Thelema Lodge Calendar for January 2003 e.v.

Thelema Lodge Calendar

for January 2003 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, 2003 e.v.

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

January 2003 e.v. at Thelema Lodge

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

Announcements from
Lodge Members and Officers

Heptarchia Mystica

Now we show to you the lower world. The governors that work and rule under God. By whom you may have power to work such things as shall be to God's glory, profit of your country, and the knowledge of his creatures. So we proceed to one God, one knowledge, one operation. . . . Behold these tablets: herein lie their names that work under God on earth. Not of the wicked but of the ANGELS OF LIGHT. The whole government doth consist in the hands of 49 (in God his power, strength, mercy, and justice), whose names are here evident, excellent, and glorious. Mark these tables, mark them, record them to your comfort. This is the first knowledge. Here shall you have wisdom.
So spoke the angel Michael on the morning of 29th April 1582, according to the report of Edward Kelly the seer. Thelema Lodge Enochian scholar Charles Humphries proceeds this month with his explication of the Heptarchia Mystica of John Dee, in a series of seminars being offered in the lodge library approximately fortnightly. Switching to Wednesday evenings, the class will meet on the 8th and 22nd of January from 8:00 to 9:45. All levels of interest are encouraged in these informative and informal investigations, from casual beginners to seasoned practitioners. Our current focus upon Liber Secundus (the second book of mysteries) pertains directly to the revelation of Dee's universal emblem, which is named "Truth" by the angels expounding its details, and called "the seal of God," or Sigilium Dei Aemeth. Communicated slowly and with elaborate precautions by troops of heavenly messengers, the various names, letters, and figures of this construction are each shown individually to the skryer. Hundreds of discreet revelations must be observed and accurately described, to be noted with the utmost care by the recording magus. Slowly, over many days of difficult frustrating labor, the form of the great seal emerges, with its central pentagram representing the world of the elements, and its complex surrounding layers of heptagonal structure setting forth the greater metaphysical realms of the created universe.
Following a conventional doxology, the angel Uriel then continued: The fountain of wisdom is opened. Nature shall be known. Earth with her secrets disclosed. The elements with their powers judged. Behold I teach: there are 49 angels, glorious and excellent, appointed for the government of all earthly actions: which 49 do work and dispose the will of the Creator: limited from the beginning in strength, power, and glory. THESE SHALL BE SUBJECT UNTO YOU, in the name and by invocating the name of God, who doth lighten, dispose, and comfort you.


Secret of the Sun

Join Thelema Lodge in Horus Temple any Sunday evening to take part in a celebration of the eucharist ritual of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Aleister Crowley's gnostic mass, written in 1913 e.v. and performed on a weekly basis in California beginning seventy years ago, has been the vital center of our ritual life together here at Thelema Lodge for over twenty-five years. Communicants in the mass should arrive by 7:30 on Sunday evening, congregating in the lodge library while the evening's team of mass officers puts the finishing touches on the temple, on their ceremonial vestments, and on each other. We all participate together in the mass, rising after the Priest receives the cake and wine from his partner, and forming a great circle around the temple. As Liber XV indicates, the People then "advance one by one to the altar," where they "communicate as did the Priest, uttering the same words in an attitude of Resurrection: There is no part of me that is not of the Gods." Guests are welcome to be part of the mass; to attend for the first time please call the lodgemaster well ahead for further information and directions to the temple. Members of the temple community here take turns in the roles of the officers, and all who wish to serve the lodge at mass in this way are encouraged to consult with our gnostic bishops and with other active officers in the temple while rehearsing the ritual privately. When the three members of a new "mass team" are ready together to present the ritual in all of its grace and glory, they should seek out the lodgemaster to schedule a date on the temple calendar.


Origins of Tarot

This month marks the return of the Magical Forum, a monthly series of presentations on topics and issues of Thelemic study and practice. On Wednesday evening 15th January in the lodge library Nathan will present a paper entitled "The Origins of Tarot," examining from the perspective of serious scholarship -- rather than occult speculation -- the historical development of this visual phenomenon and the history of the interpretation of its images. Both aspects will be addressed in a demonstration of the gradual development, over several distinct stages, of the modern Thelemic system of theurgic Tarot.


