Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 1996 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for March 1996 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, 1996 e.v.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
March 1996 e.v. at Thelema Lodge Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Vernal Equinox Greetings
Thelemites observe the Equinox of the Gods in celebrating the turn of the
year at the vernal equinox, and we will mark the 92nd anniversary of the aeon
of Horus as Sol enters Aries on Wednesday 20th March. Attributed in Crowley's
style to the major atus of the Book of Thoth, this will put us in IV4, the
year of the Emperor. The lodge will gather for a ritual of the equinox,
beginning that evening promptly at 7:00, with a communal feast to follow.
Late-comers will be welcome until 9:00. Please contact the lodge and arrange
to contribute to the meal, and to the ritual as well.
Gnostic Catholic Church
Thelema Lodge offers an open celebration of the gnostic mass of Ecclesia
Gnostica Catholica in Horus Temple every Sunday evening beginning at 8:00.
Please phone ahead at (510) 652-3171 for information and directions if you
have not attended mass here before. Members are invited to contact the
lodgemaster to schedule mass teams for the temple. (We like to think about
six weeks ahead for the mass schedule, though more immediate dates may
occasionally be available.) A descriptive outline of the essential workings
of our liturgy was recently prepared by gnostic bishop T Dionysus, which he
has kindly allowed us to quote.
"We still use Crowley's ritual as our regular communion service. Not every O.T.O. group performs these services regularly, or even at all. Thelema Lodge is the only one I know of which has them every week, a custom going back well over fifteen years now. The format of the mass may be somewhat briefly described: the Temple consists of a shrine in the 'East' wherein is an altar, to the 'West' stands an upright tomb, in a line between them are two small altars, one for fire and air (nearer the shrine) and one for earth and water (nearer the tomb).
"After the People (as the worshippers are titled) have assumed their seats, the Deacon performs a banishing ritual. Then he or she greets the People and leads them in recital of our creed. Then the Priestess enters, circumambulates the Temple, coming to a halt before the tomb in the 'West' where she summons forth the Priest, who she then purifies, consecrates, and adores. At that she is led to and enthroned upon the altar in the 'East' by the Priest, who then purifies, consecrates,and adores her. Then she is veiled within the shrine, and the Priest circumambulates the Temple, until, halting before the veiled shrine, he slowly approaches it through an invocation of the archetypical trinity of infinity, divinity, and unity. Finally, at the bidding of the Priestess, he pierces and then sweeps aside the veils, revealing her in all her glory, as he declares a litany of divine names. Then he falls at the Priestess' knees while the People rise to hear the Deacon intone the collects.
"When the Deacon finishes the People sit and the Priest rises and consecrates the elements; that is, a cup of wine and a host (our host is a homemade cookie called a 'Cake of Light'). Then our anthem is recited or sung (music has been written by a number of different composers, but no tune has ever caught on at Thelema Lodge). Next the Priest and Priestess together perform the 'mystic marriage' of the elements, followed by the Priest's consumption of the sacraments (at the hand of the Priestess); he then declares himself to the People, who rise and, one by one, come up and take communion, similarly declaring themselves. When everyone present has communicated (nonparticipators are not supposed to attend the Gnostic Mass) the altar is veiled, the Priest blesses the People and then retires to the tomb. The ceremony is ended, the Temple is opened, and the People dissolve into socializing or departure."
M M M
For those contemplating entry or advancement in O.T.O., applications are
always being accepted by the lodge for initiation to the Minerval through the
IV°. Candidates may submit the completed form to the lodgemaster, who will
forward it to the US Initiation Secretary. The ceremony will then be
scheduled, at least forty days after the application has been posted. It will
be necessary for the candidate to maintain good contact with the lodge during
this waiting period, while the preparations are being made.
Classes and Events
The Section Two reading group is back with The Shaving of Shagpat by George
Meredith, which we will be discussing and reading together on Monday evening
18th March at 8:00. Join Caitlin at Oz House in Oakland for this amazing
Oriental adventure, as the barber Shibli Bagarag of Shiraz endures the ordeals
of pain and passion -- interrupted by many a tale along the way -- in his quest
to shave the hairiest and supremely bristling, most luxuriantly piliated
Shagpat, whose face has never known the blade.
Also, for next month's Section Two session, get an early start on our text
for April, Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, one of the greatest works of
narrative art in our language, and the recension in which the Arthurian mythos
has most completely survived into our own imaginations.
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
The "Angelmas" Enochian Liturgy group meets for an evening devoted to the
theory and technique of scrying, at the lodge on Saturday evening 23rd March
at 8:00. Call Michael Sanborn for information at (510) 601-9393.
The John Dee reading group at Thelema Lodge, led by Clay Holden of the John
Dee Society, meets on Monday evening 11th March at 8:00 in the lodge library.
Continuing through Liber Mysteriorum Secundus this month, we will see a
virtual parade of angelic hosts as they were described by Edward Kelly in
Dee's crystal sphere.
Grace leads our Astrological Cycles workshop series, which will devote an
evening to the planet Mercury on Friday 29th March from 7:00 to 9:00. All
thelemic students of the stars (ourselves) are welcome, but please contact
Grace beforehand to attend, by calling (510) 843-STAR. The group will meet at
the Grace Astrology Center in Berkeley. Bring your chart and/or birth data,
and we will explore how Mercury manifests in your life.
