Thelema Lodge Calendar for October 1993 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for October 1993 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.

   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.

Copyright © O.T.O. and the Individual Authors, 1993 e.v.

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

October 1993 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Thelema Lodge in October

    October is a month of celebration at Thelema Lodge, bringing the anniversaries of the lesser feasts of our founder Grady McMurtry, our prophet Aleister Crowley, and of one of the greatest of the early pioneers in the establishment of Thelema in California, Jack Parsons. We also mark the sixteenth anniversary of the opening of Thelema Lodge. The Libran Brothers, once described by Grady as "three of the heaviest people in Thelema, Crowley, Jack Parsons, and myself," were each adept in the use of verse as a medium of magical expression. Our feasts this year are to be centered around poetry readings, and selections from the works of each are being prepared for distribution. Readers may also bring their own selections, or contact the Lodge Master to have them included. Each feast will be a pot-luck dinner, with all participants urged to contact the hosts for each evening several days ahead to coordinate our menu. Please bring your favorite portrait photographs or drawings to each reading, with copies to distribute if possible.
    Sirius Oasis and Thelema Lodge celebrate the Lesser Feast of John Whiteside Parsons (born 2nd October 1914 e.v. in Pasadena) on Saturday afternoon 2nd October at 5:30, at Sirius Oasis in northern Berkeley. Call (510) 527-2855 for details and directions. (Parsons shares this date with another magus-poet whose literary work helped prepare the foundation for Thelema: Arthur Edward Waite was born in Brooklyn on 2nd October 1857 e.v.)
    Edward Alexander Crowley, born at Leamington Spa in Warwickshire on 12th October 1875 e.v., and chartered as Baphomet X O.T.O. thirty-seven years later (on 21st April 1912 e.v.), was a prolific and accomplished poet. Thelema Lodge will celebrate Crowleymass in Berkeley on Tuesday evening 12th October at 7:30. Call (510) 644-8335 for location and dinner plans.
    "Expect him not from the East, nor from the West; for from no expected house cometh that child." Born in Big Cabin, Oklahoma, on 18th October 1918 e.v., Grady Louis McMurtry came to California to study engineering at Pasadena City College, met Parsons in 1940 e.v., and joined the O.T.O. soon after. Emerging rapidly as a leader in the Order during the 40's, Grady kept the flame burning through the dark times. He ultimately brought decades of dedicated labor to fruition with the revival of O.T.O. in the late 60's and 70's. Grady founded Thelema Lodge in Berkeley, at the eclipse of Sol by Luna on Crowleymass Day, 1977 e.v. Our celebration of Grady's lesser feast will be at Grace's in Berkeley, on Monday evening 18th October, at 7:30. Call (510) 843-7827 for directions and feast plans.

    Thelema Lodge Meeting will again be held at Ancient Ways, on Monday evening 4th October at 7:30. The store is located at 4075 Telegraph Avenue (at 41st Street) in Oakland; call (510) 653-3244 for directions. The suggestions and encouragement of so many members at the September meeting established a strong momentum for our reorganization of the lodge, and we are finding the challenges much easier when encountered in the spirit of open cooperation. All members are urged to assist with plans for the future, and particularly the November calendar, at this meeting.

    Thelema Lodge continues to search for a new home for Horus Temple and for our classes, library, and ritual events. The Lodge Master welcomes any suggestions, or assistance in house-hunting. Before long, with luck, we'll need more help with organizing and moving in when we find our place. In the mean time, we continue to offer events at a variety of locations, manly in private homes generously made available by members. All participants are asked to make an extra effort during this transition period to keep closely in touch with each other, to coordinate transportation, and to minimize inconvenience to our hosts at these events. Always call ahead when attending any lodge activity, to avoid confusion in case arrangements have to be revised.

    Two celebrations of the Gnostic Mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica are scheduled in October. These will be on Sunday evening 3rd October, in Berkeley, at 7:30 (call (510) 644-8335 for location), and on Sunday evening 17th October in conjunction with Sirius Oasis, also in Berkeley, at 7:30 (call (510) 527-2855 for directions). As soon as a new permanent location can be found for the temple, the lodge will be resuming the weekly Sunday evening Gnostic Masses which have always been at the heart of our magical life together. Presently we are having to set up temple facilities completely anew for each mass, so that only a couple masses a month are feasible.

    O.T.O. initiations are also planned jointly with Sirius Oasis, and will be held early next month, beginning at 1:11 on Saturday afternoon 6th November. All attending must first contact the Oasis Master at (510) 527-2855 or the Lodge Master at (510) 530-3923 for details. Applications for future initiation are available from either master, and should be requested early, as they must be submitted complete at least forty days in advance.

    There will be a meeting of the members and friends of Sirius Oasis on Wednesday evening 20th October at 7:30. Call (510) 527-2855 for information.

    October classes at Thelema Lodge lead off with the second meeting of Bill Heidrick's Magick in Theory and Practice series on Wednesday evening 13th October at 7:30. The location is 5 Suffield Avenue in San Anselmo; call (415) 454-5176 for directions. Bring your copy of Magick in Theory and Practice for a guided tour through the opening chapters of this seminal textbook of Thelemic magick. This class will start an in-depth study of the chapters on Magical Formulas, Ch. II - VIII.