The Quaking of the Watchers

Meet in the lodge library on Monday evening 20th January from 8:00 until 9:30 with Caitlin for the Thelema Lodge Section Two Reading Group. Our topic this month is the apocryphal Book of Enoch and the related text known as the Secrets of Enoch. These works from the ancient Hebrew tradition were lost to the middle ages and recovered by nineteenth century scholarship from obscure textual traditions. Like much of Hebrew literature (beginning with the Torah) the books of Enoch are pseudopigrapha, attributed by their anonymous authors to traditional figures from religious history. The patriarch Enoch, son of Jared, was counted as the seventh descendant from Adam, and the father of Methuselah. Enoch (according to Genesis 5:18-24) "walked with ha-elohim" and was subsequently taken alive into heaven at the age of 365 years (a brief life-span for a patriarch) and seen no more among men. Named Hanok in Hebrew, from Hay-Nun-Kaffinal = 75, meaning to initiate or begin, he was held to be the founder of a wisdom tradition which was incorporated into early Hebrew qabalah. His especially intimate relations with the Elohim were thought to have contained the authority for various cosmological and eschatological secrets, along with other teachings from the "angelic" messengers of God.
What is now designated as the "first" Book of Enoch is a small anthology of apocalyptic and wisdom texts, assembled sometime perhaps early in the first century before the common era, from various Hebrew and Aramaic sources. It was circulated in a Greek version which significantly influenced the early Christian religion (and is quoted in the New Testament epistle of Jude), although it fell from favor during the age of Augustine and quickly disappeared, apparently lost forever except for some fragmentary quotations. Some of its bizarre symbolic imagery, and its shocking details about the lusts of angels, had proved too much for the early established church, which had enough to be embarrassed about already. It happened, however, that the Greek text had reached Africa, where an isolated Christian tradition in the ancient Ethiopic language known as Ge'ez adopted the book as one of its founding documents. They translated it and maintained a manuscript tradition which perpetuated the text into the eighteenth century, when European scholars could rediscover it. Hence this book survived only in its Ethiopic version and was not available to be included even in the Apocrypha of the traditional Hebrew and Greek scriptures.
The oldest section of I Enoch is called the Book of the Heavenly Luminaries, and seems to have been extracted from a longer Aramaic treatise based upon Enoch's travel through the universe under the guidance of the angel Uriel. Recounting the wonders to his son Methuselah, he outlines a reform of the Jewish calendar, advocating a system of four solar seasons of 91 days each, with one more day added to make 365 (the years of Enoch's age). This was a point of contention among traditional Jews during the second century B.C.E. as the ceremonial lunar calender was abandoned in civil life, a topical reference which has been used to date the text. The Book of the Watchers is the most striking part of I Enoch, and was placed at the beginning of the collection. It tells of the fall of the lustful angels, who bred giants with the daughters of men and were banished to Sheol. The familiar archangels Michael, Raphael, Michael, and Uriel are first presented together as a quartet in this work, which also includes descriptions by Enoch of his travels through the universe. The longest section of I Enoch is called the Book of Similitudes, a collection of parables and stories illustrating various points of righteousness. There are also several briefer accounts including a couple of Enoch's dream-visions and a story of the birth of Noah.
The text known as II Enoch or the Book of the Secrets of Enoch was a slightly later collection of Hebrew texts within the same tradition, which was likewise translated into Greek and then fell into disfavor with the Christian church of Rome. It survived in the same manner, having been translated into Old Church Slavonic in medieval Russia, where it was venerated and kept in circulation until it could be recovered by early modern scholarship. There is also a shorter text known as III Enoch, a Hebrew work put together around the fifth century of the common era, which maintains the tradition of esoteric teachings stemming from Enoch. Translations of these works are now widely available, and readers may study the "Enochian" books in Willis Barnstone's excellent anthology The Other Bible (San Francisco: Harper, 1984), in the great Charlesworth edition of The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1985), or in various reprints of the earlier translations by R. H. Charles. John Dee and his age knew next to nothing of these works, although the tradition survived that ancient wisdom and angelic revelations had been granted to the patriarch Enoch. Saint William Blake was among the first to read the Book of Enoch when it was published in English in the early 1820s, and a late sketchbook of Blake's includes five striking pencil sketches illustrating scenes from the Book of the Watchers.
And Enoch ruled the folk, led them in ways of peace, and no wise let his sway and power lessen, while he was lord over his kinsmen. Now Enoch prospered and increased his tribe three hundred years. And God, the Lord of heaven, was gracious unto him. In his natural body he entered into heavenly joy and the glory of God, dying no mortal death as men do here, the young and old, what time God taketh from them wealth and substance and earthly treasure and their life; but with the King of angels he departed still alive out of this fleeting life, in the same vestments which his soul received before his mother bare him. He left the people to his eldest son. And all the years of Enoch were three hundred five-and-sixty winters, and he was gone. (adapted from lines 1197-1217 of the Anglo Saxon verse paraphrase of Genesis, circa 1000 c.e.)

