Thelema Lodge Calendar for May 2003 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for May 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.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
May 2003 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Beltane with Monsalvat
Thelema Lodge hosts the Companions of Monsalvat in Horus Temple to
celebrate the feast of Beltane early Monday evening 5th May beginning at 7:00,
with a communal feast to follow the ritual. As we enter the temple Sol will
have achieved the heart of Taurus about two hours earlier, and we mark the
halfway point in the season of spring. Festivities will include music and
dancing, the usual Monsalvat smells and bells, an inspired reading from the
Holy Books of Thelema, and then a grand feast to which it is hoped that
everyone involved will generously contribute in one way or another. To assist
with the presentation, make contact ahead of time with Leigh Ann (our blood-
and-thunder preacher-man from the third chapter of Liber AL last month), or
contact the lodge to coordinate cuisine for our meal afterwards.
Vehicle of the Joy
All are invited on Sunday evenings in Hours Temple to take communion with
the members and friends of Thelema Lodge in our celebration of the gnostic
mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Arrive by 8:00 and gather in the library
to await the summons of the deacon into the sanctuary of the gnosis. To
attend as a guest for the first time, call the lodgemaster well ahead for
directions to the temple and further information about the ritual.
Communicants can study our liturgy in Liber XV, written ninety years ago by
Aleister Crowley in the office of Baphomet, Patriarch of Ecclesia Gnostica
Catholica. Once familiar with the canon of the mass, those willing to serve
the lodge as officers in this celebration should begin by practicing privately
with others as a mass team. Novice clergy will want to work with the mass by
themselves until they know it well enough to ensure that the ritual will be
"rightly performed with joy and beauty" when they celebrate it for the lodge.
They may gain valuable advice and encouragement along the way from our gnostic
bishops and other temple officers, discussing their progress with those they
see already fulfilling the clerical roles. When ready to reserve a date on
the temple calendar, the team should seek out the assistance of the
lodgemaster. New officers are welcome to approach any of our clergy for help
with the mass. This is a liturgy which has sustained our Thelemic community
for decades, and we maintain it for ourselves by teaching it to each other
whenever the opportunity arises.
Frosts are Slain and Flowers Begotten
Next, amid a cloud of angels bearing silver trumpets, came one with great height of brow, and eyes of golden flashes. In him the whole heaven rocked with harmonious music, and faint shapes formed up among the waves, like Venus born of ocean foam. They had not substance . . . they were too great, to godlike, to be human. Not one was there of whom it could not be said "Half a woman made with half a god." And these, enormous and tragic, fiery, with wings and sandals of pure light, encompassed him and wooed him. Thus appears
the figure of Saint Algernon Charles Swinburne, in the parade of souls shown
to the heroine of Crowley's novel Moonchild (written mostly in 1916 e.v.
although not published until 1929). Appearing there in the sequence of
worthies between William Blake and Richard Strauss, he was a poet whom Crowley
very much admired, and whose verse does much to give a distinctive flavor to
The Rites of Eleusis. Swinburne was both a strong poetical influence on
Crowley's own writing, and a partner in the mutual influences they both felt
from the works of Milton, Shelley, and Baudelaire. This month we will be
making a brief study of Swinburne's poetry at Thelema Lodge, and then invite
all interested readers and listeners to join Caitlin and the Section Two
reading group to read from Atalanta in Calydon on Monday evening 19th May in
the library from 8:00 until 9:30.
Swinburne was born wealthy in 1837 and educated at Eton and Oxford. At
Balliol College he became associated with the artists and writers who would
soon establish themselves as the "Pre-Raphaelite" movement, including Dante
Gabriel Rossetti, William Morris, and Edward Burne-Jones. While in Europe
after leaving university without a degree, he became a close friend of fellow
gostic saint Sir Richard Francis Burton. A prolific poet renowned for his
facility in suggesting the effects of classical Greek verse in English,
Swinburne emerged at the age of 28, upon the celebrated publication of
Atalanta in Calydon, as one of the great Victorian poets. A poem of just over
2300 lines, in the form of an ancient Greek tragedy, Atalanta in Calydon
appeared in 1865, and when he followed it up the next year with his first
collection of Poems and Ballads, Swinburne's reputation was established.
Unfortunately the success also confirmed his extravagant habits of life,
leading to a period of alcoholic dissolution which he barely survived.
Whispered about as a pervert and fetishist, he built a reputation as a very difficult house-guest, despite his poetical gifts, and several times had to be
rescued from scandals by his family. Friends at last persuaded him to retire
to the country, where good care was taken of him and he lived until 1909,
Crowley writes of himself in The Equinox of the Gods that in 1900 he "was
tested in the works of Shakespeare, Shelley, Swinburne (1st series of Poems and Ballads), Browning and The Moonstone" and was "able to place exactly any
phrase from any of these books, and in nearly every case to continue with the
passage." It was a skill which he had built up as a child when his father
hired a series of tutors to help him become familiar with the Bible.
Crowley's devotion to the works of Shelley and Browning is well known,
especially during his early years. Shakespeare too he read throughout his
life and knew quite well. (It is amusing to think that Crowley was also
thoroughly familiar with Wilkie Collins's great 1868 novel of detection, The Moonstone, a triumph of elaborate plotting but hardly a stylistic model.)
Just who tested him on these works and in what circumstances is apparently not
recorded; it could have been, that year, McGregor Mathers in Paris, Allan
Bennett in London, Oscar Ekenstein in Nepal, or even "Don Jesus de Medina-
Sidonia in the City of Mexico." It often seems to a young poet that his own
time -- whatever that time may be -- is an especially poor period for poetry.
