Thelema Lodge Calendar for November 2000 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for November 2000 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, 2000 e.v.

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

November 2000 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


Samhnagan

Our Father the Sun gains the heart of the Scorpion on Monday evening 6th November, which we celebrate as the feast of Samhain. The lodge will gather at Cheth House in the Berkeley hills at 7:00 to observe this seasonal "cross-quarter" festival with a ritual and pot-luck dinner feast. (Thanks to Grace Astrological Service for precisely calculating for us the moment of Sun 15° Scorpio as 7:10 PM.)
The ancient Celtic festival of the Samhnagan, as the bonfires of Samhain were called, has largely been subsumed into the Christian holiday of All Hallows Eve, but is observed by Thelemites as one of the canonical "rituals of the elements and feasts of the times" (AL II:36) at the mid-point of Autumn. Customs of rekindling the hearth from a "new fire" of sacred flame, and girls' games of erotic divination (using various folk methods of forecasting their mates) which originally characterized this festival have been eclipsed in the vulgar calendar by threats of witches, ghosts, and hobgoblins, which are still used for the entertainment of children at the onset of the dark of the year.
Samhain (pronounced "sa-win" or "saun") -- a word which seldom appears in English dictionaries -- simply meant "summer's end," and for the ancient Celts this festival marked their New Year as well as the beginning of winter. When the Christian calendar was imported into Ireland, the date for Samhain fell on 1st November, and so it was conflated with the foreign church's feast of Hallowmass. The preceding evening -- the Christian All Hallows Eve -- was oidhche Shamhna, "the night before Samhain," although modern pagans tend to use "Samhain" as their term for Hallowe'en, just as they use "Yule" to justify trips to the shopping mall during the Christmas merchandizing season. Gradual procession of our planet's orientation over many centuries has shifted the astrological date of this festival ahead several days in the calendar, so that the date now observed by Thelemites as Samhain is six days past Hallowe'en. The occasion of our festival is not the twentieth-century American "trick or treat" custom of children taking candy from strangers, nor the deification of a squash, nor a "queens' Christmas" costume party, although sweets, pumpkins, and strange clothes will all be welcome.
Our holiday falls at the precise midpoint between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. Crowley's commentary upon the Book of the Law is ambiguous regarding the elemental rituals, but as it falls mid-way in the fixed water sign of Scorpio the celebration of Samhain is often attributed to elemental water. The commentary suggests, however, that "the entry of the Sun into the cardinal signs of the elements at the Equinoxes and Solstices" might better suit the "rituals of the elements," which would seem to leave the "cross-quarter" festivals mid-way between them to serve as the "feasts of the times." Crowley distinguishes between them by suggesting that by the "rituals" (of the elements) "a particular form of energy is generated," while at the "feasts" (of the times) "there is a general discharge of one's superfluous force" -- despite the fact that "a feast implies periodical nourishment." Left to design our own celebrations, Thelemites take inspiration from the Beast's promise of a "crescendo of ecstasy in the mere thought of performing these rituals" -- Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the Book of the Law (Montreal: 93 Publishing, 1974), page 210.


The Graal is Exalted

Every Sunday evening members, friends, and guests of Thelema Lodge are welcome to Horus Temple for the celebration of the gnostic mass. Arrive by 7:30 to take part in this Thelemic eucharist ritual by communicating with us in assembly as Eccelsia Gnostica Catholica. Those attending for the first time should call the lodge well ahead at (510) 652-311 for directions and information. Newcomers will also be given a brief outline of their role in the mass by one of our gnostic bishops as we wait to enter the temple, but the essential point in our standard "bishop's speech" is simply to follow the example of the rest of us as nearly as possible. "There are no innocent bystanders" in our gnostic temple; whether as congregation or as officers we are each active participants in the celebration. At first it is best to study the ritual simply by watching and listening carefully. The temple is too dark for reading along with a missal, and to have one's nose in a book would distract too much from "the miracle of the mass" in performance. Those attending mass regularly will usually find that they come to know the responses fairly quickly without much effort, but as their experience of the ritual begins to take shape it will often benefit communicants to make a private study the canon of the mass (Liber XV) between celebrations.
All O.T.O. initiates should eventually come to know the gnostic mass well and to memorize many of its principal speeches. The next step is to experiment in small private groups with the roles of the officers in the mass. When one attains a modicum of comfort and assurance in private rehearsal, it is best to invite an experienced officer or one of our bishops to observe one's technique and offer advice. The mass is a complex performance requiring simultaneous concentration on a number of levels, and a good deal of magical competence must be added to the development of one's dramatic confidence before the ceremony can be suitably celebrated in public. When all of the speeches and gestures of the mass can all be delivered fluently and meaningfully, the new officer is ready to become part of a mass team and offer to serve the lodge in this capacity. Teams ready to perform the mass should contact the lodgemaster for a date on the temple calendar. Many practical responsibilities are only hinted at in the canon of the mass, so don't forget to consider the procurement of wine and roses, and the baking of cakes of light, along with the necessary robes and accouterments, well in advance of your mass.


