Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for March 1999 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, 1999 e.v.

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

March 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Cult or Culture

Thirteen years ago this month the concluding number of the "third" volume of the O.T.O.'s "official organ" The Equinox appeared, with an introduction celebrating "what we call Thelemic culture" by the Order's then newly- appointed "Acting Frater Superior," Hymenaeus Beta. I remember seeing the announcement for this issue at the time of its initial release, which happened to be just when I myself was becoming involved with the ritual activities of the Magick Theater in Santa Cruz, my first contact with the Order. Together with the preceding Equinox issue of the Holy Books, this was one of the first O.T.O. publications which I studied, and it was to the fraternity which this introduction described that I first applied for initiation a few months later.

The O.T.O. is a manifold organization with a complex history and philosophy, rich in written, oral, and ritual tradition. It is also the Aleister Crowley Estate, responsible for preserving his writings and setting consistent standards for Thelemic scholarship. These are essentially conservative functions, yet the O.T.O.'s design preserves flexibility and adaptability, without which "Thelemic Order" would be a contradiction in terms. While it has never been necessary to join the O.T.O. to be a Thelemite, it is central to the Order's "experimental design" that being a Thelemite never becomes a bar to membership. In this important sense, the O.T.O. is a crucible for the development of the social models necessary to a Thelemic culture, as opposed to Thelemic cult.

     -- "Introduction" to Equinox III:10 (New York: 93 Publishing, March 1986, revised 2nd ed. 1990), page 10.

Crowley's motto for The Equinox was "The method of science; the aim of religion." Neither science nor religion has been easy to define in the many discussions of this concept heard over the years, but I would like to propose an interpretation which seems to favor the free and open development of Thelemic "culture" rather than the controlled dogmatic "cult" status which continually threatens any authoritarian and hierarchical structure. One of the obligations of the scientific attitude toward experiential data is the open management of those facts which we agree to value and upon which we arrange to base our subsequent experimental pursuits. When we design an "experiment" -- that is, when we place artificial "controls" upon a situation (such as an artistic or rhetorical expression, or a ritual celebration) in order more truly to determine its nature and meaning -- we are entering into an obligation to afford an objective consideration to the data in question. Its value is not to be altered arbitrarily to suit some prejudice or fantasy about the emerging pattern in which we tentatively find place for it, but instead the patterns must be constructed to accommodate our observation record.
The same is true of the "laboratory" conditions in which we determine and record the "data" of our history. If traditions are to be meaningfully perpetuated, their survival must be based upon a continual critical reassessment of their relation to our living circumstances. True respect for fraternity and authority among Thelemites has nothing to do with easy acceptance or simple belief; it is instead a rigorously active and continuous process of critical scrutiny which works always to expand the meaning of that which we value. The useful and elegant and satisfying generalizations of one stage of our growth may or may not survive as authentically relevant concepts for subsequent development, just as the values and ideals of one generation may or may not serve for later minds to gauge their own unique experiences against. To whatever extent they do survive, it will not be because of the respect which is accorded them, nor because of their elegance or their authority as pronouncements. Authentic achievements which deserve to survive will do so in the life of their continually renewed application, by new minds with new values in new circumstances. (Our own new minds, as well as those of our successors in this enterprise.) No dogmatic formulation, no simplistic propaganda, no "official line" or high-handed obfuscation will long survive this "method of science" in "the aim of religion."
When the O.T.O. around 1913 e.v. became "the first of the great religious societies to accept the Law," it was embarking upon a brave and wonderful experimental course. Whenever out of lazy convenience or exasperation we attempt to obscure the complexities of this "experimental design" which is our history and our constitution, we risk betraying that commitment. When we try to hide the results of past estimates and outmoded judgments which now appear mistaken (of which in some few cases we may even feel a certain shame or regret) we are not only failing to learn from our past, but by suppressing them we may even be handing these data over as "secrets" to others who would use them as weapons against our legitimate achievements and our legal rights. When we allow our policies -- however obvious and balanced and well considered we may now be sure they seem -- to justify the suppression of inconvenient complexities in our development, we may be putting our accomplishments at risk simply to flatter our own silly pride.
Experiment is the "yoga," or discipline, of science, just as magick is the "yoga" of belief (and thus the essential foundation of religion). This rigor is no limitation to our progress, but the best guarantee to its success. We have not chosen an easy method, just as we are not pursuing an easy goal. What other "great religious society" has the energy and the courage to adopt such a challenge of continual scrutiny and evaluation? What other system of spiritual and initiatory authority could abide this degree of respect? What other community of unique individual men and women can maintain the intensity of such mutual enlightenment? We are not Thelemites to restrict and simplify our discussions together, nor are we embarked upon the O.T.O. system of "progressive initiation" to limit or falsify our work. Our freedom is an enormous challenge, not only to ourselves and each other, but to the entire universe of life as we encounter it. This is "the method of science; the aim of religion."
--- John Brunie


