Note to update: the addresses and phone numbers in these issues of the Thelema Lodge Calendars are obsolete since the closing of the Lodge. They are here for historic purposes only and should not be visited or called.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
October 1994 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
Gnostic Bishop T Dionysus leads a monthly discussion group to further understanding of the mass liturgy of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, meeting in the lodge library on Wednesday evening 26th October at 8:00. Specific questions concerning the text of the mass, personal interpretations of particular passages, and suggestions regarding performance problems and techniques, are especially valuable for the work of this study group, and will receive careful consideration if shared with us in person or by mail.
Initiation into the Man of Earth degrees of O.T.O. is available by application to all who are free and of full age (and of good report). Lodge officers are prepared to supply application forms upon request at any lodge event, or by mail. There is a minimum waiting period of 40 days after the completed application has been returned to the lodge and mailed off to the Order's initiation secretary, so it is necessary to plan ahead when contemplating initiation. Fees and dues, which vary according to degree, are not collected ahead of time at Thelema Lodge, but must without exception be turned over immediately before initiation.
Lodge business and calendar arrangements are handled at the monthly Lodge Meeting, on Monday evening 3rd October at 8:00. For several months our calendar has been so crowded with planetary rites, seasonal rituals, and anniversaries that less time has been available for classes and study groups, but the October lodge meeting will provide an opportunity for members to request or schedule classes according to their needs and interests. During this autumnal season we want to stress work with the Holy Books of Thelema, and a basic grounding in personal ritual for our newer members. Those unable to attend lodge meeting should share their ideas and requests with the lodge master during the week beforehand, and those involved in calendar events should provide notes describing their activities to the lodge master within one week of the meeting.
The Section Two Reading Group meets with Caitlin at Oz House on Monday evening 10th October at 8:00 to discuss two novels of Sir Walter Scott. Anyone with an interest in the A A reading list is welcome to attend; the Section Two Group arranges to have some participants study the works to be presented, in order to provide both an overview and a taste of their literary texture to those without the time to read ahead. This month's books are Redgauntlet: A Tale of the Eighteenth Century (1824), which concerns the Widow's Son and other symbolic elements of Scottish Rite freemasonry, and The Talisman (1825), which centers on the relations between Saladin and the crusaders. Crowley only lists the first of these stories specifically, but his recommendation of "also one or two other novels" as "interesting for the traditions treated" has encouraged us to include The Talisman, which is one of Scott's best (and briefest) books.
Bill Heidrick's Magick in Theory and Practice Series passes its halfway point this month as we enter the voluminous appendices, the "Practice" section which makes up the last half of Crowley's great magical textbook. This month we will focus on the Bibliography, "One Star in Sight", and the A A Curriculum in the first two appendices. Review beforehand if possible, call (415) 454-5176 for directions if attending for the first time, and gather at 7:30 on Wednesday evening 19th October at Bill's home in San Anselmo. (M.T.P., originally published sixty-five years ago, is now forthcoming in Hymenaeus Beta's corrected, expanded, and annotated new edition of the whole of Book Four, due out later this season.)
"The Astrology of Scorpio" with Grace meets in Berkeley on Friday evening 28th October from 7:00 to 9:00. Grace requests that everyone attending call her at (510) 843-7827 so she'll know whom to expect for each class.
The Grady McMurtry Poetry Society meets on Saturday evening 29th October at 7:00 in the lodge library. Organized by Frater P.I., this group reads verse to each other on a monthly basis, and all are invited to bring poems of their own choice to share with us. Bring your favorites, or your own work, or your latest discoveries, and see how high you can fly with them before a discerning and enthusiastic audience.
Thelema Lodge's computer group, the Butterfly Net, is up and running and ready for the use of new members. Our next monthly meeting has been moved to avoid Hallowe'en, and will be held on Tuesday evening 25th October at 8:00 in the lodge library. Membership costs $15 monthly, and meetings provide expert advice to users of the system. Cheap hardware and repair services, as well as free and exchange software, is often available to members.
