Thelema Lodge Calendar for December 2001 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for December 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

December 2001 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

What Thou Wilt

"Love, and do what you will" -- Dilige et quod vis fac -- in the formulation of the ancient African philosopher Aurelius Augustinus (354-430 c.e.) expands upon a well-known passage in one of the Pauline epistles claiming love as the greatest spiritual virtue (I Corinthians 13:13). In citing this idea as a remote Thelemic antecedent, Aleister Crowley explained "St Augustine's thesis is that if the heart be full of love, one cannot go wrong" (cf. Hymenaeus Beta and Richard Kaczynski, eds., Oriflamme 2 (O.T.O./New Falcon, 1998), p. 162). The American philosopher William James had noticed this same passage in Augustine, and even after fifteen centuries it seemed to him "pregnant . . . with passports beyond the bounds of conventional morality" (The Varieties of Religious Experience, 1902, quoted ibidem). But "far more important" than the formulation of will by St Augustine, according to Crowley, "is the word of Rabelais, 'Fais ce que veulx.' The sublime Doctor does indeed intend, so far as he goes, to set forth in essence the Law of Thelema, very much as it is understood by the Master Therion himself. . . . 'Fais ce que veulx' was the required Magical Formula" ("The Antecedents of Thelema," an unfinished essay written October 1926 e.v. and published in this newsletter in November 1993).
The Book of the Law, expressed in the language specifically of Aleister Crowley as its scribe, did not have to alter this formulation very much in rendering it as "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law." But along with the antecedent traditions of these concepts, what is also striking about this sentence is its archaic grammar in English. The obsolete system of English pronouns in the second person was part of Crowley's own native tongue, as it no longer is part of our own, and its use here is not just a matter of literary decoration. What the pronoun "thou" specifies, in a way which modern English can not so simply make plain, is the essential singularity of its subject. It is not so general as "to do your will is the whole law" because the autonomous individual is the agent in this formulation, with no necessary implication that the law of Thelema will function in any collective sense.
What of the word "wilt" in the formula? "Wilt" is not a form of the verb "to will" (meaning to intend to the best of one's ability), but in traditional English is limited to a different word, the auxiliary verb "will" (as in "what wilt thou give me?"). "Wilt" is the form which the auxiliary verb invariably takes with "thou" as its object in the Authorized Version of the Bible. It can only appear with "thou," except where "thou" is most definitely understood (as in dialect when the gamekeeper asks Lady Chatterly "Wilt come?" and so sneaks into the familiar form in addressing -- and undressing -- his social superior by eliding the pronoun). The phrase "what thou wilt" is rare but significant in the Bible; apart from "consider what thou wilt do" (I Samuel 25:17), it occurs only in Mark's Gethsemane scene, to intense dramatic effect, addressed directly to Abba, the Father: "Take this cup away from me, nevertheless not what I will but what thou wilt." Surely this is the exact opposite of Thelema, though the phrase doubtlessly influenced Crowley's translation of Rabelais' motto. As it is used there, "wilt" is part of the primary verb "do" with which the formula begins, and does not contain an overt reference to the faculty of will (which we tend to assume it means). Simple accomplishment, or doing whatever "you (singular) will do," would be its meaning.
Why "shall" it be the whole law to do so? Here the issue is quite complex. In the third person (or the second), with reference to that which one is to "do," the word "shall" does not denote futurity (the future tense would be expressed by saying that such doing "will" be the whole of the law), but seems rather to refer to an action which is implied or under consideration (known in grammar as the subjunctive mood). This might mean that accomplishment ("doing") is inherently a law unto itself; if one can "do" (whatever one truly will do) then such doing is simply "the whole of the law." If the doing of "what thou wilt" do constitutes "the whole of the law," the formula might seem so simple as to be nearly meaningless. There are other possibilities for the function of "shall" here, and it might imply a command if the statement were imperative, but this too seems to lead to nonsense: how can one be ordered to do whatever one will be doing? In Rabelais the formula is indeed a religious rule (the "law" subscribed to by those in a religious order) and thus a kind of command. Rabelais' point is that "Do as you will" is an anti-rule, replacing the complex restrictions of the Franciscan and Benedictine rules with the simplest possible law of "just do it." Or "shall" might be intended as the future tense after all, a technical error in grammar which is far from uncommon (even in Shakespeare), perhaps encouraged by the confusion that would be caused by the use of "will" in close proximity to "wilt." If so, we are encouraged to look forward to a time to come when the whole of the law comes to consist of what one will be doing. It is difficult to see how such a time would continue to be delayed past the Equinox of the Gods, however, and the self-generating, self-verifying formula by which one's essential "doing" is known to be "the whole . . . law" (at least for oneself) becomes more profoundly meaningful with meditation. If we are to have any dogma in thelema, it would have to be something like this: the process of accomplishment is limited only by itself.


Dark, Dark, Dark

On Friday 21st December at just before noon the sun enters Capricornus for the beginning of winter. Thelema Lodge will celebrate that evening beginning at 8:00 with a ritual and communal dinner feast at Horus Temple. For this dark corner of the year we will light the temple with candles, build up a blaze in the fireplace, and cheer ourselves after the ritual with food and drink together. Bring dinner dishes and favorite beverages to share.