Year of the Chariot

At the Vernal Equinox as Sol enters Aries on Saturday afternoon 20th March at 5:46 we enter the ninety-fifth year of the Aeon of Horus, IV7, the year attributed to the trump of the Chariot in Tarot. Thelema Lodge will gather for a ritual in commemoration of this new year, beginning at 4:18 that afternoon in Horus Temple. Please contact the officers of the lodge ahead of time and arrange for contributions to the communal feast to which we will sit down after the ritual; all are requested to bring an entree, salad, or dessert to share. (Drinks and hors d'oeuvres are also welcome, but it takes cooking to make a meal, and this is no occasion for minimal effort.) At the equinox our lodge tradition is to reaffirm our Thelemic community specifically as a body of Ordo Templi Orientis. Guests will also be welcome, though there will be special roles in the ritual for the body of active initiates who constitute the core membership of lodge. As the Lovers climb on to the Chariot (last year's trump having been the twins' card), we will be setting in motion a new opportunity -- each for oneself and all together -- for development and achievement as Thelemites. Let us gather in joy to set forth afresh upon the work, and the play, and the glory of the Crowned and Conquering Child!


The EGC at Thelema Lodge

EGC stands for Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, or "Universal Gnostic Church." This designation follows a traditional Western style of naming religious associations. Perhaps we can therefore be excused in reinterpreting this tradition by asserting that "Universal" should not be taken to imply that membership in EGC is required for "enlightenment," or that everyone ought to be a member. Rather it might be understood to say that the rites and community so designated strive to participate in the spiritual essence of the Universe. The central rite which the EGC celebrates to accomplish this is the Gnostic Mass. Performed every week here in Horus Temple, this ritual seeks magically to invoke the Godhead of all who participate. It is therefore expected that all who attend will join in the communion, which takes place after the consecration of the sacraments by the priestess and priest. The members of the audience then magically assimilate the roles of these two officers by emulating the consumption of the sacraments by the priest. A cake of light is eaten and a glass of wine is drunk, whereupon the communicant turns to the rest of the audience and proclaims "There is no part of me that is not of the Gods." The ritual begins at 8:00 every Sunday evening, with visitors welcome. Please arrive early and feel free to call ahead for directions.
-- Fra. B.


The Serpent and the Shells

Liber Arcanorum tau-omega-nu Atu tau-omicron-upsilon Tahuti Quas Vidit Asar in Amennti Sub Figura CCXXXI, Liber Carcerorum tau-omega-nu Qliphoth cum suis Geniis (Addentur Sigilla et Nomina Eorum), otherwise known as Liber 231, is probably the most obscure of the Holy Books of Thelema. It is comprised of the names and sigils of 44 intelligences (22 from the houses of Hermes and 22 from the cells of the Qliphoth), along with a scriptural description of the sequence of the Tarot trumps as a formula of initiation. Yet there is very little material available to assist the student of Liber 231, aside from a sketchy astral journal by Marcello Motta and a detailed but idiosyncratic description of the Qliphotic intelligences in the second half of Kenneth Grant's book, Nightside of Eden. At 8:00 on Tuesday evening 30th March, at Cheth House, Michael Sanborn will attempt to provide an introduction into the mysteries of Liber 231, including a theoretical framework of its overall meaning and practical methods of evocation. For more information and directions, call (510) 525- 0666.

Previous Michael Sanborn Article                   Next Michael Sanborn article


World-Ash Wonder-Tree

The Elder Edda, a ninth-century collection of mythological and heroic poems from the great age of pagan Norse culture, will be the subject of our next Section Two meeting. This month the reading group returns to Oz House, where Caitlin will be leading the discussion, but in a departure from our usual schedule we will be gathering on Tuesday evening 16th March (rather than our usual middle Monday) at 8:00. The Eddas - there is also a "younger" one, covering much the same material, written in Icelandic prose about 300 years later - are the principal repository for the pre-Christian religious culture of northern Europe. These poems preserve centuries of oral tradition, including the tales of Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki, and the other 'sir gods, of the giants, dwarves, and monsters against whom they contend, of Yggdrasil the universal tree, Midgard the world of men, and the kingdom of Hel beneath, and finally of the Fenris-Wolf and Earth-Serpent who will destroy them all in the end-times of Ragnarok. They are the product of a highly literate culture which extended from Norway and Denmark to Iceland and the northern parts of the British Isles, speaking the proto-Scandinavian language now known as Old West Norse or Icelandic. They sent their teen-agers out on "viking" raids (the verb means "going up into the bays" in their shallow boats to catch villages by surprise), but in medieval Iceland they organized Europe's first functional democracy, where representatives of each homestead - men and women together - met annually at the "Althing" to review the laws and establish the policies of their country. In the Eddic verses they first perfected the alliterative four-stress verse line which dominated Germanic poetry in the middle ages, and with which we are familiar in English from Beowulf, Piers Plowman, and the Gawain-poems. Norse poetry is concentrated and intense, narrating only the essential moments of each tale, and embodying a dark humor and a stern understated fatalism which one early critic describes as "the outlook of thoughtful heathen of the later Viking age."

