Thelema Lodge Calendar for February 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for February 2001 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, 2001 e.v.

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

February 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
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Brigid (or Imbolg) is the traditional pagan feast of mid-winter, which survives in Roman Catholicism as Candlemas, or the Feast of St Brigit. Though the coldest part of the year, Brigid is celebrated as the first stirrings of warmth within the womb of the Goddess, hence the "crown of lights" worn by the Imbolg priestess, or the candles lit during Candlemas to signify the woman crowned with stars (that's the Virgin Mary to you heathens), pregnant with the light of the new year. In the Thelemic tradition, of course, the starry lady is Nuit, who is attributed to Aquarius and the Star trump of the Tarot. Accordingly, we will celebrate Brigid with a morning ritual dedicated to Nuit at Cheth House in north Berkeley, starting at 10:00 on Saturday morning 3rd February, in time to greet the turning of the Sun through 15° Aquarius. (The precise time for the astrological midpoint of winter has been calculated for the lodge by Grace Astrological Services at 10:50 AM.) This will be followed by a noontime pot-luck feast. So be there with stars on! Call Cheth House at (510) 525-0666 for directions, further information, or to consult regarding contributions to the feast.

Forge a Link

The indefeasible right of all persons free, of full age, and of good report to advance through the preliminary degrees of the M M M is asserted in the policies of Ordo Templi Orientis. These initiations are available by application to lodges and oases of the Order throughout the world. Initiations for advancement in Ordo Templi Orientis are scheduled at Thelema Lodge early next month, on Saturday 3rd March. To attend, active initiate members should speak well in advance with one of the lodge officers to learn the time, place, and degree to be worked. Many of the Man of Earth initiations conclude with a feast for all who attend, and our cooks need to know in advance how many will be there, just as our guards need to have everyone concerned in these events arrive on schedule. To request initiation, obtain an application for the appropriate degree from one of the lodge officers at any temple or library event, and submit it when complete to the lodgemaster. Applicants are expected to keep in touch with the lodge throughout the period of their candidacy, and those who are neither seen nor heard from on a monthly basis should not assume that they are on track for initiation here.


In honor of St Valentine the Section Two reading group has often selected obscene literature for our February meetings, and this month's foray into the fabliaux of medieval France promises to be one of the most shameless. Fabliaux were popular in the thirteenth century, and just like the beast fables of that age they are brief comic narratives, typically of a few hundred octosyllabic verse couplets, sometimes concluding with a mock moral. Best understood as "animal stories" about men and women, they are nearly always obscenely erotic or scatological, and are told in a casual style of clever ribaldry. Their characters are ordinary townspeople; usually tradesmen's families and members of the lower orders of the secular clergy. Modern readers like to pretend that fabliaux are accurate vulgar anecdotes of middle-class medieval attitudes, but if they were the "sit-coms" of their era we ought no more (or less) to look for ethnic data in them than in the content of our own commercial broadcasting. There is every reason to consider fabliaux as productions in a literary genre, enjoyed by sophisticated and courtly audiences and often written by major authors well known for their more respectable works. Their plots frequently burlesque situations in the traditional courtly romances, and sometimes reconstruct perennial stories with analogues going back to classical times. In the following centuries this sort of stories developed more significantly in prose than in verse, with the style of Boccaccio's Decameron serving as a model for many fifteenth-century imitators, becoming ultimately one of the fountainheads of European literary prose. In English fabliaux are best known in the poetic retellings of six of them among the Canterbury Tales of Chaucer, written (again for a literate courtly audience) at the close of the fourteenth century. Join in with Caitlin and the Section Two group in the lodge library on Monday evening 19th February at 8:00 for a look at this vital and sexy story-telling tradition from seven hundred years ago. Half a dozen fun modern translations of medieval fabliaux are available for study on-line at

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Magical Forum

The Magical Forum is expanding to two meetings this month, on alternate Wednesday evenings at 8:00 in the lodge library. On 14th February the presentation will be entitled "Rituals of the Fourfold," an exploration of the various ceremonial techniques where the magician stands within a circle of four quarters. Opening with an analysis of the pentagram ritual within the system of the Golden Dawn, we will observe this basic format as utilized in Crowley's Star Ruby and Reguli rituals and beyond. For further information call Nathan, the facilitator for the Magical Forum, at (510) 601-9393.
The second meeting will initiate a series under the auspices of the Magical Forum, assembling an interactive study group on the mysteries of the Book of Thoth. Join in on the final Wednesday evening of each month for creative engagement and scholarly discussion of Crowley's classic explication of the Tarot, The Book of Thoth. The opening meeting on Monday 28th February will investigate part one, "The Theory of Tarot," comprising Crowley's general ruminations on the subject, along with assorted shorter pieces he had written years earlier. All are welcome to bring to the table their own reflections on what the practice of Tarot means to them. In the tradition of the Magical Forum, participants are invited to lead discussions about their favorite sections of the text, and creative projects are also welcome. If you would like to conduct a group pathworking into the nature of the Fool card, or have a ritual based upon the symbolism of the High Priestess depicted in the Book of Thoth, or ideas about the link between Liber XV and Atu XV, this forum will share your focus and hope to fortify it with some hearty discussion. To arrange a project topic, or for more information, contact Paul at (510) 849-0840.

