are proportionately less dull. Further, the scheme is no longer so ambitious, and the failure is therefore less glaring.
    I might have done like Burton and his Kasidah, and kept the MS. for twenty years (if I live so long), ever revising it. But (a) I should certainly not live twenty years if I had the accursed manuscript in all sorts and sizes of type and colour of ink and pencil to stalk my footsteps, and (b) I am literally not the man who wrote it, and, despise him as I may, I have no right to interfere with his work.
    But I will not be haunted by the ghost of a Banquo that another man has failed to lay; and this kind of ghost knows but one exorcism.
    One should bury him decently in fine fat type, and erect nice boards over him, and collect the criticisms of an enlightened press, and inscribe them on the tomb.
    Then he is buried beyond resurrection; oblivion takes him, and he will never haunt the author or anybody else again.
    Old Man of the Sea, these three years you have drummed your black misshapen heels upon me; I have had no ease because of you; I am bepissed and conskited of your beastliness; and now you are drunk with the idea that you are finished and perfect, I shall roll you off and beat your brains out upon that hardest of flints, the head of the British Public. I am shut of thee. Allah forget thee in the day when he remembereth his friends!
August 14, 1904.

1. Vide the Contents. Can the Spirit of Perversity attribute the unwieldiness of
   the structure to its formal symmetry and perfection?


to Clouds Without Water

by the Rev'd C. Verey [Aleister Crowley]