The library at Thelema Lodge is available for individual use by members and friends of the lodge by arrangement with the lodge officers. We also schedule two evenings each month for open library activities. These will be on Tuesday 11th October and Thursday 27th October at 8:00. Library nights are sometimes rescheduled by request, so please check in ahead of time with the lodge master whenever attending. Light volunteer work is welcome in the upkeep of the collection, but mainly the materials are here to be used and enjoyed.
The lodge is sustained by voluntary donations from its members and friends. In the lodge master's view, the most comfortable and healthy way to manage this is with small frequent contributions of about $2 to $5 weekly from those attending events. Not all can afford this level of generosity, however, and there are many other contributions which can be made to benefit Thelema Lodge apart from cash donation. Since the temple rent must remain a cash account, members are invited to consider donating more than their share if possible, and those able to sustain the lodge with a $30 monthly donation are entertained at a special luncheon meeting on the second Sunday of each month. Speak with the lodge master for details. This month's luncheon will be on Sunday afternoon 9th October at 1:00, featuring a menu by the lodge Curate.
by Aleister Crowley
Originally published in the English Review 15 (London: November 1913), this installment concludes our serialization of the article.
We can then fold our wings sadly over our faces when we contemplate the past (in this article I avoid dealing with the present) of American literature.
It must, however, be remembered that it dates back very few years indeed. There are no American contemporaries of even Shelley. Why should there have been? They were too busy as pioneers. The only bright spot is the humour; and of course humour is the most perishable of all commodities. American humour, especially, depends almost entirely on local realism; and the railway changes that.
When we turn to Art, it is an even blanker prospect. After Whistler and Sargent, the former not even really an American, and both exiles from America by adoption, there is literally nobody at all till we strike the geological stratum of Penrhyn Stanlaws (whose name is Adamson, and whose birthplace Dundee!) and Charles Dana Gibson, of whose parentage one neither knows nor wishes to know anything.
One may reproach me with forgetting Alexander Harrison, who once painted two quite passable pictures, by accident, at the age of 32 to 33, "The Wave" and "In Arcady." The former of these is actually the first purely marine picture ever painted, and one may consequently class the artist with the immortals for historical importance. But of course he has always lived and worked in France, and he has never added a third passable picture to the former two.
Turn to music: I do not know of anything, except McDowell's work, which even pretends to be ambitious, or to have any real connection with anything beyond musical comedy and dollars.
The only American sculptor that I know of is a Lithuanian living in Paris.
No American actress has made any mark on serious acting, but that question is beside the point. Nearly all actors are Jews, in America as elsewhere. Only one really great singer has hailed from Columbia, and one incomparable dancer. I speak of Jenny Lind and Isadora Duncan.
Even the national hymn, "My Country, 'tis of thee," is little better than a parody of "God Save the King"; and I have heard the Imperial Japanese Band at a State festival perform "After the Ball" under the impression that it was the National Anthem of their guests of the evening.
It may be remarked in passing that America has only produced one really great man of science --- Simon Newcomb. The boasted inventions of the Americans do not exist.1 What they invent is "notions" based on the discoveries of others. Edison is merely an organiser and adapter of scientific brains. The telephone itself was due to Bell, an Englishman. I cannot think of any one scientific discovery of the first importance which was made in the United States. In Europe we had Kelvin, Helmholtz, Hertz, Haeckel, Darwin, Young, Lister, Pasteur --- the pen runs on, one could fill a page from memory. I studied chemistry, physics, and biology pretty thoroughly at one time; I do not recall any American name in the textbooks. Such men as we know are people like Tesla and Lowell, who are not even serious. We must absolve America from Tesla, however, as he is but a recently imported product. In medicine the only name that occurs is Weir-Mitchell, and all that he did was to point out that over-worked people had better stay in bed. Of course, there is an enormous amount of work of second-rate importance; but none of the first rank.
As to philosophy, we have even less material for our criticism. The earliest figure in American philosophical literature of any notoriety is George Starkey, the alchemist. There is, however, nothing very distinctive about him; it needs an expert to tell him from Fludd, Ripley, or Sendivogius.
After him, no name awakes in memory until Emerson, and Emerson did nothing particularly new; William James is the only name that occurs to me with anything like a feeling of respect.2
A sorry story!
