Thelema Lodge Calendar for March 2002 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for March 2002 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

March 2002 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers


In the Wheel of Heaven

Vernal equinox on Wednesday morning 20th March at 11:16 as the sun enters Aries marks a new year in the Aeon of Horus and a spring celebration for Thelemites. Equinox will be observed with a temple ritual and a communal dinner feast at Thelema Lodge from 7:00 until 10:00 that evening. Ring in with us the fortunate Year of the Wheel, ninety-eighth anniversary of the Equinox of the Gods, designated as IIII10 in our system of annual Tarot attributions. For the feast, please bring dinner dishes and drinks to share. Members should speak with the lodgemaster ahead of time to assist in organizing the ritual, to take part in it, or to help coordinate our meal afterwards.
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")
Whether finishing off the winter or setting forth anew into the season of spring, members and friends of Thelema Lodge assemble as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica each Sunday evening in Horus Temple to participate in the gnostic mass. To join in as a communicant please arrive by 7:30 and await the deacon's summons into the sanctuary. We gather in the lodge library before mass, with opportunity to chat and meet visitors while the mass team prepares the temple (and each other) for the "great work of the Order" which we will be celebrating. When attending for the first time, please call the lodgemaster well ahead of time for directions to the temple and information about the ritual. Training in the work of the sacrament is available to all communicants at Thelema Lodge, and it is best to begin by discussing your interest informally with your favorite mass officer, or with one of our gnostic bishops. Familiarize your own true voice with the phrases and the formulae of our gnostic liturgy, and accustom your own natural body to the gestures and movements of the mass. Practice and rehearse privately with partners as a team until the canon of the mass has become a clear expression of your own will, both individually and together. Then you are deemed ready to serve the lodge in this celebration, and may request a date on the temple calendar for your mass team.


Liturgical Hours of Thelema

Catholic traditions, other than our own Gnostic Ecclesia, have for centuries (though not so regularly nowadays) performed daily Offices of the Liturgical Hours. Both the Catholic and the Hebraic traditions included sets of readings assigned to specific days in the liturgical calendar. Between 20th March and 10th April there are 22 days, which have been assigned readings from the Holy Books of Thelema according to the Hebrew alphabet, from Tav to Aleph, with chapters one, two, and three of Liber AL assigned to Gimel, Beth, and Aleph respectively. Soror Leigh Ann has built on this foundation to create an Office of Readings for the Thelemic High Holy Days, and will be performing one day of that Office publicly in Horus Temple, at 7:00 on the evening of "Beaster" Sunday, 31st March, before the gnostic mass begins. Those interested in this working are invited to contact Leigh Ann by e-mail (preferred) at motogrrl@pacbell.net; or by phone at (510) 849-1970 to find out more, and to attend additional readings on other days of the Office.


M M M

Initiations into Ordo Templi Orientis will be held on Saturday 16th March, with active initiate members encouraged to attend. To be a part of this event, each member must speak with one the lodge officers ahead of time to discuss scheduling details, and to let our kitchen crew know how many will be feasting with the lodge at the conclusion of the ritual. To apply as a candidate for initiation, request an application for the appropriate degree, and confer with the lodgemaster as you complete the form.
Sponsorship of candidates is one of the critical steps in our initiation process, and one to which members here have been giving some special consideration of late. The old casual attitude toward sponsorship is being enhanced with a renewed vigor and meaning, so that sponsors will be less likely to neglect involvement with their candidate's initiatory experience. At Thelema Lodge we are experimenting now with some added responsibilities for sponsors in the Man of Earth degrees. Before signing, sponsors are to meet with the lodgemaster, and afterwards confer with the team of initiating officers, to assist in all arrangements for the advancement of their candidate. For the first, second, and third degrees of O.T.O., sponsors will also be expected to train and be available for service as understudies to the auxiliary officers in the ritual. This means that members should not act as sponsors unless they are prepared to attend and to familiarize themselves with the rituals so as to assist in working them. Sponsors should whenever possible attend all officers' seminars and rehearsals leading up to the initiation. Those who neglect these duties may find themselves blamed for hindering the progress of their candidates, and upon repeated failure in this regard will be denied the privilege of sponsorship at this lodge. Candidates who make a poor choice of sponsors can discuss their predicament with the lodge officers, and will be allowed to re-apply with new sponsorship if their first choices should fail. However, so long as it is honorably arranged, a specific act of sponsorship should not be discussed outside the community of the degree to which admission is being sought. These experimental procedures may make it impractical for remote members to act as initiation sponsors here, but exceptional cases may always be worked out specifically with the lodgemaster. For the present, sponsors are to consult at every stage in the application process with all who are involved, while we further define these new responsibilities.


