Thelema Lodge Calendar for May 1995 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for May 1995 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, 1995 e.v.

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

May 1995 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Beltane and May Day

The traditional half-holiday of Beltane, the mid-spring point at which Sol goes fifteen degrees Taurus, will be celebrated at Oz House in Oakland with the old Thelema Lodge ritual of Tyl Ulenspiegl and Lucifer the King of Spring, on Friday evening 5th May at 8:00. Adapted by Brother Lew from the classic Flemish novel of Charles de Coster (1869), this ritual features a sweet country maiden and her fool, along with Star-Spirits, Wind Genii, 100,000 Giant Horrid Insects with Murderous Weapons, and Sap Bearers. We never seem to get enough of the Insects, so if in doubt, come as a bug. Monday 1st May is the old International Workers Day, and survives (along with its opposite, Hallowe'en) as a pagan observation in the modern public calendar. No formal event is planned for May Day, but the lodge urges everyone to find a pole and dance around it (or to be a pole and mark the center of a dance).


Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

Each Sunday evening members and friends of Thelema Lodge gather to celebrate Gnostic Mass in Horus Temple, beginning at approximately nightfall. All who express a willingness to participate in the communion with us are welcome to attend. If you are new to the lodge, or are coming to mass for the first time, call ahead for directions and information; the lodgemaster can be reached at (510) 652-3171. Members are encouraged to organize mass teams and lead the lodge in our celebration; they should advise the lodgemaster of their progress, requesting a date on the temple schedule when ready. We have four Gnostic Bishops working regularly in Horus Temple, all offering assistance and training to new mass officers by request. For guidelines on Cakes of Light, Bishop T Theodora is the one to see.
As Crowley explained in "The Three Schools of Magick," the structure of the mass as a magical ceremony in its pure Thelemic expression is a celebration of the joy of existence. "Its purpose is to transform crude matter directly into Godhead. It is thus a cardinal operation of Talismanic Magick." In Christian practice, however, the mass was perverted long ago: "the idea of sin and of propitiation tainted it abominably with Blackness." Celebrants and communicants of Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass seeking further understanding of the canon of the ritual are invited to participate in our Liber XV Study Group, which is led by E. G. C. Bishop T Dionysus, meeting in the lodge library on Wednesday evening 31th May at 8:00.


Events and Classes

Join Thelema Lodge on one of our many scheduled events in May, with rituals, discussion groups, and reading circles open to participation. Thelema Lodge events are generally open and free of charge, though voluntary contributions are welcomed for the maintenance of our facilities. Please contact the lodge ahead of time when planning to attend, or call the venue for the event before setting forth.
In order to request events or to offer workshops on areas of your own current interest, speak with the lodgemaster, or attend the monthly lodge luncheon and business meeting. This will be held on Sunday afternoon 7th May from 12:30 to 2:30, when the lodge officers will serve lunch to members and friends who show up to assist with calendar arrangements, secretarial work, and general planning. Please call ahead or let us know you plan to attend. Notes describing events for the calendar --- either offerings to come or reports on those recently held --- should be ready by the time of the lodge meeting.

The cycle of planetary rituals which Crowley wrote and performed in 1910 e.v. as The Rites of Eleusis has been revived by Northern California Thelemites at approximately annual intervals for more than fifteen years, with this year's cycle being projected for late summer and early autumn. Sirius Oasis has scheduled an initial planning meeting for the Rites on Wednesday evening 24th May at 8:00 in north Berkeley. Call the Oasis at (510) 527-2855 for information and directions. All who have expressed advance interest in acting the god-forms this year should be present at this meeting, or at least send a representative.
The usual "second Wednesday" Oasis meeting has been postponed this month to accommodate the twelfth annual Ancient Ways Festival, held from Wednesday 10th through Sunday 14th May at Harbin Hot Springs in Middletown, California. Several hundred pagans of all persuasions will be camping out together, with a full schedule of ritual and musical events, workshops, sales booths, and of course pools of all temperatures full of bodies of all kinds. One special attraction will be the Saturday afternoon performance by The Invertebrates, the renown Thelemic band. Although this is not an O.T.O. event, the lodge community has always been well represented at the festival, and Sirius Oasis will also send a contingent. To attend, contact the Ancient Ways store at 4075 Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, or call (510) 653-3244 before 7:00 PM.

