Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
October 1995 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
The Enochian Liturgy Project will present the first draft of a proposed Enochian Mass at Thelema Lodge on Sunday afternoon 29th October, beginning at 2:00. It has been the work of this project to fill out the original angelic material which John Dee and Edward Kelly gathered, by placing it within the context of the English liturgical tradition. A final draft is anticipated hopefully by November, for a first performance this December.
A wider range of Enochian topics will be covered by a new (and as yet nameless) reading group being organized by one of the leading Thelemic scholars and editors of the Enochian manuscripts, our brother Clay of the old John Dee Society. At our first gathering in the Thelema Lodge Library on Monday evening 16th October at 8:00, we will begin reading selected passages together, under Clay's expert guidance, from newly edited angelic diaries and other Enochian texts available (if at all) only in private and preliminary transcriptions, or on British Library microfilm. The empowered silliness of some of the Victorian popularizations of Enochian (as perpetuated in the "Llewellyn tradition") is a warning of the difficulties of appreciating the achievement of Dee and Kelly apart from their context at the cutting edge of mathematical and spiritual science on the crest of the Renaissance. Familiarity with Elizabethan language and penmanship develops with a bit of training and practice, and easily enough we can have Dee's own books open before us. Anyone beginning or pursuing a study of Enochian could do nothing better to access the subject than to join forces with this reading group, which we are very privileged to have at Thelema Lodge.
Sirius Oasis meets on Wednesday evening 11th October at 8:00 in north Berkeley. Call Glen at (510) 525-2855 for directions. With three of the Rites still to come, the Oasis will be taking a break indoors with "Siriusly Sci-Fi" this month, but there will be a bit of Oasis business as well, and also the beginning of plans for next year's "PantheaCon 96" convention in February.
Our "lodge luncheon" and business meeting will assemble in the Thelema Lodge kitchen on Sunday afternoon 8th October, from 12:30 until 2:30. Several visiting members, representing O.T.O. groups in Minneapolis and Seattle, may be in town to join us, and there are initiations to plan, new autumn classes, temple scheduling, and library improvements to be settled. Also, this lodge newsletter needs contributions, and descriptions of recent events to record the progress of our work together, with the luncheon serving as an editorial meeting for planning the next Thelema Lodge Calendar.
Please note that the Thelema Lodge Astrological Cycles Workshop and the Magick in Theory and Practice class will not meet in October. Join us next month on the usual final Friday evening for a Jovial workshop with Grace in Berkeley and for Bill's class in Marin on the usual third Wednesday.
The trouble in which England now finds herself is partially due to the gradual decadence of this system. The idiotic "intellectuals" have been a terrible nuisance. And the death of Edward VII was of course an absolutely stunning blow. George V has none of the qualities required in an English king. He is therefore being left to the management of Mary, and we hear nothing of him, except when he falls off his horse and hurts himself, which is one of the things that no king can do. Various stories have been circulated about this humiliating accident; but the world may rest assured that, had it been anything honorable, there would have been more fuss made than when Achilles conquered Hector. "Why then," the reader will ask, "did not the press bureau, so fertile in invention, hasten to invent something very beautiful about him?" Because it is no part of the policy of the rulers of England to praise this shadow of a king. He is despised and detested by everyone for his weakness, his imbecility, his grotesque physical appearance, and all the rest of it. We do not want this man to reign over us. And for this reason he is subtly discredited in every convenient way. On the whole I think that the old spirit is strong enough to win its particular battle, which is not in the least against Germany. On the contrary, the Hohenzollern spirit, as opposed to the German spirit, has many points of great similarity. The Hohenzollerns are of course no more Teutons than the Fijians are. As a further illustration, we shall see how the existence of this secret explains some otherwise quite inexplicable problems like Lloyd George, the natural successor of Joe Chamberlain.