Share ideas for future events at Thelema Lodge and assist with temple and
library maintenance, as well as helping to prepare this monthly newsletter and
sharing your voice in response to some of our lodge correspondence, at our
monthly Sunday afternoon lodge luncheon meeting on 10th March. The
lodgemaster usually cooks for all, and afterwards we try to get some work done
together, from about 12:30 until 2:30. Please give word in advance of your
intention to participate, so that preparations may be efficiently handled.
Those contributing to the calendar are requested to provide notes for a
description of their events, which are to reach the lodge no later than the
date of this meeting.
Our proposed library nights at Thelema Lodge this month are Monday 4th
March and Wednesday 27th March, from 8:00 until 10:00. Additional
arrangements for library use can often be made by consulting with the lodge
officers, and those intending to utilize the scheduled library nights are also
requested to confirm these dates in advance.
Sirius Oasis meets on Monday evening 25th March at 8:00 in the home of the
Oasis Master in northern Berkeley. Call ahead for information and directions
at (510) 525-2855. We will be looking ahead to the Ancient Ways Festival, which is scheduled this year for 5-9th June at Harbin Hot Springs, Middletown,
Lakes County, California. Also, plans are underway already for this year's
Rites of Eleusis cycle, which could be scheduled to begin late in the spring-
time if an immediate interest is shown. One set of dates being discussed
would open with the Rite of Saturn on 18th May, which is a Saturday in the
dark of the moon, and proceed at twelve-day intervals through Luna on 29th
July when the moon is full.
While traveling in this country during the First World War, Crowley found that "in America, however far one goes, the same hideous homogeneity disappoints one. The relief conferred by the old quarter of New Orleans threw me instantly into an ecstasy of creative energy" (Confessions, p. 777). Later on, Crowley could "not clearly remember . . . my reasons for going to New Orleans almost immediately after returning from Lake Pasquaney." (ibid., p. 817). He arrived on 9 December 1916 e.v., the beginning of his third year in America, a time when later it seemed to Crowley that his mind had become clouded in misery. One of the great loves of his life, Jeanne Foster, had become alienated from him, his financial survival was very doubtful, with only debts to return to in New York, and he needed new clothes and a secretary so that he could write efficiently.
New Orleans suited Crowley very well, and he stayed several weeks; "the old French-Spanish quarter of the city is the only decent inhabited district that I discovered in America." He lived on Dauphine Street, taking "a room conveniently close to the Old Absinthe House, where one could get real absinthe prepared in fountains whose marble was worn by ninety years' continual dripping" (ibid., p. 817). That first week he twice received sums of money "when I was within a dollar or so of actual starvation." By 27 December he counted only seventy cents to his name, and a recent "passionate appeal" from "the Monkey" in New York began to sound very inviting (A.C. diary, quoted John Symonds, 1989, p. 220-1). Crowley journeyed next to Florida for a visit to some American cousins, the Bishops (including "poor little sixteen-year-old Alma"), where he kept busy completing his novel
Moonchild, and the series of Simon Iff stories (both substantially written during seventeen very productive days in the French Quarter), and recovering from the Ordeal of the Magus and "The Beatific Vision" of Tiphereth with which his stay in New Orleans had culminated. By springtime he was back in New York City.
Crowley was proud of this article, which (along with his essay on Russia) he considered his best travel writing. "My best essay was 'The Green Goddess' written in the old Absinthe House itself, and adorning its main theme the philosophical reflections suggested by absinthe with descriptions of the inn, its guests, and the city" (Confessions, p. 778).
This second half concludes the essay, begun last month in these pages. Copyright © O.T.O.
Absinthe - The Green Goddess
by Aleister Crowley
She is a woman of no more than thirty years of age, though she looks older.
She comes here at irregular intervals, once a week or once a month; but when
she comes she sits down to get solidly drunk on that alternation of beer and
gin which the best authorities in England deem so efficacious.
As to her story, it is simplicity itself. She was kept in luxury for some
years by a wealthy cotton broker, crossed to Europe with him, and lived in London and Paris like a queen. Then she got the idea of "respectability" and
"settling down in life"; so she married a man who could keep her in mere
comfort. Result: repentance, and a periodical need to forget her sorrows.
She is still "respectable"; she never tires of repeating that she is not one
of "those girls", but "a married woman living far up-town," and that she
"never runs about with men."
It is not the failure of marriage; it is the failure of men to recognize
what marriage was ordained to be. By a singular paradox, it is the triumph of
the bourgeois, who is the chief supporter of marriage, that has degraded
marriage to the level of the bourgeois. Only the hero is capable of marriage
as the church understands it; for the marriage oath is a compact of appalling
solemnity, an alliance of two souls against the world and against fate, with
invocation of the great aid of the Most High. Death is not the most beautiful
of adventures, as Charles Frohman said, for death is unavoidable; marriage is
a voluntary heroism. That marriage has today become a matter of convenience
is the last word of the commercial spirit. It is as if one should take a vow
of knighthood to combat dragons -- until the dragons appeared.
So this poor woman, because she did not understand that respectability is a
lie, that it is love that makes marriage sacred and not the sanction of church
or state, because she took marriage as an asylum instead of as a crusade, has
failed in life, and now seeks alcohol under the same fatal error.
Wine is the ripe gladness which accompanies valor and rewards toil; it is
the plume on a man's lance-head, a fluttering gallantry -- not good to lean
upon. Therefore her eyes are glassed with horror as she gazes uncomprehending
upon her fate. That which she did all to avoid confronts her; she does not
realize that, had she faced it, it would have fled with all the other
phantoms. For the sole reality of this universe is God.