And why is it? Why is it that with everything in favour of new birth, of "variation," we find so very little born? Consider the astounding avidity with which the American swallows every kind of idea, the rage for literature, the subsidising of Art, the passion for music. Consider even the new blood that pours into the States to the tune of two millions a year from every art- producing country in Europe: and wonder grows, and grows.
Americans say that the immigrants are the scum of Europe. Perhaps, but they beat the native out of most of his money and power in no time. Isn't there a touching song about the "poor exile of Erin" who in a fortnight became "Alderman Mike inthrojuicing a bill"?
There is, firstly, the question of the critical faculty. This is curiously infantine in nearly all Americans. A man will determine to study philosophy. To whom does he go? To Kant? To Hume? To Aristotle? Dear me, no! he is quite happy with Fra Elbertus, with his sham Kelmscott Press and his platitudes, or with Swami Vivekananda, that burliest of Babus. It never strikes him to refer to the Upanishads, from which Vivekananda derived all that is of value in his work.
He is satisfied with any good machine-made stuff; he really thinks that Swinburne was "the English Ella Wheeler Wilcox." When it comes to criticism of "old masters," he rarely looks at them with the eyes that God has given him; he looks through the spectacles of a guide-book.
Not that the English are not equally incapable in this respect; but they appear less ignorant, because they are fixed in traditional opinions which are (on the whole) right. The American cannot stay there; he is restless; he wants to know --- and this will ultimately save him --- but as yet he has only learnt to know via Baedeker, and the moment he is off the track he is hopelessly lost.
The Englishman would be as bad, but he knows the danger, and confined himself to the remark that Shakespeare was a great poet. Show him the Futurists, and he holds out a confiding hand to any professional or amateur leg-puller that may be about.
The "ministry of all the talents" of Art --- Leader, Marcus Stone, Poynter, Leighton, Sidney Cooper, and so on --- do well enough in England; anything like genius is suspect, as Beardsley found. But the American cannot distinguish between Goya and Gerald Kelly; and if he prefers Leader to the others, it is because he remembers "some scandal about a swan." No artist has any advantage with an American; he is perfectly fair, and if he were not also perfectly ignorant, he would make an ideal critic. As a matter of fact, I have sometimes met Americans whose native good sense made them finely appreciative of good work. But they are too often "put off their game" by the comments of "cultured" posers, usually of that Press which has discovered that "woman is the market," and thought it best to write down to the assumed level of woman's intellect.
Now, as Wilde urged, criticism is the foundation of creation; at least, it is the negative side of creation. And so, with no power of selection from the enormous mass of material at his disposal, he is entirely incompetent to do much more than copy the people he admires. In England we find people imitating Keats, or Swinburne, or Tennyson; in America they can sometimes be found doing their best to produce replicas of Anthony Hope!
The second point for our consideration is that of climate. I am sometimes tempted to believe that climate is the only thing that matters. Now New York, for example, is in the latitude of Madrid, and can be a great deal hotter than Madrid. The people consequently tend to behave like the Madrile&n~~tilde;os. However, the old Puritan conscience is in absolute antipathy to the lazily, lazily, drowsily, drowsily frame of mind. So the people "get a move on" and restlessly rage throughout the day --- and get nothing done. "Festina lente" and "More haste, less speed" ought to be painted up at every street corner in New York.
Of course, this condition of things does not obtain in every town or in the country.
Toronto makes a Sunday in a Scotch village seem like a hashish dream!
In short, there is every variety of life and every variety of scene, and every variety of climate and surroundings.
How is it that every variety is barren? One might not expect a Goethe or a Rodin; there is --- outside the cities, where any work is impossible owing to the jolting --- a sort of isolation from the pulse of the world which might (conceivable --- though I don't see why it should) inhibit the manifestation of that cosmic sense which is the principal asset of the artist; but at least America might have produced a Herrick or a Burns. The continent is epic in mass, lyric in detail, dramatic in motion, dithyrambic in rest --- and nothing comes of it. Is it because there is no settled order of things, no standard acquiesced in for centuries? Sometimes I think it must be that. Archimedes must have a fulcrum for his lever. In Europe the overturning of the dynasties has usually been the signal for an outburst of every kind of art. Here, however, there is in a sense nothing to overturn. People drift from Methodism to Zionism through Theosophy, Christian Science and Nut-foodism, without a single wavelet over their mental gunwale. If you tell a man that black is white, he gets thoughtful, and says: "Yes, stranger, I guess that is so."
