Thelema Lodge Calendar for January 2004 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for January 2004 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, 2004 e.v.

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

January 2004 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Capricornus Pneumaticus

    "How shalt thou adore me who am the Eye and the Tooth, the Goat of the Spirit, the Lord of Creation."

    Under the stars of the Goat, forth into the fresh vulgar year, the progress of Thelema nears its centennial as the days begin to strengthen again. Here in Horus Temple the gnostic mass is celebrated each week on Sunday evenings, with communicants welcome to take part. In the lodge library we have several ongoing groups meeting to study and practice together, and (as we tend to notice in January, a month presenting no major Thelemic holidays or anniversaries) there is room for more, if the community seeks new opportunities here to share skills and ideas. Our established monthly gatherings continue, with the series on Fundamentals of Magical Practice meeting for further study of Liber E from 7:30 until 10:00 on Thursday evening 8th January, the Mantra Yoga circle assembling at 8:00 the following Thursday evening 15th January, and the Section Two reading group taking a look at the Chaldean Oracles from 8:00 until 9:30 on Monday evening 19th January. The oasis at Thelema Lodge will also be active for O.T.O. initiation on Saturday 31st January, with admission limited to initiates who contact the lodge officers in advance to learn the time, place, and degree to be worked. Persons presenting themselves as candidates for initiation -- being free, of full age, and of good report -- may apply to Ordo Templi Orientis for admittance through the Man of Earth degrees at this or any other chartered oasis. The requisite forms for each degree, and sponsorship in support of their submission, may be requested at most lodge events.

    "I am the Eye in the Triangle, the Silver Star that ye adore. I am Baphomet, that is the Eightfold Word that shall be equilibrated with the Three."

    The lodge is a center for communal pursuit of the Great Work, where individual Thelemites unite their efforts and their understanding to serve not simply the good of all, but specifically the good of each. It may seem contradictory to draw Thelemites together into an Order of fellowship, since the True Will must be cultivated independently by each one. The whole of the Law, "Do what thou wilt," is emphatically expressed in the singular, with no implication that its validity extends into collective or corporate associations. Many "fraternal" organizations, somewhat resembling ours in structure, like to point to "service" as justification for their cooperation, even though the dispensation of benefits is often so inefficient that it shows no measure of their efforts. In the largest sense, as proponents and examples of Thelema, we too are a "service" organization, though here members serve not so much by giving of themselves as by excelling in themselves. Not for profit, as a matter of fiscal definition, we are not for charity either, and we do not claim our good works or our civic virtues as warrants of our worthiness. Among us it is the quality of our own experiences together which makes our work worth while, and we need look no further than ourselves to gauge our success together. By mutual example and support, by affording each other the trust and respect necessary to nurture freedom in every one of us, we define together what it means to be a Thelemic Order in a New Aeon. When we meet each other as Thelemites, we can work more truly and more fully than in any other mode of relation, and we gain together from the freedom of each.

    So therefore the beginning is delight, and the end is delight, and delight is in the midst, even as the Indus is water in the cavern of the glacier, and water among the greater hills and the lesser hills and through the ramparts of the hills and through the plains, and water at the mouth thereof when it leaps forth into the mighty sea, yea, into the mighty sea" ---- Liber 370.

Unto the Darkly Splendid World

    The mysterious and fragmentary text known as the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster is our subject this month for the Section Two reading group. Join us at 8:00 on Monday evening 19 January for an evening of reading and discussion in the lodge library. We will examine in translation the contents of these Greek verses, which may represent an ancient Iranian wisdom tradition vaguely connected with Zoroaster (legendary prophet of the early sixth century B.C.E.). Wynn Westcott's edition, originally published for the Golden Dawn as volume VI of the Collectanea Hermetica series in 1895, has often been reprinted and remains the most available version of this work, listed by Crowley in his Section One curriculum as an "invaluable collection of precepts mystical and magical." Certain elements in these "oracles" also exerted an obvious influence upon the Beast's own ritual work, and upon the inspired style of some of the Holy Books he recorded.
    In the Roman empire of the second century of the common era, when this Greek text first appeared, educated pagans were cultivating an interest in the wisdom of ancient "sacred" texts from other cultures and traditions. Religious life differed widely among the various nations under Roman imperial administration, and trade was extending cultural contacts even further into the unconquered Orient. Institutions of Greek learning, such as the great library at Alexandria, maintained cosmopolitan contacts, collecting significant texts and even organizing translation projects to make foreign works available for study. Greek philosophy and religion had often been receptive to outside influences, and it was more than a simple love of sententious phrases (although that was certainly a factor) which led the centers of empire to exploit not simply the natural, agricultural, and human resources of the available world, but its spiritual resources as well.
    Sacred books of the sort for which the high Hellenistic culture of the empire was searching were in short supply. Within the Greek tradition, the Homeric poems had long dominated the available selection of inspired texts. Much teaching and study was based upon commentary applied to passages from them, and Homer continued to sound as true as any clever interpreter could make him, upon almost any subject. By this time, however, Homer had been central to Greek education for nearly a millennium, and did not provide a particularly inviting medium for the exploration of innovative spiritual concerns. Hymns, songs, and oracular texts were used in many of the cults of pagan worship, but these had seldom developed to the point of presenting the basis for a comprehensive system of enlightenment, ethics, theurgy, cosmology, and eschatology -- or whatever else might be expected of a "sacred book."
    The Jewish Torah received some attention, having been available in an authoritative Greek version for several centuries, but most pagan readers don't seem to have gone further than the first few chapters of Genesis (which, like the collective "bible," has continued to be called by its Greek name). Jews gained a modicum of respect from some pagans for their strong tradition of veneration for their sacred scrolls, although the new messianic "gospel" writings of fringe Jewish cults and their converts (likewise circulated in Greek) failed to attract literary or philosophical attention for many years, due in part to the simplicity and vulgarity of their style.
    Other literate cultures were explored for the sacred traditions which they might offer, and Egypt was respected as the most ancient of these. Its influence upon the religious culture of the Roman empire was pervasive during this period, and included mythological narrative material which became central to the practices of many popular cults. These stories however had always to be extensively adapted, and very few Greek scholars were directly conversant with Egyptian literary culture. With Egypt a part of the empire and administered in Greek, it was possible to visit the temples and interview the priests there, but their ancient religious texts (such as the extensive funerary books) remained unavailable to Hellenistic scholarship. Where great significance is long anticipated from texts which are not forthcoming, a situation can be created into which artificial documents emerge and are allowed to meet the deficit. This seems to have occurred during this period in the case of the Greek pedagogical texts known as the Hermetic books, which represent Egyptian gods as if they were Greek philosophers. It was from a Hellenistic conception of Egyptian religious philosophy that the Corpus Hermeticum was synthesized and assembled (very likely with borrowings from contemporary Egyptian culture) and falsely considered ancient.
    Another culture with a reputation for ancient wisdom in the occult sciences was that of Babylon, where the college of Magi had maintained a tradition of magical teachings for centuries. The Roman world had heard of the existence of holy books associated with this culture, but again there was great difficulty in researching them. In the second century a Greek text circulated under the title of  Lambda-omicron-gamma-iota-alpha  Chi-alpha-lambda-delta-alpha-iota-kappa-alpha, which collected, or at least quoted, sacred texts from Persia, assembled by a scholar named Julianus. This collection did not survive, but the Byzantine scholar Michael Psellus assembled fragments of it in the eleventh century from quotations in other works, and wrote about its "Chaldean" philosophy. Several centuries later another Byzantine scholar, Gregorius Pletho, again made a study of the surviving fragments and printed them, connecting them for the first time with the name of Zoroaster (to some of whose teachings they may have a vague relation). During the Italian Renaissance Pletho's work was studied by Hermetic scholar Francesco Patrizi, who translated the fragments into Latin and published them as an appendix to his controversial New Universal Philosophy (1591) as Zoroaster et eius CCCXX Oracula Chaldaica. This Latin text was translated into English several times during the eighteenth century, first by Thomas Stanley in 1701 (the version reprinted by Westcott for the Golden Dawn). A later translation was published by the great English scholar of Platonism, Thomas Taylor.

