Thelema Lodge Calendar for September 1999 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for September 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.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
September 1999 e.v. at Thelema Lodge Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
The Scales of the Serpent
One of the earliest Qabalistic texts, the Sepher Yetzirah, describes God's
formation of the universe out of ten numbers -- the Sephiroth, or spheres, of
the Tree of Life -- and the paths connecting them:
"Twenty-two Foundation Letters
He placed them in a circle
like a wall with 231 Gates."
231 is the number of unique pairs that can be made from the 22 letters of
the Hebrew alphabet. It is also the number of Crowley's brief Holy Book,
Liber Arcanorum Atu Tahuti quas Vidit Asar in Amennti, which,
describing the sequence of the tarot Trumps as a universal formula, covers
much of the same territory as the Sepher Yetzirah, from a different angle.
Generally either ignored of misunderstood, Liber Arcanorum outlines a method
for embodying the profound meanings of the paths of the Tree of Life as a lived reality.
On Thursday evening 30th September at 7:30 Cheth House will begin a weekly
series of pathworkings seeking to penetrate the mysteries of Liber Arcanorum.
Each week, we'll explore one of the paths of the Tree and its associated Tarot
Trump, beginning with Aleph, the Fool. The working combines traditional
Golden Dawn correspondences with Tibetan ritual techniques and a meditative
practice from the Sepher Yetzirah.
Interested participants are invited to come to Cheth House in north
Berkeley -- call (510) 525-0666 for directions -- with a small sitting cushion
and (optionally) a small offering to the path of Aleph, such as a poem, a
brief reading, a drawing, or a gemstone.
"The Atu of Tahuti, who is the Lord of Wisdom, are also called Keys. They
are guides to conduct. They give you a map of the Kingdom of Heaven, and also
the best way to take it by force." - The Book of Thoth
Previous Michael Sanborn article Next Scales of the Serpent
Temple in Balance
The equinox, feast of equilibrium between the natural forces of Horus and
Set, and opening of the autumnal season, falls on Thursday 23rd September,
with Sol's entry into Libra at 4:32 AM. Such "days of night's equality," upon
which our years are balanced in their reckoning, are traditional occasions for
the lodge to reaffirm itself both as a Thelemic community and as a chartered
body of Ordo Templi Orientis. A celebration and a brief ritual ceremony will
be held at the lodge that evening at 7:30, with a communal dinner feast to
follow. Members are asked to make arrangements with the lodge officers in
advance to take part in the ritual and help put the feast together afterwards.
Guests as well as members are welcomed each Sunday evening in Horus Temple
to celebrate the gnostic mass and take communion with the lodge as Ecclesia
Gnostica Catholica. This is often the best opportunity for visitors to meet
the lodge community, and those who have not previously attended should call
ahead of time for directions. To serve as officers in the mass, teams who
have studied the ritual sufficiently in practice together are invited to
contact any of our local gnostic bishops for guidance, and then to work out a
date on the temple calendar with the lodgemaster. By request to the bishops
the temple can also offer special ceremonies of baptism and confirmation to
interested communicants, and minor ordination to the diaconate for qualified
Initiations have been scheduled twice this month at Thelema Lodge, with
advancements in the Order to be conducted on Saturday 4th September, and
receptions into the Order two weeks later on Saturday 18th. Members are
welcome to attend based upon their membership degree, and only by advance
arrangement with the lodge officers. Details regarding the time, place, and
degrees to be worked are not published, and must be obtained in advance from
the lodge. Candidates for O.T.O. initiation are invited to submit their
applications to the lodgemaster, with the proper forms available at most lodge
events. Initiations must be planned well in advance, and part of the ordeal
is keeping in touch with the lodge throughout the period of candidacy.
The Trembling of the Veil
The collected volume of Autobiographies by W. B. Yeats is our subject for
the Section Two Reading Group this month, meeting with Caitlin at Oz House on
Monday evening 13th September at 8:00. Read a little in any of Yeats's works,
then join us at 8:00 and participate in a discussion of his importance as a
poet, dramatist, politician, folklorist, and ceremonial magician. Our talk
will be illustrated with a few brief readings from Yeats's memoirs,
documenting some of his Golden Dawn contacts and studies.
The great Anglo-Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was initiated
into the Order of the Golden Dawn on Friday, 7th March 1890, at the Fitzroy
Street address of Isis-Urania Temple in London. Three years later he attained
the grade of 5= 6 and adopted the magical motto Demon Est Deus Inversus, or
"a demon is a god in reverse." During these early years as he rose through
the grades of the outer order and then entered upon the work of a Theoricus
Adeptus Minor, Yeats was able to work directly with the order's chief teacher
MacGregor Mathers, who removed to Paris in the following year. When in 1900
there was a crisis of confidence, and the remote leadership of Mathers became
untenable among the Order's members in London, Yeats emerged as an advocate
for unity and reorganization in an (ultimately futile) attempt to conserve the
spirit of the early Golden Dawn beyond the generation of its founders. By
this time Yeats was thinking of Mathers as a "half lunatic, half knave," and
the old fraudulent Scotch magus was working in Paris with a new young student,
initiated as a Golden Dawn Neophyte on 18th November 1898 under the motto
Perdurabo, or "I'll stay." As Mathers' emissary to the London temple, Crowley managed to completely alienate all of the membership factions by conducting a
ritual occupation and rededication of the Order in April 1900, which marked
the end of the "original" Golden Dawn.