Nothing is a shock; nothing shatters a great citadel in the soul. Hence no fireworks when the fortress falls, which it does at the blast of no ram's horn, but at the rattling of dried peas in an ass's skull!
If this is not a satisfactory explanation, one must fall back upon the old platitudes about America being a "very young country." It is true: there is so much to do that no one has time to reflect. Poetry is born in the stillness of the soul; boredom is one of its chief stimuli.
The actual life of America is anything but favourable to art production; and there is such exuberance of vitality that there is no need of its concentration. America, too, is a great place for mute inglorious Miltons; a thousand poets might write masterpieces, and we never hear of it. The commercialism of the country is too rampant.
And yet (in conclusion!) the record of America is not bad. Giant inducements, no doubt, but also giant obstacles, and this --- deeper and higher than all --- that, take one thing with another, man is not equal to his circumstances. Art comes when man has understood his milieu, mastered his life.
There is one poet who has spent most of his life among mountains. He has sung a good deal of the hills of Cumberland, written a little of the Alps, made a poem or so on the mountains of Mexico, an allusion here and there to the Himalayas, thought he spent more time in the last than the first, and the impression was a thousandfold more intense. The Himalayas are too big for anyone to sing, and America is all Himalayas of one kind or another.
No doubt, when immigration stops, when the negro problem, and the Japanese problem, and the labour problem, and the political problem, and all the rest of the problems are solved, when a class arises which has time to reflect upon life instead of living it, American art will lead the world.
Until then, the theme is likely to continue to overwhelm the artist. Whitman alone has risen to the height of destiny; and Whitman was baulked by his own mind. He was Being without Form, as Poe was From without Being; and creation is the marriage of these twain.
|I wrap myself around the wind|
|Roaring visions speak within|
|Starry night and comets flash|
|Parting seas by lightings path.|
|I stand on cliffs by seas|
|To learn the silent mysteries|
|My path is chosen, my will is done|
|My spirit blazes with the sun.|
by Deborah Bender
copyright © 1991, revised 1994 e.v.
Hecate -- Black robe and veil. Candle lantern or grecian oil lamp.
Sophia -- Robe and veil trimmed in gold. Scepter with a light in the tip, or decorative bowl hiding a light.
Quaestor -- Robe of citrine, olive, russet, and black; hat with roses on hatband.
Psyche -- Robe of rainbow, pastel, or flame colors. Sparkling headdress.
Probationers -- Earth colors.
A labyrinth is marked out on the ground. To the left and right of its entrance sit Hecate and Sophia. Nearby is a table with a censer and two vessels of salt.
Sophia's lamp is lit. Hecate's lamp is extinguished.
Lector reads selected passages from "Thunder, Perfect Mind" (from the Nag Hammadi library).
Sophia: Knocks ten times, in the pattern ** * ** ** * **.
Sister Hecate, what is the hour?
Hecate: It is the coldest hour before dawn.
Knocks ten times in the pattern ** *** *** **.
Sister Sophia, what is the place?
Sophia: The gate of the labyrinth. Who are the officers?
Hecate: Two. Waning moon . . .
Sophia: . . . and winter sun.
Hecate: Another will come.
Sophia: Let us sow the earth with salt that nothing may grow here.
Hecate: Let us sow the earth with salt that nothing may rot here.
They mark out an equal-armed cross on the ground before the entrance of the labyrinth. Quaestor enters. Hecate veils her face.
Quaestor: (addressing audience) It is my will to penetrate the labyrinth.
Hecate: Many enter, few return.
Quaestor: Why, what's inside?
Hecate turns away from him, remaining in her seat.
Quaestor: (to Sophia) What will I find when I reach the center?
Sophia: What will you find? That is uncertain. When last I was in the labyrinth, I found a very large man with a bull's head. I do not know if he is there now.
Quaestor: How can I find my way to the center, and not get lost?
Sophia: I have answered one question already. Do you think knowledge is free? Pay me something.
Quaestor: Pay you? You didn't answer my question. You said you don't know.
Sophia: That is also an answer.