Previous Section Two                   Next Section Two


Crowley Classics

This one-act stage play was written in Paris during the summer of 1911 e.v., when Crowley produced a number of dramatic pieces which included roles especially for Leila Waddell. A skilled musician with a striking stage presence, Leila performed impressively upon the violin but was given very few spoken lines, the dramatic potential of her voice being limited by a broad accent from "down under." The unnamed mademoiselle around whom this play is centered is given just ten words to speak -- and most of those in an informal, jocular manner, addressed to children -- as she introduces her instrumental solo. (The part of Nerissa in Crowley's full-length drama Snowstorm in Equinox I:7 is a similar example.) Crowley never published this piece, but its title appears in a list of his works from that very productive Paris summer, given in the essay "Energized Enthusiasm." The play is preserved in typescript in editorial files collected by J. F. C. Fuller, the military historian who was assistant editor of the original Equinox series. A copy was provided years ago from the O.T.O. archives for a presentation at Thelema Lodge by the Magick Theater, which held readings of Crowley's complete dramatic works (about 35 plays, long and short, in verse and prose). A reading text was prepared in pamphlet form, with several copies distributed within the Order at that time, but this play has remained otherwise unpublished until now. Thanks again to our Frater Superior for the text. copyright © O.T.O.

His Majesty's Fiddler
A Sketch

by Aleister Crowley

(Mlle. ---- was for three years the favorite violinist of H. M. the Tsar. The incident of the play actually occurred in April 1908. Subsequently Mlle. ---- was herself implicated in Nihilist intrigues and has been compelled to seek refuge in England, the Home of the Oppressed.)
PERSONS OF THE PLAY:

GENERAL P., Governor-General of the province of T----.
ANNA FEODOROWSKA, a political convict.
MLLE. ----, violinist to the Tsar.
SOLDIERS and their OFFICER, CONVICTS,
CHILDREN, an INNKEEPER, PEASANTS, etc.