    Seven houses, seven planets, plus day and year of birth give instantaneous insights into your personality. If seeing the "leading" influence in your life in five minutes appeals to you, come join us. Kathy's Burmese Astrology Group moves to Berkeley this month, for two Thursday evening meetings hosted by Grace, on 14th October and 28th October, at 7:30. To attend, please be in touch beforehand, either with Kathy at (415) 457-8076 or with Grace at (510) 843-7827.

    On Thursday evening 21st October at 7:30, Thelema Lodge hosts the Magick Theater of Santa Cruz for a dramatic reading of one of Crowley's best and least-known plays, The Saviour (1918 e.v.). Hysteria grips the Council of Elders, under siege in the mythical European city of Blabre, and in the crisis they ignore the advice of their Fool, persuaded instead by the local Prophet to accept a long-promised "Saviour". The reading will be held in Berkeley; please call the Lodge Master at (510) 530-3923 for directions.

    The Tantra of Gnosis series with Bishop T. Suleiman continues this month in San Francisco, meeting at 7:30 on Tuesday evening 26th October. Call the Bishop at (510) 654-3580 for the exact location. These classes offer an introduction to various traditions of sex magick as a background to Crowley's Gnostic Mass, with a survey of the Tantric, Gnostic, Alchemical, and other concepts which are represented symbolically in Liber XV.

    The Astrology of Scorpio, with Grace, will be meeting in Berkeley on Friday evening 29th October at 7:30. Please call (510) 843-7827 to attend this class, which offers practical wisdom and lore to assist beginning and experienced astrologers in working with the meaning of Scorpio in all its aspects and relations.

    On Sunday 31st October, Happy Halowe'en! No lodge events are planned, but several local Thelemic households will be holding costume parties.

Thelemites on the Move

    Thelema Lodge now has an ambassador to Texas, who extends farewell greetings to the lodge:

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

    Cris Piss & Ariadne are gone to Texas. You'll miss both of us, but we'll miss all of you. Thingz will be a lot quieter around here . . . Anyway, we're taking this opportunity to impersonally thank each & every one of you for the growth, learning, life, light, liberty & love that we have shared. I am not being sarcastic when I say that our sojourn in the Bay Area has been immeasurably rewarding. We will never forget friends we have made & the love we shared with Thelema Lodge & the O.T.O. We will be continuing our Order work with Scarlet Woman Camp in Austin, & of course, if you're ever down Texas way, our casa is su casa. Without mentioning any names, let me just say that I love you (you know who you are) . . . If I owe you any money, or you just wanna write, our address is: Cris & Ariadne Piss, 5512 Avenue H, Austin, TX 78751. (No phone yet.)

Love is the law, love under will.

from the Grady Project:

The Sea Fight with the Ghouls

Signalman! Signalman!
Stand to your Lamp
Leviathan roils in the deep:
The Enemy ships are alaunch from the ramp
Our Vigilmen watch for the Keep.

      Book of Kells
      Dead man shells

Signalman! Signalman!
Stand to your Light
The Ghoul fleet stands out from the lee:
The wind of Her vacuum will scatter their might
And wash the wide wave with debris.

      Temple bell
      Crown of shell

Signalman! Signalman!
Stand to your Mark
The Enemy goes by the board:
With Pharos-flame signal now splinter the dark !
The Enemy died by the Sword.

      Demon ghosts
      Lord of Hosts

      Water walking
      Specter stalking
      Wild storm calming
      Mind embalming
      Demon binding
      Balance finding
      Circle treading
      Serpent shedding
      Id frustration
      Shell fixation
      Sign notation


Published in McMurtry: Poems (London & Bergen: O.T.O., 1986 e.v.), and in The Grady Project #3 (March 1988 e.v.).

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project

Crowley Classics

    Here's a Crowley essay from the International, Vol. 12, No. 3, March 1918, pp. 67-69.

Good Hunting!
An Essay on the Nature
of Comedy and Tragedy

By Baphomet
Grand Master of the Knights of the Holy Ghost
[Aleister Crowley]

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

                                               "Bye, Baby Bunting!
                                         Daddy's gone a-hunting . . ."