Join the Section Two Reading Group at Oz House in Oakland on Thursday evening 18th May at 8:00 for an examination of the Victorian view of Eastern thought and life, as recommended to AA aspirants in Kipling's Kim. This tale of a British teenager gone native as a beggar in the Punjab, who becomes the chela of a Tibetan lama on a pilgrimage across India in search of the Holy River, and is also trained as an agent in the imperial intelligence network, may seem (as does so much of Kipling) easier to enjoy than to praise. Rudyard Kipling, who was ten years older than Crowley, wrote Kim --- his greatest novel --- in Vermont and in England after leaving India in 1889. It appeared in 1901, six years before the award to Kipling of the first Nobel Prize for literature in English.
Crowley was often critical in his references to Kipling, whose writing is sometimes puritanical and often tainted by odd affectations, and by vulgar habits of address retained from his career as a journalist. But Crowley shared Kipling's imperialistic ethos with surprising enthusiasm; in Confessions Kipling is praised for "his general attitude about India" and the British raj there. "We conquered the peninsula by sheer moral superiority. Our unity, our self-respect, our courage, honesty, and sense of justice awakened the wonder, commanded the admiration, and enforced the obedience of those who either lacked those qualities altogether, possessed some of them and felt the lack of others, or had, actually or traditionally, sufficient of them to make them the criteria of right and ability to govern" (1969 ed., p. 285). Kipling's pervasive sense of Law, his freemasonic idealism, and his religious tolerance must also have appealed to Crowley, despite the dogged mediocrity of his moral and aesthetic ideals, and the drab regimentation which tied Kipling back to the old aeon.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two

The Thelema Lodge Astrological Study Group meets regularly on the last Friday of each month. Our next meeting will take place on the evening of 26th May from 7:00 to 9:00, at Grace's house in Berkeley. Continuing the theme of "Cycles within Cycles," the discussion this month will center around the planet Pluto, which entered the sign of Sagittarius at the beginning of the year, and has now returned to the sign of Scorpio until November, when it again shifts into Sagittarius. Pluto through history is like the hour hand on a very large clock. Pluto's historical significance, its impact on society as a whole, as well as the way it effects you individually, will be explored at this meeting. Please call ahead if you plan to attend at (510) 843-STAR.

Join Brother Bill Heidrick for an evening of theoretical and practical Magick as the Thelema Lodge M. T. P. Series continues this month on Wednesday 17th May. The group meets at Bill's home in San Anselmo at 7:30; first time attendants call (415) 454-5176 for directions. We will commence our discussion of the various Rituals and Libers in Appendix VII.

Rhythmic control is always a foundation of magical technique, in language as in other forms of operation. Verse --- the yoga of speech --- employs controlled rhythm to keep utterances durable and definite, to maintain meaning in an accessible form so that we can find it and put it to use again when we like. Thelema Lodge offers a monthly reading group working together with the magical principles of language, reading verse of all sorts to each other and making sense of it together. The Grady McMurtry Poetry Society meets in the lodge library with Frater P.I. on Saturday evening 27th May at 7:30. Bring your choice of verse to read, or request selections from the extensive literary collections on hand.

Twice a month the lodge offers open library nights, with attendance by advance arrangement. Dates proposed this month are Monday 15th May and Tuesday 30th May, from 8:00 to 10:00, and are subject to change by request. Additional study time in the library can often be scheduled with the officers. Lately we have been working to expand the library into the computer room below the temple, and Thelema Lodge Librarian Sister Stacey has drawn up a detailed proposal for a lending library which we could establish in this space. If there is a commitment to this project, we hope to put it into operation in a month or two, and offers of present assistance might greatly further its progress at this point.

Plan ahead for O.T.O. initiations early next month, on Saturday afternoon 3 June at 6:00. All active initiates will be welcome, but all attending should make advance contact with one of the lodge officers. A feast will follow the ceremony.


Reports and Notices

Thelema Lodge had the honor of hosting the members of the U.S. Electoral College of O.T.O. for their spring meeting here on the Feast of Fools last month. Eight of the College's nine members were present from across the United States for the day-long business meeting. The College administers the Official Bodies of the Man of Earth degrees in O.T.O., and their meetings are open to members of the V°. Those who sat in on the deliberations were pleased to find a careful, experienced, and efficient group, making just and intelligent decisions even when the problems were difficult, and often seeming to enjoy the process.

