Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 1997 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for March 1997 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, 1997 e.v.

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

March 1997 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Anno 93, Year of Thelema!

Sol enters Aries on Thursday 20th March at 5:55 AM, with a ritual observance scheduled in Horus Temple for 7:30 that evening. This Vernal Equinox marks the 93rd anniversary of the Supreme Ritual, Crowley's evocation of Horus in Cairo, which established the aeon of Thelema. Open a year of love under will, the year 93 -- or IV5, attributed to the Hierophant in Tarot -- and celebrate the victory of Horus in the spring with the community of Thelema Lodge. Portions of the ritual will be open to initiates only, but all are invited to bring drums, with food and drink to share, and be a part of the event.


Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

"One of the simplest and most complete of Magick ceremonies is the Eucharist." Thelema Lodge offers an open celebration every week of Liber XV, Aleister Crowley's Gnostic Mass, in Horus Temple on Sunday evenings. We celebrate this ritual as a pagan gnostic communion service which is simultaneously a magical working in which all participate. "It consists in taking common things, transmuting them into things divine, and consuming them." Arrive by 7:30 to await the drawing aside of the outer veil when the Deacon opens the temple for mass. Those who have not been here before are especially welcome to participate, and should call ahead to the lodgemaster at (510) 652-3171 for information and directions. The mass is the spiritual expression of our community as well as being representative of our system of ceremonial magick. "So far, it is a type of every magick ceremony, for the reabsorption of the force is a kind of consumption; but it has a more restricted application, as follows. Take a substance symbolic of the whole course of nature, make it God, and consume it." (The quotations are the four opening sentences of chapter XX, "Of the Eucharist . . ." in Magick in Theory and Practice, Book 4, Part 3.)


Mysteria Mystica Maxima

Initiations in Ordo Templi Orientis are scheduled at Thelema Lodge for Saturday 8th March. As several degrees are being worked at various times, all involved should call ahead or speak with one of the lodge officers before making arrangements to attend. Persons "free, of full age, and of good report" wishing O.T.O. initiation may obtain application papers from the lodge, and should keep closely in touch with the lodge officers during the period of their candidacy.


Workshops and Gatherings

Thelema Lodge promotes iconomancy with a monthly Tarot series, led by Bill Heidrick at his home in San Anselmo, open to all interested students. On the agenda for this month's meeting on Wednesday evening 19th March at 7:30 are the Tower XVI and Star XVII cards, the traditional images of which will be explored in detail with an illustrated presentation, followed by a sample reading or two with commentary by the instructor. Call ahead at (415) 454- 5176 for information or directions.
Familiarity with the images of Tarot and the associations which the cards present in relation to our lives is a prolonged study, growing in clarity and complexity as experience expands the queries which we find ourselves considering. For Crowley, even in middle age and after decades of study, as he assessed his magical achievements in the closing pages of his autohagiographical Confessions, (written in Tunis in the early 1920s e.v.), Tarot continued to present a profound challenge. "The true significance of the Atus of Tahuti, or Tarot Trumps," he writes on page 923, "awaits full understanding. I have satisfied myself that these twenty-two cards compose a complete system of hieroglyphs representing the total energies of the universe. In the case of some cards, I have succeeded in restoring the original form and giving a complete account of their meaning. Others, however, I understand imperfectly, and of some few I have at present obtained no more than a general idea." At about this same time he was exploring a radical solution to one of his great problems of Tarot attribution. As Liber AL proclaimed that Tzaddi "is not the Star," Crowley began around 1923 e.v. to assign the Star card to the Hebrew letter hé instead. (He waited two more decades while considering fully the implications of this alteration before publishing it in The Book of Thoth.)

The Section Two reading group, which meets on Monday evening 24th March at Oz House in Oakland, will be turning this month to Maurice Hewlett's fairy novel Lore of Persepine, when Caitlin leads our reading and discussion beginning at 8:00. Maurice Hewlett (1861-1923), born into a comfortable middle-class family, privately educated, and called to the bar in 1890, became a senior civil servant before retiring to write popular romantic adventure novels after the success in 1898 of his Arthurian book The Forest Lovers. In his later years he also published widely as a poet and essayist. Hewlett's Lore of Proserpine appeared the same year as Crowley's Book of Lies, and is one of the more obscure works on the Section Two list. It has never been reprinted, but fortunately the Oakland Public Library possesses a copy of the original edition (apparently never borrowed, since its acquisition in 1916 e.v., until requested from storage for our reading group). Crowley recommended it as "a suggestive enquiry into the Hermetic Arcanum," and does not appear to have discussed Hewlett or this book elsewhere at all.

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We have recently been offering at the lodge a weekly reading and discussion group, beginning at 7:00 each Sunday evening and continuing until shortly before mass, to study Crowley's own explication of Liber AL. Our guide is the recent edition by Hymenaeus Beta of The Law is for All: The Authorized Popular Commentary to the Book of the Law, originally prepared at Crowley's request by Louis Wilkinson. Come by a little early on Sunday and join us in the lodge "den" for this intense but informal exchange of responses to a challenging and evocative book. For information call Michael at (510) 601-9393.