G. H. Frater Perdurabo survived to assume the burden of the Prophet of the
Aeon of Horus, and in the following decade completely reorganized the
traditions of the Golden Dawn upon Thelemic lines in his early A A. On the
other hand, G. H. Frater D.E.D.I. went on to become the most famous and most
widely studied participant in the early activities of the Golden Dawn, but
then noted in his autobiographical volume The Trembling of the Veil (1922) "I
am not now a member of a Cabbalistic society." After their ceremonial
confrontation over the heritage of Mathers' original organization, Crowley's
treatment of Yeats is defined by a professional rivalry, pursued with a good
deal of literary teasing. Yeats, however, seems to have genuinely feared and
hated Crowley for years afterwards. Much later he seemed enraged and
embarrassed to hear in 1914 that his father had become Crowley's friend in New
York among the circle of the literary patron John Quinn. John Butler Yeats, a
renowned painter, considered his son's old nemesis to be quite good company,
and wrote to "My dear Willie" of his fascination with this "formidable
The following paragraph forms the substance of a letter from John Butler Yeats in New York to his son Willie Yeats in London, dated 18th December 1914. Dorothy Coates was a mistress of Quinn's, and perhaps also of the elder Yeats, who shared none of his son's occult or mystical predilections.
"Do you know a man named Crowley? -- a strange man and a witty. Miss
Coates and I met him at Quinn's at dinner, his conversation not witty but that
of a witty man. He seemed to be well-versed in curious cults, the sort you
are interested in and also, as it happened, Miss Coates, who knew all the
names and books he mentioned, serving well to draw him out. A bullet-headed
man -- he was an opponent of Mathers, but very sympathetic towards Mrs.
Mathers, on whose behalf he was especially indignant with Mathers. Also he
knows Mrs. Emery and you. Have you noticed that any man possessing the gift
of expression but absolutely without sympathy is inevitably a wit and a man of
humor? A complete detachment from the people about him -- this complete and
perfectly natural estrangement puts him in easy possession of all that makes
for humor and wit. It also makes him seem 'formidable.' The combination is
that of the 'formidable stranger,' so that you pay attention to every word he
lets fall from his lips. And if he makes you laugh, you hear him with a sense
of relief and are almost grateful, this effect enhanced in this case by his
bullet head and strong clumsy figure -- his fingers thick but tapering. The
handsome Quinn watched him closely, Miss Coates, sitting opposite looking
really handsome and showing much intelligence, never took her eyes off him.
He was very courteous, and his courtesy was part of his detachment. These
good-looking people seemed interested in what were the contortions of an ugly
man, and yet among ordinary people he is by no means an ugly man. He showed
no weaknesses unless it was his liking for some ancient Chartreuse provided by
John Quinn. The whisky he put aside with a supercilious air. Miss Coates and
I left at 10:30. The conversation that took place after we left was probably
illuminating. Quinn looked as if he would remain master of the situation. Of
course, being an Englishman, he was throughout the hero of his own tales.
Have you noticed that one is always inclined to like a formidable man? It is
our way of getting back our courage."
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
The Inertia of the Universe to Assist
"Science enables us to take advantage of the continuity of Nature," and
thus to determine an individual "right relation with the Universe" for
ourselves. In each practitioner, this process is defined as "Magick," or "the
Science of understanding oneself and one's conditions," and "the Art of applying that understanding in action." These phrases and notions from the
introduction to Crowley's Magick in Theory and Practice (first published in
London in 1930) prepare the reader for the detailed formulation of a unified
theory of Magick, according to which the entire panoply of magical technique
is organized and explicated. The result is "a complete treatise on Magick,"
structured according to the order of the trumps in Tarot. It is a book which
many Thelemites return to again and again for renewed study, and for years the
lodge has had the benefit of a repeated series of classes on this work offered
by Bill Heidrick. This month the series is beginning again, and for the first
time will be using the new complete edition of the text of MTP from Crowley's
Liber ABA (Book Four). The series opens on Wednesday evening 22nd September
in San Anselmo, where the class will be held in Bill's home, beginning at
7:30. Contact Bill well ahead of time by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for
"A man who is doing his True Will has the inertia of the Universe to assist him."
Previous Book 4 presentation
The Sound Of One Hand N.O.X.ing
Thelema Lodge's twice-monthly sessions of serious cerebration known as the
College of Hard N.O.X. will meet in September on the 1st and the 29th. The
Dean will call us to order in the lodge library at 8 o'clock on each of these
Wednesday evenings. A modest tuition will be extracted before the discussion
ensues. This month we will be continuing our "Thelema and ..." series of
classes, which are exploring the connections, both affinities and areas of
dispute, between the Law of Thelema and some of humanity's other major creeds.