Lloyd George is nobody. He might be made king-emperor, and he would still be nobody. He is a solicitor from Wales; nobody quite knows who his father was; and he doesn't count. He is very useful for the moment. He got an act through Parliament which reduced the working classes to the level of galley- slaves. They were branded like so many cattle by the government itself. Just now, munitions are wanted, and he is very useful to boom the supply. But all the while, though every one is praising him and saying: "Ah, yes, there is the man for prime minister! There is the great genius! There is the savior of the country!" we are saying quietly to ourselves that he is just a splash of mud, to be wiped off our trousers by our valets, when we return from our stroll on this damp morning.
The possession of the secret is the one passport to success in England. If you have this, you can go anywhere and do anything; you may make a perfect cad of yourself and commit all the crimes in the calendar. But as long as you do not do anything "un-masonic" -- to borrow from the craft the only word which hints at one's meaning, since this greater craft has been so clever in the matter of secrecy that they have even taken care not to invent a word to mean it -- so long are you "possible." An obvious example is the immunity of Alfred Douglas. Here, in spite of innumerable violations of the law of the most outrageous kind, both by him and his enemies, no prosecutions ever take place. A ring is kept for the antagonists, and very good sport they have given us in the last ten years or so. The whole thing is a family quarrel, just like the European war. As soon as education and progress have been knocked on the head, we shall all be good friends again.
On lookers never understood why Wilde was disgraced. It was because he was popularizing one of the secrets of the aristocracy, a disgusting thing to do, when you are just trying to gain admission to it. Wilde was letting the uninitiated know what the initiated did. The church, the army, the bar, the Houses of Parliament, are packed with people who practice strange vices. The head-master of Eton, in quashing some vulgarian's complaint the other day, said that "it mattered no more than the measles." But this is one of the things which it doesn't pay to advertise, at least not in the way Wilde did. In spite of this he was given every chance. He was furnished with a thousand pounds in gold and told that the "two-twenty" (from London to Paris) would not be watched. But he misunderstood the nature of his power. He thought he was an important person, whereas his only claim to consideration was that he had an inkling of the secret.
No person is important in the English system. Every one who violates the code is thrown to the wolves without a moment's hesitation, and nobody ever knows why. The protection afforded to anyone who does behave properly, on the other hand, is absolute. The most damning indictments may be prepared; the public prosecutor will never act upon them. If he were absolutely forced to do so, the man would be given a chance to get away; or some wonderful technical flaw would be discovered, which would prevent the business from ever becoming public. Parnell and Dilke were destroyed because they were irreconcilable.
It is of course impossible to explain in so many words exactly what you can't do. There is no Penal Code in England. There is nothing which is "verboten." You cannot make sure of keeping within the law in England -- you cannot even make sure of breaking it. The one essential is the instinctive knowledge of right and wrong (in the English sense) conferred by a public school and university training, or Sandhurst, or something equivalent. Even in these degenerate days money is not very important. A penniless subaltern with the secret is stronger than a millionaire without it.
Observe what happened to the harmless, good natured Hooley. He gave ten thousand pounds' worth of gold plate to St. Paul's, and it did him no good at all. You cannot buy the favor of the English. They are utterly unbribable. What you want to be able to do is to tell the story of the scholar of Trinity who, running down to chapel in the morning from his first all-night wine party, appealed to the Dean: "I can't read the lesson, sir, this bloody duck won't keep still!" (Readers resident in Sze-chuen, Tonga, and the Cameroons are hereby informed that the reference was to the eagle of the lectern.) If it seems not antecedently improbable that you were present on that historic occasion, you may steal the crown-jewels, and become prime minister.
I remember one quite small but characteristic incident, illustrative of the way things are done. The son of a church furnisher who had somehow got into Trinity, had been horsewhipped by me for telling lies about me, and he complained to my tutor, Dr. A. W. Verrall, who was of course bound by his office to rebuke me. So he "halled" me, which, being interpreted, is, wrote to me to call on him; and when I got there informed me baldly on the complaint, changed the subject immediately -- without awaiting an answer -- to the merits of Ibsen, introduced a remark about the desuetude of duelling, went on at once to something else, and asked me to dinner. He had complied with his duty, without doing it; and that is the sort of way in which all such things are treated. All legality, all formality, are absolutely taboo. They are only brought forward in order to conceal some crime. Witness the Jameson raid. The officers has to be punished in some sort of way. But it was made as mild as possible, and it was also atoned for by all sorts of advantages of other kind and any amount of kudos. If the raid had been a success, there would have been no difficulty for them at all.