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two


N.O.X.ism?

Ideas, though they may occur to individuals, are essentially social in nature. Therefore an evening devoted to the earnest discussion of ideas is essentially a social event. Thelema Lodge throws at least two of these "thought parties" (under the aegis of the College of Hard N.O.X.) each month, on the nights of the first and last Wednesdays. In March these fall on the 3rd and the 31st. Unlike most other parties our eight o'clock starting time is meant to be observed, and the fashionably late will miss out on much of the fun.
The topic of debate for March 3rd is censorship. Specific questions under consideration will include but not be limited to: "Is censorship ever justifiable?", "Is there a difference in acceptability between government and private censorship?", and "In the light of both the Holy Books and Liber OZ, what are likely to be a Thelemic society's attitudes toward the practice of censorship?". You are all invited to join in on this completely uncensored exchange.
Our discussion on March 31st will center on that broad category of religious expression which is often referred to as "antinomianism." The antinomian is usually someone who takes certain characteristic positions on questions of religious authority, especially toward the authority of religious law in the governance of individual and social behavior. The antinomian is generally on the side of the individual conscience, as opposed to scriptures, masters, or hierarchies. Many movements and groups have been labeled as "antinomian" by polemicists and scholars alike. The term has often, perhaps incorrectly, been applied to sects which, while rejecting all the "accepted" authorities, still accept the ruling authority of some book, leader, or council, of their own. Thus, groups as rigidly structured and explicitly dogmatic as Mormons and Isma'ili Shiites have been called antinomians because of their insistent refusal to follow the mainstream social norms (i.e., monogamous marriage, and Ramadan fasting, respectively). Thoroughly antinomian groups are much rarer, but the history of religions still provides examples from many differing milieus, including a number of the Gnostic cults of the Hellenistic era, numerous Hindu and Buddhist Tantric sects of both the medieval period and more recently, various groups described by themselves or others as Anabaptists during the time of the Protestant Reformation, and, an object of particular interest at this session of the College, the people known (primarily to their enemies) as Ranters during the English Civil War of the mid-17th century.
The Ranters emerged in public at a time when the official censorship of the day had temporarily broken down, and currents of thought, which may have sprung from deeper founts than is often suspected by investigators restricted to studying written traditions, swelled up from the religious experiences of "ordinary" people. Jacob Bauthumley, Joseph Salmon, and Abiezer Coppe, are among the many writers who expressed the tendencies of this basically leaderless movement. Their emphasis on free love and personal revelation sounds strikingly familiar to modern Thelemites, raising a highly relevant question (which we will attempt to answer on the 31st), "Is Thelema of necessity antinomian?"

Previous NOX                   Next NOX


The Temple of Astrology

Grace leads us in an upward-looking inquiry, continuing on alternate Monday evenings this month at her home in Berkeley. Sessions in this series have been slightly rearranged from the initial announcement last month, and on 8th March we will be discussing the twelve signs of the Zodiac, while the meeting on 22nd March will be concerned with the twelve houses of the horoscope. The series has been extended for one additional meeting next month on Monday 5th April, when Grace will cover declination and planetary aspects. Classes are held from 7:00 to 9:00, and are open to interested students at all levels of involvement with astrology. Please call ahead at (510) 843-STAR when setting forth to attend, as Grace would like to know how many participants to expect.


Color Quest


"The secrets of magic are universal and of such a practical physical nature as to defy simple explanation."
- Peter J. Carroll, Liber Null

The practical application of magical color theory is the Ouranos Collective's focus for an eight-month journey in magical perception. The following scheme uses the eight colors defined by Peter Carroll in Liber Kaos, with an attempt to describe both the perception of their emotional counterparts and the planets associated with them, along with an astrological schedule for the months of this working.

January: Death Magick (Black)

The rites of "black gnosis" are those from which the death-self is invoked to manifest wisdom, usually in shamanic style, encountering fears of encroaching death. This can aid in the practice of banishment. Sometimes these rites can be collated with Saturn, which is exalted in Capricorn or Binah.
An example of such a chthonic (or Chod) rite would be "The Nyarlathotep Summoning and Cthulhu Calling" that the Collective embarked upon last January. We would like especially to applaud our procurement team for obtaining the hard-to-find ingredients for this rite, including the black pubic hair of a virgin male (which was, believe it or not, freely offered to us by a consenting adult). We consider this rite to be a black working, appealing to the fear of "what we do not know," and instilling disquiet in the Lovecraftian manner. Out of the 13 of us that preformed this working, I haven't used my talisman yet -- not out of superstitious fear I assure you; I am just waiting for the right time. Interestingly enough, Thelema Lodge had no electricity for that evening. Good thing we had a lot of black candles on hand.