The Road to Bou Saada

The Enochian universe of concentric spherical "aires or aethyrs," and Aleister Crowley's arduous path of ascent through the entire course of these mystic regions, is the subject of Liber 418, The Vision and the Voice of the Thirty Aires. This season (as we have for twelve of the past thirteen years), we are embarked at Thelema Lodge upon a complete tour of the universe of these visions, conducted for us by Leigh Ann. Reading the transcript of each aethyric vision on the anniversary of its original reception in the Sahara desert in 1909 e.v., the project also includes repeat readings of aethyrs received too early in the day to be convenient for most auditors. Many of the readings will be held at NOX House in Oakland, where the number is (510) 534- 5739 if contact is necessary on the evenings scheduled there. For full information and directions to any of the venues it will be best to contact Leigh Ann well ahead of time at (510) 849-1970, or by e-mail to: motogrrl@pacbell.net Although the series stretched out over a month, one third of the visions were received in the first week of December, making this an especially busy time on the schedule. Please arrive on time (and a few minutes early) for all readings.
Bou Saâda (meaning "the place of happiness") and Biskra, where many of this month's aethyrs were explored, were Algerian resort towns on the edge of the Sahara. Under French administration, they served tourists and imperial commerce alongside the traditional oasis life of the Arabs and Berbers. For French-speaking travelers such as Crowley and Neuburg, they offered exotic but safe vacation spots which were easy to reach and relatively luxurious at inexpensive prices.

December reading schedule for The Vision and the Voice

ZEN(18)on Saturday afternoon 1st December, 2:30 at Ashby House
TAN(17)early Sunday morning 2nd December, 12:15 AM at Ashby House
repeated Sunday afternoon, 4:30 in Horus Temple
LEA(16)Sunday afternoon 2nd December, 4:50 in Horus Temple
OXO(15)Monday morning 3rd December, 9:15 AM at Ashby House
repeated Monday evening, 9:30 at NOX House
VTA(14)part one Monday afternoon 3rd December, 2:25 at Ashby House
repeated Monday evening, 9:30 at NOX House
part two Monday evening, 9:50 at NOX House
ZIM(13)Tuesday afternoon 4th December, 2:10 at Ashby House
repeated Tuesday evening, 11:00 PM at NOX House
LOE(12)Tuesday evening 4th December, 11:30 PM at NOX House
IKH(11)Wednesday evening 5th December, 10:10 at NOX House
ZAX(10)Thursday afternoon 6th December, 2:00 at a secret seaside location
ZIP(9)Friday evening 7th December, 9:30 at NOX House
ZID(8)Saturday evening 8th December, 7:10 at NOX House
DEO(7)Sunday evening 9th December, 9:30 in Horus Temple
MAZ(6)Monday evening 10th December, 7:40 at NOX House
LIT(5)part one Wednesday evening 12th December, 7:00 at NOX House
part two Thursday evening 13th December, 8:15 at NOX House
PAZ(4)Sunday morning 16th December, 9:00 AM at Ashby House
repeated Sunday evening, 6:30 in Horus Temple
ZOM(3)Monday morning 17th December, 9:30 AM at Ashby House
repeated Monday evening, 9:00 in Horus Temple
ARN(2)part one Tuesday morning 18th December, 9:20 AM at Ashby House
part two Tuesday morning, 10:15 at Ashby House
part three Tuesday afternoon, 3:15 at Ashby House
LIL(1)Wednesday afternoon 19th December, 1:30 at Ashby House
repeated Wednesday evening, 9:30 at NOX House
ARN(2)parts 1-3 repeated Thursday evening 20th December, 8:00 at NOX House
part four Thursday evening, 8:35 at NOX House


Triginta Aerum

In a departure from our usual focus upon works of "suggestive" fiction (expanding from the second section of Crowley's original A A. curriculum) the Section Two reading group at Thelema Lodge meets this month to supplement Leigh Ann's Vision and the Voice reading project with a literary study of Liber 418. We will gather on Monday evening 17th December from 7:30 till 9:00 in the lodge library with Caitlin (preceding the reading of ZOM, the antepenultimate aethyr). Crowley himself considered this book, of the many to have come from (or through) him, as second only to Liber AL in literary and prophetic importance. The text was generated as a ritual diary, recording the visionary content of scrying sessions held (except for the first two earlier visions) in the Sahara desert late in 1909 e.v. with Frater Omnia Vincam (Victor Neuburg) as scribe and assistant. Each of the visions was initiated by Crowley's recitation of the appropriate Enochian call (the nineteenth key, with the three-letter name of the aethyr slotted in) as he peered into a large yellow topaz gemstone which functioned "not unlike the looking-glass in the case of Alice." Although diagrammed spherically, the Enochian airs were not spatially conceived, with each consisting experientially of "the state characteristic of, or peculiar to, its nature." Having successfully invoked (and verified) this specific state, Crowley as scryer would "receive the subtle impressions" which by long discipline he had trained his senses to distinguish, thus "becoming cognizant of the phenomena of those worlds." Then he would "describe what I saw and repeat what I heard, and Frater O. V. would write down my words." Afterwards the visions were tested for coherence and consistency, and then incorporated into the working record to facilitate analysis of the entire project. They were found to contain crucial prophesies of the new thelemic aeon of Horus. "They brought all systems of magical doctrine into harmonious relation. . . . The whole of the past Aeon appeared in perspective, and each element thereof surrendered its sovereignty to Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child, the Lord of the Aeon announced in the Book of the Law" (Confessions, as quoted from the unabridged typescript in the introduction to Liber 418 in Equinox IV:2, published by the O.T.O. in 1998 e.v.).

