Thelema Lodge Calendar for November 1996 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for November 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.

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

November 1996 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


The Vision and the Voice

Sweet wizard, in whose footsteps I have trod
Unto the shrine of the most obscene god,
So steep the pathway is, I may not know,
Until I reach the summit, where I go.
My love is deathless as the springs of Truth,
My love is pure as is the dawn of youth,
But all my being throbs in rhythm with thine,
Who leadest on to the horizon-line.

These lines were written by Victor Neuburg soon after the month-long series of magical workings performed at the end of 1909 e.v. in the Sahara desert, where he had assisted Aleister Crowley to scry through the aethyrs of the Enochian universe. Neuburg's lines seem to capture a bit of that strange combination of personal devotion, mystical adventure, and magical discipline, which sustained them through the ordeals of their journey. Their achievement, of which Neuburg as scribe kept a complete descriptive record, was soon published as Liber 418, entitled The Vision and the Voice. It was one of Crowley's greatest successes as a descriptive seer, and the accomplishment also established some significant breakthroughs in his magical technique. One of these was the realization, just following the reception of the fifteenth aethyr in the desert outside Bou-Saada at mid-day on 3rd December, that the established erotic relationship between the two men was not magically neutral, and that they could ritually dedicate their couplings to the furtherance of the scrying work. This first dedicated sexual act between them was offered up to Pan, and it not only charged their enthusiasm for the work of the upper aires, but also helped to prepare Crowley's imagination for the magical formulations which two years later in The Book of Lies attracted the attention of the O.T.O. and led to his invitation to its upper degrees. (Neuburg, on his own part, must also have been impressed by the results, for he titled his next volume of verse, published a few months later -- and from which the poem above is taken -- The Triumph of Pan!)
Crowley and Neuburg had formed a close relationship as master and student -- with the roles reversed in bed, where Crowley was the receptive partner -- while spending the previous summer together in Paris and on a walking tour of Spain. Neuburg returned afterwards to complete his last terms at Cambridge, but when he left the university in June 1909 e.v. he headed straight for Boleskine House for a magical retirement under Crowley's supervision. Afterwards the two men spent much of the summer in London at the offices of The Equinox. It was the beginning of a critical period in Crowley's development, including his recovery of the Liber AL manuscript (while searching in the Boleskine attic for a pair of skis promised to one of Neuburg's friends), and his subsequent rededication to Thelema. It was also the period of Crowley's divorce from Rose, the now seriously depressed and alcoholic Scarlet Woman who had been the fulcrum on which the aeon turned only five years before, when the recovered manuscript had been produced. As their dissolution processed through the Scottish courts that autumn, Crowley may well have preferred to be away from Britain and as unavailable as possible.
A world traveler, who had once listed his address for "bills, writs, summonses, etc. [as] Camp XI, the Baltoro Glacier, Baltistan," Crowley knew how to disappear. Arriving in Algiers with Neuburg in the middle of November 1909 e.v., he found easy inexpensive lodgings in various French-speaking resort hotels, and they explored the surrounding desert together. For a project they set about reviewing Crowley's old Golden Dawn Enochian studies, begun a decade earlier during his brief formal membership in that unstable Hermetic Fraternity. He carried one of his notebooks from that time, into which he had transcribed the complete series of Enochian calls; the book also contained his notes from the attempt, made on a mountaineering trip to Mexico nine years before, to explore the two lowest aethyrs on his own. On 23rd November 1909 e.v. Crowley entered a new note in this journal (now preserved at the Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin), resolving to "get the rest" of the aethyrs if possible. That same evening, in Aumale, Algeria, he and Neuburg initiated the series with their reception of BAG, a vision of the 28th aethyr. The others followed in rapid succession, bringing the series to completion on 20th December.

At Thelema Lodge a tradition of reading aloud through the entire text of The Vision and the Voice, with each aethyr given on the anniversary of its original reception (now 87 years ago), has been firmly established for us by Caitlin. Her readings of Liber 418 each year at the end of autumn have guided scores of aspirants to the Enochian gnosis through the thirty aires for a decade now, with this year's being her tenth complete cycle. Each aethyr will be read at the time and on the date recorded for it in Neuburg's record. In a few cases the visions came in discreet sections, and those will be read at their particular times. Most (but not all) of the readings will be held at Oz House in Oakland, and when they are scheduled for difficult hours of the day or night they can usually be repeated (by request) at 8:00 in the evening. For directions to Oz and updated information on this series, call Caitlin at (510) 654-3580.
For the two earlier Mexican visions which preceded the main series, Crowley omitted to record any times, so TEX (30) on 14th November and RII (29) on the 17th will be read at 8:00 PM. We continue with BAG (28) on 23rd November, and ZAA (27) on the 24th, both also at 8:00 PM. On 25th November two visions were recorded, DES (26) at 1:10 PM and UTI (25) at 8:40 PM, followed by NIA (24) the next day at 2:00 PM. TOR (23) on 28th November is at 9:30 AM, with LIN (22) that same afternoon at 4:00, and ASP (21) following day at 1:30 PM. The November aethyrs close with two more on the 30th, KHR (20) at 9:15 AM and POP (19) at 10:00 PM. This will leave the upper eighteen aethyrs still to come, with readings to be held in December; consult Caitlin or Liber 418 for advance dates.


Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

The Mass of the Gnostic Catholic Church, celebrated each Sunday evening in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge, is our central ritual focus for open group working in the aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child. We welcome for mass all whose will it is to participate in this communion of the gnosis with us. Those attending for the first time please call ahead for information and directions at (510) 652-3171. Now that we are back on "standard time" the celebration will clock in an hour earlier, so all who attend should arrive before 7:30, to be summoned into the temple shortly thereafter.
Members of the lodge take turns at leading the community in this weekly celebration as officers of the Gnostic Mass, and all are encouraged to experiment with the roles privately, and to form mass teams to practice and perform the mass. (One might say, either to play it or to work it, as a ritual.) We are also glad of frequent visiting members from elsewhere in the Order, who share in the celebration with us. For a date on the mass schedule it is usually best to think at least six weeks ahead, and consult with the lodgemaster to be included on the temple calendar when your team is ready.

In 1944 e.v. a manifesto of the Gnostic Catholic Church was drafted by one of its English bishops, the Reverend W. B. Crowe, acting outside of the O.T.O. but under the supervision of Aleister Crowley, who administered the E.G.C. as its patriarch, Baphomet. "You might of course start afresh," Crowley wrote to Crowe; "begin by open-air preachings of Liber Oz; you might find supporters in unexpected quarters, the work and opportunity would grow; in a year you might be standing for Parliament." In a series of letters over several months, Crowley stressed to Crowe that "the Mass has to be done in a proper temple," but encouraged him not to be too private or exclusive.
Baphomet proclaimed that "the time has come for the administration of the Sacraments," and that ecclesiastical titles or charters of high initiation were irrelevant: "I always dislike dragging in these claims. Besides, quite Low Initiates can do this work." In another letter he comments: "Don't be a bishop unless you can look like a bishop; otherwise people laugh at you, and your real value is obscured." Crowe's manifesto, and the foregoing quotations from Crowley's comments and letters, are reprinted here from an essay by Hymenaeus Beta, the present Father of the church, in The Magical Link 3:4 (winter 1990):

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The world has entered (March, 1904) the New Aeon, the Age of the Crowned and Conquering Child. The predominance of the Mother (Aeon of Isis) and of the Father (Aeon of Osiris) are of the past. Many people have not completely fulfilled those formulae, and they are still valid in their limited spheres; but the Masters have decided that the time has come for the administration of the Sacraments of the Aeon of Horus to those capable of comprehension. The sexes are equal and complementary. 'Every man and every woman is a star' AL I:3. The priestess must now function as well as the priest.
The expression of the above thesis in public ritual is to begin by the establishment of the Gnostic Mass which, while adhering to the vital elements of the most ancient true tradition, fixes its attention on, and its aims most truly in, the Future.
Love is the law, love under will.
(signed W. B. Crowe)


Initiations

Initiations for advancement in Ordo Templi Orientis will be conducted at Thelema Lodge on Saturday afternoon 16th November, with all attending requested to make contact with the lodge well ahead of time to be included in the ritual and feast. Membership in the Order is by initiation, the basic grades of which may be requested through the M M M by application from candidates who are free, of full age, and of good report. Application forms are available at the lodge, and when completed and returned will be sent on to the office of the initiation secretary, whereupon the ceremony is scheduled after a forty-day period of candidacy. Beyond the First Degree, candidates must be current in their dues with O.T.O. before undertaking further advancement. All applications require sponsorship from two active members who are initiates of the degree being requested, and the importance of sponsorship -- both magically and administratively -- is gradually coming to be better appreciated by many members. Sponsorship is a relationship which tests each of the members involved, and which may involve hidden consequences and responsibilities, even when transacted casually and without apparent care.