Our Feast of Liber AL in April was one of the lodge's most memorable, including a Gnostic nuptial mass in Horus Temple for Ebony and Liesl, with the bride embodying Nuit for us before the ceremony and reading out the first chapter from the altar. Assisted by Gnostic Bishop T Mendacious as deacon, Bishops T Theodora and T Dionysus celebrated the special marriage communion, following Liber XV but with the Collects abbreviated: the Bride read the "Lord" and the "Sun," then her Espoused read the "Lady" and the "Moon," and the Priest and Priestess closed with "Marriage" in unison. The loving couple were then literally bound together with a long garland of roses and jasmine, and pronounced a wedded pair. Afterwards we all had cheesecake and raspberry lemonade. Mr. and Mrs. Reese wish to thank everyone who helped out with the wedding and all who were able to be there to share it.
A day later on the stroke of noon we gathered again, nearby in Nu Temple at Oz House, for chapter two. Frater Kheti (Brother James) graced us with a wise and confident pronouncement in the voice of Hadit, a reading and demonstration of the principles of Thelema. The beloved little temple at Oz, which in well remembered years gone by served as the longest established of the our lodge temples, remains the most powerfully charged Gnostic ritual space in the Bay area. Thelema Lodge is grateful to Oz for maintaining it so well as an alternative to our less intimate and less experienced temple in Rockridge. Afterwards we poured forth into the Garden of Oz for an afternoon devoted to chapter two, which was read out again and again on the lawn by latecomers too pagan to tell time.
For Ra-Hoor-Khuit the following evening Sirius Oasis organized our assembly together in the Ancient Ways store with scarlet woman Soror Terri Sal, to hear her read and watch her burn. At the end as the smoke slowly cleared, we chatted in the store or out on the Telegraph Avenue evening sidewalk. Like Crowleymass and the Rites, the Holy Days are a time when we see some of our wiser members come out of retirement, and contacts are reestablished with old friends and brothers who have worked on into other dimensions. We all thank you very much for joining us.


Crowley Classics

This essay consists of a tourist's introduction to the Sicilian village where Crowley lived from April 1920 until May 1923 e.v., followed by a catalogue of his paintings on the walls of the Abbey of Thelema which he established there. Presumably written during the operation of the Abbey, the piece remained unpublished during Crowley's lifetime, and is reprinted from Stellar Visions 2 (San Francisco: O.T.O., [1981]). It was originally edited for Stellar Visions by Frater Meithras XI° from a manuscript in the Crowley collection at Syracuse University in New York. Thelema Lodge is grateful to Frater Ebony Anpu, publisher of Stellar Visions, for permission to reprint it. This first of two parts will be concluded next month.

Cefalu

(part one)

by Aleister Crowley

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

Few visitors to Sicily ever visit the town of Cefalu. Palermo, Tairmina, and Mount Etna, with few carriage excursions, represent Sicily to the average traveler. Yet this town, dating from the remotest antiquity, filled with treasures corresponding to each period of Sicily at its greatest, and within two hours journey of Palermo, is one of the most interesting and attractive places in the whole island.
It is a mediaeval town dominated by a huge rock, on which stand the broken walls of the Temples of Jupiter and Diana, of Saracen and Norman fortresses, and Roman houses. It commands a view across the Mediterranean to the Lipari Islands. Inland are mountains that separate the coast from the plains of Enna, where Persephone was carried away by Pluto under the Earth.
The glory of the town is its Norman Cathedral, decorated by Byzantine mosaics, which are comparable with those of Ravenna.
For the rest, it is an old Italian town of enormously high houses and narrow streets. Some of the alleys are not more than three feet wide. Every street leads to the sea from which one can watch the fishing fleet stand out with lateen sails like white birds.
Lately another attraction of a different kind has been added to the place; a College of the Holy Ghost has been established there by an English Mystic and his disciples. This College (there are others in various parts of the world) has been established so that those Aspirants to the knowledge of the Gnosis who desire to devote all their time and attention to Attainment may here find the proper seclusion and environment, and the personal touch of the Master who has given to the World the Law of Thelema: the Law of Life, Love, Liberty and Light --- "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law", "Love is the law, love under will."
The essence of this Law is to give a meaning to life. It is not a matter of license, or a denial of Responsibility; on the contrary, it is the most austere formula ever promulgated. The idea is that each person should discover for himself the purpose for which he has taken up residence on this planet --- in orthodox Christian terms, the Will of God in creating him --- and devote himself exclusively to its fulfillment.
One of the rooms of the College has been decorated by the Lord Abbot, who is celebrated, not only as a Magician, but as a big-game hunter, poet, explorer, and painter, to carry out Spiritual Training. The principal features are three large walls painted in fresco, representing Earth, Hell, and Heaven, in a riot of colour and sensuous imagery. The purpose of these pictures is to enable people, by contemplation, to purify their minds; but even for those who are not interested in the psychology of the Chambre des Cauchemars, it is worth a visit for bold and brilliant distinctions of sublime idealism, sexual passion, and insane obsession.
Here, cheek by jowl with poetic raptures, stand the most grotesque, terrible, and revolting phantasmagoria; the visions which tormented St. Anthony are fixed in a medley of tempestuous images, where insanity and obscenity seem to wrestle against each other for the mastery of the beholder's mind. Despite the natural repugnance which the fear of Reality has created in the average mind, fascination of these cartoons is irresistible.
The purpose of this room is to pass students of the Sacred Wisdom through the ordeal of contemplating every possible phantom which can assail the soul. Candidates for this initiation are prepared by a certain secret process of excitement before spending the night in the room; the effect is that the figures on the walls seem actually to become alive, to bewilder and obsess the spirit that has dared to confront their malignity. Those who have come successfully through the trial say that they have become immunized from all possible infection by those ideas of evil which interfere between the soul and its divine Self. Having been forced to fathom the Abysses of Horror, to confront the most ghastly possibilities of Hell, they have attained permanent mastery of their minds.
The process is similar to that of Psycho-analysis; it releases the subject from fear of Reality and the phantoms and neuroses thereby caused, by externalizing and thus disarming the spectres that lie in ambush for the Soul of Man.
The room is open to the inspection of visitors on certain conditions. The Abbey offers hospitality to all who, in the opinion of the Virgin Guardian of the Sangraal, stand in need of it.
There is an excellent train service to and from Palermo and Messina. The Rome-Palermo expresses all stop at Cefalu.

