Note to update: the addresses and phone numbers in these issues of the Thelema Lodge Calendars are obsolete since the closing of the Lodge. They are here for historic purposes only and should not be visited or called.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
December 1989 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
|1/2:||Thelema Lodgemeeting 8 pm|
|1/7:||Gnostic Mass 8 pm|
|1/11:||William James' Birthday|
|1/14:||Gnostic Mass 8 pm|
|1/17:||Qabalah #2 w/Bill 8 pm|
|1/18:||Lodge of Perfection meets|
|1/21:||Gnostic Mass 8 pm|
|1/24:||Qabalah #3 w/Bill 8 pm|
|1/27:||I & II Degree Initiations|
|1/28:||Aquarian Birthday Splash 5:55pm|
|Gnostic Mass 8 pm|
|Come, my friend|
|I grow weary of this ceaseless bickering|
|Speak not of justice, or that right reward|
|Well bought with human sweat, and lost.|
|Blind Libra stands a pawn, her scales|
|Are pendulums to every vagrant wind of fate|
|That blows in sloppy gusts about her feet|
|And she, swaying upon her limber pedestal|
|Stands drunk and giddy in the gale.|
|We are young|
|In this, our span of life, have not begun|
|That which must find its end|
|In some far future aeon|
|And whose beginning was|
|Before the time of Adam, yet|
|We have this present life to live|
|It must be full, in what we do|
|Completion of each act must be|
|Fulfillment of our basic will.|
|In this I charge you strongly|
|Be true unto thine self in all that is|
|If aught would find you lacking let it be|
|Bright steel on which to prove thy worth|
|And know, that by this test are all things known.|
|As swinging stars that graze and strain apart|
|To leave a wrecking torn and hot between|
|I would there were an end to this as sharp and quick|
|As knives in the darkness that have made|
|A decision, the one way or the other.|
(first published in The Grady Project #2, December 1987 e.v.)
Several years ago, shortly after having been Minerval-ized, my friend and I speculated excitedly about how we would someday write the Comprehensive Introduction to Ceremonial Magick. We had never seen a satisfactory one. Not surprisingly, I've never written the book, and as far as I know, neither has my friend. But the wisdom of not having written it grows clearer to me all the time.
Donald Kraig has made an ambitious attempt at such a book. He includes everything from the foundations of Kabbalah to Goetic evocation to sex magic in his sweep, and explains them all with clear and simple style.
The straight-forwardness of his writing, though carefully cultivated, becomes somewhat distracting at times. Though he presents a great deal of information, the mood he sometimes conveys seems more suburban than esoteric. Perhaps those who find the styles of more obscure occult writers a burden will welcome his tone.
When he delivers practical, step-by-step instruction, he is at his best. His exercises and rituals would form an awesome curriculum for the beginning magician. Also, the basics of Kabbalah and the theories of Reichian/Regardie- style bioenergetics are given with great clarity. After reading the first few lessons, I was ready to recommend this book unreservedly.
But even in the opening lesson, he touches on a complex subject: magical ethics - in rather a superficial way. I was prepared to overlook this at first. (I figure Llewellyn has a clause in their contract forbidding to publish magickal systems that have any chance of working unless they contain an admonition against "evil".) But, as the chapters progress, it becomes clear that this is a major theme of the book.
Not wishing to be known as one who divides magick into Black and White, Mr. Kraig adds "Grey". Roughly, Black magick is harmful, White magick is toward one's Angel, and Grey is toward the benefit of self or others.
Possibly something could be done with this system. But he immediately sets up the "Law of Karma" as a flaming sword to prop up these categories. This is not the Karma of eastern spirituality; it is the superstitious Karma of the impotent. "Sooner or later, you'll get yours." "As you sow, so shall ye reap." One wonders what hideous Black Magick the victims of natural disasters or the Jews of the Holocaust had to have sown to reap as they did.
The book reads as if Mr. Kraig is aware he is on shaky ground: he constantly returns to the subject throughout the book, expanding here and modifying there, until it takes on something of the character of an obsession.
A revealing passage: "Discovering things from higher, spiritual entities on other planes of existence and deciding to do them is called 'finding your True Will.'" If readers of this book, in search of something to do, seek advice from "higher, spiritual entities on other planes", no doubt they will find it! Is that the way to find one's True Will?
Then, in the final lesson, all the ordeals behind, he confesses, "there is no such thing as White, Grey or Black Magick." Imagine my surprise! The universe crumbling around me, I read on with trembling hands. "The true magician chooses the path of Light not for moral purposes. Rather, this path is chosen because the magician realizes that whatever is done will come back to him or her. Such is the universal law of Karma."