    "Receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
    So wrote the great apostle nearly two thousand years ago; and surely in these latter days, when Satan seems visibly loosed upon earth, the words have a special and dreadful significance even for us who -- thanks be to God for His unspeakable mercy! -- are washed in the blood of the Lamb and freed from chains of death -- and of hell.
    Surely this terrible history is a true Sign of the Times. We walk in the last days, and all the abominations spoken of by the apostle are freely practiced in our midst. Nay! they are even the boast and the defense of that spectre of evil, Socialism.
    The awful drama which the unhappy wretch who penned these horrible utterances has to unfold is alas! too common. Its study may be useful to us as showing the logical outcome of Atheism and Free Love.
    For the former, death; for the latter, the death-in-life of a frightful, loathsome, shameful disease.
    "Receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
    It may seem almost incredible to many of us, perhaps safely established in our comfortable cures, among a simple and Godfearing people, that any man should have been found to pen the disgusting blasphemies, the revolting obscenities, which defile these pages.
    Nor can it be denied that a certain power of expression, even at times a certain felicity of phrasing -- always, indeed, a profound dramatic feeling -- is to be found in these poems. Alas! that we should be compelled to write the words! That an art essentially spiritual, an art dignified by the great names of Gascoigne Mackie, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, George Herbert, should here be prostituted to such "ignoble use." Truly the corruption of the best is the lowest -- corruptio optimi pessima. Nor can one gleam of Hope, even in the infinite mercy of our loving Father, tinge with gold the leprous gloom of our outlook.
    These clouds without water have no silver lining.
    The unhappy man need not have feared that the poor servants of God would claim him as repentant, though surely we would all have shed the last drop of our blood to bring him to the grace of God. Alas! it was not to be.
    The devilish precautions of this human fiend excluded all such possibilities. He died as he had lived, no doubt. Alas! no doubt.
    Where is now that spotted soul? There is but one appalling answer to the question. In the "place prepared for the devil and his angels;" for "he that believeth not is condemned already."
    Not even in that modern evasion, the plea of insanity, can we find any hope. Nothing is clearer than that these wretched victims of Satan were in full possession of their faculties to the last moment.
    Surely the maniacal violence of their unhallowed lust and hate is no ground for pity but for reprobation. When our blessed Lord was on earth He made no excuses for those who were possessed of devils. He took this simply as a fact -- and he healed them.
    It is only the shocking atheism and materialism of modern science that, in an insane endeavour to whittle away the miracles of our blessed Saviour, has sought to include "possession" in the category of disease.
    Our Lord has no doubts as to the reality of demoniacal possession; why should we, His humble servants, truckle to the Christless cant of an atheistical profession?
    The facts of this shocking case are familiar enough in the drawing-rooms of the West End.
    Both the characters in the story were persons of considerable education and position.
    On this account, and because a statement of the truth (however guarded) would have compromised persons of high rank, and was in any case too disgusting to publish in the press, the tragedy was not -- one is glad to say in these days of yellow prurience -- become matter for public comment.
    But the wife of the man, driven to drink and prostitution by the inhuman cruelty of his mistress -- this modern worse than Lucrezia Borgia or Mdme de Brinvilliers -- and the fiancé of the girl betrayed and ruined by her machinations, still haunt the purlieus of the Strand, the one an unfortunate of the lowest order, the other a loafer and parasite upon the ghouls that traffic in human flesh and shame.
    Thus we see evil reproducing itself, spreading like an incurable cancer throughout society from one germ of infidelity and unhallowed lust.
    I may perhaps be blamed for publishing, even in this limited measure, such filthy and blasphemous orgies of human speech (save the mark) but I am firmly resolved (and I believe that I have the blessing of God on my work) to awake my fellow-workers in the great vineyard to the facts of modern existence.
    Unblushing, the old Serpent rears its crest to the sky; unashamed, the Beast and the Scarlet Woman chant the blasphemous litanies of their fornication.
    Surely the cup of their abominations is nigh full!
    Surely we who await the Advent of our blessed Lord are emboldened to trust that this frenzy of wickedness is a sure sign of the last days; that He will shortly come -- whose fan is in His hand, wherewith He shall thoroughly purge His floor -- and take us His saints -- however failing and humble we may be -- to be with Him in His glory for ever and ever, while those who have rejected Him burn in eternal torment, with wailing and gnashing of teeth, in that Lake of Fire and Brimstone from which -- thank God! He in His infinite mercy hath delivered us.
    But until that happy day we are bound to work on silently and strenuously in His service.
    May the perusal of these atrocious words enlighten us as to the very present influence of Satan in this world -- naked and unashamed.
    May it show us the full horror of the Enemy with whom we are bound to fight; may it reveal his dispositions, so that under our great Captain we may again and again win the Victory.
    It is my prayerful hope that He who turns evil to good may indeed use to His glory even this terrible and wicked book.
    It has cost me much to read it; to meditate on it has been a terrible shame and trial; to issue it, much against my own poor human judgment, in obedience to His will, has been a still harder task; were it permitted me to ask a recompense, I would ask none but that of His divine blessing upon my fellow- labourers in His great field.

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from the Grady Project:

   This essay was drafted by Grady for The O.T.O. Newsletter around July 1977 e.v. when that publication was just getting started. Much of its content appeared in a completely rewritten form several months later, as part of a longer essay entitled "Democracy Dodders" in volume one, number three (Berkeley: O.T.O., December 1977). In the published version the work was not credited directly to Grady, for his writing had been thoroughly revised by an initiate who volunteered to edit the Caliph's notes for publication. The awkwardness of Grady seeming too blatantly to blow his own horn, in the opening comments regarding his especially authentic writing style, was overcome by transposing his voice out of the first person, so that the judgment appears to be the result of more objective evaluation. In many other small ways a rhetorical sophistication and an editorial polish were added to the draft, and it was combined with much additional material (for which the original drafts are not available) to make a substantial essay "by Brother Al MacGregor, -- ab op. Fr. H. A. "(the abbreviation means "from the work of" Grady). In reviving the early draft, which its author determined at the time not to be ready for print, the present reader is advised to be mindful of the details and of the tone of these statements, rather than too simply applying the all-too-obvious criticisms of their social and political stance. This note survives on one page of single-spaced, corrected, and patched together typescript, with a penciled notation on top reading: "#3, Democ Dodders" and the date 7-27-77.

