Thelema Lodge Calendar for August 2003 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for August 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
August 2003 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Feast of Lammas
Cross-quarter festival of elemental fire, the midsummer feast of Lammas
marks the annual progress of our Father the Sun through the heart of Leo on
Thursday afternoon 7th August. The lodge will be taking it easy for this
summer holiday, with a barbecue picnic and seasonal ritual in our local park
at Lake Temescal in Oakland, beginning around 5:00 (with plans to pack up by
sunset). Sol will have achieved the precise point of fifteen degree Leo a
little less than half an hour prior to our gathering. A ritual celebration to
open the second half of the summertime will be led for us by the Companions of
Monsalvat, with participation welcome from all. For the meal, bring meat for
the grill, along with extra quantities of the best beer and bread you can find
-- to commemorate Lammastide as the ancient grain harvest festival -- and a few
of your favorite salads for the picnic table. We will gather near the
southern shore in the park, with drivers advised to use the lake's south
parking lot, affording an easy walk to our usual site for those carrying
bulging baskets of supplies. (If you can travel light, walk in and save the
That Which Adoreth
Every Sunday evening in Horus Temple members, friends, and guests of
Thelema Lodge gather to celebrate Aleister Crowley's mass of Ecclesia Gnostica
Catholica. To join in this Thelemic eucharist ritual, communicants should
assemble in the lodge library around 8:00, ready to file into the sanctuary
when the mass gets underway just after nightfall. First time participants are
welcome, and those interested in the mass are requested to call the
lodgemaster well ahead of time for directions to the temple and further
information about the role of the congregation in our liturgy. Newcomers to
the communion are unlikely to know all of the gestures and responses for which
the service calls, so when our gnostic bishops greet guests with the standard
orientation message -- concerning the removal of shoes and the disabling of
cell-phones, as well as the proper mode of receiving the sacramental host and
cup at the conclusion -- their usual advice is simply to follow the example of
everyone else, to allow the visitor to participate as fully as possible.
Those who appreciate the celebration and return for a few successive masses
will generally find that they have come to know their part fairly well without
effort. Once able to follow the lead of the Deacon through the whole canon of
the mass, communicants are encouraged to begin their own study of the ritual
as it is given in Liber XV. We hope that many will then proceed to learn the
part of the Deacon -- and later that of the Priestess or Priest -- in
preparation to serve the lodge as an office in the mass. Consult with any of
the officers active in our temple for advice and assistance in learning these
roles as a novice, or in forming a team to study the mass privately. The
temple calendar is maintained by the lodgemaster, and masses are usually
scheduled upon request from priestesses when they have teams ready. We prefer
to schedule our masses six to eight weeks in advance, although occasional gaps
in the calendar may make dates available at shorter notice. Everyone who
enjoys the mass ought to learn to take part in its celebration, and we try to
make it possible for anyone who is willing to do so to become part of a Horus
Temple mass team. It has been by spreading the work of our temple thus widely
over the community here that the traditions of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica in
the O.T.O. have been so vitally and consistently maintained throughout the
long history of Thelema Lodge.
Rose and Aleister Alone at Last
For the Feast of the Beast and His Bride on Tuesday 12th August there will
as usual be no group celebration at the lodge, members being urged to find
their own ways of honoring this Thelemic holy day.
| Give me thine hand,
Rose of the Stars, and we will soar above
Wisdom and Strength and Love,
Into the spheres where all delight retires
In azure flames and silver-edgéd fires.
Now through the veil we shoot
Like snaky lightning through a thundercloud
Up to the awful precipice-skirted place
Where deaf, blind, palsied, mute
There sits the leprous God; we laugh aloud
Seeing him face to face,
Blowing him like a shaken sheaf of snow
With a brief gust of wind
Over the cliffs of his ensanguine throne;
Seating ourselves thereon, as men shall know,
Above soul, spirit, heart, thought, being, mind,
All -- but most irrevocably entwined
And irrevocably alone.