For crying out loud, man, do something or get off the pot! First you set up these categories and dance around them for hundreds of pages. Then, you proclaim them annihilated, but immediately prop them back up again with a silly assumption packaged as a "Law" with a Sanskrit name meaning something else entirely. Why bother in the first place?
To be fair, this is very much a Golden Dawn-oriented book. And no doubt many Golden Dawners were heavily into such ethical claptrap. The reason many Thelemites prefer the tradition after its reformation by Crowley, I think, is that he concisely punctured these dualistic facades so effectively that they no longer seem worthy of consideration.
Not everyone feels that way, though. On the back cover, William Grey, author of The Ladder of Lights, writes, "This unusual book might well have been written by Aleister Crowley himself, from whom the author draws extensively, yet always responsibly." If you feel that Crowley needs to be drawn from "responsibly," this is the book for you. If that sounds to you (as it does to me) like reciting incantations with a dental dam over your mouth, well, buy the book anyway, but be well acquainted with Konx om Pax and Liber Tzaddi to steer clear of the moralistic quagmires.
Here's a quote from Crowley's The Banned Lecture, c. 1930 e.v., to lighten the mood. I dedicate this to T.C.:
"There was a poet laureate --- I am not quite sure what this species of animal is --- but his name was Robert Southey, and he lived, if you can call it living, about the time of William Blake. He wrote a number of words arranged in some scheme connected with rime and rhythm; apparently, like golf clubs, 'a set of instruments very ill-adapted to the purpose.' But, anyway, he called it a poem, and the title was something to do with the old woman of Berkeley and who rode behind her. The person who rode behind her was Mr. Montague Summers' friend, the Devil. What she actually did to merit this favour is to me rather obscure, because I have forgotten the whole beastly thing."
from THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO SAINT BERNARD SHAW by Aleister Crowley, pages 129-131.
"If we think of the conditions of life in Syria two thousand years ago, we must admit that it would be impossible for women to follow a prophet unless on some such excuse of pilgrimage or what not. They would be utterly lost to all shame; for the Eastern harlot is much more modest in her demeanour than the English or American virgin; and they could not, even at that, earn their livelihood. It was women of position, as well as `sinners', that followed Jesus, and `ministered' to him of their substance', as Luke tells us.
"We cannot doubt then that the object of all these women was to repair the deficiencies of their husbands; and we cannot doubt that in this case they were disappointed. Jesus of course could hardly have failed to understand their desires; but he knew how to soothe their feelings without yielding to their wishes, for they never ceased to follow him.
"It is curious that legend should have anticipated this fact in the case of the Buddha, who was also a wandering ascetic, and also chaste, though in this case he had abandoned a harem and his children to follow the religious life. But his chastity was assured by divinely-ordained anatomical precautions; for from his birth 'membrum ejus membrano quodam continebatur, ne copulare poset' as an early biographer assures us, failing however to explain the children previously referred to.
"It is then certain beyond all doubt that Jesus was an exception to the prophetic rule.
"Should a freethinker of no propriety demand our authority for this conviction, it will be useless to seek it in Holy Scripture, for the gospels give no hint of any sort that this was so; but they will confidently rely in this matter upon the opinion of my Uncle Tom, who is President of the Children's Special Service Mission, and therefore in a position to know.
"Still less attention should be paid to those critics who claim that the Greek words `agape' (love or charity) and `agapao' should be interpreted in any other than a strictly spiritual sense; for the word is used of the relation between Jesus and John, who is also described as `qedesh' or holy, a technical phrase applied to certain temple servants in Judaea (See note below --- TSG) and grossly mistranslated in Deuteronomy XXIII, 17, I Kings XIV, 24, XV, 12, XXII 46 and II Kings XXIII, 7; it is doubtless better rendered as `the divine'. Such conjecture, supported as it may be by profane scholarship so- called, makes in this instance the most abominable nonsense. Such interpretation as scholars have suggested may be, as they say, perfectly usual and natural in the East; but in the case of Jesus we have absolute knowledge that it was not so.
"It is useless to urge that we have no ground whatever for that knowledge; knowledge of this exalted kind needs no basis in fact; it is for this very reason that it is unshakeable. Such facts as we may have all point in a precisely opposite direction; in all men of proper spirit this should strengthen instead of weakening their conviction. What better test is there of faith than that it should be utterly opposed to reason?
"It has been necessary to violate one's feelings by mentioning these utterly unfounded and repugnant conjectures, because Mr. Shaw has taken the curatical view of the celibacy of Jesus; and it appears necessary to point out that this view is not based on anthropology or theology or on any other branch of science or of reason; and it is not based on any statement whatever in the Gospels; it is founded on that wondrous gift of faith --- the evidence of things not seen --- which is our sole true guide in Life.