So it seemed to Crowley sometimes, seeing the London literary scene of the
Edwardian era through the influences of a somewhat sophisticated (i.e. French)
literary perspective. "No more terrible period than this is to be found in
literature," he writes in the "Preface" to White Stains. In his own country,
"Swinburne stands on his solitary pedestal above the vulgar crowds of
priapistic plagiarists; he alone caught the fierce frenzy of Baudelaire's
brandied shrieks, and his First Series of Poems and Ballads was the legitimate
echo of that not fierier note. But English Art as a whole was unmoved, at any
rate not stirred to any depth, by this wave of debauchery. The great thinkers
maintained the even keel, and the windy waters lay nor for their frailer barks
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
Independence for Eleusis
Members of the greater Thelemic community centered in the eastern San
Francisco Bay area have determined to perform this summer's traditional cycle
of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis as a free and independent project. The
Rites this year will not be O.T.O. events, and will be open to participation
by all who cooperate to produce and enjoy them together. The lodge applauds
this spirit of Thelemic independence, recognizing that the Rites of Eleusis
were originally organized here without charter from the O.T.O. by initiates
and others working freely and informally together. To get involved in the
Rites or to attend them when the cycle opens at the end of this month, contact
anyone involved in last year's performances for information regarding how to
network into the new system.
A Dozen Points of Order
Officers and senior initiates at Thelema Lodge have often been asked to
recommend a course of study to accompany the O.T.O. Man of Earth degree
sequence. The response has been a variety of informal suggestions offered
from different perspectives to suit a broad range of individual requirements.
Some years ago the lodge organized a project to assemble some of these
suggestions into a more formal curriculum which could be made available to
everyone, but no definitive version emerged at the time. Combining many of
the suggestions contained in the old program known as Liber MCLI with
traditional advice often given to newer members and points from Crowley's own
programs for the Order, the following formulations are offered as a draft for
discussion within the lodge. Of course no predetermined program nor
established curriculum can succeed by itself in teaching magick; the science of belief operates in the realm of human relations (either with others or with
oneself) and the meanings which the magician comes to control can best be
appreciated as they are shared and communicated. It is however easy to
suggest a few technical possibilities to those who are training themselves in
the Thelemic tradition, and if such a program as this is to have value at all
it will be in the questions which it raises. The lodgemaster will welcome any
comment on this project, and if there is sufficient interest an evening may be
set aside next month to discuss and revise the points outlined here. Thanks
to several distinguished lodge members of the past for helping years ago to
express some of these points, especially Ebony Anpu, Lola De Wolfe, and Julie
A Magical Curriculum
Optional for Initiates of the M M M
at Thelema Lodge, Ordo Templi Orientis
Become proficient in the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram. Observe
performances of this ritual by various initiates. Experiment with vocal
range, depth, volume, size of circle, location, visualization, and timing.
Record in a ritual diary any observations, insights, and effects. Gradually
expand your repertoire to include the Star Ruby, Star Sapphire, Hexagram, and
other basic rituals of banishing and invoking. Modify them to invent a
version of your own for private use, and experiment also with non-ceremonial
techniques of banishing and invocation.
Learn Liber Resh and perform it daily, using precise times for the four
quarters of the day whenever possible. Develop an awareness of the planetary
government of hours, and the ability to maintain this system throughout the
day, and to use it as a foundation for personal ritual. Pay attention to the
stars; cultivate an awareness of the sun, moon, and planets, following them
through their signs, phases, and cycles. Select either astrology or astronomy
as a discipline from which to make a complete study of the heavenly system.
Regarding all work, all study, and all play also as ritual, keep a private
diary of selected operations and engagements, including circumstances and
effects. Maintain notes from different stages of your work, and experiment
with the creation of ritual practices corresponding to successive insights and
perspectives. Apply the method of science in developing, executing, and
evaluating ritual work, using it as controlled experimentation from which to
gather useful data.
Read the Book of the Law and the Holy Books of Thelema, along with other
sacred writings of all varieties. Learn to work with meditation,
memorization, analysis, and discussion as methods of comprehending complexly
meaningful texts, and work to expand the scope of literature which may be read
as sacred, until the holy nature of all language becomes evident. Strive to
read honestly and critically in deriving meaning from texts, and then extend
the techniques of reading beyond language to the signs and symbols which fill
the worlds of nature and humanity.
Learn to sketch the images of the principal gods of Egypt, especially Nuit,
Tahuti, Hadit (the winged globe), and Horus. Make a study of the Stele of
Revealing, and of the universe as outlined in the Book of the Dead. Develop
methods for the pursuit of parallel studies in a variety of other religious
cultures, with special attention to divine iconography, invocation, cosmology,
sacrament, and enlightment. Then expand these methods of study to include the
widest conceivable spectrum of culture and science.
Experience the universe as an extension of the divine. Make a deep study of
Qabala and Tarot, becoming familiar with the organization of the Tree of Life,
and with the Book of Thoth (as well as other presentations of the Tarot
cards). Learn the basic values for Gematria in Hebrew and Greek, and
experiment with conversions of these systems into English. Study Sepher Sepheroth and the Greek Qabala, as well as Liber 777, outlining its principal
columns along the diagram of the Tree of Life. Include at least the following
|Hebrew alphabet names
|meanings of the Hebrew letters
|Tree of Life
|XV through XVIII.
| color scales (especially the Queens scale
of the sephiroth and the Kings scale
of the paths)
|LIII & CLXXXV.
|Greek alphabet and numerical values
|numerical values of the Hebrew letters
zodiac (single letters)
Test your progress in these techniques by making frequent use of Qabalah and
Tarot in communication with others, and find methods of gauging the validity
and usefulness of your work according to your success in making yourself
Exercise the arts of yoga and concentration, after those manners best suited
to your own intentions, abilities, and circumstances. Develop those
disciplines you find most productive, and avoid obsessing on irrelevant
practices. Include the athletic, the erotic, and the aesthetic in your yogic
studies. Do not neglect the exercise of silence.