The Real Presence of the Caliph

by Grady Louis McMurtry

    It has sometimes been remarked that our Rap with the Caliph or Tales My Caliph Told Me have an extraordinary ring of reality. "Here is authenticity," is the reaction. Here is someone who has "been there," wherever "there" is. It is a curious fact that some people are more "real" than others. Castanada in the Don Juan series goes into the phenomena that there are "forces," as he calls them, seemingly human beings, but they have no "soul," i.e. they are incarnated elementals, "angels," circuits, whatever, but they cast no shadow in the psychic realm. They are incomplete. Or, as Dion Fortune puts it in Psychic Self-Defense (The Aquarian Press, London, 1970, p. 81), "We must not allow the human form to mislead us as to the existence of a human soul. A non-human is a pet animal, not a fellow-creature. That, frankly, is the only possible ground upon which they can be approached." It provides a curious puzzle for the political theory of democracy. How does one account for people who are not "people?" This will become one of the leading problems of the New Age.
    We ran into this a long time ago in Thelema. The Book of the Law is quite specific on the subject, and it would be easy enough to cite chapter and verse. But this is an essay on history, and you are encouraged to look up the chapter and verse yourself. Anyway, when I first became involved with old Agape Lodge on Winona Boulevard in Hollywood in the late 'thirties, they were in the process of publishing a copy of The Book of the Law. A commendable exercise, certainly. It was a small paperback, and had a blue cover with gold lettering. It was a completely authentic edition of The Book of the Law in every respect, for those people -- Wilfred Smith, Regina Kahl, Jane Wolfe, Lew Carroll, Jack Parsons, etc. -- were dedicated Thelemites; but it did leave one thing out. Not out of The Book of the Law itself -- they would never have dared tamper with that -- but out of Aleister Crowley's "Introduction" to The Book of the Law. Before we become too harsh on them for having done so, we must remember the temper of the times, as I do most vividly. Those were the days of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Nazis running around in Europe barbecuing every Jew they could find. It was a time of paranoia, and one did have to think in terms of survival. So they left a sentence out of the "Introduction." The first sentence to Chapter 5 of the "Introduction" to The Book of the Law reads, "Democracy dodders!" This can be verified by reference to previous editions, or, for that matter, to the manuscript, facsimile reproductions of which are available with every copy of The Equinox of the Gods that I have ever seen. Why would they do that? Well, quite obviously they had some idea of surviving the times without being crucified. Personally I commend their good sense. Times change, however.
    Today it is obvious that democracy is on the way out. It was never more than an accident of history to begin with. It has no roots, in epistemology of ontology. As a Political Theorist (Master's Degree, Political Theory, University of California, 1953) I have known this for twenty years. What will replace it? Quite obviously something more real. Something that recognizes the validity of psychic phenomena in the universe. People, not "things." Mankind, not robots. There is a great mystery here. As Crowley says in the Gnostic Mass,

   Man-being veiled in woman form.

Or, as we say in the A A,

    The aspirants to A A are men; the Brothers of A A are women.

It is going to be a far-out new universe.

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from the Library Shelf

   The fifty tales of Masuccio's collection of Novellino (1476) have been one of the more obscure among Aleister Crowley's bibliographical recommendations. Very much in the manner of Boccaccio's Decameron, they recount ordinary incidents in the lives of courtiers and commoners of all sorts in late medieval Italy. The collection is notable for its wide range of erotic situations and variations.