Classes and Events

The Thelema Lodge Section Two Reading Group meets to read and discuss selections from the supernatural and horrific fiction of Arthur Machen on Monday evening 18th November at Oz House. Caitlin will lead the group, which meets at 8:00; call her ahead at (510) 654-3580 if interested in attending. Machen was the pen name of Arthur Llewellyn Jones (1863-1947), born into a clerical and intellectual Welsh family which was for a time too impoverished to pay the fees for his schooling, although in the 1890s an inheritance freed him to devote his time to literature. He published several important translations, including The Heptameron of Queen Marguerite of Navarre (1886) and twelve volumes of The Memoirs of Casanova (1894), which appeared in the same year as his first widely-known fictional work, a novella called The Great God Pan.
In addition to novels and stories, he occupied himself with various journalistic and dramatic enterprises, until by the 1920s he had become quite well known, and his Works were collected in nine volumes. It is very likely this edition which Crowley had in mind when he recommended The Works of Arthur Machen to A A aspirants in the Section Two reading list. Machen was an active occultist, and was initiated into the Golden Dawn on 21st November 1899 as Frater Avallaunius. Over the following five years he attained at least to the grade of Practicus in the original Isis-Urania Temple, and he later described the Order (changing the name to the "Twilight Star") in his autobiography Things Near and Far (1923). He carried on a friendly correspondence with A. E. Waite for most of their lives, and attended the Second Convocation of Waite's "Independent and Rectified Rite" in April 1904 e.v.

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"All divination," wrote Frater Perdurabo as a preface to his early treatise on Tarot, "resembles an attempt by a man born blind to obtain sight by getting blind drunk." Join Bill Heidrick at his home in San Anselmo on Wednesday evening 20th November for the eighth meeting in the Thelema Lodge Tarot series, beginning at 7:30. We will focus this month upon the Strength (Lust), Hermit, and Wheel of Fortune trumps for the illustrated lecture and close with a reading demonstration. The Crowley/Harris Thoth Tarot deck presents symbolically the entire range of the Beast's legacy to Thelemites, and this series places their achievement in a context of Tarot history and other deck designs, revealing many layers of meaning in the images. Newcomers are always welcome to attend any meeting in this series, and additional information may be obtained by calling Bill ahead of time at (415) 454-5176.

Thelema Lodge will host a special reception in honor of our hardest working member this month. Saturday evening 9th November marks the eleventh anniversary of Dame Caitlin Aliciane's entry into the Order (Minerval at Aiwass Oasis in San Jose). Bring bread and beer and cheese to the lodge around 7:00, and afterwards we'll light her up and pass her around. On this special occasion, donations of fine Scotch whisky will be gladly accepted by Her Grace the Companion of the Graal.

Grace's series on the Houses in Astrology continues on Friday evening 22nd November (one week early this month), with the topic of discussion for this month being the sixth house of the horoscope. Traditionally the sixth house rules the workplace, the realm of duty and day-to-day responsibilities, the maintenance of health, and -- appropriately for the season -- food (which many people put a lot of energy into at this time of year). We will examine charts -- including your own -- to see in each case just how this sixth house is operative. The meeting takes place from 7:00 to 9:00 at Grace Astrological Temple in Berkeley, and Grace makes the special request that all who plan to come by please speak to her ahead of time, or call at (510) 843-STAR.

Oz House invites Thelemites from near and far to a "Feast for No Reason" on Thursday evening 28th November; call Caitlin ahead of time at (510) 654-3580 if interested. This will be a "pot luck" dinner organized along traditional lines for the holiday, so be prepared to lend an ear to the planning as well as a hand to the preparation. Fraternity means family when we gather 'round the feast table, so bring your aunts and uncles to Oz this year and we'll show 'em what the aboriginals showed the pilgrims.

Use of the lodge library facilities may be arranged in advance with one of the lodge officers, or utilize one of the proposed library nights from 8:00 to 10:00 (which should also be confirmed in advance). This month Wednesday evening 6th November and Tuesday evening 19th November are the scheduled dates, which may sometimes be changed by request. The lodge officers host a monthly luncheon meeting for planning and business concerns, which will be held on Sunday 10th November at 12:30 (please make advance arrangements to attend). Scheduling and requests for events and activities can also be pursued with the lodgemaster on an individual basis at any mutually convenient time.

Sirius Oasis will hold its regular monthly meeting on Monday evening 25th November in Berkeley; call ahead for directions and information at (510) 527- 2855. PantheaCon 97 is being held in Oakland next February (Valentine's Day weekend) at the downtown Marriott Hotel, and the Sirius meeting will offer a preview of some of the scheduled events, rituals, and attractions. For PantheaCon 97 information, contact the Ancient Ways store at (510) 653-3244.


Our dear Brother Criss Piss, known to the world as Richard Christopher Legener, attained his Greater Feast as this edition went to press. Lung cancer took him from us, but his memory will never be lost.