Cultivate an awareness of your self which includes the magical projection of
your will. Choose a motto or name to represent at its present stage the
pursuit of your own Great Work. (Consider whether you want to keep this name
private, or use it openly among your brothers.) A traditional practice within
the O.T.O. is to take one name for the 0° and I° initiations (determined
either before or after the Minerval ceremony), and thereafter to take another
name at each subsequent initiatory advancement, with the earlier names
maintained in usefulness as appropriate. Magical names may be used for the
preservation of anonymity in public circumstances, but it is rude to represent
oneself in ways which lead to confusion or alienation among others. Cultivate
an awareness of other selves which allows for the projection of other,
independent wills. Become aware of the fraternal relationships which you are
forming, and of those of others around you. Consider the difference between
fraternity and friendship, and the additional responsibilities of brotherhood,
particularly with regard to honesty, respect, and justice, the strengths which
encourage generosity and accomplishment.
Undertake a specific magical project of your own design. Outline the project
for yourself before beginning, and consult with others to whatever extent may
be useful. Take special care regarding the manner and extent to which you
involve others, and be able to account for their influences and contributions.
Keep a record of your progress throughout the course of your project,
concluding with an evaluation of your success. Become involved in group
rituals on a larger scale, as at holidays, in the Rites of Eleusis, in a lunar
circle, or in the gnostic mass, and contribute to collective workings. Making
use of both individual and group experiences, develop ritual into a religion
Consider fully for yourself whether or not it is your own true will to
continue pursuing your magical work along these lines of study. "Thou hast no right but to do thy will." Seek out and discover on your own the secret
fountains of enlightenment, celebration, and community. Become wise in the
consideration afterwards of how best to share the findings from your search.
Cultivate a critical and discerning consciousness. Work at the analysis of
culture from a Thelemic perspective. Devote a critical scrutiny to persons,
institutions, and ideas, especially those which you have decided to invest
with value and authority. Take responsibility for yourself, and continually
reevaluate your own True Will, especially when taking advice, accepting
authority, or following directions (such as these).
Commune magically apart from the Order with human and natural systems of all
kinds. Your independence makes our Order strong, just as your knowledge and
your honor keep it true.
This one-act play appeared in the weekly magazine The New Age (London) on 30th May 1908 e.v. under the pseudonym of Lavinia King. That was the name Crowley later used for a character based upon Isadora Duncan in his novel Moonchild
(written in America around 1916 e.v. and published in London thirteen years later). The editors extend gratitude to Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta, who originally provided a photocopy of this text to the Magick Theater Camp of Santa Cruz for a reading of the play held at Thelema Lodge a dozen years ago.
The Suffragette: A Farce
by "Lavinia King"
Mr Asterisks -- -- -- Home Secretary
James -- -- -- His Valet
Miss Belloney -- -- -- A Suffragette
A Policeman, played by B.
Duke of Portland, played by B.
Field-Marshal Lord Oven, played by J.
False Minister, played by B.
A Constable, played by J.
scene: The Home Secretary's Study
|Enter Asterisks, ushered by James -- Asterisks has a very large,
red hooked nose and a drooping fair moustache
|Asterisks: I shall be writing all the morning, James.
|James: You're always right in everything, sir.
|Asterisks: True, James. Bring up the Monster Petition from the Associated
Bottle-Washers when it arrives, James.
|James: Yes, Sir. (Goes.)
|Asterisks goes to cupboard and searches in it.
Miss Belloney climbs through window, unnoticed, and runs
into the well
of the table.
|Asterisks: Ah, well, a Secretary of State has a dog's life. (A growl.) Dear me,
and there's the dog! (Looks round.) Owch! it's bitten me. (Jumps up,
and hops about, holding his leg.) It's under the table! (Miss Belloney
crawls out.) What in the name of heaven do you want?
| Miss Belloney displays placard.
|Belloney: The Vote!
|Asterisks: You've got it. I vote you a public nuisance. How did you get here?
|Belloney: Up the spout.
|Asterisks: Where your clothes came from. Well, I thought you were a dog;
it seems you're a -- Never mind, I'm going to see if you're a bird.
(Throws her out of the window. Rings.)
| Enter James.
|Asterisks: James, you will find the mangled remains of an elderly and
female on the lawn. Inter them decently.
|James: Indecently; yes sir. (Exit.)
|Asterisks: Now for my letters. (Settles down.)
| Enter James.
|James: The Monsters' Petition, sir.
|Asterisks: Put it down!
| James does so -- it is an immense brown-paper parcel,
tied with string.
|Asterisks: There'll be a hot time in the old House tonight. Hum! hum!
(Bending to his work.)
| The parcel rises, bursts, and clasps hands over his eyes.
|Belloney: Guess who it is.
|Asterisks: Oh, there's only one person it can be -- you, my own darling.
|Belloney (mimicking): Oh, yes, it's me, my own darling.
But who's "you, my
|Asterisks: Not my wife. Surely it isn't Flossie Slapdash!
|Belloney: No, it isn't, you old sinner! Now, you've given it away a bit.
|Asterisks: Gertie, by Jove! I wouldn't have had you guess -- I mean,
isn't what you think it is.
|Belloney: Nor am I what you think I am -- oh, your Gerties and Flossies!
|Asterisks: Who are you then?
|Belloney: I'm Votes for Women! (Releases him.)
|Asterisks: Oh, you -- (Rings.)
|Belloney: Hush! hush! What would Flossie think if she heard you?
| Enter James.
|Asterisks: James, this isn't the Monster Petition; it's the Monster itself.
|James: Yes, sir. This way, Monster! (Pushes her out.)
|Asterisks: Dear, dear, these interruptions are very trying. To work, to
| The door opens, James gives a series of little discreet coughs,
Enter a bearded spectacled gentleman.
|Asterisks: Hullo, Druce, the top of the morning to you. (Advances to door,
and holds out his hand.) Oh, my mistake. Portland, of course. How de do?
|Belloney: How de druce?
|Asterisks: What can I do for your Dru -- grace?
|Belloney: A trifle, a mere trifle.
|Asterisks: We are quite alone -- won't you take your beard off?
|Belloney: I will. (Does so, and is discovered. Astericks startled.) All I
is Votes for Women.
|Asterisks: I suppose you came through the Underground Passage! Good morning;
just a word. I'm going to send for a constable, and if you come in here
again -- Hollow way -- the other one.
|Belloney: So that's what Highgate [I get]. (Exit.)
|Asterisks: This sort of thing really does take one's mind off one's work.