The Foundation of Universal Brotherhood

As "a serious and secret order pledged to the high purpose of securing the Liberty of the Individual and [her or] his advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood," the O.T.O. offers initiation through the grades of M M M to all who are free, of full age, and of good report. Initiations in Ordo Templi Orientis will next be held at Thelema Lodge on Saturday 4th November. Attendance is welcome by advance arrangement only, and all interested initiates should contact the lodge officers at least several days in advance to inquire as to the degrees being worked and the time and place of the rituals. For reasons of security, as well as the practicalities of feast preparation, the lodge cannot accommodate unannounced attendance at initiations. These rituals are open only to active initiate members of the appropriate degree, and those uncertain of their own current membership status in the Order should inquire of the Treasurer General of the US Grand Lodge before contemplating attendance. Members who have not maintained good report in the Order and who have failed to resolve complaints duly lodged against them for offenses against others, are also deemed unworthy to participate in any way in these events. Except in the Minerval ritual, proper ceremonial attire will without exception be required of all present, and any uncertainties in this regard should be discussed in advance with the officers of the lodge.


Working with the Holy Books

At 8:00 on Saturday evening 11th November the Magical Forum will be gathering in the Thelema Lodge library. This monthly series is intended to facilitate the presentation of written papers or prepared magical rituals by members of the lodge community. Following each presentation the facilitator for the series will open the floor to discussion and analysis. This month's topic is "Working with the Holy Books." The corpus of inspired "Class A" texts will be briefly surveyed, and each of the Holy Books will be discussed from practical standpoints such as those involved in ritual, recitation, meditation, and memorization. A variety of methods will be presented, and individuals are requested to bring their own experiences to share with the group. For more information please call Nathan at (510) 601-9393.


Time Becomes Infinitely Elastic

This month the Section Two reading group studies The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) by Thomas De Quincey (1785-1859), and will meet on Monday evening 27th November to read from and discuss this work together. Join Caitlin in the lodge library at 8:00 for a look at one of the earliest personal chronicles, first of recreational drug use, and later of desperate drug addiction. When Aleister Crowley determined to use the title Confessions for his autohagiography, he was not just following the path beaten by Augustine and Rousseau in their confessional volumes, but also -- perhaps especially -- that of De Quincey in these Opium Confessions.
De Quincey was one of the outstanding classical Greek scholars of his day, and as a schoolboy taught himself to converse fluently in the ancient language by regularly translating newspaper articles into the dialect of Euripides. He became acquainted with Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Charles Lamb, and devoted many years to the study of German literature and philosophy. As an essayist he made significant contributions in a wide range of subjects, from Shakespeare and Goethe and Kant to Rosicrucianism and freemasonry and economics. His lifelong interest in visionary dream-states, hallucinations, and techniques of heightened awareness led him to experiment with opium, and it was only after ten years experience as an "amateur opium-eater," carefully exploring altered states of consciousness, that he was forced by severely painful stomach ulcers to begin the daily use of this drug which established his addiction. A conversational and highly personal writer, De Quincey became the leading prose stylist of the English "Romantic" movement. For him, opium was not simply a recipe for "an artificial state of pleasurable excitement" but enabled the maintenance of a "machinery for dreaming" within his conscious mind. "Dreams," his favorite word and his favorite topic, are for him the raw material which the artist transmutes into literature, into scholarship, and into personality; in short, they are the building blocks of life itself. By "dreams" De Quincey means not simply the phantasmagoria of the unconscious, but all of the moments of transcendent spiritual experience which provide a foundation and a justification for the mundane routines of living. The Opium Confessions, and their sequel, entitled Suspiria de Profundis (1845), are among the masterpieces of spiritual autobiography, and the earliest serious examinations in English of drug use as a means toward enlightenment.