Crowley Classics

This travel essay first appeared in the 1st March 1911 e.v. issue of The Bystander, a journal of the London theatrical world in which Crowley had published a two-part essay on The Rites of Eleusis a few months earlier. The journey described was made one year following the original tour in 1909 e.v. which had generated The Vision and the Voice. Again Crowley took with him as companion and "disciple" A A Frater Omnia Vincam (Victor Neuburg), and they even discussed some additional scrying work to investigate possible "sub- aethyrs" as a pendant to the visions in Liber 418. Leaving London shortly after "The Rite of Luna" closed the first cycle of The Rites of Eleusis at Caxton Hall on 30th November 1910 e.v., they spent a few days in Marseilles (during which Crowley wrote "An Essay upon Number"), taking ship for Africa on 9th December, then continuing by train from Algiers to their old stomping grounds in Bou Saada. On 14th December Neuburg sent a postcard to Ethel Archer from their hotel announcing "we start walking tomorrow." It turned out harder than expected, and the stress of the journey, partly as recounted in this article, proved too much for Victor, who lacked Crowley's powerful constitution. Apparently no additional scrying was carried out, and a few weeks later, as Crowley put it, "I left Neuburg in Biskra to recuperate," while he returned to London with a stop in Paris.
Our presentation of the essay has been transcribed from the facsimile reproduced in Ecclesia Gnostica I:2 (Emeryville, CA: Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, 1985), 39-40, which came originally from the files of Grady McMurtry.