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Tarot Study

Paul is the facilitator for this monthly study group, reading and discussing The Book of Thoth and the Thoth Tarot deck together, meeting in the lodge library on the fourth Wednesday evening of each month. Join us from 7:30 until 9:30 on Wednesday evening 19th December for an examination of the Art (XIV) and Devil (XV) trumps in the Thoth Tarot deck. She is Diana the Huntress, Daughter of the Reconcilers and Bringer-forth of Life; he is of course Pan (or Priapus), the Lord of the Gates of Matter and the Child of the Forces of Time (see columns 180-1 in Liber 777).


Invoking Baphomet

Earlier this season we included in our column "From the Library Shelf" a small portion of Thomas De Quincey's 1824 study of Rosicrucianism and Freemasonry, concerning the origin and derivation of the name Baphomet. This essay cited the name recorded in a Latin quotation of 900 years ago, from an ecclesiastical epistle by Anselm of Ribodimonte, thus:
"Sequenti die auora apparente altis vocibus Baphomet invocaverunt; et nos Deum nostrum in cordibus nostris deprecantes impetum fecimus in eos, et de muris civitatis omnes expulimus."
Precise translation of these lines proved too much for your present unaided editor, so no note glossed the passage in our October issue. Consultation with several more advanced scholars around the lodge since then has succeeded in rendering the sense as follows:
"The dawn of the next day appearing, they called upon Baphomet with a loud voice; and we, pleading in our hearts to our own god, made assault upon them, and drove them all out from the walls of the city."
The context is an attack against the Saracens by crusading (i.e. "cross- carrying") knights, where presumably the enemy's invocation would have been of Mohammed, although in this report the cry was heard (through some unaccounted linguistic permutation) or rendered (perhaps by orthographical error) as "Baphomet" rather than in the expected variants of "Mahomet" or "Bahomet." De Quincey speculates that the Saracens may have cried out "Baphomet" not as a prayer but by way of taunting their opponents, "scoffingly as the known watchword of the Templars." Many thanks to Leigh Ann for the translation and to brother Sam Shult for expert grammatical consultation regarding the medieval verb forms.


Crowley Classics

The following exchange of critical articles began with a review of Crowley's poetical volume The Soul of Osiris in the London Daily News on 18th June 1901, written by popular novelist and champion of Christian orthodoxy Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936). Crowley responded in the annotations to his long Browningesque poem "Ascension Day and Pentecost" in The Sword of Song (1904), where he printed the text of Chesterton's review and answered its comments at length. Chesterton then published a review of The Sword of Song, which again Crowley reprinted and answered with another essay (and "post-script" note). This part of the exchange was printed as an eight-page pamphlet by Crowley's Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth (published from London and Boleskine in 1904) which was inserted into copies of Crowley's drama Why Jesus Wept. The complete title of the pamphlet was "Mr Crowley and the Creeds" & "The Creed of Mr Chesterton," with a Postscript entitled "A Child of Ephraim": Chesterton's Colossal Collapse. Two years later its whole text was reprinted as a footnote to the essay "Time: A Dialogue" in the second volume of Crowley's Works. The text presented here has been transcribed from a photocopy of the 1904 pamphlet, and compared with the footnote version in Works (1906). To complete the exchange, at the beginning we have added Crowley's "Note on Mr Chesterton" (with its extended quotation from his original review included at the end), from the same volume of his Works (1906).

Chesterton's Colossal Collapse

A Critical Exchange between
G. K. Chesterton & Aleister Crowley

I promise Mr Chesterton
Before the Muse and I have done
A grand ap-pre-ci-a-ti-on
Of Brixton on Ascension Day.

           -- The Sword of Song (1904)