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Crowley Classics

   Crowley had recently met George Sylvester Viereck in New York and agreed to write for his magazine The Fatherland when he drafted this essay, probably around the beginning of February 1915 e.v. Viereck seems to have rejected the piece, however, and it remained unpublished during its author's life. It was first seen ten years ago, edited from the archives of the Order, in the premier issue of The Scribe, a magazine published by Tahuti Lodge, O.T.O. (New York: spring equinox 1994). A ferule was a small cane commonly used in the nineteenth century by ineffective teachers for beating the hands of fractious pupils. To be "under the ferule" is to be subject to the discipline of the schoolroom (or, as here, that of childhood generally). Copyright © O.T.O., 1994, 2004 e.v.

Under the Ferule: A Study of New York

by Aleister Crowley

"I do believe in Freedom's cause as far away as Paris is." ---- Lowell"


    Quarantined in New York Harbour, on an inland too small for the poor lady even to sit down, stands the Statue of Liberty.
    The American idealist is however, permitted to take ship and land upon the island, when to his inexpressible satisfaction he discovers the Statue to be completely hollow.
    However, I think that the Authorities do well to be cautious, not allowing even a simulacrum of the torch-bearing goddess upon the main island; for a spark from that torch falling upon the dusty parchments of the Law, might kindle a conflagration which only blood -- the inky blood of lawyers and legislators -- could quench.
    I have lived in New York for three months, and have received more spontaneous kindness and sympathetic understanding than I should have had in England in three years; Liberty is the only political principle I care for, and I should like to reward my hosts by explaining to them the nature of this principle. It is singularly infectious, and if even a few persons can be inoculated, they are liable to an access of fury which manifests itself by decorating the lamp standards of the towns with many prominent citizens.


    "By Jove, mother, that's a bad cold you've got. Don't you think you ought to stay in bed?"
    The criminal who utters these appalling words has broken the law twice. He, not possessing a license to practice medicine in the state, has (a) pretended to diagnose a disease, and (b) prescribed a medical treatment. By an oversight, there is at present no law requiring a son to take out a license to address his mother.
    Of course, this is an extreme case, and so far as I know, there have been no prosecutions of this particular kind.1 Indeed, the laws of other countries might be strained to include such cases. The main difference lies in the fact that in New York they are strained nearly as far as this.
    The Medical Graft of New York is the strongest and worst in the world. Within its fortress may be found every type of quack. It was the American doctor who invented the "brain storm," now forsaken for a new love, "twilight- sleep-state," after a brief flirtation with "secondary personality" which didn't work with juries, owing to its lack of phrase-value. The coroners of New York have recently been exposed as using practices which are the apotheosis of bumptious ignorance, idleness, and veniality.
    In America it is quite easy to find a regularly qualified medical man who "specializes" in forms of treatment which appear mere criminal jokes, and harmonize the obscene and the ridiculous into one grand sweet song. The general repute of the medical profession is so deservedly bad that the majority of the people seems to prefer any crank, however absurdly boastful and ignorant. For this reason the grafters employ armies of spies, and strain every engine of oppression to convict those who seem to be poaching on their preserves. For this reason Christian Science and New Thought and Mental Healing and all the rest of the rubbish thrive alike on medical incompetence and medical persecution. The doctors can't cure people themselves, and won't let others cure them; and they are concerned rather to prosecute their rivals than their own studies in medicine. License to practice medicine is really only a question of organization and money. Christian Science can fight its way to immunity and the Patent Medicine Graft2 buys it outright by advertisement.