|-- A. C., "Rosa Coeli" (section XIV)
Travelers in the Realms of the Tree
"Foundations of Magical Practice" is the title for a series of workshops
being facilitated for the lodge by the triumvirate of brother Greg Peters,
sister Leigh Ann Hussey, and brother Sam Shult. Join this group of dedicated
magical students on Thursday evening 14th August from 7:30 until 10:00 in
Horus Temple for the conclusion of our close study of Liber O, Aleister
Crowley's exposition of the basic magical practices originally prescribed for
members of the Golden Dawn. Magical instruction in the Thelemic traditions,
whether conducted independently or under the aegis of either of the great
teaching orders which Crowley organized, must by definition present profound
challenges to the student. While the standard ceremonial and yogic techniques
often seem simple to begin with, practitioners will discover with experience
how many subtle points of style and attitude in the use of these techniques
can combine to render endlessly meaningful (or, one might say, make magical)
those practices which when mechanically rehearsed could quickly become an
empty routine. Such fine, elusive details are most efficiently appreciated
and developed by continual practice in company with fellow students of magick
who can assist each other by mutual observation and encouragement. Learning
ritual with a group, rather than having to work out its obscure points by an
exercise of the solitary imagination, not only avoids many idiosyncratic
errors and excesses, but also promotes fraternity and trust. Whether or not
magick itself is essentially based upon the interchange of personal relations,
instruction of any sort consists principally of just such interaction, and the
importance of communication and cooperation between practitioners underlies
much that is valuable in the cultivation of magical skills. Honesty and
accuracy may remain too long untested when they are not closely based upon
trust between equals, and it is easy to site examples of otherwise promising
students of these arts who have failed utterly by distorting their standards
through pride and carelessness, which a bit of mutually respectful partnership
might have remedied. Members of hierarchical orders such as ours may find
themselves especially vulnerable to these hazards due to the artificial nature
of their relations with "superior" instructors, and the mutual enterprise of
group study can do much to restore perspective to magicians who might
otherwise be headed for the silliest sorts of hatred and suspicion. Join in,
lend a hand, and we won't let each other go too far wrong.
Can We Go Om Now?
"In Egyptian and Gnostic magick we meet with pylons and Aeons, which only
open on the utterance of the proper word. In Mohammedan magick we find a
similar doctrine and practice; and the whole of Mantra-Yoga has been built on
this foundation" (The Book of Lies, commentary upon chapter 72). Our Mantra
Yoga circle, organized for the lodge by brother Jeffrey Sommer, meets in Horus
Temple beginning at 8:00 on Thursday evening 21st August. Bring your mala, or
string of beads for counting the repetitions (108 beads is the traditional
number, although some Thelemites have slid so far in the direction of slack as
to reduce them to 93!) and join voices with the group as we vibrate the temple
in the cycles of our chanting. "The mantra," as Crowley explains in part one
of Book Four, "acts on the thoughts very much as Pranayama does upon the
breath. The thought is bound down to a recurring cycle; any intruding thoughts
are thrown off by the mantra" (chapter 2). This technique was of central
importance in Crowley's own personal practices, and his diaries contain
numerous references to it in all sorts of circumstances. One example, from
the magical record known as John St John (Liber 860), may be especially
instructive, although we will not be attempting to duplicate it in our group
work together: "8:40. Mixed mantra and caresses rather a success. (At her
request I gave M. a minimum dose of X.)"
If the Maenads Spy You Out
On Monday evening 18th August the Section Two reading group at Thelema
Lodge meets for a dramatic reading of The Bacchae by Euripides, using the 1973
e.v. translation by the great Nigerian poet Wole Soyinka. Join Caitlin in the
library from 8:00 until 9:30 to take part (or simply listen, if you prefer).
Copies of the play will be available for readers. In his Confessions Crowley
recounts how his study of The Bacchae while traveling in about 1902 led to one
of his greatest realizations regarding the use of poetry in ritual. The
literary technique of invoking the divine "directly by commemorating" the
"adventures" of a god "was put into my mind by Euripides, whose Bacchae I had
been reading at odd times, having picked up a copy at a second-hand book store
in San Francisco. When I had first read it, for academic purposes, I had
entirely failed to realize that the play was an invocation of Dionysus. I now
began to see that by commemorating the story of a god one might identify with
him, and thus constitute a subtler, stronger, and more complete invocation of
him than by any direct address. I might even go so far as to say that the
form of the latter implies the consciousness of duality and therefore tends to
inhibit identification" (chapter 33). This discovery was basic to his
conception of The Rites of Eleusis a few years later, and to many of Crowley's
other literary accomplishments. Although he says nothing more about the
edition he purchased in San Francisco, it almost certainly would have been the
recent translation into rhymed English verse by Professor Gilbert Murray
(1866-1957), whose versions for the modern stage of the major Greek tragedies
did so much to revive interest in classical drama around the beginning of the
past century. This translation was particularly influential upon "The Rite of
Jupiter," which adapts the climactic scene from Euripides' play for the second
half of its ritual invocation.
After twenty-five centuries we still have nearly complete texts of nineteen
out of the ninety-two verse dramas known to have been composed by Euripides.
Most were written for the annual Athenian festival of religious drama, but
Euripides (whose long life ended in voluntary exile toward the close of the
fifth century previous to the common era) composed some of his best work
shortly before his death in retirement in Macedon. These plays, posthumously
produced in Athens by the poet's son, included The Bacchae, written in 405
B.C.E. As the last of the great Greek tragedies, it returns in several ways
to the original sources of Athenian drama in connection with the festival of
Dionysus and the dangers inherent in divinely inspired enthusiasm. In the play, Dionysus arrives near the Greek city of Thebes, where king Pentheus is
suspicious of the god's orgiastic cult and has tried to forbid it. The women
of the city nevertheless become carried away in his drunken rites, and
Dionysus inspires the king's mother so to forget herself that she kills her
own son in a frenzy and helps tear his body to pieces without realizing who he
is. As a study of the irrational nature of worship it is among the most
striking religious documents to come down to us from the ancient world.