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The Proactive Magus

In that notorious grimoire of black magic The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey observes that our character (who we really are) is more important than our personality (how we seem to others). Although true so far as this goes, he then assumes that the principles of the "Character Ethic" would resemble traditional "Christian virtues." And of course, it ain't necessarily so. What, then, would be the principles of a Thelemic Character Ethic? Qualities such as courage, lust, originality, and tolerance come to mind - you might be able to come up with even better ones. This, and many other questions, are explored by the plucky demons participating in Ye 7 Habits of Highlie Effectif Demons, in the library at Thelema Lodge every Thursday evening at 8:00.

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Crowley Classics

This month's item is a single section from Crowley's pseudonymous "Introduction" to the Bagh-i-muattar, as privately printed in London in 1910 e.v. This work, appearing under the title of The Scented Garden of Abdullah the Satirist of Shiraz, claimed to have been "translated from a rare Indian MS. by the late Major Lutiy and Another." Crowley had written the "translations" of Persian verses, together with copious pseudo-scholarly notes in the manner of Sir Richard Burton, while studying Persian around the autumn of 1905 e.v. after the failure of his second Himalayan mountaineering expedition. The other sections of this introduction, following a brief untitled introductory statement, are occupied with fictional details which provide a frame for the presentation of the "translated" verses.

The Sufi Doctrines

by Aleister Crowley

No apology is needed, since the publication of Sir William Jones's able monograph, for the gross symbolism of such Oriental poems as those of Hafiz, the Song of Songs, the Ghazals of 'Ismat of Bokhara - not to mention the obscene Chinese Aphorisms of Kwaw.
Yet no doubt though Hafiz sings chiefly of Wine, Solomon of Women, and 'Ismat of Harlotry, we sooner pardon these freedoms because we ourselves can understand, though we can never approve of them: but they seem innocent indeed when we compare them with the nameless bestialities of Kwaw, or the frank paederasty of Abdullah.
But, apart from the fact that