Grace presents a forum each month on behalf of Thelema Lodge for work and discussion with astrological issues of all kinds, meeting in Berkeley on Friday evening 28th March. The current series of astrological evenings emphasizes the role of the houses of the horoscope, each in turn, and this month's focus is on the tenth house, referring to power, prestige, and status. It shows how we cope with authority and responsibility. It indicates our relationship with our mother, family, and tradition in general. It refers to our worldly progress and our social status; hence it shows the sort of career direction which would best suit us. It indicates our ambition and aspirations, and reveals how we handle our sense of duty toward all matters outside the home. Our meeting is from 7:00 to 9:00, and all are welcome, but all are requested to call ahead at (510) 843-STAR to get directions or to let Grace know who is planning to attend. Bring your own chart, or your birth- data so one can be cast for you.


In Memoriam -- Adam Rostoker

Adam Walks-Between-Worlds is dead. Adam -- bard, writer, technology consultant, rogue, lover, and master of blarney -- was shot outside of his home in Orange County, California, on Thursday night 20th February. As of this writing, no one knows why or by whom, though homicide is being investigated.
Adam was a vibrant presence, a person that the phrase "larger than life" was made for. He had a great many friends from all walks of life, and was considered a brother in many circles, including Thelema Lodge. His visits with us over the years were filled with laughter, music, and love. He always strove to embody the spirit of Pan, and many of us here can attest to his success by the greater joy that he brought to our lives. He could go too far at times; his enthusiasm was, for some people's taste, excessive. But he had a great deal to teach us, through his tireless wit and by his penetrating vision of excellence. By the gods, he was alive! living for all that life was worth, and making the world a richer place. Now he's gone, and he will be greatly missed.


Crowley Classics

This essay first appeared in The International 12:1 (New York: January 1918), 10-14. It is concluded here from its first installment in our February issue.
Crowley's trip to Moscow in 1913 e.v. and the six weeks he spent there that summer as the manager of a seven-piece women's string orchestra precipitated "a period of stupendous spiritual impulse" in him which produced some of his greatest writing. After spending a regular hour around mid-day with a young Hungarian woman he met there (and who introduced him to controlled and consentual sado-masochism), Crowley sat in the gardens attached to Moscow's Hermitage restaurant, or in the Aquarium Theater where his "Ragged Rag-Time Girls" performed, "writing for dear life." Several of his greatest poems, including the "Hymn to Pan," "Morphia," and "The City of God" resulted; also his play The Ship, and Liber XV, the canon of the mass for the Gnostic Catholic Church.
In his poem "The City of God" Crowley "expressed the soul of Moscow," and he considered the present essay, acknowledged as one of his best pieces of travel writing, to be "a prose pendant to this poem." He even boasted, writing a decade later in Confessions, that "many Russians competent to judge have assured me [that it] struck surer to the soul of Russia than anything of Dostoyevsky. Their witness fills me with more satisfaction as to the worth of my work than anything else has ever done" (p. 714).

The Heart of Holy Russia

[concluded]

by Aleister Crowley

IV.