(At telephone.) James, let a constable come up and guard the door,
please. Now to my letters!
| A knock at the door.
|Asterisks: Come in!
| Enter Constable.
|Asterisks: Just stand at the door, please, officer, and if any aged and
decrepit female of gigantic size and murderous disposition --
|Constable: I understand, sir. (Draws his truncheon, and whacks at
an imaginary Suffragette. Asterisks buries himself in his letters.
The constable whistles "God Save the King." Asterisks looks up
as he stolidly goes through the tune. Constable sings.)
"Confound their politics!
Frustrate their knavish tricks!"
(Seeing Asterisks listening.) That's the women, sir?
|Asterisks: Yes it is, I'm sorry to say, constable. But I am very busy this
morning, and I must really ask you --
|Constable: Begging your pardon, sir, there's only one way to do it --
"On thee our hopes we fix" --
and that is to give them Votes. (Throws off helmet and tunic, and
is disclosed. She thwacks the Minister with truncheon, still humming.)
"And make them fall."
| Knocks down Asterisks, and runs out.
Asterisks slowly rises.
|Asterisks: God save us all!
| Enter James hastily.
|James: Oh, sir, such an hawful riot in the square. There's a lady with a
shotgun and two loaders, and she's bagged a hundred and thirty-three and a
half braces of specials before lunch, and, well, sir, the millingtery was
to fire on her, sir -- but they couldn't bear to look at her, sir!
|Asterisks: Peace, James; be a man!
|James: I'm sure I'd be a woman if I could, sir. O the hawful --
|Asterisks: Peace, James. We are not without resource. You may go now, and
-- be very careful not to enter the room again. But you may allow anyone
else -- anyone else, James -- male or female --
|James: What about herumfrodites, sir?
|Asterisks: Anyone else, James, is to be allowed to pass unchallenged.
|James: Very good, sir. (Exit.)
| Asterisks goes to cupboard, takes out a drawer and a very large stone
bottle of ink. He pours this into the drawer, and poises it deftly on
the door, which he leaves ajar. Executes a dance round the room,
rubbing his hands, nearly knocks the door and drawer over himself;
returns to desk.
|Asterisks: Now, we await the assault. For (declaims)
"In the hands of men supremely great
The Ink is mightier than the sword."
| Bends to his work.
|James (off): Walk straight in, my lord, I pray you.
| The door opens, and the drawer falls. A mass of ink, partially
concealing a Field-Marshal in full uniform (played by James)
rushes into the room.
|Asterisks (squaring up): Now, Votes for Women! Come on!
|Field-Marshal: My dear Asterisks, a joke's a joke, I dare say, but I must say
that when I call on official business upon one of His Most Gracious
Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State, it is highly unbecoming and
indeed indecorous, partaking, almost, I might almost say, of the nature of
aw-- (Very pompous, to contrast with his absurd appearance. Asterisks,
who has been shrieking with laughter, recognises that this is the real
man, is struck with the most dreadful apprehension -- collects his wits --)
|Asterisks: My dear Lord Oven, this is a most dreadful business. That you
should suspect me of playing you such a schoolboy trick! We are both
victims of these terrible women, I fear. That trap was meant for me, I
make no doubt. Come along, I must give you a bath and a change of
clothes. See! I'm a good deal splashed myself!
|Field-Marshal: Well, I suppose --
|Asterisks: No supposing; come along. (Exeunt.)
| Belloney disguised as the Minister re-enters almost immediately, and
starts busily writing letters, humming cheerfully in a shrill falsetto.
After him -- Enter a real Constable (played by James) and salutes.
|Minister: Constable, I expect to be attacked by a most desperate female
woman. Destroy her instantly when I give the signal!
| The Policeman exhibits a brace of revolvers and three toy cannon, which
he trains on doors and window.
|James: Ready, sir, ready!
| Enter, wildly, a man in a bath-towel, with his hair full of soap (played
by Asterisks); starts at seeing the presentment of himself in the chair.
|Asterisks: By heaven, I'm going mad! Constable (grasping his arm), you're
solid anyhow! Tell me, before I rave -- is there anybody sitting in that
chair, or is there not?
|James: Ho, yus, La Milo. That's Mr. Hasterisks, the 'Ome Sekertury.
|Asterisks: It's the devil! It's the woman! And she's got my clothes!
|Belloney (rising with dignity): Constable, arrest that woman!
| A struggle. They go out. Belloney gives a short dance of triumph,
comes forward and bows, removing the false nose and moustache.
Previous Crowley Classics Next Crowley Classics
from the Grady Project:
This essay, reprinted from the O.T.O. Newseltter I:2 (Autumn 1977 e.v.), was the first in a series of memoirs which Grady contributed to the original Thelema Lodge periodical. Footnotes have been added with editorial notes supplied by Bill Heidrick.
Tales from the Caliph:
Continuity in the Order
by Hymenaeus Alpha 777
It just so happens that I am perhaps the only person who knows the exact
story on this. Aleister Crowley's Number Two man in the O.T.O. in the '40s -
'50s1 was Karl Johannes Germer, otherwise known as Frater Saturnus. Karl was
a Prussian and a veteran of five years service in the German army in War I.