Petruccio & Salvaggia & Augustino & Catrina

The Thirty-Sixth of The Novellino
of Masuccio Salernitano (1415? - 1480?)

translated by W. G. Waters, R.S.W.
(London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1895)
volume 2, pages 188-93

    At no great distance from this neighbourhood of ours there is situated a certain spot, one little known and less visited, which, though it is for the most part inhabited by people of gross and lumpish nature, numbered but a short time ago amongst its dwellers two young men, the one a miller called Augustino, and the other a cobbler Petruccio by name. Now betwixt these men, from their youth up, there had been knit together as great a friendliness and comradeship as ever existed between the truest friends. Likewise these two had each one of them married a wife, young and very comely, and between the women there was in like manner so great and constant familiarity and intimacy that they were rarely or ever to be seen the one without the other. Wherefore, passing their lives thus in a state of perfect friendship, it chanced one day that the cobbler, although his own wife was very fair to look upon, found the wife of his friend something more to his taste -- longing peradventure for a change of pasturage. It chanced that on a certain occasion an opportunity more favourable than usual of getting speech with her was granted to him; so in becoming manner he made known to her his passion and what he desired as well. As soon as Caterina, for so the miller's wife was named, understood the meaning of this request, she put on a little air of disdain and answered nothing thereto, although in sooth it was but little displeasing to her. But the first time she chanced to meet with Salvaggia, the wife of the cobbler, she let her know what amorous propositions Petruccio her husband had been making; whereupon Salvaggia, the cobbler's leavings as it were, although mightily disturbed in temper at the story she heard, nevertheless kept her anger within bounds, and hit upon a plan by which she might at the same time have vengeance upon her husband and keep intact the great friendship subsisting between herself and Caterina; so, after having made answer to her dear friend in many grateful words, she begged her to give a promise to Petruccio her husband that she would, on some particular night, wait for him to come to her in her bed, and that, in change for herself, she should let be in the bed the rascal's own wife. Then they would assuredly find great sport and pleasure in what would follow. The miller's wife, being very anxious to humour her friend, agreed to do what she asked; and the result was that in the course of a few days Petruccio, finding himself alone with Caterina, preferred to her the same request as before, using stronger persuasion than he had used on the former occasion. After listening to him, and giving him many and various denials (which forsooth seemed to have but little heart in them), she showed herself ready to do his will, so that the trick which had been planned might be duly brought to an issue. Then, having had a discussion with him as to the when, the where, and the how, the young woman said, "In sooth I can find no time fitting for such an affair save when my husband may happen to be busied some night over his work at the mill. Then I could very well let you come to me while I am abed." To this speech Petruccio made answer in very joyful wise, "I come just now from the mill, where there is so large a quantity of grain that two-thirds of the night will assuredly be spent in the grinding of the same." Hearing this, Caterina said, "So be it, in God's name. Come, then, between the second and the third hour of the night [between seven and eight in the evening], when I shall be awaiting you, and will leave open the door, as I am accustomed to leave it for my husband. Then, without saying a word of any sort, you must straightway get into bed. Tell me, however, by what means you will keep clear of your wife, for I fear her more than I fear death." To this Petruccio made answer, "I have already hatched a plan as to how I may borrow the ass of my good gossip the arch-priest, and will tell my wife that I am minded to go away into the country." Then said she, "In sooth this plan of yours pleases me greatly."
    As soon as they had made an end of their colloquy, Petruccio betook himself to the mill to get due assurance that his comrade had his hands full of business, and in the meantime Caterina gave to her friend full intelligence as to the plan which had been arranged. Petruccio, when he had ascertained that the miller was at work in the mill according to his wont, went back to his house, and making believe that he was vastly busied over his affairs, told his wife that he had a mind to go forthwith to Policastro in order to buy some leather for the workshop. The wife, who knew well enough whither he was really bound, said to him, "Go at once then;" but laughing to herself she said, "This time, forsooth, you will find you have bought leather of your own, instead of skin belonging to another man." Petruccio having made a show of departure, hid himself in a certain spot in the village, and there tarried, waiting till the expected hour should come. Caterina, as soon as the night had fallen, went to the house of Salvaggia, and, according to the plan settled between them, took up her abode there for the night; while Salvaggia went to Caterina's house, and having duly got into bed, waited with no little satisfaction the coming of her husband to that amorous battle which he so keenly desired, saying to herself many times that, after the business should be finished, she herself would have something to say.