In September the other religions to be viewed in this light are Buddhism and
Christianity, which share an emphasis on the spiritual implications of
For the meeting on September 1st I was able to interview a long-time
student (and teacher) of Tibetan Buddhism who is also quite familiar with
Thelema. Unlike our Muslim imam of last month this particular young lama
would not offer an "orthodox" opinion. He pointed out that Buddhism has many
varieties and that different cultures have adopted different forms, and that
therefore his remarks about Thelema would require some historical context; I
paraphrase his history lesson here. The three main schools of Buddhism
developed over many centuries and a wide area. The oldest tradition,
identified with the teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples, is based
on the Pali Canon (or Tripitaka), the source of such basic Buddhist teachings
as the Four Noble Truths (which includes the famous Eightfold Path). It also
lays out the Buddhist community's standards of behavior and monastic
discipline. This ancient tradition continues today as so-called Theravada
Buddhism which is the dominant religion in a number of countries in Southeast
Asia, notably Sri Lanka, Burma and Thailand. The next tradition to
differentiate itself was the Mahayana (or Great Vehicle) school, which is
followed by the majority of modern-day Buddhists. Its origin is identified
initially with the Prajna Paramita (Perfection of Wisdom) literature and the
teaching of the Indian philosopher Nagarjuna (both roughly 0-200 c.e.) which
explicated the central Mahayana concepts of bodhisattva and sunyata. The
bodhisattva, described by Tibetans as a "Hero of the Thought of
Enlightenment", is the embodiment of that compassion which is ever-returning
as enlightened being. Sunyata means emptiness, and indicates that the
universal impermanence of phenomena makes any real essence or self impossible.
A third school has developed within Mahayana (especially in Tibet, Mongolia,
and Japan) called Vajrayana (or Thunderbolt Vehicle). Its differences with
mainstream Mahayana are not over philosophy but over what might be called
technology. Vajrayana practitioners may learn to awaken the Kundalini serpent
through Tantric ritual, but they must still first declare their heroic
"bodhisattva vow" of compassion and profess the emptiness of any resulting
The attitude of Buddhists toward Thelema would probably range fairly widely from school to school and from culture to culture, though in general we might
expect more tolerance than we would have from most monotheists. My informant
happens to practice a Tibetan form of Vajrayana Buddhism which makes use of
invocations of various spiritual entities and other shamanic magical rites,
and performs initiations into the Tantric mysteries. So his perspective is
therefore bound to be among the most tolerant of Thelema. From a perspective
of ultimate experience, the Tibetan view of what makes for a true deity, in
their own or other pantheons, is that gods are manifestations of wisdom and
enlightened mind, inseparable from one's own wisdom, and empty in nature,
completely open and beyond all concept and boundary. If these underlying
principles are adhered to then Buddhists could even bring the Thelemic
pantheon into their own practice, perhaps identified with traditional Buddhist
figures (Nuit as Avalokiteshvara, Hadit as Manjushri, and RHK as Vajrabhairava
springs to mind). From a perspective of relative experience a Tibetan
Buddhist would hope that any religion would be interested in benefiting all
sentient beings, or at least not harming any sentient being. Revelations are
not regarded as communications from a god outside of oneself, but rather we
are regarded as the creators of our own projections. Thus Tibetans have many
revealed books (terma, that is, treasure), which have been "discovered" in
meditation or under rocks (the Tibetan Book of the Dead is the most widely
known of these texts in the West), but they are never regarded as unedited
"sacred law" in the same sense as are often the Bible and Liber XXXI. Still,
conflicts between Thelemites and Buddhists will probably never get much past
the stage of vigorous debate, unlike what we can expect to experience from the
advocates of less tolerant creeds.
On September 29th we'll discuss the relationship between Thelema and
Christianity. Is there another religion's holy writ which is so openly cited,
even directly quoted in the Book Of The Law ("He that is righteous shall be
righteous still; he that is filthy shall be filthy still.")? Is the Book Of
The Law actually a rewrite of the Revelation of John? And is Crowley then an
esoteric Christian? Who exactly are that Beast and Scarlet Woman? Argue all
these questions and more.
ERRATUM --- the final paragraph in last month's notice featured an
unfortunate omission. It should have read:
"On August 25th there will be a discussion of "Thelema and Judaism".
Here we will first broach the subject of a Thelemic style of eclectic
syncretistic individualized religious expression which considers all words
sacred and all prophets true. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the
Law" would seem to call for each individual to follow her own particular
religion. On this evening the case will be made for Thelema as a specialized
form of Jewish mysticism. Crowley's Qabalah, though uniquely his own, links
back to the medieval rabbis, and the only direct mention of Jews in The Book
Of The Law is a reference to Gematria. Why Aiwass even turns out to be a
Jewish name! So come and be prepared to argue for whatever you call your own
brand of Thelema."
Previous NOX Next NOX
In Light, Life, Love, and Liberty
by Heather Schubert
Fà cio che vuoi sarà tutta la Legge.
On Friday evening 10th September Thelema Lodge invites you to a special
celebration of Liber XV, performed in Italian. It is a rare occurrence to
have a mass team willing to perform this complex ritual entirely in a foreign
language. Being of Latin origin, Italian is said to be one of the most
beautiful languages in the world. It is as rich in romance as Italy herself,
with her winding water ways, majestic architecture, and breathtaking countrysides. Two thirds of the gnostic mass script is made up of passages
from Liber AL. Does not Liber AL state, "This book shall be translated into
all tongues"? Let it also be celebrated in all languages! Some say there are
crucial meanings that are often lost in translation. I personally feel that a
hidden depth in the spirituality of this sacred ritual has been revealed to me
through the experience of learning and performing it in a second language. It
has given me a better understanding of language in general, as well as the
dynamics of the mass ritual itself. Booklets of Liber XV containing the
ritual in both Italian and English will be available, as will "cheat sheets"
for the members of the congregation who are welcome -- but not expected -- to
participate in Italian. The opportunity for us to share the experience of
participating in the gnostic mass performed in a foreign language is rather
unusual, and I hope to see you there; this promises to be a most enchanting
In Luce, Vita, Amore, e Libertà
Amore el la Legge, Amore sotto il dominio della Volantà.