He was the typical Dutch Uncle and nobody, except Crowley, could ever tell
Uncle Karl anything. His position in the Order was that of Grand Treasurer
General, as I said, the Number Two position to A. C. as Outer Head of the
Order. There is no doubt to his sincerity as a Thelemite. In fact, he was a
hero, perhaps a martyr of Thelema in a way, because as a Thelemite and
associate of the notorious Aleister Crowley, he was thrown into a
concentration camp by the Nazis. (Many of us have forgotten that before
Hitler started liquidating the Jews and others, the Nazis had to first
eliminate their native German opposition.) Indeed Karl had the sublime
experience of the "Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel"
while in a Nazi concentration camp. The fact that due to his "anality" (a
fact confirmed by F. R. who, as Crowley's secretary in Paris in the '20s, had
of necessity to read Germer's diaries as they were mailed in) his "Angel"
turned out to be somewhat of a faggot. (His advice to myself and others as a
result of his experience was, and I quote, "one must allow oneself to be the
boy to one's Angel!" -- surely a specious application on a universal level to
a special situation.) But anyway --
His primary claim to fame as Aleister Crowley and the O.T.O. are concerned
is that for many years while living in New York in the '40s and '50s2 (where I
met him once on my way overseas to England in 1943 and once on my way back in
1945) he was able to transmit -- this was known as the monthly transfer -- $200
a month every month for several years to Aleister Crowley who by then was
living in England. This money was not, strictly speaking, considered to be
A.C.'s living expenses. In fact, there is a rather poignant record that when
Crowley was dying in Hastings in 1947, in abject penury so far as earthly
goods were concerned, that he had to be reminded that he had several hundred
pounds in a box under the bed. This was the Aleister Crowley Publication
Fund. (To relieve your anxiety, yes, he did use some of it out of necessity
for medical expenses at or near the end.) The way it came into being was
this: There had been a number of O.T.O. Lodges under Crowley's jurisdiction in
various English speaking countries in the '20s and '30s -- in Canada, the
United States, Australia etc.; but these had somehow disappeared -- I remember
seeing a file of letters from those days and one of the curious things that
struck me at the time was their way of addressing each other; "From the valley
of Vancouver to the valley of Los Angeles" -- anyhow by the late '30s these
had all died out and the only Lodge under Crowley's control was Agape Lodge in
Hollywood-Pasadena. I myself was initiated into Agape Lodge when it was still
on Winona Boulevard in Hollywood in the late '30s -- but that's another story.
I must sometime tell you about Ray Bradbury and the Los Angeles Science
Fiction Club. Also about Wilfred Smith and Liber 132 -- Anyway. The way the
Aleister Crowley Publication Fund came into being was that a small number of
dedicated Thelemites -- Jane Wolfe, Wilfred Smith, Regina Kahl, Ray and
Mildred Burlingame, Roy Leffingwell -- we really must get the list together
some day -- were mostly living in the Los Angeles area at the time. Jane
Wolfe had been a feature player. Wilfred was an accountant until his
association with Crowley became known, whereupon he was demoted to bookkeeper.
Roy was a bartender. Mildred was a waitress. Lew3 was a sometime bit player
in Hollywood. Regina taught Drama at U.C.L.A. -- These people literally went
without (passed up that "better house" or that "better car") during the
Depression to contribute a few dollars a month. This money was given to
Wilfred Smith as the head of Agape Lodge. He would transmit it to Germer, who
would put it together with whatever other money he could and see to it that
Crowley got $200 every month. As I said, this went on for years. Obviously
Karl Germer was a dedicated man. Crowley died in 1947 e.v.
According to the constitution of the O.T.O. (see the Blue Equinox), the
O.T.O. is an international body and the O.H.O. (Outer Head of the Order) is
elected by a convocation of National Heads, i.e. Xth Degree members. However,
as there was only one operative Lodge at the time -- one here in the United
States -- special provision had to be made. This was done by Crowley himself,
who instructed Karl that "a year and a day" following his (i.e. Crowley's)
death, Karl as Grand Treasurer General of the Order was to call a convocation
of the IXth Degree members of O.T.O. -- of which I would certainly have been
included, having been elevated to the IXth Degree of O.T.O. by Aleister
Crowley himself in London in the 1940's -- and this convocation of IXth Degree
members would choose a new Outer Head of the Order. I still have my copy of
Now there is no doubt that Karl Germer would have been elected O.H.O.
There was simply no one of stature to oppose him. I was living in San
Francisco, using my War II GI Bill at the University of California across the
bay in Berkeley, and certainly had no such ambitions. I was much too involved
with my own affairs to worry about it. Wilfred Smith had been removed by the
strictures of Liber 132. Jack Parsons was out of it due to the investigation
-- of which I had been a part -- into his Babalon Operation. Roy Leffingwell?
Ray Burlingame? Wonderful people and dedicated Thelemites; but no one thought
of them in terms of Outer Head of the Order. Lou Culling? A joke. That left
only Germer. So we went on doing our trip and waited for Karl to call the
convocation. You can imagine how surprised we were one day to receive a
letter from Karl saying that he was now Outer Head of the Order! What to do?
Obviously there was nothing we could do. Karl Germer was the highest ranking
member of the Order, short of revolt (no one could imagine that) there was no
recourse. I remember that we wrote and talked to each other and wondered why
Karl would disobey Crowley's instructions, but it was his Karma -- we had to
let it go at that. True, it was unfortunate that Karl was only de facto
O.H.O. instead of de jure O.H.O. as Crowley had meant him to be; but it was no
matter. Karl was obviously O.H.O. either way.
Sometime in here, '47 or '48 e.v., Karl got Crowley's library from England
and decided he needed larger quarters; so he bought a substantial house with
grounds outside Hampton, N.J. Whether he used any of the money from the
Aleister Crowley Publication Fund for this no one could ever prove. Anyway, I
visited him there several times in '51 e.v. Later he and his wife Sascha
would come to California, and ultimately he bought a two story house outside
West Point, which is up in Calaveras County in the gold rush country. By then
I was back from the Korean War living in Berkeley, and doing the graduate
student trip in political theory at U.C. Later I moved to Sacramento.
