Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
March 2002 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Lodge Members and Officers
In the wheel of heaven revolving
mysteries of death and birth,
In the womb of time dissolving,
shape anew a heaven and earth . . . .
Burn then to the core of matter,
to the spirit's utmost flame,
Consciousness and sense to shatter,
ruin sight and form and name . . . .
Free a million million mortals
on the wheel of being tossed!
Open wide the mystic portals,
and be altogether lost!
(from "The Rite of Jupiter")
Michael Maier (1566-1622) was born in the north German region of Holstein, into a family well connected with the local nobility. A scholar of the new Paracelsian doctrines of elemental health care, Maier qualified as a medical doctor at the university of Rostock, and afterwards became personal physician and private secretary to Emperor Rudolph II (born 1552, crowned 1572, resigned 1611, died 1612), whose court at Prague was a center of the enlightened scientific mysticism which characterized the northern (Protestant) Renaissance. Scientific visitors entertained for extended stays at Prague by Rudolph (and Maier) included Kepler, Tycho Brahe, and John Dee. Maier was rewarded for his imperial services with the exalted title of Pfalzgraf (Count Palatine), making him the heraldic peer of those "secret" gnostic saints, the Paladins of Carolus Magnus. After Rudolph's death Maier began publishing a series of small volumes attempting to contact the "hidden" Rosicrucian brotherhood which had been announced in two pamphlets concerning Father Christian Rosenkreutz that appeared under mysterious circumstances in 1614 and 1615. These included Arcana Arcanissima [the secret of secrets] about 1614, with other works on alchemical, theosophical, and Rosicrucian topics. When no answer ever came, Maier began in his Silentium post Clamores (1617), to defend the apparently non-existent fraternity by formulating the concept of an organizational "period of silence" following the clamor of a propaganda campaign (a notion later used by Crowley to justify the unavoidable interruption of his Equinox magazine during the World War One). Maier also traveled to London, where he probably met Robert Fludd. He later set up a medical practice at Magdeburg in Germany, and after 1619 was attached to the household of the Landgrave Maritz of Hesse. Maier died at Magdeburg in 1622, leaving behind him at least one work, Ulysses (1624), which was published posthumously. Within a few years of his death, however, Magdeburg was sacked and burned in the Thirty Years War, destroying nearly all of Maier's own papers and books, and also much of the culture in which they had been produced, effectively plunging his life and work into obscurity.
As Dame Frances Yates concluded in her study of the "Rosicrucian" writings of Maier and Fludd, it was only after giving up on the literal veracity of the Christian Rosenkreutz manifestos that their perspective became useful. "If the Rosicrucian manifestos are interpreted as a fiction through which is set forth a plea for reformation based on new developments of Magia, Cabala, and Alchymia introduced by Paracelsus and John Dee," then writers like Fludd and Maier can be considered within the Rosicrucian tradition even though neither ever was able to claim "membership" in (or any literal contact with) the R+C Brotherhood (The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 1972, page 80). Maier's formulation of the "laws of the Fraternity of the Rosie Crosse" in Themis Aurea seems to be the nearest that this Brotherhood came (during its original generation) to an organizational structure and style.
by Aleister Crowley
To Lord Dunsany all things have personality, genius, voice. The Desert is an entity more concrete and vital than a Soap Combine; the wind that blows from Kragua and the bleak unknown lands behind it is as near as a brother. His success is due to the fact that people are beginning to perceive with intuition, with the Eye of Truth. And, no doubt of it, he himself found Truth in the mystic bogs of Ireland, the amorous and inexorable wastes and palaces of Hindustan. While he was yet a boy, he was carried away by the fairies, and taught the Ultimate Secrets. Now he is giving them to us; and we are taking them, slowly but with ineffable delight, under the veil of his art, as a woman at a masked ball accepts the arm of a cavalier who may be -- the King!