THE SCENE is the outer room of a wayside inn on the road to Siberia. The Innkeeper and his wife, at the bar, are serving peasants with drink. All laugh uproariously at each sentence.
THE INNKEEPER: So Ivanova has run away with a Don Cossack, eh?
A PEASANT: Yes, curse her.
THE INNKEEPER'S WIFE: You're well rid of her.
SECOND PEASANT: A strapping wench though.
FIRST PEASANT: Take care of your own, gossip. There's another gang coming
through this afternoon.
THE INNKEEPER'S WIFE: She's safe enough, with her face.
THIRD PEASANT (entering): There's a strange droshky in the village!
(All crowd the door excitedly. Carriage bells. Enter an Isvostchik, burly and bearded.)
ISVOSTCHIK: Way there! Ho! Master Innkeeper, dinner for my lady! Clear these
dogs out!
(All go, except Innkeeper, his wife, and their four children. Enter Mlle. ---- in furs trimmed with silver, and fur hat. She flings her coat on the table, revealing a rich crimson and black travelling dress, throws herself into a chair by the fire, and puts her feet up. She pulls out a cigarette and lights it. The Isvostchik goes out and brings in her violin case, which he lays reverently on the table. He goes out. The children follow. The Innkeeper and his wife come forward, bustling and bowing.)
INNKEEPER: Her Highness will dine? Certainly, in ten minutes. We have caviar
from Astrakhan, and beautiful fresh trout from the lake. (Exit to inner room.)
INNKEEPER'S WIFE: May I take your ladyship's coat? (takes it up) and the violin?
MLLE. ----: No, leave it.
(Exit Innkeeper's wife to inner room. Mlle. ---- takes her violin from the case and plays softly to herself. The children peep in at the door. She sees them.)
MLLE. ----: Come along, kiddies, let's have a dance!
(She gets on the table and plays dance tune. The children dance around her. A knock at the door. Enter an Officer.)
OFFICER: Ho there! A glass of brandy. Drinks for my men. (to Mlle. ----)
I beg your pardon.
(She bows haughtily. Enter convicts, each chained to his warder, with guard. One of them, Anna, a pale, haggard girl of rare beauty, makes a sign to Mlle. ----, who acknowledges it, but shrugs her shoulders as if to indicate that she is powerless to help. She lays her violin in its case and puts it on a sideboard.)
INNKEEPER (entering): Her highness is served.
(Mlle. ---- goes to inner room. Innkeeper serves officer with a drink, and pours out vodka for the guards, who pass glasses to their comrades in the road. Carriage bells. A cry: "Way for his Excellency the Governor!" All guards go out. Enter General P. in uniform. Innkeeper bows very low. Officer salutes.)
GENERAL P.: Morning. How are you, Grushkoff?
OFFICER: Well, I thank your Excellency.
GENERAL P.: Send in that pale girl. Who is she?
OFFICER: Nihilist, Excellency.
GENERAL P.: Hm. Name?
OFFICER: Anna Feodorowska, Excellency.
GENERAL P.: Good; I remember the case. Send her in! OFFICER: Guarded,
Excellency?
GENERAL P.: No, alone. Unchain the tigress! Ha! Ha! Ha!
OFFICER (laughs): Yes, Excellency.
(Exit Officer. General P. lights a cigarette.
Enter Anna. She does not bow.)
GENERAL P. (to Innkeeper): Leave us, fellow. (Exit Innkeeper.) So you
conspired against us, little one? Well, I've a word from the Little Father
about that. Lock the door. (She goes to outer door and tries to lock it,
but her strength fails her.) All right, I'll do it. (locks door.) Come over
here. Sit there. (She sits on a chair by the fire. He sits on table.)
So you're the famous Anna Feodorowska, are you?
ANNA: Yes, I am.
GENERAL P.: You threw the bomb at the Grand Duke?
ANNA: Yes, I did.
GENERAL P.: Lucky for you, that it only killed common soldiers! What have
you got?
ANNA: Life in Siberia -- and these! (She pulls her dress from her shoulders,
and shows the marks of the knout.)
GENERAL P.: A change from -- what were you?
ANNA: My father's daughter.
GENERAL P.: A nobleman -- shame on you! Well I suppose you'd like to
escape if you could.
ANNA: Oh! Will you give me the chance? Is that what you're here for?
How noble and generous you are! Perhaps you're one of Us, too?
(She repeats the sign she gave Mlle. ----.)
GENERAL P.: No; I'm a loyal servant of his Majesty. But I might give you
a chance, if --
ANNA: Oh yes! My father has made interests for me! Is that it?
GENERAL P.: Not exactly. Well, the fact is -- you're my prisoner, you know;
and they sent me on your record, with, of course, your photograph.
ANNA: (starting up, indignantly): Oh! So that was it?
GENERAL P.: Yes, you're a pretty child. Or you would be again -- if you
were properly looked after.
ANNA: Rye bread -- and chains -- and the knout!
GENERAL P.: Yes, not very nice. Well, are you a sensible girl?
ANNA: Are you an honourable man?
GENERAL P.: A bored and lonely man, just now. You see, my wife prefers
the gaiety of Petersburg to this dog's hole of a province.
ANNA: So that is what you mean?
GENERAL P.: Yes, I'll arrange your escape. I am all-powerful here; and you
shall be a little queen with a kingdom of your own!
ANNA: Take your hand away! Thank you, I prefer the mines to dishonour.
GENERAL P.: Your honour isn't worth much in that dress, once you're over
the frontier.
ANNA: The villainy of your slaves is their dishonour, not mine!
GENERAL P.: Damn your pride! (taking her by the shoulders and shaking her)
Do you know what I can do to you? Do you know I can have the flesh torn
from you by the knout?
ANNA: Do your worst. It's soon over.
GENERAL P.: No, by God, it isn't soon over! Do you know where you're going?
To the mercury mines! Do you know that you'll never see sunlight again,
for you only come out after nightfall -- and in a month your eyelids swell,
and your sight is lost forever? Do you know that in three months your teeth
fall out of your head, that in six month your hair is fallen out, that in a year
you are rotted through and through by the poisonous vapours? And that then
you are taken from the mines lest you should die, and set to dig the frozen
ground? And I offer you a palace, and servants, and love. (She shrinks away,
violently tearing herself from his grasp, and stands against the door.)
Yes, love! -- and all the luxuries of life. Is your youth nothing to you? And
your beauty? And -- perhaps you have a lover at home? You fool! You fool!
-- why in a year you might go back to him -- very little damaged!
ANNA: You brute! Yes, I know, you are God in the province. But I defy you and
spit upon you!
GENERAL P.: Well then, you shall follow your fate, damn you! But not yet! Tonight --
(The inner door opens, and Mlle. ---- enters. She fixes P. with a haughty stare. P. bows and smiles and makes himself very polite. Mlle. ----, still watching him, takes her fiddle and plays. As she plays the passions of P. and Anna relax; they are lost in the beauty of the music. Before the end P., his face in his hands, is sobbing upon the table. Anna remains against the door, her expression enraptured. Mlle. ---- ends, and again fixes her glance on P., this time inquiringly.)
GENERAL P.: Anna Feodorowska, I forgot one part of my message. This (pulls out
a paper) is your pardon from the Tsar. I had meant to report you dead.
ANNA: Oh!
GENERAL P. (to Mlle. ----: I do not know if you have ruined me or saved me;
but farewell.
(He would take her hand; she withdraws it, changes her mind, and lets him kiss it. He goes out, as Anna throws herself, weeping, into her saviour's arms.)