Anyway, about this time -- the mid '50s -- I came to realize that the Order
was dying because Germer wasn't initiating people. So I brought this up in
one of my periodic visits up to West Point to see him. His reply, which I
have in writing, was that, and I quote: "I consider all that to be the lower
magick." Well, lower or not, and human mortality being what it is, you still
have to have a supply of new members if an Order is to survive. Besides, to
deny true Thelemites the opportunity in their incarnation to become a part of
Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis is in my opinion a crime. (See the
description of grades of the O.T.O. on page 246 of the Blue Equinox where the
indefeasible right of initiation up to and including the IIIrd Degree is
emphatically stated.) So I decided to do something about it. I was just
another IXth Degree Indian running around the old O.T.O. reservation; but
there was the old problem -- I had no money. I had used up my War II GI Bill
taking my B.A. in Philosophy, and the only thing I got out of the Korean GI
Bill was that they would pay my tuition and buy my books. Stated simply, I
was flat broke. Something had to be done. Now at that time, there were still
enough survivors of old Agape Lodge living in southern California that, I
thought, it was just possible we could get together and say to Uncle Karl,
"Look Karl, we love you; we just don't understand you." At least that is what
I had in mind. So, by hook or crook I was able to make four trips to southern
California: once to Barstow to see Jean Sihvonen (widow of Max Schneider);
twice to see Helen Parsons Smith, who was living in Malibu at the time; and
finally I got them all together in the Burlingame's place in Lakewood one
night. Brother Montenegro came in and I pulled a chair out into the middle of
the room and said something to the effect; "Well, now that we are all here,
let's get started." Whereupon Brother Monty completely blew my mind by
grabbing another chair, planting it in front of me and saying; "Grady, you
must stop what you are doing and promise never to do anything like it again!"
Since what I was trying to do was get the O.T.O. back together again, my
agreement was unlikely. Even more unlikely was that nobody had said anything.
So I looked around to see what was happening. Jean Sihvonen and Aleister
Ataturk MacAlpin and Rhea Leffingwell -- the Barstow contingent -- were
standing behind me over against the wall looking as if they had been frozen in
time. On my left, Ray Burlingame was sitting there smoking a cigarette -- he
would die of emphysema a few years later -- with Mildred sitting next to him
and their daughter Layla standing behind them. Were it not for Ray's
cigarette smoke, you would have thought they were sculptured in wax! What I
was looking for was some recognition that they understood what had just been
said. For what Monty had just said to me was that he knew better than I did
what my Will was, and no Thelemite can say that to another Thelemite. At that
point I had a choice. I could wake them up, point out the impossibility of
what Monty had said, and demand backing in my attempt to get Germer to
reconsider his policy of "no initiation," or I could recognize that some
things have to die before they can be reborn. I chose the latter. I turned
back to Monty and said, "Not under any circumstances!" The group broke up in
a smattering of small conviviality, and that was the end of that. In later
years I would think that perhaps I had made a mistake; that maybe I should
have argued it out with them and gotten their backing against Karl. But to
what odds? It would have been like winning a battle only to lose the war. I
also have correspondence from Germer at the same time telling me about how he
knows about my visits to the south and how he knows about the "conspiracies"
against him. If I had gotten the southern California people together, Karl
would have expelled me from the Order as the head of a conspiracy -- just as
he expelled Kenneth Grant at about the same time. True, he was not de jure Outer Head of the Order; but, like it or not, he was functioning as Outer Head
of the Order. So I took a job in Washington D.C. in 1961 and disappeared for
about 10 years.
Karl Johannes Germer died in 1962 e.v. without having made provision for a
successor as O.H.O. In his Will he left Aleister Crowley's library in the
hands of his wife, Sascha, who was not and had never been a member of the
O.T.O. A few years after, the house at West Point was raided by an outlaw
gang from Los Angeles calling itself the "Solar Lodge of O.T.O." and much of
Aleister Crowley's library was gutted and dispersed. Karl Germer's policy of
not initiating new members into the O.T.O. had yielded a bitter harvest.
That's why there has been a seeming discontinuity in the Order -- why people
haven't been able to find viable lodges of the O.T.O. Karl Germer willed that
it be so.
With the publication of the Thoth Deck, however, I came to realize the
necessity of activating the documents of authorization Crowley had given me,
and of acceding to his plan. Laid out in his letters to me, Crowley said that
I would be his Caliph following the death of Karl Germer. Thus, like the
Phoenix the O.T.O. rises again. This time the Order is under the aegis of the
Caliphate. The criterion of legitimacy is continuity, and this is supplied by
the Caliphate letters, and my documents of authorization from Aleister
Crowley. Despite silence and suppression, Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi
Orientis remains alive and well and initiating in Berkeley.
1. Grady probably meant to say '30s to '40s, as born out by Crowley's charter
documents to Germer, etc.
2. Sic. Germer was there, but Crowley was not alive after 1947 e.v.
4 Grady's interpretation is disputed. The notice is for A A
elections, and it is only by considerable
construction that O.T.O. could
be seen to be implied. The "Intimations" in the 1919 e.v. Blue
omit the details of elevation, but the 1917 e.v. O.T.O. Constitution
indicates the practice
to be appointment of a successor by the reigning
O.H.O. The latter is born out in Crowley's
letters. Germer failed to
appoint his own successor, a matter finally determined in US Federal
Court, and Grady's status as O.H.O. by virtue of conditional notice by
Crowley in correspondence
was held to be valid by the same court. Grady
made provisions for succession by election, and
this was carried out in
September 1985 e.v.
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Our gnostic saint James George Roche Forlong, given the nickname "Dux" during his military career from the Latin title equivalent to "the boss", was a pioneer in the scholarship of comparative religion. His huge compendium of religious techniques and practices throughout the world and over the course of history was entitled Rivers of Life. Printed in London in 1883 for subscribers only, it was the life's work of a far-traveling, widely read, eternally curious, and rather daring Victorian social scientist. Crowley includes Rivers of Life in Section One of the A A curriculum as "an invaluable textbook of old systems of initiation," and it was selected for particular recommendation among the writings of the saints in the recently published O.T.O. Curriculum. In the present transcription, which begins on page 447 of the first volume, some of the notes and bibliographical references have been omitted, while others have been inserted into the text rather than rendered as footnotes.