paederasty: fornication

in Persia and England respectively, we may at least suspend judgment while we consider this symbolism in detail with a view to discovering why (unless from caprice) el Haji chose this particular indulgence to mirror that supreme passion of the human heart, the craving for unity with the All-One.
"Make room for me" quoth the poet of Salaman and Absal, "on that divan which is only large enough for one!"
Now I shall waste my time if I prove that something in the nature of sexual intercourse is the most fitting image of that passion; for our Christian theologians, anxious to avoid the reproach of the scoffer who quotes such passages as "My beloved put in his hand by the hole, and my bowels were moved in me" (Cant. v.4), have built a great rampart of argument to that effect.1But Abdullah no doubt considered that the specific differences between man and woman vitiated the symbol, since man is formed in the image of God, and in Muslim theology is not supposed to have forfeited the same. It may here be remarked (as a bulwark to this contention) that el Haji is conspicuous - in fact, incurs reproach in consequence - for his innovation in the matter of scientific precision. Hafiz uses his symbols vaguely: the tresses of his mistress are no doubt the Glories of God, but they are also at times the rays of the sun, the verses of the Q'uran, and so on; wherefore an uninstructed pupil, or an inquisitive Sahib, or an unauthorized Sufi, one of those who "creep, and intrude, and climb into the fold," cannot, by possession of the elementary keys, unlock the Holy of Holies of the "hikmat-i-Illahi." It is as a violator of the Magian secrecy, even more than as a Christianizer, that Abdullah is blamed. Mildly blamed, for none would dare express downright disapproval of so exalted an adept; but it is no doubt for that reason that the Bagh-i-muattar is only allowed to circulate in private, even among Persians themselves; bestowed rather upon the already accomplished mystic than upon the mere inquirer into the "hikmat," and denied existence to the question of the infidel.
Perhaps owing to some curious trick of my brain, I found myself (one fine day) in the state which, as far as I can gather, Hindu writers call Samadhi. (Compare the experiences of Burton in the Bombay Presidency, as hinted by Lady Stisted in her admirable sketch of his Life.)
Hindus claim that advanced Yogis can always recognize at sight those who have ever attained this condition, just as the Freemasonry of Paederasts makes the formality of introduction superfluous among free companions of the Craft.
I must say that I attribute nine tenths of Burton's success with natives of Arabia, Africa, and Hindostan to his mastery of their mystic systems, not only as a theoretician, valuable as that is, but as a craftsman. In my own case I am convinced that Mahbub would never have entrusted me with his precious MS. but for the fact that he recognized me as one of the "illuminati." Such a secret as that of Samadhi is absolutely safe, because one who knows it cannot by any possibility divulge the same. It is a real, not an artificial, secret. One could expose Freemasonry - it has been done repeatedly by idiots who did not understand what it meant - by publishing the rituals and so on. But the secret remains and ever must remain the property of those worthy of it; nor does it necessarily follow that the highest mason living has a knowledge thereof. But the clothing of the secret, so to speak, can be studied; and for those whom the glorious garment may fit such study is truly illuminating.
This being understood, it may be granted without further discussion that the intelligent study of the Bagh-i-muattar will yield deeper knowledge - the husks for the scholar, the wheat for the elect - than any other known poem.
Now the revealing of one is the revealing of all: for from Fez to Nikko, there is one mysticism and not two. The fanatic followers of el Senussi can suck the pious honey from the obscene Aphorisms of Kwaw, and the twelve Buddhist sects of Japan would perfectly understand the inarticulate yells of the fire-eaters of el Maghraby. Not that there is or has ever been a common religious tradition; but for the very much simpler reason that all the traditions are based on the same set of facts. Just as the festivals of Spring all the world round more or less suggest the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, simply because the actual phenomena which every man is bound to observe in Nature are essentially the same in every clime: so also is Mysticism One, because the physiological constitution of mankind is practically identical the wide world over.
We have then the right to buy our pigs in the cheapest market, and the Bagh-i-muattar will certainly give us more reward for our trouble than any other work, the only possible competitors being the Bhagavad-gita, Bhagavad Purana,2 and the Chinese Aphorisms of Kwaw. El Haji then earns our gratitude in that he has adopted the principle "One mystic grace one symbol;" and if he have but the wit to interpret this simple cipher, the whole secret of the East is open to our eyes. In the notes (which I have by no means stinted) I have indicated clearly to which each allusion refers; and it is within the capacity of any reader of ordinary intelligence to erect a complete system of philosophy, practical and transcendental, on these sound if slender foundations. True, Abdullah approaches Calvin (too closely to please most students of Eastern religion) by his insistence on the doctrines of Sin and Grace, Freewill and Discipline; but on the other hand, neither St Francis nor Buddhaghosha can parallel his Devotion and his Phenomenalism. No doubt at times one is puzzled for a while: one picks up a loose word here and there: one doubts: one guesses: one is illumined in a moment.
One is rather reminded of the working of a heliograph under unfavorable conditions. But (as with that instrument) by dint of repetition one gets the all-important message at last: and the situation is saved.
It is undoubtedly the importance which he attaches to Sin, Repentance, Penance, Grace, as the means of raising the old to the new Adam that cost el Haji so much pains in persecution by the more orthodox Muslim: possibly the teachings of St Paul had vaguely penetrated to the gulf with the merchants of Venice of Portugal, and their danger had been recognized by those who held to the simple grandeur of Islam. But clearly the belief in Evil - perhaps even a modified Manichaeism;3 we must not forget that this heresy from the Guebres with their Aormuzd and Ahriman - had impressed itself profoundly on the mind of the young Abdullah. Or he may have attached an exaggerated importance to that mystic phenomenon which Bulwer Lytton calls the "Dweller of the Threshold," that moment of intensest agony which separates Work from Reward, and serves as a sure diagnostic4 to discriminate between the happy-go-lucky "union with God" of the mere church-goer - an emotional glow of pious exhilaration - and the splendid and illuminating Union which constitutes Samadhi. Never forget that this great doctrine informs almost the whole of so-called Christian literature; St Paul's apostrophe (I Thess. iv.16) if translated literally into Sanskrit, word by word, reads like a mutilated but unmistakable passage from some lost Upanisad.
Such follies as Sri Parananda's lunatic commentaries on Matthew and John could never have been perpetrated but for the fact that after all his fundamental theory - that Christ was a Yogi - is correct.
And our hymn:
"For ever with the Lord!
Amen! so let it be!
Life from the dead is in that word:
'Tis immortality."
may be rendered by paraphrase:
For ever -- Timeless: an epithet only used of the Atman
with the Lord -- sam Adhi.
Amen -- Aum.
Life from the dead -- an expression constantly and exclusively employed to denote
the yogic attainment
that word -- to Aum is attributed the great power of regeneration. It has the sense of the
Greek Logos.
immortality -- a-mrita, the same idea glyphed as a dew: the Christian Graal, cup, blood, etc.