Paintings in the Chambre des Couchemars

Inscription:

There's lots of ways of going dippy,
There's lots o' ways to go;
There's lots of ways of going dippy,
And they're ways you ought to know,
Good-bye Trocadere; good-bye, Maxim's Bar;
There's lots of ways of going dippy in the
Chambr' Cauch'mars.

North-East Wall ---
Main Wall: HELL --- La Nature Malade.

(This picture is too complicated to be described effectively. The general idea is to present a variety of natural objects in such form and colour as is most antipathetic to their qualities.) All we see depends on our senses: suppose they lie to us? Remember that as soon as you perceive the actual conditions of consciousness there is no such thing as Truth. Cf. Henri Poincaré, the Hon. Bertrand Russell, etc.) You have not only no guarantee that you know anything for certain, but the certainty that nothing can possibly be known for certain. Even the axioms of mathematics are no more than the most convenient factions available in our present circumstances. We can never know whether two and two make four, or even what "two" may mean; we can only agree to agree on an arbitrary interpretation of fancied phenomena, which we know to be inaccurate. What we call "God" may be only our diseased delirium-phantom, and His reality the one-eyed rotten-toothed petrifaction of Malice shewn in the picture. And so forth, on parallel principles, for the other insane abominations which blaspheme our faith in the Order and Fitness of animate and inanimate Nature.

Inscription:

"Stab your demoniac smile to my brain
Soak me in C[ongiac], C[unt], and C[ocaine]"

Below: Four Degenerates between Christian and Jew at Prayer.

Men worship only their own weaknesses personified. "Hell" is based upon false intellectual and moral consciousness.

Wall above door: Japanese Devil-boy Insulting Visitors.

Each soul has its own Special Means of Grace.

Double panel of door: Faithful on the Gallows.

Death may release Love, which life has bound, and join those it has separated.

Walls of arch: Chinese Demon (right).
                       The Scarlet Woman (left).

Life is a passage between the mysteries of Power and Love: these appall and revolt us insofar as we refuse to accept reality, and set up ideal standards suited to flatter our follies and anaesthetize us to out fears. Grotesque and cruel lust, obscene and shameless lasciviousness, are inherent in Nature: he who accepts the facts of the case finds that they are only the forms which his own Fear has imposed upon the realities of Life and Love.

Shelves. (Part of north west main picture below shelves.)

North West Wall ---
Wall above window: The Sea-Coast of Tibet; Egyptian Aztecs arriving from Norway.

You never know in how strange a world you live and what strange things may come to you.

Toad (on North-East wall) watching Sam Weller imposing Silence on Oxonian (or possibly Sir Owen Seaman); in front of these, a Dragon-Serpent begins to devour the Seven Hanged Wives in Bluebeard's Closet.

Honesty, high courage and wit, shame pompous couture, and dominate its purposeless powers. Silent Watching (with the jewel of Illumination in your head) makes you an indifferent spectator of destruction as it seizes the seven-headed dead passions (seven deadly sins). An eighth noose "to Let" awaits your own particular weakness.

Wall left of window: Monestary on the Caucasus.

There is a City of Refuge in the Mountains for you, if you will understand the strength of Silence and Solitude. Every Tower is creative, and every Gate transmissive.

The Window: The Long-Legged Lesbians (recess).

However desperately your perverse details run after you, you can evade them by fixing your gaze on the light, and they must be content with each other.

Shutter: Dancing Girls (panel, inside).

When you shut out the Light of Heaven you are liable to see hideous forms which allure you.

Panels outside: Tahitian Girl and her Eurasian Lover (lower rear).

Shamelessness always attracts those whose nature is not pure.

Temple at Sunset.

Although, when earth-light fades, the House of God becomes hard to see, it still stands upon its Rock.

A Girl in a Garden.

Nature is naked; there is no danger unless you interfere by attaching unnecessary ideas.

Four Monks Carrying a Black Goat Across the Snow to Nowhere (lower left).