The seventh installment of this eight-part series of articles, which was published six years after the limited success of Crowley's expedition to K2, is missing from the archives of the Order, and we have not been able to locate a copy of it in time to include it here in its proper order. Thus we pass on to the final section, which chronicles the stages of descent from the great glacier, and the beginnings of the journey home for Crowley's party of the already fragmented expedition. Anyone having access to a copy of the missing seventh section, from Vanity Fair (London) for 9 September 1908, is cordially invited to share this text with the lodge.
The Expedition to Chogo Ri
Leaves from the Notebook
of Aleister Crowley
On August 20th we decided to descend through the valley by the way we had
come instead of crossing the Skara La. The baths did me a great deal of good.
My constant sorrow at having ever been born was interrupted by moments of
something very like indifference as to whether I was alive or not. It needed,
in fact, a very few days to plunge me into the moral abyss of actually liking
On August 21st we marched to Ghombora, a very hot march after midday. At
the big mud-nala we found a curious change. The mud had caked dry; but at
some previous time it had overflowed its right bank after issuing from between
the rocky walls which bounded it higher up, so that the long stony beach or
valley parallel to the Bralduh by which we had ascended was now a solid mass
of hard mud. The smaller nala was in much the same condition as we had
previously found it, but not so deep in mud. At Ghombora we found fresh
apricots, and had a perfectly splendid feast. As also at Dasso, where we
found apples. On the march we found fresh peaches. The intelligent reader
will, no doubt, be able to anticipate the sequel.
The march to the camping ground, which was just beyond Yuno, was terrible.
We had sent down orders for a raft, and expected it to meet us at the foot of
the great Pari, where the valley divides. Alas! the river was not navigable
so high up, and we had to tramp over the burning sands hour after hour. The
junction of the rivers was in an entirely different place to that marked on
the map, and we toiled down the peninsula under the broiling sub till got below Yuno, where I sat down on the river bank and sent men off in all
directions to find the raft which I had sent for the night before. About 4
o'clock it arrived, and we were whirled across stream to the place where we
finally camped. These rafts are called "Zak," and are composed of not very
thick sticks laid together with two or three crossbars to give stability. and
otherwise bound with cord. On this structure are tied goat skins which are
periodically inflated. On this raft, which was a bad one, the goat skins
deflated so frequently that, in spite of having a man constantly at work to
blow them out, we were compelled to land at intervals of about half an hour
for a general overhauling.
Went down to Shigar by raft. The zak-wale behaved disgracefully, and the
night before it was only by the aid of the belt that they had been made to
understand that the Doctor and I meant to go down that river at any price. At
Shigar we rejoined the party who had arrived the previous evening. We were
now without sufficient money to pay off our men; and Salama, who had been sent
to Skardu to try and get assistance from the Tehsildar, had been unsuccessful.
At Shigar we found fresh mulberries and melons, also some rather unripe
grapes. In the evening a storm began. The amount of fresh fruit I had eaten
was beginning to tell, and I had a pretty bad attack of biliousness; not that
I had really eaten an extravagant amount, but my digestive organs were in a
very bad way after the rough treatment they had had on the glacier. We went
on to Skardu by raft, though we had to walk from the junction of the Shigar
river and the Indus, which is unfortunately below Skardu. Skardu was the
height of luxury, and we found fresh ripe grapes, green corn, and potatoes.
This rejoiced us exceedingly, it being a long time since we had tasted even
On August 26th I had another go of fever, and laid in bed till the
afternoon; but then felt well enough to make a bandobast for myself and the
Doctor to go down to Srinagar across the Deosai plains. Two days afterwards I
started at 6 o'clock in the morning and distinguished myself by repeating
Absalom's experience with the tree; the horse bolting and taking me under a
very low bough; all my Mexican-learnt tricks did not save me from being
ignominiously pulled off. We crossed the plain in about an hour enlivened by
a sunset shower of rain and hail. The track having entered a steep nala up
which we went stopping rather earlier than we should have done at the maidan
which our natives called Pindarbal; but for which different natives had
different names. The same remark applies to all stages of the Deosai; so that
travellers need not expect to find even the most reliable information from a
most intelligent source of much use.
The march to Karpal was a long but pleasant one. We crossed the Burgila
about four hours from the stage. There was a short patch of snow to cross.
The weather was fine, and we got a splendid view of the mountains from the
top. Descending a few hundred feet on the other side we were on the great
plains of the Deosai. The track most of the way followed the course of the
river downwards. This stream was of wonderful beauty, limpid and clear, so
that the many-coloured bed showed exquisitely through. Delightful flowers
grew everywhere. No contrast could have been greater from the expectations
which the report of travellers had led us to form.
Then on to Karlapani, or as some call it, Krunab. The weather was somewhat
threatening, and the wind cold; but, on the whole, it was very decent. After
we came in the rain came down in torrents. The Doctor was now suffering from
some mysterious complaint,1 and his illness kept him going almost into
Srinagar, but it was not a very bad attack.