It will be interesting to look at his "conversion" in its early stage; to see what came of him in essence, before it was transmitted into an art so gracious and intelligible. For like all the prophets and the poets, Truth came to him at first obscure and fantastic, an hieroglyph. Today, in the light of the Rosetta Stone of his plays, we may reach back, and lay reverent lips upon his soul itself.
Schopenhauer, in one of his hawk perceptions, cried that the greatest of all artists was he who created a new order of gods. For by the gods we mean not principles in man, things too deep to be individual, perhaps four- dimensional objects whose manifestations, diverse as they may be, are yet somehow recognizable as parts of some obscure entity beyond the veil, unintelligible to us so long as we cannot put together all the pieces in the puzzle.
As the years go by, and man learns more and more of his surroundings and contents, he revises the list of his gods. The cave-man was quite content with a god or so who kept him warm, the sun, fire, a tree, and others who supplied him with food, gods of the corn or of the reindeer. The savage cannibals who discovered the thrills of war, and carried the game on even in peace by human sacrifice, were pleased to recognize their ideas in a Yod-heh- vau-heh or a Quetzlacotal. The philosophical Indians invented Brahma; the best of the Chinese avoided the snare of anthropomorphism, but they made mathematical laws the rulers of the universe. The oldest book in the world, the Yi Ching, is a treatise on the combination of two things taken six at a time.
Now, since every order of gods is an analysis of the human mind, it follows that the creations of human genius develop on what are really religious lines. Chinese art is mathematical in its inevitability and in its independence of time and place; Egyptian art compromises with passion; Greek art, taking one step further, becomes wholly human. At the other end of the scale we find Catholic art, purely romantic or emotional.
Thus, reversing the process, from any given art we can divine the moral and philosophical principles which are at its source. Let us ask ourselves why the plays of Lord Dunsany have that quality which separates them so wholly from other contemporary masterpieces. One might suspect the author of having achieved that colossal task with whose consideration we began, of having made "a new heaven and a new earth." And we should be right. His first book, the book of his boyhood, a book which very few people have read, and fewer still have understood, is a complete, original, theophany.
The modest dimensions of this book, The Gods of Pegana, its intensely artistic form, the super-simplicity of its language, all have tended to hide it from the general public. But it is incomparably the greatest work of Lord Dunsany's genius. If it were translated into philosophical terms, it would astonish the world of metaphysics. Its complications are all-embracing as all-penetrating. Here's for a glimpse of them!
Long before the Beginnings of Things Chance or Fate -- nobody knows which -- strode through the mists to Mana-Yood-Sushai and put the creative power in his hands. And he made gods for his pleasure, and went to sleep. While he slept the gods made toys for their amusement -- ultimately one of them, Kib, made man. Then other gods arose to join Kib in his game, Sish, with his hound Time, and Mung, with Death. We cannot give a full idea of the scheme without reprinting the book; for the author did not waste a word; but -- observe the size of the units in which Lord Dunsany thinks! Later on he gives ideas of life and man, close, concentrated, penetrating, essential; but from cover to cover the reader may have prescience of the end. For -- here we come close to the legend of Shiva in Hindu philosophy -- a time will come when Mana-Yood- Sushai shall wake, and Time and Space, and all the immortal gods, shall be as they have never been, and what then? Is all bent in a closed curve? Shall we come suddenly upon remembered things, wheel through the aeons of forgetfulness, and find ourselves as we were long ago -- as we have always been, did we but know it? In that small quarto are many suggestions as to the real nature of things, intense, profound, prehensile -- every one fascinating as Death itself. The mind is constantly withdrawn from the book itself, and goes star-hunting with the gods. Almost every sentence is the plan, so to speak, of a vision far more glorious than any opium or hashish could give.