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Crowley Classics

Crowley was a schoolboy just entering his 'teens in 1888 when the horrible "Ripper" murders of five prostitutes in London's Whitechapel district dominated the news. Although he left no record or his feelings at that time, he very likely participated in the lurid fascination which dominated England during this string of killings. Much later these unsolved crimes became associated for him with a woman named Vittoria Cremers, who was initiated into the M M M and became its treasurer in 1912 e.v., a trust which she betrayed by extorting some of the funds she handled. She told Crowley the story of Donston's neckties, which he recounts in this essay. Crowley's fascination with the story is attested by his retelling of it in several versions, both in the Confessions and in this late essay. (In his autohagiography Crowley even claimed to have possession of the neckties, but this was probably just an elaboration of the story.)
The title "Jack the Ripper" has been given to this essay, which did not appear in print during Crowley's lifetime and has achieved only limited circulation since. Written in late August of 1943 e.v. by dictation to a secretary and revision a few days later, it is one of Crowley's last essays. Seemingly intended for pseudonymous publication, with the laudatory self- references calculated to further the reformation of his own reputation, the piece probably never appeared (or may possibly have been so successfully disassociated from his authorship that it has been missed by bibliographers). Thus we can only guess regarding Crowley's intentions in writing it, or for whom he meant it. It is an oddly tricky piece of writing, and has fooled -- for example -- the four-time Crowley biographer John Symonds, who consistently misrepresents the gist of this essay in his potted references to it.
Informally edited from the typescript, most likely in some university archive, this literary joke was first "published" in a limited-circulation Thelemic magazine called Sothis 1:4 (1974), pages 61-67, and was almost immediately reprinted in a similar "publication" appropriating the title of the Oriflamme 1:3 (New York: March 1975), 38-40. (Neither of these publications had any legitimacy or permission from the O.T.O. as owners of Crowley's copyright, but instead they constituted private exchanges between early Thelemic students and scholars, not intended to conflict with commercial publication rights.) The essay was reprinted as a pamphlet (Berkeley, CA: Thelema Lodge/Magick Theater, O.T.O., 1992), which constituted its first appearance with permission under O.T.O. copyright.