We went on to Burzil, in wet and cold weather, and a good deal of wind. I
plunged steadily along (though very saddle sore) with only one stop of five
minutes in the eight hours' march. At and beyond the Pass which led down to
Burzil one could do no riding. It was an immense pleasure when at last the
nala opened out the same moment as the clouds cleared away, and we saw a
sturdy little Rest House standing at the foot of this Pass, and the clean,
well ordered Gilgit road winding away on either side. That evening we again
joined Lieut. Carlyon, who had started on the same day from Skardu, though by
the perversity of our respective shikari we had always camped at different
stages, passing and re-passing constantly. We sacrificed the last of our
champagne, and had a great dinner; feeling that at last we were getting back
to something like comfort. And no wonder; there were chairs and tables in the
bungalow, and fireplaces which we kept roaring merrily all the evening!
The form and colouring of the valley was wonderful, the greens and violets
in particular, harmonising with the crimson of the sunset, made the sight not
easy to forget.
On August 31st we went on to Pashwari. The valley was charming, and the
glorious colouring continued to delight.
Gurais was our next stopping place. On the road I was passed by an
Englishman, who indignantly brushed me out of the way, under the impression
that I was a native of some sort. Six months of beard and hair, and constant
exposure to weather, together with my pagri, had indeed made an object of me
which deceived the Kashmiri themselves. In the whole ride to Bandipur the
natives never saluted me till the khabar reached them and told them what to
expect. The surprise of the Englishman a few hours later, when he was
introduced to me, I will leave to the imagination of my readers. At Gurais I
found the Forest Officer of the District, Radcliffe, by name, whom we had
known at Srinagar. He himself hardly recognised me at first; but my shikari,
Abdulla Bat, told him that I had arrived. He had come up in great style; for,
living constantly in the jungle, he had learnt to take care of himself; with
fine hospitality he placed all the resources of his establishment at our
disposal, so that I enjoyed the luxury of a hot bath and decently-cooked food.
Since the dismissal of Abdullah Khan our only cooks had been Kashmiri, two of
our naukar having volunteered for this job; but in the division of our party I
had got the worse of the two. The Doctor did his best by showing him various
methods of cooking potatoes; but the native is so constituted that if you
order, for example, fried potatoes one night, he never dares to cook them in
any other way until the order is definitely reversed. So the Doctor was
pretty constantly in our kitchen, and made our cuisine fairly tolerable; but
as the materials at the cook's disposal consisted only of mutton, chicken,
eggs, salt, and flour, with very occasional butter, apart from the drinkables
(which were confined to tea) the menu was not varied; and we were heartily
glad to eat the excellent lunch and dinner which Radcliffe so hospitably
provided. The memory of it is still with me.
September 3rd, Gurai reached, we went on to Tragabal over the Pass. The
last hour of the journey I began to feel ill. It was another attack of
malaria, though not a very bad one. A few hours after we had got in Knowles
and Eckenstein, who had by this time received the money and paid the men, had
caught us up.
On September 4th we proceeded on our way to Baramulla. In the morning
three of us walked down to Bandipur. Radcliffe had also arrived the previous
evening with the postmaster in charge of the Gilgit mail, and I. The Doctor
had gone on, as he wanted to jodel; while Knowles and Eckenstein were in a
state of great alarm as to mosquitoes, which they could hardly avoid if they
went off to Srinagar that day, so they camped at a little village on the
Tragobal. My donga was waiting for me at Bandipur. I had ordered it from
Srinagar by telegraph, and I lent this to Carlyon, who was pressed for time,
while Ratcliffe brought the Doctor and myself in his own donga to Baramulla,
as there was no better way of avoiding the mosquitoes.
On September 5th, had a very bad go of malaria, my temperature going up to
40 deg. Cent.; but I was well again the next day.
On September 6th the Doctor and I drove off to Sringar by special donga.
After 132 days I again slept in a bed, and the expedition was over.
1. He says in his book that I also suffered on this part of the journey; but
I did not. -- AC
Previous Crowley Classic -- Part VI Next Crowley Classic
from the Grady Project:
As a sample of Grady's formal academic writing, the definitions of terms contained in this preface will shed light on the intellectual development of the founding master of Thelema Lodge. Grady's analysis of Marxism as a system of magic was accepted by the University of California at Berkeley as a thesis for his Master of Arts degree in 1954.
Preface to "The Millennial Glow:
by Grady Louis McMurtry
Myth and Magic in the Marxist Ethic"
This is a study of the universe of discourse of Marxism. It will be the
purpose here to understand the Marxist as a committed person by analyzing the
vocation required by Marxism of its adherents. It has often occurred to me,
when I have had occasion to refer to Marxist literature, that I discerned an
underlying pattern of thought that is perhaps more familiar to the student of
anthropology, psychology, sociology or philosophy, than to the student of
political science. I have, therefore, availed myself of this opportunity to
explore Marxism as a universe of discourse, and only incidentally as a
political philosophy per se. It is not until we understand how a person
thinks that we are able to understand why he thinks and acts as he does. In
this respect it has seemed to me that there is a striking resemblance between
Marxism as a world-view and the myth, magic and ethic of the tribalistic
universe of discourse. Therefore I shall apply the tribalistic frame of
reference to Marxism in an attempt to understand how the Marxist thinks.
This, then, is a study of Marxism as an idea rather than of Marx as a
person. Marx, after all, was not necessarily a Marxist as we understand the
term, for the writings of Marx comprise only a small portion of the vast
literature of Marxism, but Marxism as an idea has had a development and life
of its own. Furthermore it should be understood that I am not asserting that
an application of the epistemology of magic is the only way in which one can
understand Marxism, but rather that this is one way of understanding Marxism.