I.
A Note on Mr Chesterton
by Aleister Crowley

I must take this opportunity to protest against the charge brought by Mr Chesterton against the Englishmen "who write philosophical essays on the splendour of Eastern thought."
If he confines his strictures to the translators of that well-known Eastern work the "Old Testament" I am with him; any modern Biblical critic will tell him what I mean. It took a long time, too, for the missionaries (and Tommy Atkins) to discover that "Budd" was not a "great Gawd." But then they did not want to, and in any case sympathy and intelligence are not precisely the most salient qualities in either soldiers or missionaries. But nothing is more absurd than to compare men like Sir W. Jones, Sir R. Burton, Von Hammer-Purgstall, Sir E. Arnold, Prof. Max Müller, Me, Prof. Rhys Davids, Lane, and the rest of our illustrious Orientalists to the poor and ignorant Hindus whose letters occasionally delight the readers of the Sporting Times, such letters being usually written by public scribes for a few pice in the native bazaar. As to "Babus" (Babu, I may mention, is the equivalent to our "Mister," and not the name of a savage tribe), Mr Chesterton, from his Brixton Brahmaloka, may look forth and see that the "Babu" cannot understand Western ideas; but a distinguished civil servant in the Madras Presidency, second wrangler in a very good year, assured me that he had met a native whose mathematical knowledge was superior to that of the average senior wrangler, and that he had met several others who approached that standard. His specific attack on Madame Blavatsky is equally unjust, as many natives, not theosophists, have spoken to me of her in the highest terms. "Honest Hindus" cannot be expected to think as Mr Chesterton deems likely, as he is unfortunately himself a Western, and in the same quagmire of misapprehension as Prof. Max Müller and the rest. Madame Blavatsky's work was to remind the Hindus of the excellence of their own shastras (sacred books), to show that some Westerns held identical ideas, and thus to countermine the dishonest representations of the missionaries. I am sufficiently well known as a bitter opponent of "Theosophy" to risk nothing in making these remarks.
I trust that the sense of public duty which inspires these strictures will not be taken as incompatible with the gratitude I owe to him for his exceedingly sympathetic and dispassionate review of my Soul of Osiris.
I would counsel him, however, to leave alone the Brixton Chapel, and to "work up from his appreciation of the Soul of Osiris to that loftier and wider work of the human imagination, the appreciation of the Sporting Times!

Mr Chesterton thinks it funny that I should call upon "Shu." Has he forgotten that the Christian God may be most suitably invoked by the name "Yah"? I should be sorry it God were to mistake his religious enthusiasms for the derisive ribaldry of the London gamin. Similar remarks apply to "El" and other Hebrai-christian deities.

This note is hardly intelligible without the review referred to. I therefore reprint the portion thereof which is germane to my matter from the Daily News, June 18, 1901: --
To the side of a mind concerned with idle merriment (sic!) there is certainly something a little funny in Mr Crowley's passionate devotion to deities who bear such names as Mout and Nuit, and Ra and Shu, and Hormakhou. They do not seem to the English mind to lend themselves to pious exhilaration. Mr Crowley says in the same poem:
The burden is too hard to bear,
      I took too adamant a cross;
This sackcloth rends my soul to wear,
      My self-denial is as dross.
           O, Shu, that holdest up the sky,
           Hold up thy servant, lest he die!
We have all possible respect for Mr Crowley's religious symbols, and we do not object to his calling upon Shu at any hour of the night. Only it would be unreasonable of him to complain if his religious exercises were generally mistaken for an effort to drive away cats.

Moreover, the poets of Mr Crowley's school have, among all their merits, some genuine intellectual dangers from this tendency to import religions, this free trade in gods. That all creeds are significant and all gods divine we willingly agree. But this is rather a reason for being content with our own than for attempting to steal other people's. The affectation in many modern mystics of adopting an Oriental civilization and mode of thought must cause much harmless merriment among the actual Orientals. The notion that a turban and a few vows will make an Englishman a Hindu is quite on a par with the idea that a black hat and an Oxford degree will make a Hindu an Englishman. We wonder whether our Buddhistic philosophers have ever read a florid letter in Baboo English. We suspect that the said type of document is in reality exceedingly like the philosophical essays written by Englishmen about the splendour of Eastern thought. Sometimes European mystics deserve something worse than mere laughter at the hands (sic!) of Orientals. If ever was one person whom honest Hindus would have been justified in tearing to pieces it was Madame Blavatsky.