    Such is the sole stuff of art, as it was the sole occupation of primitive man. Hunting is the one real passion of man. Love, the desire of wealth and power, are only branches of the sport. For it is directly related to the first of all passions, hunger; and it is an exciting sport; it is gambling for the highest of all stakes. Now, art is primarily the celebration of excitement, the record of some stimulus of the soul. Dramatic art, which represents drama--action--consequently concerns itself with hunting, and with nothing else.
    When Daddy came back with a deer, there was great rejoicing in the tribe. Every one filled himself with meat; the cockles of his heart grew warm; he began to laugh. You can do the same today with a very hungry man, without the aid of alcohol. This expansive state being clearly associated casually with the killing of the deer, and the sportsman excitedly recounting his exploit, the story itself was food for laughter. And the key of the jest soon discovered itself as contempt for the foolish victim. "What a fine stag he was, how proud and swift! Nothing could catch him, and, if he wished, how sharp were those great branching horns of his! And all the while there was I tracking him with my little flint axe--ha! ha! ha!"
    All these points were seen and seized on by the old comedians. They would always accentuate the self-esteem of the victim. They would dress him up as a king or a God, and hunt him down. A still funnier elaboration of the joke was to persuade him that he was the hunter. "Come," say they to Pentheus in The Bacchae, "Come, great king, adorn thyself according to thy dignity; come, arm thyself, slay these wild creatures!" and aside: "And when we've got him there his own mother shall kill him in her madness, and run about with his head under the impression that it is a lion's!" This further development of humor was doubtless due to Dionysus; even the hungriest man could hardly think that out on mere venison.
    I read my Agamemnon through the spectacles of Dr. A. W. Verrall, and it seems to me that the play is a comedy. The incident of the carpet is very like adornment of the victim. Agamemnon, however, is not taken in the snare; he does not show "Hubris," but modesty; and this makes the play more serious. Still, no doubt, it ends on the comic note--’gisthus chuckling over the success of his clever stratagem. This Hubris hated of the Gods is the root of many a proverb. "At the hour of triumph sacrifice the dearest thing thou hast to the Infernal Gods"--the case of the play Jephthah. "Beware of the moment of success." Think of Ajax flattered into the madness wherein he kills the sheep--what a superlative jest for the onlooker! Alternative themes lead surely to anti-climax. Consider Abraham's sacrifice--what a typically inartistic ending! The whole passion and beauty of the drama is destroyed by the sneaking subterfuge of the substitution of the ram for the heir of promise.
    Let us glance now at the Crucifixion. Here we have comedy in its fullest flower. "Hail, King of the Jews!" Triumphal entry into the capitol; robing in purple, crowning in mockery, barbarous murder at the close. The ritual is that of all ancient comedies of initiation, with mere local variations. Now why do not we laugh? They did at the time. "Let us see whether Elias will come to take him down!" "He saved others, himself he could not save." The answer follows easily, and we shall see incidentally why we are a little doubtful as to whether Agamemnon is a comic figure.
    When Daddy goes a-hunting he does not always bring home a deer. Sometimes he meets a diplodocus, and does not come home at all. Then, what do the tribe do? They squat and hug their empty bellies. There is no laughter. There is one long wail. There is no food, and the man that used to get it has been eaten alive. This is no joke, no joke at all. Presently the wail becomes articulate; some one recounts the heroic deeds of the dead hunter. How skilful he was! How cunning! How swift and strong! How accurately he swung the axe! And how "he is gone on the mountain, he is lost to the forest!" He died fighting heroically against enormous superiority of force . . . and so on. Anyhow, he's dead, and we're without food, and what can we do but weep? It is a tragedy! Just so; that is the definition of tragedy. The primitives of the next tribe probably are laughing to split their sides. Their hunter had brought in a wild bull, and they are having a glorious time. "And that fool across the valley who fancied himself so at hunting went out after rabbits and got a diplodocus--ha! ha! ha! "It is all a question of our sympathies. The event described is always the same. Whether it is a tragedy or a comedy depends on the point of view. The Agamemnon is a tragedy for the family man; for the young sport who wants to beat him out of his wife and his kingdom, it is a romantic comedy.
    So when we come to consider plays about Hecuba and other people that in no wise concern us personally, we judge by our own sympathies, and laugh or cry accordingly. Thus the sympathy of mankind has been secured, in the case of the crucifixion, for the figure of Jesus, so we call the story a tragedy. We have been told to identify him with Everyman, who is doomed to suffer a barbarous death sooner or later. It is the same with the stories of the murders of Osiris and of Hiram. (Observe, dear brother, the hunter's ritual in this last story; the stationing of the hunters, and the way they head off the game in turn.)
    In other words, man began to think of himself no longer as a hunting animal, but as a victim. In the second stage of human thought, man is the sufferer. (Compare William James, and his remarks on the once-born and the twice-born.) Man has begun to fear Nature, to wail over his own fate symbolically in lamenting the deaths of the great heroes of the past. It no longer seems funny to us to adorn a man as a God, and eat him, for that is just what life is doing to all of us.
    To recover the comic spirit, therefore, we must acquire a new view of death.