CURTAIN

Previous Crowley Classic                   Next Crowley Classics


from the Grady Project:

These previously unpublished poems were found in Grady's typescript in the editorial archives of The Magickal Link. The present selection comprises half of his collected "haiku," the rest having been presented in these pages last month. Unlike many of the former selections, which had been more impressionistic in their technique, the present "haiku" are for the most part faithful to a strict syllable count of seventeen.

Thirteen More Haiku

by Grady McMurtry

Drop! Imperial
Space Marine! Your valor mocks
The carrion flesh
(2-17-65 / 1)

Virgins of the Queen
Holy Order of Dead Men
Blaze! Magian Star!
(2-17-65 / 2)

Maid of the Star Drifts
Magian hieroglyphs
In your "Cave of Space!"
(2-18-65)

Leap, Holy Dead Man!
In the clasp of Our Maiden
Shines the Star-Son "child!"
(2-22-65 / 1)

Drop! Imperial
Space Marine. Your Gothic soul
Your Heart's dread desire
(2-22-65 / 2)

Explode! drained "White Lamb."
See! Glowing in Her Fire-Grail
Your transforming Blood!
(2-23-65)

Cold and silence. Share
My star-light continuum
With the rocks and trees.
(Atu 12, The Hanged Man) (7-21-65)

Faith of our fathers:
Vigilante beheading
As spectator sport
(10-13-65 / 2 -- 1140 hrs)

Sporting, cavorting
Nobles of the Mystic Shrine
Sad-eyed, the clown types
(7-15-65)

