Thelema Lodge Calendar for February 1994 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for February 1994 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, 1994 e.v.

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

February 1994 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Thelema Lodge Library

Thelema Lodge offers extensive library facilities, available by arrangement for the use of members and friends. Although valuable early editions are not kept on the lodge premises, we strive to maintain a comprehensive collection of Thelemic writings and reference works, in modern editions and photocopy files, as well as wide ranging materials on many related subjects. This past month a special effort has been made, with much excellent assistance, to furnish and equip a study center for the lodge. Much of our library material has recently been unpacked and re-shelved after a season in storage following the lodge transition last autumn. Further work remains, unpacking and arranging more books and files still stored away, for which additional shelf- space will shortly be ready. There is also much temple equipment, artwork, and archival material to be sorted and made available. Volunteers are invited to arrange a time with the lodge officers to take part in this effort.
Most of the collection is presently being offered only for use within the lodge, although a selection of pocket-books, novels, and some duplicates copies will be developed into a separate lending library. The lodge welcomes donations of usable books. The easiest time to explore our library will be shortly before and after regularly scheduled week-night events held at the Keith Avenue location. Individual arrangements can also be made with the lodge officers for additional library hours. (On Sunday evenings the library functions as a foyer for Horus Temple, and study will be limited by the crowd.)


Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

Thelema Lodge gathers in Horus Temple to celebrate Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass on Sunday evenings. The library will be open by 7:30, with all communicants asked to arrive by 8:00, ready for mass to begin. Gnostic Mass is celebrated as an open communion ritual, with guests welcome to participate. Call the lodge for information at (510) 652-3171.

Priestess Caitlin Aliciane offers a workshop on the preparation and use of Cakes of Light in the Gnostic Mass, on Sunday afternoon 27th February at 2:00 in the lodge kitchen. Instruction will focus on recipes, methods of baking, and the shaping of cakes, with perhaps some hints regarding techniques for charging them. All priestesses will be especially welcome at this time to share experiences.

The Gnostic Mass seminar meets Tuesday evening 15th February with Bishop T Dionysus, beginning late at 8:30, in the lodge library. The hagiography group has got well underway, and will have reports and research materials to exchange. All are invited to select a saint and participate --- there are still plenty left. Collation and vetting materials will also be distributed at this meeting, for those working to establish an exact text of Liber XV. We will probably begin setting parameters for the editorial commentary and explication projected for our "variorium" mass edition. (To assist in these projects if unable to attend the seminar meeting, please call the lodge.)


Sustaining Membership Subscriptions

As most readers know, the move of Thelema Lodge to the larger temple space in Rockridge has made it necessary for us to ask for an increased level of support from the membership community. We make this request in the confident belief that our new situation can potentially offer more to the lodge community than previous arrangements. Your donations make it possible to continue offering temple events, classes, rituals, library facilities, and other lodge functions. The goal of our lodge treasury will need to expand beyond just squeaking by from month to month, since moderate expenditures will have to be budgeted to supply and furnish the temple, maintain and upgrade the library, or expand the Butterfly Net cyber-zone. Presently, with so much to be done settling the lodge in, further assistance is needed, and a group of Thelema Lodge Sustaining Members (still in need of a snappy title) has begun gathering to develop additional financial resources for the lodge. Participation in the Sustaining Members group is an opportunity for those who are in a position to help. Benefit brunches and dinners, special publications and product offerings, and other enticing fun will be worked out by participating members, meeting at first on a monthly basis. If you would like to get in on the ground floor of this special service to Thelema Lodge, call Michael Sanborn at (510) 601-9393.


O. T. O. Initiations

Ordo Templi Orientis offers initiation upon application at officially chartered bodies of the Order throughout the world, including Thelema Lodge, the longest continually operating O.T.O. group. Applications for initiation are available from lodge officers, or by mail upon request. They should be completed well ahead of time, but the lodge will work with candidates to arrange suitable dates for initiation. Our next scheduled initiation will be held early Saturday evening 19th February, into the Minerval degree. Members should be in touch beforehand about attending, and are welcome to bring drinks to contribute to the feast which will follow.


February Classes & Events

Our Lodge Meeting will be held Monday evening 7th February at 7:30. Lodge Meeting provides an open forum for members to arrange the next month's calendar, conduct the common business of the lodge, and determine our further course together. Classes and events can be proposed or requested, and news and announcements shared. To include your event on the lodge calendar, brief notes for a description should be provided to the Lodge Master at the meeting (or, by special arrangement, within a week at most afterwards).

A workshop devoted to Thelemic mythology, with an exploration of the gods of Liber AL in their original Egyptian context, will be offered on Thursday evening 17th February in the lodge library. Ebony Anpu directs this Egyptian Magical Workshop, reviving alternate currents in Egyptian cult and culture.