The Moskwa by night has a curious likeness to the Thames; and St Saviour's takes on the aspect of St Paul's. For a second the illusion is complete; then one turns back to the marvelous parapet of the Kremlin, and is again in Asia. One passes into the enchanted garden of Alexander the Third, with its ruins of elder walls, now half hidden by usurping vegetation, always beneath the machicolations of pale orange, crowned by the mighty palace of the Tsar. Moscow has virtue to hallow modernity. The guide-book informs us that such and such was rebuilt in eighteen hundred and something; one is as unmoved in admiration as when one learns that the gargoyles of Notre Dame are Early Victorian. It merely intensifies one's admiration for Early Victoria.
In these gardens monsters play; it is only in keeping. No Pagan dream of centaur, nymph, hermaphrodite, faun, hamadryad, exceeds the soul that laughs in Russian eyes. Who has the key of the garden of Pan? He will find it more useful in Moscow than even in London, where the constant wear of the nerves -- London is the City of Interruptions -- drives all who would remain themselves to explore strange kingdoms, wherein themselves are lost. With a telephone at one's elbow, one is obliged to fill a minute with the wine of a month. Unnecessary task for Moscow, where the minutes are worth months by their own right divine. What is boredom in the west is bliss in the east. It is the elemental forces of Nature that nurse our hearts. London's comedy and tragedy are so glazed over by hypocrisy that London feeds on lies. In Moscow one is constantly faced by facts. The troughs of sulphuric acid between the double windows, without which one could have no daylight in winter, are undeniable.
In Nice the hotel porter can (and does) telegraph to the papers that his thermometer is 21 degrees C. when there is snow on the ground and a blizzard blowing.
It is this annual lustration of snow that keeps the heart of Moscow pure, even as India is purged by heat and rain. Where Nature always smiles degeneracy soon sets in. Countries not purified by calamity must be washed in blood. This is the merciful and terrible law, and this is the law under which wild beasts prowl unmolested in the garden of the Third Alexander. Those who accept the law of their own being are free within the limits of their destiny. Osiris bore the crook and scourge; the Russian has his trances and his vices -- and the knout. I wish I were sure that the Russian -- not only his artist -- were as sure as I am that the two are but phases of a unity which would have no phases but for an inexplicable optical illusion! However, the artist knows it and the peasant lives it; that must suffice.
Russia is always in extremes: the Café Concert at the Aquarium and the finest ballet in the world on the one hand -- the mercury mines on the other. The Tsar on the one hand -- the greatest personal freedom in Europe on the other. An Education Act would drown Russia in blood: a Duma is an anarchronism. The result is a life simple and moderate, perfectly policed and admirably free. When all is said and done, the only crime is to conspire against a rule which ensures this freedom. The ethics of Russian rule is not to be judged by the convicted sneak-thieves who come to England and pose as political martyrs, or the women who, after being licensed prostitutes for fifteen years in Warsaw, arrive in London with a tale of a vierge flétrie and a wicked governor-general. Russia is pre-eminently sane, as England is hysterical. A press censor saves one (at least) from the excesses of the Press. In England today it is impossible to discover from the newspapers whether a million stalwart men made the welkin ring at Sir Bluster Bragg's meeting, or whether the attendance was limited to an old lady suffering from rheumatism and two jeering boys. Both reports are often enough sent in by the same man.
In Moscow one does not bother one's head about such matters. You can blow ten thousand men to pieces with less fuss than (in England), a draper can get rid of his wife. There is no excitement about the "drames passionels" in the papers; every Russian buttons up a hundred Crippens in his blouse -- which often enough has not even buttons! No man can estimate the strength of Russia. Moscow is the richest city in Europe. Russia has real wealth, not the wealth that depends on wars and rumors of wars. Let every bank in the world break, and the planet break up in universal war: Russia would not turn a hair. Certain financiers might default; no other would suffer. The Russian Empire is a fact in Nature; the British Empire is the hysterical creation of a few Jingo newspapers. England without a navy can be starved in a few weeks. Russia overpowered merely starves her invaders. General Janvier and General Février are finer strategists than my lords Roberts and Kitchener. Russia has in her own right all the things that are wanted. The "Vin exceptionnel de Georgia" which I drank tonight would be hard to match in French vintages, and it only costs ten shillings a bottle even at this den of thieves where I sup and write. If you insist on all you have coming straight from Paris, it is expensive to live; I find the local products, from hors d'oeuvres to that kind which neither toils nor spins, incomparably finer. The Christmas strawberry at the Savoy is not equal to those that you pick wild in June. The opposite contention is one of those superstitions that oppresses the newly rich, and makes their lives a burden fiercer than Solomon's grasshopper. All life ultimately reposes on spiritual truths, not on material illusions. If a man is a physician at forty, he knows by experience the simple truth of poets like Wordsworth, Burns, and Francis Thompson. A friend of mine has recently had his adequate income multiplied by five. The other day he said to me: "Till now I never knew what it was to be poor." The poor remain happy in their hope; "if they were only rich!" The rich have lost that illusion; they know riches are valueless, and they despair of life. A girl friend of mine lived three years happily on a pound a week or less; she has come into a thousand a year, and "never has a penny to bless herself with." She even comtemplates an expedient as ancient as it is unsatisfactory to eke out the exiguity of her existence. The is where the Russian scores; he steals ravenously, and flings away the spoils. He never attaches any value to money, or regards it as a standard of worth. Birth is a good deal, influence something, even saintship, artistry, or preeminence in vice have value; but riches are left to the Jew. The Russian is the only rival of the Irishman as the antithesis of all that Weininger implies by the Jew -- which term, by the way, has extension quite different from that of the Hebrew race. To say so much is not to take sides in a controversy or even to admit that controversy as legitimate: as a logician, I deny that either of the contradictories A and a necessarily fall into either of the classes B or b.
In Russia I go further, and assert the identity of A and a. It is the secret of the extravagance of strength and weakness which is eternally whispered between the steppes and the sky.

V.