Love is one person
Male-Female symbiosis
In the goblin night
(May 10, 1965)

Cruelty becomes
Your implacable justice
Immortal youth-gods
(April 7, 1966 /0930 hrs)

Rivers of dry leaves
Rushed by cold wind
Rustle for summer rain
(11-18-65 / 2 -- 1005)

Barbaric nonthink
Intellectual wasteland
Catbox the Tiger
(10-13-65)

Previous Grady Project                   Next Grady Project


from the Library Shelf

The Dramatic Writings of Aleister Crowley

A Chronological Bibliography
with Commentary
by John Brunie

The Poisoners -- Crowley worked on a verse drama with this title circa 1897,
but it was "discarded as over-Tourneresque" (the reference it to the
decadent and richly artificial literary style of several of the most lurid
Elizabethan revenge tragedies). A dramatic prologue to this play survives
under the title of "The Alchemist" in Crowley's early volume Songs of
the Spirit (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1898) and was reprinted
in Collected Works I (Foyers: Society for the Publication of Religious
Truth, 1905).

Jephthah: A Tragedy -- A substantial single-scene verse drama in the classical

Greek manner, set in biblical Israel, this work was completed at Cambridge
in November 1898. First printed anonymously in the author's private
edition of fifty-two copies only, "by a gentleman of the University of
Cambridge" (London: 1899), it was then preserved in Collected Works
I (1905).

The Poem: A Little Drama in Four Scenes -- A brief prose play set in modern

London, concerning the family squabbles and independence of an artistic
young gentleman named Percy Brandon. Crowley noted that "it may be
read as a delicate idyll or a screaming parody, according to the nature and
mood of the reader." First printed separately in the author's private edition
of ten copies only (London: 1898), and then preserved in Collected Works
I (1905).

The Fatal Force -- A single scene in verse, written in the spring of 1899,

showing "the effect of shattering all the solid basis of a young man's mind."
A degenerate young king of Egypt challenges his cruel mother the queen,
and looses faith in his own divinity. This play was published only in
Collected Works I (1905).

The Mother's Tragedy -- A companion-piece to The Fatal Force, also written

in early 1899, and likewise a single scene in verse. Crowley described
his style at this point as "influenced by Ibsen, with a touch of Bulwer
Lytton." Again the focus is a son's opposition to his mother, but here the
setting is modern, and the mother tragically "good." The author notes that
"a good mother is an affliction against which none but the strongest may
strive. It is fortunately rare." The play was originally printed in the
author's miscellany volume for private distribution, The Mother's
Tragedy and Other Poems (London: 1901), and then included in
Collected Works I (1905).

Tannhauser: A Story of All Time -- Written in Mexico City in early 1900 in

sixty-seven continuous hours on the inspiration of "a delirium whose
images assumed the form of Wagner's opera," this "poetical and magical
version of the story" as a full-length verse play in five acts was regarded
by Crowley as "the climax of the first period of my poetry." It was first
published as a separate volume (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner,
1901) and then included in Collected Works I (1905).

The God-Eaters: A Tragedy of Satire -- A verse play in two scenes, which

its author judged "singularly unsatisfactory as a work of art, but extremely
significant as a piece of autohagiography." Set in the twenty-first century
as imagined from the end of the Old Aeon, the play demonstrates "that
whatever may be the foundation of a religion, we must judge it by its
present state." First published as a separate volume (London: Watts &
Company, 1903), then included in Collected Works II (Foyers: SPRT,
1906).

The Argonauts -- This full-length verse play in five acts was written during

Crowley's travels, circa 1904. The work "is really five separate plays
on the Greek pattern." Although the subject is the classical story of
Jason and Medea, the work is studded with references to the sacred
literature of ancient India, which Crowley was studying at the time.
First published separately (Foyers: SPRT, 1904) and then included in
Collected Works II (1906).

Why Jesus Wept: A Study in Society and the Grace of God -- The idea of

this dramatic poem in thirteen scenes "is to show a romantic boy and
girl ambushed and ruined by male and female vampires." It was written
in two days at Kandy in Ceylon in January 1904, and after being printed
in the author's private edition (n. p.: 1904) it was published in Collected
Works III (Foyers: SPRT, 1907).