    In certain previous essays of the writer it has been pointed out that desire or love must be held to include such phenomena as chemical change. All true acts of love produce or consume energy in some form, that we have explosive disintegrations and violently rapid oxidations which disengage heat, light, electricity, and other forms of matter and or motion--regard them as you please--which are (on the surface) of a different order of Nature to the ingredients of the operation. Similarly, by putting the right pair of featherless bipeds together, there are explosions and emotion, poetry, perhaps spiritual growth, as well as the phenomenon which is obviously of the same order--a baby.
    In all such acts, chemical or physiological, there is a true transmission, therefore, and we may class these things as genuinely partakers of the Ineffable Mystery of Godliness. In mere admixture we do not get this transmission. Mix hydrogen and oxygen; they remain the same; nothing at all happens. Combine them and you get not only a transformation of the very nature of the molecules, but numerous physical phenomena--flame, heat, moisture--which were not there before.
    Now let us take another issue. All conscious, self-willed motion implies life, and, all such motion being accompanied with chemical change and (as Buddha insisted) with the partial disintegration of the individual, we must define life as something quite beyond the crude conception which is usually formed of it. Every true phenomenon, whether it be the haemo-globin-oxyhaeoglobin-carboxhaemoglobin cycle in the blood, or the changes in the brain which we call philosophy from a consideration of their effects, may be thought of as a form of copulation, atom seeking atom, and producing molecule, just as woman seeks man and produces offspring. Now every such act of copulation involves the death of the partakers. True, the hydrogen can be recovered from the water; ultimate simplicities are in some sort immortal, but (again we quote Buddha) all complexities perish and are not recoverable in their integrity. We cannot suppose that by recombining the recovered hydrogen and oxygen into water each atom in the original water will find the self-same mate. We cannot recover the father in the child, though we may perceive many traces of him; and the persistence of the father himself is due to the fact that only a minute percentage of his life is used in the production of the child. His quintessence vivifies any amount of other matter and transmutes it to his likeness; this is the Alchemical miracle, to produce some such process in the mineral kingdom. If one possessed the quintessence of gold, the unknown "seed of gold", that which makes gold gold and not silver, it might impregnate other elements and make them grow into its own nature. This at least was the theory evolved by the fathers of chemistry, and (I doubt not) will be the practice of their descendants in a year not distant.
    Now, to return, since every copulation may be considered as involving death, we may say (at the risk of appearing to convert an "A" proposition) that every death may be considered as a form of copulation. The chemical changes of disintegration are in no way distinguishable from those of life. We cannot call one set synthesis and the other analysis, even. We merely make a false distinction on account of the fact that our personal prejudices are involved . . . just as we were in doubt whether to laugh or to cry at the Agamemnon.
    Now, it is to be noted that certain people take the sexual view of death. To this day the peasants in some parts of Greece regard the death of an individual as his marriage to that deity, Artemis or Aphrodite, to whom he was most devoted during life. Mohammed taught that death was the key to the enjoyment of the Hur al' Ayn. Even in Christian mysticism we find the death of the saint equivalent to his marriage with the Saviour. We are "waiting for the Bride groom." In fact, this idea is almost universal in all true religion. (Buddhism, an exception, is more a philosophy than a religion.)
    Now, we have no means of telling what occurs in the "soul" at the time of death. Whatever may be the approaches to the pylon, we have no evidence with regard to the Door itself. But we have certain analogies in the experience of mystics. We have the "Dark Night of the Soul" breaking in the "Dawn of the Celestial Bridal." And we have in physical life an exact counterpart in the fear of Love which is characteristic of the Virgin. This is especially marked in the case of boys. There is an instinctive fear, repulsion and anxiety, which must be overcome before the soul swoons in bliss. Is it racial experience that tells him that love is the twin brother of death? Love and Death are the levers of that universal life which we saw to be the Name of the Universe. Each is an annihilation of an individual in the interests of universal Energy. Thus, as we have seen in a slightly different shape, when referring to the quintessence of comedy, Love and Death are the sole preoccupation of the artist, whose subject is Life. There is no other real interest, for there is nothing else in which to delight.
    If, then, we can take the view that Death is an intense form of Love, in which the individual is permanently destroyed, as he is temporarily destroyed during the act of love, then his Life is universal Joy, a Divine Comedy, whose soul is Laughter. We can even explain the joy of cruelty as a deeper realization of the nature of cruelty, as a piquancy, a sting, in what would otherwise be a detestable sweet wine.
    But if we fail to grasp this view, then we are forced to the alternative that Love is only a form of Death. The universe is an abyss of agony. "The mystery of the cruelty of things" is as terrible as Swinburne's "Anactoria" makes it. Everything is sorrow, we are Buddhists, and only in utter cessation is there peace. Buddha himself recognized this clearly enough; his intense distaste for sex is our witness. He saw that it was playing the game of Life to love; it was allowing oneself to be dragged deeper and deeper into the mire of Experience. A monotheism with any perception of the facts of nature--hard nowadays to escape some such perception!--may make its God in the image of the Marquis de Sade. The whole of organic nature is an orgy of murder and lust. There is only one escape from this position; to accept the unity of Love and Death, and to regard Death as mere Delight. Such a realization avoids the snare of Dualism, lays its axe to the root of the problem of the Origin of Evil, and renders Existence possible and desirable for the thinker as well as for the sensualist.


    To the blessed ones who have accepted the Law of Thelema these words will hardly have been necessary. The doctrine is plainly stated in the Book of the Law.

    "For I am divided for love's sake, for the chance of union.
    "This is the creation of the world, that the pain of division is as nothing, and the joy of dissolution all.
    "Now let it be understood: If the body of the King dissolve, he shall remain in pure ecstasy for ever.
    "Thrill with the joy of life & death! Ah! thy death shall be lovely: whoso seeth it shall be glad. Thy death shall be the seal of the promise of our agelong love.
    "Strive ever to more! and if thou art truly mine -- and doubt it not, an if thou art ever joyous! --death is the crown of all."