On the other hand, the smallest indication on your part of ill-will towards the system, and you are ground down without respect of place or person. One of the most distinguished publicists in England took it into his head to run a South African mining magnate to earth. Libel actions and other forms of argument were started against him, but as he was evidently able and ready to fight, postponement after postponement took place. He saw they were afraid of him, and became a little self-confident. He went off for a holiday; and in his absence another man was attacked in his paper, this time a person of real importance. Prosecution was started, not by the person libeled, but by the authorities themselves, the charge being that he had commented upon a case before the courts in such a way as to prejudice justice. The printer and publisher apologized nicely, and were dismissed with a few kind words. The publicist himself does not seem to have realized that it was a frame-up against him, something in the nature of a kindly warning that he was sailing to near the wind. He refused to "play the game" -- to apologize for something which he had not done.
He was immediately committed for contempt of court, thrown into prison, and brutally ill-treated. He was supposed to be a first-class misdemeanant, but the rules of the prison itself were violated in order to annoy him. This was simply because he wanted to insist upon his rights. There are no rights in England. There are only privileges. Luckily for him, a friendly warder told him that there was no limit to what they could do to him, unless he changed his tone. It is perfectly possible to administer death by torture in an English prison without causing comment. A warder has only to annoy a prisoner until he retorts. The warder then says that he was threatened and is afraid of his life. The prisoner can then be put in irons, and the irons can be fixed in such a position that he goes off his head in a few hours from the tortures of cramp. This is only one of twenty different methods of insuring peace and harmony within the dungeon walls. The publicist was wise enough to modify his tone to some extent, but he still refused to apologize for an act for which he was not responsible, and it was only when they were at last convinced that his life was in immediate danger that they grudgingly let him out. The conduct of this man may appear praiseworthy to some; but to others it will appear wrong-headed.
To the present writer (for example) there is no sense in refusing to apologize for what you have not done. If it is something that you have done, stand for it by all means; but how can something that you have not done concern you? If you are playing a game, play it according to the rules. If the judge wants you to swear that black is white, go into the box and swear it. If he then says: "No, black is black! Swear that!" -- do so. If he then proposes to commit you for perjury, explain that, overawed by the majesty of the court, you became bewildered and did not quite know what you were saying. It is all very well to be a martyr if you have devoted your life to destroying some particular form of tyranny. But even so, do not waste that life on side- issues. These two examples are characteristic of the ethics expected from those who would flourish in the shade of the oak trees of old England.
Quite in keeping is the political game which people outside England regard with such wonder. Sir Archibald Montfort gets up in the House of Commons and tells Lord Algernon Fitzsimmons that he is a cad, a blackguard, a liar, a thief, a traitor, and wants to impeach him. Lord Algernon replied in terms of even greater violence. The debate closes; they go out together, have dinner at the club, and spend the evening amicably playing billiards. It is not exactly that they did not mean what they said; it is rather that they meant it in a limited way, in a way pertaining to the "universe of discourse" of politics, one having no bearing whatever on the real things of life.
At the basis of this is the most profound and complete system of immorality which the world has ever seen. A man may do anything except be caught cheating at cards, and one or two things of the same order; and it will not interfere with, say, his marrying. Marriage is a serious business, having to do with settlements, estates, and property generally. Morals have no importance whatsoever. Oscar Wilde understood this secret very well, and constantly indicates it in his plays. In fact, nearly all the humor of his plays depends upon the treatment of this peculiar convention. Of course, a woman must not be divorced, because here questions of legitimacy arise, and therefore questions of property; there is therefore a real sin against the code. Nor is it well for any one, man or woman, to be an open and notorious evil liver; because that is giving away the secret. Morality is the principal fetter of the lower classes, and they must not find out that their masters always do exactly what takes their fancy, without a moment's regard for any other consideration.
