Thelema Lodge Calendar for May 1999 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for May 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

May 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


The Lodge of Thelema

Members of Thelema Lodge invite participation in a variety of classes, seminars, reading groups, and ritual circles, many of which are described in these pages. Whether as aspirants or experts, those who coordinate and present these offerings are undertaking to share their studies, their interests, and their magical pursuits with us all. For such an enterprise to succeed, we need to support each other, taking part and working together to further the projects of others, and directing our own proposals to appeal to each other as participants. By putting a bit of advance thought or review into a subject, by organizing a few ideas or examining established opinions, participants can do a great deal to add value to the discussion in which they will be taking part. Except for O.T.O. initiation events and occasional study sessions directly connected with the degree rituals, nearly all our lodge activities are open to friends and guests as well as to initiates.
Celebration of the gnostic mass of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is conducted every Sunday evening in Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge, beginning shortly after nightfall. When visiting the lodge for the first time, this is generally the best occasion for meeting the members and friends who constitute our ritual community. Newcomers should call well ahead to speak with the lodgemaster for directions to the temple. All who wish to attend are requested to gather by 8:00 in the lodge library in order to be ready when summoned in by the Deacon for the mass to begin. Our mass is a communion ritual, where all present partake of the consecrated eucharist at the ceremony's culmination. In our temple practice - the oldest continuing ecclesiastical tradition in the Order, as established by E.G.C. Patriarch Hymenaeus Alpha early in the revival of O.T.O. - each of the people in attendance accepts communion directly from the hands of the mass officers at the altar. Communion elements consist of a tiny cinnamon cookie baked especially by the Priestess and known as a "cake of light," along with a goblet of wine (or a nonalcoholic substitute for those requesting it of the Deacon beforehand). The lodgemaster keeps the temple schedule, and members of the lodge (along with occasional guests) take turns serving their fellows as officers in the mass. Speak with one of our gnostic bishops on Sunday night for advice in learning the roles and putting a mass team together.


Beltane in the Park

"The most considerable of the Drudical festivals is that of Beltane," according to Sir Walter Scott's survey of Celtic magical traditions. Often subsumed into the calendrical observation of May Day, Beltane was an occasion for ritual fires and sacrifice at the mid-point of the spring, when the sun achieves fifteen degrees of Taurus. It happens this year on Wednesday afternoon 5th May at about 5:00. We will be gathering early that evening for a barbecue picnic at Live Oak Park in north Berkeley, just beyond the north end of Shattuck Avenue, to observe the holiday with feasting and fun. Bring meat for the grill, and salads to share, and whatever you will want to drink. The crew at nearby Cheth House has offered to lead us in a circle dance beneath the great oak trees, with songs for the season and a wreath for every pole. Arrive around 6:00 to get the meal going, with festivities continuing until dark. For more information call Cheth House ahead of time at (510) 525- 0666.


Lords of the Groves of Eleusis

The twentieth northern California cycle of Aleister Crowley's Rites of Eleusis (Liber DCCCL) will be presented beginning at the end of this month and continuing through June. This year we will be performing the Rites according to the old "Nuit-Urania" system, with the entire cycle offered over the course of a single lunar month, from full moon at Saturn to full moon at Luna, at intervals of five days. This plan represents a considerable acceleration from the system of twelve-day intervals (over two and a half months) which we have been using for the past few years. We will open with the Rite of Saturn on Saturday 29th May, and continue with the Rite of Jupiter on the following Thursday (3rd June), with Mars the following Tuesday (8th June), and so on in descending order through the planetary spheres all the way down to the Rite of Luna on Monday 28th June. At the conclusion of Crowley's original cycle, Oz House will present an original Rite of Earth on Saturday 3rd July to ground out the entire project. As the newsletter goes to press, we are hoping to hold most of the Rites at Sirius Oasis in Berkeley, but this location is not yet confirmed for all dates. Keep in contact with the lodge as the Rites approach in order to hear from this year's god-forms about their developing plans for the performances. Many of the Rites will conclude with feasting, to which all who attend are invited to bring contributions of food and drink. The June schedule will be especially busy for all involved, so the better we can coordinate these ritual celebrations together the more each of the Rites will contribute to a successful cycle without stressing the participants beyond their optimum level of enthusiasm. That way we can each take many parts without completely forgetting where we are in the play. "Thus shall we give back its youth to the world, for like tongues of triple flame we shall brood upon the Great Deep -- Hail unto the Lords of the Groves of Eleusis!"