That our world-worn men of art should believe for a moment that moral salvation is possible and supremely important is an unmixed benefit. But to believe for a moment that it is to be found by going to particular places or reading particular books or joining particular societies is to make for the thousandth time the mistake that is at once materialism and superstition. If Mr Crowley and the new mystics think for one moment that an Egyptian desert is more mystic than an English meadow, that a palm tree is more poetic than a Sussex beech, that a broken temple of Osiris is more supernatural than a Baptist chapel in Brixton, then they are sectarians, and only sectarians of no more value to humanity than those who think that the English soil is the only soil worth defending, and the Baptist chapel the only chapel worthy of worship (sic). But Mr Crowley is a strong and genuine poet, and we have little doubt that he will work up from his appreciation of the Temple of Osiris to that loftier and wider work of the human imagination, the appreciation of the Brixton chapel.
G. K. Chesterton
II.
Mr Crowley and the Creeds
by G. K. Chesterton
Mr Aleister Crowley publishes a work, The Sword of Song: Called by Christians "The Book of the Beast," and called, I am ashamed to say, "Ye Sword of Song" on the cover, by some singularly uneducated man. Mr Aleister Crowley has always been, in my opinion, a good poet; his Soul of Osiris, written during an Egyptian mood, was better poetry than his Browningesque rhapsody in a Buddhist mood; but this also, though very affected, is very interesting. But the main fact about it is that it is the expression of a man who has really found Buddhism more satisfactory than Christianity.
Mr Crowley begins his poem, I believe, with an earnest intention to explain the beauty of the Buddhist philosophy; he knows a great deal about it; he believes in it. But as he went on writing one thing became stronger and stronger in his soul -- the living hatred of Christianity. Before he has finished he has descended to the babyish "difficulties" of the Hall of Science -- things about "the plain words of your sacred books," things about "the panacea of belief" -- things, in short, at which any philosophical Hindoo would roll about with laughter. Does Mr Crowley suppose that Buddhists do not feel the poetical nature of the books of a religion? Does he suppose that they do not realise the immense importance of believing the truth? But Mr Crowley has got something into his soul stronger even than the beautiful passion of the man who believes in Buddhism; he has the passion of the man who does not believe in Christianity. He adds one more testimony to the endless series of testimonies to the fascination and vitality of the faith. For some mysterious reason no man can contrive to be agnostic about Christianity. He always tries to prove something about it -- that it is unphilosophical or immoral or disastrous -- which is not true. He can never say simply that it does not convince him -- which is true.
A casual carpenter wandered about a string of villages and suddenly a horde of rich men and sceptics and Sadducees and respectable persons rushed at him and nailed him up like vermin; then people saw that he was a god. He had proved that he was not a common man, for he was murdered. And every since his creed has proved that it is not a common hypothesis, for it is hated.
Next week I hope to make a fuller study of Mr Crowley's interpretation of Buddhism, for I have not room for it in this column today. Suffice it for the moment to say that if this be indeed a true interpretation of the creed, as it is certainly a capable one, I need go no further than its pages for examples of how a change of abstract belief might break a civilization to pieces. Under the influence of this book earnest modern philosophers may, I think, begin to perceive the outlines of two vast and mystical philosophies, which if they were subtly and slowly worked out in two continents through many centuries, might possibly, under special circumstances, make the East and West almost as different as they really are.
III.
The Creed of Mr Chesterton
by Aleister Crowley