Equally I do not assert that a study of magic is to be applied only to
Marxism, but it is with Marxism that we are here concerned.
In any exposition where technical terminology is extensively employed, it
is perhaps best to pause a moment for clarification before plunging into the
work at hand. What, after all, is meant by such words as "myth," "magic,"
"ethic," "tribalism," "rational," "irrational," and "universe of discourse"?
Myth. A myth is the statement of a closed system of reality. It may be as
simple as a story or a legend or it may be so comprehensive that it includes
the entire universe of discourse of a closed society. This latter is the
distinguishing characteristic that will interest us most about myth, for no
matter how limited or comprehensive its scope may be, a myth is a whole and
attempts to explain or justify that which is comprehended only within its
frame of reference. Viewed objectively, such an emphasis upon explanation
only within one particular ideology, rationale, or tribal universe or
discourse is irrational.
Magic. By magic I do not mean legerdemain. Magic is the control of things
and events by a direct act of will on the part of the magician. Magic does
not recognize knowledge as mediate, but only direct. Magic is operative only
in a world of homoeopathy, i.e., where similarity is recognized as kinship,
kinship is likeness, and likeness is affective, for magic is effective through
being affective. Magic is a way of knowing and doing and a way of
understanding the world in which we live. Magic knows and does by a direct
act of will on the part of the person knowing and doing, and magic is
understood by a magical myth which interprets the world in terms of the
coercive relationship of the knower and the known.
Ethic. An ethic is a comprehensive statement concerning morality. Here we
will be primarily concerned with the goal orientation of the Marxist ethic
where the goal is the act of Revolution and its consequence, the millennium.
Tribalism. Tribalism is the way of life and manner of thinking of a closed
social group, usually in a primitive or nomadic state, where authority rests
in the office of chieftainship. "New" tribalism is the revival of this manner
of thinking, way of grouping and means of acting, in modern politics.
Rational. The rational is a method of critical and calculated inquiry in
which answers are on the basis of hypotheses subject to reasoned change, i.e.,
in which theories are open-ended to allow for the consideration of new
empirical data, rather than closed by certain fixed preconceptions asserted
Irrational. That is irrational which asserts a closed system of truth.
Such an assertion is irrational for two reasons. First, failure to allow for
alternate means of inquiry is the opposite of the rational method. Second,
irrationality arises from the assertion that all knowledge can be directed to
conform to one and only one system of truth, for such an assertion is a
magical act of will whereby the universe is ordered to accommodate itself to
this one particular system. As such it is the positing of rationality in the
will rather than in the intellect as a faculty of the mind. Closed systems of
irrationality may be accepted a priori, as with tribal, provincial, or
parochial universe of discourse, or they may be rationally contrived
philosophic systems. It should be noted in this respect that our reference is
not necessarily to any historical school known as "Rationalist" or
"Irrationalist", but only to rationalism and irrationalism as herein defined.
Universe of Discourse. A universe of discourse is that collection of facts
and ideas which is tacitly implied or understood in a given statement or
discussion. Such a collection of facts or ideas is usually held, and will be
here held, to center around certain basic principles. Marxism is such a
universe of discourse centering around the autogenetic movement of the
Hegelian dialectic, the historical validation of the inclusive magical myth,
the goal oriented ethic of the millennial act, and the charisma of the tribal
The initial chapter of this paper is utilized in a dual capacity. First,
it is used to project the hypothesis that one may meaningfully speak in terms
of a magical universe of discourse and, second, by extracting the three
salient characteristics of totemic tribalism it is used as an outline for the
subsequent three chapters. The second chapter is concerned with the Marxist
act, its millennium, and the goal oriented ethic it prescribes, the third
chapter is concerned with the state of mind the Marxist brings to his vocation
of leadership, and the fourth chapter is concerned with a detailed
epistemological analysis of the magical tribal myth of the Marxist universe of
discourse within which the ethic of the act and the charisma of the leader are
Previous Grady Project (to be continued)
One Member's Opinion
Ebony Anpu and the Hawk and Jackal System:
a personal interpretation
by Nathan W. Bjorge
When Ebony first met Hymenaeus Alpha, Grady had relocated his base of
operations from Dublin to Berkeley. Working out of his own house off the
Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco, Ebony pitched in to help Grady
reactivate the O.T.O. Ebony was hard at work on his own magical ideas. His most important
innovation, the Tesseract spell, had already been developed by the late '70s.
One of its earliest validations was a working to transport Ebony to an
alternate universe where the O.T.O. existed in a less depleted form, so that
he could be more effectively initiated by it. The spell proved successful in
the long run, though perhaps requiring more work on his part than he
originally anticipated. When Ebony joined the O.T.O. there were approximately
30 members total. Today there are over 3000. (More later on the Tesseract.)
One of Ebony's most important contributions to the work of the first Caliph
was his publishing house, Stellar Visions. Ebony was an amazingly thorough
collector of Crowliana, and possessed a formidable understanding of the
Thelemic corpus. With Stellar Visions, he put that knowledge to use,
distributing well edited publications of Crowley's writings. Many of the
works he published were made available again for the first time in decades,
By 1980 -- and probably much earlier -- Ebony felt he had achieved the
Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel. In one of his earliest
writings that I have in my possession Ebony expresses himself as follows:
Once Twice On
The sky broke asunder
And an Ebony Angel
Stepped out on the Aether . . .