"Much Ado about Malkuth" is a practical course in prosperity for magicians, instructed by Adam Walks Between Worlds on Tuesday evening 22nd February at 7:30 in the lodge library. That Abramelin hide-away in the woods will cost a grand a month, not counting six months off from work and the grocery bill. Oil of Abramelin ain't cheap either. And, since modern magick fails to address issues concerning money --- even to the point of considering money issues to be vulgar --- many modern mages struggle constantly to reconcile lofty goals with meager means. "Let there be no difference made among" us between our mastery of Malkuth and out destiny in Ain Soph. Let us harmonize our magical and mundane efforts to include sufficient wealth to accomplish our wills. This class will evolve into a research and development group which will undertake and analyze workings on all plains, designed to increase wealth, health, and other physical means.

Secrets of the elusive and mysterious sign of Pisces will be revealed at an intensive astrological workshop to be held at 7:00 on Friday evening 25th February at Grace's in Berkeley. All strange and not so strange fish (and others!) are welcome to participate in what should prove to be a swimming discussion. Call ahead to attend, please: (510) 843-7827.

"Conference of the Thirds" will be an instructional seminar especially for M M held at the lodge on Tuesday evening 8th February at 7:30. Michael Sanborn will lead the class, which is open to Third Degree initiates (and above) only. The topic of concern is to remain undisclosed at this time.

The Magick in Theory and Practice Series holds its sixth gathering in Marin with Bill Heidrick on Wednesday evening 16th February at 7:30. We will be discussing chapters IX and X of Crowley's great magical textbook, with a review of this section suggested as the best preparation for the class.

A visit with Bhante Y. Wimala, a Theravedan Buddhist monk from Sri Lanka, is scheduled for Tuesday evening 1st February at 7:30 at Thelema Lodge. Bhante has travelled the world for the past twelve years, teaching, healing, and working for peace. Most recently back from a trip to the former Soviet Union, he will be in the Bay Area to work on a new book and will be giving a few limited lectures on meditation, world peace, and evolutionary consciousness. His salon at Thelema Lodge will concentrate on meditation techniques for both beginning and experienced practitioners, consciousness training, and some of his insights into the evolution of mind.

The new "Butterfly Net" is a computer information group now organizing out of Thelema Lodge. Participants meet with Ebony in the lodge library on Thursday evening 24th February at 7:30 to determine our priorities and arrange for our foundation hardware. Monthly individual bulletin board subscriptions, which sustain this project and will provide valuable service inexpensively, will be kept low to promote wide participation.

The Thelema Lodge Poetry Society, with monthly readings promoted by Frater P.I., has been named after Caliph Grady McMurtry, but is not limited in its scope to Grady's own poetry. This month's meeting, on Saturday evening 26th February at 7:30 in the lodge library, offers a chance to read or just to listen to poetry of any sort. Bring your own verse, or your favorite verse, to share with the group.


Other O. T. O. Activities

Sirius Oasis meets on the second Wednesday of each month in Berkeley. The meeting on Wednesday evening 9th February will be devoted to the project of selecting photographs for possible reproduction. Sirius Oasis maintains a photographic archive with hundreds of shots showing Grady and the early days of O.T.O. activity in Berkeley, including the collection of slides left by Chandria. Old friends will visit to help us reminisce about Grady and the Alpha Caliphate. For information and directions, call Sirius Oasis at (510) 527-2855.

Marlene Cornelius will lecture on the third oldest book in the world, the Yi King, as used by Aleister Crowley, at an independent Thelemic open house on Saturday afternoon 5th February, beginning at 2:00. Celebration of Gnostic Mass is scheduled to follow, with a pot-luck Italian-style feast to complete the evening, coordinated by Jerry. The location is 328 Forty-Ninth Street in Oakland; call (510) 658-3280 to attend.


Crowley Classics

[This selection is reprinted from The Fatherland (New York) volume III, numbers 21-22, where it was originally published in two parts, on 29 December 1915 & 5 January 1916 e.v.]

Behind the Front:
Impressions of a Tourist
in Western Europe

by Aleister Crowley

I.