In short, every single word in the verse is literally and even in two cases etymologically identical with a technical mystic Sanskrit phrase. This is not a carefully chosen and exceptional case: on the contrary, I challenge any orthodox divine to produce any passage of scripture or any decent hymn which is free from identities of this kind.
To return to the question of phallicism, I will not be so frivolous as to quote "New every morning is the love Our waking and uprising prove" as an example of obscene symbolism in the Christian Church; for there is no lack of serious identity. The cross itself is notoriously the lingam: the vesica piscis -- Christ being iota-chi-theta-upsilon-sigma5, the fish -- the Yoni. Now the vesica piscis is the foundation of all Christian architecture: that is to say, the female member lying open, and awaiting impregnation by the male, is the glyph of the church, and the divine invocations upon its altar. Similarly the figure of the bride of Christ has only been spiritualized in very recent days. Whoso doubts it may consult Payne Knight's essays On the Worship of Priapus. The lady was usually represented by the "Early Christians" (our models in all things) as a naked female with a lascivious grin; offering with her hands, apparently to the first comer, a vulva which is of the shape and relative size of a horse-collar! Any ordinary man who attempted to indulge her fancy would find himself in the position of Baker's blue-jay. But with God all things are possible.
I am tempted to add that even plain paederasty, without any question of symbol at all, is perhaps not so incompatible with the virtues, religious, social, moral, and domestic, as my good compatriots make such a point of asserting with a fine show of disgust and indignation, thereby lending colour to the fixed idea which obtains on the Continent of Europe that all Englishmen are sodomites.
To my hand, as I write this, comes a strange essaypi-epsilon-rho-iota tau-eta-sigma pi-alpha-iota-delta-epsilon-rho-alpha-sigma-tau-epsilon-iota-alpha-sigma6 written by a well-known clergyman. He is adored by his wife and children; his church is full when his brethren in the district are in despair; his poor are better looked after than any for fifty miles around; and his choir is incomparably the best in the kingdom.7 To a sincere and even rapturous piety he joins a passionate love for the pleasures of the table and the bed: and the reader will I think grant him both acuteness of intellect and elegance of diction.
It is instructive: indeed, beyond all comparison better than the laborous and pedantic exposition I had conceived it my duty to attempt: it gives the inside view, and references to the scholars and paederasts who have previously enlarged on this fascinating topic: the style is impassioned and the matter impeccable.
I therefore turn my readers over to it without further parley, for I feel that they must be (by this time) thoroughly tired of the prosing of one who is after all not a writer, but a soldier.
(In deference to the wishes of the widow of the gallant soldier who penned these lines, and gave his life to his country in S. Africa, we do not carry out his intention of attaching his name to them (during her lifetime) and designate him only by his chosen nom de plume, Alain Lutiy. -- Ed. [1910])

End notes:
1. St Augustine can find no better symbols than El Haji to express his love for God.
"What is it then, that I love, O my God, when I love you? It is not beauty of
bodies, nor the glory which passes, nor the light which our eyes love; it is not
the varied harmony of sweet songs nor the aroma of perfumes and sweet flowers,
nor the voluptuous joys of carnal embraces. No, it is more than these that I love
when I love my God; and yet in this love I find light, an inner voice, a perfume
a savour, an embrace of a kind which does not leave the inmost of myself.
There in the depths of the soul glows something which is not in space: there a
word is heard which as no syllables: thence there breathes a perfume which no
breezes waft away: there food is always savored and never eaten: there are
embraces which never ask to end . . ."
2. The few who still suppose that Omar Khayyam was a libertine should read the
exposition of Book XI of this Purana.
3. Manes (Mani) the heresiarch was of course a Persian.
4. I cannot agree that such a moment necessarily intervenes between normal and
Samadhic consciousness, or, as the Buddhists assert, that there is a long series
of intervening states invariable and well-defined, though perhaps this may
sometimes be so. Nor is the appearance of the "Dweller" a sure earnest of
success: on the contrary, many (even most) will fail to pass this terrible barrier.
5. Greek: iota-chi-theta-upsilon-sigma
6. Greek: pi-epsilon-rho-iota tau-eta-sigma
7. Crede experto? Ed. [1910]

Editorial notes:
Sir William Jones -- Welsh orientalist (1746-1794) who knew 28 languages,

including Chinese, Arabic, and Persian (of which he published a grammar in
1771). The monograph in question could be Moallakât (1782), his
translation of seven pre-Islamic Arabic odes.
Ghazals of 'Ismat of Bokhara -- Bukhara is in Uzbekistan, and ghazals are
lyric poems in the Urdu tradition, but the poet 'Ismat cannot be tranced.
Chinese Aphorisms of Kwaw -- Kwaw Li Ya was Crowley's verison of his own name
in Chinese, and the aphorisms are presumably writings produced during his
travels through China in 1905 e.v. Crowley later published some articles
on Asian poetry under the name of Kwaw Li Ya, identified as a professor of
poetry at the University of Pekin. "In religion he is a strict Taoist, and
is the author of the politico-mystical romance entitled 'Thien Tao' or 'The
Way of Heaven.' He is perhaps best known because of his five volumes of
aphorisms" (editorial note in Vanity Fair, August 1915).
"My beloved put in his hand" (Cant. v.4) -- The Song of Solomon 5:4.
Lady Stisted -- Georgiana, Lady Stisted, a friend of Richard and Isabella
Burton, wrote one of the earliest biographies of the great explorer and
translator, The True Life of Capt. Sir Richard F. Burton (London: 1896).
heliograph -- a mirror-operated device for long-distance visual signalling in
morse code, with many nineteenth century military applications, invented by
Sir Henry Christopher Mance (1840-1926). After being successfully used
during the second Anglo-Afghan war (1878-1880) it became common in the
Indian military for several decades.
St George -- the copulative assana known as "riding St George" or "the dragon
upon St George," i.e. with the woman on top, a common slang expression in
the eighteenth century. Eric Partridge in his great 1961 Dictionary of
Slang notes that "this posture was supposed to be efficacious if the
parents wanted their child to be a bishop."