If ever a book of magic were written, it is this. It challenges even Liber Legis and its pendant The Vision and the Voice by reason of its intense atmosphere of art. Those other books are much more serious, more scientific; they recreate their readers, drive them forward in a new channel of life. But The Gods of Pegana has no such urge; you can read it without acting according to its motions; like a Chinese bowl, it is pure art, a thing to contemplate forever. And this is just the reason why our modern dreamer-philosophers should make this bibelot a bible!
reviewed by Aleister Crowley
by Hymenaeus Alpha 777
Which brings us to the Gods and how to define them. On page 20 of MT&P Crowley says, "...for the Gods are but names for the forces of Nature themselves." Capital "G." Yet he normally refers to elemental forces with a small "g." After all, just add AL at any set of letters and shake and you have a "god," i.e. angel. Hagiel, for example ( = 49 = Intelligence of Venus), from whence we derive the word "hag," no doubt. Whereas Nuit says first (AL I:11), "both their Gods & their men are fools," yet she follows with I:21, "there is no other God than me, and my lord Hadit." Which obviously makes "God" a twosome. As in Elohim ( = 86), masculine plural of feminine singular. Or, as we say in the Gnostic Mass:
Male-female, quintessential, one,
Man-being veiled in woman-form.
Still, small "g" or big "G," the g/Gods are not to be trifled with, and there are plenty of warnings about banishings and precautions, such as Crowley took in Liber 418. Another funny thing about angels is that they have to be turned on. Thus if you want your angel to see, for example, you would have to give it eyes, since angels are blind until you turn them ON = 120, the Eye of the Fish, a name of GOD. Otherwise it is best not to disturb Them except in the course of an ordinary working relation, as they are immortal and your physical body is not.
I wonder what would happen if you disturbed the tranquility of Venus in the midst of the most fantastically erotic billions of years orgasm it is possible to imagine? Reminds me of the sci-fi story I read once where all of man's progress/history/invention/everything, from whenever on, was because this space biker had blown a fuse in this particular part of the galaxy and had to develop a culture with laboratory equipment of such clinical precision that he could obtain the refined material he needed to go home. In this instance Venus, having found the mischievous sprites who had tangled the circuits, and having given them proper work to do, is seen disappearing in a cosmic bang of pure ecstasy, having created Her male companion, which had been the whole thing to begin with. Like Vishnu. Blessed be they who catch the faintest flash of that supernal splendour. I can hear the happy couple now as They disappear in a cloud of incense: "Well, thank god that's over. Labor disputes are such a bore. Now what shall we do for the rest of Forever?"
All that energy has to come from someplace. Speaking of which, Antie has Her color organ fixed. She says it works beautifully now that She has fine tuning; no more discordance in the lower planes. "Yes, my Lord. Now come to bed and let's forget all that..."
"Work & be out bed in working!" -- AL II:66
4to; pp. 211; index fugarum, 1 p.; monitio ad Philomusicum, 2 pp., portrait -- 50 engraved emblematic pictures, each with an epigram, which is set to music. The first edition at Oppenheim, 1617; a different title-page, and where on page 11 (1618) a woodcut appears, this is blank in edition of 1617. -- Mr F. Leigh Gardner (Hopetoun bookplate.)
Short Title. -- MICHAELIS MAJERI, Secreta Naturae Chymica, nova plane subtilique methodo indagata.
Title. -- MICHAELIS MAJERI, Imperial. Consistor. Comit. Med. D. Eq. Ex. &c. Secretioris Naturae Secretorum Scrutinium Chymicum, per oculis et intellectui accurate acomodata, figuris cupro appositissime incisa, ingeniosissima Emblemata, hisque confines, et ad rem egregie facientes sententias, doctissimaque item Epigrammata, illustratim. Opusculum ingeniis altioribus, & ad majora natis, ob momenta in eo subtilia, augusta, sancta, rara, & alioqui nimium quantum abstrusa, quam maxime expetitum, desideratum; Iterata vice amplissimae Reipublicae Chymicae Bono & Emolumento, non sine singulari jucunditate, legendum, meditandum intelligendum, dijudicandum, depromptum. Francofurti, Impensis Georgii Henrici Oehrlingii, Bibliopolae. Typo Johannis Philippi Andreae. MDCLXXXVII.