Jack the Ripper

by Aleister Crowley

To acquire a friendly feeling for a system, to render it rapidly familiar, it is prudent to introduce the Star to which the persons of the drama are attached. It is hardly one's first, or even one's hundredth guess, that the Victorian worthy in the case of Jack the Ripper was no less a person than Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. She has, however, never been unveiled to the unthinking multitude; very few, even of those who have followed her and studied her intently for years, have the key to that "Closed Palace of the King."
If the reader happens to have passed his life in the study of what is nauseatingly known as "occult science," he would, if he were sufficiently intelligent, grasp one fact firmly; that is, that the persons sufficiently eminent in this matter who have become known as teachers, are bound to have possessed in overflowing measure the sense of irony and bitter humour. This greatest treasure in their characters is their only guarantee against going mad, and the way they exercise it is notably by writing with their tongues in their cheeks, or making fools of their followers. H. P. B. is known by the profane and vulgar as an old lady who played tricks and was exposed; but her motives were not what such persons supposed. These tricks were a touchstone for her followers; if they were so little understanding of the true nature of her Work that any incidents of this kind affected in the smallest degree their judgement, then the sooner she was rid of them the better.
The truth of H. P. B., as in the case of any artist, is to be known by a study of her best work; in this case a small volume called The Voice of the Silence.
One of the closest followers of H. P. B., and in the sphere of literature unquestionably the most distinguished, with the possible exception of J. W. Brodie-Innes, was a woman named Mable Collins. Her novel, The Blossom and the Fruit, is probably the best existing account of the theosophic theories presented in dramatic form. One of the great virtues acclaimed and defended by this lady was that of chastity. She did not go quite as far as the girl made famous by Mr Harry Price upon the Brocken a few years ago, whose terror of losing the jewel of her maidenhood was such that she thought it unsafe to go to bed without the protection of a man; but Mable Collins had considerable experience of this form of chastity a deux; at the same time, reflecting that one of the points of H. P. B.'s mission was to proclaim the Age of the Woman, she occasionally chose a female for her bed-fellow.
Some few years before Whitechapel achieved its peculiar notoriety, the white flame of passion which had consumed the fair Mabel and her lover, who passed by the name of Captain Donston, had died down; in fact he had become rather more than less of a nuisance; and she was doing everything in her power to get rid of him. Naturally eager to assist in this manoeuvre was her new mistress, a lady passing under the name of Baroness Cremers, whose appearance and character are very fully and accurately described in a novel called Moonchild:
An American woman of the name of Cremers. Her squat stubborn figure was clad in rusty-black clothes, a man's except for the skirt; it was surmounted by a head of unusual size, and still more unusual shape, for the back of the skull was entirely flat, and the left frontal lobe much more developed than the right; one could have thought that it had been deliberately knocked out of shape, since nature, fond, as it may be, of freaks, rarely pushes asymmetry to such a point.
There would have been more than idle speculation in such a theory; for she was the child of hate, and her mother had in vain attempted every violence against her before her birth.
The face was wrinkled parchment, yellow and hard; it was framed in short,thick hair, dirty white in colour; and her expression denoted that the utmost cunning and capacity were at the command of her rapacious instincts.
But her poverty was no indication that they had served her and those primitive qualities had in fact been swallowed up in the results of their disappointment. For in her eye raved bitter a hate of all things, born of the selfish envy which regarded the happiness of any other person as an outrage and affront upon her. Every thought in her mind was a curse - against God, against man, against love, or beauty, against life itself. She was a combination of the witch-burner with the witch; an incarnation of the spirit of Puritanism, from its sourness to its sexual degeneracy and perversion.
A prolonged contemplation of the above portrait may possibly fertilize the seed of doubt in some minds as to whether this woman was in every respect an ideal companion on one's passage through this vale of crocodile tears; but tastes differ, and she certainly mastered exquisite Mable Collins, turned her against her teacher, persuaded her to embark on the most contemptible campaign of treacheries. For, recognizing in H. P. B. one of the messengers sent from time to time by the Masters to take a hand at the carpenter's bench where humanity is slowly shapened, she thought that to destroy her would be as acceptable to the powers of darkness as could be imagined.