In the older days religion had equal importance; in fact, greater importance. And in those times atheism was a sin against the caste. Hence the persecution of Bradlaugh. But the advance of science, and the efforts of the Rationalist Press Association, have made the British pretense of religion impossible for anyone of intelligence. The clearer sighted have seen that that cock won't fight. It is only in the country districts, where education is still at neap, that the squire and the parson still work together. It is well known that the British Cabinet just before the war contained three avowed atheists. The educated man in the working classes -- and there are plenty of him, nowadays -- is likely to despise his masters if he thinks them Christians. He is consequently told: "Observe, here are Morley and the rest, who admit they think as you do." The others of course really think the same, but make a pretense of religion for the sake of their women, and so on. The Church of England is even stronger as a political machine than the Greek Church. Its basis is so frankly illogical, that it is hardly possible to defend it; and for this reason anything that seemed like a real religion, which had any basis of real enthusiasm, was extremely taboo. Atheism itself is, of course, a kind of religion. And while nobody in the least minded practical atheism, even on the part of the working classes, it was quite impossible to tolerate an atheist propaganda of radical reform.
But with continuing years a subtler method has become necessary. All parties have had to play at reform, and the game (explained above) by which all such measures are stultified was adopted. Old Age Pensions, the Shops Act, and the Insurance Act, are really amazing masterpieces of chicanery. All the propertied classes united to pretend the bitterest opposition to these measures, and the proletariat imagined a great triumph when they were passed. The actual effect of these measures was to remove every shred of independence from the workman. If he went one step beyond the bounds of the most slavish subservience to his employer, if he were not steady and patient as an ass, he risked losing his pension. The Shops Act prevented him from rising in life, principally by limiting the number of hours in which he could work, under the pretense of care for his poor, dear health. And the Insurance Act furnished a kind of automatic black-list, at the service of every employer in the country. A man was no longer able to change his job. In other words, his servitude has been accomplished . . . strictly in his own interest.
There is no doubt in my mind, there can be no doubt in the mind of any person who understands history, that these measures will be successful. The privileged classes will be strengthened, not weakened, by the war. The army will not lend itself to revolution. All the economic forces of Europe will unite to prevent things going too far. No one knows better than the Kaiser that the break-up of the English system would spell ruin for the fortunes of his house. He would feel just as George III did with regard to the French Revolution. The navy would obviously fight for the privileged classes, and revolutionaries in England could be starved into surrender in a fortnight without need of striking blood, much less of importing foreign mercenaries, as has been done on previous occasions when need was.
England's handicap so far has been her over-subtlety and over-confidence. The power of the lawyer did certainly become too great, and it has taken all these months for the silent pressure of the real rulers to become properly manifest. This is the explanation of the stiffening of the blockade. It is still, however, a little difficult to tell how things will go in the immediate future. A sudden peace with Germany, an arrangement for the two victorious powers to come together and share the spoils without fighting each other any further about them, seems as probable as anything. It is at least certain that the only people who possess any interest in England are fully alive to it, and is not to be supposed that the spirit which has ruled since 1066, becoming ever stronger and subtler with the centuries, is going to be overwhelmed by the storm it created in order to sweep away that opposition to it, which had risen owing to the readjustments of society necessitated by the discoveries of science.
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
At this point we will be taking up a rational study of the meaning of the parts of the Tree of Life, self-initiation on the Tree, and the ordering of the parts of consciousness. This approach to the Tree of Life pertains to Hod. When we use the Tree diagram to categorize or analyze systems, we employ practical thinking. A painting or other graphic device may carry an emotional patterning, but aesthetics are less important to the mind at Hod. Ecstatic and comprehensive methods in Qabalah also transcend this level. It's important to be aware that the whole technical approach stems from Hod, and the experience stems from other places. When we think about the Tree of Life and study it, this is a Hod function. When we discover new things about it, this is a Geburah function. The content of the discovery is said to come essentially from Binah. When we learn to feel and enjoy these patterns, that is from Netzach. Break-through into a new Qabalistic experiences happens in Chesed and draws from Chokmah. The whole experience, gathering both feeling and thinking, is the middle pillar: Malkut, simply existing. Yesod, experiencing. Tipheret, self awareness in society. -- all drawing from Keter.