Studies in the Book of Thoth

Invoke me under the stars! Love is the law, love under will.
The Book of the Law, like other sacred texts, reveals one aspect of the divine through the multiplicity of meaning that can be ascribed to its various images. To discover the ecstasies of Nuit within the everyday is to bring her symbolic meaning to life in the imagination. Any symbol "is only alive in so far as it is 'pregnant with meaning' for men and women, who interact by observing, transgressing, and manipulating for private ends the norms and values that the symbol expresses" (Victor Turner, The Forest of Symbols: Aspects of Ndembu Ritual, Cornell University Press, 1967). While there are many examples of images found in the Book of the Law becoming internalized (such as in the other Holy Books of Thelema), examples of particular interest can also be found in the Book of Thoth.
The Tarot, as a pictorial representation of "the structure of the universe, and the solar system," is a way of seeing the material world as a relationship to the divine. Crowley's book on the "Egyptian Tarot" is remarkable because it does not merely recapitulate or elaborate upon previous studies of Tarot, but instead reinterprets the system with symbols from the Book of the Law. Take for example the description of the Tower, Trump XVI:
There is a direct reference to this card in the Book of the Law. In Chapter I, verse 57, the goddess Nuith speaks: Invoke me under the stars! Love is the law, love under will. Nor let the fools mistake love; for there are love and love. There is the dove, and there is the serpent. Choose ye well! He, my prophet, hath chosen, knowing the law of the fortress, and the great mystery of the house of God (page 108; emphasis added).
Another example from Trump XVII, the Star, exemplifies the importance Crowley laid upon the Book of the Law in understanding the Tarot. "This picture represents Nuith, our Lady of the Stars. For the full meaning of this sentence it is necessary to understand the first chapter of the Book of the Law" (page 109). Join us this month in the lodge library on Thursday evening 28th March at 8:00 and settle in for some tea, snacks, and more lively discussion of topics surrounding Atus XVI and XVII, The Tower and The Star. Now in its second year, the Book of Thoth study group meets on the last Thursday evening of each month at Thelema Lodge.


Scrutinium Chymicum

Saint Michael Maier will be our subject at this month's meeting of the Section Two group, offering readings and discussion of selected passages from Atalanta Fugiens and Themis Aurea (both 1618), and a few of his other alchemical and Rosicrucian essays. Join Caitlin in the lodge library on Monday evening 18th March from 8:00 until 9:30 for an introduction to Maier's literary, pictorial, musical, religious, and scientific work. Crowley recommends Maier in Section I of the introductory course of "general reading" which is outlined for probationers of A A, where among the "serious" suggestions one of the more enigmatic entries reads (in full): "Scrutinium Chymicum, by Michael Maier. One of the best treatises on alchemy." So obscure an item has probably given pause to many a student; the Scrutinium appears in catalogues of seventeenth century alchemical books, but the volume itself is quite difficult of access. Sir Isaac Newton owned and annotated a copy, which has recently been exhibited at Cambridge with other volumes from Newton's extensive alchemical library. Doctor Carl Jung, the great gnostic psychiatrist, also had a copy of the Scrutinium, citing it several times in Psychology and Alchemy (1944, 1952), where the references mostly are to Maier's emblematic illustrations. The Scrutinium consists of "a posthumously published abridgement of Atlanta Fugiens" (as we learned from our grand master Sabazius at the beginning of our inquiry into this mysterious title). Maier published Atalanta Fugiens in 1617 (with a corrected edition the following year), containing fifty emblematic engravings, each accompanied by a musical fugue in staff notation for two voices and basso continuo, along with a prose commentary and stanzas of Latin and German verse to guide viewers and listeners to the alchemical truths presented in each of the emblems and songs. These illustrations, printed from copper plate according to a newly perfected process by the leading graphic workshop of the De Bry family, are of extraordinary artistic quality, ranking among the most impressive of all alchemical engravings. The Scrutinium version reprints only the emblems, verses, and commentary, omitting the musical pieces and the beautifully engraved title page, with the author's portrait, prefatory note, and dedicatory epistle also lacking. This edition, known in full "short-title" citation as Secretioris naturae secretorum scrutinium chymicum (Frankfurt: 1687), is altogether obsolete, and readers will want to consult Atlanta Fugiens directly rather then worry over the impressive title ("critical inquiry into the chemical art") of an extremely rare 300 year old abridgement of it. (It must be noted however that no English version of the complete work exists; the translation in the outstanding "Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourcebooks" series having omitted the prose commentaries on each of the emblems and fugues.)