Holy Power, walking in the ways of Purity, can safely dispose of the Evil Brute personally which man is compelled to carry.

Previous Crowley Classics                   To be continued


from the Grady Project:

Creed of the Commando

I am the Commando
I have neither Father, nor Mother
Nor Sister, nor Brother
I was born to kill --
And death is my destiny, for I am expendable.

      (litany)
We are the varied Legions of the Doomed
By shadow light of night we storm the shore
And break, to spume the beach with bloody gore
Against the emplaced cannon, and the roar
Of strafing aircraft sluicing down the loomed
Embroidered traceries of flaming shell
Whose cry the monstrous bat of nether hell
Would answer as the mating call, and dwell
Among the new cut dead not yet entombed.

I am the Commando
My Father burned in lakes of flaming oil
Blown from a tanker's crushed, torpedoed bowels
I was born to kill ---
And death is my destiny, for I am expendable.

      (litany)
We are the varied Legions of the Damned
Out of the night our barges loom and spill
The implements of war; the shadows kill
With lightening stab, then fade into the still
Black dawn that rings the Fortress, and the jammed
Troop-transport planes have sown their deadly capes
While bombers dive, with slitted mouth that gapes
To drip its poison on the beast who apes
The upright form of Man. We are the damned.

I am the Commando
My Mother's bruised and mangled body bore
The mute and silent testament of rape
I was born to kill --
And death is my destiny, for I am expendable.

      (litany)
We are the varied legions of the Doomed
By shadow light, etc.

I am the Commando
My Sister's body lies in bloody shreds
Where bombs have torn it limb from shattered limb
I was born to kill --
And death is my destiny, for I am expendable.

      (litany)
We are the varied Legions of the Damned
Out of the night, etc.

I am the Commando
In some mass grave my only Brother keeps good company
With those long crucified upon the Iron Cross
I was born to kill --
And death is my destiny, for I am expendable.

      (litany)
We are the varied legions of the Doomed
By shadow light, etc.

I am the Commando
I have neither Father, nor Mother
Nor Sister, nor Brother
I was born to kill --
And death is my destiny, for I am expendable.

Amen (chorus)

Grady L. McMurtry, U.S.Army
5/23/1943 e.v.           

This poem was written at the close of Grady's army training, a few months after he had been given command of his first company, and a few months before he was sent to Europe. Having been inducted in February 1941 e.v., he rose from Private to Captain during his five years of service. One of his most baldly martial statements, this piece has previously appeared only in Red Flame 1 (Oakland: O.T.O., 1994).

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project


An Introduction to Qabalah

Part IV --Body meditation on the Tree.

Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick

For this procedure, it's helpful to have a colored diagram of the Tree of Life to assist in visualizing the colored lights about portions of the body. There are two ideal physical postures in which this exercise can be performed. You don't really have to use them. You can sit in a chair or in any manner that's comfortable, but these help things line up properly with your body. The simplest is just to stand straight; and a little bit more complex one is to assume a full lotus, padmasana. Just get comfortable.
I'm going to describe all 32 parts of the Tree. With each one of them there is going to be a color and a part of your physical body. Left and right will be the opposite to the usual diagram of the Tree of Life, since you'll be backed onto rather than looking at it. Look at a diagram of the Tree if you need to help visualize a color, otherwise it is best to have the eyes closed.