The Old Absinthe House is not a place; it is not bounded by four walls; it
is headquarters of an army of philosophies. From this dim corner let me
range, wafting thought through every air, salient against every problem of
mankind; for it will always return like Noah's dove to this ark, this strange
little sanctuary of the Green Goddess which has been set down not upon Ararat,
but by the banks of the "Father of Waters."
Ah! the Green Goddess! What is the fascination that makes her so adorable
and so terrible? Do you know that French sonnet "La légende de l'absinthe"? He must have loved it well, that poet. Here are his witnesses.
Apollon, qui pleurait le trépas d'Hyacinthe,
Ne voulait pas céder la victoire à la mort.
Il fallait que son âme, adepte de l'essor,
Trouvât pour la beauté une alchemie plus sainte.
Donc, de sa main céleste il épuise, il éreinte
Les dons les plus subtils de la divine Flore.
Leurs corps brisés souspirent une exhalaison d'or
Dont il nous recueillait la goutte de -- l'Absinthe!
Aux cavernes blotties, aux palais pétillants,
Par un, par deux, buvez ce breuvage d'aimant!
Car c'est un sortilège, un propos de dictame,
Ce vin d'opale pale avortir la misère,
Ouvre de la beauté l'intime sanctuaire
- Ensorcelle mon coeur, extasie mon âme!1
What is there in absinthe that makes it a separate cult? The effects of
its abuse are totally distinct from those of other stimulants. Even in ruin
and in degradation it remains a thing apart; its victims wear a ghastly
aureole all their own, and in their peculiar hell yet gloat with a sinister
perversion of pride that they are not as other men. But we are not to reckon up the uses of a thing by contemplating the
wreckage of its abuse. We do not curse the seas because of occasional
disasters to our mariners, or refuse axes to our woodsmen because we
sympathize with Charles the First or Louis the Sixteenth. So therefore as
special vices and dangers appertain to absinthe, so also do graces and virtues
that adorn no other liquor.
The word is from the Greek apsinthion; it means "undrinkable" or, according
to some authorities, "undelightful." In either case, strange paradox? No;
for the wormwood draught itself were bitter beyond human endurance; it must be
aromatized and mellowed with other herbs.
Chief among these is the gracious Melissa, of which the great Paracelsus
thought so highly that he incorporated it as the chief ingredient in the
preparation of his Ens Melissa Vit‘, which he expected to be an elixir of life
and a cure for all diseases, but which in his hands never came to perfection.
Then also there are added mint, anise, fennel, and hyssop, all holy herbs
familiar to all from the Treasury of Hebrew Scripture. And there is even the
sacred marjoram which renders man both chaste and passionate; the tender green
angelica stalks also infused in this most mystic of concoctions; for like the
artemisia absinthium itself it is a plant of Diana, and gives the purity and
lucidity, with a touch of the madness, of the Moon; and above all there is the
Dittany of Crete of which the eastern Sages say that one flower hath more
puissance in high magic than all the other gifts of all the gardens of the
world. It is as if the first diviner of absinthe had been indeed a magician
intent upon a combination of sacred drugs which should cleanse, fortify, and
perfume the human soul.
And it is no doubt that in the due employment of this liquor such effects
are easy to obtain. A single glass seems to render the breathing freer, the
spirit lighter, the heart more ardent, soul and mind alike more capable of
executing the great task of doing that particular work in the world which the
Father may have sent them to perform. Food itself loses its gross qualities
in the presence of absinthe, and becomes even as manna, operating the
sacrament of nutrition without bodily disturbance.
Let then the pilgrim enter reverently the shrine, and drink his absinthe as
a stirrup-cup; for in the right conception of this life as an ordeal of
chivalry lies the foundation of every perfection of philosophy. "Whatsoever
ye do, whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God!" applies with
singular force to the absintheur. So may he come victorious from the battle
of life to be received with tender kisses by some green-robed archangel, and
be crowned with mystic vervain in the Emerald Gateway of the Golden City of
And now the café is beginning to fill up. This little room with its dark
green woodwork, its boarded ceiling, its sanded floor, its old pictures, its
whole air of sympathy with time, is beginning to exert its magic spell. Here
comes a curious child, short and sturdy, with a long blonde pigtail, with a
jolly little old man, her slave, who looks on, sly and sidelong, as if he had
stepped straight out of the pages of Balzac.
Handsome and diminutive, with a fierce moustache almost as big as the rest
of him, like a regular little Spanish fighting cock, Frank, the waiter, in his
long white apron, struts to them with the glasses of ice-cold pleasure, green
as the glaciers themselves. He will stand up bravely with the musicians by
and by, and sing us a jolly song of old Catalonia.