"To beget is to die; to die is to beget."

          - "The Sabbath of the Goat," The Book of Lies

February: Pure Magick (Octarine)

Octarine is the magician's personal perception of Magick visualized as a color. This color is sometimes described as the non-color that one may see when performing visualization of geometric symbols that have no color significance beyond that which is perceived emotionally. We like to attribute this color to Uranus. Astrologically speaking, Uranus is the planet that is exalted in Aquarius; the planet of hopes, wishes, and universal friendship. Collectively speaking, it is our hope that our true wills are in cohesive accordance with the universe, allowing our unique personalities to come together in harmony. From a Thelemic perspective, this might confirm the special identity of the individual as a part of a collective of Fixed Stars, working in accord with each other without loosing their identities.

March: Wealth Magick (Blue)

The intangible idea of wealth can be an emotional asset, not necessarily associated with money. It is the exchange of giving and receiving that is the true process of emotional investment. It is the antithesis of jealousy, strengthening the subconscious into realizing the true value of what individuals have to offer. This strength and generosity is sometimes attributed to Jupiter, traditionally exalted in Pisces, the sign of the flow of subconscious universal attainment, and the conscious effort of grounding it as a manifestation.

April: War Magick (Red)
"O Thou snow-clad volcan of scarlet fire, Thou flame-crested pillar of fury!
Yea, as I approach Thee, Thou departest from me like unto a wisp of smoke
blown forth from the window of my house."

          - Mars, The Treasure House of Images

The need to protect oneself and others whom we feel close to can internally feel like a "pillar of fury." Sometimes without the balance of true honor, the result of aggression manifests itself outwardly only as a "wisp of smoke". The warrior sign of Aires, with tendencies toward blind impulsive challenges, can exemplify dynamic enthusiasm in the pursuit of excellence.

"So with thy all; thou hast no right but to do thy will.
Do that, and no other shall say nay.
For pure will unassuaged of purpose, delivered from the lust of result, is every way perfect."

          - The Book of the Law

May: Love Magick (Green)

Carroll describes "green gnosis" as the attainment of friendship and self- love. Noticing the beauty of others and of our selves is the first step (and hopefully not the final step) in eroticism. Qabalistically in 777, beauty is associated with Tiphareth on the Middle Pillar, and not necessarily with Netzach (to which the emerald planet Venus is attributed). Quoting from Aquinas: Ad pulcritudinem tria requiruntur integritas, consonantia, claritas -- "Three things are needed for beauty; wholeness, harmony and radiance." But that is either here or there. For the purpose of this system as defined by Carroll, it is best to put these attributes with this color. After all, Taurians are known for their exquisite tastes, self-indulgence, and sentiment. What better sign for green grazing?

June: Thinking Magick (Orange)
Let us not think about thinking / around this topic, beside that / Mercury ran a gambit in / Gemini's tangent paradox, / of which comprehension is not / as fully impressive as wit, / and to consider that evokes / a fabricated nervousness.

There are 8 verses in the first sentence, 8 syllables each, and 8 words at the end of each verse creating another sentence. Totaling 2 (or "II", the symbol of Gemini) sentences, the second of which can be read forwards or backwards, but don't forget to add commas.

July: Sex Magick (Purple or Silver)
The Collective has not made a set of ritual commitments for this color yet, but if we do . . . insert blush here.

Breaking away with the Beast of both Worlds
A smile that you can't disguise
Every minute I keep finding
Clues that you leave behind
Save me from these reminders
As if I'd forget tonight
This time La Luna
I light my torch and wave it for the
New Moon on Monday And a firedance through the night
I stayed the cold day with a lonely satellite

          - Simon le Bon (Duran Duran), Union of the Snake

"Then meditate upon thy desire, think upon Her, and, touching naught, chant these verses. Recall each lascivious moment, each lustful day, all set them into the astral body, touching naught."