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
Mansions of the Moon
Sirius Encampment of the O.T.O. will be meeting in Berkeley on Saturday
evening 16th August at 7:30 for the second in a series of five gatherings for
informal study and discussion of a cluster of related topics including the
Lunar Mansions, Stellar Magic, and Early Alphabets. This magical working and
study group, open to all interested Thelemites, meets regularly on either the
third or fourth Saturday evening of each month, with meetings planned through
October. Together participants will outline the use of lunar mansions in
magic -- as found for example in the Picatrix text -- and then explore a
further key to the mansions provided by the 28 letters of the early South
Semitic alphabet. Participants plan to stray frequently into numerology with
the Greek and Hebrew alphabets, and hope also to explore the Vedic and Chinese
formulations of the lunar mansions. For more information make e-contact with
the master of the encampment at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone Glenn at (510)
This story was published originally in The International: A Review of Two
Worlds (New York: July 1917) on pages 201-203.
A Death Bed Repentance
to the memory of Samuel Butler
by Aleister Crowley
According to the local G. P., there was no hope for Timothy Bird. There
was nothing the matter with him beyond the fact that he was 86 and that his
weakness was alarming. People snuff out at all ages; accidents apart, our
vital clocks vary immensely in the manner of mainspring.
The mind of Timothy Bird was extraordinarily clear and logical; in fact, so
logical that he was unreasonable. He was unwilling to die until he had made
one further effort to transform that which had most embittered his life into
its crowning joy. At the last moment, said he, God will surely touch the
heart of my dear lad.
He therefore telegraphed, with a faith which 30 years of disappointment had
done nothing to shatter.
The telegram was worded thus:
|John Nelson Darby Bird,
|99 New Square,
Jesus calls me at last unless He comes first
come to your father and your God. Luke XV.
The curious wording of this message mirrored infallibly the mind of Timothy
Bird. Why (do you interrupt) assert religious beliefs in a telegram? Because the
Holy Ghost may "use" the telegram to "reach" the clerks in the Post Office.
Enough of such querulous query; to the facts!
John Nelson Darby was the founder of the "Brethren gathered together to the
name of the Lord Jesus" and called "Plymouth Brethren" owing to their early
great successes having been won in Plymouth. This excellent man was a very
fine Hebrew scholar, to say nothing of Greek. His eminence had entitled him
to the offer of a seat on the Committee of the Revision of the Bible, but he
had refused to meet other scholars of heterodox theological views, quoting:
Matthew, XVIII, 17,
II Thessalonians, III, 6 and 14,
Romans, XVI, 17,
II John, 9, 10, 11.
His undoubtedly great all-round mind led him to see that One Infallible
Authority is necessary to any religion. Rome had this in the Pope; he
followed the apostasy of Luther, and proposed to replace this with the Bible.
Now, since the Bible is the actual word of God, dictated by the Holy Ghost --
else where is its authority? -- this word must be taken literally in every
part as well as in the whole. Now you may formulate a sorites from any one
text and another sorites from any other. But a contradiction in your
conclusions will not invalidate either of your first premises!
This involves a somewhat complex metaphysic, in spite of the fact that
metaphysic, being the work of heathen philosophers, is of its father the
It is, however, impossible in practice to corner a Plymouth Brother in
these or any other ways, because he scents danger from afar and replies with
an argumentum ad hominem on these simple lines:
I am saved.
You are not I.
Therefore, you are damned (I John, v, 19).
In these degenerate days fact is supposed by the ignorant to be truer than
fancy, and one must therefore plead for belief by referring the sceptic to Mr
Edmund Gosse's Father and Son. Reviewers of that book cast doubt on the
possibility of such narrowmindedness as is shown by Philip Gosse. But in the
boyhood of another writer sprung of the loins of the Brethren, the poet of The
World's Tragedy, the name of Philip Gosse was a byword, a scorn and a
reproach; he was an awful warning of the evils of latitudinarianism!
And Timothy Bird was of the anti-Ravenite section of the Exclusive Plymouth
Brethren. His has been the dominant voice of that Assembly Judgment which
"delivered" Philip Gosse and his kind "to Satan for a season;" and he had been
the mainstay of the movement which expelled a majority of the remainder when
Mr F. E. Raven had "blasphemed" in a manner so obscure and complex that not
one in twenty of the most learned of the seceders ever gained even a Pisgah
glimpse of the nature of the controversy.