    This, then, is the will of the Universe; Life eternal and universal, not petty, individual and transient; Life whose consciousness is gained perfectly and permanently by the adept in virtue of his trance in proportion as he becomes fixed therein and makes his daily life partake thereof: Life that works inexorably and deliciously through Love and Death, which are Love. And this is expressed simply, succinctly, perfectly, in that transcendent phrase, the greeting wherewith we close our writings:

Love is the law, love under will.

* * * * *

Note--Taking a few plays at random we see every one the description of a hunting. Note that the strongest dramas are those in which the hunt is keenest. Where the hunting interest is weak or masked, the play becomes frivolous and lacking in the stuff of greatness.

Ajax [Sophocles]--The hunting of Ajax by Ulysses.
Agamemnon [Aeschylus]--Agamemnon by Aegisthus.
Oedipus [Sophocles]--Oedipus by Fate. Karma is very frequently taken for the hunter.
    The man's being hunted by himself is particularly funny.
Oresteia trilogy [Aeschylus]--Orestes by Fate.
Bacchae [Euripides]--Pentheus by Dionysus.
Hamlet [Shakespeare]--Claudius by Hamlet. Here the motive is weakly carried out,
   and so the play is only interesting for the relation of Hamlet's soul.
Lear [Shakespeare]--Lear by Madness.
Macbeth [Shakespeare]--Macbeth by his conscience, or by the Witches.
Othello [Shakespeare]--Othello by Iago.
Twelfth Night [Shakespeare]--The Duke by Viola (note hunter's disguise).
As You Like It [Shakespeare]--Orlando by Rosalind (ditto).
Romeo and Juliet [Shakespeare]--Love by Heredity.
Coriolanus [Shakespeare]--Coriolanus by the mob-spirit.
Julius Caesar [Shakespeare]--C‘sar by Cassius.
Ghosts [Ibsen]--Oswald by Heredity.
Hedda Gabler [Ibsen]--Hedda by Breck.
Rosmersholm [Ibsen]--Rosmer and Rebecca by the wife's ghost.
A Doll's House [Ibsen]--Nora by her nascent individuality. (The lack of personal
    struggle makes this a weak, silly play.)
The Master-Builder [Ibsen]--The Builder by Hilda.
An Enemy of Society [Ibsen]--Society by Stockmann. (He conquers it, so this is a comedy.)
Brand [Ibsen]--Brand by the Hawk.
Peer Gynt [Ibsen]--Peer Gynt by Solveig. (Note the way she lurks silent throughout the play.
    Other exciting episodes are all huntings.)
Mortadello [Crowley]--Mortadello by Monica. (Note disguise at banquet.)
Snowstorm [Crowley]--Nerissa by Eric; Eric by Maud. (Observe hunters' disguises again.)
The Scorpion [Crowley]--Laylah by Rinaldo; their love by the Scorpion.
    (This is a romance, and neither comedy nor tragedy in the best sense.)
Household Gods [Crowley]--Crassus by Alicia. (Note supreme disguise.)
A Night at an Inn [Lord Dunsany]--The Thieves by the Idol.
The Gods of the Mountain [Lord Dunsany]--The Beggars by the Gods.
The Blind Prophet [Crowley]--The Prophet (individual life) by Universal Life.
The Argonauts [Crowley]--Jason by Ares.
Adonis [Crowley]--Adonis by Psyche.
Atalanta in Calydon [Swinburne]--Meleager by Circumstance. (Here the hunter
    is not personified, and so the play is weak. But note the comedy of the hunter hunted.)
The Mother's Tragedy [Crowley]--Cora by Karma.
The Fatal Force [Crowley]--Ratoum by S'afi (disguise again).
Jephthah [Crowley]--Jephthah by Jared. (Crude and undeveloped form of the idea.)
The World's Tragedy [Crowley]--Fate by Alexander.

Previous Crowley Classics                   Next Crowley Classics


Quiet fire
Leaps the flames
Of all unborn
That spirit names
Transcendent portals rise
Whirling wind
And piercing eyes.

(Written at Thelema Lodge shortly before my initiations, on this date)

-- Firebird

Previous Firebird poem                   Next Firebird Poem

Primary Sources

   Karl Germer:
   Following Crowley's death, Karl Germer became Outer Head of O.T.O. He was temperamentally unsuited for the job, as Crowley himself remarked in correspondence with Grady McMurtry and others. Over the years, Karl became increasingly intolerant of anything connected to Agape Lodge and O.T.O. members in the United States. This letter provides a window into the beginning of that period of decline for O.T.O. under Fr. Saturnus. Karl began picking out former heads of Agape Lodge for suspicion and censure. He complained about vague matters and about the drop-off of initiations at the Lodge. Later, in the 50's, when asked by many Agape Lodge members to resume initiations, Karl would refuse. Here he protests the opposite.
    Aside from marking the beginning of the long night of O.T.O., which lasted from the beginning of the 50's until the late 60's, this letter is useful for its description of the status of O.T.O. and the Crowley archives about a year after Crowley's Greater Feast.
    Soror Estai was Jane Wolfe. Dr. Gabriel Montenegro was the last member initiated through Agape Lodge until after Germer's death.