The door swings open again; a tall dark girl, exquisitely slim and snaky,
with masses of black hair knotted about her head, comes in; on her arm is a
plump woman with hungry eyes, and a mass of Titian red hair. They seem
distracted from the outer world, absorbed in some subject of enthralling
interest; and they drink their apéritif as if in a dream. I ask the mulatto
boy who waits at my table (the sleek and lithe black panther!) who they are;
but he knows only that one is a cabaret dancer, the other the owner of a cotton plantation up river. At a round table in the middle of the room sits
one of the proprietors with a group of friends; he is burly, rubicund, and
jolly, the very type of the Shakespearian "Mine host." Now a party of a dozen
merry boys and girls comes in; the old pianist begins to play a dance, and in
a moment the whole café is caught up in the music of harmonious motion. Yet
still the invisible line is drawn about each soul; the dance does not conflict
with the absorption of the two strange women, or with my own mood of
Then there is a "little laughing lewd gamine" dressed all in black save for
a square white collar; her smile is broad and free as the sun, and her gaze as
clean and wholesome and inspiring. There is the big jolly blonde Irish girl
in the black velvet béret and coat, and the white boots, chatting with two
boys in khaki from the border; and there is the Creole girl in pure white cap-
a-piè, with her small piquant face and its round button of a nose, and its
curious deep rose flush, and its red little mouth, impudently smiling. Around
these islands seems to flow as a general tide the more stable life of the
quarter. Here are honest goodwives, seriously discussing their affairs, and
heaven only knows if it be love or the price of sugar which engages them so
wholly. There are but a few commonplace and uninteresting elements in the
café; and these are without exception men. The giant Big Business is a great
tyrant; he seizes all the men for slaves, and leaves the women to make shift
as best they can for -- all that makes life worth living. Candies and American
Beauty Roses are of no use in an emergency! So, even in this most favored
corner, there is dearth of the kind of men that women need.
At the table next me sits an old, old man. He has done great things in his
day, they tell me, an engineer, who first found it possible to dig Artesian
wells in the Sahara desert. The Legion of Honor glows red in his shabby
surtout. He comes here, one of the many wrecks of the Panama Canal, a piece
of jetsam cast up by that tidal wave of speculation and corruption. He is of
the old type, the thrifty peasantry; and he has his little income from the
Rente. He says that he is too old to cross the ocean -- and why should he,
with the atmosphere of old France to be had a stone's throw from his little
apartment in Bourbon Street? It is a curious type of house that one finds in
this quarter in New Orleans; meagre without, within one comes unexpectedly
upon great spaces, carved wooden balconies on which the rooms open. So he
dreams away his honored days in the Old Absinthe House. His rusty black, with
its worn red button, is a noble wear.
Black, by the way, seems almost universal among the women; is it
instinctive good taste? At least, it serves to bring up the general level of
good looks. Most American women spoil what little beauty they may have by
overdressing. Here there is nothing extravagant, nothing vulgar, none of the
near-Paris-gown and the just-off-Bond-Street hat. Nor is there a single dress
to which a Quaker could object. There is neither the mediocrity nor the
immodesty of the New York woman, who is tailored or millinered on a garish
pattern, with the Eternal Chorus Girl as the Ideal -- an ideal which she always
attains, though (Heaven knows!) in "society" there are few "front-row" types.
On the other side of me a splendid stalwart maid, modern in muscle, old
only in the subtle and modest fascination of her manner, her face proud,
cruel, and amorous, shakes her wild tresses of gold in pagan laughter. Her
mood is universal as the wind. What can her cavalier be doing to keep her
waiting? It is a little mystery which I will not solve for the reader; on the
Yes, it was my own sweetheart (no! not all the magazines can vulgarize that
loveliest of words) who was waiting for me to be done with my musings. She
comes in silently and stealthily, preening and purring like a great cat, and
sits down, and begins to Enjoy. She knows I must never be disturbed until I
close my pen. We shall go together to dine at a little Italian restaurant
kept by an old navy man, who makes the best ravioli this side of Genoa; then we shall walk the wet and windy streets, rejoicing to feel the warm
subtropical rain upon our faces; we shall go down to the Mississippi, and
watch the lights of the ships, and listen to the tales of travel and adventure
of the mariners. There is one that moves me greatly; it is like the story of
the sentinel of Herculaneum. A cruiser of the U.S. Navy was detailed to Rio
de Janeiro. (This was before the days of wireless telegraphy.) The port was
in quarantine; the ship had to stand ten miles out to sea. Nevertheless
Yellow Jack managed to come aboard. The men died one by one. There was no
way of getting word to Washington; and, as it turned out later, the Navy
Department had completely forgotten the existence of the ship. No orders
came; the captain stuck to his post for three months. Three months of
solitude and death! At last a passing ship was signalled, and the cruiser was
moved to happier waters. No doubt the story is a lie; but did that make it
less splendid in the telling, as the old scoundrel sat and spat and chewed
tobacco? No, we will certainly go down, and ruffle it on the wharves. There
is really better fun in life than can be got by going to the movies, when you
know how to make art with Reality.
There is beauty in every incident of life; the true and the false, the wise
and the foolish, are all one in the eye that beholds all without passion or
prejudice; and the secret appears to lie not in the retirement from the world,
but in keeping a part of oneself Vestal, sacred, intact, aloof from that self
which makes contact with the external universe; in other words, in a
separation of that which is and perceives from that which acts and suffers.
And the art of doing this is really the art of being an artist. As a rule, it
is a birthright; it may perhaps be attained by prayer and fasting; most
surely, it can never be bought.
But if you have it not, this will be the best way to get it -- or something
like it. Give up your life completely to the task; sit daily for six hours in
the Old Absinthe House, and sip the icy opal; endure till all things change
insensibly before your eyes, you changing with them; till you become as gods,
knowing good and evil, and this also -- that they are not two but one.
It may be a long time before the veil lifts; but a moment's experience of
the point of view of the artist is worth a myriad martyrdoms. It solves every
problem of life and death -- which two also are one.
It translates this universe into intelligible terms, relating truly the ego
with the non-ego, and recasting the prose of reason in the poetry of soul.