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.

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two


Crowley Classics

One of Crowley's most thoughtful pieces of literary criticism, this little essay appeared as a feature article rather than as a book review when it was originally published in Vanity Fair (New York: October 1917) on pages 134 & 136. Of particular interest here is Crowley's discussion of gnosticism. (In a one-act play published in The International in 1918 e.v. entitled "The Gods," Crowley also portrays the traditional gnostic archons, or divine powers of the spheres of the cosmos, in a manner clearly related both to this discussion and to Dunsany's own work.) The Honourable Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett (1878-1957), eighteenth Baron Dunsany, an Anglo-Irish peer, published The Gods of Pegana in 1905 e.v. It was his first book, a collection of brief, enigmatic magical tales, in a style influenced by the Arabian Nights. They were written in dense, "jeweled" sentences which read almost like the prose-poems which Crowley was then translating from the French of Baudelaire. By the year of this essay, Dunsany had gone on to release six other volumes of similar tales, with more to follow. One of his middle books, A Dreamer's Tales from 1910, had been reviewed by Crowley in a similarly adulatory tone. For comparison and completeness we have included here as an appendix the text of that earlier, briefer review of Dunsany, from number 5 of the first volume of The Equinox (London: March 1911), page 144.
During the Great War Lord Dunsany, who had been educated at Eton and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, accepted a commission in the Coldstream Guards and served with distinction. In the 1920s he produced a series of fantasy novels, including The King of Elfland's Daughter (1924), The Charwoman's Shadow (1926) and The Blessings of Pan (1927). He made a number of popular reading tours of the United States, meeting the young H. P. Lovecraft (whose earliest works were closely imitated from Dunsany) at one stop in 1919 e.v. Dunsany, in association with W. B. Yeats and J. M. Synge, had also been active in the flowering of Anglo-Irish drama which centered in Dublin's Abbey Theatre, and several collections of his one-act plays were later published. Crowley had a high opinion of Dunsany's plays, and gave special notice to two of them in his 1918 essay upon drama, "Good Hunting," in such a way that they might easily be confused with the Beast's own dramatic works (being mixed in amongst them). Lord Dunsany published in all nearly sixty books, including three volumes of autobiography. In the late 'sixties e.v. interest was revived in his work (along with the popularity of Tolkien and other writers in the "fantasy" tradition), with six paperback volumes collecting Dunsany's best novels and stories reprinted by the publishing house of Ballantine.

A New Heaven and a New Earth

As Foreshadowed in
Lord Dunsany's The Gods of Pegana

by Aleister Crowley

The mills of Gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small. Whether it is the War or -- "Progress!" -- the big men are coming into their own. Lord Dunsany was the sensation of the past season; and it is only his beginning. He will be seen in his true image before another five years are gone. He is the coming man. The more he is understood, the greater he will appear. He is still a young man, a fine sportsman, a brave soldier, wounded cheerfully and asking for more; no crank, yet his ideas are colossal; they surpass the so- called "realists" as heaven surpasses earth.
For to him earth offers no illusions; he knows that his own world is the true one. Well for us if we can join him; if we can leave the jingle-jangle of matter for the gorgeous music of the spirit.

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!