It would serve no useful purpose to tell just how I reached France. The interest begins on one's arrival.
The France one knew of old is not so changed until one approaches Paris, except for the immense numbers of English raw recruits. The government has very sensibly turned over empty barracks to the British military authorities. There everything is in order --- not lodging only, but parade-grounds and all other necessaries; in addition many non-commissioned officers of the French army past fighting age are being used to instruct the young English officers in their fighting duties. There are also many bilingual English civilians employed in various capacities. The new Tommy Atkins is being taught a fair amount of elementary French, and especially the principles of their drill. He is also learning to know the general characteristics of the countryside. Evidently the British expect to be fighting on French soil for the next year or two. This being granted, one must admit that the arrangement is intelligent. I was told that when these troops are comparatively in shape, they are drafted back to England for regimentation, equipment and drafting to various points. With the exception of the few old sergeants, of whom mention is made above, there are practically no French troops in any of the country through which I passed, and even the unfit have been called up, unless actually disabled, and are being employed on work of secondary importance such as guarding the railroads and bridges.
The feeling among the people of all classes is distinctly good. There is, of course, the most intense hatred for the enemy --- which in England hardly exists, as will be explained later --- but with it goes a certain smiling confidence, like a prize-fighter in the 19th round of a winning mill. Their heads are bloody, but unbowed, as Henley might have said. Every one believes that the undoubted fact of the check on the charming instance of the Gallic spirit. Père Boncier, who had kept a "gargotte" for forty years, just off the Faubourg Montmartre, was sent a piece of German war bread by his son. There must have been enchantment in the loaf; the old man had the idea of his life. He bundled off to the Government and contracted for the whole supply of German bread that might be captured. Now "tout Paris" goes to feed at the horrible little restaurant in order to gloat over the misery of the wicked Bosche! It is very childish and very Parisian.
I only remained in Paris long enough to see a few old friends, and inquire how fate was treating them and theirs. My real goal was England; the contradictory accounts of the spirit of the people, and of what had actually happened in the Zeppelin raids, had excited my curiosity to the highest point.
So I took the long odds, and went over to London. As luck would have it, I missed a big raid by twenty-four hours. The moment was ideal; every one was full of the subject. British insularity, by the way, is completely abrogated; one talks to one's fellow-passenger in a railroad car as if he were one's long-lost brother. Everyone is madly eager for every scrap of news, false of true; it is one of several unexpected results of the censorship. Nobody knows what is happening; official reports may or may not be true; they are certainly doctored. When one thinks of the great outcry that was made in the beginning of the war against Wolff's Bureau, which was supposed to be disseminating false news, the joke is apparent. The Germans have acquired a reputation for truth-telling, if for nothing else. All their claims have proved true in the long run. And though even now the average Englishman will not admit it except in his most secret chamber, he has a subconscious feeling that it is so, which manifests itself in intense disquiet and distrust.
The Londoner is not really so concerned with the results of the raids on London as he might reasonably be. He is haunted by the fear of something worse which he does not know. He is afraid about the Navy. For all he knows, the big dockyards may have been destroyed, and half the ships put out of action.
However, the damage in London itself is bad enough. Liverpool Street Station was wrecked in one raid; an attempt on Ludgate Hill Station resulted in the gutting of a block just south of St. Paul's and one high explosive bomb missed the station by a few yards only, and destroyed dozens of small shops. The attack on Charing Cross was not very successful; indeed, a bomb missed Bernard Shaw's house by about fifty yards; too cruel had they hit it! But the worst damage was in the Hoxton district. I did not see it myself, but my secretary happens to live quite close, and had been up all night watching the assault and the resulting fires when she came to meet me. There appears to have been a high wind blowing; the houses --- it is a district of mean streets --- caught fire and the brigade was unable to cope with the conflagration. There is a gutted patch of London five or six blocks wide, and the best part of half a mile in length. Hundreds, probably thousands, must have perished. It is not clear why this district should have been selected for attack; it seems probable that the Zeppelins had lost their bearings.
The effect on London was not great; Hoxton was a place which it was the truest kindness to destroy!

II.