4to; pp. 150; preface to reader, 4 pp. more; then rest A-T3. 50 symbolic engravings. The differences in this edition are the alteration of the title, the omission of the engraved title and Maier's portrait, the omission of the music, and of the "Epigramma Authoris" and "Epistola dedicatoria." -- Haigh Hall Library.
Edition in German. -- [bibliography omitted] 1708.
At the foot of the title-page of Atalanta fugiens is shown the race of Atalanta and Hippomenes. The former, swift and beautiful, was warned against marriage by an oracle, and lived a lonely life in a forest. "She meets the addresses of her suitors by challenging them to race with her, and spearing them in the back. She is at length beaten by Hippomenes, who, during the race, drops on the ground three golden apples given him by Aphrodite. Atalanta stoops down to pick up the apples, and thus loses the race: --
"The nimble Virgin, dazzled to behold
The glittering apple tumbling o'er the mold,
Stop'd her career to seize the rolling gold."
"Hippomenes forgets to render thanks to Aphrodite" (or profanes the temple), "and the goddess in anger causes the pair to wander into a sanctuary of Cybele, where they are changed into lions."
At the side of the title-page, Venus is shown handing the golden apples to Hippomenes; at the bottom, Atalanta is picking up one; while Hippomenes is running with an apple in each hand. Behind is a temple, the lovers in the entrance embracing each other, while from behind they issue as a lion and lioness. The upper part of the plate represents Hercules with a club over his shoulder, clad in a lion's hide, with the tail hanging so as to appear in the natural position. He has arrived at the trees whereon hang the golden apples of Hesperides. He stretches out his hand to seize one. Up above appear Aegle, Arethusa, and Hespertusa. The title is pretty and well drawn. It has been very aptly remarked by one writer, that in the illustrated title-pages of Maier's works more information is communicated to the capable student than in whole volumes of other writers. On the back of the title is "Epigrammata Authoris," followed by a dedication to Christopher Reinart, doctor of laws, and Imperial Senator of Mülhausen, in Thuringia. As the tripod given by Vulcan to Pelops on his marriage was afterwards offered by him to the Pythian Apollo, and preserved at Delphi, becoming the seat wherefrom the Divine Oracles were declared, so the author, following the example of Pelops, consecrates his tripod to the use of that distinguished place from which he writes, and, before all other persons, to you, most excellent and noble, that he may give some public testimony of the benevolence which he had received a few years ago, in the time of the Emperor Rudolph, from the Medical Council of Frankfort. He hopes that his Atalanta may give his patrons, when they rest a little from their graver pursuits, recreation for both mind and hand, so that the author may still be kept in recollection, and numbered amongst the friends still dear to him and them. The dedication is dated, "Francofurti, ad Maenam, anno 1617, mense Augusto" [Frankfurt-on-Main, August 1617].
The preface contains a dissertation upon ancient music, and the story of Atalanta and Hippomenes, which is awanting in the Secretioris Naturae, but otherwise that second work is in the beginning and the end the same.
Maier tells us in the preface that Atalanta "virgo mere chymica est, et Hippomenes tanquam malo aurea in tertia temen stabalimetur et firmantur, . . . ex Hippomenes et Atalanta coeuntibus in templo Matis Deum, hoc est vase, fiunt liones, sive rubeum acquirent colorem" [the virgin is simply chemistry, and Hippomenes like the golden apples is stabilized and strengthened by the third voice; from Hippomenes and Atalanta copulating in the temple of the Mother of the Gods, which is the vessel, lions come into being and take on a red color]. The story of Atalanta in her victory over the suitors, and in the killing of the wild boar, and receiving from Meleagar the head and hide of the monster as a prize, "apud stethaeum Aesculapii fanum en saxo percusso aquam elicuit quam sitibunda bibit" [at the temple of Stethaean Aesculapius she drew water by hitting a rock, which being thirsty she drank] -- all is explained in the Emblems.