    Another persecuted class is that of fortune-tellers. Again we find a perfectly proper law strained and twisted. People are indicted for advising others in the choice of profession. Quite serious students of astrology are in danger of jail, and students of palmistry are fined and imprisoned without mercy, even when they happen to be hunchbacks or invalids, and thus naturally incapacitated from more strenuous forms of dollar-chasing.
    I do not believe in palmistry at all, and very little in astrology; but I do believe in the right of any one to be fool enough to believe in both -- "He is of age. Ask him." -- And while I think it noxious to the State for the fortune-tellers and their dupes to flourish, I think it still more noxious to employ the mean and treacherous methods of spies to uproot them. The palmist is no more than a house-fly; the police spy is a deadly serpent. In a country where magistrates will convict on uncorroborated evidence, and that evidence the manufacture of those whose wage and promotion depend on their obtaining convictions, there is no safety or liberty for anyone. One notorious spy, having run up against an honest and intelligent judge, and so failed to convict a very eminent student of astrology, a woman whose sincerity and learning is patent to the whole city, sent her a message,3 "You've got off this time, so I suppose you think you're safe. But I'll get you yet." This is not justice, but vendetta; the vendetta of the rich against the poor, of the proud against the humble, of the tyrant against the people.


    But more than all this is the amazing slavery in which the so-called moral law has bound the people.
    Again the two sides of the medal are plain to every stranger; the inhabitants of New York themselves are careful to arrange their minds in water-tight compartments. New York is in the matter of vice the grossest, foulest, most repulsive city that I have ever seen -- and I know the world well enough.
    To begin at the top, I have heard a society woman, in the presence of her own son (aet. 17) and of a young girl of 16, openly endeavour to get her hostess to procure her some wretched long-haired fiddler from the orchestra of a dancing-hall -- "with such wonderful sad eyes." I have explored sailors' taverns in my time from Limehouse to Shanghai, and I have never been one-third as disgusted.
    I have heard the filthiest language ever uttered in the mouths of the "Four Hundred." But I have no great objection to it; other folk, even if they do not say it, think it. But what revolts me is the class of thought, the sordid and even mechanical outlook on love. As for shamelessness, only an American woman could telegraph "Engage gardener as lover for Mrs ---- at two hundred a month." That apart, a lover is to them only a kind of manicure, a specialized masseur. That is, I am aware, the usual attitude of the coarser type of bachelor man, and has become so familiar that only the poet is disgusted with it; but to hear the hags of the Four Hundred chaffering over Hungarian minstrels like charwomen cheapening spoilt butchers' meat on a Saturday night at a stall, nauseates even a hardened sinner like myself, who can read the works of Elinor Glyn, Victoria Cross, Laurence Hope, and the sob-sister school generally without too atlantic a qualm.
    Here too we have the women nearly naked to dinner -- though God forbid that they should smoke! Here we see unseasonable vampires, ghouls who ought to have been buried decently in the early eighties, stauldbruggs of all infirmity, haunt the "tango tea." Our great-grandmothers, painted fathoms deep, pirouette like galvanized clothes-props. It makes one realize Ezekiel's vision of the Valley of Dry Bones. In London or Paris ridicule would kill this in twenty-four hours. But Americans have a totally different sense of humour to the English; this is one of the fundamental causes of misunderstanding. The proof is that they cannot see each other's jokes.
    In the streets, too, one sees in their thousands perfectly respectable honest "chaste" women of all ages, faded and rouged and powdered in a way that would make ashamed the vilest prostitutes of Leicester Square. Dark blue under the eyes, necessary on the stage, is not beautiful by daylight. The eyelashes are smeared with antimony sulfide, the hair dyed with I know not what hell-broth.
    "The women do it in Paris." No: they don't; not the decent women. And in Paris those who do do it can do it; the American women can't. Why they can't is part of the Great Solution which I propose to offer in its proper place. To return to real vice from this consideration of the aping of its trappings.
    I know a negro girl of the class that is only too glad to sell her body for a dollar or even fifty cents to the first comer; this girl pays sixty dollars a month to the policeman on the beat. "Can you beat that?"
    In London only the frowsiest harlots drink gin -- that is the stage which, beginning with port and continuing with brandy, ends all but for the last stage -- water -- the Thames.
    In New York men and women of all classes drink it at all hours of the day and night. An average New York man's only idea of amusement is to get drunk. "Jesus Christ, I has the time of my life last night." "What did you do?" "Why, Jesus Christ, we all went to a party. I was so bloody drunk before I got there I could hardly stand." "And then?" "Oh, Jesus Christ, I don't know. We went on somewhere, I guess, but I don't remember anything after two o'clock. Oh, we had a hell of a good time." (The frequent reference to the Saviour by name is the only evidence I have yet obtained of the celebrated piety of America.)
    Do I come to the conclusion from these facts that New York is a very bad place? Not at all. What do the facts mean? They mean just nothing. That is the curious part of the situation, and the Great Solution will show them in another light.


    Now for the other side of the medal. Side by side with, arm in arm with, this shameless, senseless, mechanical vice, we find a kind of prudery which almost takes one's breath away.
    If you take a girl for an auto-ride to Long Island, it may be called abduction. If you bring her back again, you can be indicted twice. Probably a draper can be held to account for inveigling a woman into his shop for immoral purposes, if the woman be anxious to buy "attractive" lingerie. I do not know if this point of law has been tested yet, but all who know New York know that the idea is not too fantastically improbable. And when it comes to merely being shocked!4
    It is shocking for one of these naked, crudely painted society women to smoke in public.
    And it was shocking for Maxim Gorky to live with a woman who was not his legal wife. This in a town where the best and biggest hotels allow their rooms to be used by common prostitutes and their clients, and their lounges to be used by the said women for soliciting.
    It may be many years before America can live down the shame of the treatment of that great writer, a man who stood for freedom, and was only not married to the woman in question because of the very laws that Americans thought harsh!
    Lately, of course, they have tried to draw a red herring across the track, to turn the whole affair to ribald laughter. They held up Marie Lloyd! Here was a steamer with two thousand immoral people landing at a port with five million immoral people. Marie Lloyd to the pillory!
    The fact is that Americans go mad if any one mentions "sex" in public. A friend of mine, a prominent sodomite of New York, took me to a club dinner of the most whisky-sodden blackguards I have ever met. "For God's sake," he whispered, when I was asked to speak, "keep off sex; they're all frightened of sex."
    It reminds one of the girl who always blushed when she saw the number six. Because she knew Latin.
    But bedsides this peel prudery and core grossness is another matter. There is a real fear in the people. They harbour among them a monster of hypocrisy, graft, and craft, whose real name this preliminary description has already made it unnecessary to mention. He threatens all men; his hideous shadow chills the city. Who is he?
    Who is it that has the greatest library of indecent books and instruments in the world? Who is it that delights to flagellate children, and practices what Americans delight to call the "honey stunt"? Not a man in New York that reads this but knows at once whom I mean; yet this creature is not only tolerated, but feared. The word sex is so tabu that every one is not only afraid to mention it in public, but afraid lest for any other cause whatever his name may somehow be mixed up with it. If two business men wish to ruin a third, they ask, "Couldn't we frame up some sex stunt, and sock him?" "It's a cinch."
    This is the country which babbles daily of "soul-mates," "affinities," "love-wives," and the rest of the nauseating drivel. But stand for any real principle of purity or decency, and the shadow of the monster moves, and so potent is that mere oracle of pestilence that even brave men cower and flee. So will not Aleister Crowley.
    In these three months I have continued to lead the unostentatious life of an Irish gentleman; and I have rendered myself liable to several thousand years of imprisonment. But I have so far not been prosecuted, and let those who might wish to do so remember the story of the Indian tyrant who rode over what he thought was an ant, but turned out to be the god Vishnu incarnated as an elephant, who trampled him to death.