    Petruccio, when it seemed to him that the time was ripe, went with gentle steps towards his neighbour's house; but, just as he was about to enter therein, he saw that the miller was coming back home -- the reason for his return being that the mill, for some cause which he could not determine, had broken down in such wise that during the present night no work whatever could be done. On account of this Petruccio was stricken with fear, and, mightily ill content with this accident, stole back to his own house without having been seen or heard by anybody, saying to himself the while that, though the business had miscarried this time, it should be duly dispatched the next attempt. But because there yet remained to be spent a good part of this night which had proved so unlucky to him, he began at first softly and then aloud to knock at the door, and to call out to his wife to open it and let him in. Caterina, perceiving who it was by the voice, not only refused to open to him, but furthermore, without answering a word, kept herself as quiet as a mouse, so as not to let him get wind of the plot that had been laid for him. Petruccio, being mightily perturbed at this, plied the door so vigorously that at last he gained entry thereby, and, having gone in, went straight to the bed; and then, becoming aware of the presence of the woman, who was pretending to be fast asleep, he shook her by the arm and awakened her. Believing all the while she was his wife, he compounded a fresh story to account for the fact that his journey had been abandoned, and, having taken off his clothes, he lay down beside her. And seeing that he had already prepared himself for action, he set himself now to consider whether, after he had been frustrated in his plan of tilling his neighbour's vineyard, he might not as well do a stroke of work in his own. Wherefore, deeming that of a surety he had fast hold of his Salvaggia, he took Caterina in his arms and gave her a valorous proof of his powers, which the poor woman bore with due show of pleasure and patience in order to make him believe that she was in sooth his wife.
    In the meantime the miller, who had gone back wearily and with lagging steps to his house, and had laid himself down in his bed in order to get some sleep, lay quite immovable without uttering a word. Salvaggia, being well assured that it was her husband who was with her, gave him a gladsome reception, keeping quite silent the while; and, after she had waited for some time without finding the lover in the way of giving any sign that he was disposed for the battle, began to handle him amorously in order that she might not be mocked and befooled in the business she had undertaken. The miller, believing that he was abed with his wife, although he felt more need of a good night's rest than any desire of skirmishing of this sort, when he felt her lustful bitings and dallyings was stirred to get to work, and duly set going the mill which was not his own. Now when it appeared to the cobbler's neglected wife that the time had come for her to let forth the angry words she had prepared, she broke the silence and took him to task in these words: "Ah! deceitful rogue, disloyal dog that you are! Who was it you deemed you were holding in your arms, the wife of your best friend, in whose field you thought this night to spend your labour, for the sake of friendship, peradventure? Here indeed you have gone to work with far more spirit than is your wont, proving yourself to be a man of mettle, while at home you are ever short of breath. But, God be thanked, this time you have missed the prize you dreamt of, and all the same I will take good care that you smart for your sins." And with discourse like this, and with words still more injurious, she importuned him and demanded his answer.
    The poor miller, although he was one dumb-stricken when he learned the condition of affairs, understood nevertheless clearly enough, as soon as he caught the meaning of her words, that the woman abed with him was no other than the wife of his good friend. However, divining exactly how the matter had come to pass, the pleasure which he had felt heretofore was quickly turned into sorrow; but, by dint of resolutely keeping silence, he withdrew himself from her side, and, for the reason that it was not daylight, he made his way with all speed to the spot where he deemed for certain he would find his own wife. Having arrived there and called for his friend, bidding him come down on account of a pressing matter, Petruccio went forth, albeit mightily distrustful, and him the miller at once addressed in these terms: "Good brother of mine, it comes from your fault alone that we both of us have suffered injury, and have been put to shame, and have met with a mishap of a sort which renders it more seemly on our part to keep silence than to speak, while there is assuredly no need to being about a quarrel over the same."
    Then, with no small chagrin, the miller set forth the whole story in due order to his friend, giving him full description as to how everything had happened; adding, as his own judgment thereanent, that as Fortune had shown herself propitious to the cunning and malice of their wives, she had likewise shown no disposition to vent her spite upon themselves by letting happen anything which might bring to naught, or even lessen, their friendship, which had lasted so many years. He further went on to say that the mishap which had just befallen them through trickery might, through the rectification of the late lamentable error, be made to serve the common agreement and pleasure of all four of them, and that, as in times past they had possessed all their goods in common, so in the future they should likewise enjoy the possession of one another's wives. Petruccio, perceiving what was the wise determination of his good friend, and remembering that he himself had already taken his pleasure with the woman who was his special fancy, and that the whole affair was in a way to find an issue in goodwill and charity, came to the conclusion that it would be vastly more profitable to him to keep his friend, whom he might well have lost on account of this slip of his, than the mere esteem of the world (which, as may be seen in this our time, sells itself as if it were a thing of little worth, or even barters itself away like goods of the basest sort.) Wherefore, putting on a pleasant face, he affirmed that he was fully content with the plan which the miller had already formed in his mind for their common convenience and for the lasting peace and quiet of both their houses.
    And thus, having called to Caterina and bidden her not to go away, they made it known to her that she was not the only one who had been tricked, and gave her directions to go and summon Salvaggia forthwith. And when they were once more all come together, they let it be clearly known what had been the consequence of the attempted fraud, and how great would prove to be the boon of peace and quiet agreed upon and established between them all by the happy alliance just concluded, which thing seemed to all present to be most excellent for many and divers reasons. Thus, from this time forward, neither in the matter of their wives, nor in the matter of their goods of any kind whatsoever, was any distinction recognized between the two friends, and the agreement was carried out in such manner that the only parents the children knew for their very own were their mothers.