"It may however be observed in this place that chastity has been from the first a matter of priestly forethought. The first genius that caught the idea of living without work --- he got the idea from the village idiot, who was supposed to be divinely possessed --- said to villagers: 'I too am inspired; you must let me wander about all day and do as I like; and you must feed me.' 'What,' they indignantly exclaimed, 'You are a holy man too? Where does the holiness come in?' 'Oh,' replied the aspirant to Holy Orders, 'that's all right. I'm not at all like you are. You eat pig and dog; I will touch nothing but chicken and gazelle. You have wives; I never degrade myself to the level of an animal. For shame!' In other words, his holiness was proved by his refusing to do the orthodox thing, just as in the case of plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath day, in the gospels.
"It is the natural and even the necessary formula. How else is he to prove his holiness, and get free meals?
"The alternatives are prophecy and thaumaturgy; and the best holy men have always combined these methods. As Solomon says, 'A threefold cord is not quickly broken.'
"Of course, the priest soon saw how to indulge himself secretly under the cloak of his sanctity; if he were actually seen in adultery, it was only necessary to explain that it was not he, but a demon who had taken his shape in order to destroy his reputation. A man who so excited the malice of the Evil One must be holy indeed!
Here is the promised note:
In the above passage, remark is made of the "relation between Jesus and John", the beloved disciple and "qedesh". Some folk have read this and come to the horrifying conclusion that Crowley implied: "Jesus buggered John". Crowley's writings must be studied closely, and this particular impression is contradicted by the context.
It is possible that Crowley suggested a homosexual relationship, but the clearer implication is that John was a "sacred prostitute" and stand-in for a sexually impotent Jesus. This latter view carries more of the context and is supported by text preceding and following the selection. If we stroll down that lane a bit, we come to another interpretation of "the beloved disciple", not beloved by Jesus so much but by all the Jesus groupies. Ambling quite around the bend, we might suggest that the slang "John", meaning the client of a prostitute, has a sound New Testament base! After all, homosexual friendships in biblical times and places were ubiquitous to the point of being unremarkable. This preposterous western taboo is relatively recent. Heterosexual irregularity was much more spicy in biblical times. Since the context clearly suggests impotence for Jesus, it is more appropriate to infer "John buggered Jesus" than the other way `round the moon.
There you have it, a little time spent in study and the obvious first thought turns out to be 180 degrees off. Let's all remember to read carefully before jumping to conclusions.
Illustration: Multi-color lithograph or metal plate resist work, effect like
flat watercolors with heavy flat black and metallic overprinting. Colors
include white, metallic silver, metallic gold, burnt orange, chinese red,
grayish blue, dull medium brown (always associated with gold), straw yellow
and dull veridian. There are seven figures on a dull black field:
At the upper right is a figure similar to Blake's Urizon, but not holding a compass. The figure is shown in head, arms and either part trunk or left knee (obscured by the beard). There is a radiant of sharp petals of silver on white behind the head (five only are visible clearly, but parts of two others peak from the locks of hair). The hair of the head streaks out horizontally in four or more locks of gold and silver on white, accented in black. The face is closed eyed, done in red-orange stippling for the flesh with the features defined in gold and silver. The arms extend outward and very slightly downward, in silver accented by gold on white. The hands are displayed on the side, thumbs to the fore and held palm toward the bottom; they are suggestive of crab claws. The full beard dashes to the left in the picture, and is done in silver over white, accented mostly in gold but with some black accents near the chin. This figure emerges behind and above a loose tumble of ribbon done in brown-gold striations and scrolling. The Hebrew alphabet is done in silver on the ribbon, starting at the upper left with Taw and ending just above the pendant tip with Aleph thusly: Taw Shin, scroll up, Resh through Peh, scroll down, back scroll, scroll up to front, Ayin through Nun, scroll down to left again, back scroll, scroll up to front, Hebrew on this front Kaph to left, Yod to center, Tet to right, scroll down to left, Lamed, ribbon crushed at next level, Mem on left, Chet to right, scroll up out of crush below with Zain at a diagonal top to right on scroll, scroll down with face still presented, Vau to left and Heh to right, scroll crushed below, below this crush is a frontal fold, scrolled up from the left, down to the right and surmounted by the Hebrew letters left to right: Dalet through Aleph, below this the ribbon whirls in a downward left spiral horn of two loops to a point. ---- try reading that in one breath!