Excerpts from the section on the month of May
in the "Sun Worship" chapter from volume one of
Rivers of Life
or, Sources and Streams
of the Faiths of Man in All Lands,
Showing the Evolution of Faiths
from the Rudest Symbolisms to
the Latest Spiritual Developments
by Major-General J. G. R. Forlong
The Romans begin May by the worship of the Lares and Penates, offer
sacrifices during the Comptialia, and continue diligent services to Hermes
during the Terminalia throughout this month, ending it by celebrating the
arrival of Agni, the Holy Fire, Holy Spirit, or Ool-Kan. In early times they
freely sacrificed children in the month of May to please the generative powers of nature, and make the coming season propitious; but in later years the
oracles permitted fruits and the effigies of men and women to be offered
instead. May, it has been said, was so called in honour of the Roman Senate
known as Maiores or Majores, as June was said to be in honour of the Juniores
or lower senate. I incline, however, to eastern solar derivation, which
connects May with Maya, the mother of Hermes by Jove, for May was sacred to
the ever-bright Apollo, the son of Jove by Leto. Except in the first week, it
was thought to be an unlucky month for marriage; at least, so say Ovid and
other ancients, and Christians, following these, proscribed all marriages from
Rogation week to Trinity Sunday, or from say the 7th to the 31st. From the
1st to 3rd of May is the Floralia, sacred to the goddess of flowers and love.
It is still a charming fete in southern Europe, when all in Sylva's most
lovely retreats, seek for Flora's favours, and revel once more in fields and
vales, which wet and cold have for a long time previously prevented them
enjoying. Our Keltic fathers, then too, lighted fires on every hill-top to
dear Bel or the Sun, calling the first, Beltine-tide; and up to but a short
time ago, idle kings, courtiers, and corporations used then to go out and
pluck "May" and other treasures of fair Flora.
The May-pole was once no trumpery matter, for it was the symbol of "the
Lord of Life;" it was called "the Column of May (Maya, or Mary) -- the great Standard of Justice," a term only applied to Toths or Jupiter-Stators, such as
this Teuton TUISKOM. Beside it, Dr Moresin tells us, was a judge with bough,
wand, or rod in hand, which came to be called a mace, and the holder a Mayor,
as presiding over these rites and ceremonies. Our King's crown, also, he
derives from the phallic crown at the top of the May-pole, saying we should
call the pole itself Mai -- the French term, although we know May is the Queen
of the day. This is no doubt correct, all peoples calling the male and female
-- man and wife, indifferently by the same name, just as Jews translate the
Eduth, which they once worshipped (in Exodus xiv. 34) before they had either
an ark or testimony, but which word they still use for "Testimony," and as the
Irish called their Round Towers Fied Nemads, after the Lingam articles
deposited in their most secret recesses. The May-pole, say the great
antiquaries I have quoted, marked the boundary of the year, the confines of
summer and winter, and around it contended two troops of youths, one in winter and the other in spring costume, the latter, of course, winning with their
triumphal branches and May flowers. As the fires of love had to be renewed
every midsummer by a ray from Sol himself, young men and maids had to see that
their May-pole was so firmly set in its place,that it would stand there
immovable and upright throughout the whole year. Some insisted that it should
be "as high as the mast of a vessel of one hundred tons," and be worshipped
with garlands and dancings round it by the youths of both sexes, every day
throughout May. "It equally had its place, and was as important as the parish
church, or the parish stocks; and if anywhere one was wanting, the people
selected a suitable tree, fashioned it and brought it in triumphantly, and
erected it in the proper place, there for year to year to remain." London was
very famous for its May-poles; the parishioners of St Andrew's-under-Shaft set
up every May morning a shaft that was higher then the church steeple, and
after the usual observances put it carefully away under the eaves of their
houses -- built so as to protect it. The Puritans cut this to pieces, as they
did all other May-poles they could get hold of, showing thereby very
distinctly their true appreciation of May-poles in matters of worship, i.e.,
Lingam-worship, and their desire to suppress this old faith. Some May-poles
embraced tree worship also, having as large a tree as possible in a vessel at
the top of the pole. The Parliament of 1644 passed an act for the suppression
of May-poles; and though the Restoration favoured their retention, yet
increasing intelligence and that sceptical spirit the Churches are so afraid
of , became too strong for such faiths or frolics.
We are not yet without remnants of the old "Nature-worship" amongst us. Mr
F. Buckland tells us, in Land and Water, that on the 1st day of May all the
choristers of Magdalen College, Oxford, still meet on the summit of their tower, 150 feet high, and sing a Latin hymn as the sun rises; whilst the fine
peal of the bells simultaneously welcomes the gracious Apollo. In former days
high mass was held here, and the Rector of Slymbridge, in Gloucestershire it
appears, has still to pay £10 yearly for the due performance of sundry pieces
of choir music, at 5 A.M., on the top of this tower. This May music,
Christian priests explain, is for the repose of the souls of kings and others,
which of course is quite an after-thought. Early mass for Sol used also to be
held in the College Chapel, but it is now explained, that owing to this having
been forbidden at the Reformation, it has since been performed on the top of
the tower! After the present hymn is sung by choristers -- boys dressed in
womanly raiment -- the lads throw down eggs upon the crowd beneath, and blow
long, loud blasts to Sol through bright new tin horns -- showing us that the
Bacchic and Jewish trumpet fetes are not yet forgotten by Christians. Long
before daybreak, the youths of both sexes used to rise and go to great
distances to gather boughs and flowers, and reach home at sun-rise to deck all
doors, windows, and loved spots. This May fete is said to be "the most
ancient of all," and to have been accompanied "with all manner of obscenity
and lewdness." This we can well imagine, for the goddess was notorious in
this way, and long before man was able to appreciate plowing and harvesting,
he keenly felt the force of the winter and vernal equinoxes, and was ready to
appreciate the joyous warmth of the May sun, and its energising power on
himself as well as on fruits and flowers. The May fete of our "Pagan"
ancestors used to occupy the last four days of April, and on May's day -- the
1st -- "Jack in the Green" and "the Merry Morris dancers," made their
appearance; a dissipated riotous set, ready for any excesses, and more
emblematical of Bacchus and his crew, than of Apollo -- the ever fresh and
joyous god of the early summer. It is IAKO's name, too, that those roisterers
vociferate, as with mirth and laughter they dance around the "green pillar