When a battle is all but lost and won, the victor is sometimes aware of a brilliancy and dash in the last forlorn hope which was lacking in those initial manoeuvres which decided the fortune of the day.
Hence comes it that Our Reviewer's apology for Christianity compares so favourably with the methods of ponderous blunder on which people like Paley and Gladstone have relied. But alas! the very vivacity of the attack may leave the column without that support which might enable it, if checked, to retire in good order; and it is with true pity for a gallant opponent -- who would be wiser to surrender -- that I find myself compelled to despatch half a squadron (no more!) to take him in the flank.
Our Author's main argument for the Christian religion is that it is hated. To bring me as a witness to this colossal enthymeme, he has the sublime courage to state that my Sword of Song begins with an effort to expound Buddhism, but that my hatred of Christianity overcame me as I went on, and that I end up literally raving. My book is possibly difficult in many ways, but only Mr Chesterton would have tried to understand it by reading it backward.
Repartee apart, it is surely an ascertainable fact that while the first 29 pages are almost exclusively occupied with an attack on Christianity as bitter and violent as I can make it, the remaining 161 are composed of (a) an attack on materialism, (b) an essay in metaphysics opposing advaitism, (c) an attempt to demonstrate the close analogy between the canonical Buddhist doctrine and that of modern Agnostics. None of these deal with Christianity at all, save for a chance and casual word.
I look forward with pleasure to a new History of England, in which it will be pointed out how the warlike enthusiasm aroused by the Tibetan expedition led to the disastrous plunge into the Boer War; disastrous because the separation of the Transvaal which resulted therefrom left us so weak that we fell an easy prey to William the Conqueror. Our Novelist should really make a strong effort to materialse his creation in The Napoleon of Notting Hill of the gentlemen weeping by the graves of their descendants.
Any sound philosophy must be first destructive of previous error, then constructive by harmonising truths into Truth.
Nor can the human mind rest content with negation; I honour him rather whose early emotion is hatred of Christianity, bred of compulsion to it, but who subdues that negative passion, and forces his way to a positive creed, were it but the cult of Kali or Priapus.
Here, indeed, modern Agnostics are at fault. They sensibly enough reject error; but they are over- proud of their lofty attitude, and, letting slip the real problems of life, busy themselves with side- issues, or try to satisfy the spiritual part of the brain (which needs food like any other part) with the husks of hate.
How few among us can reach the supreme sanity of Dr Henry Maudsley in such a book as Life in Mind and Conduct!
Hence I regard Angosticism as little more than a basis of new research into spiritual facts, to be conducted by the methods won for us by men of science. I would define myself as an agnostic with a future.
But to the enthymeme itself. A word is enough to expose it.
Other things have been hated before and since Christ lived -- if he lived. Slavery was hated. A million men died about it, and it was cast out of everywhere but the hearts of men. Euripides hated Greek religion, and he killed the form thereof. Does Our Logician argue from these facts the vitality of slavery or Delphi? Yes, perhaps, when Simon Legree and the Pythoness were actually making money, but to argue their eternal truth, or even their value at that time, is a further and a false step. Does the fact that a cobra is alive prove it to be innocuous?
With the reported murder of Jesus of Nazareth I am not concerned; but Vespasian's "Ut puto Deus fio" [it seems I am becoming a god --trans. ED.]is commonly thought to have been meant as a jest.
Our Romanticist's unique and magnificent dramatisition of the war between the sceptic or lover of truth, and the religious man or lover of life, may be well, quoted against me. Though Vespasian did jest, though Christ's "It is finished" were subjectively but the cry of his physical weakness, like Burton's "I am a dead man," it is no less true that millions have regarded it as indeed a cry of triumph. That is so, subjectively for them, but no more, and the one fact does not alter the other.
Surely Our Fid. Def. will find little support in this claim on behalf of death. We all die; it was the Resurrection and Ascension which stamped Christ as God. Our Philosopher will, I think, fight shy of these events. The two thieves were "nailed up like vermin" on either side of Christ by precisely the same people; are they also gods? To found a religion on the fact of death, murder though it were, is hardly more than African fetishism. Does death prove more than life? Will Mr Chesterton never be happy until he is hanged?
These then are the two rear-guard actions of his retiring and beaten army.
The army itself is pretty well out of sight. There is a puff of artillery from afar to the effect that "no man can contrive to be agnostic about Christianity." This is a very blank cartridge. Who is agnostic about the shape of the earth? Who prides himself upon a profound reserve about the colour of a blue pig, or hesitates to maintain that grass is green? Unless under the reservation that both subject and predicate are Unknowable in their essence, and that the copula of identity is but a convention -- a form of Agnosticism which after all means nothing in this connection, for the terms of the criticism require the same reservation.
Our Tamburlaine's (not to confuse with Tambourine or alter into Tamburlesque) subsequent remark that the poor infidel (failing in his desperate attempt to be agnostic) "tries to prove something untrue" is a petitio principii which would be a blunder in a schoolboy; but in a man of Our Dialectician's intelligence can only be impudence.
The main army, as I said, is out of sight. There is, however, a cloud of dust on the horizon which may mark its position. "Does Mr Crowley suppose that the Buddhists do not feel the poetical nature of the books of religion?" I take this to mean: "you have no business to take the Bible literally!"
I have dealt with this contention at some length in The Sword of Song itself ("Ascension Day" lines 216 to 247): but here I will simply observe that a poem which authoirses the Archbishop of Canterbury to convey Dr Clifford's pet trowels, and makes possible the Gilbertian (in the old sense of pertaining to W. S. Gilbert) position of the Free Kirk today, is a poem which had better be burnt, as the most sensible man of his time proposed to do with Homer, or at least left to the collector, as I believe is the case with the publications of the late Isidore Liseux. Immoral is indeed no word for it. It is as criminal as the riddle in Pericles.
That Our Pantosympatheticist is himself an Agnostic does not excuse him. True, if everyone thought as he does there would be no formal religion in the world, but only that individual communion of the consciousness with its self- consciousness which constitutes genuine religion, and should never inflame passion or inspire intolerance, since the non-Ego lies beyond its province.
But he knows as well as I do that there are thousands in this country who would gladly see him writhing in eternal torture -- that physiological impossibility -- for his word "a casual carpenter," albeit he wrote it in reverence. That is the kind of Christian I would hang. The Christian who can write as Our Champion of Christendom does about his faith is innocuous and pleasant, though in my heart I am compelled to class him with the bloodless desperadoes of the "Order of the White Rose" and the "moutons enragés" that preach revolution in Hyde Park.
When he says that he will trace "the outlines of two vast and mystical philosophies, which if they were subtly and slowly worked out, etc., etc.," he is simply thrown away on Nonconformity; and I trust I do not go too far, as the humblest member of the Rationalist Press Association, when I suggest that that diabolical body would be delighted to bring out a sixpenny edition of his book. I am not fighting pious opinions. But there are perfectly definite acts which encroach upon the freedom of the individual: indefensible in themselves, they seek apology in the Bible, which is now to be smuggled through as a "poem." If I may borrow my adversary's favourite missile, a poem in this sense is "unhistorical nonsense."
We should, perhaps, fail to appreciate the beauty of the Tantras if the Government (on their authority) enforced the practices of hook-swinging and Sati, and the fact that the cited passages were of doubtful authority, and ambiguous at that, would be small comfort to our grilled widows and lacerated backs.
Yet this is the political condition of England at this hour. You invoke a "casual cameldriver" to serve your political ends and prevent me having eighteen wives as against four: I prove him an impostor, and you call my attention to the artistic beauty of Ya Sin. I point out that Ya Sin says nothing about four wives, and you say that all moral codes limit the number. I ask you who all this fuss about Mohammed, in that case, and you write all my sentences -- and your own -- Qabalistically backwards, and it comes out: "Praise be to Allah for the Apostle of Allah, and for the Faith of Islam. And the favour of Allah upon him, and the peace!"
War, I think, if those be the terms.

IV.
Post-Script:
A Child of Ephraim
by Aleister Crowley

The Children of Ephraim, being armed,
and carrying bows, turned them back
in the day of battle.

War under certain conditions becomes a question of pace, and I really cannot give my cavalry so much work as Our Brer Rabbit would require. On the appearance of his article "Mr Crowley and the Creeds" I signified my intention to reply. It aborted his attack on me, and he has not since been heard of.
In the midst of the words he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee, He has softly and suddenly
vanished away --
I suppose I always was a bit of a Boojum!