It is not often that Nature condescends to make a pun: here she has done so, by the constant reminder of the astounding likeness between Moscow and Mexico (D.F.). There is the same "sudden unfinishedness"; for example, between the Kremlin and St Basil's there is a patch which has known no workman's toil. There is also the terrible rain, which makes horses stand knee-deep in water. I once saw a man thigh-deep in the Pivnaya next to the Hermitage Restaurant -- the best in Moscow -- bailing for dear life. There are the same great open circles, with low crude houses on the patio system, stalls here and there, animals in unexpected places, a general air of mañana, occasional Chinese, odd drunkards reeling about in open daylight. I must also mention that eminently respectable women smoke in the street, and that both sexes refuse to submit to the inconvenience of waiting when they are in a hurry. Electric trams of surprising excellence run through roads paved with cobbles of desolating irregularity. Even minute details concur; for example, the bedrooms in my corridor run 109, 103, 108, 106, 101. The gardens and boulevards suggest an alameda rather than the Paris which they were probably intended to imitate, and the behavior of the people who adorn them goes to complete the likeness. The suburbs confirm the diagnosis, with their wooden huts and their refreshment shanties, their fields unenclosed, their sudden parks and fashionable hotels whose approaches would not be tolerated in the most primitive districts anywhere else.
And as I make these observations on the road to Sparrow Hills, my friend remarks (sua sponte) that it is exactly like the back-blocks in Northern Australia!
And this is 56° North! Whence comes this constant suggestion of the tropics? Except for the quality of the rain, there is rationally no striking resemblance. To me this is an unsolved puzzle, an isolated fact which I connect with no other item of my mind, much less subordinate to any general principle. But it is so strong and so remarkable that it must be set down in the record.

VI.

Pale green as the sea in certain seasons, with all of its transluscence, are the twin spires and the dome of the Iberian Gate, whose facade is of the color of a young fawn, and whose windows are dapples white. Beneath each tower is a passage, and between these nestles the Chapel of the Virgin of Iberia, the holiest shrine of Russia. Most sacred is the image of the Virgin, a copy of that of the Iberian monastery of Mount Athos, a copy made according to the rules of ceremonial magic, amid fasts and prayers and conjurations. It was presented solemnly in 1648 to the Tsar Alexis Mikhailovitch by the archimandrite Pochomius. The cheek of the Virgin bears yet the mark of the knife-thrust of an iconoclastic Tartar.
The chapel is crowded with many other ikons, and the ragged-devout. Also, as Baedeker cynically remarks, se méfier des pickpockets. (It is delightful to find Baedeker among the prophets!) But while the interior is like all Russian shrines, an avalanche of gold, the [exterior] is a noble canopy of that vivid blue-violet which nature so rarely produces but by way of the laboratory, starred with gold, and crowned with a golden angel, the crimson brick of the Duma on the east, and the History Museum on the west, it is a spectacle of unwearying beauty.
To me it is evident that devotion and admiration leave their object admirable. I believe that the appreciative eye can distinguish between two similar objects, one of which has been worshipped, and the other not. I believe that the human mind does leave an abiding imprint on things as much as they do upon the mind.
I almost believe that the Tower of the Saviour is the most beautiful in the Kremlin, partly because for two and a half centuries no man has dared to pass beneath it without uncovering his head, and that St Nicholas of Mojaisk really protected his image form the attempt of the French to blow up his gate with gunpowder. All such petty miracles are credible enough in face of the one great and undeniable miracle of the existence of so much beauty upon earth.

VII.

Education spoils the Russian as it spoils everybody. The Tretiakoff gallery is sufficient evidence. There appears no true original strain of Russian art. The whole gallery is so imitative that every picture in it might have been painted by Gerald Kelly. And unfortunately there are only one or two who mimic anything so high as Reynolds or Gainsborough; the principal influences are rather those of Frith, Luke Fildes, and others of the sentimental photograph school. The pictures of Peroff, Makowsky, Kramskoi, Gay, and Repine are oleographs more oleographic than all previous oleographs. Verestchagin has been well called the despair of photographers; he had astonishingly normal perception, and a faculty of draughtsmanship and color which implies a mastery in which nothing was lacking but individuality. He fills some ten pages of the catalogue with 235 oil paintings, many of them conceived on the most generous scale. The man must have had a far greater capacity for painting than I have for looking at his pictures. A mosque-door, life-size, with the minute carvings reproduced so that the texts are as legible as the original, figures again and again in these vast canvases. The painter never seem to have grasped the first fundamentals of painting. In this gallery the fact that representation of nature has no connection with art is driven home, and one almost begins to sympathize with the Futurist manifesto.
The only insight beyond that of Bonnat, Bougereau, Carolus-Duran, and their bovine kind is shown by Shishkin, Sudhowsky, Prvokline, Mestchersky, Dubovsky, Nesteroff, and Kuindjy, until we come to recent years, when the accessibility of Paris has given an entirely new direction to Russian art, and the Latin quarter has warned Russian students that they must be original. Paris has become the sole centre of art, and so destroyed all national characteristics! (I noticed exactly the same tendencies in the gallery of Stockholm.) The slavish imitation that marked all nineteenth century work, even more than eighteenth century, is gone, and the future appears more hopeful than that of art in any other country.
But the past must be closed; the Tretiakoff gallery is only "an average Academy," except for the room which is consecrated to foreign art, and holds the best Gauguin, the best Van Gogh, and the best Toulouse-Lautrec that one is likely to see between Vladivostok and the studio of Roderic O'Connor in the Rue du Cherche-Midi -- where it is always Quatorze Heures!