For Timothy Bird was indeed a Gulliver in Lilliput. He had known John
Nelson Darby intimately; he had been the close friend of Wigram and Crowley,
even of Kelly before his heresy; he was a scholar of merit if not of eminence;
he was a baronet of the United Kingdom and a man of much property. Baronets
not being mentioned in the New Testament, he had refused to use his title; but
the other brethren, at least those in the lower middle classes, never forgot
He lived simply, using his large income principally for the distribution of
tracts; he evangelized greatly while he had the strength, going from town to
town to establish or confirm the brethren, and it was generally known that he
had left the whole of his great fortune in trust to Arthur Horne and Henry
Burton for the use of the brethren to the entire exclusion of the aforesaid
John Nelson Darby Bird, who had not only backslidden but gone over wholly to
Satan, being in fact a barrister of repute, the most distinguished member of the Rationalist Press Association, and, worse than all, a zealous and
irrefutable advocate for easy divorce.
The disinheritance weighed little with the younger Bird, who at 44 was
earning some £5,000 a year, and who had such painful memories of eighteen
years of the most cruel (because perfectly well-meaning) form of slavery that
the word "home" was habitually used by him in moments of excitement instead of
the familiar "hell" of the pious Englishman.
Now, as Herbert Spencer (a little late in the day) maintained, "Action and
reaction are equal and opposite;" and experience teaches that fanaticism does
not escape this law. There are no anti-Christians like the children of
Plymouth Brethren. They have the Bible at their fingers' ends; they quite
agree that Brethrenism is the only logical form of Bible Christianity; they
associate it with every grand tyranny or petty spite of the hated home; and so
they are frankly of Satan's party. Terrible opponents they make. The
Plymouth Brother can find a text of Scripture to buttress his slightest act,
and his son has consequently an equal armory of blasphemy, which, with a
little knowledge of Greek and Hebrew and of various infidel writers, makes him
unchallengeable in debate.
Timothy Bird had learnt to fear his son. From the age of puberty he had
been in fierce revolt; it was the subtleties of that five years' intense
struggle that had made him intellectually supreme both in strategy and
tactics, the most dangerous advocate at the Bar. He had become a fine
psychologist as well; he had penetrated every blind alley of his father's
mind, and to that mind he was merciless. He, too, was a fanatic. He really
wished (in a way) to avenge the tortures of his boyhood; and perhaps he felt
that his emancipation was not complete until he had converted his torturer.
However this may be, year after year with ever-gathering strength, he hurled
battalion on battalion at the squat blind citadel -- to foreseen repulse. It
was probably the parable of the importunate widow, or the endurance which his
horrible boyhood had taught him, that made him continue. It is impossible to
argue with a Plymouth Brother, for his religion is really axiomatic to him, so
that everything he says begs the question, and you cannot get him to see that
it does so. This is not so unusual as it appears; it requires a very good
mind to acquiesce, even for purposes of argument, in non-Euclidean geometry,
so fixed is the mind in its certainty that the whole is greater than its part,
and the like.
It is good to hear them discuss anything.
Propose the question of the Origin of Evil; your Plymouth Brother will
remark sooner or later, but always irrelevantly, "God is a just God." You
argue that his God is certainly not just, or he would not have commanded the
rape of virgins by the thousand, or sent bears to devour forty and two little
children whose sole fault was to call attention to the baldness of a prophet.
This is unanswerable; give up the story, as the better mind does, and you
are launched for atheism or mysticism; hold to it -- the Christian's only hope
-- and the sole possible reply is "Shall not the judge of the whole earth do
right?" "Yes," you retort, "He shall; that is just my proof that your God is
a tribal fetish, and not at all the judge of the whole earth." The
conversation, after a sulphurous interlude, again rises to the dignity of
argument, and on some infinitely subtle and obscure minor point which he had
never thought of before -- I speak of a rare incident much prized by
connoisseurs -- you do really and truly prove to him from Scripture that he is
Is he downhearted? NO!
The momentary cloud upon his brow passes; the glorious sun shines out amid
"The devil can quote Scripture."
In vain you reply that this consuming doubt invalidates the whole of his
arguments, which are all drawn from Scripture; and this again admitting of no
reply, the worthy man will continue to breathe out lightings and slaughter
until physical weariness bids him desist.
Yet it was the cherished belief of John Nelson Darby Bird that the last
straw will break the camel's back; or, more practically, that if you sandpaper
bricks at the base of a building long enough the building will suddenly and
without warning reel and fall. You remember that Noah spent 120 years
building the ark -- with hardly a shower. When the flood came, it came
suddenly. J. N. D. Bird, K. C., was quite ready to "go to the ant, thou
sluggard," or to Noah, as circumstances might indicate.
Before he answered his father's telegram he borrowed the billiard chalk
from the waistcoat pockets of his clerk, whose sporting instincts had got the
best briefs for his employers in horsey and divorcey circles.