For some reason or other in their last Zeppelin raid on London the Germans appear to have decided to make the damage as widespread as possible, instead of concentrating it in one quarter. A house close to my lawyer's office in Chancery Lane was entirely destroyed, and the Morning Post Building and several banks were seriously damaged. There is good hope that a certain building was destroyed which contains the only evidence of my owing somebody 5,000 pounds. Further afield there was a great deal of damage to the docks, and still more to Woolwich Arsenal. Owing to the capital importance of the position the greatest secrecy was observed about it. I took special pains to inquire on this point, and though, of course, it was impossible to gain access to the arsenal itself, the immense amount of mourning in the districts where the workmen live indicated that many men must have been killed. An anti- aircraft battery at Enfield was destroyed, and it was rumored that the small arms factory there had been hit. A great deal of damage was done at Croydon, especially at its suburb Addiscombe, where my aunt lives. Unfortunately, her house was not hit; otherwise I should not have to trouble to write this article. Count Zeppelin is respectfully requested to try again. The exact address is Eton Lodge, Outram Road.
Much more important than any material damage is the general effect of the war upon the morale of the people. As a professional psychologist I regarded it as my special task to investigate this. I am compelled to say that I found a good deal of difficulty in dealing with my friends, who completely failed to understand my attitude in the war. It will hardly be believed, but I was actually called upon to prove that I was the only patriotic Englishman alive. I had to quote the Bible to them, "Whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth." If I had been at the Foreign Office, as I ought to have been, there would have been no war at all. England would have stayed out, and insisted on France staying out. Germany would have been left a free hand to deal with Russia. This policy would have been in accord with that of every English statesman since 1830. England backed the wrong horse. Similarly, most of my subsequent remarks, which have excited such disapproval, were said (subsequently, but not so well) by Lloyd George and other responsible people. Strongly, however, as I urged these points, I cannot pretend that I convinced my friends. It is the stupidity of England which is losing this war for her. However, they were too busy hating the government to care much what I said. I do not think that I have ever seen such intensity of black, impotent, speechless rage, as one and all displayed. There was a subconscious feeling that the whole thing was a ghastly blunder, and that the details matched the ensemble. None of the known politicians was trusted; such hope as existed was based on outsiders like Lord Derby. The eternal squabbles of the cabinet and the press aroused infinite disgust. During the whole of my visit the Daily Mail was attacking the government with an animus which went altogether beyond the bounds of criticism. It was evidently based on personal hatred and ambition. Every one felt this, loathed the situation, and was reduced to a nervous wreck by the feeling that it was impossible to do anything.
There was also a terrible quarrel about the recruiting. Furious campaigns were being waged about the sex problem: "Should married men be called out?"
There was also a deadly fear that the impossible would happen, that England was really being beaten. Unless one has lived in England for a long time, it is impossible to realize how the conviction that England is invincible is part of the national consciousness. It is for this reason that the alarmists have never obtained a hearing. Even people like Lord Roberts, who were respected as experts on every other point, and who would have been listened to attentively if they had laid down the law in any other fashion, were reviled and contemned in the most decided manner whenever they suggested that England might be in danger. The Boer war itself was always thought of as a little war. The issue was never doubtful in the mind of any one in England. Even now, such confidence as exists is largely due to the systematic way in which disasters have been minimized. Mons, Antwerp, Los, Neuve Chapelle, the Dardanelles even, are looked upon with the same sort of annoyance as would occur in America if the trusted third baseman of the Red Sox dropped a catch. It is still not conceivable that England may really be smashed. And yet, there lurks in the mind of every man the unspoken fear that "der Tag" may really have arrived. There is something of Belshazzar's Feast about every dinner party.
I think the slow-riding dogged courage of the English was sapped by Victorianism. It exists, but only in certain limited classes. Too many people are living on their nerves. There is a sort of nightmare effect very largely distributed. The military situation will be discussed, until it is almost discussed away; but just as complacency begins, the thought suddenly arrives: But what about the government? What about the workingman? And the scaffoldings are knocked away from under the optimist. Victorianism had made every one so discontented, so miserable that there does not seem so much to fight for. No doubt the greatest errors were made in the original advertising campaign, with its wheedling and its insults. It rubbed the Englishman up in exactly the wrong way. Advertising is a tradesman's dodge; and England being a nation of shopkeepers, every one knew that it was cheating. Had there been a government in the country at the beginning of the war to seize the reigns of power, declare conscription immediately, and shoot down unhesitatingly any one who objected, there would have been no trouble. Every one would have said: This is the spirit of Cromwell and of Wellington. But all the people in power were temporizers, men of words, vote-catchers, nearly all of them lawyers by profession. In any crisis the only man who can do anything is some tough, practical personality. The very qualities which bring a man to the front in ordinary times are those which make him useless in an emergency. The history of every nation is full of such examples, and, or course, from the nature of the case, it is impossible in times of peace to arrange for a supply of such men to be on tap.
As to the trading classes, they express the utmost patriotism, but it is of a rather peculiar kind. It has struck them that the war is doing them immense harm, and they know full well that a peace concluded now would complete their ruin. So they are unanimous for a fight to a finish. They would go themselves if they were not so busy; in the meanwhile, they are volubly indignant with the working classes for not going. In point of fact, the need is no longer men or money or munitions; it is morale. The British Tommy will only follow a gentleman; and most of these have been fed up, or belong to the stage-door class. The soldiers' trade has been too long despised in England; it has been fine to be an officer, but to know anything about soldiering has been disgraceful. Those who took their profession seriously have been hazed in the messes. Result: plenty to follow, and none to lead. You can make a very fair private in six months; but a non-com, or a subaltern cannot be turned out in two years, especially with no elder men to instruct them. So the new armies are composed of keen eager men, muddled over until they are perfectly sick of the incompetence of their superiors. They are also disgusted to death at the utter hopelessness of the strategists. The Flanders' proposition was intelligible; but the Dardanelles' folly has made much discontent. Wounded men are full of grisly tales of that disaster; no food, no ammunition, no shelter, no hospitals, "no ruddy nothing," as one Sergeant told me. They were flung out, like shooting so much rubbish, on the shore. Further, they are annoyed at the limitations of the fleet. The average man seems to have thought that the whole peninsula could be blown away by a few hours' bombardment.
The working classes as a whole are far more really patriotic than the bourgeois. But socialism and self-interest have rotted them far more than in Germany, where the party is on paper stronger. The murmur of the English slave is silent. I talked with many of the revolution. All would welcome any change, but none had any idea of constructive revolt. And at heart I think nobody cared. They were too dull with suffering. Many, however, were whining personal woes, usually something about three and eightpence farthing which they would have if there were a God in heaven or justice on earth. Thousands have enlisted because it seemed at least a quick way out, or offered a sort of chance. But there is nowhere a particle of real enthusiasm in the soul; how can there be, when poverty and puritanism have whittled away the soul for three generations? Can you imagine a British workman going to the Nibelung- ring, as the German does in his millions?
And the wretched treatment that he has been getting all these years of peace and "prosperity" is only accented by the war. The big promises are not being kept; he is too ready to find out; and if anybody would suggest a real remedy, however mad, he would try it. While waiting, he is glad, on the whole, to get peppered.