APPENDIX
A Dreamer's Tales by Lord Dunsany

reviewed by Aleister Crowley

Lord Dunsany's prose in like Baudelaire's. I can only critique five of these tales; for the others I have not yet read forty times!
"Poltarnees" is the best tale ever written of the lure of the Sea. I wish I could think that my "Anima Lunae" helped to inspire it.
"Bethmoora" and "The Hashish Man" are really one tale. Words really fail me here; if I quote one half sentence all who really understand English will know that this is the perfection of the sublime in its simplicity. "Away we went from that small, pale, heinous man."
"Pore Ole Bill" seems derived from "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and "The Yarn of the Nancy Bell." Mixed. What could be more ridiculous? Yet I read it again and again, and the oftener I read it the keener does its fascination grip me.
And what shall I say of "The Sword and the Idol"? Only this; that it is true. Lord Dunsany has really beheld the dawn of the Iron Age, and the conquest of the King by the Priest. G. W. Foote ought to publish this tale as an atheistic pamphlet; it is the best ever written. And yet to me "The Silence of Ged" (Oh bold my Lord Dunsany!) came as a voice in the wood at midnight, when the sword-holder raises his steel against Ged. Ged neither hit nor shrank -- in the end the sword was laid as an offering upon his knees.
So let the adept sit smiling through all that may befall him; then those that hate him shall wonder at his strength; in the end they shall worship him. And He, an He speak, shall by speaking save; an He yet keep silence, shall by keeping silence, bless. Amen.

Previous Crowley Classic                   Next Crowley Classic


from the Grady Project:

Originally published in The Magickal Link: Official Monthly Bulletin of Ordo Templi Orientis, volume 2, number 5 (May 1982 e.v.), pages 1-2.

On Disturbing the Tranquility of the Gods

by Hymenaeus Alpha 777

It is written that the Lord Siva was enjoying His tranquility meditating upon Himself in a higher manifestation as the Lord Vishnu, when He realized something. Which meant big trouble for someone, for now He had to find the fault and correct it. What He found was that Cupid had shot His heart with the Shaft of Flowers, and that He was deeply in love with this beautiful Goddess who had desired Him greatly, but had not been able to break His tranquility to tell Him about it.
Having found the cause of His problem, the Lord Siva raised His third eye and burned the little asshole right out of the sky. Only to discover He had another problem. He truly loved His Goddess Queen, for Love's Arrow had been true, and He could not resist Her plea that He restore the little Agent of Love, for there was this beautiful little Goddess Princess who adored him and was just pining away and they would make such a wonderful couple, and besides --
So to restore domestic tranquility He recreated the little idiot and went about His business of establishing how They would meditate, since there were now two of Them, which reminded Him of His disturbed tranquility; and what of Vishnu? Only to discover He had no problem, since he Lord Vishnu was now engaged in much the same domestic situation, and don't call me I'll call you, for is it not written "That which is above is like that which is below, and that which is below is like that which is above, but with a difference?" Viva la difference. And perhaps that is what the Lord Vishnu had in mind in the first place. It's lonely at the top.

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

Ummm...