(Lord John Darcy v. the Stewards of the Jockey Club, Riddell v. Riddell,
Clay, Arthur, Thompson, Battersby, Jacobs, Bernheim, de la Rue, Griggles,
Waite, Shirley, Willimason, Klein, Banks, Kennedy, Gregg, Greg, and others.
These were the remarkable cases that established the reputation of Mr Bird.
His successful defense of Mrs Riddell had won him, in addition, a vice-
presidency of the Anthropological Society.)
To those who are not Plymouth Brethren it will not be obvious why John Bird
pocketed the billiard chalk, and a new digression becomes Cocker.
Chalk is the commonest form in which carbonate of calcium is found in
Nature. Under the microscope it is seen to be composed of the dust of the
shells of minute marine animals. Geologists consider it impossible that a
layer of chalk 10,000 feet thick should have been deposited in the course of a
week, or even in the course of, say, 4,004 years.
The year after John Bird was called up to the Bar he had fleshed his maiden
steel upon his father by taking a piece of chalk, a microscope, and twenty-
seven volumes of geology to Carnswith Towers for the long vacation. Father
and son talked chalk day and night for nine weeks. It was a drawn battle.
The father had to admit the facts of geology. "Then," said the son, "I cannot
believe that God wrote a lie upon the rocks." Timothy replied, "Let God be
true, and every man a liar!" He also very ably urged that it was not a lie.
If men of science were not blinded by the devil (owing to their seared
consciences and their quite gratuitous hatred of God; they would see, as he,
Timothy Bird, saw, that it was obvious from the chalk itself that it had been
created in a moment. Alternately, God had written a lie upon the rocks in
order to blind them. "God shall send them strong delusion, that they may
believe a lie."
The immorality of this latter proceeding, of course, led to the old "God is
a just God" line of argument with its inevitable conclusion in Sheol for the
Phoenix-like, however, he caused lumps chalk to be conveyed to his father
at irregular intervals; for he saw, with the astuteness that had discomfited
Lord John Darcy, that his father's belief had really been shaken by the
argument. The outworks held; the citadel crumbled. In the deepest shrine of
sub-consciousness Timothy Bird, or, rather, Something that was in very truth
not Timothy Bird, knew that the world was not made in six days, that the Book
of Genesis was a Jewish fable, that the whole structure of "revelation" was a
lie, that the Incarnation and the Atonement were but dreams.
Armed, therefore, with the integrity described by Horace and the billiard
chalk, John Nelson Darby Bird went to Carnswith Towers by the 3:45 for a final
wrestle with the Angel.
The old man was sitting up when his son arrived. Arthur Horne and Henry
Burton, the one pale, the other sallow, the one stumpy and fat, the other
dried up, had come to pray with him. The doctor, who was not of the fold,
appeared nauseated at the unction of the vultures, and (before he left)
communicated a portion of this feeling to the nurse who, although a "Plymouth
Sister," had experience in her profession of the realities of life, and
consequently to some extent saw things, though dimly, as they really were.
Burton was praying audibly as John Bird entered. Without moving a muscle,
he directed the current of his supplications into a new channel.
"And, dear Jesus, we beseech Thee, on behalf of one among us, or perhaps
now among us, or soon to be present among us (it would not do to admit that he
knew of anything that was occurring in the room), one we truly fear dead in
trespasses and sins and so it seems far indeed from the precious blood. May
it please Thee that this thine aged servant may at last be gladdened, ere he
pass into his exceeding great reward, by Thy wonderful mercy working in this
hard heart and unregenerate Adam --"
With utter weariness of tautologies and repetitions, the prayer meandered
on for another ten minutes. At last came the Amen.
Not until then did Timothy Bird open his eyes and greet his son. Feeble as
he was, he began to "plead with him" to "come to Jesus." The son had a
terrible temptation to acquiesce, to spare the oldster "useless" pain. In the
stern school of the Brethren, truth, or what passes for truth, must outweigh
all human feelings, as if a sword were thrown into a scale wherein two oat-
husks were contending. This obstinacy of those five terrible conscious years
of revolt assisted his decision to sway to that austerity which here he
thought was cruelty.
"Father," said he, "don't poison your last hours by these delusions! If
there be a God, it is certain that He never trapped man as you say He did."
Arthur Horne interrupted: "God is a just God."
"Then why did he make vermin?" retorted the barrister.
A long and labored explanation followed from the excellent Horne, who never
suspected that the repartee was not part of the argument.
It all wound its weary way back to the old subject of the sure and certain
damnation of John Bird.