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from the Grady Project:

This extract from the interview tape has been edited more conventionally, with some of the false starts, moments of confusion, and pointless digressions silently edited out, to leave the more pertinent comments (in all cases reported faithfully word for word) strung together with a bit of blue- penciler's art into a more readable conversation. Neither the words nor their order have been knowingly altered, though in a few unimportant passages we have had to guess at the end of a mumble. Some interruptions have been preserved to better reflect the tone of the exchange. The rhetorical repetitions of certain automatic phrases (e.g. Grady's constant "all right, fine") have been editorially reduced.

Grady Louis McMurtry

interviewed regarding his
upbringing and early life

by Glenn Turner

Berkeley, 6th April 1981 e.v.
(fifth extract)

Grady: Now, did I forget to say something, or did I get wandered off?
Glenn: Well, you were talking about your father's background, which is interesting. So, he was brought up by someone who was orphaned, who was a Pentecostal. But he went into this kind of outlawry. How did he manage to go from, ah -- ?
Grady: All right, fine. Now the way it worked was this. Yeah, good question. All right, fine. My grandfather George had five sons. No daughters. This is eastern Oklahoma, early nineteen hundreds. (Okay, fine.) In other words, right after "War One." Well, actually during War One; because what happened was that my father -- oh yeah, this is how the whole thing got busted. My father was {pause} intelligent, but not educated. This is not unusual at that time in that place. Anyway, he grew up an outlaw. Now as I said, my grandfather had five sons, four of whom turned out to be perfectly patient farmers. My father turned out to be the bad-ass, the black sheep. He was the second son -- first name was Grady. "Grady" is a traditional name from the South, in the former Confederacy. But why? -- you might well know --
Glenn: Why?
Grady: Because Grady is not a given name among the Irish -- it might be a last name but not a given name -- but in the former Confederacy it is. Why? Because there was a guy, who some people think was a good-ass, and in history is known as a liberal. His last name was Grady, and he was a Confederate.
Glenn: He was so popular that -- ?
Grady: Well, the point is he was -- he was a good person, and he was a Confederate, of course -- and he went around preaching the doctrine that we form unions and we form confederacies. And there were some people who didn't like that, and some people who did.
Glenn: Oh, so that's a real doctrine of love, then.
Grady: That's right.
Glenn: That's unusual from the South at that time.
Grady: Oh, that's right; exactly. In those days, that was considered, in my opinion, real dedication, real devotion. In other words he was saying that, "All right, the war is over; let's be friends ..."
Glenn: Well, that must have stirred a lot of feathers.
Grady: It did! And that's why my first name is Grady. Because every time you find somebody whose first name is Grady, check; you'll be surprised -- I have never found it different -- that they are all former Confederates. Because that's the way it turned out.
Glenn: So your father, then, was the black sheep and he just started running around with the wrong crowd?
Grady: No, no, no, no, no; it didn't work that way at all. No; being a black sheep, being a natural outlaw, like I am, it was natural for him to be running illegal liquor from Arkansas to Oklahoma. Right; fine --
Glenn: How old would he have been? Would he have been a teenager?
Grady: Very early twenties at the most. Okay, "War One" came along. At this point he decided to change his ways. He hadn't even had his first Saturn return -- you know; thirty. He decided to settle down. You can make a lot of money farming, right. Okay, and so Dad, um -- decided to become respectable. On the frontiers they would do that; you know, like my grandfather: one day he was on the side of the law, and the next day he was, like, pulling them over, right? That's the frontier.
Glenn: So okay; so he starts farming and going straight, and --
Grady: Yeah. Which meant he had to lease a lot of farm equipment, right? Because he'd got about forty acres together, and he was really going heavy on the trip. And I'm in my mother's womb, and -- you know. And the way he damned near killed me: all right, one day, what he told me was -- damned near freaked me out; oh, except I was too dumb to realize it -- what happened. Anyway, what he told me was this; he says, "So I was sitting out on the back porch one day." (Here's the farm and here's the barn, here's the corn crib. You know, if you've been in Oklahoma, what a corn crib looks like, right?) "You know; and I'm popping off the rats with the old, you know, thirty caliber, and your mother stepped around the corner, and she was like eight months pregnant with you, and I damned near popped her off!" {burst of laughter} Yeah, he --
Glenn: Well, that sounds like a close call.
Grady: That was a close call. I didn't even know it. {laughs} That was the first time I damned near got killed; right. {laughs} After that, things got interesting.