Of Donston less is known; it is believed that he was a cavalry officer, of the Household Cavalry at that, but under another name. Cremers tried to persuade people that he had been caught cheating at cards, but there is no reason to suppose that any disgrace attached to his leaving the Service. He was by all accounts a sincere sympathiser with the sufferings of our maudite race; his profession was obviously of no particular use to him, holding these sentiments, and apparently he drifted first into studies medical, and (later) theological. He was a man of extremely aristocratic appearance and demeanour; his manners were polished and his whole behaviour quiet, gentle, and composed; he gave the impression of understanding any possible situation and of ability to master it, but he possessed that indifference to meddling in human affairs which often tempers the activity of people who are conscious of their superiority.
These three people were still living together in Mabel Collins' house in London; but as previously hinted, they were trying to get rid of him. This, however, was not an altogether easy task. The reputation of the novelist was a very delicate flower, and in the early days of her beguine for Donston she had written him many scores of letters whose contents would hardly have appeared altogether congruous with the instructive and elevating phrases of The Blossom and the Fruit.
Now, although Donston was so charming and pleasant a personality, although his graciousness was so notable, yet behind the superficial gentleness it was easy to recognize an iron will. His principal motif was righteousness; if he thought anything his duty, he allowed nothing else to stand in the way of performing it, and for one reason or another he thought it right to maintain his influence over Mable Collins. One theory suggests that he was loyal to H. P. B., and thought it essential to fight against the influence of Cremers. This, at any rate, is what she thought, and it made her all the more anxious to get rid of him; judging everybody by herself, she was quite sure he would not hesitate to use the love-letters in case of definite breach; so, to carry out her scheme, the first procedure must obviously be to obtain possession of the compromising packet and destroy it.
The question immediately arose -- where is it? Donston, with most men of his class, was contemptuously careless of interference with his private affairs; he left everything unlocked; but there was, however, a single exception to this rule. One of the relics of his career in the cavalry was a tin uniform case, and this he kept under his bed very firmly secured to the brass frame-work. This, of all his receptacles, was the only one which was always kept locked. From this, Cremers deduced that as likely as not the documents of which she was in search were in the trunk, and she determined to investigate at leisure.
In those days, transport in London was almost slower than today; from Bayswater or Bloosbury -- memory is not quite sure as to where they lived -- to the Borough was certainly more than a Sabbath day's journey; the only evidence of speed in the whole city was the telegraph. Accordingly Cremers arranged one day for a telegram to be dispatched to Donston, informing him that some friend or near relative had met with a street accident, had been taken to Guy's Hospital, and wanted to see him. Donston immediately started off on this fictitious errand. As he left the house, Mabel laughingly warned him not to get lost and run into Jack the Ripper.
While he is changing busses, it may be proper to explain that these events coincided with the Whitechapel murders. On the day of his journey, two or three of them had already been committed -- in any case sufficient to start talk and present the murderer with his nick-name. All London was discussing the numerous problems connected with the murders; in particular it seemed to everybody extraordinary that a man for whom the police were looking everywhere could altogether escape notice in view of the nature of the crime. It is hardly necessary to go into the cannibalistic details, but it is quite obvious that a person who is devouring considerable chunks of raw flesh, cut from a living body, can hardly do so without copious evidence on his chest.
One evening, Donstan had just come in from the theatre -- in those days everyone dressed, whether they liked it or not -- and he found the women discussing this point. He gave a slight laugh, went into the passage, and returned in the opera cloak which he had been wearing to the theatre. He turned up the collar and pulled the cape across his shirtfront, made a slight gesture as if to say: "You see how simple it is;" and when a social difficulty presented itself, he remarked lightly: "Of course you cannot have imagined that the man could be a gentleman," and added: "There are plenty going about the East End in evening dress, what with opium smoking and one thing and another."