The latter paid no heed. His human feelings swamped all else. He knew
instinctively at that moment the supreme human truth that the son is the
father, literally identical of one substance. Also, in the great presence of
death there is no place for religion of any kind. The sham of it becomes
patent -- a hideous masque and revelry of mocking thoughts. Even where it is
the strongest of all drugs, it lowers, hypnotic cloud or levin of storm,
shines never as a sun of life. The Pagans knew; try and write even a letter
of condolence to a friend bereaved, and you will know it too. Glib
consolations are the work of shallow hypocrites, or of cowards too scared to
face their fear -- the easy falsehood of immortality. The iridescent bubble
of faith is easily burst -- woe to the man who dares touch it by so much as
one word of truth on any serious subject!
"My son," began Timothy Bird, to whom the approach of death now lent a
majesty indescribable -- the feeble baronet might have been a patriarch of the
patriarchs -- "my life has failed. Its one desire has been that God would
bring my only son to His grace. It was not His will. To that I bow; my times
are in His hand. His will, not mine, be done. It may be that my death may be
the means --" and on he rambled the well-worn paths of "pleading with a soul,"
things so hackneyed that John Bird, facing his own problem as he was hardly
heard them trickle through his ears. He only marked a stumbling, a growing
hesitation, and a look of trouble and of awe. It was a machine interrupted;
yet, strangely, not so much as if it were breaking down, but as if a new hand
were on the levers. Surely the end was near. The old man himself seemed to
think so. He detected his own weakness; he flushed with a sort of shame; he
seemed to gather himself for an effort.
"John," said he firmly, "shall not the Judge of the whole earth do right?
You are a lawyer; you understand the value of testimony. Here are we four,
three living and one almost gone to be with Christ, all ready to lift up our
voices and testify to the saving grace of God. Is it not so?"
Solemnly enough, Horne, Burton, and the nurse gave their ascent.
"Will you not accept their witness?"
"I, too, have witnesses," replied John Bird; and he drew the billiard chalk
from his pocket and laid it on the mantle-piece. "Let God be true," said he,
"and every man a liar!"
The light of fanaticism that blazed from the eyes of the moribund man
flashed once, and went suddenly out. An uncomprehending stare replaced it.
He seemed to search the Infinite. All thought he was at the extreme, and
Horne and Butler, intent as they were on their own plans, were frightnted into
silence. John Bird returned to his problem; it was himself that was dying.
And yet no, for the true self was living in himself. And he understood that
marriage is a sacrament, and must not be blasphemed by hedging it about with
laws of property, and canon prohibitions, and inspection and superintendence
sacredotal. Every man is a king and priest to God; every man is the shrine of
a God; the guardian of an eternal flame, the never-extinguished lamp of the
The eyes of the old man were still fixed on the chalk in an unwinking
stare. His color heightened and his breath came faster. Yet his muscles grew
ever more rigid; he seemed to grip the arms of the chair in which he was
propped by pillows.
It was he at last who broke the silence. "Nurse," he said, very slowly but
firmly and distinctly, "take my keys and open the buhl cabinet." The woman
obeyed. "Bring me the paper in the lower middle drawer." She did so.
With perfect calm and deliberation, but with more vital energy than he had
yet shown, and with his eyes shining now with a warm and kindly lustre, he
tore the paper across and across.
"Burn it!" said he. The nurse took it to the flame of her spirit lamp and
consumed the pieces.
The son understood what had been done.
"Father," said he, "I don't want the money. I didn't come down here for
Placidly came the amazing retort: "Then give it to the Rationalist Press
Horne and Burton broke into a shrill twittering and rumbling of protest.
His mind is gone, was the burden of their swan-song. The old man smiled, like
a God smiling at his puppets. Their plaint turned to denunciation.
John Bird aroused himself. "You must leave the house," said he. With
barely a push they complied; they were too astounded to do themselves justice.
The dying man beckoned his son. "Your life must have been a hell," said
he, "and I made it so. But it was blindness and not unkindness, Jack." His
son had not heard "Jack" for thirty years. He fell on his knees beside his
father, and burst into strong sobs. Those thirty years of strife and wrong
and misunderstanding came back, single, and in battalions, too!
The old man's head had fallen back; a smile had softened the old stern
expression; the eyes closed as if in ecstasy.
Even the nurse was mistaken; she touched the shoulder of the barrister.
But John would not move; and suddenly she recognized that the old man was
breathing; from swift and shallow it deepened to strong and slow; a great
sleep was upon him.
For three hours his son knelt be him, his lips fastened on one hand; and of
the experience of those three hours who shall speak?
Then came the doctor -- to pronounce the patient "wonderfully better."
And indeed he lived three years, sane, healthy, and strong.
I saw him the year after at the annual dinner of the Rationalist Press
Association -- the weight of his theories rolled off the grand old shoulders.
And far down the table I saw Messers Horne and Burton; but not being
There is a cenotaph in the family vault. Following the usual recital of
the virtues of the deceased, written in smiling irony by his own hand, comes
The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the
children's teeth are set on edge.