Glenn: So what happened? How did he get busted with his friends? Did he decide he needed money, for -- um, the leasing, or --
Grady: No. No, no, no. What happened was this: he got drafted, and they gave him like twenty-four hours, or something like that. In War One it was different; in War Two we had at least a week, before we had to report.
Glenn: Twenty-four hours, you got drafted!
Grady: Something like that. Which meant he had to have an auction. Auction; I remember it from the 'thirties, when we had the California fever in Oklahoma, and were splitting for the West Coast: the auctions. And you don't get a fucking thing out of them because everybody there's got to split, and therefore ain't no one going to pay you anything except minimum. Two bits for two thousand dollars; a harvester, or something like that. In other words, he went broke. In other words, he had all this equipment; he couldn't sell it.
Glenn: So he got messed up by being drafted, then, completely -- financially.
Grady: That's right; that's right. He didn't get sent to war; I mean he didn't get sent overseas, he got sent back to North Carolina or some place like that. Well, the army is the army's the army's the army --
Glenn: So did your mother go back to her father's place, or did she stay up in the cabin?
Grady: No, no; she stayed up in the cabin. So the war is over, right. This is the -- all right, this is the second romance trip. This is right out of the nineteen-thirties gangster movies, the grade "B" movies of those days; this is grade "B" movie scenerio, okay. You're going to have a ball with this. This is a great classic. Right; okay, go ahead. So he comes home from war, and being from Oklahoma, he goes back to Oklahoma, of course. But, being an outlaw, he looks around to where the action is. Now the action is in Ponca City. Do you know what Ponca City means?
Glenn: No, I don't.
Grady: You know who the Ponca Indians are?
Glenn: Oh, Ponca Indians. Okay; I've heard of them.
Grady: That's right; northern Oklahoma. Now, dig the scenario; this is going to make a beautiful story. All right now; in the days when the Indians were being resettled in Oklahoma -- anyway, and so we've got at least five nations there, maybe a lot more. {pause} No, there was some point to the story.
Glenn: Yes, we sort of got side-tracked here. Actually, what I would like to know, I think, to fill in a gap, is -- we kind of got to where your father had got back from World War One. So you would have been -- ?
Grady: Oh; okay, okay, okay all right, back; we'll do that. Okay, fine.
Glenn: -- see how -- would you have been born yet?
Grady: No. No, I wouldn't.
Glenn: Okay, and then he started running, um --
Grady: Okay. Dad being a natural outlaw would of course find out where the local action was. The local action had to be Poaca City, which is northern Oklahoma. Now the reason this is important is this: because when the American government, through its various military agencies, negotiated with various Indian tribes -- you know, like Cherokee, Mincan, Poachan, and so forth, the -- the Ponca Indians were the only ones who were bright enough to hire a lawyer who was bright enough to insist on mineral rights, in the treaty. The Cherokees didn't; nobody else did. Chikosee, Chaktaw, and so forth; they didn't. But the Poncas did. So when oil was discovered in northern Oklahoma, they became the richest god-damned people in the world.
Glenn: Great!
Grady: Right. My Dad used to ride -- ride -- ride around in a great big Cadillac, you know, with a gold eagle.
Glenn: Well -- so, was he part Ponca Indian then?
Grady: No, he just an outlaw.
Glenn: He hooked into the money, though, somehow? All the money was around, so --
Grady: Well, he told me how it happened. He said, uh -- you see they had this -- this outlaw gang, which is really right out of the middle ages, if you'll pardon --
Glenn: So, when he got back from World War One, he joined up with some thugs, and -- ?
Grady: No. No, no, no. It didn't happen quite that way. It always happens more gradually than that, and the way it happened in this instance as this: first, well -- first, where's the action? It was in Ponca City. Okay, it's northern Oklahoma, right, where all the money is, because it's like a little Chicago. (It looks to us, right.) At the same time Chicago is having Al Capone and so forth, right? Get the picture?
Glenn: So Al Capone up north, and down south --
Grady: But this is -- this is like a small -- a small --
Glenn: Small Chicago?
Grady: -- a small Chicago, right. Okay, fine. No; no, what happened was, he had to have a job, so he hired on as a taxi driver. Now you and I know that taxi drivers know all the action going on in town.
Glenn: Yeah, that's true.
Grady: That's true. There's no way you can get away from that.
Glenn: Right; it's better than being a barber.
Grady: That's right; better then being a pimp. And the next thing he knew, he was the wheel-man on a getaway car for a bank-robber team, running through northern Oklahoma. Right.
Glenn: He went from horses to cars, then?
Grady: That's the whole idea, see? It was sort of like a gradual progression, see? In other words, he didn't purposely set out to be a bank robber.
Glenn: But it just so happened that it was the thing to do at the time?