The Whole Path Plain to All

A seminar will be offered for the lodge by Bill Heidrick in Marin County this month on Aleister Crowley's instructions in meditation, as contained in the first part of Book Four. Meeting in San Anselmo at 7:30 on Wednesday evening 19th May, participants will receive an overview and a close reading of selected passages from this classic work, which is often recommended as one of the best introductions to any study of Thelemic magick and philosophy. There is no need to phone ahead for those who already know the way, but for directions (or further information) make contact well ahead of time with Bill by e-mail to heidrick@well.com.
When Soror Virakam (Mary d'Este Sturges) had finished her work as Crowley's co-author and secretary in the preparation of Book Four, Part One (which she transcribed from his dictation during a shared residence in Naples), she described him as "the most honest of the great religious teachers." Their intention for the book had been merely to record "disjointed fragments of his casual conversation" because Crowley's formal literary style seemed "too concentrated, too abstruse, too occult, for ordinary minds to apprehend." The result was a "few useful 'tips'" offered to "an independent and self-reliant body of students" who would not be content to "believe" their instructor, but would prefer to "follow out their own methods of research." It seemed obvious that those guides "who have wished men to believe in them were absurd," since the process of persuasion and authority "is contrary to, and destructive of, all real religious experience."
What they produced, in the first part of Crowley's great manual of magick entitled Book Four or Liber ABA, was a simple introduction to the practice of meditation and yoga. Since magick is based upon the work of the individual will, using oneself as the basic tool for accomplishing any object, the training for this work must be founded in exercises which will enable the magician to rely with confidence upon the physical body. Only when a degree of calm and control has been achieved at the corporal level will it be efficient to turn one's attention inward to the mind itself, in meditation, and then at last to the artificial and symbolic tools or "weapons" of magick. These are the matters which are outlined in the second part of Book Four.
Crowley had begun a kind of informal "yoga" training in 1901, using concentration techniques learned from his mountaineering partner Oscar Eckenstein in Mexico while they planned their K-2 expedition. While staying in Ceylon with Allan Bennett a few months later and still in training for the Himalayan climb, he began taking instruction from P. Ramathan, the Solicitor- General of the colonial government there, who taught yoga as Shri Parananda. At almost the same time another occultist, the Austrian industrialist and freemason Dr. Carl Kellner, was undertaking his own pioneering investigation of this same discipline, and was putting together the O.T.O. among a small group of advanced freemasons by combining yoga and other Oriental traditions with Western esoteric practices. When in 1912 Crowley became the British head of the O.T.O. and published Book Four, Part One, he was contributing his own studies to this same effort, which today we are continuing together still.

Next Book 4 presentation.


President N.O.X. In

Thelema Lodge's College of Hard N.O.X. offers twice-monthly training sessions in the manly art of politeness and the womanly science of disputation. The College schedule has been slightly altered this month in observation of the holiday of Beltane, and May's sessions will be held at 8 o'clock on the evenings of the 12th and 26th. Though late-comers are welcome, please try to arrive promptly; otherwise you may end up repeating something that's already been savagely ridiculed into oblivion (and you wouldn't want that to happen).
The topic of discussion for May 12th is: What is the mandate of leadership in a Thelemic world? And how can positions of leadership in Thelemic organizations be defined in a way that is consonant with "Do what thou wilt"? There is a sameness to organizational politics that seems to transcend specific customs and ideologies. We've all known a leader of the openly megalomaniacal type. She (or he) is confident of her own infallibility, quick to judge others and eager to condemn them, jealous of attention and unremittingly hostile to anyone who can see through her empty vanity. And yet there is a certain admirable honesty to her as well; she usually manages to alienate any of her creditable followers before too long. Far more dangerous is the leader whose outer presentation is relatively reasonable and efficient while in his heart he harbors a vindictive viper's venom. He talks behind people's backs, and uses his opportunities as an "adviser" to stir up enmity and strife between others, all the time appearing to have only "the best interests of the group" at heart, while on the inside he is laughing at everyone and their gullibility. It is the danger of exposure which is this sort of leader's Achilles' heel. Whenever his lies becomes apparent they lose their power to sting, and his fall from power over his followers cannot be far behind. Which brings us to a collateral question that will surely be discussed at this session as well: "How can a Thelemite be a follower?"
On May 26th we will entertain a topic closely related to the previous one, "Do Daoist concepts of leadership hold any specific lessons for Thelemites, and if so, what are they?" The primary evidence to begin this argument with consists of two quotations:

"Bind nothing! Let there be no difference made among you between any one thing & any other thing; for thereby there cometh hurt. But whoso availeth in this, let him be the chief of all!"
-- Liber Legis I:22-23.

"Thus is the Superior Man: he does not act, thus he spoils nothing; he does not keep, thus he loses nothing; he desires desirelessness; he learns non- learning. Thereby he furthers the natural course of things and does not dare to act."
-- Dao Deh Jing, chap. 64.

Previous NOX                   Next NOX


Ouranos Ritual Collective

The Ouranos Collective is an experimental workshop group hosted by Thelema Lodge twice monthly, comprised of magical practitioners from various Thelemic traditions who share their techniques and enthusiasms by performing ritual together on a regular basis. Beginning this month, the Collective will make a slight alteration in its meeting schedule, switching to two alternating Thursday evenings (usually the second and fourth). To join the group, contact Cynthia for information, and arrive by 8:00 on the evenings of 13th and 27th May. The Ouranos Collective is currently embarked upon an eight-month voyage through a multi-colored system of magick as outlined by Peter Carroll, and spring green is the flavor for this month in the rainbow ritual scheme. The May workings will thus be directed toward the magick of affection, ardor, and agape. The Ouranos beauty formula of "integritas, consonantia, claritas" (honesty, cooperation, and enlightenment) will be put to the test in the emerald pastures of Taurus with rituals designed to invoke a few of the many and various aspects of Venus.