VIII.

But of all these matters it is idle and impertinent to write. Analysis shows King Lear to be a jumble of twenty-six very commonplace letters, repeated without any regard to symmetry or any other rule for assembling the same. This appalling café-concert (where of the thirty items barely three are tolerable) does not hinder my appreciation of the Shashlik which my bold Circassian in his brown rough robe with the silver furniture will presently bring me on a skewer. The concert comes to an end; the banality of bad orchestra, bad singing, and bad dancing of bad women, inaudible through the clatter of innumerable forks on plates and tongues in jaws, is dead before if is alive; this is not Moscow, or even an impression of it. The lady in black silk (on my right) with "sapphire" oblongs about 2 inches by 2 inches in her ears reminds me delightfully of the cold sucking-pig of the Slaviansky Bazaar. Life cancels life; death is the only positive, perhaps because it has the air of being the only negative.
Moscow is the bezel of a poison-ring: about it is only the gold and silver of the stars and of the steppes, a ring whose equation is the incommensurable.
I can take ship in my imagination, and arrive at marvellous heavens; I can conjure monsters from the deep of mind; nothing so strange and so real has found the mouth of the sunrise on its russet silken sails, or hailed my bark from the far shore of Oceanus or Phlegethon. Chimaera, Medusa, Echidna, and those others that we dare not name, is it you or your incarnations that come, incubus and succubus, unasked into the dream which we call Moscow? Why is the essence of the unsubstantial fixed in stone, the land of utmost faery paved with cobbles, the grossest vices transfigured with a film of moonlight, the blood of unnameable crimes become of equal virtue with the blood of martyrs? Why is the face of the ikon so dark, if not for the face of Ivan the Terrible as he gazed sneering on the face of his own son, struck down by his own hand? Blood on the snow, and starlight on the cupolas! The Strelitzes headless before St Basil's, and the sun setting ablaze those pinnacles of lust erect! The city washed in fire, and the conqueror of Europe flying before his army from the advance-guard of Field-Marshal Boreas! Heroism and murder hand in hand, devotion and treachery mingling furtive kisses under the walls of the Kremlin!
What ghosts lurk in the shadows of the garden of Pan find playmates in those of the garden of Alexander III. All this is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent as That Great Name itself; all this is prophesied eternally and infallibly as I step from the ignis fatuus concert-hall to the garden, where columns, crescents, trees, and fountains are alike ablaze with ultra-violet -- unearthly as only one other sight that I have seen, the ashen horror of eclipse -- the miracle of summer dawn in Moscow!

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from the Grady Project:


The Abyss

Point-source light of phallic tower
Scrying, spying, eyeing, lying
Sharp star-sheen; metallic power
Crying, sighing, vying, dying

      Thicketed, the brambled numbers
      Fiery steel-springs: Golden Ram
      Dream-sequenced perception slumbers
      Alien space-beast; abstract am

Star-shot canvas; serpent flower
Roiling, coiling, boiling, spoiling
Sun-burst nova; northlight hour
Toiling, broiling, moiling, foiling

    -- Grady L. McMurtry
                   11/5/61

This poem, from Grady's cycle "The Angel and the Abyss," corresponds to the Magus card in Tarot, and was first published in the London/Bergen volume of Grady's Poems in 1986 e.v. before being included in the fourth volume of The Grady Project two years later.

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An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XXV - Four Worlds Linked.

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

Although overlapping different size Trees of Life on Sephirot makes pretty pictures, that approach doesn't deal well with studies of complex situations. It is difficult to try to string a lot of these Trees together. Theoretically, one can examine things in that way; but the perspective is vaguely of rising levels of abstraction. There are other ways of combining Trees of Life. Each of these methods embodies some basic principle.
Consider a similar but slightly different approach. Take four circles, arranged vertically with their centers on an upright line. Each circle intersects the center of the next. In every one of these circles there is a Tree of Life, each the same size and overlapping as the circles do. Overall, the effect is of a single tree, reaching from a Keter in the topmost circle to a Malkut in the lowest. There are many variations with overlapping Trees of Life; but most of them tend to depend on ascending through levels of abstraction, worlds if you will, with a single theme.