Grady: It just sort of happened that way. {laughs}
Glenn: That's the way things always happen.
Grady: That's the way things always happen, right. {laughs} So he got busted.
Glenn: So then he got busted, but you were born, like -- you'd been born before he went off -- he must have gotten drafted, then, right at the end of World War One.
Grady: He got drafted -- no: well, during the middle of War One. I was born after War One. Actually there is a horror story here which I'm sure you'll want to know.
Glenn: Why don't we just skip that?
Grady: It has to do with my mother. I'm not saying she was a bad-ass; she was a lonely little girl, and she had a problem, and so on, about drinking. But in the words that I've been told, that there were times when my father got home in Ponca City, back to the apartment, you know, and I'd be screaming under a blanket, and I was about six months. Well, she's the one that had fucking threw a blanket over me and split.
Glenn: So, was she into alcohol; no?
Grady: I -- I don't know. No; she was a young innocent girl --
Glenn: -- and real flaky?
Grady: -- and flaky.
Glenn: Real flaky, huh? Grady: That flaky. Yeah, flaky like that. No, I don't know. But, can you imagine the temperament -- nineteen-twenties Oklahoma, to have all this energy running around -- ?
Glenn: Right.
Grady: That's the idea. I'm not blaming her. I would never accuse her -- accuse my mother.
Glenn: But it sounds like you had a fairly rough childhood, if she was maybe not always there to take care of things.
Grady: Yes. She was never there. In fact, she --
Glenn: So she was out tripping around.
Grady: All right, um -- on her behalf, in case anyone's listening, I'll give her a little bit of slack now. In the late nineteen-thirties in Vista, Oklahoma, I knew a strange girl. I was in my late 'teens, and uh -- I found a very strange person. I found a person who loved me; she didn't understand me. And the person who had abandoned me -- now, what the fuck; am I going to be heavy?
Glenn: No, you can, really; these things happen.
Grady: I can; those things happen. I mean, human beings make mistakes, don't they?
Glenn: Sure; they wouldn't be human --
Grady: -- and they wouldn't be human if they didn't. I couldn't blame her. But I remember, when she decided to get rid of me, I was a kid. I was only about five. And she decided -- my Dad was in prison, and she decided to send me to my grandparents. You know how they did it in those days? They put a tag on you, and they hand you to the conductor in the train. And the conductor lets you off the train, and other people carry you. You find yourself out there --
Glenn: So, when you were five -- let's see, how old were you when your father got in prison? Pretty little; I guess you don't remember.
Grady: I don't remember.
Glenn: Yeah; so you were tiny, and then she was left with this kid, and she was probably not very able to cope, it sounds like, even when he was around, she was having trouble, so --
Grady: That's right, yeah --
Glenn: So she shipped you off to your grandparents.
Grady: She shipped me off to my grandfather and grandmother. By the way, I want to make a note. Is the tape running?
Glenn: Yeah, it's going.
Grady: I want to make a note: I love my grandmother. I love my grandmother like I love nobody else. My grandmother was one of the most precious people in my life. And she called me "Junebug."
Glenn: Huh?
Grady: Because I was always there to help her.
Glenn: Oh; she sounds like a great person in your life.
Grady: Oh, she was wonderful. She was wonderful. She looked like you a lot.
Glenn: Really? {laughs}
Grady: Yeah, as a matter of fact, she did. She looked like you; as a matter of fact, she did. See, I was the one -- this small kid -- who would always run out to the chicken shed and get the eggs.
Glenn: Hm -- right; I'll bet you were --
Grady: And then when she wanted --
Glenn: -- she could use the help.
Grady: That's right. And when she wanted to make lye soap, in this great big witches'kettle-
Glenn: Oh, all right; so you had all the experience of your grandparents. You must know a lot of the old --
Grady: Oh yeah; oh yeah, oh yeah. You know how to make lye soap?
Glenn: I don't know -- I'm a city girl; I don't know anything -- Grady: Well, first of all -- first of all you take these -- these wooden branches, and you burn them down into ash, you see; and you put them in this big witches' kettle, you see --
Glenn: Okay. I was just talking to somebody; let's see, "How do you make soap?" Well, we were wondering --
Grady: That's right; that's right. I used to help my grandmother make lye soap.
Glenn: You get ash -- and -- ?
Grady: I forget what else was used.
Glenn: There must have been lard, right; that's one of the --
Grady: Well, there'd have to be lard to solidify it, of course. Yeah, I used to help my grandmother do that. She called me Junebug, right.
Glenn: So they had like a farm?
Grady: Yeah; oh yeah --
Glenn: -- up there near Big Cabin, or someplace?
Grady: No, no, no; this was West Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Glenn: Oh, West Tulsa; right. Okay; I know where West Tulsa is.
Grady: Yeah; well that's where, uh --
Glenn: -- they had, like, a farm?
Grady: Well, yeah, we had a truck garden. We raised tomatoes.
{side one of the tape ends here}