A Blizzard in the Sahara

by Aleister Crowley

On my first trip to the Sahara just over a year ago, the local proverb ran: "It never rains south of Sidi Aissa." A month's tramp did little to dispel this dream; we had a perfect time, so perfect that last December, having brought "The Rites of Eleusis" to a fortunate conclusion, I said: "Let me return to the desert."
Therefore did I don the breeches of buckskin and the ancient coat, loaded the Webley, and filled the rücksac with tobacco. Therefore did I speed unto Bou Saada, and, seated firmly but gently in front of the hotel, besought Allah to provide me with a baggage-camel. I got one; but it was Eblis who sent it!
I also had an interpreter, named Mohammed, but he soon taught us to call him "Lloyd George."
Two days later we started for the desert. The first halt, Sidi el Hamel, is a Saharan University. There was a "marabout," a holy man, and he received me brotherly and regaled me with Kous-kous, which I permitted my faithful disciple to share.
(I always travel with a disciple; it saves trouble. I let his beard grow and shaved his head, except for two tufts on the forehead, to make him look like the Devil. He did. The natives were very much impressed.)
From el Hamel we wandered southward to Ain Semarg, Ain Meleh, and Ain Rich.
From Ain Rich there are no villages until Sidi Khaled, distant one hundred kilometers -- which, considering the bad going, is worth one hundred miles.
It was a beautiful morning, with but a touch of north-east wind. We were feeling very fit; I had forgotten all about England, and we began to congratulate ourselves on another pleasant journey. I suppose the north-west wind was eavesdropping.
We had some food in an unexpected and decayed hovel about noon; for the wind had got up sufficiently to make it too cold to sit about. An hour later we struck for the mountains. It was a really fine mountain pass; the descent a splendid gorge, precipice-walled. The camel-driver wanted to pitch camp about three o'clock, and we had trouble with him.
Camel-drivers have no sense at all; in England they would get either the Embankment or the Home Office. This imbecile had been all his life in the desert, and had not yet learnt that he and his camel needed food. He never took any with him, and having reached a suitable spot thirty miles from the nearest blade of grass, complained of hunger.
I had hoped he would have found some thistles.
This by parenthesis. We wandered on, and presently emerging from the gorge came upon an Arab, who spoke of a Bedouin encampment down stream.
This we found a few minutes after nightfall. The wind was violent and bitter beyond belief, but no rain fell. "Rain never falls south of Sidi Aissa."
So we fed and turned in. Our tent was an Arab lean-to, a mere blanket propped on sticks, some necessary to its support, others designed to interfere with the comfort of the people inside.
My disciple, fatigued by the day's march, fell asleep.
As it happened -- pure luck, for he had no more sense than the camel-driver; disciples never have -- he had chosen the one possible spot. As for us, I woke in about half an hour to feel the most devilish down-pour. It was as bad as Darjeeling and the ridge that leads to Kinchenjanga. We had pitched the tent in a fairly sheltered spot under the walls of the river; but the rain ran down the props of the tent and through the tent itself, and soaked us.
In the morning, after a night spent in that condition when one is half asleep from exhaustion and half awake from misery, the storm still blew.
We waited till nearly nine. The Bedouins told us that four miles on there was a village. We thought of coffee, and made tracks. So off we went over the sopping desert and reached the "village" in an hour. There were palms and gardens -- and one deserted hovel, with no door. The roof, made of boughs weighted with big stones and made tight with mud, was half broken through. A giant stone hung imminent, half-way fallen. All day we waited for the rain to stop falling in the place "where it never fell."
Night came, and the blizzard redoubled its violence; but the shelter allowed us a little sleep until the mud dissolved, and the roof became a sieve. The rest of the night was a shower-bath.
In the morning there was no great sign of improvement. I had to kick the camel-driver into action and chase the camels with my own fair feet. He had a million excuses for not going on, all on a level. "The camels would catch cold." Good from the man who had left them all night in the rain! "They would slip." "They would die." "They were too hungry." From the man who hadn't brought food for them! "They were tired" -- and so on. But I got the party off at last, and came in a couple of hours to a tomb with a coffin in it. There they sat down, and refused to stir. I simply took no notice. My disciple took one camel and I took the other and went off. We left them in the tomb, grousing.
Steering by map and compass, I judged a good pass through the next range of mountains, and made for it. The flat desert was standing in water; and the streams were difficult for the camels, who hate water as much as disciples do.
It was better on the mountain-side. Near the top of the pass we perceived our men following, as the lesser of two evils. I was sorry, in a way; it would have been a fine adventure to worry through to Sidi Khaled with those two brutes and a daft Davie!
It was just at the top that I said, without any apparent reason, "The storm's over." My disciple did his Thomas act. There was no opening in the furious grey heaven; the wind raged and the rain poured. But I stick to it; I had felt the first contention of the south wind in a momentary lull. And I was right -- as I always am.
(If my readers want modesty, they must pay for it at separate higher rates.)
The descent of the pass was far from easy. The "road" crosses and recrosses the bed of the river as often as it can; sometimes even follows the course.
And this stream was a furious spate, slippery and dangerous for men, impassable for members of the Alpine Club, and almost impassable for camels. It was nearly nightfall before we left the gorge, and a barren plain confronted us.
It was useless to struggle on much further. The rain still poured; the desert stood six inches deep in water. The hills were a mass of snow.
(We heard afterwards that many houses had been washed away at Ouled Djellal in this unprecedented storm. Traffic was interrupted by snow on the East Algerian Railway, and the Meréchal Bugéaud was forty hours late at Marseilles, having had to beat up under the lee of the Spanish shore for shelter.)
So I picked out a good big tree by the stream, and we pitched camp.
We had little hope of lighting a fire; but there is in the desert a certain impermeable grass, and by using this as a starter we got it going. No sooner had the blaze sprung up, filling the night with golden showers, than the envious stars determined to rival the display. Every cloud disappeared as by magic. But the fire remained the popular favourite!
All night I toiled to dry myself and my clothes, refreshing the old Adam with coffee, potted pheasant, and Garibaldi biscuits at not infrequent intervals.
The morning was ecstasy. The light came over the sand, wave upon wave of grey. The desert was dry. There was no water in the stream, save in rare pools. We struck camp early.
We glanced up at the path which we had travelled; the ranges still glowed with unaccustomed snow; from the north-west the wind still struggled fitfully to assert its dominion; but we, with joy and praise in our hearts, turned our glad faces, singing, to the assurgent sun.