Previous Ouranos Collective


Frater Superior is Watching You

The literature of "dystopia" is one of the characteristic strains of twentieth century culture, and the Section Two reading group will meet at Oz House for a discussion of this tradition at 8:00 on Monday evening 17th May. Social criticism has always been a basic element in speculation about patterns for the "ideal commonwealth," and long before Thomas More coined the name for the utopian genre there had been a strong tradition of satire in writings of this type. At the end of the nineteenth century, however, when ideas of planned and perfected communities again took hold of the popular imagination, they began to assume some sinister new aspects. In our second session on the permutations of utopia we will examine this reaction, as the idea of living according to an efficient formulation of the common good became not a fanciful adventure in civic planning but a claustrophobic nightmare of oppressive control. Bring your favorite examples of fictional societies gone wrong (of which the literature of our own century provides countless examples) and join Caitlin for an expedition through the rubble of the rational city. We will be sharing some of the most memorable passages from science fiction and from literary portrayals of totalitarianism, and then generalizing about the role of the storyteller in warning against social disaster while there might still be time to alter the course of our "progress."
The dystopian tradition seems to begin in the very midst of its earliest examples, with stories that open in the idealist vein of the traditional utopia, but then become more involved with the threats of this concept than with its promises. One of the first is Bulwer Lytton's The Coming Race (1871), where a fantastic species of superior beings living in the hollow earth seems at first to appeal quite strongly to the visiting storyteller, who even falls in love with one of them. As he gets to know them better, however, the cold rationalism and the advanced scientific mentality of the atomic- powered "Vril-ya" become more and more threatening, until the danger assumes evolutionary proportions and we are left wondering whether they might beat out mankind in a Darwinian competition for world domination. Crowley appropriated some of the ideas from this work in his own strange contribution to the utopian genre, The Lost Continent, or, Atlantis (Liber LI). Likewise in the writings of H. G. Wells, who was the first widely influential author in establishing the dystopian tradition, we often see the glittering dream of future progress in all its clean, automated appeal, only to find the storyteller becoming disillusioned and paranoid as the tale advances. The Time Machine (1895), When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), and A Modern Utopia (1905) are only the best examples among more than a dozen related works by Wells.
A story by E. M. Forster entitled "The Machine Stops" (1909) captures the spirit of rebellion against a future world-state which provides complete care in isolated cells for all mankind, leading to a technological apocalypse more urgent and prophetic than even the most pervasive tales of "scientism" by Wells. Forster's novella ranks with the greatest of the early classics of the science fiction genre, which is perhaps the archetypal literary mode of the twentieth century, and it may also be the first unambiguously "dystopic" literary vision of mankind's destiny. The earliest great classic of totalitarian dystopia is the Russian novel We, by Yevgeny Zamiatin, written in about 1920 under extreme Stalinist repression and published only abroad. Readers will recognize in We many plot elements of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which is in some ways an English re-telling of Zamiatin's story. Perhaps the best known scientific dystopia is Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932), where the forces of technology and conditioning contend against irrepressible primitive vitalism in a rigidly hierarchical future. We will be comparing Huxley's stance in this work with his revisions of the concept of utopia in the later novels Ape and Essence (1949) and Island (1962). From the 1950s onwards, the dystopian concept appears so frequently in science fiction that no list could comprehend the tradition. Dystopia expresses our unwillingness to be trapped within our own achievements, and our essential dissatisfaction with the limitations of our dreams of order and control. In the eternal rebellion of chaos against creation we may find a uniquely gnostic literary form, to which our reading group hopes to enunciate a variety of Thelemic perspectives.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two


The Serious Tease

Sirius Teas are held at 4:18 on the final Sunday afternoon of each month at Sirius Oasis in north Berkeley. Join this independent O.T.O. body on 30th May for an hour or two of invigorating beverages, diminutive sandwiches, fancy desserts, fine china, and fraternal chat. Call ahead at (510) 527-2855 for directions and information. Discussions this month may include upcoming initiation plans, arrangements for hosting the Rites of Eleusis, anticipations of June's Ancient Ways Pan-Pagan Festival, and schemes for precipitating our friends into the back yard hot tub. Bake some cookies if you have the chance, come early to help cut the crusts from the cucumber and cress creations, or just drop by to check in with the members of this Sirius and secret conclave.


Crowley Classics

This third installment in Crowley's account of the K-2 climb is reprinted from Vanity Fair (London: 22 July 1908), pp. 106-107.

The Expedition to Chogo Ri

Leaves from the Notebook
of Aleister Crowley

III.