Hecate: You resemble one who tore my veil. My word to you is "Memory."
Quaestor: (to Sophia) If you have penetrated to the center of the labyrinth, it is your duty to tell me the way. Sophia: Don't tell me what my duty is.
Quaestor walks away.
Sophia: The way in is through that hole, I'll tell you that much for free.
Quaestor: (to Hecate, wheedling) Ma'am . . .
Hecate: Have you a light?
Quaestor: Uh, yes.
Quaestor strikes match and lights Hecate's lantern. Hecate unveils. She takes a close look at him, holding up the lantern.
Hecate: You look something like him, without the beard. What is it you
Quaestor: I guess you've seen a lot of people go in that gate.
Hecate: More than you can count.
Quaestor: What's down in there?
Hecate: Rotting pigs.
Quaestor: (to Sophia) She won't help me. Have compassion on a traveler. I don't have any money to pay you.
Sophia: Then go get some.
Quaestor removes hat, approaches probationers.
Quaestor: Will you help a brother? I'm on a quest. Alms for the earth mysteries. Anything you can spare, et cetera.
Quaestor brings whatever he has collected to Sophia.
Quaestor: Here is an offering for my passage.
Sophia: Give it here. (counts money) the count is ..... (gives the count as a number, rather than a dollar amount; this can be checked for gematria after the ritual: the count at the first performance of this rite wound up to be the number of Earth) Ask your questions.
Quaestor: How can I find my way to the center without getting lost?
Sophia: There are three ways to find the path to the center. They correspond to three sorts of character. The first is to take in turn every possible direction at each choosing point, keeping a record of your choices and never repeating any, until, having taken all possible wrong turns, persistence alone shall bring you to the center. You are persistent; this method may be suitable for you.
Quaestor: The second way?
Sophia: Before you enter, obtain the true pattern of the labyrinth. It is known to the sages of all lands. Meditate upon it until it is impressed upon your inner vision. When every turning burns before you in the darkness, there will be no difficulty in finding the one path to the center. You prefer to rely upon the researches of others; this method may be suitable for you.
Quaestor: What is the third way?
Sophia: Open the portals of your soul. Let the center call you. Let the intuition of your heart be drawn thereto. For a person such as yourself, this method is not . . .
Quaestor: (interrupting) That is my way! (rushes in, then turns around) Thanks. (turns around again and heads deeper in)
Sophia: (to Hecate) He forgot to ask how to get out of the labyrinth.
(Lector or Hecate reads verses 1-5 of "Ilicet", by Swinburne; musical accompaniment if available)
There is an end of joy and sorrow;
Peace all day long, all night, all morrow,
But never a time to laugh or weep.
The end is come of pleasant places,
The end of tender words and faces,
The end of all, the poppied sleep.
No place for sound within their hearing,
No room to hope, no time for fearing,
No lips to laugh, no lids for tears.
The old years have run out all their measure;
No chance of pain, no chance of pleasure,
No fragment of the broken years.
Outside of all the worlds and ages,
There where the fool is as the sage is,
There where the slayer is clean of blood,
No end, no passage, no beginning,
There where the sinner leaves off sinning,
There where the good man is not good.
There is not one thing with another,
But Evil saith to Good: My brother,
My brother, I am one with thee:
They shall not strive nor cry forever:
No man shall chose between them; never
Shall this thing end and that thing be.
Wind wherein seas and stars are shaken
Shall shake them, and they shall not waken;
None that has lain down shall arise;
The stones are sealed across their places;
One shadow is shed on all their faces,
One blindness cast on all their eyes.
Quaestor screams. Sophia recites from "The Garden of Proserpine" by Swinburne:
Pale, beyond porch and portal,
Crowned with calm leaves, she stands
Who gathers all things mortal
With cold immortal hands;
Her languid lips are sweeter
Than love's who fears to greet her
To men that mix and meet her
From many times and lands.
She waits for each and other,
She waits for all men born;
Forgets the earth her mother,
The life of fruits and corn;
And spring and seed and swallow
Take wing for her and follow
Where summer song rings hollow
And flowers are put to scorn.
Hecate: Not so. The ravished Queen of Hell lies in labor there four hours. There is none to deliver her.