After the last of the murders, an article appeared in the newspaper of W. T. Stead, the Pall Mall Gazette, by Tau Tria Delta, who offered a solution for the motive of the murders. It stated that in one of the grimoires of the Middle Ages, an account was given of a process by which a sorcerer could attain "the supreme black magical power" by following out a course of action identical with that of Jack the Ripper; certain lesser powers were granted to him spontaneously during the course of the proceedings. After the third murder, if memory serves, the assassin obtained on the spot the gift of invisibility, because in the third or fourth murder, a constable on duty saw a man and a woman go into a cul-de-sac. At the end there were the great gates of a factory, but at the sides no doorways or even windows. The constable, becoming suspicious, watched the entry to the gateway, and hearing screams, rushed in. He found the woman, mutilated, but still living; as he ran up, he flashed his bullseye in every direction; and he was absolutely certain that no other person was present. And there was no cover under the archway for so much as a rat.
The number of murders involved in the ceremonies was five, whereas the Whitechapel murders so-called, were seven in number; but two of these were spurious, like the alien corpse in Arsenic and Old Lace. These murders are completely to be distinguished from the five genuine ones, by obvious divergence on technical points.
The place of each murder is important, for it is essential to describe what is called the averse pentagram, that is to say, a star of five points with a single point in the direction of the South Pole. So much for the theory of Tau Tria Delta.
It is not quite clear as to whether this pseudonym concealed the identity of Donston himself. The investigation has been taken up by Bernard O'Donnell, the crime expert of the Empire News; and he has discovered many interesting details. In the course of conversation with Aleister Crowley this matter came up, and the magician was very impressed with O'Donnell's argument. He suggested an astrological investigation. Was there anything significant about the times of the murders? O'Donnell's investigations had led him to the conclusion that the murderer had attached the greatest importance to accuracy in the time. O'Donnell, accordingly, furnished Crowley with the necessary data, and figures of the heavens were set up.
A brief digression about astrological theory: the classical tradition is that the malefic planets are Saturn and Mars, and although any of the planets may in certain circumstances bring about misfortune, it is to these two that the astrologer looks first of all for indications of things going wrong.
Some years before this conversation, however, Crowley had made extensive statistical enquiries into astrology. There is a small book called A Thousand and One Horoscopes which includes a considerable number of nativities, not only of murderers, but of persons murdered. Crowley thought this an excellent opportunity to trace the evil influence of the planets, looking naturally first of all to Saturn, the great misfortune, then to Mars, the lesser misfortune; but also to Uranus, a planet not known to the ancients, but generally considered of a highly explosive tendency. The result of Crowley's investigations was staggering; there was one constant element in all cases of murder, both of the assassin and the murdered. Saturn, Mars, and Herschel were indeed rightly suspected of doing dirty work at the crossroads, but the one constant factor was a planet which had until that moment been considered, if not actively beneficent, at least perfectly indifferent and harmless -- the planet Mercury. Crowley went into this matter very thoroughly and presently it dawned on his rather slow intelligence that after all this was only to be expected; the quality of murder is not primarily malice, greed, or wrath; the one essential condition without which deliberate murder can hardly ever take place, is just this cold-bloodedness, this failure to attribute the supreme value of human life. Armed with these discoveries the horoscopes of the Whitechapel murders shone crystal clear to him. In every case, either Saturn of Mercury were precisely on the Eastern horizon at the moment of the murder (by precisely, one means within a matter of minutes).
Mercury is, of course, the God of Magic, and his averse distorted image the Ape of Thoth, responsible for such evil trickery as is the heart of black magic, while Saturn is not only the cold heartlessness of age, but the magical equivalent of Saturn. He is the old god who was worshiped in the Witches' Sabbath.
Naturally, to his devotees, Saturn is not to be associated with misfortune redeunt saturnia regna;1 Saturn has all the fond wisdom of the grandfather.
To return from this long explanatory digression, it was necessary in order to give the fair Cremers time to extricate the uniform case from its complex ropes, the knots being carefully memorised, and to pick the locks.
During this process her mind had been far from at ease; first of all, there seemed to be no weight. Surely a trunk so carefully treasured could not be empty; but if there were a packet of letters more or less loose, there should have been some response to the process of shaking. Her curiosity rose to fever pitch; at last the lock yielded to her persuasive touch; she lifted the lid. The trunk was not empty, but its contents, although few, were striking.
Five white dress ties soaked in blood.