As it was, I think we made a great mistake in not doing the whole of the journey, at least as far as Askoli, with large tents, beds, tables and chairs. Of course, our transport would have been largely increased. It was already beyond the ordinary capacity of the country, and this is no doubt the reason why Eckenstein did not make such arrangements. The truth was that a party of six was too large, especially as at least three of us had no capacity whatever for aiding the arrangements of valley travel. Knowles and Eckenstein soon picked up enough Hindustani to make themselves understood, though I had to do the interpreting most of the time whenever it came to discussing any question which meant more than the giving of a simple order. Of course, Eckenstein remembered a little Hindustani from his previous journey, which soon came back to him; Knowles knew none, but he picked it up with wonderful cleverness and quickness. The foreigners seemed rather to avoid learning anything. The doctor got over the difficulty by addressing the men volubly and at length in Swiss slang. Wesseley used to talk German to them, and to lose his temper when they failed to understand him.
The next morning we found that ten of our ponies had been carried off by the shikaris of two English officers who were travelling on the same stages. The march to Karbu was very long and dull. I should certainly never have got there without the pony. When we arrived we found a polo match with musical accompaniments proceeding in our honour. Though very tired Eckenstein and myself sat down for a quarter of an hour, as politeness demanded, and having distributed backshish proceeded to the dak-bangla. On the 7th we again rode on to the appropriately-named Hardas. The road on this march became frightfully hilly. It must have been designed by a mad steeple-jack with delirium tremens.
Eckenstein had humorously observed at Matayun that "now it was all down hill to Skardu except local irregularities," but these local irregularities varied from 300 to 2,000 feet in height and followed one another rapidly with only a few yards of comparatively level ground between them. The whole of the valley on this side of the Zoji La presented a remarkable difference from that of the Kashmir valleys. There was literally no natural vegetation. The mountains were vast and shapeless, utterly lacking in colour or beauty of any sort.
We were received at Hardas by the Rajah, with whom we had a lengthy conference about nothing. We eventually got rid of him by a present of some coloured pocket-handkerchiefs and a tip of five rupees. In this part of the country one did not need to be a republican to perceive the absurdity of kings.
On the 8th we proceeded to Olthingthang, a pretty long march. The road was a little more reasonable than the previous day, but a good deal of it was still very mad and bad. One stretch of several miles over a pari was exceptionally trying. It was broiling hot, and there was not a drop of water to be had anywhere; while the sun's heat came off the rock until one seemed as if in a furnace. But there was a delight to the eye marvellously marked on this day. In the midst of the naked hideousness of nature, wherever there had been a piece of ground sufficiently level, and a supply of water, cultivation had changed the ugliness of the Creator's design into an unconscious masterpiece of beauty. Imagine to yourself the tropical fervour of the heat, the dull drab of the rocks, the monotonous blue of the sky, and the sullen ugliness of the Indus with its dirty water running below your feet; then imagine yourself as if turning a corner and seeing in the midst of a new mass of rock a village. Ledge by ledge it would stretch down, clad in a brilliant and tender green, while cutting the horizontal lines of the irrigation channels, soared into the sky the magnificent masculine forms of poplars, and at their feet spread out the feminine and blossoming beauty of apricot trees. Village after village one passed, and was thrown every time into a fresh ecstasy of delight. There is a bitter disappointment, however, in store for the person who travels on this stage for the first time. The last pari is over; one sees a village in front nestling close to the Indus and watered by a large side stream which comes down in a succession of charming little cascades through a beautiful and verdant gorge -- but unfortunately it is not the stage! Just as one is certain that the weary march is over one finds that nothing is further from the truth. One has to ride up again more than a thousand feet from the valley before one reaches Olthingthang.
On the 9th we went on to Tarkutta. The "local irregularities" were again very severe. About half an hour from the start one joined the Indus Valley proper, though the river which we had been so long following was little less large than the main stream. The valley was also much grander though still very desolate. On the 10th we went on to Khurmang, another long march. I was again very ill, and found the air of the valley very filthy and stifling. The road was, however, a little more amenable to reason. At Khurmang is a wood fort very picturesquely perched on a steep rock. We were entertained on arrival by another beastly king. It was rather an amusing fact, though, that this king's complexion was a good deal lighter than any of us could boast of.
Ever since leaving Srinagar I had worn a pagri, which is perhaps the most comfortable form of headgear in existence, as it is good both against heat and cold. It is, of course, no good for rain, which it absorbs rapidly, becoming very heavy and clumsy; but in these rainless countries it is by far the best headgear that one could wear. For the first day or two it seems to afford little protection to the eyes, but one soon gets used to it.