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from the Grady Project:

Outbound

Knocking, glancing, looping, swirling,
Bound together in this whirling,
Rolling swarm of outbound cinders;
Slag of the void, cold embers
That have known the crushing heat
Of some star guts' pulsing beat
And then into deep space were spawned.
Their parent dead, there is no bond
To bind them; nomads they become,
Stray homeless stardust on the bum,
Weaving out through galaxies,
Plunging where their fancies please,
Till tiring of this endless tour
They find there is a yearning lure
In black starless Infinity:
An urge that will not let them be.
So beyond the last outposted
Sun they long ago have coasted.
What lies beyond? Who knows? Who cares?
This is a jolly gang who dares
The limits of the timeless shore
On which they'll drift forevermore.

undated          

Published in The Grady Project #2 (December 1987 e.v.).

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Of Myths and Maths

by Frater P.I. continued from last issue

If he had presented this equation entirely as a metaphor I would be the first to applaud; as will become readily apparent below, I find this metaphor extremely fertile and satisfying. And in fact, much of Crowley's explanation of his equation is quite instructive and thought-provoking. However, in Chapter V of Magick Without Tears (among other places), he badly tarnishes the brilliant subconscious metal of his valuable insight by trying to palm off the 0=2 equation as valid mathematics; either he does not recognize the obvious mathematical errors he is making in the attempt to prove the literal truth of his metaphor, or he is purposely trying to deceive, and thereby impress, those who are ignorant of basic algebra and arithmetic! I don't know which explanation, if correct, would be more disillusioning.
One example of the sort of truly elementary error Crowley occasionally perpetrates is his naive use of division by zero. He apparently believes that 1 divided by 0 equals infinity because zero is "infinitely small". In fact, zero, by definition, is a nothing while the "infinitely small" is a something which forever approaches nearer and nearer to nothingness. If zero actually were the "infinitely small" then it would indeed be perfectly logical to equate an infinity of zeros with oneness. Unfortunately for the literal truth of Crowley's equation, an infinite number of 0's added together still does not equal 1, it equals 0!
Furthermore, AC's phony "scientific" parlor trick serves only to distract us from some very real philosophical truths which the 0=2 equation conveys. For one thing, it graphically explains the process of creation by the fact that nothing (the point) implies everything (infinity), and vice versa. These two things make up the original pair of opposites which then establishes a dualistic pattern which runs throughout all the subsidiary existential continuum(s). This is why the Buddhists say that nirvana (the "extinct") and samsara (the "world of forms") are identical. There are even a few contemporary physicists who explain emptiness as a perfect balance of virtual particles of matter and anti-matter continually canceling out each other's existence, though that's not to say that any of these physicists would recognize the 0=2 equation as meaningful evidence for their theories.
In addition to chasing his mathematical and scientific chimeras Crowley also hunted a few historical ones. Foremost among them, at least in its latter-day currency, is his concept of the progression of "aeons", those grand epochs in human history during which one divine energy or another holds sway over our collective and individual destinies. That Crowley meant the "aeon" to be understood as an actual period of historical time can hardly be doubted; throughout his writings he uses definite phrases to indicate this view (e.g., "during the whole period of the Aeon --- approximately 2000 years", from Magick Without Tears, Chapter XLVIII). He considered this Aeon of Horus as having a definite historical beginning point, the spring equinox of 1904 c.e., and he foresees, though less precisely, an end to this age with the occurrence of the "Equinox of Maat . . . [which] may be a hundred or ten thousand years from now" (from The Law is for All, Part Three: 34).
This spiritually prophetic attitude toward history, which Crowley displays in the case of his "aeons", is far from unique; in fact, this is a very similar attitude to that of most other religious enthusiasts. Many Christian fundamentalists count some 6000 years from the "Creation of Adam" until "Doomsday"; and equally, many Orthodox Muslims and Jews expect some sort of "Final Judgment" to occur at some time (definite or indefinite, as each particular sect would have it). Perhaps the Hindus have carried this art of "sacred historiography" to its highest levels, with an intricate sequence of cycles of epochs, revolving from Satyuga through Kaliyuga, and covering literally millions of centuries.
Briefly described, Crowley's scheme of human history involves four aeons. First is the Aeon of Isis which, though I cannot find a reference to a specific beginning, seems to take in at least the so-called Neolithic era and to end in the 6th century b.c.e.; then along comes the "Equinox of Osiris" to open a new period which ends in 1904 c.e., and is followed by this present Aeon of Horus. The fourth epoch will be that of Maat (as referred to in the Crowley quote above). With typical inconsistency, his "a hundred or ten thousand years" isn't really equivalent to "approximately 2000 years", so his followers are left to determine the length of Horus' Aeon as best they can on their own. But even though the chronological details of Crowley's system may often be debated it seems that the acceptance of a divinely-inspired sequence of eras is a bedrock assumption for the vast majority of Book of the Law-based Thelemites.