If we simply talk about the Tree, instead of internalizing or experiencing it, this is from Hod. Despite that limitation, much can be learned.
Consider a standard Tree Diagram, but with some of the paths missing. There is no path connecting 8(Hod) and 10(Malkut) or 7(Netzach) and 10(Malkut). The path connecting 7(Netzach) and 6(Tipheret) is missing as are many of the others. It is important to understand that these paths are not as old in the sense of studied and used as are the 10 Sephirot. They are flexible. In human terms one can say that connections between Sephirot represent function, operating transitions of consciousness between the Sephirot involved. To diagram this, put the 10 circles down for the Sephirot of the Tree, in the usual pattern. Then draw in the paths that are active. This can be a way of studying a human state, experience, or an event. Each such present or absent path has particular meaning. We look and assess. If there is only the one connection to Malkut, just going to Yesod, we can say that such a person has no understanding and little feeling for the physical world. Since there is no path between Hod and Malkut there is no understanding of the physical world. There is only what is minimally necessary to live, the path between 9(Yesod) and 10(Malkut). Since there is no link between 7 and 10 there is no enjoyment of the physical world, no sense of emotion from it. These physical things are fantasized, but not truly understood or appreciated. What might be the state of mind of such a person? It could be someone living in an overly protected environment. It could be an urban type of consciousness, since many people who live indoors in cities merely fantasize about the world through TV and newspapers but lack direct involvement in the larger world. Whenever something runs out and the city can't provide a usual service for them they get confused. They don't really have the link from 8 to 10. They do use the path from 7 to 9 and may believe something absurd, e.g. they are perfectly safe from law enforcement because they haven't done anything wrong, or it's possible to keep any burglar out with a dead bolt lock. Such manifest absurdities arise when there is an absence of the paths between 7 and 10 as well as 8 and 10. Assume also that the path between 8 and 6 is missing. Then this is a person who is Hod bound, someone who is not flexible enough to change fixed opinion. If the path between 6 and 7 is missing, this suggests an inability to adapt emotionally to change. Missing paths higher up the tree may imply more subtle things, and scarcity of paths crossing the Abyss downward from the highest three Sephirot indicates an excessive division of the mundane world from the spiritual world.
We will look more carefully at the functions represented by the paths in a later installment of this series, but here are a few more observations. Missing paths which normally are shown to connect 3(Binah) to 6(Tipheret), and 2(Chokmah) to 6(Tipheret) as well as the ones already noted would represent a sort of divided thought pattern. Such a person would have a world view in Tipheret that doesn't connect well to levels of everyday function like Hod and Netzach, i.e. a person who says one thing and does another. Many old depictions of the Tree of Life leave out such paths. Such diagrams describe a mind that is not working all of the time, an unbalanced state which may represent immaturity or illness. Such a diagram may also represent a particular state of preparedness for meditation or initiation.
There are sixteen other paths that are not normally shown on the regular Tree, e.g. a connection between 1(Keter) and 8(Hod). A person exhibiting such a connection would behave oddly, especially if other, more common paths are absent. This way of using the Tree takes the Sephirot as states of human consciousness, and considers the paths between the Sephirot to be connections between those states. This can be a method of diagraming the functioning of a particular human personality.