finis

Note:
1. "the Saturnian kings shall return" -- trans. ED.

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from the Grady Project:

Nearly twenty years ago, when she conducted this tape-recorded interview, Glenn Turner was taking a course in techniques of oral history. As an exercise she arranged with Hymenaeus Alpha, Caliph of O.T.O. and master of Thelema Lodge, to let her interview him about his childhood in Oklahoma in the 1920s. Grady was no easy subject, and Glenn had to push pretty hard to get any kind of straight story from him about his parents. Gradually it emerged why such reminiscences were so difficult for the old man. (Grady was then aged 63, but after so much hard living -- and some hard drinking -- he had only a couple more years of good health left.) He had survived an extremely difficult childhood, with a young alcoholic half-Cherokee mother who had no interest in parenting, and an uneducated father off in the state prison for a string of bank robberies. Fortunately his maternal grandfather, and later a succession of other relatives, took him in and raised him.
This excerpt is the second to be presented in these pages, and we hope to continue the series with several more. Although an occasional mumble has been lost forever, we have tried in transcribing the tape to render Grady's speech patterns with a minimum of editorial revision, in hopes that some qualities of his voice may be rendered for the reader.

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

Berkeley, 6th April 1981 e.v.

Glenn: So your mother, then, was -
Grady:: Was Cherokee.
Glenn: -- was half Cherokee?
Grady: That's right.
Glenn: So you're a quarter Cherokee.
Grady: That's right.
Glenn: You could go hunting -- for free.
Grady: That's right. Now the way it happened was this. This is so romantic it's right out of the middle ages. Anyway, what happened was this. My maternal grandfather was -- like, a -- like a young kid, who came west on an ox-train, right; and he was a bull-whipper. Do you know what a bull- whipper is? He was a guy who handled this twelve-foot -- you know, ah -- whip, which is made of leather, which can literally cut your throat, at twelve paces -
Glenn: Oh, boy! {laughs}
Grady: That's right. Because that's how you get the ox to move, right --
Glenn: You don't need a gun with one of them.
Grady: That's right. In fact, that's why I'm alive, because there was an argument one day with another bull-whipper, and the way they settled the argument was to see who cut each other's throat first, and Granddad got there first.
Glenn: He won.
Grady: He won, that's right. Okay, fine. So -- we get there to Oklahoma, and he like -- a lot of things go by; and like -- like for example, I call him the guy who shot -- what's his name? Wyatt Earp, or -- no, Marshall Dillon. Well, of course, Marshall Dillon was a fictional character, but my granddaddy was real. It really happened, so help me God. What happened was -- that he fucked up. You know, in those days you were on the side of the law one day and you were an outlaw the next day, right; it just depended on which side of the -- you know -
Glenn: Who was winning, or something?
Grady: -- what was happening. It depended on who was robbing the bank; right. Well anyway, what happened was this: he fucked up, and so he had to split for Kansas.
Glenn: He went -- your grandfather went to Kansas?
Grady: Well, he split for Kansas on his pony, right; naturally. And on the way the pony put a hoof in a gopher-hole and broke a leg. The only thing you can do with a horse that's broke a leg is shoot it, right?
Glenn: Yeah.
Grady: So, Dad had -- Granddad had to shoot the god-damned pony, right.
Glenn: Did you live with your grandfather?
Grady: For a while -
Glenn: -- as a young kid?
Grady: For a while.
Glenn: What ages, would you say?
Grady: Well, he was about sixty; he was pretty decrepit at that time.
Glenn: Yeah. But you did, you know -- hearing his stories, I could tell -
Grady: Oh, yeah.
Glenn: -- I could tell you had known him.
Grady: Oh, yes -- yes; yeah -- yeah, right. But anyway, what happened was this. This is romance, right out a western novel.
Glenn: Yeah.
Grady: Okay, fine; so -- but when the pony broke its leg, and Granddad went over, he broke his pelvis. Now, a broken pelvis is very painful.
Glenn: You don't go far, either.
Grady: No. That's the whole point. So he shot the horse; put the horse out of its misery. Of course he couldn't shoot himself like that.
Glenn: Luckily, for you.
Grady: No. And he was laying up here on this plain. But the whole point is this -- like me; I'm a survivor, right; I'm a soldier, right? You wouldn't believe the things that I've done in combat to survive, right. Well, that's what he did. I've come from a long line of outlaws. {laughs} Anyway, what happened was this: There was this little creek, here in the middle of the plain, right; which had water in it. He had to have water to survive, right. He probably had at least weeks -- until he got that pelvis back into shape. And so he's living on lizards, and small rats, and shit like that, like I used to do in Korea.
Glenn: Get your meat where you can find it -
Grady: You get what you need to survive. And one evening he saw this -- this cowboy riding up over the ridge, right. -- right over the ridge -- sure -- and, um -- so -- but he was very decent about it. He waited to see the sunlight, depending on the star on the guy's chest. That's when he shot him out of the saddle, with the old family hog-leg, like that. {laughs} Well, I mean, that's real decency, right?
Glenn: Real -- really, that's right out of the wild west.
Grady: You wait 'til you find out for sure -- that that's a sheriff, then you -- "bang!" Well of course the horse freaked out, naturally; but then, on the other had, Granddad was the only living human being on that plain.
Glenn: {laughs} Yeah.
Grady: So he sweet-talked the horse down, so he could ride on up into Kansas. {laughs} And he came back to Oklahoma later on, and I got born. But the way that my -- my -
Glenn: Let's see -- your mother got born?
Grady: Well, no -- wait, no -- well, she was already born, it was just a matter of, ah -- in between.
Glenn: Oh, I see.
Grady: The way I got born was that -- so, okay; so -- now we got a dude on our hands, haven't we? A mountain man.
Glenn: So, this is a good sketch of your grandfather; he was a real mountain man. Did your mother live with her mother, on like an Indian ranch, or something?
Grady: No. No. You must -- {pause} -- you must not do anything, of course. I'm thinking; I'm thinking; wheels are turning -- okay, grinding, grinding -- I'm trying to think of -- locate something real fast, because I don't want to take your whole afternoon, 'cause you've got to get back to work -
Glenn: Well -
Grady: Okay, I'll buy -
Glenn: We can come back.
Grady: Yeah, yeah; we'll come back. Okay, I'll buy -- There was -- by the way, this might be very interesting; check it, and see what you think -- there was, once upon a time, in this country, something called a Scotch-Irish -- {"Scotch-Irish" is one word, with a dash} -
Glenn: Yeah.
Grady: Scotch-dash-Irish-Cherokee nation.
Glenn: Oh; I've heard of it.
Grady: Yes, yes; there was. As a matter of fact, the last Confederate general to surrender to the Union forces was a Cherokee. His name was Stand Watie -- Brigadeer General Stand Watie -- and he was half white and half Cherokee.1

Note:
1. Stand Watie (1806-71), was commander of a regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles in the Army of the Confederacy, but does not seem to have been among the last commanders to surrender. The editor thanks brothers Matthew Demattei and Jeffrey Sommer for assistance in tracking down this reference.

Previous Grady Project                  to be continued


An Introduction to Qabalah

Part LVI --A bit more literal Qabalah, for a Song.