Each Emblem has three illustrations. First page -- part of the epigram in verse set to music, in three voices -- Atalanta, or the vox fugiens [fleeing voice]; Hippomenes, or the vox sequens [following voice]; Pomum objectum, or the vox morans [grounding voice]. The epigram, in German, is at the bottom of the page. Second page -- the emblem in figure, with the Latin verse at the foot; then in two pages, the discursus.
The emblems in all number fifty, and the plates in both editions are the same. According to Mr Waite (Rosicrucians, 269), these quaint and mystical engravings "emblematically reveal the most unsearchable secrets of Nature."
Probably the most curious picture is Emblem No. 34, in which the Sun and Moon, represented in human form, are represented in the act of coition, standing in a pool of water.
A few specimens from the work will now follow: --
1. The wind has taken him in the belly. Epigram -- "The wind carried it in its belly, and nurse thereof is the earth." The fruit which lives, concealed in the wind -- look that it is not unsuitably born before its time, but comes living to earth in right measure.
7. The bird flies young from the nest; the bird falls back into the nest -- "It ascends from earth to heaven, and again descends to earth." In a hollow rock the eagle has made his nest. Therein concealed, he nourishes his young. One feathered easily raises itself; but the featherless cannot -- so falls back into its nest.
8. Take the Egg and strike it with a glowing sword. This bird has an egg, which is to be carefully sought. The white surrounds the yellow yoke; such burn prudently with a glowing sword. Seek help from Mars, the fire god. Then will a young bird bore through. Fire and iron can destroy. Here see "the strength of superiors and inferiors."
11. Make Latona white, and tear up the books. No one knows properly the twin race born of Jove. It is the Sun and Moon. Yet black spots leave many traces -- make Latona white in the face -- free from all colour; and that you may escape injury, tear up the books -- "penetrates every solid thing."
13. The brass of the wise is water-seeking, and desires to be bathed seven times in the river, like the leprous Naaman in Jordan.
14. The Dragon eating its own tail. Hunger compels the many-footed fish to devour its foot. Many nourish themselves with the flesh of others, and so it does not vex the dragon to bite, even devour his tail, so that he even enjoys a part of his own body for food. He will be tamed by the sword, by hunger, and imprisonment, till he completely devours and recreates himself again. "The strongest of all fortitudes."
21. Make of man and woman a circle; then a quadrangle; out of this a triangle; make again a circle, and you will have the Stone of the Wise. Thus is made the stone, which thou canst not discover, unless you, through diligence, learn to understand this geometrical teaching.
23. Gold rains while Pallas is born at Rhodes, and the sun lies in Venus. It is a wonderful thing, so the Greeks teach us as true, which at Rhodes took place in the ancient time. They say that a fruitful rain of gold fell. As the sun has lain by Venus in love, also as out of the forehead of Jove did Pallas come, so also in thy vessel must gold show its elf-like rain.
25. The Dragon does not die, but is really killed by his brother and sister, which are the sun and moon. The Dragon may, unless the art be more than slight, begin to live and again creep out. His brother and sister strike his head with clubs. This is the only way he can be killed. Apollo is the brother, and Diana the sister.
29. As the Salamander lives in the fire, so does the Stone. The Salamander lives, strong and unhurt, in the strong fire -- so the cruel heat of the flames is but of small matter, for the Philospher's Stone is born in the perpetual fire. It is uninjured, becoming cold out of the fire. It stands in equal heat with the Salamander.
35. As Ceres, Triptolemus, and Thetis Achilles became accustomed to linger under the fire, so will the maker of the Stone. The fire is as the milk from the breast of the mother -- nourishment for the medicine of the wise.