September 14, 1949

Dr. Gabriel Montenegro
Route 2 Box 9
Madera, California.

My dear Brother Montenegro,

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Thank you for your letter of September 1st with the news about Brother Roy. To take this matter first, let me only say that what he is going through he has brought upon his head himself. You cannot fool the Gods. Once They take notice, They take action. However, this would require a personal talk and showing you certain documents. One cannot make a solemn, formal, pledge to the Gods and then go back on one's word without impunity! The Master Therion saw what was coming many years ago and warned me to be careful.

What you say about the house in Madera appears from the photo indeed a very large property with too much work. I am glad you have washed your hands - I hope without less - and that you will be able to establish yourself more firmly and with outside prosperity, in the Sacramento - San Francisco vicinity. When there you should get in touch with our brother Grady McMurtry whose address is

    1661 Sacramento Street, Apartment 3
    San Francisco 9.

He was appointed by the Master Therion some years ago to check on every member of Agape Lodge; and made his report.

I have been extremely disappointed that activities in the last two years have been so slow, and slack at Agape Lodge. There were three members that should have been initiated long ago. It has been a grave neglect that it has been delayed from month to month, from year to year. A year ago Soror Estai donated a sum of $70, her very last savings, to buying certain equipment for proper initiation ceremonies. The money was paid to Bro. Leffingwell for that purpose. The money now seems lost, anyway, nobody seems to know what has been done with it. Do you happen to know?

Thank you for your nice gesture of sending me your check. As you see from the enclosed it was returned to me with the note "Account Closed".

I am writing this to your Madera address hoping it will find you.

Our Headquarters is coming along nicely. I have two rooms installed with books, Manuscripts, Letters by the Master Therion, Files, etc. etc. I have bought steel filing cabinets and other steel furniture for safety's sake. Brethren will have a splendid chance to study material that is no where else available. There is a great quiet around this place. We are in the midst of pleasant woods and have 8 acres of our own grounds with benches and fine walks on trails that lets one be entirely alone if one wants to for meditation.

May-be some day you will have a chance to visit us here.

Love is the law, love under will.

            Fraternally yours
                                           Karl Germer

Previous Primary Sources                   Next Primary Sources

The Cosmopolitan Throng

Over the years they have all come an gone
The right and the wrong, the weak and the strong
From sundown to dawn
All being a part of The Cosmopolitan Throng.

Though all mankind live in their prime
Their bodies decay, through the mind's forays
Into the darkest doorways
Enveloping creatures of slime.

O Worshipfull Master, where am I now?
How did I allow
My life to fallow
On a planet so shallow and low.

Did all the mutations
Transform down through the ages
Transfix the cosmology with all the agony
To being man to Chaos or woe?

In crossing the chasm
We spither and spasm, the eggs are all letting go.
Nor wants that are realized or phantasies that conceal lies
To light blinding, the mind finding it knows.

So reap if you will the coming Lightyears
The billions of tears
And dissolution of fears
Only the strong and the just will survive.

Though few be their number
They neither tarry nor slumber
And to rule by Light
Is their will and their right.

Winter, 1992           
-- Richard Vaughn Gorton

From the Outbasket

Every so often, we receive a letter from someone about the Thoth Tarot deck. Perhaps the most common question is "What do I do with the extra cards?" The following material is drawn from responses to such questions by folks in their first correspondence with O.T.O.

    About the Unicursal Hexagram card: Many tarot decks do include a couple of extra cards. Tarot decks are commonly printed as a large single sheet and cut up later. These sheets have space for extra cards, and it is common to put in a couple for advertising or announcements. The Unicursal Hexagram is a symbol often used by Crowley to represent the seven planets in harmony, and for Yoga that may as well represent the six principal chakras and the "seventh" emerging from their harmony in the center. Most readers lay aside these extra cards. Some leave them in to interpret in a variety of ways; e.g. 1) Abandon this reading, or 2) unknown influences, or 3) a special meaning the reader decides to attribute to the card.

    Some editions of the Thoth Tarot have an extra version of the Magus or two. These were included to show variations in the designs by Frieda Harris, but a question arises as to which to use for divination and self-exploration in the Thoth Deck: The one with a normal human figure standing upright is the usual choice, and that was the one Crowley selected for the deck itself. Each version of the Magus Trump has the same symbolism, but each emphasizes this symbolism differently. In one, the figure of the Magus dominates; in another the serpent of the caduceus; in still another, the ape. Choose the one which most appeals to you at the time.

    It's the same with spreads for reading the cards. Each type of lay-out has a different emphasis and value. You might like to try the Tree-of-Life spread, but all types are good to experiment with to see what sort of questions and interests they best address.

    On the dignities of cards, Crowley has this to say in his article on Tarot from "Equinox" I, #8, page 206:



    A CARD is strong or weak, well dignified or ill dignified, according to the cards next to it on either side.
    Cards of the same suit on either side strengthen it greatly, for good or evil according to their nature.
    Cards of opposite natures on either side weaken it greatly, for either good or evil.
    Swords are inimical to Pentacles.
    Wands are inimical to Cups.
    Swords are friendly with Cups and Wands.
    Wands are friendly with Swords and Pentacles.
    If a card fall between two other which are mutually contrary, it is not much affected by either.