Among contemporary historiographers the systematic division of history into "ages" is called periodization and, though deities are only very rarely invoked to justify the divisions suggested, much thought and discussion has been engaged in upon this subject. Unfortunately for the tenability of Crowley's (or any other religionist's) interpretation of history some of the conclusions reached through professional debate cast a good deal of doubt upon the ultimate validity of any system of periodization, whether it is based on prophetic revelations or academic reasonings.
The main problem with objective periodization lies with the nature of time itself which, though we may experience it as a series of discontinuous "nows", can only be understood logically as a single indivisible flow. As the historiographer and philosopher Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955 c.e.) has so aptly put it, "in his individual and fleeting today man will see, foreshortened, the whole of man's past still active and alive. For we can only throw light on yesterday by invoking the day before yesterday; and so with all yesterdays. History is a system, the system of human experiences linked in a single, inexorable chain" (from the essay History as a System, section VIII).
The true believer will of course argue that any idiot can see how different are the eras before and after 1904, and indeed, a careful observer may point to any number of very real differences, but then the same can be said of 1903 or 1905, or of any other moment at all. A historical period, like a calendar, may be a convenient fiction, but it is no more established by fact than the choice of which day to celebrate as New Year's is predetermined by astronomy. The truth is that there are only two definite eras which may be said to occur in history; they are the Past and the Future, and each moment, as we experience it, is the end of one and the beginning of the other. The Equinox of the Gods (just like Hiroshima, the Presidential election of 1820, and the earliest appearance of eohippus) may turn out to be a landmark event, possessed of enormous cultural significance, but it is a mistake to attribute any "absolute" historical reality to it.
Of course, Crowley was certainly not alone in believing that a "new age" had opened early in this century, and it's quite easy to see why. The capabilities and effects of technology, the state of humanity's cultural development, the global "balance of power", etc., had all been altering inexorably throughout the generations preceding the First World War; however, it was only in the buildup to that war, and in its aftermath, that these various and cumulative changes became fully apparent to the "average" observer. To people schooled in the "Concert of Europe", events like the defeat of Russia by Japan, or the invention of the airplane, or the victory of Bolshevism, could only take place in a fundamentally different world, and hence, implied a new stage in human history.
But as with the 0=2 equation, the value of the notion of "aeons" is not to be sought finally in literalism, but in metaphor. The Aeons of Isis, Osiris, Horus, and Maat, refer not to time periods in human history, but rather to human individuals' modes of experiencing and reacting to their world. There are places in his writings where it seems that Crowley realized this truth instinctively (as in the postscript to Chapter 38 of Magick Without Tears, where he describes three types of female psychology, the Isis, Osiris, and Horus "classes"). Thus, we ought to examine ourselves, our societies, and our entire history for the psychological qualities exemplified by Isis, Osiris, Horus, and Maat, without being constrained by the unnecessary restrictions which are imposed by literalism upon those who are unimaginatively "religious". It may well be that Isis types of behavior were the rule during the Neolithic, or that Osirian psychology has predominated for the past two millennia, but such ideas can only be supported or contradicted (not proven or disproven) by careful studies using uniform methodologies, controlled vocabularies, and statistical analyses.
When it comes to scientific learning imagination should not be allowed to override reason. But in fact, imagination is the one human faculty best adapted to the true apprehension of metaphorical expression. As long as we refrain from confusing our visionary speculations with scientific theories or literal facts we can gain valuable insights and inspirations, and continually reinterpret our personal and social traditions. So it is not very surprising that, in a curious way, the two primary metaphors examined in this essay, the 0=2 equation and the concept of "aeons", can come together to create an interesting and, I think, somewhat illuminating correspondence.
Let us suppose that the extinction which is accomplished by the union of opposites (0=2) is characteristic of Horus' psychological mode of action (this connection being exemplified by the message of the Book of the Law). Then let us proceed to some "spiritual mathematics"; by adding 1 to each side of the equation we enter the Osirian mode, 1=3, where the One Godhead is represented by a Trinity. Further addition takes us to the realm of Isis, 2=4, the dualistic natural world of the Four Elements. If we move in the other direction, subtracting 1 from each side of the 0=2 equation, we arrive in the universe of Maat, -1=1, the opposites are seen as identical, and perfect Balance is achieved.
So, what is the point of all these thousands of words on the subject of the metaphorical/literal dichotomy? Will all the Crowleyan Thelemites out there now cease their search for scientific secrets in the Book of the Law? Or will all of them suddenly stop sneering at those metaphors which they deem to be "Old Aeon"? I hardly think so. Nonetheless, I hope that some of my readers may in future be encouraged to laugh more heartily when they encounter such foolishnesses in themselves and their co-religionists (and perhaps a few of you will even be encouraged to read some Campbell, or Ortega y Gasset!).