Hecate knocks **. Sophia knocks ***. Hecate knocks ***. Sophia knocks **. Hecate recites from "A Nympholept" by Swinburne:
Lord God of life and of light and of all things fair,
Lord God of ravin and ruin and all things dim,
Death seals up life, and darkens the sunbright air,
And the stars that watch blind earth in the deep night swim,
Laugh, saying, "What God is your God, that ye call on him?
What is man, that the God who is guide of our way should care
If day for a man be golden, or night be grim?"
Sophia: It is well that the Quaestor is beyond the sound of your voice. I
see the sky pales.
Hecate: Sister Sophia, let us summon Psyche, that the Quaestor may be inspired to penetrate to the innermost.
They light incense and perform an appropriate invocation. Psyche appears.
Psyche: Wherefore do I see daylight and darkness met together?
Sophia: Sister Psyche, we desire you to perform the dance of the Hidden Beloved, that the portals of our brother's soul be opened.
Psyche dances. Quaestor makes inarticulate noises.
Hecate: Having descended where the rays of the celestial spheres may not
penetrate, our brother is unable to proceed.
Sophia: Within the very core, he had forgotten the way of return.
Psyche: Nay, sisters. Having won through to the center of silence, he dreads to return to the plane of action.
Hecate: * *** * * *** *. Unless the womb be stirred, the child shall be stillborn.
Sophia: (to Probationers) Companions of the quest, our brother is a-mazed. Let us fortify his courage by circumambulating the labyrinth.
Sophia picks up her light and leads the Probationers clockwise around the outside of the labyrinth. Hecate follows with her lamp. Psyche leads any who remain seated in batteries of claps: * *** * * *** *. Walkers complete one circuit of the boundary. All return to their previous places. Quaestor emerges from the gate, wearing a golden garment.
Hecate: Io! Evohe!
Sophia: The serpent's egg has hatched.
Psyche: How fares it with you, brother?
Quaestor: Sister, I am well.
Sophia: Holy child, declare unto us the words of the new Aeon.
Quaestor recites from Liber Tzaddi, The Book of Lies, or another of Crowley's works. The four officers then form a square in front of the labyrinth, clasping right hands in the center and holding left arms raised horizontally from shoulder to elbow, vertically from elbow to fingertip (i.e. at a right angle), with the palm open in salute.
Quaestor: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The four officers walk as a wheel, ninety degrees sunwise.
Psyche: Love is the law, love under will.
They walk another quarter turn.
Sophia: As Above, So Below.
They walk a quarter turn.
Hecate: So ends this rite.
|Long ere the Cabel held its sway|
|Knew we the powers of the Fey|
|That ruled the ancient, pagan Celt,|
|Sealbearers of the flayed wolf's pelt,|
|Who worshipped to the Gods of Night|
|And lived to please the runic might|
|Of forces chained within the Pit|
|And incarnated Evil's writ.|
|We Irish who hold the Cult|
|Nor care that should our deeds result|
|Return to Earth on Hallow's Eves|
|To leap the Druid Dance of Leaves|
|Across the blackened, rolling heath|
|And gather Lilith's corn'al wreaths|
|From those who honor ancient lore|
|With fire, on hills we knew of yore.|
Originally published in The Grady Project #3 (March 1988 e.v.).
Derived from a lecture on 7/22/87 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
One of my students knew somebody who had gotten into magic and hurt himself. That called for a new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of Magic". I went home, decided the appropriate size for the square, did my meditations and drew out a grid. I stared at the empty spaces until I could see what letters had to be where. Then I wrote them down. Testing was then required. Treat new squares with English letters written at random as though they are squares from the Abramelin book. Go back to the Hebrew lexicon and decode as before. Here is the new square "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of Magic".