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from the Grady Project:
In the early days around Thelema Lodge it seems to have been a running joke that listening to "Grady stories" about the Caliph's war-time accomplishments
and adventures was practically a "Minerval obligation." During the years that
he contributed monthly essays to the Magickal Link Grady frequently wove his
military memories into the discourse whenever he could use them to make a
relevant point regarding the operations of Thelema. But when he actually sat
down one day to discuss his army career directly, the resulting essay was
never used. It was discovered in the editorial archives of The Magickal Link
and appears here for the first time.
On the Templar Mystique
or, The Rambling Reminiscences of a Templar
by Hymenaeus Alpha 777
"A strong partisan of the Templars was the theologian Bernard of Clairvaux.
He described the order enthusiastically, saying its members did not hunt or
hawk, despised jugglers and wandering minstrels, avoided the theatre, wore
their hair short, washed seldom and were always tanned and covered with dust"
(H. R. Hays, The Dangerous Sex: The Myth of Feminine Evil, Pocket Book 75103,
New York, 1965).
Well now, the "always tanned and covered with dust" was certainly Korea.
The hottest place this side of Hell I've ever been in the summer. Rolling a
convoy up those silt-laden slopes was to die of dust poisoning until you
learned to wrap a loose sock around your nose so you could die properly of
heat prostration while you dripped grimy sweat. In the winter Korea becomes a
part of Siberia, and at night it gets so cold you can hear the air crack. But
I never found those South Korean sentries asleep at their post on my OD
(Officer of the Day) inspections, even in the middle of the night.
As for "hunting or hawking," one day between actions I got restless. The
Army is always "Hurry up and wait." Hurry up to get yourself killed, and if
you don't, just wait. So I checked out a pump shotgun and went pheasant
hunting up over those old Chinese mine fields up on the slopes of Kwaneksan
(the big range north of Chunchon) in the fall when the leaves were turning red
just after the first touch of that searing Siberian wind came fanning down
over the frost-fingered ridges of Korea. I was so surprised when the German
Shepherd I had with me finally flushed one, I laid three rounds of buckshot
into its rear end before it had a chance to flop to the ground. We were
spitting buckshot for a week. Guess I flunked on that one.
But the "washed seldom" was something else. At Chunchon, which is up in
the center of the peninsula just south of 38, we drilled a shower pipe right
straight down through the gravel into the underground river that permeates
that whole valley, and when I came in from patrol about sunset, "hot, sweaty,
and covered with dust" -- which was more like it. (I never saw an air
conditioner in Korea, even in Army headquarters.) Our only luxury was to
crawl into that cold shower one inch at a time, to keep from dying of shock;
but it was the only way we could get "20 Cooler Inside" and clean at the same
time. And to drink we had Scotch & Chlorinated Water. That's a Soldier's
Drink. Grow hair on your butt.
In France during War II it was mostly rain and mud in the summer -- tracked
armored vehicles can throw an awful lot of mud if you get too close -- and
ungodly cold in the winter. We may have come from European stock but we had forgotten that high humidity "wet" cold that sucks every particle of heat from
your body. It was the Battle of the Bulge that changed us. The ghastly cold
of the Hurtgen Forest where our Infantry was so cold they cried in their icy
slit trenches. If you ever catch a flick The Big Red One, that it what it was
like when we spent the rest of the winter taking back Belgium after we had
already taken it once. But it proved valuable to me in Korea.
When I took over as Ammo Supply for the Central Front in May-June 1952
e.v., technically by TO&E (Table of Organization and Equipment) I was "S-3,
Operations Officer, 68th Ordnance Ammunition Supply Battalion." We had 9
Corps American on our left, 10 Corps American on our right, and II (2nd) Corps
ROK (Republic of Korea) troops right up the slot in front of us, Hwachon,
Chorwon, Khmhwa and the Iron Triangle straight ahead, Heartbreak Ridge over on
the right in 10 Corps. We really didn't expect much action. The ROK troops
-- Tiger ROK, Lion ROK -- were in training. The Central Front was considered
to be a "quiet" sector. The ROKs wouldn't even get their own artillery (105
Howitzer) until later, and in the meantime were getting back-up support from
our own 105th, 155 Howitzer, 8" Howitzer (counter-sunk on tank treads in their
own open "cellars" so they could take anything but a direct hit) right
alongside the road the last time I buzzed along Highway 3 from Uijongbu to
Kumhwa in an open jeep. At sunset looking north past Chunchon Hill they
looked like miniature red volcanoes sprouting as they fired a mission left to
right across the darkling horizon. So stable on their mounts they could drop
500 pounds of TNT and pig iron into a pickle barrel at 20 miles. Reminded me
of that battlewagon we saw laying in broadsides off the Coteton Peninsula as
we were standing into Utah Beachead (Beach Blue by naval parlance) on the LST.