Here is another approach. For this, we will consider the case of an author who wrote a book on Qabalah. There is no need to abuse a particular author and book in this little experiment, but any good sized magical or occult bookstore can supply suitable examples. We will have a look at a technique of study by means of multiple Trees of Life, analysis instead of synthesis, in the fashion of overlapping Trees. To go to lower levels and obtain higher detail, it is necessary to look at little Trees, and parts of Trees within Trees. That's a topic for the next installment.
For our imaginary example, we'll call the book George and the Talmudic Fern. We'll say that the author was a man named "La-Aaron". This is a modern book, and the author wanted to discuss allegories to the human body in Qabalah. What does the blood mean? What does the digestive processes signify? How does this link to psychology, to the soul, and so on? He tried to use a four-Worlds approach to make sense of those things: the highest Qabalistic World of Atzilut, the Briah World, the Yetzirah World, and the Assiah World, the lowest. Take those as overlapping like the circle example given just above. Stretch a human physical body over the lowest Assiah circle, head near the top and feet near the bottom. The head and upper body also occupy the lower half of the next circle, that of the Yetzirah world. Fantasy evoked in the physical body passes upward into the next higher world. In that second circle, there is another body, Astral or Spiritual in character. For that 2nd body, the head and upper part reaches into the lower half of the third circle, that of the Briah World. The highest fantasies are also the roots of knowledge, the knowledge goes up. In the third circle there is a rational or "philosophical" body. The highest knowledge is the root of the mystical world, and that goes on up to whatever may be found in the Atzilut World. This was his over-all plan, and it's a good one. Our author made some mistakes in attempting to work out too much detail, and no one had done as much before. Consequently, he didn't have a precursor's "first draft" to work on.
In this approach to working the Tree, something is observed in the physical world. A Tree of Life is set up to study that, typically with a series of questions related to Sephirot. An event occurs. What is the event on the physical earth? What does the event do that's like a fantasy? What does it seem to be, rather than what it is known to be physically? The Malkut of the matter is just physical actuality, simply described. Once ideas and associations form with regard to that actuality, and an attempt is made to describe it in more than literal ways, Yesod is reached on the first or lowest material Tree. Next is the Hod level, and the questions of function are explored. After that comes an appreciation of emotional or feeling tone about the physical observation, the Netzach on the physical or Assiah Tree. How do we feel? Does it feel good? Does it feel bad? Does it work for us or does it not? Beyond that comes Tipheret. What is this observed material thing doing for our physical lives? Are there changes in us? At the Tipheret level of the Assiah Tree, these thoughts are less like questions and more like attentiveness. Is the particular physical subject of study doing things that influence our own lives, the way we get up in the morning, the way we go to bed at night, and other day to day affairs? The Geburah level assesses: Is it bringing things to our awareness that we should know and have not known before? Is it making changes that frighten us, but help us? Is it making changes that seem to help us but don't? In that place there is a continual judgment, all related to physical life, not the mental state or the higher states. After Geburah of the Assiah Tree comes a sense of acceptance of the observed as it is. By that point, Chesed, the overlap of the Yetziratic Tree is substantial on this Tree of Assiah, as the lower circle rises to intersect the center of the second circle, with its own Tree. The remaining Sephirot perspectives of the Assiah tree become a little hazy. What is the knowledge gained from the physical thing being studied? What understanding do we acquire? What wisdom, if any, is there? What is the unifying quality of the whole experience? Those are fairly abstract ideas, and amount to perspectives from a fanciful Tree, a Yetzirah one. In the method of the four overlapping Worlds and Trees, we are now at the bottom half of the Yetziratic Tree, even though we are also at the top half of the Assiah Tree. The highest Assiah Sephirot become the lowest of this second Tree, and we find ourselves dealing with a Malkut, a Yesod, and a Hod of a more mental character. Here the pattern of the approach is the same, but there is more study, more associated thinking and less direct linkage with the physical object of study. In this Tree, we begin to evolve ideas on our own, going up a similar structure of the Tree of Life and seeing where those ideas, inspired by a physical event or situation, lead us. In the upper part of this Yetirah Tree, new ideas begin to form, not connected to the physical observation, but derived from thoughts inspired by that physical observation. This is the start of the overlap to the third Tree and Briah circle. The progression continues, ultimately arriving at indescribable pure ideas and mystical states of mind very distantly related to the original physical subject, as the highest of these four overlapping circles is attained and the Atzilut Tree comes into dominance. All that was observed in the Assiah Tree on the bottom was taken up to the Malkut and other lower Sephirot of the Yetzirah Tree, from that to the next and so on. This is a way of using Trees of Life more systematically, rather than just scattered about like marbles on a table, some touching others, some not. This is building not merely a constellation spreading out in every direction; but a development of thought, each idea composed like a link in a chain, with Trees of Life. This a method that was used in that book by La-Aaron, George and the Talmudic Fern, as he attempted to figure the human body up into the highest reaches. He blew it a little because he didn't review his work long enough. We have a way of understanding that.

Previous Introduction to Qabalah -- Part XXIV           Next: Endless Worlds Within Worlds.


Primary Sources

Germer Recommends:
In the two letters below, Fr. Saturnus deals with matters of the years immediately following Crowley's Greater Feast. Brother Monty is introduced and later recommended to Brother Grady, while various problems and solutions are taken up on issues of the day. During these years, only a few signs of the estrangement of Crowley's successor from the work of the orders are evident. In the course of a decade these doubts and angry hesitations grew to the point of effective dormancy of both O.T.O. and A A. OTO was first to emerge, in the 1970's e.v.