Previous Grady Project                  to be continued

Primary Sources

From the beginning of Grady's efforts to put OTO back on its feet, Israel Regardie, "Francis" to his friends, provided moral support and advice, culminating in his recommendation to the finder of the MS of Liber AL to gift it to the Order. Here are some snippets from a letter he wrote to me on July 11th, 1977 e.v., chosen to highlight his sometimes controversial views on Kabbalah. This is one of over 30 letters and notes that Francis kindly sent me in the '70's and '80's, always helpful with his suggestions and encouragement. In another, he enclosed a postcard Crowley had sent him from Prague in the 1930's, addressing him with the salutation of the IXth degree. When asked if he wanted to "make it official", Francis declined with thanks. -- Bill Heidrick

Dear Bill,


The "Likutei Amarim" I am glad to have. But I must confess Jewish Qabalism is a pain in the arse as far as I am concerned. Even the Soncino Press translation of the Zohar is a bore. Qabalism never became interesting until the Golden Dawn took over the job of removing both Jewish and Christian influences. A.C. finished the job.

I am intrigued however by Philip Birnbaum's Siddur, giving the night-prayer about the Archangels. I've never encountered this before, and I have some slight experience with Siddurs. Before University Books closed up, they published a beautiful Siddur edited by Rabbi de Sola Pool of New York, a Sephardic Rabbi, but it contains nothing about the Archangels. And from my boyhood I recall nothing about it. The Sephardim may have the edge on the Ashkanazis in this connection. I shall try to order forthwith a copy of Birnbaum's Siddur merely to have it here for reference. I appreciate your xeroxed copies of the pertinent section.

The Qabalistic Cross has always been easy to trace out. But we are still confronted by the problem of the Pentagrams, their attributions, etc. etc. I don't believe for one moment that Eliphas Levi had it. He is more talk than information -- as are most of the French occultists. I have never come across anything in my reading or research to indicate its origins.

Thanks for the Newsletter. I am glad to have it, and I appreciate your sending them to me.


All the best to all of you,

{signed} Francis

Previous Primary Sources                   Next Primary Sources.

From the Outbasket

Here are some edited bits from recent email discussions.

On discussing rules and teachers with A. C. Y.:

From one mind to another, an intermediary is necessary. That intermediary can be considered an "Ape of Thoth", sacred, but incapable of giving more than a crude imitation of the original. All such things partake of the character of trans-generational traditions, even if the intermediary is only words and not a separate human being. E.g., a family had a rule that coats and wraps should not be placed on a bed while visiting another home, a common practice where closet space is limited and there are many guests. A girl in that family wondered about this rule and eventually asked her grandmother "why?" Grandma laughed and said: "When I was young a lot of places had fleas and bed bugs. We decided as a family that we didn't want to risk picking up those pests and made the rule. It's silly now." The girl's mother didn't know the reason, only the rule.

On discussing numbers as symbols, with G. A.:

Numbers are more than just symbols. They are represented by symbols; but they are pure, abstract ideas of quantity. For that reason, numbers are popular in various philosophical and mystical systems. Aside from symbolic use, they can be used as an unlimited indexing system and the smaller numbers naturally display relationships that lead to philosophical speculations (e.g., 1 = the monad, 2 = the duad, 3 = the triad -- suggesting thesis, antithesis and synthesis).

On discussing the traditional terms for the parts of the Tree of Life with M.:

These terms are derived from Hebrew and Latin discussions on what was said in Hebrew texts. Thus, the terms get a little far-fetched. "Justice" is a name sometimes used for the left pillar, and one of the names of Geburah, as "Dinn" = Justice. The middle pillar is often called the Balance. Will and true self are related in the sense that the true self manifests as will and action. The word "Justice" is seen as indicating an extreme in these traditions, strict letter of the law in contrast to Mercy, making exceptions in the light of the spirit of the law. The middle pillar is seen as balancing the harshness of Justice in this sense against the permissiveness of Mercy.
-- TSG (Bill Heidrick)

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for February 2001 e.v.

2/1/01"Habits of Effective Demons"(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
with Michael, 8PM in the library
2/3/01Feast of Brigid at Cheth House(510) 525-0666Thelema Ldg.
in Berkeley, 10:00 AM
2/4/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/8/01"Habits of Effective Demons"(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
with Michael, 8PM in the library
2/11/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/14/01Magical Forum "Rituals of the four-(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
fold" with Nathan 8PM in the library
2/15/01"Habits of Effective Demons"(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
with Michael, 8PM in the library
2/18/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/19/01Section II reading group with(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
Caitlin: Fabliaux (medieval French
ribald tales 8PM library
2/22/01"Habits of Effective Demons"(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
with Michael, 8PM in the library
2/25/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
2/28/01Magical Forum "Mysteries of the(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
Book of Thoth" with Paul
8PM in the library

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

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