The next day we went on to Tolti after defeating the plots of the Rajah's munshi. This ingenious person told us that it would be a very difficult matter to procure 150 coolies; but that if we advanced him five rupees he would send out messages to the outlying villages. Eckenstein, however, instead of doing this, asked the coolies who had come with us if they would go on another stage. They jumped at the chance, and made a regular stampede for the loads, going off that afternoon so as to avoid the heat of the following mid-day; but as soon as the munshi saw that they were well off he produced his 150 men (whom he had had in waiting all the time) and demanded to be paid on account of them. I cannot be sure whether Eckenstein did or did not give him a small installment of the kicking he deserved, as I was asleep in my tent during the whole of this commotion; but of course we reported his conduct to the authorities.
The road to Tolti was less mad and bad than before, but still very bad and sad. We were met by yet another king, and the usual durbar took place. We went on to Parkuta. The road was now pretty good, and there was quite a length of the valley opening out. On the 13th we went on to Gol. The road was not capital for horses, except in the villages and over one or two pari. At Parkuta there must be five or six lineal miles of cultivated land, and we passed through many avenues of trees which afforded very welcome shade. On the 14th we finished the first stage of our journey, riding twenty-one miles into Skardu. There was a pretty good road nearly all the way and only two pari of any size to cross. I got in about noon, and we all settled down in a dak-bangla as we intended to rest at Skardu three or four days to get information about the possibility of crossing the Skoro La. About half an hour before nightfall a man was brought in who had had his leg cut open by a falling stone. The doctor immediately attended to it, but the darkness came on and the bulk of the operation was done by candle light. The doctor would not give an anaesthetic, and expected the boy to faint under the pain; but this did not by any means happen, though he was suffering as anyone must suffer under the circumstances. The leg was cut down to the bone from the knee to the ankle. He did not evince any signs of great pain, and only at one point did he open his lips and ask in the most casual way for some water.
The next morning we received a visit from the Rajah. This ruffian had been stripped of his power for his conspiracies, but he still enjoyed the title and a certain income. We got rid of him as soon as possible with one or two presents. Eckenstein and I then interviewed the Tehsildar who came to pay his respects, and to make arrangements for our further journey. Later a great wind sprang up and great storms of sand were to be seen in every part of the valley, some of them 3,000 feet in height. The valley was here very wide, it was rather like a great circular opening in the mountains than a valley, for the widening was not gradual but sudden, and soon closed in again.
The next day two or three of us went off to fish, but caught nothing of any size. All the time, of course, we were overwhelmed with presents of one sort or another in the eatable line; while big pots of tea prepared in two different fashions were brought to us at nearly every stage. The first kind was made of Yarkand tea, sweetened and highly spiced; it was drinkable and even pleasant. The other was a mixture of tea, salt, and butter; and was an unspeakable abomination, though Eckenstein and Knowles pretended to like it. In the afternoon three brothers of the Rajah came and worried us. The next day nothing happened at all, and was consequently pleasant. On the 18th I went off with the Austrians to climb the fortress rock, which we ascended by the east ridge. It gave interesting and varied climbing; in the afternoon Eckenstein and I visited the Tehsildar and made the final arrangements. On the 19th we resumed our journey. About noon we reached Shigar, and made a delightful bivouac under a big tree. We were received by yet another Rajah! I had the bad luck to come in first; and was talking to him and the various lambadars for some time before the relief party turned up. In the Shigar Valley, not far from the village, are three fine carved Buddha-rupas in bas- relief on a big rock. After lunch I went off and shot some pigeons, and when I returned found that a guest was coming to dinner in the shape of the local missionary. We had a very pleasant dinner-party, and I entertained my companions by appearing first in the character of an earnest well-wisher to missionary work, with a gentle undercurrent which was quite beyond the comprehension of our friend; and subsequently in assuming the character of a prophet, demanding his allegiance. I proved to him my authenticity from the Scriptures, which, as it happened, I knew pretty well by heart; and put him down as one of those Scribes and Pharisees whose stiff-neckedness and generally viperine character prevented them from knowing a really good thing when they saw it! This man had been living in Shigar for seven years, and had not yet got a convert. Of course the Mohammedan regarded him as a very low type of idolater, and said so. He complained a good deal of his hard life; but as he was living in a most charming valley with a wife and all complete on a salary of which he could not have earned the fourth part in any honest employment, I do not quite see what he had got to complain of. Of course he laid stress on the absence of white men, but this was worse than no argument, as the possessor of such mediocre attainments, spiritual and intellectual, was not likely to receive anything but contempt in an educated community.
On the 20th we went on to Alchori, a short and pleasant march; I did a little pigeon shooting on the way. The Shigar Valley is broad and open, and the mountains on either side are delightful, though the bases are mostly uninteresting. The peaks in many cases have a fine pyramidal formation. The whole structure is thus rather of the type of the Wetterhorn seen from Grindelwald. One mountain, at the head of the valley, bears a striking resemblance to Mont Blanc, from Courmayeur.