September 14, 1949.

Dr. Gabriel Montenegro
Route 2 Box 9
Madera, California.

My dear Brother Montenegro,

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

Thank you for your letter of September 1st with the news about Brother Roy. To take this matter first, let me only say that what he is going through he has brought upon his head himself. You cannot fool the Gods. Once They take notice, They take action. However, this would require a personal talk and showing you certain documents. One cannot make a solemn, formal, pledge to the Gods and then go back on one's word without impunity! The Master Therion saw what was coming many years ago and warned me to be careful.

What you say about the house in Madera appears from the photo indeed a very large property with too much work. I am glad you have washed your hands - I hope without loss - and that you will be able to establish yourself more firmly and with outside prosperity, in the Sacramento -- San Francisco vicinity. When there you should get in touch with our brother Grady McMurtry whose address is

1661 Sacramento Street, Apartment 3
San Francisco 9.

He was appointed by the Master Therion some years ago to check on every member of Agape Lodge; and made his report.

I have been extremely disappointed that activities in the last two years have been so slow, and slack at Agape Lodge. There were three members that should have been initiated long ago. It has been a gave neglect that it has been delayed from month to month, from year to year. A year ago Soror Estai donated a sum of $70, her very last savings, to buying certain equipment for proper initiation ceremonies. The money was paid to Bro. Leffingwell for that purpose. The money now seems lost, anyway, nobody seems to know what has been done with it. Do you happen to know?

Thank you for your nice gesture of sending me your check. As you see from the enclosed it was returned to me with the note "Account Closed."

I am writing this to your Madera address hoping it will find you.

Our headquarters is coming along nicely. I have two rooms installed with books, Manuscripts, Letters by the Master Therion, Files, etc. etc. I have bought steel filing cabinets and other steel furniture for safety's sake. Brethren will have a splendid chance to study material that is no where else available. There is a great quiet around this place. We are in the midst of pleasant woods and have 8 acres of our own grounds with benches and fine walks on trails that lets one be entirely alone if one wants to for meditation.

May-be some day you will have a chance to visit us here.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,                                                  

Karl Germer                                        

-oOo-

February 28, 1950

Dear Grady,

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

The last day of February and I don't want to get into March before I at least answer yours of Jan. 30 in which you wrote mostly about Monty's copy of the Tarot. I had thought he would have come to visit me in March and bring his copy along, but he just wrote that he had had to change his plans; he keeps his house and begins to start his practice anew. I wish him the best of luck; he is a valuable man; has a fine and pure aspiration; perhaps a little dreamy or sentimental which may stem from national Mexican background. He should be cultivated and I hope you'll have a chance to see him from time to time. As he is a Doctor he might, when the time is ripe, be interested in the study of matters connected with "Amrita" and work his way into the higher grades of the O.T.O.

Despite all his devotion, the devotion of the remaining members of Agape Lodge towards paying for this necessary Lodge equipment, and the promises made to him, he was never passed into the I° O.T.O. There were at that time a number of candidates who all urged for action and nothing was done. Montenegro was the one valuable candidate, brought in by Jane, through an O.T.O. affiliate in Germany. We certainly owe him some service.

As to the Tarot copy; I can't imagine it to be spurious. The details you write me don't register. My copy has no imprint of 'bound by Sangorski & Sutcliffe' at all, in any shape or form. The bindings, due to the price, was done in batches of 20 or 25, so it is well possible that some series were slightly different. But I have no explanation of the cheaper paper.

Your mentioning Shannon and bed time stories for him: I suppose you know that A.C. at all times suggested for children that a Fairy Tale or Tales like from the Arabian Knights were read at night to a child. They all -- the genuine, not the 'improved versions put out by some ignorant females over here -- contain deep magical allusions. It is these that remain in the soul of a child, and do their lasting magical work on the higher planes. In this country we have too much forgotten the secret ways in which Nature works.

I enclose the preliminary list of material that I have listed so far. In the first place, I made this for Yorke, who has in many ways a much more complete set of Crowleiana than we have, the reason being that A.C. left many of his things in pawn years ago when he was practically starving, and Yorke traced much of this, bought it, and is sending me copies; the same applies to letters he bought, or knew that someone had from A.C.; of all this he had copies made for {pages breaks off}

The same applies to the diaries of A.C.'s, Mudd, Leah, and others. The tragedy has been that A.C. never had a H.Q., though he longed to have one for many, many years. As a result there is probably more of his work lost than we have been able to save. Much may turn up many years from now as great discoveries.

I wish you would go through the list I'm sending you and return it to me, it is the only copy I have here. Yorke just wrote me that Symonds will not release the last shipment before May or June. It is only then that I can make a full catalog. Even the list I'm sending is incomplete: it does not contain the many Files of Letters. There is still tremendous work to be done, and I'd welcome help by another type of brain than mine to make suggestions and give advice.