September 6th 1900 and 50
I born [sic], I have died since.
The veil parted for an instant
The Ebony Angel laughed;
Touch the world with love,
Touch the sky with lust
Spin the wheel as you will,
I was last and first.
Send I to darkness
Sail the Great Sea.
Remember all ways to be Me
The wheel spinning round me
Much too fast to see,
How can I, how can this be,
Surely 'tis nought but a dream.
Mayhaps may be laughed
Touch and see
But you are you and I am me said "I".
There are no opposites!
Opposition is a miscreation of "Man",
And man is balance; the Universe
Touch and see!
Mayhaps may be laughed
In 1982 Ebony collapsed during a severe asthmatic attack and was rushed to
the hospital. He barely survived the experience, and for a while it was touch
and go. His hospitalization was announced in that month's Magickal Link and
immediately there was an outpouring of support. A letter was sent to Grand
Lodge from Conquering Child Publishing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. These
were the producers of the popular Cincinnati Journal of Ceremonial Magick.
Printed in volume II #9 of the Link, the letter read in part: ". . . Ebony is
a good friend and known -- if not by face then by story -- to the majority of
the magicians in the Cincinnati area. We all send our most sincere hope for a quick recovery and hope he will soon be able to continue his valuable work.
Ebony was the person to bring the entire Book of the Law to Cincinnati in the
early '70s. Please tell him that our thoughts and love are with him."
I do not know when Ebony first began to see himself as having attained
Mastery of the Temple. He seldom mentioned it, save in dramatic moments, but
I have been able to infer that it involved a gradual process of precipitation
through the Abyss. His hospitalization in '82 was perhaps one peak; another
may have been the breakup of a thirteen-year relationship shortly thereafter.
I feel reasonably certain that by 1988 he felt the process to be complete. As
a master, he set his task the creation of his own system of attainment, which
would be an expression of his understanding of Magick. Hawk and Jackal was
8 = 3 is a formidable claim, and raises issues of validation. While
ultimately motivated by a deep compassion, Ebony struggled daily with
emotional difficulties from his harsh and troubled past. In particular, he
suffered from a kind of angry paranoia, which at times consumed him utterly.
There were times when Ebony was far from the Magistry of the Silver Star, and
yet I will be the first to vouch for the sheer illumination he could radiate
at times of personal balance.
Can my readers forgive this ultimately idle speculation of the attainment
of my old teacher by a mere Man of Earth? If he never completely equilibrated
as a Master, he perhaps never totally became an example of chapter 27 of The Book of Lies either. In any case he has gone to be with his gods now, and we
are left with the Great Work to complete for ourselves. Hawk and Jackal could
be a valuable tool to accomplish this, if we have the discipline to adapt it
to our needs. It may simply not be important whether or not its creator made
effective use of it himself.
In 1985, Ebony printed The Book of the Jackal. Distributed as a
beautifully calligraphed manuscript, this was the first complete, public,
written presentation of the Tesseract spell that I have been able to locate
among Ebony's papers. Tesseract Magick was to become an important technique
of the still-undeveloped H&J system. While this book was clumsily written in
many ways, Ebony extensively worked over and amplified the text during the
succeeding decade. It is identifiable as the base text out of which Ebony
gradually built his magnum opus: The Books of the Hawk and Jackal.
Grady McMurtry died in 1985. Following the election of Hymenaeus Beta as
his successor, Thelema Lodge ceased to function as the international
headquarters of O.T.O., Grand Lodge being moved to New York City. No longer
at the center of action for the Order, Ebony found himself with more time to
devote to his own work. He began to develop a moon coven system, constructing
an Esbat rite by adapting various spells from The Book of Coming Forth by Day,
and drawing upon his knowledge of Thelemic ritual style. The coven system
would provide him with a frame within which to further develop the
implications of his Tesseract Magick.
One day, shortly after beginning circle work with his new rituals, he sat
down at his desk and picked up his writing pad. As the Biblical writers would
say, the Spirit came upon him, and he beheld a vision of the Goddess Babalon.
She communicated to him. He wrote. This process continued at intervals over
the years. The result was what he came to call The Dialogs, the teachings of
which form an important part of his system. I will have to defer further
discussion of them to a future installment of this series of articles. In
1998, Ebony wrote a lengthy outline for what appears to be a series of
classes. He now had a name for the system he had created: Hawk and Jackal.
The classes may never have been given, but the outline was used to fuel a
series of short essays, which came to fill in the gaps of his slowly evolving
Ebony's emotional issued made it difficult for him to keep sufficient focus
to maintain regular active coven work. Health, political, and personal
problems began to disrupt Ebony's work in the early '90s. While The Dialogs
continued to be received, coven activity fell by the wayside. Ebony regrouped by teaching classes at the Ancient Ways store in Oakland throughout the 1990s.
Contact was made with a new generation of enthusiastic students. Ebony also
put a great deal of renewed effort into his collected writings, which were
acquiring their mature shape.
I finally came into the picture in 1997. I began working closely with
Ebony shortly after taking my I° initiation. I was young, naïve, and
inexperienced, but Ebony took me under his wing, and I found myself, by
various turns of events, living at his house for several months as his magical
student. Since he wouldn't stop talking about his Hawk and Jackal system, I
decided to give it a try. I helped put together a moon coven with my friends
to work his rituals. Initially, Ebony was only going to mentor our first few
meetings, but instead he became so enamored of our priestess that he wound up
joining, and of course quickly took over.