    I had as lief live in Germany or Switzerland. There nearly everything is "verboten" and sometimes "strengstens verboten;" but one always knows what, and one nearly always knows why. There is a definite disciplined standard of right conduct with an intelligible aim. In New York one can never be certain whether one is breaking the law, and if so, whether some busybody will take action. For example, there is a proposed law to prohibit "ball-dodgers" at county fairs!5 Again, consider spitting on the sidewalk. This accomplishment -- for it is certainly that, though I hesitate whether to classify it as an art, a science, or a social pleasure -- is the key to the happiness of eleven- twelfths of this unsophisticated people. I have not noticed any arrests but the point is that if some person became obnoxious to those in Power by the Will of the People, he may be seized and held up to execration as a disseminator of tuberculosis. A lumber-room law of this kind is only used -- can only be used -- as an instrument of oppression. It is useless for the defendant to urge that judge, counsel, jury, and spectators might all be indicted for the same offense. They merely reply that they are innocent until they are proved guilty -- and meanwhile the question is whether the man in the dock is guilty or no. He is, and that settles it. Hence prudent citizens take care to keep in with some powerful graft, the clerical, or the medical, or the financial; and they choose the lawyer who advertises the largest number of judges on his pay-roll.
    The worst sign that any community can show is that its citizens are afraid of the police. It implies that one or both parties are composed of scoundrels, and this is certainly the case in New York. Fear is the dominant emotion, after greed.


    It is fortunately easy to explain all these strange facts, so obscure and so conflicting, so strenuously startling to the stranger. The Great Solution is simple enough. America is a toy republic, and its inhabitants are children.
    Everything goes to show this. Consider the eager rush for every new plaything, be it scandal, opera singer, or idea. They grab it, use it up, throw it away. They make no use of it, never develop it, never become attached to it. It is a nine days' wonder. The attention rises suddenly to full pitch, flags, is diverted by the next new thing.
    Even their seriousness is childish. The habitual irony of the English is utterly lost on them. They take everything au pied de la lettre, and au grand serieux. In England if you say you have a machine to fly to the moon, the common sense of the people assumes some symbolic meaning; some satire or fable is expected, or it is mere extravaganza, demanding repartee on the same string. In New York they simply give you a page in the Sunday paper, with illustrations and photographs of you, and of the machine, and of the moon.6 If the story is a priori impossible beyond the credulity of even the lower classes of America, they take the author to a lawyer, and make him swear an affidavit to its truth.7 And he does it!
    Even the skyscrapers, magnificent in their sublime simplicity, are somehow like children's constructions with boxes of bricks. Again, the love of exaggeration is childish. They do not care for beauty, or even for greatness; only for bigness.
    A bell-boy took me over the Hotel McAlpin. He was an English boy, and five years in America had subdued him. The native awe of the great was upon him. He spoke like a verger showing a cathedral. His voice was a hushed monotone. "This is the biggest hotel in the world." "There are more rooms in this hotel than in any other hotel in the world." "There are more elevators in this hotel than in any other hotel in the world." "This is the biggest Turkish bath in the world." "This is the biggest dancing floor in the world" and when we got to the roof, and like Nebuchadnezzar looked forth upon the city: "This is the biggest harbour in the world." "More people pass that corner in Broadway than any other corner in the world." "That's the biggest building in the world." And so on, until when I tipped him, I said "You've forgotten one thing . . ." -- he looked startled, but sorrowful -- "you're the biggest liar in the world." He took it quite seriously, and as a compliment.
    Children -- why, their very diseases are the ills of childhood -- the "mullygrumps and the collywobbles." The gum-chewing is the symptom of childish restlessness, and no adult people would tolerate this stinking habit in public. Only the possession of a buzzard's breath could justify it. So also is the craze for amusement, in one class, the craze for "education," in another. It is just like a school: some of the children restless, excited, always crying for new toys and sweets and pleasures; the others owlishly serious, hardworking, anxious to "get on," and to win prizes and scholarships. But where do we find Americans with a fund of pleasure within themselves?
    Childlike, too, is the absence of true moral responsibility. They argue in copy-book phrases. There is (even today, after eight months of world-war) an influential school of "pacifists." They say the Allies would be more Christ- like8 if they did not resist. They cherish idealisms about right, and justice, and democracy, never having grown up to learn that these are figments, and that the world is run by bold unscrupulous men who care for nothing but wealth and power, and for their sakes despise even luxury. There are just a few adults in the country, and they are its millionaires. The average American really believes that the war is the "fault" of some wicked person -- the Kaiser, or Sir Edward Grey: does not understand that it had been economically and politically inevitable for decades, and that the only alternative was universal pestilence.
    The purblind professor that is President is truly a symbol of America (educated America) as Roosevelt was of the real backbone of the country in the strenuous West. He is polished, far-sighted, a "Highbrow" of the "Highbrows," all for the "uplift." And his policy is like Martin Tupper. "Watchful waiting" is a rotten phrase when the interests he is supposed to protect are ruining under his eyes. "All Mexico is not worth the life of a single American" is true; but it was uttered when Americans were being murdered unavenged; and the British policy is nobler: "Perish the Empire, but let the meanest half-caste horse-thief be safe, or be avenged, if he be a British subject." That Britain did not instantly and terribly avenge the murder of Benyon was the sign of her decadence; no victories on sea or land can ever undo the damage of that one cowardice.
    And now America stands on the verge of war -- which will include civil war. For the moment Wilson should indeed wait. Instead, buttressed by academic arguments which would convince any university, he tried to push through a shipping bill which will give England and Japan (which are not universities, but aggressive nations) the excuse they want. They are already afraid of American hegemony resulting from the exhaustion of the other nations; and they wish to exhaust her also. I am told that this is the idea of a crank; but I know British diplomacy, and I am prepared to abide by the decision of Referee Time.
    Again, the universal attitude toward sex is that of children. There is one class whose members discuss sex just as naughty children tell each other dirty stories; in the other class they refuse to discuss sex just as good children "resist the corruption of evil companions through the Blood of the Lamb."
    There is none of that ardent reverence for sex which comes of knowledge, none of that silence about sex which comes of that reverence. Half-manic, half-grafter, Billy Sunday's blasphemies and antics in the pulpit shock every one who has real religious feeling; but in this country there are plenty of quite serious people ready to defend him. A prize-fight in a church with an imaginary "Satan" punctuated by vivid description in the manner of the ring journalist is just as much a symptom of absence of true apprehension of the meaning of religion as the "Jesus Christ, what the hell, the god-damned son of a bitch," which amplifies the exiguity of thought in nearly every sentence that comes from the class of American whom he is trying to "save."