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BOOK REVIEW

The Equinox IV:1
The opening number has recently been issued of what may become known as "the black Equinox" for its beautiful binding, with blazing goldstamped eye in the triangle (as on "the blue Equinox") and spine designed corresponding to the uniform edition of the third volume. It appears that what some had rumored to be just another "volume of silence," (either in the spirit of bibliographic regimentation, or as a sad reminder of Crowley's -- and the world's -- reduced circumstances during the years of the Great War, when plans for volume two of The Equinox had to be scrapped) may well turn out to be a volume of commentary instead. The bulk of its contents already having been included in earlier Equinox volumes, this issue presents texts which have been edited anew and faithfully expanded to incorporate the Beast's own revisions, annotations, and widening magical perspectives.
The new issue is Commentaries on the Holy Books, and Other Papers, by Aleister Crowley, with H. P. Blavatsky, J. F. C. Fuller, and Charles Stansfeld Jones, appearing as The Equinox, volume four, number one (spring 1996 e.v.), published from York Beach, Maine, by Samuel Weiser in association with Ordo Templi Orientis, edited and designed (anonymously) by our Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta. Its 382 (plus 10 prefatory) pages include about two dozen full-page illustrations and figures, many in color, and the issue is indexed, with a bibliography and brief editorial notes. Priced at $40, there is nothing cheap about this bright, clear, sturdy, and elegant book, which looks -- in its sparkling jacket, illustrated by J. F. C. Fuller -- a little like an old Russian lacquered musical box.
If we calculate a decade since the last new Equinox issue (volume three number ten, in the spring of 1986 e.v.), we must also acknowledge that in those ten years much of the work of connecting that new publication back to the 1919 "blue Equinox" (III:1, spring 1919 e.v.) has also had to be done, with numbers 3, 4, and 6 reissued in new editions, and more work to go on a few remaining numbers in the third volume. Although the new IV:1 does not contain a full introduction, we can glean -- from some of the apparatus that it does include -- a brief report of this ongoing project. The bibliography entry for The Equinox on pages 368-9 hints wonderfully that "a reconstruction" of the lost issue III:2 "is in preparation" (!), and also promises III:7, "in preparation as I Ching." We find also the promise of IV:2, for autumn 1996 e.v., The Vision of the Voice and Other Papers, (due out very soon; the projected publication date is now January 1997 e.v.). Also bibliographized are a forthcoming edition of Crowley's AHA! edited by James Wasserman, and the new edition just released of The Law is for All edited by Hymenaeus Beta and Louis Wilkinson fils, as well as a collected edition of The Temple of Solomon the King, now in press.
Equinox IV:1 does contain some new material, and following the briefest of editorial "Praemonstrances," comparing the A A and O.T.O., the issue begins with a previously unpublished and unnoticed little essay by Crowley, entitled "Occultism." The provenience of this piece is nowhere alluded to, but the editor has since informed us that it comes from a Warburg typescript, perhaps written around the opening of World War One. It is a summary of familiar instructions to A A aspirants, recommending the established curriculum. It also gives A A examination papers (from 1913) for two of the grades.
We continue with "One Star in Sight" and the "Account of A A" in Liber 33, followed by Liber 13, a brief summary of the A A grades, and then a fresh presentation of Liber Collegii Sancti (185), the texts of the Oaths and Tasks of the grades, previously available only in the back of Regardie's old Gems from the Equinox. Next comes Liber Vesta (700), giving us another new book closely related to the foregoing texts, a formerly unknown and unlisted "Book of the Robes of the Order," complete with eight newly prepared color paintings illustrating their designs and insignia.
The greatest treat is Liber Pyramidos (671), a full-color facsimile of Crowley's "illuminated manuscript" of this initiatory ritual text. Ornamented with symbolic drawings and designs in the margins and between the lines, this stunning work is even reminiscent in places of the engravings of William Blake. Only the following "Four Paintings" of A A Frater Per Ardua (J. F. C. Fuller), with their fabulous draftsmanship and intensely bright colors on their apparently infinite black grounds, could possibly have come next.
After the brief text of the Invocation of the Augoeides, the first of this issue's really substantial texts, Liber LXV with Crowley's extensive and especially valuable commentary upon it, is presented. Its five chapters occupy 130 pages, about one-third of the primary text-space in this issue. Previously available only in xeroxed study-group editions, such as the serialized presentation offered by In the Continuum years ago or the more recently updated version available to students of the College of Thelema, this commentary is in itself a major work of Aleister Crowley's, and even considered on its own its permanent publication fully justifies this whole new Equinox issue.
Somewhat less explicable is the space given to another text of comparable size; approximately another third of the issue has been devoted to (or expended upon) Liber 71, Crowley's commentary on Madame Blavatsky's "Voice of the Silence, Two Paths, and Seven Portals," reprinted from Equinox III:1. We do conclude with a bang, however, as the last section is "The Shorter Commentaries on the Holy Books" (as previewed in a recent issue of The Magical Link). These little keys to Libri 1, 7, 27, 66, 370, 400, and 570 provide fascinating insights into specific passages of the Holy Books, making the present issue a true companion to Equinox III:9, The Holy Books of Thelema. For Liber A'ash (370) there are two commentaries, the more elaborate one prepared by Charles Stansfeld Jones, with Crowley's further comments and additions. We then close the book with a wonderful fold-out Tree of Life diagram -- easily available for consultation while the book is open to earlier material -- and then only four pages of textual and editorial annotations, but with the usual excellent reference apparatus.

--- Contributed by Frater Achimago

from the Grady Project:

Noah's Arc

The demon headed Gods of Space
Come down on wings of fire.

Diana, Goddess of the Chase,
Has strung Her deadly lyre.

The Hierophant will, golden face
And hieroglyph, inspire.

     Moon of Midnight
     Moon of Space
     Moon of many an Alien Race
     Moon of Insight
     Moon of Seeing
     Moon of many an Alien Being

The Gods of Outer Space have met
The Demons of the Soul;

Great bug eyed monsters of The Get
With Devil and with Troll.