Ranked on the right edge in a column occupying the center half of the edge is a column of seven silver stars of seven points each, one point to top.
At the lower right, just above the tip of the serpent's tail (described below) is a lion of Assyrian style between two outward arched crescents. The lower crescent is golden and the lion's only visible hind foot rests on the center of the crescent. The upper crescent is silver and gripped by the lion's left paw at the lower horn. The face of the lion is directly at but not touching the center of this crescent. The right paw of the lion touches the lower quarter of this crescent with talon tips only. These two crescents are so aligned that their horn tips could be connected by parallel lines about 45 degrees from the horizontal, upper to the left and lower to the right. The lion is green on white with gold accents, tail arched upward in a crescent and tipped in gold. The eye is red and the tongue extends in red as well. There are black accents about the edges of the mane and below the chin.
At the lower left, framed by the serpent to left and below, is an Assyrian winged bull, flank view and facing right. The fore quarters stand on a silver sphere, while the hind quarters stand on a gold cube in parallel projection with the full face to the lower left. The Assyrian king's head is crowned and bearded as usual and colored in orange and gold over yellow. There are two silver horns issuing from the back of the head and angling upward just above and past the temples --- the horns are bull-like otherwise, and are only slightly curved. The wings form a bundle, more tucked under the back of the hair like a newspaper under an elbow than naturally rooted. These wings show only on the facing side, are blue and gold on white and have the usual shape for an Assyrian bull otherwise. They are fully as thick as the body and extend above it. The fore quarters are leonine in red and gold over orange. The hind quarters are taurian in gray brown over white. The bull is male, with a taurian tail hanging down below the hooves. The hind hooves are gold. The "saddle" of the bull is done in orange plates on gold.
Across the bottom and on the left side is a predominantly red-orange serpent with yellow scutes divided by orange. The scales on the back are represented in red dots on orange and defined by silver and red. Eye in blue. Teeth dog- like in blue with black boning. The body makes seven tight loops separated by arcs on the left of the illustration, curves to make two and a half undulations across the bottom and arches downward in a semicircle at the upper left corner. Flames in yellow and red are associated with the head as: Three flames accented gold brown in the shape of the Hebrew letter Shin above head, directly above brow and eye. One flame from nostril, slanting upward toward top center of plate. One flame accented in gold brown pendant to chin like an old man's beard. A gout of flame in four points issues triangularly downward from the mouth, and this is divided by a very forked tongue in gold brown (divides 1/8 inch from mouth and extends one inch past division point) such that the two outer points of flame are separated from the two inner by the fork.
A golden dodecagram (twelve pointed star) in a ring is directly below the serpent's head, situated such that the tongue of the serpent frames the upper arc of the ring and the head of the serpent appears in medium coeli like a nemesis above the wheel of fortune. The ring is divided into twelve silver and twelve brown-gold bands, with a red zodiacal symbol over each gold and silver band, gold to widdershins and silver to deosil. The star in the center points to each symbol. Aries is at top and the rest proceed Deosil around the ring.
In center is a star surmounted by the eye in the triangle. The star is in two modes: A large gold star of six narrow points with point to top is on top of a smaller silver star of six narrow points with two points dead horizontal. The silver star and the gold star create a sort of compass rose, and the silver star has its points filled with gold. The triangle is centered in the golden star, equilateral and apex at top. The triangle is gold with silver edging. The eye is a Horus left, gold on white. There are three silver teardrops edged in white depending from the vertices of the triangle and oblating toward the eye. Between eye, sides of triangle and tears are three sets of three each white rays, they touch nothing and the center ray in each set is very short.
The plate origin is identified under the lower right as: "CARL HENTSCHELL, LTD ENG; LONDON, E.C."
The illustration is known as "The Regimen of Seven".
|12/1/89||Crowley's Greater Feast||Thelema Ldg|
|12/3/89||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/5/89||Thelema Lodge Meeting 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/10/89||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/14/89||Eleusinean photo-swap 8 PM||Merkabah Hse|
|12/17/89||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/19/89||Enochiana with Dave, 8 PM|
"Approaching the Aethyrs Pt. III
|12/21/89||Rose-Croix and Perfectionists host|
Winter Solstice, 8 PM
|12/24/89||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/27/89||Qabalah series starts with Bill|
#1, introduction. 8 PM
|12/31/89||Capricorn birth day party 4:18 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/31/89||Gnostic Mass 8 PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/31/89||Here come the 90s party||Thelema 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.
Note to update: the addresses and phone numbers in these issues of the Thelema Lodge Calendars are obsolete since the closing of the Lodge. They are here for historic purposes only and should not be visited or called.