    Otherwise, you can tell if Major Trumps are opposite in nature by the descriptions and meanings given to them. Astrological correspondences to the cards may be used for this purpose as well, and that is in fact where the terms "well dignified" and "ill dignified" originate. Reversed cards may be ignored, treated as reversals of meaning, treated as diminishments of importance or otherwise as you like --- so long as you settle on the method before doing the reading. {TSG}

To round out the theme of first questions for O.T.O., here is a sprinkling of responses on some of the other issues raised by people writing O.T.O. for the first time. This is definitely a hotch-potch!

    As to Crowley's rotten reputation, suffice it to say that he was a Hippy forty years too soon -- the rest followed naturally.

    I suspect that O.T.O. will not be able to fulfill your needs. You are welcome, of course; but O.T.O. is not a Christian organization. You might like to try an Associate membership to get a better idea of us. Christian Magic is a very complex and compound study. It ranges from out-right demonology to the mystical methods of Thomas a Kempis in his "Imitation of Christ." Simple prayer is magic. To do that, you must strongly focus your needs and build up to an emotional climax point. At that instant, submit to the will of God and set aside all concern for the matter. B.O.T.A. in Southern California (the Paul Case Tarot group) has a Christian emphasis.

    Regarding the Thelemic view on racism: In brief, we are against racism in any form. Historically, Crowley was intellectually against racism too, but his humor got him into trouble in this area -- too much like Benny Hill of recent memory.

    I am a bit concerned about the group you mentioned in your letter as channeling Knights Templar.

    Not to be difficult, but we don't think of O.T.O. as a "cult". That word has been used for a lot of negative labeling the last few years.

    Regarding the various names of spirits, identification requires more than phonetics and abstract association. Choronzon, for example, signifies different things in different approaches. John Dee was vague about Choronzon, but Crowley was perhaps too definite. Crowley used Choronzon to represent the tendency to associate meaning with perception that is poison for one crossing the Abyss.

    Regarding suggested reading for secondary school students, Crowley's candor regarding sexuality presents a problem. I would suggest his "Book of Thoth" on Tarot, "Liber AL vel Legis" on the Thelemic religion and some of his shorter works. "Magick in Theory and Practice" is probably too dependent on college level education to be easily understood.

    Regarding your hearing the "Great Bell", I have no reason to doubt you. Such experiences are to the individual, and to dispute them is to lose track of one's own point of view.

    We are not much into vampires and werewolves, but work more with Egyptian and Qabalistic entities.

    Regarding the "Necronomicon", there are a half dozen or more books published under that name. All of them are fake to a greater or lesser extent, trading on Lovecraft's fictional name for a magical book probably based on the "Picatrix", a 10th century magical text that actually exists in Latin, Greek, Arabic and German versions. The most popular "Necronomicon" is the one by Simon. That book uses Babylonian-Sumerian mythology and rites copied from scholarly books. The methods can work, but they are incomplete and poorly assembled. O.T.O. makes little or no direct use of Simon's book, preferring to use the originals when a particular member or group of members takes an interest.

    We do use Crowley's rituals of initiation. Theodore Reuss lost the right to perform the old ones in a law suit with the German Masons. Th. Reuss had been using essentially the Scottish Rite and some Yorke Rite initiations, maintaining that he was in charge of Scottish Rite Masonry throughout Germany. Crowley's re-draft was partly to modify the rituals to permit their legal use and partly to inject Thelemic elements. This process of modification started in the second decade of this century and continued through the 1930s, with Reuss' blessings at least at the beginning.

    Regarding Liber CI, "An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join the Order": this was published in 1919 e.v. Crowley was a Utopian in some respects, and his ideas about money and society were not very practical. Where he shined was in mysticism and Thelema. The financial plans, the plans of profess houses and of political influence did not work --- in addition, many of these procedures are either out-right illegal by USA law or run counter to regulations governing non-profit organizations. Notwith-standing the difficulties, most of this is workable along modified and less ambitious lines. We do the best we can with it in the circumstances. All the material about money and loans had to be either dropped or changed, and the rights & duties have been reduced to a more manageable level. When Crowley wrote Liber CI, he was disillusioned by his failure to be materially successful. I think that is why he made such extravagant plans to form a closed Thelemic Society and to ignore the rights of non-Thelemites. O.T.O. and Thelema are both living entities. As such, they grow and change within the limits of their identity. If O.T.O. is less all-encompassing than Crowley planned, it is also much more suited to Thelema and to individual lives. In his distress at going broke, Crowley attempted to graft a structure on O.T.O. much like that he knew as a Quaker child. Thelema is stronger than O.T.O. or Crowley himself. Thelema has modified O.T.O. for the better, in my opinion. If there is less for the group, there is more for the individual Thelemite. I feel a better balance has been struck, and that we continue to grow and change as individual Thelemites add their knowledge and experience to the common pool.