Previous Crowley Classic                   To be continued. Part IV


from the Grady Project:

Probably drafted early in 1946 e.v. after discussions of the project with Crowley himself, these notes were sent to the aged magus by his young American student not long after Grady had returned to California from military duty in World War Two. In an effort to secure permission for Crowley to emigrate to California, various plans were discussed around that time by American O.T.O. members. It was hoped that the warm dry climate of "Rancho RoyAL," a property owned in the southern California desert by members of Agape Lodge, would be beneficial to their leader's declining health, and that his proximity to the largest functioning group of O.T.O. initiates would inspire the growth of the Order. Unfortunately these efforts came too late for the old man, and even if Crowley had been strong enough to make the journey there were too many bureaucratic hurdles involved in post-war emigration for the scheme ever to have had much of a chance. We now can gather from FBI documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that J. Edgar Hoover's personal paranoia regarding occult groups would probably have kept Crowley from obtaining an entrance visa at that time, regardless of how much effort had gone into the application process.

Clear Crowley's Name Campaign

by Grady McMurtry

Policy: To clear Crowley's name of the slander instigated by bigoted journalists and propagated by the sensational press.

Addendum thereto: Aleister Crowley has dedicated his life to the alleviation of the suffering of mankind by the practical application to every day living of philosophy in its highest concepts. In order to test his theories it was necessary for him to experiment. As many of these experiments, especially in his early youth, were at the expense of what are commonly considered "Christian Concepts" he gained considerable notoriety as a "Black Magician" merely on the basis of the experiments and without regard to the conclusions reached. An example: He conducted research on a scientific basis to determine the effect of certain narcotics -- a laudable occupation. His conclusions have been published and are open for reference. Did this make any difference to the sensational press? Not in the least. The mere fact that he had made the experiment provided them with material for reams of Sunday supplements featuring "That Fiend Crowley," etc. It is well to bear this in mind when considering the present effort to bring his teachings to mankind -- this being the ultimate object in clearing his name of stigma.

Aleister Crowley has brought the world the Law of Thelema. The Law of Will. The concept that no person has the right to do other than his true Will, and that this law is Love, Love under Will. This is not the soft, sentimental love of the romanticist but the virile, brilliant love of humanity -- the concept that the union of mankind in the brotherhood of Thelema will bring a new aeon of peace and progress to the world. That is worth fighting for. That is why we must CLEAR CROWLEY'S NAME.
In order to bring this about a plan of action is necessary. The following is such a plan.

I. Headquarters

A. Location -- London or vicinity.
B. Type -- business office large enough to accommodate executive in charge of campaign and several secretaries to handle correspondence, classify pertinent material and gather information.

II. Staff

A. Executive -- must be a person competent to handle editors, reporters, publishers, writers and supervise the collection and distribution of material pertinent to the campaign.
B. Executive Secretary -- must be competent to supervise the staff of secretaries and keep the flow of incoming and outgoing information coordinated. May be expected to take over the position of the Executive in an emergency.
C. Treasurer -- in charge of procuring and disbursing funds for the campaign. Should be an accountant.
D. Secretarial Staff
            1. Personnel -- to advise Executive of personnel in the field, new members, etc.
            2. Intelligence -- to determine, predict and advise the Executive on the movements and thought trends of the opposition.
            3. Planning -- keeping the roster of activities up to date and coordinating future moves as the campaign progresses.
            4. Stenographers, typists, and file clerks to keep the subject material properly classified and readily available.
E. Reporters -- to obtain needed information from documents, newspapers, records, and also to interview writers and men in public life.

Previous Grady Project                   To be continued. Part II


One Member's Commentary

The Three Grades of Dean Knapp

The fortieth verse of the first chapter of the Book of the Law says in part, "Who calls us Thelemites will do no wrong, if he look but close into the word. For there are therein Three Grades, the Hermit and the Lover and the man of Earth." In the Vision and the Voice, in the 13th Aire, is written "The man of earth is the adherent. The lover giveth his life unto the work among men. The hermit goeth solitary, and giveth only of his light unto men", Crowley mentions this passage in his "New" Comment to the Book of the Law, and adds, "Thus we have in the Order, the Mystic, the Magician, and the Devotee". Clearly this implies that three different approaches to Thelema, to the very religious experience itself, are possible, perhaps even necessary in the unfolding of this experience. Then in chapter 49 of the Confessions he divides religious teachers into three classes: first, the Moses/Mohammed type, who receives a direct command from God to act as His spokesman, and who does miracles or at least receives miraculous aid; second, the William Blake/Jacob Boehme type, who is in direct communication with some sort of spiritual intelligence, and whose personal revelations may indeed be inspiring to many others, but who claim no universal spiritual authority for themselves; and third, the Lao-Tzu/Buddha type, who have attained some state of spiritual release, and who are able to teach others the method by which they have themselves realized. "The wiser they are, the less dogmatic", says Crowley, "They remain essentially sceptics". These are just the three kinds of teacher you'd expect for Devotees, Magicians, and Mystics, respectively.
Of course if this triform nature of religious experience is truly archetypal then we should expect to find plentiful evidence of it in places quite far removed from Aleister Crowley and Thelema, and what better place than in the work of the late Canadian novelist, playwright, and journalist, Robertson Davies. In the last chapter of A Mixture of Frailties, the final novel of his Salterton Trilogy, there are reproduced several sections from a sermon, the Ida Bridgetower Memorial Sermon, in which the Reverend Jevon Knapp, Dean of St. Nicholas' Cathedral in Salterton, Ontario, broaches the subject of education. His remarks are interspersed with the descriptions of characters' thoughts and actions, almost as if they were the background of a motion picture soundtrack, the main body of them are given in three distinct sections, separated by passages of novelistic storytelling. Here I reproduce them without their fictional context in order to highlight the archetypes with which they deal:

"Education is learning; and learning is apprehension - in the old sense of sympathetic perception. We cannot all perceive the facts of our experience in the same way. As we draw near to the sacred season of Christmas we may fitly turn our attention to the ways in which the birth of Our Lord was perceived by those who first knew of it. Much has been made of the splendour of the vision of the shepherds, as told by St. Luke. But so far as I know, little has been said of the fact that it needed an angel and a multitude of the heavenly host to call it to the attention of these good men that something out of the ordinary had happened. Nothing short of a convulsion of nature (if I may so call it without irreverence) could impress them, and the Gospel tells us that they praised God 'for all the things that they had heard and seen'. There are many now, as then and always, who learn - who apprehend - only by what they can hear and see, and the range of what they can hear and see is not extensive. And, alas, instructive interruptions of the natural order are as few today as they were two thousand years ago..."