The Angel spreads vast wings of jet:
The Night Mere is in foal.

     Moon of Midnight
     Moon of Space
     Moon of many an Alien Race
     Moon of Insight
     Moon of Seeing
     Moon of many an Alien Being

                -- Grady L. McMurtry
                              8/27/61

Corresponding to the Tarot trump of the Universe in Grady's cycle The Angel and the Abyss, this poem was originally published in Grady McMurtry: Poems (London & Bergen, Norway, O.T.O., 1986), then in The Grady Project 4 (Berkeley: O.T.O., 1988).

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A Thelemic Manifesto in Honor of Saint William Blake

(Liber Oz in the style of the Prophet of Albion)

contributed by Lew

He who desires but acts not, breeds pestilence.

Energy is Eternal delight.

Exuberance is beauty.

1. Each and all have the right to live by their own law --

To live in the way that they will to do:
To work as they will:
To play as they will:
To rest as they will:
To die when and how they will.

2. Each and all have the right to eat what they will:

To drink what they will:
To dwell where they will:
To move as they will on the face of the earth.

3. Each and all have the right to think what they will:

To speak what they will:
To write what they will:
To draw, paint, carve, etch, mould, build as they will:
To dress as they will.

4. Each and all have the right to love as they will:

"Children of the future age
Reading this indignant page,
Know that in a former time
Love! sweet love! was thought a crime."

5. Each and all have the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.

One law for the Lion and the Ox is oppression.

For everything that lives is holy.


An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XXI - The Abyss and Beyond.

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

The experience of crossing the Abyss is a little like the Tower in Tarot, a more extreme experience not unlike that found on the path between Hod and Netzach. There is a danger of falling down the Tree, as one can from any of the intermediate Sephirot; but the height is greater. Unless everything is properly balanced, one is liable to come toppling down from the very top. A Tree of Life working is primarily a rational process using anything that can move the mind. In contrast, a Kundalini working primarily uses the physical body as a pattern for breaking the mind free. In both cases, a long preparation leads to a jumping-off place to realms beyond the normal world. That leap is crucial. If a person breaks free but lacks the energy to complete the experience, there will be a crashing down and a feeling of tiredness and enduring weakness. If a person can break free and have enough strength to send awareness beyond, there may be trouble getting back down. Too much of this can put a mind so far into another world that the mundane world won't be understood for a while. After a period, things usually connect up again. The classic three dangers of these pursuits are sickness, insanity and an early death. It's nice to remember this before we go much further.

Not much can be said at this point regarding the Supernal Sephirot. Those reaches are distant indeed from the sorts of things we have discussed up to now. Still, a hint of problems related to those regions can be garnered.
Here's an example of what may happen with partial attainment of Binah. Consider Rasputin -- the famous Russian leader, mystic, healer, all around ladies man and weird guy. I won't vouch for Rasputin's personal capabilities, but judging by what it took to kill him and what he was able to accomplish, after starting life as a peasant, he must have had something pretty huge going on. For the sake of illustration let's say that it was an imperfect grasp upon Binah on the Tree of Life, a feeling and power of absolute formative strength. So great was this state of attainment that he could bring his body back from near death, and also do the same for others. He could look into the mind of another person, comprehend its nature and rule it. That's a power only proper to Binah, although there are minor forms of it that may manifest elsewhere on the Tree of Life. It is overwhelming mental force. It must be restrained more than the blissful things of Chesed. It is powerful enough to kill either directly or indirectly by influence over another person's life. Once attained, the problem in Binah is a combination of great power and inability to explain ideas to others. It is necessary to either act upon the world or to gradually draw other people up to ones own level of awareness.
A person in Chokmah is in a very strange state of awareness, not unlike the artist who put up a row of bed sheets across Marin County. There is no evident utility, only the expression of energy as a pure thing. Here the shell or problem is not too great, but other people can't understand at all. There is no great danger of hurling hapless souls across the Abyss at a glance. Behavior may be odd enough to occasion psychiatric commitment, but as long as a person is in this state it will not matter one way or the other. If you can hold on to the state of Chokmah, there is no real need for concern. However, if you can only hold it temporarily, when you come out of it you may find that you are in a strange place. It's a state of transcending the rational and having enormous vitality, beyond even caring for ones own body or circumstance.
Only Keter is beyond. There is one thing that can be wrong with Keter, especially if the ascent to it is by only four Sephirot up the middle pillar or some other short route. Since Keter is the place of perfect unity, one may come back from that place distinctly different in some ways. It's akin to writing down an idea when you are half asleep, only to find that when you have awakened, the idea only made sense in your dream. A thought derived directly from Keter may be implausible when diverted directly to the earth plane.
The next installments of this series will begin a look at other approaches to Qabalah: multiplying the Tree, the Tree as a growing a changing thing, and other versions of the Tree of Life. We'll have a look at Trees within Trees and some applications to ordinary life. In due course we will return to these higher Sephirot, armed a little better to approach them.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah, Part XX           Next: Qabalah from the Tipheret Point of View.