    In Shaw's essay Man and Superman -- in any other hands this theme would have made a drama -- John Tanner occasionally explains himself. He remembers, as many men do, the crisis of puberty. It is usually marked by exacerbation of the religious sense, but in the case of more developed men, is recognized as the onset of self-consciousness, or of the ego. It carries with it the idea of moral responsibility. This crisis does not occur in Americans. The sex-sense is not developed; and so they must be governed9 like children, amused like children, fed like children, reproved like children, and whacked10 like children. Until that principle arises man is not man, and still less free man. For this principle has four names, which are One; and they are Light, Life, Love, and Liberty.
    One day it will come, and suddenly. The nation will spring to Manhood in an hour. What will call it forth I am not prophet enough to foresee; but that it will come I doubt not. If not, America will continue to depend for population on the immigrant; for the old families are already sterile in face, as in genius. There is no art, no poetry, no science in Americal only a sort of playing at art and science and poetry; and the smart lad's happiness in the application of principles elsewhere discovered. American literature is infantile diarrhoea.
    But it will come. I sometimes think that the war, collecting as it has Europe's men of genius in New York, is Nature's scheme for the impregnation of this continent with the sex-principle. It will come.


    The night after I landed a very distinguished Englishman, tall, languid, aristocratic, took me after dinner for a walk. "They will tell you," he said, "that it is impossible or dangerous to tell the truth about this country in this country. Do not believe it. You can write the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in fiery letters ten feet high if you go the right way to work." "Look!" he continued, "how's that for Truth?" and he pointed to a tall building south of Central Park on whose roof was the blazing sky-sign:


T I R E S.

    "It won't tire me," said I. "I love children."


1. However, how's this for Freedom's land?
   "Out in Colorado is a case illustrating the point. A female spy of
    the office department wrote to a physician for information as to means of
    preventing conception. She made a eugenic plea, telling a story of a husband
    discharged from an asylum, defective children already born and a desire to
    avoid others. The desired information was sent by mail. The spy changed her
    name and location, wrote a similar appealing letter and received the same
    information. That doctor is now serving a ten year sentence in a federal
    prison -- five years for each of these letters" (Theodore Schroeder in "The
    Forum," Jan. 1914).
2. Vide the articles of Samuel Hopkins Adams in the N. Y. Tribune. I do not
    agree, though, that newspapers should be responsible for their advertisers.
3. She also heard from the Legislature "We have a law on the way to make the
    practice of astrology a misdemeanor instead of mere disorderly conduct. I
    think I can get it sidetracked. If I succeed, will you and your colleagues
    give me a little freewill offering of say Two Thousand Dollars?"
4. In America naked statuary is "disgusting." The only decent statue ever
    produced by any one even remotely claimed by America, the Bacchante of
    McMonnies, was barred in Boston. No man ever fashioned sculpture purer than
    that. On the other hand, on the door of the lavatory of the Claridge, one of
    New York's best hotels, is a copper relief, crude and clever, of two naked men
    embracing as they micturate. "Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees,
    hypocrites, who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel!"
5. Evening Post, Feb. 9, 1915.
6. I wrote this at random. On re-reading, I remembered Poe's "Moon-Hoax,"
    which did actually fool a number of quite responsible people in the United States.
  Similarly, I happened to be discussing chemical theory the other day with a most
   distinguished man of science, who can change the colour of precious stones.
   I suggested certain experiments to him. This conversation took place in the
   presence of a third person who told me jokingly that all that had come of my
   suggested experiments was that the man had spoiled several diamonds, so
   I chanced to ring him up today, and began, "I hear you've spoiled a million dollars
   worth of diamonds over my experiments." An Englishman would have replied
   "Well, the exact sum is nine hundred and ninety-seven thousand dollars and eight
   cents, and I'm expecting a cheque from you in the morning." But my friend replied
   quite seriously that it was not through my suggestions at all, and that the diamonds
   spoiled were few and valueless.
7. N. Y. World, Aug. 2, 1914.
8. To illustrate the difference of English and American ideas of the
    ridiculous, the "Forum," a high-class "advanced thought" magazine, printed
    "The Sermon on the Mount" by "Jesus of Nazareth" just as if it were an
    ordinary article by a promising young writer. The idea of the publication was
    to influence opinion against war!!!
   I despair of getting any American to see the complex ribaldry, the ludicrous
   blasphemy, and the childish fatuity of the act. To any European mind it is
   a masterpiece at which comment stands agog and agape. One gets a real
   God-glimpse at humanity, knows not whether to be more amused at them, or
    ashamed of them.
9. They treat even their doctors like children. A medical man may not buy
    more cocaine, morphine, etc. than some lay official thinks is good for
10. The idea of self-control is altogether absent. A man killed his family
    and himself with a "Maxium silencer" on the rifle. The only remedy suggested
    was to stop the sale of "Maxium silencers"! [1994 e.v. editor notes here
    "Rest of footnote illegible."]