The list also does not contain the stock of books which we have for sale. I trust that the time will come when there'll be a sudden demand. For the time at least all this material is safe, properly filed in steel Filling cabinets, and storage cabinets.

I ought to have a young Thelemite to make typescripts of material, etc. etc. etc. etc. We have a year's work at least.

As I believe I wrote you, one of our Brethren in Germany is holding the flag of Thelema flying. There is an 'Abbey of Thelema' and 'Thelemische Lektionen' are being published in German regularly. Many things have been translated, even LVX with the Commentary, and Eight Lectures on Yoga. There is much devotion there, and those people need help in their uphill fight. I am most eager to make available to them copies of such works as 'Aleister Explains Everything', and very much material that they have never heard of. The lack of help for this work distresses me deeply. -

I wish you the best of luck in your desire to pass your final exams by the end of this year. Your Jupiter will pass in the middle of March over your radical Uranus and in the latter half of March over important, good aspects of your radical Sun, Mercury, and Saturn, I wonder whether this period will be noticeable. It may be more on the inner planets, and you would get consciously something from this if you have been keeping your magical diary assiduously, and have been doing practices regularly. Otherwise thee is the danger that spiritual gifts pass unnoticed, or are forgotten quietly. You have a good and strong horoscope and should apply what 666 taught you, and make the most of it! Not everybody is so fortunate.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally,

P.S. Jack Parsons was in N.Y. and of January; saw me only twice very briefly; I was generous in every way; offered him to stay as our guest for a few days at H.Q. where I'd show him around. He promised to keep in touch with me and see Jane. He never did. Then I remembered that he made a threat, almost unnoticed at the time, that he would get the Copy rights for A.C.'s abridged Commentary to AL and publish it, no matter whether he had the legal right or not - probably with Smith who has a group in L.A. of his Church of Thelema. There is dirty business going on there.

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From the Outbasket

Here are some edited bits from responses to recent email:

J. asked why OTO members argue about so many things that have nothing to do with spirituality and religion.

Spiritual discovery and work toward attainment is part of what OTO does, but not all of it. We are intended to be a social experiment in Thelema as well, a place where people can get together to work out the ramifications of Thelema in many different ways. That does involve a good deal of perambulating talk, but not much more than in any other church, Gnostic or otherwise.

M. asked about possible problems with using drugs in Yoga or Magick

It's mostly a matter of judgment. If you use something illegal, your work may be interrupted by court cases, fines and imprisonment. Otherwise, if you use a drug, legal or illegal, you need to observe reasonable health precautions. In particular, if the drug effects the state of mind, it may not be possible to monitor your own use without outside help. Drugs have long been considered one of many ways to attain particular states of consciousness; but the stronger drugs tend to be considered only of value in threshold experiences -- single uses to get an idea of what can be done under self control instead of under influence, or to break a deadlock.

J.H. expressed frustration that he had been discouraged in attempts to propose improvements along traditional lines in OTO, since "a Man of Earth degree takes no role in the government of the Order."

That's valid in the sense that a member in the Man of Earth degrees doesn't have legislative, judicial or many administrative activities. However, in the course of time and advancement to the middle degrees, that may change. It is good to know about such things. Also, it is important for each O.T.O. member to have knowledge about the functioning and set-up of the Order, particularly from IInd degree on. Finally, you may have a good idea that we can use. O.T.O. members of higher degrees are supposed to inform and listen to the members that come after them, not turn such members off to the essential work of the Order.

J.C. Asked about Secret Chiefs

The Order of the Golden Dawn maintained that it was led by "Secret Chiefs" who authorized and directed that organization from a distance. It was never clear whether these Secret Chiefs were living people, spiritual beings or a combination of both. In some ways, the idea is similar to the concept of "The Elect" in Calvanism. OTO doesn't use the term "Secret Chiefs" to any substantial extent, but many people have a sense of the existence of guardian spirits or beneficial deities.

-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for March 1997 e.v.

3/2/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/8/97OTO initiations. Call to attendThelema Ldg.
3/9/97Thelema Lodge Luncheon Meeting 12:30Thelema Ldg.
3/9/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/11/97Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
3/16/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/19/97Tarot with Bill Heidrick, 7:30 PM
in San Anselmo at 5 Suffield Ave.
Thelema Ldg.
3/20/97Vernal Equinox Ritual 7:30PM at
Horus Temple
Thelema Ldg.
3/23/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/24/97Section II Groups reading with
Caitlin: Maurice Hewlett's "Lore
of Proserpine" 8PM at OZ
House
Thelema Ldg.
3/26/97Thelema Lodge Library night 8PM
(call to attend)
Thelema Ldg.
3/28/97
"The Houses in Astrology" workshop
with Grace in Berkeley 7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
3/30/97Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/31/97Sirius Oasis meeting 8PM BerkeleySirius Oasis

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.

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

Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)

Production and Circulation:
OTO-TLC
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Internet: heidrick@well.com (Submissions and circulation only)

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