          -- Jack Parsons

August: Ego Magick (Yellow)

In this system, Carroll defines the color yellow as a four-fold conception of ego (self-image), charisma, laughter-creativity, and assertion (dominance). Ego is the concept that one holds about oneself and charisma is the outward manifestation of that idea. Laughter-creativity is the humorous delight in obtaining a full understanding or insight. Assertion and dominance, not to be mistaken for aggression, is a non-verbal display of competency. Normally the color yellow would be associated with the sun, and Leo, being the sign that exalts that influence, has in abundance these four qualities. Somehow, I think that this quadrivium would have a better association with Malkuth and the four colors presented by the Golden Dawn. Here is my guess as to what they may be if working with that correlation: Black (earth or earth) -- Ego (self-image); Citrine (earth of air) -- Charisma; Olive (earth of water) -- Laughter-creativity; Russet (earth of fire) -- Assertion (dominance).
There might seem to be some pretentiousness in trying to combine these very different systems. However, taking a Dionysian viewpoint, certain similarities might manifest the sun and earth as conjunct aspects. Here imagine . . . a shadowy forest glade with pockets of sunlight dancing on the deep olive leaves of the surrounding trees. The sultry russet smell of spilled wine and citrine sweat overtaking the senses as you are drawn willingly into the lap of the God, only to find yourself moments later, face down in the black dirt. Banish with laughter.
In summation, this interpretation of our scheduled workings is my personal perspective, and by no means do I speak for the Collective as a whole in this article. My goal is to subjectively enhance these ideas through the work and practice of our rituals, while objectively recording our experiences.
--- Cynthia J. Osborn,
Co-Founder of the Ouranos Collective

Previous Ouranos Collective                   Next Ouranos Collective


Crowley Classics

The K2 expedition of 1902, of which Crowley was second in command under his friend and mentor Oscar Eckenstein, was the first attempt to climb the world's second highest mountain. Crowley calls it by the local name of Chogori; it was also known to natives as Dapsang, and had been named Mount Goodwin Austin by Europeans after an early surveyor. It was discovered in 1856 in the imperial survey of India, which designated it on the map as K2 because it was the second peak to be measured in the Karakoram Range of the Himalayas. At 28,250 feet above sea level, its peak is 777 feet lower than that of Mount Everest, and well over twice the altitude of the highest of the Alps. Surrounded almost inaccessibly by auxiliary peaks, it rises from a plain already over 12,000 feet high, where Eckenstein had been near its foot in 1892 on an expedition led by Sir William Conway. Crowley met Eckenstein, who was twenty years his senior, while climbing in the Alps during the Easter break of 1898, before his last Cambridge term at Trinity College. Two years later they arranged to meet in Mexico, where they made a number of high-altitude expeditions and began planning a climb in the Himalayas. Everest, on the Tibet-Nepal border, was then completely closed to Europeans, so they settled upon K2 as the next best. Lacking modern light-weight insulated clothing or any artificial breathing apparatus, and having no understanding of the nature of altitude sickness, they encountered severe blizzard conditions and were unable to approach the peak. Estimates vary today regarding the maximum elevation they reached, and while Crowley thought he had climbed to over 22,000 feet the accepted mountaineering records have him turning back on the northeastern crest at 18,600 feet. But having spent 68 days camped on the great Baltoro Glacier under the conditions they encountered, Eckenstein and Crowley barely escaped with their lives, while accidents caused by confusion, snow-blindness, and hypoxia led to the deaths of several in their party. At least four later expeditions also failed, before Italian climbers in 1954 first succeeded in reaching the top.
Crowley's first published account of the K2 expedition appeared three years afterwards as a serial in the Anglo-Indian weekly magazine The Pioneer (Allahabad: 1905). The lodge has thusfar been unable to obtain copies of these articles, but it is likely that they were substantially the same as Crowley's serialized account which appeared during the summer of 1908 e.v. in the London weekly magazine Vanity Fair. With special thanks to O.T.O. Frater Superior H.B. for providing photocopies of this series, we will be including the seven parts here over the coming months. This opening section appeared in the Vanity Fair issue for 8 July 1908, on pages 51 & 52. Interested readers may want to compare these articles with Crowley's final account of the expedition, written fifteen years later for his autobiographical Confessions.

The Expedition to Chogo Ri

Leaves from the Notebook
of Aleister Crowley

I.