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from the Grady Project:

   In March 1951 e.v. Grady McMurtry, then working on a Masters degree in Political Science at the University of California, was recalled to active duty from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Captain in the Ordnance Corps. He left his young family in Berkeley, and spent a year at Fort Holabard in Maryland, followed by nearly sixteen months abroad in Korea and Japan. Discharged at the beginning of October 1953, he moved back in with his wife and son at 2217 Channing Way, apartment D, and re-enrolled in graduate studies at the university. He now had a fresh grant on the G.I. Bill from his new service, which supported him for three more years at Berkeley. He earned extra money as a Teaching Assistant, and by working odd jobs, such as clerking at the Campus Smoke Shop (where he also bought his pipe tobacco) and ushering at the Campus Theater. For the school year 1956-57 he had an internship as an administrative analyst for the university, but during that year he failed in his doctoral exams to qualify for candidacy to continue his studies. After being allowed to re-sit the exams but still failing to qualify, Grady found himself suddenly out of school and out of work. He ended up selling used cars along Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley for a summer, until he could secure a government job in Sacramento, from which he eventually moved on to the Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. During the mid-'50s in Berkeley Grady was still interested in poetry, but found little time to work on it. (Most of his surviving poetry, which was serialized in these pages for eleven years beginning in 1987 e.v., was written during the second World War, or later in Washington in the early 1960s e.v.) His only major verse project at that time was an attempt to organize some of his memories and impressions of Korea. He produced one long poem -- about a dozen pages when he typed it out complete -- sending a few sample passages to one or two friends, but afterwards either forgetting the project or deciding not to include it with his other poems. It was not at all like the lyrics or ballads he had written in the '40s, and consisted instead of disconnected quotations and fragments of memory narrative, very much in the "modernist" literary style. The following excerpt is the beginning of the poem, consisting approximately of the first twelfth of the whole, which will be continued in this column over the coming months.

Memo Pencilled On a Helmet Skull

(Korea, 1952-1953)
by Grady L. McMurtry

[part one]

    By tunnel trip to Moji
    Down the southeast coast of Honshu
    Past heaven soaring Fuji and the tranquil Inland Sea
    Then by naval transport
    Out the port of Sasebo
    And through the island studded sea lanes
    To Pusan in Korea

    Ancient Chosen
    "Land of the Morning Freshness"
    Where the GI is furnished the exquisite pleasure
    Of being rinsed in a heavy dew of his own perspiration
    On a hot and humid day
    In the Chosen land.
    And so here we go again
    Sweating out the boredom and the tedium
    The new faces and the strange land
    The hurry up and wait The heroism, the horror
    The endless drive of the foreign campaign
    As once again we man the frontier garrisons
    Against barbarian assault
    (Oh Mother of Sorrow, when will this agony end?)

    The eternal sameness of moving up
    Through the wreckage and debris of war
    By slow train to Taegu
    (Where the pensive peasant "boy-san"
    In the immemorial squat of the Orient
    Watches the long limbed anthropoids
    Litter his station platform
    With the tin can offal of their C rations)
    And on past the graceful architecture
    Flaunting its tattered rice paper windows
    As the ghosts and gods of other days
    Look down on a renewal of conflict.
    How have the mighty fallen
    From the high days when the Mongol Horse
    Thundered out of Asia
    And the Emperors of East and West
    Paid tribute to the Tartar Khan.

-- to be continued --

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Foundations of Magical Practice

The Victorious City

by Brother Gregory Peters

"By Bes-na-Maut my breast I beat;
By wise Ta-Nech I weave my spell.
Show thy star-splendour, O Nuit!
Bid me within thine House to dwell,
O winged snake of light, Hadit!
Abide with me, Ra-Hoor-Khuit!"
Liber CCXX, III:38

"Now riseth Ra-Hoor-Khuit, and dominion is established in the Star of the Flame.
Also is the Star of the Flame exalted, bringing benediction to the universe."
Liber CCXXXI, vv. 4 - 5.

[An adaptation of A A Liber Samekh. Only to be performed during the course
    of the waxing gibbous or full moon, never during the dark phase. Let the
    aspirant be armed with the Bell, Vajra, and Mala. Incense of Abramelin or
    Red Sandalwood should be lit. Flowers, a bowl of water, and a white candle
    should be present on the altar.]

000. [Stand, facing East. Take three deep cleansing breaths and exhale,
    letting the breath out slowly, relaxing the body. Establish a rhythmic
    breathing pattern.]

00. [Assume the Sign of Silence, seeing yourself in the form of the Divine
    Child Harpocrates, standing upon two crocodiles afloat in the Celestial
    Nile (cf. Atu XX). Visualize your entire form encased in an egg of fluidic
    blue astral water. Do not proceed until the protective Silence is firmly

0. [Drop the arms to the sides, releasing the previous visualization. See a
    vast, dark ocean with no waves. It is night, and the sky is dark and filled
    with myriads of radiating stars. During the following sequence, visualize
    the Sun rising above the waters in east with the brilliance of a Golden
    Dawn. By the completion of the third line, the Sun will be in all its
    glory at the zenith of the sky, radiating streams of light in all
    directions, in the middle of the night:]

Nu is my Refuge [raising arms slightly]
As Hadit my Light [continuing to raise arms]
And Heru-Ra-Ha is the Strength, Force, Vigour of my arms.
[Arms are now raised outstretched.]