The full traditional Tree of Life diagram with ten Sephirot and twenty-two connecting paths represents an ideal and balanced human personality, with limited connection to the divine, but substantial development of the characteristics of the Ruach, comprising the Sephirot from Chesed through Yesod. Self development consists of activating each of the paths connecting the Sephirot until the personality is complete and all are functioning. Rearrangements of the paths involve transcendent experiences, beyond the human social norms. Missing paths reflect weaknesses and deficiencies in the personality. Unbalanced unusual connections between Sephirot, coupled with missing diagonal paths from the Middle Pillar Sephirot to the Left and Right Pillar Sephirot represent uncontrolled mystical states, such as mediumism, random E.S.P. and sudden unexplainable feats of strength or insight.
|from the feet, to that 'FIELD' around the feet|
|to that Core ever in flux, molten|
|heavy, liquidy, moving. Alive, learning,|
|its own corresponding 'FIELD' connects, inter-connects|
|From the core, through the magma, the plates, the crust|
|the 'FIELD' of feet, up through the rest of the body and|
|its 'field', to the crown and through|
|Here, in the liquid, gelatin like|
|plastic, magnetic 'field' that connects|
|moons, planets, stars; everything|
|Here, the "BEAST" uttereth still -- |
| "O circle of Stars, whereof our Father is but the younger brother, marvel beyond imagination, soul of infinite space, before whom Time is ashamed, the
mind bewildered, and the understanding dark, not unto thee may we attain,
unless thine image be Love --|
O Nuit, continuous one of Heaven, let it ever be thus; that men speak not of thee as One but as None; and let them speak not of thee at all, since thou art continuous"
|The 'FIELD' acknowledges the gnosis of each word|
|from Aleister Crowley|
June 30, '44 e.v.
93 93/93 Best of luck, see you soon! A.C.
|Softly slanting to the ground|
|It spatters on each yielding mound|
|Of loose-caught earth that knows no pain|
|But dumbly sheds this scourging whip|
|That lashes off the mangled flesh.|
|From here there is no writhing lip|
|To cry its protest to the rain|
|That with its misty shroud is wound|
|And sighs upon the loggy drowned.|
|With its phantom people towned|
|Wet chilled and lonely, it is found|
|To wreak its anguish on the slope|
|Where gullies tear the earth to shreds|
|And sift it through its mud clogged mesh,|
|Then washes it to delta beds|
|Through darkness that reveals no hope.|
|Thus with its timeless sorrow crowned|
|It swirls its way across the downed.|
Originally published in The Grady Project #3 (Berkeley: Thelema Lodge, O.T.O., March 1988).
What do you think of the concept of Astral Initiation?
All good initiation has some astral component. Not all types of initiation can be purely astral. Memberships and rites of passage must have witnesses. Material changes in life must have tokens (magical links).
Why is O.T.O. so hard to find, and why do inquiries to local O.T.O. groupstake so long to get answered?
This can be an automatic filter to prevent too many people joining in search of someone to take care of them. OTO does not seek members, but makes itself available with passive difficulty. That's not contrived, but does have the effect of diminishing problems that might arise from false promises and hype. A lot of the delay is unnecessary, but not all O.T.O. groups are well organized when it comes to responding to outside inquiry. It does result in loss of good potential members. I suspect that it's a mark of having no salaried officers and bringing people of all ages (average perhaps 28) into an 100% volunteer organization.
This is not a reflection on the main body of OTO, but on the local body.
Both, actually. However, it does prep the candidate to understand limitations at the local level. We get many of our volunteers from the newer membership wanting to improve things. Also, OTO is intended to function as a society in miniature, particularly in the area of letting people work out problems in that miniature society instead of disastrously and head-on in the larger external society. Clutzism and schlemerii are important to understand.
In Masonry, I find that people are generally very quick to scoop up someonewho has even the slightest interest in the organization.
Some OTO members behave that way too. We try to discourage it. OTO is a tool, to be taken up or rejected by the inclination of the candidate.
The fellow I met who's running the local group seems like a "fundamentalist" thelemite.
That could be a problem. Some of the local leadership is a bit aggressive, occasionally from the problems in the area with people who have attacked O.T.O. Quite often this is just a matter of language, but other O.T.O. groups may be more comfortable. If a sense of self-humor is lacking, consider the group a mistake on Grand Lodge's part that will be rectified somewhere down the line.
The emphasis on my first encounter was that the Thelemic Path is not an easy one, but I came away with the impression that people were not allowed to be eclectic at all in terms of their beliefs.
Eclecticism is very important. That has me a bit worried. I've noticed a tendency on the part of some of our members to be a tad "Old Aeonish" at times in this regard. Again, it might be necessary to shop around for a more compatible OTO group. They differ considerably.