-- Frater P.I. --


Previous Myths and Maths, part II


Primary Sources

John Yarker:
Many Thelemites know no more about John Yarker than the obit in volume I, No. 10 of the Equinox, but he was a very important figure behind both O.T.O. and Masonry. We owe to Yarker much of the lore and tradition of the Order. He chartered Crowley in the York Rite of Masonry, Reuss in Memphis and Mizraim and generally supplied both authority and historic research on the various rituals and many of the secondary orders cited in the "Blue" Equinox. Yarker's work is thorough and sound, and the selections below come from his Arcane Schools; A Review of their Origin and Antiquity; with a General History of Freemasonry ..., 1909 e.v., Wm. Tait, Belfast. ... Arcane Schools is a unique resource for the tradition of initiation in all places and times, including the beginning of the Golden Dawn and Theosophy in the 19th century. It adds the "why" to Waite, and makes Pike look like a "piker". Beyond that, Crowley never denounced Yarker's work or Yarker himself --- a rare bird indeed!
These selections are from the Appendix at the back of Yarker's book. After a very detailed study of the evolution of Freemasonry from the old Stone Mason Guilds, Yarker provided a selection of "Charges" as handed down through many copies in the old Guilds. He analyzed the text and organized these old rules of conduct (actually "bylaws" or "constitutions") into several sets by age of origin and historic influence. The results were placed in an Appendix as types of the multiple originals. Spelling was modernized slightly for the older "Charges". Here we present excerpts from those much larger documents, taken to show the origin of rules followed by modern Freemasons and given in the Blue Equinox and other O.T.O. materials. The "Anglo-Saxon Charges" appear to descend from documents as old as the mid 10th century and the others from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

from the Anglo-Saxon Charges.

The third Article is this, --- That no Master take no Prentice for a less term than 7 years at the least, because such as be within a less term may not profitably come to (knowledge of) this Art, nor able to serve truly his lord and to take as a Mason should take.
The fourth Article is this, --- That no Master for no profit take no Prentice to be learned that is born of bond blood, because his lord to whom he is bond, will take him, as he well may, from his Art, and lead him out of his Lodge, or out of his place that he worketh in; for his Fellows peradventure would help him and debate for him, and therefore manslaughter might arise; it is forbidden. And also for another cause; this Art took beginning of great lord's children freely begotten, as it is said before.

The seventh Article is this, --- That no Master be found wittingly, or help to procure to be (a) maintainer and sustainer (of) any common nightwalker to rob, by the which manner of nightwalking they may not fulfil their day's work and travail, (and) through the condition their Fellows might be wroth.

The sixth Point, --- If any discord shall be between him and his Fellows, he shall obey meekly, and be still at the bidding of his Master, or of the Warden of his Master, in the Master's absence, to the holy day following, and that he accord them at the disposition of his Fellows, and not upon the workday, for hindering of the work and profit of the lord.

from The Ancient Charges.

7. You shall call Masons your Fellows, or your Brethren, and by no foul
name, nor shall you take your Fellow's wife in villany, nor further desire his daughter or servant.

8ly --- That no Fellow do slander another behind his back to make him lose his good name, or his worldly goods.

13th --- That no Fellow go into town in the night time without a Fellow to bear witness that he hath been in honest company; for if he do so there is to be a Lodge of Fellows to punish the sin.
14th --- That every Mason and Fellow shall come to the Assembly if it be within five (fifty) miles of him, and if he have any warning to stand at the award of Masters and Fellows.
15th --- That every Mason and Fellow if they have trespassed to stand at the award of Masters and Fellows to make them accord, if they may, and if they may not accord then to go to the common law.

18th --- That every Master shall receive and cherish strange Masons when they come out of the country, and set them to work, as the manner is; that is to say, if they have moulded stones in the place, ye shall set him a fortnight at the least in work, and give him his pay, and if ye have no stones for him to work, then ye shall refresh him to the next Lodge.

from the Modern Charges.

9. Also that no Fellow, within the lodge or without it, shall misanswer or reprove another, without cause.
10. Also that every Mason shall reverence his elder brother, and put him to honour.

from The New Articles and Apprentice Charge.

28. That no p'son hereafter be accepted a Free Mason, nor shall be admitted into any Lodge or Assembly until hee hath brought a certificate of the time of accep'con from the Lodge yt accepted him, . . .

31. That no p'son shall be accepted a Free Mason, or know the secrets of the said Society, until he hath first taken the Oath of secrecy hereafter following: --- I, A.B., doe in the presence of Almighty God and my Fellows and Brethren here present, promise and declare that I will not at any time hereafter, by any act or circumstance whatsoever, directly or indirectly, publish, discover, reveale, or make knowne, any of the secrets, priviledges, or counsells, of the Fraternity or Fellowship of Free Masons, which at this time, or at any time hereafter, shall be made knowne unto mee. So helpe mee God, and the holy contents of this booke.

from the Addition to "New Articles," in 1663.

6th. That no p'son be accepted a Free Mason, except he be one and twenty yeares old or more.

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From the Outbasket

Here is a hotch-potch of responses to questions asked of Agape Grand Lodge in first inquiry letters from the last calendar quarter, abridged for publication.