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from the Grady Project:

A few issues into The Magickal Link, after that monthly newsletter replaced the irregular O.T.O. Newsletter of 1977-1980 e.v., a front-page column entitled "From the Caliph" was established for Grady. This two-part essay was one of the earlier "raps" he prepared for it, appearing in the Link for February & March 1982 e.v. (II:2-3, pp. 1-2 & 1-2).

Program, Pre-Program, Reprogram
by Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha X°

I.

The moment of ultimate self-embarrassment is when you die. That is when you wake up. And realize that everything in that universe is upside down and backwards (see Atu XII, Thoth Deck). That everything is on record and you are completely exposed. Your star-spark (soul) has returned to that Great Star that hangs over the City of the Pyramids in the form of a wafer / chip / snow-flake, and is decoded by Big Molly the Shredder. Your Program (immediate past life) is compared with your Pre-Program (Will, Fate, karma, the life you were supposed to have lived) and you are Judged ("Weighing the Feather" scene in the text of Ani). Your energy will then be Re-Programmed or used for other purposes.
Some of you will recall my color slide lecture comparing Enochian angels to computer circuits and tanma(n)tras. Tanma(n)tras? The force that maintains each item in this universe (see Mookerjee-Khanna, The Tantric Way, pp. 98-9) -- you could think of it as a universe of electrical particles held in the "main-frame" of a computer. It also explains why in Kirilian photography the image of an amputated limb is still visible. So far as the Maintainer is concerned, the pattern is still there.
As to how many "Stars" there are in Heaven? Revelation 7:4 and 14:1 say 144,000. Some religions take this seriously. Thelemites do not. Any Yogin knows that 144,000 divided by 2 equals the 72,000 cranial nerves in your body, recording in your eyes (irisology) and ear lobes, and exiting energy through finger tips and feet -- especially the toes (which is why your Yoga instructor tells you to take your socks off, and not to wear pantyhose to class). All that is telling you is that you must connect those 72,000 nerves with the 72,000 psychic channels your Angel is holding down to you. Check your Kabbalah Denudata re. that marvelous oily beard of Macroprosopus. Or, as Aleister Crowley parodies it (paraphrased from memory):
Macroprosopus has a great beard
O, with what a marvelous oil it is smeared.
Macroprosopus has nothing on me
I've got a beard just as greasy as He!
Being dead is a bummer because, although you may know everything and see everything, living in Eternity as you do, there is nothing you can do about it because you can't move. You are dead. (Which is one reason I did an LBR for Karl Germer when we got to his house at West Point.) This is the world of Change. Where the Past can be rewritten (changing Reality). Or as Omar wrote:
Would but some wingéd Angel ere too late
Arrest the yet unfolded Roll of Fate,
And make the stern Recorder otherwise
Enregister, or quite obliterate!
This is why the Initiate path is so important. It gives you a chance to compare your Program with your Pre- Program. That way you can Reprogram yourself ahead of time. Which is why the Tibetans work through their Bardos, the Egyptians rehearsed the Halls of the Dead, and we have Forty-Two Assessors of the Dead (Liber D). One way of remembering this is to repeat the mantrum: PROGRAM, PRE-PROGRAM, REPROGRAM as you compare your current Life with what you are supposed to be doing and adjust as necessary. This is known as "finding your true Will."
Next: more technical equations.

II.

Curiously enough, I have been importuned any number of times to discourage -- even forbid -- the study of GOLDEN DAWN and other "non- Thelemic" material because of AL II:5, "Behold! the rituals of the old time are black." As if Crowley had not been blasted backwards when he realized that Osiris was a black god! (Nineteenth Aethyr, XXX AERUM). For why? Because, according to them, anything written before 1904 E.V. is "black" and therefore evil. Probably more damage has been done to the study and practice of Thelema by that particular jive than any other idiocy I can think of just off hand. Crowley studied everything he could get his hands on. I spent forty days in a Sikh ashram, qualifying to be a Yoga instructor. Do what thou wilt. But don't be fooled by superficial relations between the planes. Every dimension has its own spectra. Or, as Crowley explains in the Cry of the Second Aethyr, "Therefore, as the pure light is colourless, so is the pure soul black." In line with the ancient doctrine that equates the unenlightened soul to a black female slave, awaiting the touch of her Angel.
An equal misunderstanding exists over the phrase, AL II:58, "the slaves shall serve." Of course they shall serve. After all they are elementals (Dion Fortune), demons, angels, "forces" (Don Juan), printed circuits or psychic channels in other worlds or dimensions. Slave circuits. Useful in the realm of dramatic ritual and thaumaturgy. Nothing says these "slaves" have to be human. That is a holdover from previous incarnations.
All of this PROGRAM, PRE-PROGRAM, REPROGRAM is grounded in the "Four Worlds" doctrine. For Crowley we turn to 777, Col. LXIII. For Kabbalah we go to Kabbalah Denudata, plate IV, facing page 30, where we find the four worlds diagrammed from top to bottom as:
Atziloth ( = 537) Archetypal
Briah ( = 218) Creative
Yetzirah ( = 305) Formative
Asia ( = 315) Material
Which brings us to how Magick works. Crowley tells us in Magick in Theory and Practice, "Magick is the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will." But how do we cause change to occur? Crowley gives us a number of dramatic rituals, and plenty of good advice, but from a technical point of view think of those four worlds as a four storied universe with decayed energy exiting from the bottom and fresh or "new" energy coming in at the top. You could think of Atziloth as a sort of psychic "black hole." Then follows a "trickle down" effect from the Archetypal ideas of Atziloth to the Creative fantasies of Briah (the uncreate) to the world of Formation, where things start to shape up, and are then precipitated (some have seen them as "crystals" coming in through a "hole" in the sky) into this world as what we call "reality". The work of the Magician is to imprint what s/he Wills, using the tools and trade of dramatic ritual and thaumaturgy, on the infinitely malleable Formative, Creative, or Atziloth worlds, depending on time requirements. Crowley was working in centuries. I have been working in decades. You will be working in years or less. Time is speeding up. It's like our karmic vibrations were being compressed.