Will any of the oaths I take on my journey in OTO cause me to violate or go against any of my Masonic Oaths? At least that you are aware of.
Not that I am aware of, but I'm not a Mason and may not know of some of the possible problems.
I am nervous, if that makes any sense. I am not sure why, everything I have read about OTO seems to interest me, I am just wondering if I will get along with the people from this group.
Not to worry, if you aren't comfortable with that group there are others. If you are, no problem. If you aren't, it's only a question of inconvenience and possibly going to a more distant group.
The meeting I attended felt like Bible study with one of Crowley's books.
That's one of the basic ways of doing things, so long as it doesn't get too bogged down.
This and other expectations made me feel as though I was required to take a leap of faith.
That can be a problem. Faith should not be required, but immersion in the social ambience and metaphor for a limited time is central to group involvement. Different OTO groups have different ambience, and the handling of metaphor varies as well. All this is common to any ritual working, magical or otherwise. The hazard is obsession, and that is usually best countered in such settings as this one by varying the metaphor and having different sorts of social settings for different ambience. Alienation is the warning symptom -- either alienation from other groups and individuals if the group is becoming obsessive, or alienation from the group if it simply does not bridge to your present balance. Aside from hospitality and friendliness, your comfort or discomfort in this area should be a major factor in selecting an O.T.O. group. Many members affiliate with or visit several O.T.O. Camps, Oases and Lodges to get a better mix.
Was Crowley's intention to start a religion and place himself as the prophet?
Apparently, to judge by his writings. He had problems with this as well. It may be a "chicken and egg" question -- did he set out to do this, or did his quest bring him to this?
If so how does it differ from any of the other major western religions.
Principally through rejection of religious conversion and narrow restriction to one set of metaphors. The former is also partly true of Judaism, but the latter tends to be more rare.
Now, Thelema, as a philosophical system taken in a logical sense apart from the religious aspects of things does make sense.
Yet, the religious aspects amount to a part of its nature in group application. A purely philosophical system, like the practices of a solitary Magician, amounts to a religion of one -- even though there are other individuals with similar or identical philosophy and practices. Once a philosophy with intangible aspects joins observances with group meetings, the tendency is for a religion to manifest.
I guess my biggest problem is that in knowing a bit about Crowley's life I can see many psychological reasons why he would write what he did.
That's part of the essence of Thelemic attainment. Through your observation of Crowley, you need to bridge to insight into your own psychological reasons for what you do. Observation of other Thelemites allows more data of the same sort, especially if you get to know them sufficiently to see the psychology and background at work. The danger is from excessive immersion -- "can't see the forest for the trees". Having someone else tell you these things in detail is useless, since you need to discover a more personal interpretation that takes your own bias and nature into account.
|10/1/95||The Rite of Sol 2:00PM in SF||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/1/95||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/2/95||Lesser Feast of Jack Parsons 8:00PM|
|10/4/95||Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM|
(call to attend)
|10/7/95||O.T.O. Initiations 8:00PM|
(call to attend)
|10/8/95||Lodge Luncheon Meeting 12:30||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/8/95||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/11/95||Sirius Oasis meeting 8:PM Berkeley||Sirius Oasis|
|10/12/95||Lesser Feast of Aleister Crowley|
at Oz House 7:30PM
|10/13/95||The Rite of Venus 7:30PM at Sirius||Sirius Oasis|
|10/15/95||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/16/95||John Dee reading group 8:00PM|
with Clay in the Library
|10/18/95||Lesser Feast of Grady McMurtry|
at Ebony & Liesl's, 7:30PM
|10/22/95||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/23/95||Section 2 reading group, 8PM at OZ|
Bram Stoker's Dracula, w/Caitlin
|10/25/95||The Rite of Mercury 7:30PM at Sirius||Sirius Oasis|
|10/29/95||Enochian Liturgy Group. 2:00 PM|
in the Library
|10/29/95||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|10/30/95||Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM|
(call to attend)
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