In Thelema, "Will" is the True or Divine Will manifested uniquely in each person and to be discovered by each person. This "Will" is usually associatedto Chokmah, #2 on the Tree. Acquiring "Knowledge" of it is considered the"Great Work". In practice, one of the crucial stages in that acquisition is called "Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel", a phenomena between Tipheret(#6) and Binah(#3) when the Ruach soul centered around Tipheret opens communication with the Neshamah soul, as it first manifeststhrough Binah.

"Love" has many nuances and meanings, especially applicable to Netzach, Yesod, Tipheret, and Chesed as well as the other parts of the Qabalistic Tree."Love" can be taken to be the Greek word "Agape", without a particular individual as an object, but general to all members of a community or commongroup. On the Tree, Chesed, is the seat of "Agape" love. Netzach is the seat of physical love. Tipheret is the seat of partial (that is to particular relationships of people) love. Yesod is the place for fantasy and inclinational love.

To explore ways of coping with loss of Christianity and/or transcendence of that point of view, try reading The Works of Aleister Crowley; a three-volume collected set of his poetry, drama and some essays up to about 1907 e.v.These books portray Crowley's own departure from Christianity, exploration of other religions or philosophies and his commencement of a Thelemic perspective.

Regarding Crowley's archaic style of writing, three points: 1) Crowley began writing for publication in the late 19th century, and that gave him a certain vocabulary and style which we moderns may find old-fashioned. 2) Crowley was raised in a family of Quakers, the name of the particular sect of which was "Plymouth Brethren". As do similar religious groups today, that family used language modeled after the 17th century English of the King James Bible out of a sense of piety. Old habits die hard. A psychologist would look for childhood experience behind Crowley's meaning when he starts "Thee'ing" and "Thou'ing" 3) Crowley was well educated in classic literature and tended to use old fashioned ways of saying things simply because he learned them from his reading.

The idea of crafting the dagger out of smelted steel is not so much symbolic as advice to make your magical tools as entirely by your own hands as possible.

"Druids" were a type of wandering priest in pre-Christian Celtic places like Ireland and England. They taught many things, and can be researched in books dealing with Celtic mythology and the history of pre-Roman Britain. "Free Masons" are a type of fraternal society which originated from the craft-guilds that built castles and cathedrals in the middle ages. They no longer specialize in constructing buildings, but hold meetings with mystical initiations. Masons tend to be innovative in a political and religious sense (some of them, anyway), and are partly responsible for the American and French revolutions of the 18th century. The emblem of a pyramid with an eye floating above it on the back of the US Dollar Bill is a typical Masonic symbol. {N.B. this is often disputed, since the emblem appears to have become interesting to Masons after it was used on the Great Seal of the United States -- Web edition}

To see how everything relates to Hebrew, you need to study Qabalah, work with a copy of Crowley's Liber 777 (not easy!), and remember that all Western Religious history is based on the Bible, a Jewish book.

To-Mega Therion is one of the names Crowley used for himself. It is Greek for "The Great Beast" --- a name his mother called him as a child when he got into trouble. It formed a way for Crowley to break out of limited views of Christianity, so he took it as his own to remind himself and others of the need to reexamine frightening ideas.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for February 1994 e.v.

2/1/94Visit with Buddhist monk 7:30 PM
Bhante Wimala
Thelema Ldg.
2/2/94Day of feast of Brigid
Sol 15 degrees Aquarius
2/5/93Open House at 328 49th St. with
Lecture at 2PM, Gnostic Mass 4:18PM
and Italian Potluck at 6PM
in Oakland.
Independent
2/6/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
2/7/94Thelema Lodge Meeting 7:30PMThelema Ldg.
2/8/94Conference of the IIIrds 7:30PM
with M. Sanborn
Thelema Ldg.
2/9/94Sirius Oasis Meeting 7:30 PM
in Berkeley.
Sirius Oasis
2/10/94day of Chinese New Year 6 AM
2/13/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
2/14/94day of St. Valentine
2/15/94Gnostic Mass Seminar 7:30PM w Fr.PIThelema Ldg.
2/16/94Magick in Theory and Practice 7:30PM
with Bill Heidrick in Marin County
(5 Suffield Ave., San Anselmo)
Thelema Ldg.
2/17/94Egyptian Magical Workshop 7:30 PM
with Ebony.
Thelema Ldg.
2/18/94Sol enters Pisces 1:22 PM
2/19/94Minerval Initiation 6PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
2/20/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
2/22/94"Much Ado about Malkuth" 7:30 PM
financial magick with Adam WBW
Thelema Ldg.
2/24/94Butterfly Net Meeting 7:30 PM
with Ebony
Thelema Ldg.
2/25/94Astrology of Pisces with Grace 7 PM
in Berkeley. Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
2/26/94777 Poetry Society 7:30 PM w. Fr.PIThelema Ldg.
2/27/94Cakes of Light wkshp 2PM with CatlinThelema Ldg.
2/27/94Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema 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.

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

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