Even as the eye of the sculptor beholds his masterpiece already existing in
the shapeless mass of marble, needing only the loving-kindness of the chisel
to cut away the veils of Isis, so you may (perhaps) learn to behold the sum
and summit of all grace and glory from this great observatory, the Old
Absinthe House of New Orleans.
V'la, p'tite chatte; c'est fini, le travail. Foutons le camp!2
1. The Legend of Absinthe
Apollo, who weeps for Hyacinth's demise,
Had not the will to yield this victory to Death.
It must be that the soul, adept in flight,
Has found for beauty the most holy alchemy.
Then with her starry hand exhausted, has used up
The most subtle gifts of the goddess Flora.
Their bodies struggle through the golden gloom
From which we carefully let drip -- Absinthe!
From lowly hovels and from sparkling courts,
Because it is a charm -- as one might say --
Alone, in pairs, come drink of this magnetic fluid!
The pale opal wine which interrupts all misery,
Manufactured within the secret sanctuary of beauty
-- Bewitch my heart, and captivate my soul!
[trans. ED., with thanks to Frater Valentinus, Soror Anna Perenna, and Frater
Majnun, for contributing to our understanding of this poem. We have not
succeeded in identifying its authorship, with the obvious suspicion being that
the pen was Crowley's own. It does not appear to be the work of any of the
major French poets of the nineteenth century, although resemblances to
Henedia, Chenier, and Gautier have been suggested. Any critical attention to
this poem, and to our efforts at translation, would be very much appreciated.]
2. "There, little kitty, the journey's done; we'll camp here!" -- trans. ED.
Previous Crowley Classics Next Crowley Classics
from the Grady Project:
|I saw the god Harpocrates|
|Stride forth into the glow|
|Of cloud bank suns, whole galaxies|
|Their stars like drifting snow|
|I saw the wide eternities|
|Of dust stars sift and flow.|
| O Lady Ishtar lift the bowl|
| And drain the Life that is our Blood|
| O Wine, Illusion of the Soul,|
| Be Nectar of the living flood!|
|O hollow god Harpocrates|
|Writ large upon the rift|
|Of space-time continuities|
|Thy bloodless Saints adrift|
|Between the walled realities|
|Have felt the space tide's lift!|
| O Lady Ishtar lift the bowl|
| And drain the Life that is our Blood|
| O Wine, Illusion of the Soul,|
| Be Nectar of the living flood!|
|-- Grady L. McMurtry |
|5/18/61 & 6/11/61 |
Originally published in O.T.O. Newsletter 1:4 (March 1978), then in Ecclesia Gnostica 1:4 (1985). Grady attributed this poem to the Lust Trump in the
Previous Grady Project Next Grady Project
The Egyptian Book of the Dead: "The Book of Going Forth by Day" translated by
R. O. Faulkner, introduced with commentary by Dr. Ogden Goelet of New York
University, prefaced by Carol Andrews, and with a foreword by Jim Wasserman.
San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1994, 175 pp.
I was quite impressed with this book in many ways. I think it must have
been a monumental task to arrange for all the permissions to bring this to
market. It's quite beautiful.
The artwork is one of its strengths. Using Photoshop they restored this
work; a much better presentation than I have ever seen before. The plates are
wonderfully presented. Larger scenes are not broken up for the convenience of
the bookmaker, but the book is made to conform with the intent of the scene,
even where fold-out pages are needed. Color is restored from the E. A. W.
Budge reproductions of the Papyrus of Ani, and damage repaired, to complete
and restore images.
The translator is R. O. Faulkner. Faulkner wrote the book on translating
material such as this -- literally, his Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian
is the standard reference. As is his translation of the Coffin Texts, and
also the Book of the Dead. I have found him to be an excellent translator,
but I enjoy the freedom to be able to refer to the scroll itself on some of
the references. Great combo, that artwork and this translation!
I also particularly liked the commentary in the back of the book by Dr.
Goelet. His history of this class of literature places the papyrus of Ani in
context; we get a good idea of its evolution. For those of us who practice
magick his section on the vocabulary of Magic will be of especial interest:
"The number of words in the Egyptian language which could be translated as
'magic' is an indication of the complexity of their thoughts concerning magic.
The most common and important of these words is heka, whose Coptic equivalent
was later used to render the Greek word magia in the Coptic New Testament. In
Egyptian texts the word was virtually interchangeable with Heka, the deity
"In the realm of Egyptian magic, actions did not necessarily speak louder
than words -- they were often one and the same thing. Thought, deed, image,
and power are theoretically united in the concept heka."
At a list price of only $25 or so I would recommend this book to anyone
within reach of this review. After all, the deities might have chosen
Egyptian images for our Holy Book on purpose! And if that is the case it
would behoove us to become familiar with this work. After all, the Stele of
Revealing quotes from it, and there are more than a few of the rituals of the
Argentum Astrum that use it. So run right out and get a copy! Thanx, Jim;
intense concept, well done! Thank everyone involved.
An Introduction to Qabalah
Part XIII -Spirits and Family in the Four Worlds..
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
"Pantheons" of spirits are assigned to the Tree of Life by hierarchy.