Beneath your feet imagine a great sphere supporting you and holding up the weight of your entire body. The sphere is the color of all the things of the earth, the rich browns and greens, the russet colors, all the colors of the things of the earth in a sphere beneath your feet. This is the place of sensation of physical things. This is Malkut, the place of the senses. Fix this image (vibrate the name "Malkut" aloud slowly).
Rising up from the sphere beneath your feet is the path of Tau on the Tree of Life. It rises up from that sphere to a point just about and at your loins, the place of the sexual organs. The color of the path is blue-violet or deep indigo. This is the path whereby the impressions of the senses are gathered together, meaning begins to form, and awareness begins to emerge from this perception in Malkut along the path of Taw (vibrate "Taw").
About your loins and sexual organs a great violet sphere of light forms. This is the place of Yesod on the Tree of Life, the place of all fantasy, of all dreams, of all imaginings, the place where the impressions of the senses tell stories, create pictures, fascinate the mind in vague but interesting patterns. A violet sphere of light about your loins (vibrate "Yesod").
Now, rising up from above the sphere of Malkut beneath your feet, a beam of red light connects that sphere to a point at your right hip. This is the path of Shin whereby the sense perceptions are studied by reason. All the experiences in the physical world are studied, thought about and analyzed. The path of Shin (vibrate "Shin").
Rising from the violet sphere at your loins is the path of Resh, an orange beam of light going to the point of your right hip. This is the path whereby all the experiences of fantasy and dream are studied and meaning is rationally and logically found in them. The path of Resh (vibrate "Resh").
Imagine an orange sphere of light about your right hip. This is the place of the Sephira Hod. This is the place where the rational view of dreams and the world of the senses is gathered into a philosophy, a theory, or a view of life, rigidly held in the mind and controlled as thought, the practicality of life all gathered, the practicality of dreams understood, all gathered into the sphere of Hod. An orange sphere of light about your right hip (vibrate "Hod").
All things must have their balance, and the sphere of reason must be balanced by the powers of emotion. An equal development must now take place along the left. A crimson red-violet beam of light rises upward from Malkut beneath your feet and touches your left hip. This is the path of Qoph, the path whereby the feelings of the senses, the pleasures and the sadnesses are all gathered together. No attempt is made to understand them with reason. Only the feelings are gathered from the world of the senses. Along the path of Qoph a crimson beam of light rises from beneath you to the point of your left hip (vibrate "Qoph).
From the violet sphere of Yesod at your loins another path rises. This is the path of Tzaddi. It rises from your loins to the point of your left hip. Its color is violet, a violet beam of light from your loins to your left hip. The path of Tzaddi gathers all the feelings that are resident in dreams and fantasies and raises them upward, gathers them together without thinking, without reason, just raising them up as a coherent set of feelings to the point on your left hip (vibrate "Tzaddi").
A red beam of light crosses from right hip to left hip. This is the path of Peh. It takes the things the mind has seized upon in Hod, the orange sphere of light at your right hip, softens them, gentles them, and lets them flow one with the other, so that they may have the life that we know as feeling and motion. A red beam of light from your right hip to your left hip (vibrate "Peh").
A green sphere forms at your left hip. This is the place of Netzach, the place of all emotion that is in any way connected with life on the earth, with dreams, and with structured thoughts in the mind. Netzach is the place of the gathering of the emotional life. A green sphere of light on your left hip (vibrate "Netzach").
At this moment we have reached the gatherings that most people have experienced in one form or another, flickering with their life around and around among these places of sense, of dream, of thought, and of emotion. This is a lower world on the Tree of Life. It will soon be time to rise upward to clarify these things and to reach a more cohesive whole.
Gather the thoughts from Hod, the orange sphere at your right hip, into a dark indigo or blue-violet beam of light rising from your right hip up to the center of your heart. This is the path of Ayin. This is the path whereby those things that the mind holds rigidly are relaxed so that they may change and assume new patterns that meld into the life that is change. The path of Ayin, a blue violet beam of light rising from your right hip to the center of your heart (vibrate "Ayin").
From the violet sphere of light at the center of your loins a blue beam shoots upward to your heart. This is the path of Samekh. This is the path where dim flickerings of imagination are drawn into a clear vision that is the conception of life as a whole. The path of Samekh, a blue beam of light rising from your loins to the area of your heart (vibrate "Samekh").
Now it is time to raise up and purify the emotions, the green sphere of light of Netzach at your left hip. From that sphere a blue green beam of light rises upward to your heart. This is a path whereby all particular emotions are seen to be a part of a greater flow of life. None of them are sacred in themselves, they all gather into one great glory and change of feeling. This clear feeling rises upward on the blue green beam of Nun to reach the point of your heart (vibrate "Nun").
About the center of your body, including the place of the heart, is a glowing golden sphere of light. This is Tipheret, the awareness of self. This is awareness of what you are, of what you have done, of what you know, and of what interests you. This is the center of self-awareness called Tipheret, a golden sphere of light about your heart in the center of your being (vibrate "Tipheret").
And now we must rise upward again. From the orange sphere of Hod at the point of the right hip a blue beam of light rises to the right shoulder. This is the path of Mem. By it the reflexes and the little thought-out things that work in the physical world are changed, reversed and placed under the obedience of higher thought and higher purpose. The path of Mem, a blue beam of light rising from the right hip to the right shoulder (vibrate "Mem").
A green beam of light rises from the sphere of your heart to touch your right shoulder, the path of Lamed. This is the path in which the things which are yourself are weighed, judged, changed and set in their proper order. A green beam of light going from the golden sphere about your heart to a point at your right shoulder (vibrate "Lamed").
About your right shoulder a glowing red light forms the fire that changes, blends and makes all things strong and perfect, the force that tempers the metal of your life. This is the place of Geburah. A glowing red sphere of light about your right shoulder (vibrate "Geburah").
All things must have their balance, all things must have their equal; we must develop the other side. Rising from Netzach is a violet beam of light issuing from the point of the left hip to the left shoulder, the path of Koph whereby all the changes that occur in the emotions are seen to be part of a great cycle, a pattern through which all emotion and all change is one (vibrate "Koph").
A yellow-green beam of light rises from your heart to the your left shoulder. This sacred way takes the spark of self and radiates up a transcendence of self. The feeling of who I am becomes less linked into a particular form, freed of restriction. The path of Yod (vibrate "Yod").
Joining your right shoulder to your left is the path of Tet, a yellow beam of light from right shoulder to left shoulder. This is the gentling of the harsh judgment of Geburah, the red sphere of light on your right shoulder. The path of Tet brings all things to their right order without force, without pressure (vibrate "Tet").
A blue sphere of light forms at your left shoulder. This is the place of Chesed, of loving kindness, of the view of all gentleness and peace. There is no force. There is no anguish. There is only the longing for perfection. The sphere of blue light about your left shoulder (vibrate "Chesed").
Now it is necessary to pause, for we have ascended through all the humanly knowable places. these must be gathered into wholeness before we cross the Great Abyss. This is that which divides the mortal from the immortal and the things experienced in life from the things beyond all life.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah, Part III                   To be continued