The first line is an acceptable Hebrew spelling of a word meaning "good" or "beautiful" (). There is an extra vowel letter in it, but that's alright in the manner of Hebrew spelling. The next line is a over-lap between two words: "Hol" (), which means "bright" and the next three letters, using one of them twice, mean "a gathering together". That line can mean "Bright Covenant". For the next row: () Tough one. Try every sequential combination to see if Hebrew can be found that makes sense. can mean "wealth". can be "Bal", which means "Lord". "Lah" is the negative, "without". So: "wealth, Lord, without". That could mean either that you are dead broke or you aren't going to loose your money; one or the other. Try the positive, but that isn't necessarily the best meaning. For the bottom line: . By the same methods, combining those letters in order and using some of them more than once, you can get "Enter the shining light". Altogether: "Beauty in the bright covenant, wealth of the Lord fails not, enter the shining light." That's a bit euphemistic. Beneath the surface you have a second meaning. Instead of interpreting "wealth of the Lord fails not", consider that the wealth does fail. This then is a prescription. "To heal one afflicted in the pursuit of magic," tell the person that everything that he got into is fundamentally a thing of beauty. He doesn't have to fear loss of things. He must look again into the beauty so that all will be wealth. There is another way of reading the square to the effect that the person was a dead drunk and that was why he was in such bad shape (if the 's are taken as 's, this meaning would emerge). When you come up with these things on your own, it's weird that they mean anything. It's doubly weird that the meaning relates in a fashion to what you intended. Previous familiarity with Hebrew can create a sort of virtual lexicon in the back of one's mind that will choose meaningful patterns of letters for these squares without conscious intervention. That may be how these things were developed in the first place.
This method of analysis is only one way of approaching the material in the back of the Abramelin book. If you happen to be into the mysticism of the Hebrew letters, you can use it. If not, not. These squares are supposed to be a test, but it is presumed that you are studying something like Qabalah. If you are studying something else, you'll have to test yourself another way. Many of the squares in the back of the "Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" are incomplete. It's like a school work-book. The incomplete squares are there to meditate upon and complete. You are told what they are supposed to do. You will probably find that the results of completing and studying the squares will not be quite the same as the descriptions, but you are not the person who originally came up with them. The new ones that you get will have a different quality, related to your experience in the world.
Next month, Playing in the Sand.
"From the reassuring Christian mysticism of Gibilmanna, by contrast one's thoughts run to the disturbing mysticism of Aleisteir Crowley, who lived in Cefalu in the early 1920's. The most bizarre hypotheses have been made about his identity, because of the aura of mystery that surrounded him: witch- doctor, cocaine addict, demon, pervert, or, more simply mad --- Crowley was probably a little of all of these. Here is how Vincenzo Consolo describes his arrival in Cefalu:
"'At that moment, coming out of Viale Margherita, proceeding up Via Mazzini, via San Francesco, there appeared and passed before their eyes the strangest and most extravagant cortege of foreigners that had ever been seen in Cefalu, and never certainly in Palermo, never in Syracuse or Taormina. They stood silent, enchanted.
"'The cortege opened with two blond babies, with curly hair, in shiny and gaudy rompers. Then there were two tall thin women, with flowing manes the colour of gold and copper, with tunics of red and emerald silk, and bare feet. Lastly, a majestic man, an alpaca jacket over multicoloured trousers, sandals with holes in them in the manner of a friar, his skull shaven except for a tuft which like a horn or a flame stood up at the top of his forehead. He was full of rings and necklaces, and in his hand he held, like a sceptre or a pastoral, a stick encrusted with gold and stones, and on his breast he carried a white organza and lace bundle in which a little hood revealed the presence of a neonate. They proceeded dancing to the secret music of hidden pipes, timbals and bagpipes.' (from Nottetempo, casa per casa.)
"We can well understand the amazement of the Cefalu people, these placid inhabitants of a sleepy provincial town.
The bizarre little group went to live in a little house in the Santa Barbara area, always strictly off limits for strangers, and it was very rare for them to appear in the town. Up there they received visits from mysterious personages --- the men with all their hair rigorously shaven off, the women all blonde and red-haired. The house --- which actually looked quite innocent and harmless --- became Thelema Abbey, the centre of radiation in the world of a new religion, whose fundamental tenet was 'Do what you like, it will be your law.' This sentence was written on the door of the 'Temple' (and can still be read, though not very clearly). Inside, the walls were richly decorated with pornographic frescoes in a quasi-Impressionist style: diabolic figures in strong hues, in the most varied stances, were the setting for the prayers and orgiastic rites of the 'Crowleyists'.