Atzilut is the realm of the deities, the highest spirits which ultimately are
One Spirit. These may have different names as understood below, but up above
they are all one. Briah is said to be the realm of the Archangels. The
angels are assigned to Yetzirah. Down in Assiah are the spirits that confuse, the nervous-breakdown angels and archangels that are considered demons and
arch-devils. This is how the hierarchies go in the four worlds. The
elemental attributions are: Atziluth-fire, Briah-water, Yetzirah-air, and
Assiah-earth -- by correspondence to the letters in the Hebrew name . To
Yod, the first letter of Jehovah, is fire; to Heh, the second letter, is
water; in their mingling we naturally get steam, Vau and air, the third
letter; and finally Heh, the last letter, corresponding to earth. We will
return to this spiritual ordering in later installments, but it is necessary
to look at something else first.
Here is one of the things that is difficult to understand in Qabalistic
works. Such writings speak of Macroprosophus, or the Great Face, the Vast
Countenance; Abba, the Father; Aima the mother; Microprosophus, the Lesser
Countenance; and the Bride of this Lesser Countenance, Malkah. This is an
attempt to explain things in a nice simple family relationship on the Tree of
Life according to the way Jewish families lived perhaps a thousand years ago.
There was a grandfather, the Vast Countenance with a white beard. There was a
father and mother. The eldest son had to find himself a bride. That's seeing
the Tree as a family allegory, but what else is it? The idea of many, a
multiplication of essential unity, is symbolized by the firstborn son. The
first born of an old style family is the number one hope for the future. Even
grandpa, although vastly respected, is not given as much attention as that
first born son. The family will try to analyze every fragment of his beliefs
-- everything he says and does is subject to close scrutiny. If you live in
such a family or know such a family well, you don't have to think about the
pattern; but you will understand what all of this upon the Tree of Life is
about. If you do not understand the pattern of such a traditional family, you
will need some help. To do that, we must descend to the third level on the
Qabalistic system, to the level of symbols instead of the world of Briah (the
world corresponding to allegory).
The symbol of the Great Face, the Macroprosopus, Keter up on the Tree is
the archetype of the whole universe. That's why it's called the Great Face.
It is the whole show as a single symbol, the perfect being. We can explain
this with an allegory of Briah: Grandfather is the one that made it. If there
hadn't been a successful grandfather there wouldn't be a mother and a father
and a child. Everybody looks back to what Grandfather did. He's the one who
earned the wealth and provided the home. His son, the Father of the next
generation, had to work for a living, but the Son in the third generation can
be given an education and other advantages. The beginner, the mystery beyond
all things, is Keter. Grandpa may even be dead by now, out of touch, or just
hard to talk to; but everybody knows that if it wasn't for Grandpa, if it
wasn't for Keter, there wouldn't be a family at all. The Father (Chokmah) and
the Mother (Binah) have an understandable role. If there wasn't a Father and
a Mother there wouldn't be a Son. Father and Mother probably would have had a
rougher time of it if it hadn't been for Grandpa's money. Who is the Son or
the Daughter? -- remember that sexual symbolism to the Tree is often more a
matter of tradition than essential to the ideas.
The middle six Sephirot on the Tree are You, your awareness, all of the
states of consciousness a person may reasonably expect in mundane Life. There
is an essence beyond those Sephirot that is like a mother in a family. There
is some aspect behind "her" that is like a father, and there's a vast essence
behind that like grandpa and grandmas' days. The main thing is the set of six
Sephirot inside you. Yesod is your awareness of fantasy. Hod is your
reasoning ability in practical terms, Netzach is your emotional pattern and
Tipheret is the sense of who you are and the answer to the question: "What do
you do?" Geburah is the higher reason, the sense of what should be. This is
the moral sense, but not a memorized set of do's and don't's. Chesed is the
sense of expansion, of religion, of mystic enlightenment and of ecstasy. All
those are the proper constituents of a normal human being. If that person or
Microprosophus has a good relationship with the environment, there is a
marriage to the earth. That bride or bridegroom is Malkut. In this, Adam Kadmon is a celestial model of a human being; the senses and faculties unite
with a mind reaching back to the founding generations, like a grown child with
the spirits of the ancestors carried upon his or her shoulders. The Egyptians
represented this as the young Horus, carrying the dwarf god Bez.
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Achad after Crowley:
Here's an example from a series of lessons prepared by Fr. Achad for his group, possibly after some decline in his relations with Crowley. The approach at first seems completely apart from Thelema and Magick, but careful reading will turn up traces of those matters.
First Binobligate Tablet
On the Necessity of Action
Labor of any kind, especially when rightly performed, or directed towards a
proper end, results in the creation of values. There is no real value of any
kind which has not some reference to labour. The nugget picked up by chance
near a mine has value only because it shortens the term of labour of the
possessor and thereby brings him nearer to that which he desires and labours
for. Even the universal benefits which come to every man, like sunshine and
fresh air, result from the Giant Labors of the Macrocosm, beside which the
total labours of all men from the beginning of the human race are negligible.
Value creates esteem, esteem begets desire, and desire evokes effort. Thus
whatever is esteemed as valuable is thereby considered to be worth working
for, and the effort and labour to obtain it will be a measure of the value
attaching to it.
Conversely, that for which no effort is made must be considered as not
desirable or of no value, to him at least who refuses the effort.
Thus it is seen that the value of anything is extrinsic rather than
intrinsic. A laurel wreath in ancient times could evoke the greatest physical
efforts of men and induce them to submit to a long course of self-denial and
Thus too it is seen that a Great Cycle is in motion; for the necessity of action, of which the issue is work, is itself the offspring of value, which is
created through labour.
Action deliberately performed is Work.