In the Dean's "shepherds" can we not perceive our "man of Earth"? As verse I:50 of the Book of the Law says, "The gross must pass through fire". Just as the body sees only by the light of the eyes, the religion of the adherents of Thelema must be tangible, with its feasts, masses, and ritual weapons. These adherents must also serve as the essential social foundation of any long- lasting Thelemic movement, as they have served in the case of every other organized religion. By their loyalty, enthusiasm, and financial support they make possible the success of the educational and creative efforts of the Lovers. Unlike the obedient flocks of earlier religions they are no sheep to be led about by their pastors, but rather proud men and women who decide for themselves to whom they will award their allegiance.

"If the shepherds needed a prodigy to stir them, the Wise Men needed no more than a hint, a new star amid the host of heaven. In art, and especially the Christmas card art which will so soon be with us, that star is usually represented as a monstrous illumination which a mole might see. That is so that the shepherds among us may understand without a painful sense of insufficiency the legend of the Kings. For legend it is; the Gospel tells us but little of these men, but legend has set their number at three, and has given them melodious names. The legend calls them Kings, and Kings they were indeed in the realm of apprehension, of perception, for they were able to read a great message in a small portent. We dismiss great legends at our peril, for they are the riddling voices by means of which great truths buried deep in the spirit of man offer themselves to the world. Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar stand as models of those - few, but powerful at any time - who have prepared themselves by learning and dedication to know great mysteries when the time is ripe for them to be apprehended by man..."

In Dean Knapp's "Wise Men" or "Kings" we can see delineated our Grade of "Lover"; they are "the fine", "tried in intellect". It is they who form the elite corps of the Thelemic "order", providing leadership and training for those who would follow after and even outpace them. One who "giveth his life unto the work among men" cannot expect a life of stability and ease. She may be called upon at any time to undertake long journeys bearing her most precious gifts to offer up in homage to Hoor-pa-kraat. Luckily she turns out to love traveling and be quite generous. This sort of "sacrifice of life and joy" on the part of the Lovers is necessary to the firm establishment of a Thelemic culture.

"A third figure, who perceived Our Lord in his own fashion, is particularly sympathetic, and presents in one of the most touching stories of the childhood of Christ another sort of apprehension, and that the rarest. He is the aged Simeon, who knew Our Lord intuitively (as we should say now) when He was brought to the Temple on the eighth day for His Circumcision. Not the forcible instruction of a band of angels, nor the hard-won knowledge of the scholars, but the readiness of one who was open to the promptings of the Holy Ghost was the grace which made Simeon peculiarly blessed. We see him still as one of those rare beings, not so much acting as acted upon, not so much living life as being lived by it, outwardly passive but inwardly illumined by active grace, through whom much that is noblest and of most worth has been vouchsafed to the world . . . Oh, trusting, patient Simeon, the first to know, of his own knowledge, the Holy Face of God!"

St. Simeon, as the Dean describes him, is a portrait of our "Hermit". He is an example of "the lofty chosen ones" who are tried "in the highest". He instructs no one. He neither exhorts nor ponders. He merely recognizes, and blesses, and speaks the spontaneous prophecies of the Holy Spirit. Thus our Thelemic Hermit "giveth only of his light unto men", and her mystical attainment expresses itself in the silence of that inner "joy a million times greater" than any outer experience.
At this point it may be appropriate to wonder if Davies came upon this understanding of the three different means of divine experience independently, or if he was actually influenced by the Book of the Law. Certainly he was aware of Crowley and his works; AC even figures in one of his ghost stories when a character follows his instructions in order to invoke, of all things, the spirit of Queen Victoria. In Tempest Tost, the first volume of the Salterton Trilogy, the assistant director of an amateur theatrical production is sent off to do some research.

"The Waverly Library, he discovered, was fairly well stocked with books about magic as anthropologists understand the word, and it could provide him with plenty of material about medieval sorcery; it also contained books by Aleister Crowley and the Rev. Montague Summers which assured him feverishly that there was plenty of magic in the world today."

So it is therefore possible that Davies was consciously influenced in this by Thelema. Still, I think it unlikely. A more probable explanation for the "coincidence" is that both these observations are based upon the same simple fact: human beings do this "religion thing" in three different ways, as a social experience, as a personal creative experience, and as an impersonal spiritual experience. As if to confirm this fact that the truth is ever on display we also find that the final sentence in Crowley's "New" Comment to verse I:40 says, "'Three Grades'. There is a very curious parallel to this passage in Aldous Huxley's 'Chrome[sic] Yellow' Chap. XXII." And in fact the 22nd chapter of Huxley's novel Crome Yellow does indeed contain an unexpectedly similar metaphor.