Masuccio's Commentary

    Without doubt there will be found some to hold up to derision the bargain concluded between these two friends in the fashion which I have just described -- men who set greater store on their friendship than on their common honour. Nevertheless, I suspect that in the sight of those who may come after us (if Heaven should not in the meantime work vast changes), this aforesaid honour, which today is held in high esteem and lauded by virtuous folk alone, will come to such a pass that, overwhelmed with universal contempt, it will not only be held a thing of no account, but will even be chased to the uttermost parts of the earth into a perpetual exile. However, this is an affair which I will leave to posterity, merely saying that if two other noble companions, concerning whom I am minded to write, had, while commending their loves to a certain gentle maiden, taken as an example compact made between these two clownish country fellows, there would have not ensued such grevious strife, nor would so many people have died thereby, which things you shall hear of in the story I will now gladly relate to you.

The End of the Thirty-sixth Novel.

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for February 2003 e.v.

2/1/03Midwinter Enochian ritual with
Michael. 7PM at Horus Temple
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/1/03Chinese New Year of the Goat
2/2/03Golden Topaz ritual 11:11AM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/2/03Pentagram seminar with Br. Matt
4:18 PM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/2/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/3/03Feast of Brigid (at 10PM)
Candlemas ritual at Grace North
Church with Leigh-Ann at 8:30PM
2/5/03Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian
with Charles 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/7/03Mid-winter picnic for BRIGID
Sibley Park in the Oakland hills
at noontime
2/9/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/11/03The Rite of the Conch 8:00PM
at Horus Temple. Potluck after.
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/12/03Magical forum 8PM: "Understanding is
Transcendent" a philosophical
enquiry with Nathan in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/14/03Feast of Saint Valentine
2/16/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/17/03Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Masuccio's Novellino
(Italian stories) 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/19/03Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian
with Charles 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/21/03Pathworking with Paul. 8PM
in Horus Temple
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/23/03Forum on EGC Baptism 4:18PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/23/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

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

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