The popular fallacy of distinguishing as work only those actions which are
reluctantly or of necessity performed is due in part to an imperfect
apprehension of man's ultimate ends, from which results an imperfect co-
ordination of subordinate aims and an absence of pleasure in the performance
of work. To the wise man all right work is pleasurable. There are three kinds of Work: the Work of Thought, the Work of
Transmission and the Work of Production. Although distinct in kind, these are
not necessarily dissociated in any particular branch or sphere of labour.
Included in the Work of Thought is nearly all that work commonly classed as
mental, and in particular the Work of Contemplation of any kind, such as that
of a Christian monk, a Sufi or a Aannyasi, or that of a philosopher or
scientist, whether or not such work is popularly considered of any value, and
the work of enlisting the services of others more powerful than oneself, such
as prayer or canvassing, irrespective of whether such work is successful or
not. The Work of Thought also includes the Work of Direction of every kind,
such a kingship, presidency, generalship, managership, inspection,
Included in the Work of Transmission are all the labours by which knowledge
and traditions are transferred from place to place, from age to age, and from
generation to generation, and especially the Work of Pedagogy or Education.
Included in the Work of Production is all the work connected with the
manufacture, distribution and exchange of material goods, all forms of manual
labour, and in particular the Work of Husbandry, which is the production of
wealth from the fertility of Nature, and the Work of Defense of the social
organism from its enemies.
The Work of Thought is more honourable than and hierarchically superior to
the other Works, and those whose lives are devoted to such work usually have
the direction of those engaged in the lesser tasks.
The Work of Transmission is more honourable than and hierarchically
superior to the Work of Production, and normally carries with it a
But even the humblest form of the Work of Production, when honestly,
cheerfully and efficiently performed, is more honourable than the most exalted
Work of Thought if this be done badly, grudgingly or carelessly. And since
all three labours are necessary, he whose work is in a lower grade must, as
far as possible, be preserved and assisted in that work, as certainly as must
he whose work is in a higher grade.
The dignity of any work depends also upon the dignity and personal merit of
the worker; and on the motive which actuates the worker or the end for which
the work is done.
Whoever does no work is socially inefficient.
The same is true of every man whose work during his years of activity does
not restore to the community not only what it costs the community to keep him
during those active years, but also what has been expended on him during his
years of growth and training and what will be expended on him during his
retirement. It is not necessary that his own work should be directly
productive of these values; it suffices if by any means he enables others so
to increase the value of their labours that the results may be attributable,
in part at least, to him. He is then socially efficient.
Whoever makes it his aim to do as little work as possible, or, having the
use of faculties fails to employ them to their proper extent, or greedily
seeks only to gain from the community as much as possible, is as a
contemptible slave to the Commonwealth of the Race wherein he might be an
honoured co-operator, and is deserving of economic ostracism under the law
that "he who works not, shall not eat". This is as true of the wealthiest and
most powerful of "renters" as of the meanest tramp, if either of these
performs no service to the community.
There is a vast amount of work for every man of independent means to do if
he is willing, without thereby lessening, but on the contrary largely
increasing, the chances of employment for others. In like manner there is a
great deal of work to be done which is quite within the range of, and even
especially suited to, the capacities of even the most nomadically inclined of men. Much of this work in our present-day social organism is necessarily
unremunerative, and for that reason should be more readily undertaken by those
to whom an immediate remuneration is not an urgent factor in their toil, or to
whom some accident of birth or circumstances has brought the means which makes
them independent of such toil.
No man has ever deserved, or could deserve, all the benefits which accrue
to him from his birth in a human society already well developed. Even if he
were to produce values all his life from birth to death he would not repay his
debt. Whoever says, "I am in no man's debt; I pay in full for everything I
receive", knows neither what he has received nor what he is paying and
deceives himself or his neighbours or both. The same is true of any one who
claims to be a "self-made" man. Such vain talkers show themselves to have no
real idea of what the world and society into which they are born has done for
them, and so feeling their general indebtedness less than other men they are
more prone than others to sink below the level of social efficiency and to
become a burden instead of an asset, to the community in which they live.
There is no contradiction between the statements that man can never repay
the community for what he receives , and that the socially efficient man must
pay the community for all that it expends upon him, for by far the greater
part of the benefits received by the individual are not thereby "expended" by
the community, since they are not in the nature of "consumables" and are
therefore incapable of being expended by communication. Many, indeed, such as
for example the affection bestowed by parents upon a child are even nourished
and increased by communication, rather than expended.
There are some who imagine that this universe is ruled by fate, and that
consequently "what will be, will be" independently of whatever effort they may
make. Such a belief reduces all action and inaction to absurdity, for no
deliberate action or deliberate refraining from action can be rational if no
result is thereby produced or avoided. The extreme fatalist who, curbing his
natural appetite for activity and speculation, sits on a river-bank waiting
for what the fates may bring, whether it be a kingdom or a crocodile, is
taking a course which by his own philosophy is no more to be recommended than
any other, and which is certainly much less pleasurable and much more
inconvenient than many another. Thus those who vehemently defend the doctrine
of fatalism do but thereby show their own inherent disbelief in it, for if
blind fate ruled all, there would be no sense in defending any doctrine.
There are others who imagine that because the Divine Providence rules all
things it is unnecessary for them to do anything. But a belief which does not
issue in action of some sort is not a real belief at all, but only a mere
notion tentatively held, and such people, refusing by inaction to become
willing co-operators in the Divine Work, flout the Divine Providence as
impudently as he who openly and deliberately sets out to oppose it.