We hadn't yet cut the Peninsula on June 17. She was saying in naval "covering
fire at 20 miles." Those naval rifles can range. Especially when she is
laying on her side from the recoil of the last salvo and is firing at maximum
But all that would change when the Chinese gave me a birthday present in
October of 1952 e.v. and threw a human wave offensive at the Kumwha Ridges
that went on for a solid week. The first day they cleaned out Division
Artillery on the Line (MLR = Main Line of Resistance), north of 38. The
second day they cleaned out my forward Ammo Supply Point at Hwachon. On the
third day they cleaned out my backup Supply Point at Chunchon. By then I had
been on the powerphone and had the rolling railhead at Suesak humping. That
saved our ass the fourth day and by then I had the ammo trains humping up from
Pusan and that took care of days five and six. We were flying in VT fuzes
from the States. A Variable Time fuze mini radar set in the nose of a round
of 105 artillery bursting twenty feet off the ground will give a forward frag
splash of 20-30 feet and when fired by ranked artillery nothing living can
walk through it. As long as you don't run out of ammunition.
Fortunately the Chinese were not using APC (Armored Personnel Carriers).
When I saw two lines of Division Artillery trucks with trailers snaking in
from both directions -- having come down the winding Pukangang on the west and
down the jumbled slopes of Kwaeuksan on our right one evening at sunset I knew
just how deep the trouble we were in had been. When Div Arty has to send its
dynamite wagons all the way back to the railhead, that's the crunch. Mao had
sacrificed 100,000 Chinese in a single week just to break the Central Front.
For why? Because by then the Peace Talks were on at Panmunjom and he needed
leverage. Besides he was just getting rid of the opposition. When the
Nationalist armies had surrendered to the 8th Route Army on the way south he
had simply incorporated them into the Red Army. No point in sending them back
to the farm to foment Chiang's Nationalism. So he just used them to divert
our attention. No point in looking up the Battle of the Kumwha Ridges in any
standard history of the Korean War. By then all the reporters were over at
Panmunjong being "this is what's his face reporting from so and so" and
becoming famous while we were only fighting for our lives.
And what would have happened if they had broken the Central Front? We
would have been thrown all the way back to the Pusan Perimeter and there certainly was not going to be another Inchon to get us back into the war. The
Peace Talks would have gone down the drain and today we would have a Communist
Korea aimed right straight at Tokyo. Why didn't they? Because we never ran
out of ammo. They kept sending them and we kept killing them. Because I
remembered the Bulge. A little experience never hurt an officer on the Line.
Things were too quiet. When that happens the experienced soldier starts
checking. Check everything. One day in June I turned my Ammo Supply tent
over to the Sargent of detail, grabbed my S-3 jeep, and started touring the
front, busting my ass over those chuck holes they called roads. All the way
from I Corps on our left to 10 Corps on our right. I knew where everything
was -- and wasn't.
One day I came in from the field to my Operations Tent, saw the Sargent had
all inventory levels at optimum, and said "That's great. Couldn't have done
better myself. But after this every time you put in an order to Pusan, add
two extra box-cars of 105 howitzer. Don't worry about where we are going to
put them. I've got the dozers working up at Hwachon." For this my men took
me out and got me laid, the highest complement an officer on the Line can get.
I was obviously working too hard and not paying attention to essentials.
That's when I found out about the Korean "hot floor." Nothing like it. But
the reason I had the bulldozers working was I remembered Rhine-Main. We hit
the Rhine at Frankfurt-am-Main and set up at Rhein-Main. The old Grad
Zeppelin base still had the old "Eiffle Tower" mooring mast when I was there,
about twenty miles south of the Autobahn. Only problem was the Germans had
been flying Messerschmidts off it, and our P-47 Republic Thunderbolts with
their two 500 pound bombs and eight .50 calibers couldn't lift off over that
stand of pine trees at the end of the runway. I remember leaning back against
a stack of open 500 pounders one day writing a letter to Crowley while looking
at the red "Eiffle Tower" pylon across the Autobann. So we called in the
dozers and you've never seen a pine forest fall so fast. I had stacks of 105
up at Hwachon leaning at an angle of 30 on a sidehill. But it saved our ass
At the time I was wearing the shoulder patch of the 8th Army. As you can
see, it is the Templar cross. Only the colors are reversed. White on red
instead of red on white like in the Old Aeon.
And this is what a Templar looks like in the field.
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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for August 2003 e.v.
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Feast of Lammas barbecue and picnic
At Lake Temescal 5:00 PM
|OTO Initiations (call to attend)
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Full Moon in Aquarius 9:48 PM
|Feast of the Beast and his Bride
|Magical Practice, 8PM Library
|Sirius Encampment meets in
Berkeley 7:30 PM
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Bacchae of Euripides
8PM in the library
|Mantra Yoga Class with Jeff Sommer
8 PM in Horus Temple
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
|New Moon in Virgo 10:26 AM
|Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple
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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