"Crowley's Cefalu extravaganza came to an end in 1923, when the local police, suspicious on account of rumours of espionage and egged on by the population, frightened and disconcerted by the actual or presumed behaviour of the witch-doctor and his 'Mormons', decided to intervene, thanks also to the collaboration of one of the female members of the sect. Crowley was tried for indecent behaviour and for all his mysterious practices, expelled from Cefalu and forbidden to reside on Italian soil.
"The abbey-house, half-submerged by the exuberant vegetation and hidden by the new buildings which have gone up all around, awaits restoration and recovery work safeguarding the memory of one of the most singular characters and places in Cefalu."
Three illustrations accompany the above: The house as it appears now, a fresco of Crowley's face and a photograph of Crowley. This bit is inaccurate in surprisingly few facts, aside of course from "Aleister", misquote of "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." --- not at all bad, as pointed out on the alt.magick Newsgroup, since "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" has been double-translated through Russian and back as "The vodka is strong but the meat is rotten." --- and some minor points on the expulsion from the country. Interesting impressions.
"93" is used by O.T.O. members whenever it is not likely to upset or otherwise distort understanding too much. It gets more questions than "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." and diminishes front-end anxiety. Crowley advocated saying the whole thing to everybody one meets, but even he found that impracticable.
What is Will, in the sense meant here?
This "Will" is the divine will in each of us, a bit like a combined conscience and destiny. It is not related to desire in the ordinary sense and often runs completely counter to it.
The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
We don't use "faith", rather "certainty" --- it's mostly a matter of words, but "faith" implies attachment to something external or at least distant in some sense. There are functional and very close parallels, but "Will" is immediate while "Faith" is distant. "Faith" is often considered a gift from the deity, while this concept of "Will" is considered an inherent part of individual existence.
... self-giving, unconditional, sacrificial love. Would this clash with thelemic thought? ... or is the love the balance, in that sense, to the will...
In part. Self-giving in the sense of inclusive of the apparently separate. Unconditional in the sense of no strings attached. Sacrificial in the sense of dedication to holy purpose, not forsaking or destroying that which is good. Love of the balance in that balance is everything good. Never self- renouncing, but always to self-perfecting. There are several "selves" or souls in this tradition. Some are either limited or inadequate. Some are sacred and pure. The love extends to perfecting your lesser or lower self or soul, as well as others. The highest self is the deity. Union with that is the goal.
"What is the way" is the great question?
And the answer from the person asked must either be silence or the equivalent of "find your own way". Thelema sees each as unique and sacred. No one can tell you what your will is or what you have to do to discover it. Each one must travel that road alone in the last part. Crowley had trouble with this. It's not an easy thing.
Paul says, ... faith is the conviction of things not seen (my paraphrase) ...
Interesting possibilities in that, but Thelema is still a little different. The idea in Thelema is that one obtains certainty, not belief, through direct experience. Belief is mostly considered a skill like walking or writing. One believes or disbelieves as part of focusing the mind.
|10/2/94||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/3/94||Thelema Lodge Meeting 8:00PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/9/94||Thelema Lodge Sustaining Members|
Lunch 1 PM
|10/9/94||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/10/94||Section II Reading Group: Sir Walter|
Scott: Readgauntlet & The
Talisman. 8:00PM at OZ House
|10/11/94||Library Night 8PM Call to attend||Thelema Ldg.|
|12/12/94||Crowleymass Party 6:30PM potluck||Sirius Oas.|
|10/16/94||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/18/94||Grady McMurtry Lesser Feast 7:30PM|
at OZ House
|10/19/94||Magick in Theory and Practice class|
with Bill in San Anselmo 7:30PM
|10/22/94||Initiations (call to attend) 6PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/23/94||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/25/94||Butterfly Net Computer Group 8:00PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/26/94||Liber XV Study Group w. Bp. T|
|10/27/94||Library Night 8PM Call to attend||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/28/94||"Astrology of Scorpio" w. Grace|
7 to 9 PM, Call to attend.
|10/29/94||777 Poetry Society 7:30PM w.Fr.P.I.||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/30/94||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.
Note to update: the addresses and phone numbers in these issues of the Thelema Lodge Calendars are obsolete since the closing of the Lodge. They are here for historic purposes only and should not be visited or called.