"The three main species [of Mr. Scogan's utopia, the Rational State] will be these: the Directing Intelligences, The Men of Faith, and the Herd. Among the Intelligences will be found all those capable of thought, those who know how to attain to a certain degree of freedom - and, alas, how limited, even among the most intelligent, that freedom is! - from the mental bondage of their time. A select body of Intelligences, drawn from among those who have turned their attention to the problems of practical life, will be the governors of the Rational State. They will employ as their instruments of power the second great species of humanity - the men of Faith, the Madmen, as I have been calling them, who believe in things unreasonably, with passion, and are ready to die for their beliefs and their desires. These wild men, with their fearful potentialities for good or for mischief, will no longer be allowed to react casually to a casual environment. There will be no more Caesar Borgias, no more Luthers and Mohammeds, no more Joanna Southcotts, no more Comstocks. The old-fashioned Man of Faith and Desire, that haphazard creature of brute circumstance, who might drive men to tears and repentance, or who might equally well set them on to cutting one another's throats, will be replaced by a new sort of madman, still externally the same, still bubbling with a seemingly spontaneous enthusiasm, but, ah, how very different from the madmen of the past! For the new Man of Faith will be expending his passion, his desire, and his enthusiasm in the propagation of some reasonable idea. He will be, all unawares, the tool of some superior intelligence. From their earliest years, as soon, that is, as the examining psychologists have assigned them their place in the classified scheme, the Men of Faith, will have had their special education under the eye of the Intelligences. Moulded by a long process of suggestion, they will go out into the world, preaching and practising with a generous mania the coldly reasonable projects of the Directors from above. When these projects are accomplished, or when the ideas that were useful a decade ago have ceased to be useful, the Intelligences will inspire a new generation of madmen with a new eternal truth. The principle function of the Men of Faith will be to move and direct the Multitude, that third great species consisting of those countless millions who lack intelligence and are without valuable enthusiasm. When any particular effort is required of the Herd, when it is thought necessary, for the sake of solidarity, that humanity shall be kindled and united by some single enthusiastic desire or idea, The Men of Faith, primed with some simple and satisfying creed, will be sent out on a mission of evangelization. At ordinary times, when the high spiritual temperature of a Crusade would be unhealthy, the Men of Faith will be quietly and earnestly busy with the great work of education. In the upbringing of the Herd, humanity's almost boundless suggestibility will be scientifically exploited. Systematically, from earliest infancy, its members will be assured that there is no happiness to be found except in work and obedience; they will be made to believe that they are happy, that they are tremendously important beings, and that everything they do is noble and significant. For the lower species the earth will be restored to the centre of the universe and man to pre-eminence on the earth. Oh, I envy the lot of the commonalty in the Rational State! Working their eight hours a day, obeying their betters, convinced of their own grandeur and significance and immortality, they will be marvelously happy, happier than any race of men has ever been. They will go through life in a rosy state of intoxication, from which they will never awake. The Men of Faith will play the cup-bearers at this lifelong bacchanal, filling and ever filling again with the warm liquor that the Intelligences, in sad and sober privacy behind the scenes, will brew for the intoxication of their subjects."

So here we see once more, projected upon humanity as a whole, the archetypes of the Devotee, whose watchwords are loyalty and adherence, the Magician, who causes change, and the Mystic, whose silence conceals understanding. Of course we need not see it, as Huxley's character Mr. Scogan did. We need not insist upon these attitudes being the basis of a system of imposed castes; we might instead imagine them as psychological frameworks within which one may view life. The fact that the vast majority of contemporary humanity is content to see the world through the "man of Earth" window does not mean that specific individuals may not in the course of their lives also learn to see as "Lover" or as "Hermit", nor does it even mean that some rare ones may not appreciate all three perspectives simultaneously.
Elitist social engineering fantasies, like Huxley's character's "Rational State" (a Platonic predecessor to the scientific dystopia of Brave New World) or Crowley's Blue Equinox papers, can be highly entertaining, and even instructive as cautionary tales, but the real message of such metaphors is that for any human society (or organization) to remain healthy it must continue to provide ample and constructive opportunities for all three types of experience. They are all necessary to the system; verse I:40 does not say "the Hermit or the Lover or the man of Earth". In the handwritten manuscript of the verse we can see that the commas in Liber CCXX were added by Crowley later; it's "the Hermit and the Lover and the man of Earth." without separation. Still, the word "Grade" comes from the Latin gradus, a step, a progression. This could imply that one's freedom to advance, as a Thelemite, as a human being, is inalienable. That most do not choose to exercise this freedom should not therefore be taken as an excuse to oppress them, nor should the fact that very few now manage to advance all the way necessarily be taken as the inevitable and eternal condition of humankind.
---Frater P.I.



Events Calendar for May 1999 e.v.

5/2/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/5/99Beltaine, picnic at Life Oak Park
in north Berkeley 6 PM
Thelema Ldg.
5/9/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/12/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
5/13/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PMThelema Ldg.
5/16/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/17/99Section II reading group with
Caitlin: the literature of
Dystopia 8 PM at Oz House
Thelema Ldg.
5/19/99Class on Book 4, Part I with Bill
7:30 PM in San Anselmo
Thelema Ldg.
5/23/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema Ldg.
5/26/99College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
Thelema Ldg.
5/27/99Ouranos Ritual Workshop 8PMThelema Ldg.
5/29/99Enoghian Rite of Saturn 8PMSirius Oasis
5/30/99Sirius Oasis Tea, 4:18 PMSirius Oasis
5/30/99Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus TempleThelema 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.

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

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