41. Adonis is killed by a wild boar. Venus, hastening to help, colours the roses with Adonis' blood. Myrrha has given birth to Adonis, by her own father, whom Venus greatly loves. He is killed by a wild boar, and Venus, running to his assistance, hurts her leg by a rose branch, so by her blood the white rose becomes red. She weeps with the Syrians, and soon lays him to rest under the soft lettuce --
Illum lactuis mollibus et posuit.
43. Atalanta listens to the Vulture, which does not speak falsely. On the high summit of the mountain, the Vulture sits screaming aloud without ceasing. I alone am the white and black, the lemon yellow and the red. I lie not. The raven also, flying, though his wings are cut off, in the dark night. It is out of this or that the whole art goes.
"These fifty plates, and the epigrammatic description of them, supply to the adept who holds the Clavicula [key] a complete view of the system of the Universe, the essential unity of all things, the possible transmutation of matter, and the highest form of Theosophy able to be conceived by earthly mortals. (Quod Scis Nescis, 1866)."
The Atalanta may be called a book of alchemistic or mystic proverbs. Everything in Nature is explanatory of or connected with "the Stone." For instance, the 39th emblem refers to the Coral. A man is fishing out a branch from the water. The epigram tells that the coral, which grows under water, becomes hard when brought to air, sic lapis [as does the stone].
Emblem 45 represents the earth in space, with the motto -- Sol et ejus umbra perficiunt opus [the sun and its shadow finish the job].
The whole earth, then, lies between the Sun and Moon, and the influence of Sol and his shadow are everywhere felt. Silver is but the shadow of gold, and the Dragon must become as the Salamander in the fire, impervious to heat, yet at the same time fully operated on by the influence of its power.
Man, then, has in his body the anatomy of the whole world, and all his members answer to some celestial influences. So the adepts describe the life of man, as by their art revealed, to be a pure, naked, and unmingled fire of infinite capability.
"Man, then, shall we conclude at length, is the true laboratory of the Hermetic art, his life the subject, the grand distillatory, the thing distilling, and the thing distilled, and self-knowledge is at the root of all alchemical tradition" (A Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery, [1850, page] 153).
Philo declares that the soul of man is but an impression of the Seal of the Logos. All the emblems, then, of Maier's Atalanta have a meaning beyond that of crucible, fire, and ore. They are mystic, spiritual, and the reflex of a higher and nobler nature. He desires to teach us, not merely of gold and silver under Sol and Luna, of the black matter under the story of the dragon, or the red tincture as colouring the roses at the death of Adonis, but of greater and deeper things. He teaches us, in the words of the authors of the Suggestive Inquiry, that the Father can only be discovered in perfect quiet approach to the cause of all. That in drawing near to the Deity, although no eye can penetrate that fire which is his circumference, that yet when the light in the purified soul meets the eternal light of God, then the whole intelligible universe unfolds itself. The shell dissolves, and the magnificence of the pearl within is discovered. In the words of Böhme, "by death and contrition of the agent in the patient, and vice versa, the old life is finally crucified, and out of that crucifixion, by reunion of the principles under another law, the new life is elected, which life is a very real and pure quintessence -- the mercury so much sought after, even the Elixir of Life, which needs only the corroborative virtue of the Divine Light, which it draws in order to become the living gold of the philosophers, transmuting and multiplicative, the concrete form of that which in the dead metal we esteem."
|3/3/02||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 534-5739||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/10/02||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/13/02||New Moon in Pisces 6:03 PM|
|3/16/02||Initiations into OTO call to attend||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/17/02||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/18/02||Section II reading group with|
Caitlin: "Atalanta Fugiens"
by Michael Maier 8PM in the library
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/20/02||Vernal Equinox ritual & feast 7:30PM|
Sun enters Aries 11:16 AM
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/24/02||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/28/02||The Book of Thoth study group|
8:00PM library with Paul
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/31/02||Office of Thelemic Hours. 7:00 PM||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|3/31/02||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of OTO or its officers.
Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 2303
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
Phone: (510) 652-3171 (for events info and contact to Lodge)
Internet: email@example.com (Submissions and internet circulation only)