1. [Drop the arms to your sides. Visualize the crown center (Kether) as an
    intense pulsating sphere of white brilliance.]

2. [Give the Sign of Typhon-Apophis (the Trident), striving with all of your
    being to aspire unto the Light, while invoking:]

Thee I invoke, the Bornless One.
Thee, that didst create the Earth and the Heavens.
Thee, that didst create the Night and the Day.
Thee, that didst create the darkness and the Light.
Thou art ASAR UN-NEFER1, whom no one hath seen at any time. Thou art IA-BESZ2
Thou hast distinguished between the Just and the Unjust.
Thou didst make the female and the male.
Thou didst produce the seed and the fruit.
Thou didst form humanity to love one another, and to hate one another.

I am [motto], thy Chosen One, unto whom Thou didst commit Thy Mysteries, the
    Ceremonies of Thelema.
Thou didst produce the moist and the dry, and that which nourisheth all
    created Life.
Hear Thou me, for I am the Angel of NU, Angel of HAD, Angel of RA-HOOR-KHUT:
    this is Thy True Name, handed down to the Prophet of Thelema.

3. [Assume the Sign of Baphomet (The Chalice), allowing the stellar dew to
    descend into you, relaxing the invocation and allowing the Light to descend
    and enter into your heart. Maintain this as long as desired, then say

This is the Lord of the Gods.
This is the Lord of the Universe.
This is He whom the Winds fear.
This is He, Who, having made Voice by His commandment is Lord of all Things;
    King, Ruler and Helper!

4. [After a pause, assume again the Sign of Typhon-Apophis, seeing a blaze of
    radiant stellar light coruscating from out of your heart center in all
    directions, inflaming you with starry fire while saying:]

I am He! the Bornless Spirit! having sight in the feet: Strong, and the
    Immortal Fire!
I am He! the Truth!
I am He! Who hate that evil should be wrought in the World!
I am He, that lighteneth and thundereth!
I am He, from whom is the Shower of the Life of Earth!
I am He, whose mouth ever flameth!
I am He, the Begetter and Manifester unto the Light!
I am He, The Grace of the Worlds!
"The Heart Girt with a Serpent" is my name!
Come thou forth, and follow me: and make all Spirits subject unto Me, so that
    every Spirit of the Firmament, and of the Ether, upon the Earth and under
    the Earth, on dry Land, or in the Water, of Whirling Air or of rushing
    Fire, and every Spell and scourge of God the Vast One may be obedient unto

5. [Assume again the Sign of Baphomet, the currents of stellar radiance
    descending gently, a fountain of starry light, into your being. See your
    sphere of sensation ablaze with the brilliant light.]

6. [Assume a position of meditation. See yourself seated within a diamond
    vajra and moon upon a lotus throne, the Vajra slowly rotating clockwise in
    the depths of space. Light beams stream out continuously from your heart,
    and are matched with brilliant white fire from the Vajra, which flow out
    into the universe in all directions. Maintaining this visualization,
    recite the mantra of Horus:]

Heru Mani Padme Hum4

7. [As the mantra fades, allow the Vajra Throne to dissolve into your heart.
    Gradually see all of the Light refocus into the Tiphareth center with the
    Sign of Silence, leaving a warm afterglow over your entire body.]

8. [Ring the bell and close with the intonation:]

Such are the Words!

1. "Myself made perfect." If known, replace this with the Name of the Holy
    Guardian Angel.
2. "The Truth in matter."
3. "The Truth in motion."
4. "Heru (Horus) the Jewel in the Lotus." The mantra should be recited as
    many times as possible.

May 31, 2002 e.v.
revised December 4, 2003 e.v.

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from the Library Shelf

   Gnostic saint Simon Magus, active in the middle of the first century of the common era, was traditionally disdained by Christians as the father of all heresy. A traveling preacher and spiritual showman, his gnostic doctrines and the erotic appeal of his prostitute partner Helena were widely popular, and especially hated by promoters of the new Christian sects. Both of the following hostile accounts were produced by Christian "fathers" in the following century. They are reprinted from The Ante-Nicene Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325, edited by Roberts & Donaldson (Edinburgh: 1867), volume 1, pages 171 (Justin Martyr) and 347-8 (Irenaeus).

Two Early Accounts of Simon Magus

Simon the Magician
from the First Apology
(chapter 26, "Magicians Not Trusted by Christians")

by Justin Martyr

    After Christ's ascension into heaven the devils put forward certain men who said that they themselves were gods; and they were not only not persecuted by you [i.e. the citizens of Rome], but even deemed worthy of honours. There was a Samaritan, Simon, a native of the village called Gitto, who in the reign of Claudius Caesar, and in your royal city of Rome, did mighty acts of magic, by virtue of the art of the devils operating in him. He was considered a god, and as a god was honoured by you with a statue, which statue was erected on the river Tiber, between the two bridges, and bore this inscription, in the language of Rome:
"Simoni Deo Sancto,"1
"To Simon the holy God."
And almost all the Samaritans, and a few even of other nations, worship him, and acknowledge him as the first god; and a woman, Helena, who went about with him at that time, and had formerly been a prostitute, they say is the first idea generated by him. And a man, Menander, also a Samaritan, of the town Capparetaea, a disciple of Simon, and inspired by devils, we know to have deceived many while he was in Antioch by his magical art. He persuaded those who adhered to him that they should never die, and even now there are some living who hold this opinion of his.