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project


from the Library Shelf

The following bibliographical precis is reprinted from Count Michael Maier, Doctor of Philosophy and of Medicine, Alchemist, Rosicrucian, and Mystic, 1568-1622: Life and Writings by James B. Craven (London: 1910), pages 85-93. In a few places spellings have been modernized and abbreviations expanded, but only where this contributes significantly to the reader's clarity. Square brackets in the text mark intrusions by your present editor, providing translations of some of the Latin and expanding the citation references for Craven's quotations. Rev. Craven's volume, part of a series of brief studies of the Rosicrucian tradition, gives a few pages of biographical information concerning the German nobleman alchemist and saint, and offers a more substantial essay outlining his major concepts and ideas. This is followed by a systematic digest of all works by Maier known to have survived.
Craven's introductory summary of Maier's philosophical inquiries contains an interesting study of the ritual dynamic of the communion sacrament. The office of "a priest dedicated to the ministry" of this sacrament is reserved from ordinary civic duties; just as "it was for Moses to pursue the war against the enemies of Jehovah, so it was Aaron's place to raise his hands to God." Within "the order of priesthood" are "understood the hidden mysteries of the hidden science, under the sacred form of the Mass. In this service the learned" practitioner is able to see "the true mystery of the Philospher's Stone. In the sacred nativity and life suffering the fire; then the black and murky death; and thence the resurrection and life in a ruddy and most perfect colour." A comparison is obvious between this ritual and "the work of the salvation" of each communicant "in his natural life, passion, death, and resurrection, which are all commemorated in the divine service of the altar. . . . There is nothing on earth equal to this celestial work," in which "is the true stone born into the light. Like the Phoenix, by a resurrection a new life is bestowed." In the ritual "are hidden the highest and also the deepest secrets of spiritual alchemy. From the time of Melchizedek (properly designated the priest not of Jehovah, but of the 'most high God') we have the first initiation of this mystery, 'He brought forth bread and wine' -- the first time bread is mentioned in the sacred books." The Jewish tradition was "not ignorant of this sublime secret, for the Tabernacle and the Temple of Solomon were not without its symbols -- in the cakes placed on the table of shewbread, and in the wine offering made at certain times." Later "in the captivity of Babylon" these symbols were ritualized "by the Jews, with bread and wine for a thanksgiving and a memorial of their going out of Egypt."
"The Eucharistic Bread," Craven continues (quoting at length from A. E. Waite's Hidden Church of the Holy Graal), "signifies the super-substantial sustenance, and the Wine is arch-natural life. It is for this reason that the Alchemical Stone at the red has a higher tingeing and transmuting power than the stone at the white. The first matters of the alchemical work, to make use of another language of subterfuge, are sulphur, mercury, and salt; but these are the elements of the Philosophers, and not those of the ordinary kind. In other words, common sulphur and mercury correspond to the Bread and Wine before Consecration, and the philosophical elements are those which have been transubstantiated by the power of the secret words. That which is produced is called the Panis Vivus et Vitalis, and Vinum Mirabile, instead of the daily meat and drink by which we ask to be sustained (in the Lord's Prayer). The Salt is that which is called the formula of Consecration; it is that which salts and transmutes the natural earth." Thus it "follows from these elucidations that the higher understanding of the Eucharist and the mystic side of alchemy are concerned with the same subject, that is to say, with Man, his conversion and transfiguration."
Craven concludes (quoting now from Saint Jacob Boehme) that the "Great Experiment wrought in the Eucharistic Consecration is from that conveyed in power to, and then wrought out in, the hearts and lives" of the celebrants. Thus "the exalted mystery which lies behind the symbols of Bread and Wine, behind the undeclared priesthood which is according to the Order of Melchizedek, was expressed by the alchemists under the guise of transmutation." In fact, "the alchemist himself is finally the stone. The natural man, enclosed in the 'Vas,' as the metal is enclosed in the vessel, becomes changed into a new life, so that eventually God abides in man."

Saint Michael Maier's "Atalanta Fugiens"

(1617; later reprinted as Scrutinium Chymicum)

A digest by James B. Craven (1910 e.v.)

ATALANTA FUGIENS, hoc est, Emblemata Nova de Secretis Naturae Chymica,
Accommodata partim oculis et intellectui, figuris cupro incisis,
adjectisque sententiis, Epigrammatis et notis, partim auribus et
recreationi animi plus minus 50 Fugis Musicalibus trium Vocum, quarum duae
ad unam simplicem melodiam distichis canendis peraptam, correspondeant, non
absque; singulari jucunditate vivenda legenda, meditanda, intelligenda,
dijudicanda, canenda et audienda. Authore Michaele Majero Imperial.
Consistorii Comite, Med. D. Eq. ex., &c. Oppenheimii, Ex typegraphia
Hieronymi Galleri, Sumptibus Joh. Theodori De Bry, MDCXVIII.

[Atalanta Fleeing, comprising new chemical emblems of the secrets of nature;
suitable in part for the sight and the mind (with copper engraved
illustrations and maxims added, and verses and comments) and in part to the
hearing and the soul's refreshment (with some fifty musical fugues for
three voices, of which two should correspond with one simple melody
suitable for duet singing), the whole collection affording a special
pleasure in bring looked at, read through, meditated upon, understood,
judged, sung out, and listened to. By Michael Maier, Imperial Count
Consistory, Doctor of Medicine, Free Knight of the Empire, et cetera. At
Oppenheim, printed by Hieronymous Galler under contract to Johann Theodore
de Bry, 1618.]

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."

Previous from the Library Shelf                   Next from the Library Shelf



Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for March 2002 e.v.

3/3/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 534-5739Thelema Ldg.
3/10/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/13/02New Moon in Pisces 6:03 PM
3/16/02Initiations into OTO call to attend(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/17/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/18/02Section II reading group with
Caitlin: "Atalanta Fugiens"
by Michael Maier 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/20/02Vernal Equinox ritual & feast 7:30PM
Sun enters Aries 11:16 AM
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/24/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/28/02The Book of Thoth study group
8:00PM library with Paul
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/31/02Office of Thelemic Hours. 7:00 PM(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
3/31/02Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.

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

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

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

Internet: heidrick@well.com (Submissions and internet circulation only)

Home away from Home