The expedition roughly described in the following pages was intended, first, to capture for amateur climbers the last of the mountain records of the world; second, to vindicate humanity from the charge of being unable to climb above 23,000 feet. A failure it was; but interesting enough.
Besides Eckenstein and myself there were four new members: Knowles, an Englishman, who had rowed in the first boat for First Trinity, and was consequently, although a stranger to me, the best companion I could have wished. The others were foreigners; two of them were Austrians; Dr. Heinrich Pfannal, a judge; and Dr Victor Wesseley, a barrister; the last member was Dr J. Jacot-Guillaimod, a Swiss doctor. With regard to the Austrians, perhaps the less said the better. It will be sufficient if I mention that Pfannl, superb climber as he was, was totally incapable of realising the magnitude of the task we had set out to perform. He kept himself in the pink of athletic condition from the very start! On the 30th March I entered a prophecy in my pocket-book that if he collapsed it would be complete. However he continued to train. After a 15-mile march he would have a little tiffin, and then go off in the afternoon up the mountain side to keep himself in condition! On the 14th July he got ill; on the 15th he was worse; on the 16th the doctor fetched him down; on the 19th he was delirious; found himself with the illusion of triple personality, one of himself being in the form of a mountain, and anxious to kill him. During the 19th and 20th he was under morphia, and on the 21st he was taken down on a sleigh. As to Wesseley --- But enough of the Austrians!
In the Swiss doctor, however, we found an excellent companion and a medical advisor of sound good sense. From a mountain point of view, he was sadly lacking in experience, but he was certainly worth his place in the party, and more, for his constant cheerfulness and the fun we could always have with him. He did not mind being laughed at at all. He was not only good for our own harmony, but kept the natives in a good temper, and prevented them from desponding quite as much, or more, than the rest of us could do. They even invented a proverb: "Jahan Doctor Sahib tahan tamasha." "Wherever the Doctor Sahib is, there is amusement." Of all his tireless kindness to me I cannot speak sufficiently highly. Owing to various circumstances, I was thrown a good deal into his company.
On the 24th March we got out at Rawal Pindi, and were held up there, owing to the non-arrival of our luggage. The Lime Tree Hotel was quite full, but they gave us tents outside, where we were very comfortable. The next morning I went shopping with Knowles, and we took the opportunity of discussing the finances of the expedition. As to this, I will only say that, had I known previously what the arrangements were, I should have entirely declined to have anything to do with the affair. One word of advice to anyone who intends going on an expedition with other Europeans. Either he has to pay everything and treat the others in every respect as servants, or the expenses to the last farthing ought to be shared equally by every member. If you pay more than your share, or less than your share, you are in an equivocal position; and if you pay for a man and yet treat him as an equal, the very fact that he is your guest prevents you speaking your mind. Nothing is more difficult after all than to lay down conditions which are not liable to misinterpretation. A good deal of the income of British lawyers depends on the difficulties which are met with in this respect by even the skilled legal draftsmen employed by the Houses of Parliament. But I suppose it is a ring!
The next few days at Rawal Pindi were spent in unpacking those cases which were too big to load on an ekka. An "ekka" is a vehicle drawn by one horse; in the back of the vehicle is room for a good deal of luggage, and more yet can be piled on top, leaving only a small place for the driver. The ekka, however, is of such a nature that, while it will accommodate seven of eight natives in apparent comfort, it does not show the same pleasing quality towards even one European.
The magnitude of our expedition may be gauged by the fact that our sea- borne and previously dispatched cases alone weighed over three tons. On the 29th March, after endless cursing, by dint of much physical force, we managed to get our baggage on to seventeen ekkas, and to start at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We reached Tret the same night, a little before half-past ten, Knowles and I bringing up the rear to prevent any ekkas straggling; for if once an ekka is allowed out of sight it is likely to turn up three of four days later than you expect. No sooner had we reached the first night's stage -- Tret -- than an urgent summons forced Eckenstein to return to the plains, as it turned out, for over three weeks. We had some dinner, by no means before it was wanted, and went off to sleep in blissful ignorance of the catastrophe that was even then poised and about to strike us to the dust.

Previous Crowley Classic                   To be continued. Part II


from the Grady Project:

A Tale Told at Bedtime

There is a City - with domes and pylons
A City of light - and many colored
And once when I was very small
I came nigh onto this City
Yes, up the spiral stairs - like any outsider
But I was curiously at home.
Yes, it was like coming home
And I started walking towards this City
Across a plain that was black as night
And under a dome that was also black
But though a plain stretched on to infinity it seemed
Yet it was like being in a closed room
For there were no stars - it was very strange
So I walked quickly, very quickly
But before I came to this City I met a Something
It was like a white flame
All pulsing and alive.
               But as I didn't know what it was I challenged it
And it turned all kinds of angry colors and buzzed
Yes, he buzzed - as if annoyed
               So I protected myself and he went away someplace
But that made me stop and think
I wasn't afraid three quarters but I wasn't sure of myself either
Who knows what strange Somethings might be in that City?
I didn't - and maybe there were those
Who would only laugh at my simple protection
Because to them it might be useless - who knows?
I didn't -
So I turned around three quarters and I walked to the stairs
No - I didn't run - I walked
But very quickly - as I always seem to do in that strange place
And I slid down the banisters
And I walked down the ramp and around to the big Gate
That is set in the Wall
And I came through and closed the Gate
And sealed it up tight three quarters real tight.
But some day I'm going back to the city
Or Someplace -----
But when I do I am going to know what I am doing
I'll go right on in - or anyplace else I want to go to
But first I've so much to learn
And so little time to do it in
And I never have any time to myself anymore
But I will - someday.
-- Grady L. McMurtry
(12-30-43)         