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From the Outbasket

Now that the weather is changing, it might be time for some indoor entertainment. Here is an observation intended to provoke discussion. This material may seem more controversial to some than to others, but it is offered in the spirit of questioning preconceptions and established opinion.

On the issue of the origin of the word Pagan:

Many dictionaries state that this term derives from the Latin paganus and signifies in origin: a peasant or civilian. This is not correct. The characterization is in the nature of a "glancing blow" at the facts, complicated by over generalization. Sources giving this and related origins for the term pagan sometimes state that the source for this information in antiquity is Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, a 1st century biography collection. Specifically, this comes from Plutarch's account of the life of Numa Pompilius, founder of the ancient state religion of Rome, but not the city-state itself.

The following is therefore the primary source on the origin of the term pagan, via English translation of Plutarch's book (John Dryden translation, revised by Arthur Hugh Clough), Modern Library edition, page 88:

"Numa, therefore, hoping agriculture would be a sort of charm to captivate the affections of his people to peace, and viewing it rather as a means to moral than to economical profit, divided all the lands into several parcels, to which he gave the name of pagus, or parish, and over every one of them he ordained chief overseers; ..."

Thus, although one can positively say that the Latin paganus, does mean peasant or country dweller, this term derives from the usage that a pagus was an administrative division of the Roman countryside, not simply that all rural indigenous people were classed as such -- in fact, since the Romans were colonists, it never simply meant indigenous people in the old usage. Bluntly, the Roman Christians became pagans and mustered under parishes from this original usage. If you wanted to ignore all the twists and turns of usage over the centuries and to stick with the original, you could say that anyone living in a parish and going to the parish church was a pagan. The modern American word for Numa's pagus is county, except in Louisiana, where these land divisions are still called parish. Of course, in the USA, the connection to a religious hierarchy and temple has been removed from these governmental divisions, by the 1st amendment to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights.
Incidentally, one might be tempted to pursue the origin of pagan in the Greek, e.g. in the Athenian usage Areopagus, for the Supreme Court of Justice on the Hill of Aries at Athens, GR:Alpha-rho-epsilon-iota-sigma  pi-alpha-gamma-omicron-sigma, but that means Aries mount, emphasizing the coldness of the elevation. The Latin apparently derives from the judicial usage, not the word root.
Next issue: Some thoughts toward the mythology of Liber AL in general for the 93rd year of the writing and the Jubilee of the Greater Feast of the Prophet. Again, this will be controversial; but nothing in the way of trying to interpret The Book of the Law. I'll just have a few observations in the direction of what might have appealed to Crowley in Egyptiana in contrast to the Christian mythos.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Events Calendar for November 1996 e.v.

11/3/96Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/6/96Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
11/9/9611 year party for Caitlin 7PMprivate
11/10/96Lodge Luncheon meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
11/10/96Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/14/96Vision and Voice readings begin
at OZ House 8PM TEX(30)
Thelema Ldg.
11/16/96OTO Initiations (call to attend)Thelema Ldg.
11/17/96Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/17/96RII (29) 8PM OZ House
11/18/96Section 2 reading w/Caitlin at OZ
Works of Arthur Machen 8PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/19/96Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
11/20/96Tarot with Bill Heidrick, 7:30 PM
in San Anselmo at 5 Suffield Ave.
Thelema Ldg.
11/22/96"The Houses in Astrology" workshop
with Grace in Berkeley 7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
11/23/96Vision and Voice readings continue
at OZ House 8PM BAG(28)
Thelema Ldg.
11/24/96Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
11/24/96ZAA (27) 8PM OZ House
11/25/96Sirius Oasis meeting 8PM BerkeleySirius Oasis
11/25/96DES (26) 1:10PM OZ House
11/25/96UTI (25) 8:40PM OZ House
11/26/96NIA (24) 2:00PM OZ House
11/28/96OZ house Feast for No reason pot luckIndependent
11/28/96TOR (23) 9:30AM OZ House
11/28/96LIN (22) 4:00AM OZ House
11/29/96ASP (21) 1:30PM OZ House
11/29/96POP (19) 10:00PM OZ House
11/30/96KHR (20) 9:15AM OZ House

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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