Primary Sources

Crowley on stolen Twigs:
Here is a letter from Crowley to Grady McMurtry in 1945 e.v., detailing yet another problem with missing texts.

Netherwood,
         The Ridge
                 St. Leonards-on-Sea
                            9th July, 1945

Dear Grady,

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

What a shock! after ransacking England for the "Yogi & the Commissar" without success, a copy turns up from the depths of the Black Forest. Thanks a thousand times.
There is nothing else to say at the moment, except the business about "Golden Twigs." I am asking Miss Kingston to copy my account of the said incident from my letter to Karl. I am not feeling in the mood for writing letters. I wanted to see the Eclipse, and the whole sky is overcast.
[Quote from letter to Karl. -- annotation in A.C.'s hand] "Events here may assume a very serious aspect at any moment. You probably remember that my book of short stores called 'Golden Twigs' was being published by the Mandrake Press and got as far as galley proofs. This bundle was sent by me to Lady Harris during the first big blitz of London, with some other books and MSS for safety; at least I am 90 per cent sure that this bundle was in the box that I sent to her. When she returned them I found that these proofs are missing. I wrote to ask her about it, and she did not know anything; she was not sure that she had ever had them. Well, whether I sent them to her or not, they were stolen and a few weeks ago while he was here, Grant thought that he had seen them in the Atlantis Bookshop and that they were for sale, but he could not be certain of the identity.
"As it happened, Michael Just{?} came down here, as he occasionally does, at Easter, and I had a long and quite amiable talk with him. He also was uncertain as to whether these were the proofs that had been stolen from me, and protested that if anything like that came into his hands he would immediately return them to me. He said however 'If these are what you want I suppose you won't mind paying a few pounds.' I returned an oracular answer. He also promised to let me have the copy of The Giant's Thumb proofs bound up, which had also been stolen from me originally by Norman Mudd. They passed through the hands of Michael Just{?} on more occasions than one. I found it among the books of John Jamieson when we had the house in Chelsea together, and I wrote in the book the facts about the theft. Jamieson should of course have returned them to me, but he did not do so and after he went all to pieces sold that and a number of other books which he had bought either from Atlantis or from me to Michael. All I was really anxious to do was to get hold of that copy, and have typed some few poems which were not in my possession in some other form.
"Now back to Easter of this year.
"Michael said he would let me have this book for the purpose of copying, but he did not do so, and when Grant asked him about it, he was told that that book was no longer accessible.
"I wrote to Michael after consulting my lawyer, saying that I wanted the identification of the Golden Twigs proofs made certain, and it would be sufficient for that purpose if he sent me a copy of the title page and the list of contents. He however sent me the whole bundle and ended his covering letter as follows :- 'If you are retaining them, I am asking £5.' He then added in capital letters 'DO WHO YOU WILL --- THAT IS MY LAW.'
"I went to my lawyer with that letter and said "It looks to me as if the Lord had delivered him into our hands." He has written to Michael asking him to disclose the source from which he obtained the proofs, but so far he has not had a reply. My lawyer wrote about the 4th or 5th of this month, and no doubt Michael is taking his time about replying; probably has seen his own lawyer.
"My instructions were to give Michael a chance to exhibit the proper reaction. The person I want to get at is the actual thief who is stealing things from myself or Freda, for this scheme has been going on really a little too long."
--------
I think that is all for to-day. Love is the law, love under will.

Yours ever,
{signed} Aleister.

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From the Outbasket

There has been a bit of discussion on the Masonry+ forum of Compuserve recently, on the origins of Tarot. Here's my part, edited for publication here. For folks who are a little bit daunted by the Internet (an information superhighway that often resembles a fractured set of monkey bars in a briar patch), online services like America on Line and Compuserve provide an easier access to these sorts of things. Instant access to information and conversation, anywhere in the world, is something all Thelemites should seriously consider. It's not all bombs and balderdash.