This is very nearly the final poem in our complete series of the poetical works of Hymenaeus Alpha, who was the founding master of Thelema Lodge (from 1977 to 1985 e.v.) and the leader of the O.T.O.'s resurgence as Aleister Crowley's designated Caliph. This publication project has lasted for eleven and a half years since the Grady Project was established in these pages by Dame Caitlin Aliciane with the assistance of John Brunie, the present lodgemaster and editor. Most of the poems have been edited from Bill Heidrick's microfilm copies of Grady's typescripts, though this piece (like those of the past couple months) appears from the 1994 e.v. edition of The Poetry of Grady McMurtry edited by past lodgemaster J. Edward Cornelius, whose personal archives contain the only known copies. (Note that the thrice occurring phrase "three quarters" in this poem has been editorially expanded, and occurs in the poet's typescript in the form of a vulgar fraction as "3/4.") One or two more brief and fugitive poems will be forthcoming, but we hope upon completion of this project to begin presenting other sorts of writing by Grady in future issues of our newsletter.

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project


One Member's Opinion

Politics and the Order
By Frater Balaam

"The OTO Declares that Brotherhood of All Things created is a fact in nature."

    - OTO Constitution (Article 2, section 1)

In the Islamic tradition the Major Prophets, or rasul, are distinguished from the 180,000 Minor Prophets, or nabis, because they reveal a shari'a, a divine Law for the governing of the community of the believers. Within the religious system of the A A the Magus 9 = 2 is in a similar manner distinguished from the Magister Templi 8 = 3 and lower grades by their utterance of a "Word" or Logos. This Word redefines the universe for those who "hear" it, and provides a new way of life appropriate to the age in which it is uttered. S H To Mega Therion's Word: "THELEMA", was uttered to fulfill this function. Thelema, the religion explicitly based upon this Word and the works of its Magus, therefore purports to teach its adherents their True Will, or proper course in the universe. But this way is always a way with others, each separate One also directed upon its own course. For the Law to be complete it must therefore, as with the shari'a of the previous Magi, provide a way of being with others so as to create a harmonious community. Indeed the word religion itself comes from the Latin religio, to bind together. Religion therefore concerns itself with the binding together of people into association. The Thelemic religion is no exception.
"Man is by nature a political animal," proclaims Aristotle. The word "politics" is from the Greek polis, or city-state. It designates an association of people. For Aristotle, people form such associations so as to pursue the good. I would like to suggest in this article that we try looking at politics in the Order and the larger Thelemic community, not as a necessary evil, but rather as the interactions of people who have come together to seek the good. What is this good? Many things, but it involves the ability of all to do their True Wills, and since this is so individual each must discover it, Alone with the Alone. But for this to be possible for the individual seeker, there must be a social space created wherein they have the freedom to so search, and to then express the freedom thus found in the world. How then are we to engage in politics together to accomplish this?
We do not have a rulebook of normative restrictions, no Torah or caste of priests, no cadre of Quranic lawyers. The whole shari'a of the Beast is "Do What Thou Wilt Shall be the Whole of the Law." This is the Law of The Book of the Law. It is the Law that is not a Law, and is therefore the only possible absolute code of conduct. As a result, responsibility for the proper conduct of the community evolves from that of a select group of lawgivers to that of every individual, and the nature of what constitutes "proper" conduct fundamentally shifts. This is a great freedom and a great burden, for it means we must all work together to actualize our ideals. It is therefore every Thelemite's responsibility to foster harmony among the Kings of the Earth. Are you being a selfish nuisance? If so, no Thelemite worthy of that name is going to force you to shut up, but you will nevertheless face the social consequences of your actions. In this you will have no one to blame but yourself. Non-Thelemites sometimes find that we can lack in politeness. It's because we don't need to rely upon manners. Respect is more important. Doing one's own thing and allowing others to do the same shows this. Thelema means not interfering with other people, period. By doing this one expects and creates the same from others. By not doing this one invokes the contrary response upon oneself. It's basic Magick. This is our struggle together. The O.T.O., as one possible Thelemic organization, fields one of the armies in this great battle. Its degree system was specifically designed by the Prophet to initiate into the Thelemic way with others. Therefore the OTO is an internally political organization, and trains its soldiers to operate within this context. One major method used is what has generally been known as the School of Hard Knocks, but there is additional instruction and empowerment within the degree initiations, for those whose will it is to use them. In this way the Order intends to provide a Thelemic model of harmony for the larger society about it, as well as for its initiates' personal lives apart from the Order. This is an ideal that we strive for, and it's everyone's job. Not just the Caliph's, not just the guy at the lodge one's having a fight with this week, but you and me as well. Our politics should strive to be a way of being within this ideal or (more practically), a way of being to create this ideal. We all forget this at our peril.
Bill Heidrick said it well in this newsletter a few months back when he noted: "In my opinion, the greatest secret of the O.T.O. is . . . not one that is concealed under oath, just impossibility of clear verbal expression. It's about the nature of the relationship of an individual to others, as perceived and felt by each. Often this is simply expressed as the brotherhood and sisterhood of human kind."
AUMGN to that, Brother.