The Doctrines and Practices of Simon Magus
from the treatise Against Heresies
(book I, chapter 23)

by Bishop Irenaeus of Lyon

    Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke, the disciple and follower of the apostles, says, "But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime used magical arts in that city, and led astray the people of Samaria, declaring that he himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This is the power of God, which is called great. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had driven them mad by his sorceries."2 This Simon, then -- who feigned faith, supposing that the apostles themselves performed their cures by the art of magic, and not by the power of God; and with respect to their filling with the Holy Ghost, through the imposition of hands, those that believed in God through Him who was preached by them, namely, Christ Jesus -- suspecting that even this was done through a kind of greater knowledge of magic, and offering money to the apostles, thought he, too, might receive this power of bestowing the Holy Spirit on whomsoever he would -- was addressed in these words by Peter: "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God can be purchased with money: thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not fight in the sight of God; for I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity."3 He, then, not putting faith in God a whit the more, set himself eagerly to contend against the apostles, in order that he himself might seem to be a wonderful being, and applied himself with still greater zeal to the study of the whole magic art, that he might the better bewilder and overpower multitudes of men. Such was his procedure in the reign of Claudius Caesar, by whom also he is said to have been honoured with a statue, on account of his magical power.4 This man, then, was glorified by many as if he were a god; and he taught that it was himself who appeared among the Jews as the Son, but descended in Samaria as the Father while he came to other nations in the character of the Holy Spirit. He represented himself, in a word, as being the loftiest of all powers, that is, the Being who is the Father over all, and he allowed himself to be called by whatsoever title men were pleased to address him.
    Now this Simon of Samaria, from whom all sorts of heresies derive their origin, formed his sect out of the following materials: Having redeemed from slavery at Tyre, a city of Phoenicia, a certain woman named Helena, he was in the habit of carrying her about with him, declaring that this woman was the first conception of his mind, the mother of all, by whom, in the beginning, he conceived in his mind [the thought] of forming angels and archangels. For this Ennoea leaping forth from him, and comprehending the will of her father, descended to the lower regions [of space], and generated angels and powers, by whom also he declared this word was formed. But after she had produced them, she was detained by them through motives of jealousy, because they were unwilling to be looked upon as the progeny of any other being. As to himself, they had no knowledge of him whatever; but his Ennoea was detained by those powers and angels who had been produced by her. She suffered all kinds of contumely from them, so that she could not return upwards to her father, but was even shut up in a human body, and for ages passed in succession from one female body to another, as from vessel to vessel. She was, for example, in that Helen on whose account the Trojan war was undertaken; for whose sake also Stesichorus5 was struck blind, because he had cursed her in his verses, but afterwards, repenting and writing what are called palinodes, in which he sang her praise, he was restored to sight. Thus she, passing from body to body, and suffering insults in every one of them, at last became a common prostitute; and she it was that was meant by the lost sheep.6
    For this purpose, then, he had come that he might win her first, and free her from slavery, while he conferred salvation upon men, by making himself known to them. For since the angels ruled the world ill because each one of them coveted the principal power for himself, he had come to amend matters, and had descended, transfigured and assimilated to powers and principalities and angels, so that he might appear among men to be a man, while yet he was not a man; and that thus he was thought to have suffered in Judaea, when he had not suffered. Moreover, the prophets uttered their predictions under the inspiration of those angels who formed the world; for which reason those who place their trust in him and Helena no longer regarded them, but, as being free, live as they please; for men are saved through his grace, and not on account of their own righteous actions. For such deeds are not righteous in the nature of things, but by mere accident, just as those angels who made the world, have thought fit to constitute them, seeking, by means of such precepts, to bring men into bondage. On this account, he pledged himself that the world should be dissolved, and that those who are his should be freed from the rule of them who made the world.
    Thus, then, the mystic priests belonging to this sect both lead profligate lives and practice magical arts, each one to the extent of his ability. They use exorcisms and incantations. Love-potions, too, and charms, as well as those beings who are called "Paredri" (familiars) and "Oniropompi" (dream- senders), and whatever other curious arts can be had recourse to, are eagerly pressed into their service. They also have an image of Simon fashioned after the likeness of Jupiter, and another of Helena in the shape of Minerva; and these they worship. In fine, they have a name derived from Simon, the author of these most impious doctrines, being called Simonians; and from them "knowledge, falsely so called,"7 received its beginning, as one may learn even from their own assertions.
    The successor of this man was Menander, also a Samaritan by birth, and he, too, was a perfect adept in the practice of magic. He affirms that the primary Power continues unknown to all, but that he himself is the person who has been sent forth from the presence of the invisible beings as a saviour, for the deliverance of men. The world was made by angels, whom, like Simon, he maintains to have been produced by Ennoea. He gives, too, as he affirms, by means of that magic which he teaches, knowledge to this effect, that one may overcome those very angels that made the world; for his disciples obtain the resurrection by being baptized into him, and can die no more, but remain in the possession of immortal youth.

1. It is very generally supposed that Justin was mistaken in understanding
    this to have been a statue erected to Simon Magus. This supposition rests on
    the fact that in the year 1574, there was dug up in the island of the Tiber a
    fragment of marble, with the inscription "Semoni Sanco Deo," etc., being
    probably the base of a statue erected to the Sabine deity Semo Sancus. This
    inscription Justin is supposed to have mistaken for the one he gives above.
    This has always seemed to us very slight evidence on which to reject so
    precise a statement as Justin here makes; a statement which he would scarcely
    have hazarded in an apology addressed to Rome, where every person had the
    means of ascertaining its accuracy. If, as is supposed, he made a mistake, it
    must have been at once exposed, and other writers would not have so frequently
    repeated the story as they have done.
2. Acts viii. 9-11.
3. Acts viii. 20, 21, 23.
4. Compare Justin Martyr, Apologia i. 26. It is generally supposed that Simon
    Magus was thus confounded with the Sabine god, Semo Sancus; but see our note,
    loc. cit.
5. A lyric poet of Sicily, said to have been dealt with, as stated above, by
    Castor and Pollus.
6. Matthew xviii. 12.
7. 1 Timothy vi. 20.

Previous from the Library Shelf

Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for January 2004 e.v.

1/4/04Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/7/04Full Moon in Cancer 7:40 PM
1/8/04Magical Practice series 7:30PM
in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/11/04Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/15/04Mantra Yoga Class with Jeff Sommer
8 PM in Horus Temple
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/18/04Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/19/04Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Chaldean Oracles of
Zoroaster 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/20/04Sol enters Aquarius 9:43 AM
1/21/04New Moon in Aquarius 1:05 PM
1/25/04Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/31/04O.T.O. Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

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

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

Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

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