As far as the origin of Tarot is concerned, precise information is lacking and most legends appear to be inadequate. I suggest the following:

1. The idea of Suits and Courts appears to have originated in China, Korea or Japan. From thence, it made it's way to India. The Islamic conquest of most of India brought North African decks into existence, differening from the Krishna Raj decks in some particulars.
2. The likely entry into Europe of the idea of card decks with Suits and Courts appears to have been through Venetian Republic trade with the Islamic world.
3. The Trumps or "Triumphs" added to form the Minchiate and Tarot decks appear to be simple renderings of European Comedia dell'Arte and folklore as pictures --- no origin outside Europe for the pictures or the set of Major Trumps.
4. Gypsy origin myths are utterly debunked, since the first appearance of Gypsies in Western Europe is after the 14th century and the first mention of Tarot decks in Western Europe.
5. Tarot Majors and Courts have often exhibited strong political influence --- a matter that may suggest final form of the Majors in, around, or in satire of the Court of Eleanor of Aquitaine.
6. The age of surviving decks and parts of decks only sets the latest point of possible origin in time, not the earliest.

P.S. asked if that view implies that the layering of esoteric meaning by later occultists was simply association with the images on the Trumps.

The Comedia dell'Arte figures and the Renaissance Triumph processions didn't come from nowhere. A common form of the Star Trump shows a genuflecting female nude near water with two jugs either in hand or nearby --- from pre-Roman Celtic art of a goddess by a sacred well, commonly called "Covina" by the Romans and with various names, including "Brigid" throughout Britain and France. That figure appears in decks from the 15th century, but I don't recall it on fragmentary 14th century decks. The harvesting skeleton version of the Death Trump can be found in dell'Arte, but it's pre-Roman as well. People did change the images for reasons having to do with mysticism or affiliation with membership in something. Strength was early in replacement of Hercules by a woman and lion in many decks. The Juno-Popessa-High Priestess Trump went through many changes. Some late decks put the Triple Tau on the Charioteer.

P.S. then put forward that the designs were taken from pre-Renaissance symbols and adapted, possibly both for dell'Arte and the Tarot.

Similar public activity usage predates Tarot in Europe by centuries. Remember that the earliest decks were often hand-painted wedding gifts with personal references in the Trump design. A Visconti-Sforza deck currently available in reproduction has a family member of unfortunate history depicted on the Popessa. The Visconti arms do not appear on the Ace of Swords in that deck, but they are the most common art on the Ace of Swords in most decks after that time.

A question of the original use came up: were the Tarot invented for games?

This is a chicken and egg problem. Chinese "domino" currency appears to have been the first printed money. The denomination was represented by patterns of dots on one side. This led to the invention of gambling games using the actual money as game tokens and the evolution both of Dominos and the pips on some Tarot and all modern 52 card decks. Face it, Tarot was designed by a committee over centuries and thousands of miles. Products are still popping up, including baseball cards and lottery scratchers. The fact that there is some cohesion at all is but one of the arguements for the presence of the invisible Architect of the Universe.

Y.B. questioned the existence of any Tarot in Europe as early as the 14th century.

A good reference is A History of Playing Cards and a Bibliography of Cards and Gaming by Catherine Perry Hargrave, Dover, 1966 e.v. (reprint of the 1930 e.v. Houghton Mifflin Co. edition). Page 31 of that work is where to start reading. The Gringonneur decks are mentioned in the 1392 e.v. register of the Chambre des Comptes of Charles VI of France. The Hargrave book mentions existence of Tarot in France, Flanders, Germany and Italy before 1350 e.v.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for May 1995 e.v.

5/5/95Beltain ritual at Oz House. 8PMThelema Ldg.
5/7/95Lodge Luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
5/7/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/10/95Ancient Ways Pagan Festival at Harbinnon-OTO
5/11/95Ancient Ways Pagan Festival at Harbinnon-OTO
5/12/95Ancient Ways Pagan Festival at Harbinnon-OTO
5/13/95Ancient Ways Pagan Festival at Harbinnon-OTO
5/14/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/15/95Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
5/17/95Magick in Theory and Practice class
with Bill in San Anselmo 7:30PM
Thelema Ldg.
5/18/95Section 2 reading group, 8PM at OZ
Kim by Kipling, with Caitlin
Thelema Ldg.
5/21/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/24/95Rites of Eleusis Planning meeting
8PM at Sirius Oasis
Sirius Oasis
5/26/95Astrological Cycles with Grace
7 PM, Berkeley. Call to attend.
Thelema Ldg.
5/27/95777 Poetry Society 7:30PM w.Fr.P.I.Thelema Ldg.
5/28/95Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/30/95Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
5/31/95Liber XV Study Group w. Bp. T
Dionysys 8:00PM
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.

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