Previous Fr. Balaam article


An Introduction to Qabalah

Part XLV(B) - Caduceus, Constructs & Celts

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

People occasionally alter the Tree of Life in various ways to enhance the powers of talismans or to study symbols. The G D put a Tree of Life around the Caduceus of Hermes, moving the Sephirot into unusual places, as was similarly done with planetary symbols. Malkut, Yesod and Tipheret were placed on the handle of the wand and separated by crossings of the twin serpents. Hod and Netzach were placed to right and left of the wand inside the highest loop formed by the serpents, but above Tipheret. Binah and Chokmah were above that, a bit more inward toward the shaft, between the wings and serpent heads. Keter formed the top of the Caduceus. This has the effect of stressing or rearranging the balance of the Tree to produce a particular emphasis. Ordinarily one would consider the middle pillar to be rising, but in this case it is forced down for Tipheret and below. With Hod and Netzach above Tipheret, a person centers in the self before balancing the lower reason and emotions. When a student has become familiar with or internalized the Tree, alterations of it like this will produce an effect. Just by trying to figure out what an unusual pattern might mean can produce stress. That stress can be used for magical purposes. We will revisit this notion later on, when we examine such manipulations of mind, soul and spirit through changes on the Tree.

Words of Power are also derived from Qabalah. To take a simple but important example, consider the Hebrew word Shem, a word for name, especially name of the Divinity. Normally, that's just spelled . The Sepher Yetzirah changes this to by adding an Aleph in the middle. Placed vertically, these three letters can be seen to suggest a Tree of Life. One can say of this: "I have the secret of the Tree of Life, because I know that it can be produced from the word Shem. I can speak the Words of Power, through uniting them to the process of creation and the essence of existence." Through the use of such associations to, and adaptations of the Tree, words are given a sort of symbolic vitality. Methods like these are used to consecrate or to direct the forces of nature, through Angelic and other names.

Consider the first text illumination to the Gospel of Luke in The Book of Kells, a very old Irish book of the Gospels. Once called "the Gospel of Columkille, the chief relic of the Western World", it appears in history about 1006 e.v., with a note of its temporary theft in that year. This illuminated manuscript is thus placed in age at least a hundred years before the Tree of Life appeared in print or widely known manuscripts. It shows what appears to be a hightly stylized form of the familiar Tree of Life, in the shape of an giant Latin letter Q for Quoniam. That in itself is rather strange. Why would anyone want to devote an entire page in a Gospel to illuminating the word Quoniam? All it means in Engish is For in as much, roughly a fancy way of saying Ah.... The great effort expended to ornament this seemingly trivial word is a mystery. It may be that the artist who designed this page was trying to immortalize himself through inclusion of an arcane device. He made this image with not only the initial Q of Quoniam, but also took the second and third letters into the design. That triplet of letters forms Quo, also a Latin word in itself. Quo could be taken as an implied question, almost "what is this? Who did this?" It is both the posing of a question and the very question itself, almost in the form of a modern question mark. There are other curious details. At the top there is a sort of funnel shape, like a similar form that appears in the earliest drawings of the Tree of Life. Every Sephirot of the Tree can be found in this illumination, with a little imagination. A large circle at the bottom is Malkut. Above that is a half circle for Yesod. The corners of the main form above give Hod, Netzach, Binah and Chokmah. Half circles to left, right and top form Geburah, Chesed and Keter. Tipheret is handled as the center of the image, like a garden with golden letters in the midst. There is a serpent, crawling up the base of the Tree, ready to start hiking himself up one path at a time. The Celtic Christianity of that time had a higher state of learning than the Roman Christianity of the south, a matter frequently attested in the history of the Middle Ages. Perhaps this device was part of that, a sharing with Jewish tradition linked via the Atlantic coast route to Spain, Africa and the Holy Land beyond.

Previous part (XLV[A]).    Next: The Shemhamphorash and the Shamir


Events Calendar for March 1999 e.v.

3/3/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
3/7/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/8/99Astrology with Grace in Berkeley
7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
3/11/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus TmThelema Ldg.
3/14/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/16/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Elder Edda. at Oz house
8 PM.
Thelema Ldg.
3/18/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PM Horus TmThelema Ldg.
3/20/99Vernal Equinox Ritual 4:18PMThelema Ldg.
3/21/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/22/99Astrology with Grace in Berkeley
7 PM
Thelema Ldg.
3/28/99Tea 4:18PM in BerkeleySirius Oasis
3/28/99Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
3/30/99Seminar on Liber Arcanorum at
Cheth House, 8PM in Berkeley
Thelema Ldg.
3/31/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.

The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.

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
P.O.Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94978 USA

Internet: heidrick@well.com (Submissions and circulation only)

Home away from Home