    Regarding an inner and outer form of O.T.O., this is in a sense true; but it runs strictly along the lines of the degree initiations. There is no short cut to the IXth Degree in a formal sense. The initiations need to be passed through in the ordinary way and in due time. On the other hand, there is no limitation on knowledge and personal attainment whatever the degree. O.T.O. members may attain to any level of self-initiation, of importance only to themselves and not necessarily tied to or formally recognized by O.T.O. Membership in the various degrees is primarily for the benefit of the group as a whole. Inner attainment needs no outward approval, and seeking such an endorsement is itself a barrier to advancement.

    IAO is Greek, and is pronounced as a concatenation of vowels as: "ee-aa-o", more or less like "Yeao" but more drawn out. For its meaning, see Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice, Chapter V. HRU is Egyptian for Horus, the hawk god. It is also rendered in Hebrew and used by Crowley as the name of the patron Angel of Tarot. To pronounce it, try "Ha-Roo"(with a lot of aspiration). Greek tourists in the days of Ancient Egypt added an ending and generally mispronounced this and many other names of Egyptian deities. Unfortunately, the Greek versions are the ones we inherited into English. "Het-Heru" became "Hathor", "Tauhti" became "Thoth", "Asar" became "Osiris", "Asi" became "Isis", etc.

    You ask about chartering groups. O.T.O. only charters groups of its own members, but the minimum requirement for application to lead a Camp in O.T.O. is Ist Degree. The O.T.O. Electoral College is responsible for reviewing such applications in the United States, and we have quite a few Camps, Oases and Lodges not only outside California but around the World.

    On testing the validity of visions and divinations, this is almost more art than science. Crowley's method involved checking for internal consistency of symbols and for information that could be confirmed by research but which was not known to the participant(s) in the divination at the time of divination.

    Regarding the 1985 court decision, this was in USA Federal Court, not California Court, although the Federal IXth District Court meets in California. The decision of the Court is law in the United States and Possessions as well as other nations that have a treaty of legal case law recognition with the USA. No other group may legally call itself OTO, Ordo Templi Orientis, use the OTO Lamen or use the OTO titles of membership, etc. All Crowley copyrights not previously sold as to rights or in the public domain are judged to be the property of our Order.

    Regarding the difference between O.T.O. and the Ordo Rosae Mysticae, I am not familiar with the latter. There are over 150 Rosicrucian or Rosecrucian organizations, all more or less formed in imitation of 16th century and earlier Fraternities now long defunct.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

Previous From the Outbasket                   Next From the Outbasket

OZ ------ a pome

Somewhere the coffee is burbling
Somewhere the pipe is passed
Somewhere the morning lingers
& the only Shadow's a cat.

Somewhere there is a garden
Where the wild Phalaris grass blows
Somewhere east of Eden
Where the poppy & the rose
Bloom in sunny surplus
By the morning glory vine
Where jimson weed is rampart
& the blackberries entwine
About an ancient cross forgotten
From the Rites of Olden Time . . . .

-- Cris Piss / 93


Agape Grand Lodge GTG/TG

    Dues Billing:
    The last round for general dues billing in the USA will finish up in mid October. Don't forget to get your payments in the mail in early October ---or request an extension.
    Canada dues billing will commence in November.


Events Calendar for October 1993 e.v.


Thelema Lodge Events are no longer at 49th Street in Oakland

10/2/93Lesser feast of Jack Parsons 5:30PM
a poetry reading at Sirius Oasis
Sirius O. &
Thelema Ldg
10/3/93Gnostic Mass 7:30PM
call for location (in Berkeley)
Thelema Ldg.
10/4/93Thelema Lodge meeting 7:30PM
At Ancient Ways: 4075 Telegraph Av.
(corner of 41st) Oakland.
Thelema Ldg.
10/12/93Baphomet's Lesser feast & poetryThelema Ldg.
10/13/93Magick in Theory and Practice 7:30PM
with Bill: 5 Suffield Av. San Anselmo
(in Marin County)
Thelema Ldg.
10/14/93Burmese Astrology with Kathy 7:30PM
(meets in Berkeley this month)
Thelema Ldg.
10/15/93N.B.: New Moon in Libra 4:36 AM
10/17/93Gnostic Mass 7:30PM at Sirius Oas.
call for location.
Sirius O. &
Thelema Ldg.
10/18/93Lesser feast of Hymenaeus Alpha
& poetry reading at Grace's
7:30 PM in Berkeley
Thelema Ldg.
10/20/93Sirius Oasis members & friends
meeting 7:30 PM
Sirius O.
10/21/93Crowley's The Saviour reading
7:30 PM in Berkeley
Thelema Ldg.
&Magick Theat.
10/23/93N.B.: Sol enters Scorpio 2:37 AM
10/26/93The Tantra of Gnosis 8 PM in SF
with Bp. T. Suleiman. Call for loc.
Thelema Ldg.
10/28/93Burmese Astrology with Kathy 7:30PM
(meets in Berkeley this month)
Thelema Ldg.
10/29/93Astrology of Scorpio with Grace
in Berkeley. Call for loc. & time
Thelema Ldg.
10/30/93N.B.: Full Moon in Taurus 5:38 AM
10/31/93N.B.: Happy Hallowe'en!

    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.

Home away from Home