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

There is no simple boundary between Qabalah and many other approaches to the written word. Even as the sounds of words are used in English to construct artful rhymes, so the numbers of words have a similar ancient function in Hebrew. Just as children learn the alphabet by pictures, such as that of a Ball for "B" or an Apple for "A", so in the Hebrew Alphabet the objects associated with the letter names are often used to teach the Hebrew Alphabet. Aleph is for "Ox" and Bet is for "House" may seem odd when rendered in English, but those Hebrew words do start with those letters. What distinguishes these games of children and scholars from Qabalah is meaning. Qabalah attempts to discover meaning by analysis of things in unusual ways. We will have an elementary example of that in the next column of this series, for a verse from the Torah.
The 111th and 112th Psalms in the Bible were constructed by use of such a trick as this - note that some Bibles number the Psalms differently from others. Each of those Psalms consists of 22 verses, and each verse begins with a particular Hebrew letter in turn, starting from Aleph on the first verse, then taking Bet on the next and so on until the last verse of the Psalm is reach, and that verse begins with Taw. This trick has variations; and the 119th Psalm is constructed by beginning each stanza of eight verses with the Hebrew letters in Alphabetical order. Each verse within a stanza also begins with the same letter in the stanza of that letter. Thus the second group of verses in the 119th Psalm all commence with the letter Bet and the last group with Taw.
So much is just an artifice of literature, but consider: with those three Psalms, a Qabalist has three sets of elaborations to the Hebrew Letters, one compounded eight-fold in the multiple verses of the 119th. Taking this approach, it becomes possible to meditate further on the significance of the letters; and that was frequently done over the centuries. Other tools, such as Temura and Noteriqon, have been applied to various verses of the Bible, resulting in novel insights. The Shemahamphorasch or 72-fold name of the deity was constructed from three consecutive verses of 72 letters each in Exodus, Chapter 14, verses 19 through 211. These three verses produce 72 triplets of Hebrew letters, to which Yah or El is usually added to form the names of 72 angels. The Order of the Golden Dawn used those angelic names in pairs for lesser Tarot Arcana, but they have long been characterized as "the Quinance Angels", spirits associated with the 72 five-degree divisions of the Zodiac. Latin "key words" were associated with these angelic names and widely used from the 15th century on in Europe. Those Latin words represent a puzzle their own, since they have no obvious connection to any simple Hebrew meaning that could be ascribed to the 72 angelic names directly. Athanasius Kircher gives the key to that association in his 17th century Oedipus Aegyptiacus. The Latin keys to the Shemahamphorasch attempt to summarize the meanings of verses from the Bible, often from Psalms. Those verses are associated with the spelling of the Shemahamphorasch angelic names by Noteriquon -- each letter of a Shemahamphorasch "name" is found in order in a verse in the Bible, and that verse is considered to embody the meaning of the name so picked out in letters. Considerable liberties are taken in this application of Noteriquon, since some of the matching letters are initials of words, some ending letters of words and some even forced into the corresponding verses by a little re- writing. The same trick of Noteriquon is also shown by Kircher to give meaning to the twelve permutations of the word Jehovah, YHVH, in the set called the Banners of the Name2.
Of course, it doesn't stop there by any means. Sepher Schimmusch Tehillim was translated by Godfrey Selig into a European language in 1788 e.v. It was picked up and stuck with a grand grab of other curiosities, Grimories and serious Kabbalistic writings and put out as 6th and 7th Books of Moses. That work is still in print in English. In the 19th century, it was influential in the development of magical practices and folk customs in the American South. Each Psalm is given a magical significance in Sepher Schimmusch Tehillim, when used as a prayer to obtain some benefit. The 111th is said to provide friends. The 112th is said to increase might and power. The 119th is treated as a veritable tool-kit, with each group of verses given a particular power, ranging from delivering from the shakes to curing a boil in the left ear -- but you have to say the stanza over onion-water in the latter instance.
Thus, we have a spectrum of uses of such things, from cold literary filigree to behavior so obscure that the demon Superstition-El himself would blush to attempt. Qabalah is in the middle of this range, half way from the red to the violet. Pursue it with caution, lest in rising high on waxy wings of free association, you plunge down melting into a pot of weak soup.

With that thought in mind, here are some more collections of gematria on particular numbers. Enjoy!

For 248:



For 302:



For 410:



Notes:
1. See the TLC for April 1991 e.v. for a listing and exposition of the Shemahamphorash names.
2. See Liber 777, column CXL and the TLC for January 1990 e.v. for a further exposition of the Banners.

Previous part (LV).                   Next: Opening at Random.



Events Calendar for November 2000 e.v.

11/1/00College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/4/00OTO Initiations (call to attend)(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/5/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/6/00Feast of Samhain at Cheth House
in Berkeley 7:00PM
(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
11/11/00Magical FORUM: "Working with the
Holy Books" 8PM in the library
with Nathan
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/12/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/19/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/26/00Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/27/00Section II reading group with
Caitlin: "Confessions of an English
Opium Eater" 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
11/29/00College of Hard NOX 8 PM
with Mordecai in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema 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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