777, column LXIII

So remember: to shape the flow PROGRAM, PRE-PROGRAM, REPROGRAM as you migrate to higher vibrations.

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Primary Sources

1,499 bottles on the wall ...
In May of 1945 e.v, Grady McMurtry wrote in celebration to Crowley on the occasion of V-E Day. Party time described.

1814th Ord S&M Co (Avn)
APO 149, U. S. Army
15 May 1945
Germany

Dear Aleister,

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

So now the war is over and we are settling down for the long sweat. So far we have no idea which way we are going or if we are going to be static for awhile. The Army has announced the point system, which determines who is to be discharged first, and I may get out sooner than I had expected. The artificial score has been set at 85 points and I now have 82 and expect 5 more in the near future. Of course there are strings attached to it as far as officers are concerned -- critical personnel, you know. I may be over here for a year yet. Will give me time to get some of this study completed, anyway.

Well, if Katie rated a snapshot you deserve at least a portrait. Here is one I had made in Luxembourg several months ago. Ok, so I'm bad for not mentioning the Katie incident. Frankly it wasn't worth mentioning. From my point of view, at least. I had gone into Paris well heeled to blow off a lot of accumulated stress. We met, drank a bottle of Scotch, and she played hard-to-get until time to catch the last train out. Left me wandering around a blacked out Paris with mission unaccomplished. Undoubtedly my fault but that didn't help my temper any.

By the way -- I wrote Grant shortly after writing you on the 26th. Sorry to hear he hasn't panned out as hoped.

Was telling you about the damage over here. I suppose you have visited the old walled city of Nürnberg? About all that is left is the wall now. Many of its old buildings can be restored as well as most of the wall but the inner city has been burned to a shell. I also visited the Reishpartietage stadium at Nürnberg. Very imposing structure from a distance. You perhaps remember seeing pictures of Hitler giving the slave salute from the podium with a huge Nazi eagle on the wall behind him? Well, somebody must have put about a twenty-pound charge of dynamite under that eagle's fanny because it has been blown sky-high. I have yet to find a city that has been left undamaged but some are worse then others. Frankfurt am Main is about as bad as any, I suppose. But then Frankfurt enjoyed the unfortunate position of being on the western edge of Germany and if our bombers couldn't find their target they would just dump all unconsigned cargo on Frankfurt on the way home.

We celebrated V-E day with Pink Champagne. Or at least that is what we call what appears to be a low grade variety of Sparkling Burgundy. I took out 20 men and three trucks and made a midnight requisiton {sic} on a winery for about 1500 bottles of the stuff. Some of the more ambitious lads were drunk for two days -- and we still have plenty of the stuff around. Now that conditions are becoming stablized {sic} we are able to procure German beer by the keg, which is the best we have had since leaving home, and even ice. An unlooked for luxury. You know these Americans -- if there is anything to be had within a hundred miles we get it.

Love is the law, love under will.
    Yours ever,

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Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for December 2001 e.v.

12/1/01Liber 418 readings continue: ZEN (18)
12/2/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/2/01Liber 418: TAN (17) LEA (16)
12/3/01Liber 418: OXO (15) VTA (14)
12/4/01Liber 418: ZIM (13) LOE (12)
12/5/01Liber 418: IKH (11)
12/6/01Liber 418: ZAX (10)
12/7/01Liber 418: ZIP (9)
12/8/01Liber 418: ZID (8)
12/9/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/9/01Liber 418: DEO (7)
12/10/01Liber 418: MAZ (6)
12/12/01Liber 418: LIT (5) part one
12/13/01Liber 418: LIT (5) part two
12/14/01New Moon 12:47 Solar Eclipse
12/16/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/16/01Liber 418: PAZ (4)
12/17/01Section II reading group with
Caitlin: The Vision & the Voice
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/17/01Liber 418: ZOM (3)
12/17/01Liber 418: ARN (2) parts 1-3
12/19/01Magical Forum with Paul. Book of
Thoth study group. 7:30PM library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/19/01Liber 418: LIL (1)
12/20/01Liber 418: ARN (2) part 4
12/21/01Winter Solstice 8PM ritual feast
in Horus Temple
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/23/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/30/01Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
12/30/01Full Moon 2:40 AM Lunar Eclipse

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

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

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

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