Our coven started out with some amazing work, and then basically went
completely to pieces. I don't really see a point in being glamorous or
evasive about it: Ebony and I had a fight, I moved out, and didn't speak to
him for over a year. I ran into him again at the Electoral College reception
in Mill Valley on 1st May 1999. He was extremely ill, but still enthusiastic
about his ideas. We exchanged pleasantries and parted. A week later I was
informed of his death.
Ebony was the most intense and magical person I have ever met. I have also
seldom encountered anyone who suffered more from life. Ebony's true genius
was perhaps his ability to make his pain an expression of his enlightenment,
of his devotion to Babalon. I learned more about real Magick from a single
successful ritual of his than from a year of book study. He helped me to
break through my limitations at a crucial stage of my career, and for that I
will be eternally grateful to him. He was my teacher and my friend, whom I
loved dearly. These articles are my tribute to his Understanding.
This concludes my account of Ebony's life and my reconstructed sequence of
the evolution of his thought. Over the next few articles, I will attempt to
present my limited understanding of the various aspects of his magical system.
Previous article -- Part One Next installment -- Part Two
An Introduction to Qabalah
Part XLIX -- Meditation by Place: Assiah.
Derived from a lecture series in 1977 e.v. by Bill Heidrick
Copyright © Bill Heidrick
When a room is used for meditation regularly, it may be decorated to
enhance the experience. In the June '99 e.v. issue of the TLC, part XLVI of
this series discussed examples for use of color in that manner. Such rooms
can be tuned like musical instruments to enhance patterns or moods in the
minds of the people who use them. The purpose behind such design is to
produce an environment that will direct a particular sort of mystical
experience, simply by a person being in that environment.
Some ingenuity is needed to lay out a house according the Sephirot of the
Tree of Life. It's helpful to have a copy of Crowley's Liber 777 in the
planning stages, since that book provides tables of correspondences for the
various Sephirot and paths on the Tree. Of those tables, the ones giving
color, astrological correspondence, incenses and deities are the most helpful
in temple design. Numbers corresponding to the Sephirot may also be used,
e.g. for Tipheret, six is the primary number correspondence, and patterns of
six chairs, cushions or decorative elements will often be used. Tipheret is also associated with the center of social life, suggesting a dining room as a
good choice for a Tipheret room. The architectural form of the house or
apartment should be considered. If there are three connecting rooms in a row,
the natural choice is Yesod, Tipheret and Keter, with Malkut being either the
entrance from the outside world or a porch. If additional rooms are
available, the three Sephirot of the pillar of Severity (Hod, Geburah and
Binah) would be a natural choice for those, particularly if those rooms
parallel others corresponding to the Middle pillar. The pillar of Mercy
(Netzach, Chesed, and Chokmah) might be represented by still other rooms in an
especially large house, but those three work best as a garden (Netzach), a
pervasive sense throughout the interior (Chesed) and a containment of the home
by the outside walls (Chokmah). However this is done, and however much can be
matched to the rooms one by one, the basic notion is to enable a person to
enter from Malkut and then step from Yesod to Tipheret and beyond on the
Middle Pillar. If spaces can be found for the other pillars of the Tree, so
much the better; but the Middle Pillar is the most important for meditation.
For magical workings, rooms corresponding to Geburah or Binah may be
preferred. Brightly colored wall draperies and folding screens can be used in
small apartments to change the effect for one Sephira or another.
Whatever the selection, use of lighting is next in importance. Even if a
wall or drapery color cannot be selected to alter the ambient effect of the
light, a colored bulb or shade may accomplish the same effect on a budget.
Lights in meditation spaces should be indirect, at least designed not to
intrude on attention. Small decorations should be limited in the field of
view, mainly kept simple and to the correspondence of the Sephirot as the
meditating person understands it. Too much complexity in decoration is a
distraction, unless it is intricate enough to form a pattern instead of a
focal point. A few books distract the eye, but shelves filled with books
generally will not. Posters and paintings should be simple and well placed to
coordinate with other decorative elements. It's the mood, not the bric-a-
brac, that determines effectiveness of a temple space. Ritual space is
similar, but makes more use of objects strategically placed for various
Previous Introduction to Qabalah Next: Yetzirah -- Part L
Events Calendar for August 1999 e.v.
|9/1/99||College of Hard NOX 8 PM|
with Mordecai in the library
|9/4/99||OTO Initiations, call to attend||Thelema Ldg.|
|9/5/99||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|9/10/99||Gnostic Mass in Italian|
8:00PM Horus Temple
|9/12/99||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|9/13/99||Section II reading group with|
Caitlin: W.B. Yeats "autobiographies"
8PM at OZ house
|9/18/99||OTO Initiations, call to attend||Thelema Ldg.|
|9/19/99||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|9/22/99||Magick in Theory and Practice series|
starts. 7:30PM San Anselmo
|9/23/99||Atumnal Equinox ritual 7:30PM|
|9/26/99||Sirius Oasis Tea, 4:18 PM||Sirius Oasis|
|9/26/99||Gnostic Mass 8:00PM Horus Temple||Thelema Ldg.|
|9/29/99||College of Hard NOX 8 PM|
with Mordecai in the library
|9/30/99||Scales of the Serpent series on|
Liber Arcanorum. 7:30PM
at Cheth House
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