Again there are others who say to themselves, "I am only one amongst so
many, so nothing that I can do matters". Such people are generally in a
certain sense right, for no man can do as a rule what he believes himself to
be incapable of doing. But it is only their own pusillanimity and sloth that
makes them right, and whatever rightness there may be in their views is of no
credit to them, but on the contrary is very much to their disgrace.
Those who openly and consciously hold such extreme doctrine may be few in
number, but there are very many who allow such ideas to influence their
actions, thus diminishing their efficiency and destroying their hope of
success in life.
That is most worth working for which has the largest and highest aims. In
the case of an organization of which the aims are universal, which moreover
imparts the Integral Truth and produces an Integral Beauty and Integral
Goodness, the man of real intelligence and goodwill perceives that he has
found that which is more worth working for than anything else in the world.
When he has fulfilled his primary social duties, he is eager to lend his aid
in every way possible, and to be an effective collaborator in the Great Work
in whatever way is permitted to him.
And even though knowing that he can never work so hard as to actually repay
human society, the Macrocosm and its Source for what has been given him, and
that no amount of work he ever does can be considered as a full and complete
compensation for what he receives, he should realize that the spirit in which
it is done and the nature of the aims he cherishes have their due effect upon
the value of what is accomplished. Therefore, whether he can give much
assistance or little, he will give it with joy and delight and with the
satisfaction of knowing that its value to the world is multiplied many times
by reason of the exalted nature of the aims towards which it is efficiently
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From time to time new revelations are announced or otherwise proposed. Recently, on one of the online services, a discussion folder was opened about a new book, arguing for a new revelation. This is a pretty common occurrence, and the proponents for this particular book have indicated that they don't want exposure in the TLC. Still, an issue of the testing of revelation came up, and I thought our readers would like to ponder the question. Here is a substantially edited cut from my discussions over there (wherever "there" may be!).
One of the proponents took exception to my observation: "all revelation
depends on ideas and vocabulary already present in the receiving mind."
He described how he had a vision involving a mystical passage and meeting
with an individual claiming to have been E____. There was a promise that he
would remember what he needed as he came to need it.
I responded that his experience was not incompatible with my observation.
The matter of remembering is particularly important, since it is not possible
to remember without either complete images or tags to existing memories. He
had described an experience of death, rock, passage, meeting the equivalent of
people and similar things that can be associated with daily life.
The gentleman further remarked that he was told about various things,
giving some familiar mystical terms to characterize the experience.
I replied that all those things are common elements in the present culture,
including the 19th century and earlier. Some of those terms were either
coined or very popular from 75 to 150 years ago. In a completely non-mystical
venue, as a child, I began talking about an animal called a "platypus". My parents denied that such an animal existed. A year later, there was an
article about that Australian monotreme in the local newspaper -- the first
instance of my consciously knowing from external sources that such a creature
existed. There are many unprovable theories about transmission of terminology
and ideas intangibly in society. There are also theories about accidental
observation and unconscious imprint from sight of books, sound of conversation
and similar things -- usually raised in efforts to de-bunk claims of
reincarnation with memory of events and languages from previous lives.
In my studies, all revelation takes a cultural or countercultural form.
One uses ideas and context from life either directly contemporary or from
modern ideas about the past. New ideas can be formed by seeing connections
between apparently disconnected contemporary ideas or by making moral or other
decisions about various things. The future is sometimes prophesied. Random
elements of image and name can come in, but rarely with more than a labeling
or summarizing quality. Examples would include the entire Bible and, more
recently, Crowley's Liber AL -- in the latter, various ideas and entire phrases
about Thelema and Egyptian deities can be traced to printed books from
contemporary authors back to about the year 1500. New ideas do come in, but
always from the garden of the modern day. Revelation can provide entirely
alien or novel concepts, but to write them down and communicate them requires
contemporary language and ideas.
A test frequently imposed is to the predictive, innovative and "living"
nature of the revealed texts. By this standard, the text must pass three
tests to be considered revelation.
1. It must predict events which have not yet come to pass, do actually
later come to pass and cannot be imagined based on present knowledge and
2. It must disclose knowledge not only absent at the time from the person
receiving the revelation, but utterly impossible to come from the environment
of that person in any fashion.
3. It must be impossible of narrow interpretation to exclusion of other
interpretation -- having the quality of talking to each earnest reader uniquely
and leading to further revelation.
Unfortunately, #1 is always challengeable by some argument in every
instance and #2 is always a matter of proving a negative. Application of
these two standards is to an extent subjective. In practice, #3 is usually
the deciding factor.
-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)
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Events Calendar for March 1996 e.v.
|3/3/96||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/4/96||Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM|
(call to attend)
|3/10/96||Thelema Lodge Luncheon meeting 12:30||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/10/96||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/11/96||John Dee reading group 8PM w/Clay||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/17/96||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/18/96||Section 2 reading group w/Catlin|
Geo. Meredith's The shaving of
Shagpat 8PM at Oz house
|3/20/95||Vernal Equinox ritual 7PM||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/23/96||Enochian Liturgy Group Workshop|
on Scrying at 2PM
|3/24/96||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/25/96||Sirius Oasis meeting 8:PM Berkeley||Sirius Oasis|
|3/27/96||Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM|
(call to attend)
|3/29/96||Astrological Cycles workship 7PM|
with Grace in Berkeley
|3/31/96||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
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