god." This term "green," as most of my readers know, stands for griene or
graine, Keltic for the Sun; and these old races certainly succeeded in making
this god and his Beth (the Bethel) a perfectly shaped Muidhir (Sunstone) or
Lingam. The rural plays in connection with the graine god, and his Grainne or
Venus, consist of the green pillar whirling and occasionally dancing about,
whilst a Bacchante-like female, is ever attendant on it, and wildly dances
round; her symbol is a golden looking ladle or Argha with which she smites any
who come near her. IAK keeps whipping her with a rod or baton which he ever
and again projects from his leafy shell; his crown is finished off exactly
like that of our kinds, and his golden tinsel all about it as befitteth a
Mr Marcus Keane tells us that although the Kelts of Ireland rejected the
phallic worship of their predecessors the Tuath-de-Danaans, they yet retained
their names and customs. May day continued to be called La-Baal-Thinna, and
was always connected with the worship of Baal as "the green god" -- a very
ancient term for Mercury, whose hue was green; and being so, we here see him
in dress of suitable shape and colour, and with his Caduceus in hand. "Gad- el-glas or the Green-god-Snake," was an important Irish deity, and the name
seems to correspond with "the green god," or "Primeval Boodh," which Coleman
treats of in his Indian Mythology, but which I take the liberty of calling
Primeval Goad; I do not think there is any connection whatever between him and
Boodha. Ireland abounds with names connected with green or graine, as Balt- in-glas, "Fire of the Green Baal;" Tie-da-glas, or as they now call this in
Tipperary, Terry glas, "the tower of the Green God," etc., which, with other
corroborative matter, makes Mr Keane and others think that Ireland came to be
called "The green Island" from this very prominent feature of its faith; and
that dancings round May poles only took place after the people had been
prohibited dancing round the real phalli of the country. I think, however,
that dancing round poles was the oldest feature of this faith, and such as
must have taken place long ere the race could erect towers or obelisks.
Hindoos at this season have from time immemorial danced and swung round poles.
They prepare themselves for May by purification in the Ganges, then adore Bavani, and cut and lacerate themselves; and as mid month approaches, fast and
fete in honour of her as "goddess of generation," offering up special prayers
for the removal of barrenness. When Greeks and Romans sacrifice to Agni,
Hindoos celebrate a Dassera; worship the Snake gods and Jagernat, the Al- Fatah, ending the month with renewed ablutions. In like manner, Kiiths,
Phoenicians, and Kelts seem to have loved dancing round poles, in early and
mid May, and to have observed such days as Childermas, and sacrificed to Hermi
or Termini. Bourne tells us that in most ancient times (and he quoted from
very good Latin writers), naked women used to dance at Flora's festival, which
is in entire accordance with the customs of Southern climes. Highland
shepherds used to meet and hold "a rural sacrifice," says Mr Pennant, when a
spot was first hallowed by a square trench being dug, leaving a turf in the
centre, where a fire was made, and a strong brew of spirits prepared, part of
which was offered to the fire and ground; then each made a cake with nine
knobs, and turning solemnly to the Fire, broke there off one by one, and flung
it over his shoulder, saying, "Preserve my lambs; this to thee, O eagle, this
to thee, O fox." All then fasted, and whatever could not be eaten, was hid
away by two persons deputed for the purpose, and finished on the next Sunday.
May was called "the time of Bastards," whose arrival seems rather to have
been looked for; certainly not frowned at. They were clearly the result of
the autumnal fetes, of which Burns warned the revelers, in language which
those acquainted with old Scotch can alone comprehend: "There's mony a fun
this day begun, Will end in Hoch-ma-gandi." Highlanders are very much afraid
of the early part of May, especially the 3rd, which they call "Dismal-day;" on
whatever day of the week it falls they bear this in mind throughout the year,
and will on no account begin any work on it. On the 2nd, fearing evil spirits
and witches, Scotch farmers used to tie red thread upon their wives as well as
their cows, saying these prevented miscarriages and preserved the milk. They
then also placed boughs of the sacred mountain ash, and sprigs of honey-suckle
over all cowhouses. At this time, all Christian Europe reveled in what came
to be called the Passion-Spiel, but of which the Maypole with its Phallic
insignia and trophies was always the centre. Christians throughout the month,
but especially on the day after old May-day (when they asserted that "the Sun
of Righteousness" had "ascended up on High" to give place to the new luminary
-- the effulgent Dove, who comes in young June to gladden, confirm, and
strengthen all) went about madly through the land with phallic crosses and
banners on their "bounds" and crops. In some places, Rogations ceased on
Ascension Day, because some said the god having ascended, his spirit had
descended; but the worship of the Boundary Hermi continued as in "Pagan" Rome,
up to the middle of May, when libations and garlands were showered upon the
Lingams just as we see done this day in India.
In most Eastern communities, groups of officials and priests may always be
seen going round the fields and Bounds at this season, and I suspect the
origin of Ganging or Rogation term is more mundane than Priests or Churches
will admit. It is true, these have had prayers and a liturgy for blessing the
crops and Hermi, and for inveighing against evil men and bad weather for some
1200 years; yet, on watching the leaders of Gangs going amongst the crops at
this season in India, I have seen them smile and glance meaningly to one
another as they passed promising fields, which made me remember that these
were either the landlords, or the agents of shires or chiefs, who were all to
be "paid in kind," and who here could, and undoubtedly did, estimate the
acreage and weight of the produce of which they were all to get a regular
percentage. This inspection could thus completely check any Ananiases or
Saphiras who tried to keep back past of the produce, and if so, the prayers
were a mere blind.
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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for May 2003 e.v.
|New Moon in Taurus 5:15 AM
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Feast of Beltane in Horus Temple
7:00 PM Bring food and drink.
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian
with Charles 8PM in the library
|Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Swinburne's "Atlanta in
Calydon" 8PM in the library
|Pathworking with Paul 8PM
in Horus Temple
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian
with Charles 8PM in the library
|New Moon and Solar Eclipse in
The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the
contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)
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