The Sire de Maletroit's Door (collaboration with Gerald Kelly) -- Crowley

and his artistic brother-in-law adapted this melodrama from a tale in
The New Arabian Nights by Robert Louis Stevenson. Medieval Paris
is the setting for a test of love and will, in one of the few Crowley plays
with an unashamedly happy ending. The two co- authors produced this
play publicly in 1906, and it was afterwards published in Collected
Works III (1907).

Ali Sloper, or, The Forty Liars: A Christmas Diversion -- The meeting of

a formal occult society based upon the Golden Dawn is the occasion
for this semi-dramatic prose satire, which was published in Konx Om
Pax (London: W. Scott, 1907).

The Tell-Tale Heart: A Stage Adaptation -- Edgar Poe's story is recast as

a single scene in prose, set in a rural cottage. Written in April 1907
("subject too horrid," Crowley complained in his diary at the time),
it was eventually published in Equinox I:8 (London: September 1912).

The Suffragette: A Farce -- This prose sketch satirizing the politics of

feminism appeared under the pseudonym of Lavinia King (the name
Crowley used in Moonchild for a character based upon Isadora
Duncan) in The New Age (London: 30 May 1908).

The World's Tragedy -- A full-length verse play, to which Crowley added

an extended autobiographical introduction, this piece was written in
Paris during the summer of 1908. Gods, dwarves, hags, and heroes
inhabit a symbolic pageant of ancient landscapes, and it goes on for
five acts after the prologue. Crowley published it in his own limited
edition (Paris: 1908), and the play was reprinted much later by Israel
Regardie (Phoenix: Falcon Press, 1985).

Mr Todd: A Morality -- This short prose play is based upon the personified

figure of Death, who appears at intervals throughout the piece,
bringing relief from their worries to each of the characters in turn.
Written in Paris in July 1908, it was first printed privately in the
author's miscellany volume The Winged Beetle (London: 1910), and
then published in Equinox I:4 (London: September 1910).

AHA! (Liber CCXLII) -- An extended philosophical dialogue in verse, this

semi-dramatic work was written in September 1909 at a critical turn
in Crowley's development, when he "re-obligated" himself to Liber
AL. He described it as "my greatest magical poem . . . in which the
Cairo working is restored to its proper place in my life." The
conversation between a master and his student "covers all religious
experience, asserts no axioms, advocates no cut-and-dried codes. In
some eleven hundred lines I have described all the principal trances,
from the three types of Dhyana . . . and the four elements . . . to the
spiritual beings that inhabit the invisible universe, and the Samadhic
Trances." First published in Equinox I:3 (London: March 1910), it
was reprinted in an edition by Israel Regardie (Dallas: Sangraal,
1969) and is now available in a new edition prepared by James
Wasserman which incorporates a fragment of commentary by Frater
Achad (Tempe, AZ: New Falcon, 1996).

The Rites of Eleusis (Liber DCCCL) -- A cycle of seven "orderly, decorous

ceremonies" (as Crowley defended them when scandal was falsely
stirred up around their original performances) invoking the classical
planetary gods, these are performance pieces incorporating dancing,
musical solos, recitations, ceremonial rituals, and dramatic scenes.
Although the seven rites "were really seven acts of one play," their
continuity was not emphasized, and "the dialogue and action were little
more than a setting for the soloists." Dress rehearsals for the cycle
were held privately in autumn 1910, and public performances took
place on a series of Wednesday evenings at Caxton Hall in Westminster
in October and November 1910. Along with Crowley himself, Leila
Waddell and Victor Neuberg were the principal performers. Two
of the rites (Mars and Mercury) were written in collaboration with
George Raffalovich, who also performed in them. First printed in a
limited private edition for the author (London: 1910), they were then
published as a supplement to Equinox I:6 (September 1911). The first
complete edition of these rites (including the poems for recitation) was
published by Ebony Anpu (San Francisco: Stellar Visions, 1987), and
another complete edition has since appeared (Thane, Oxon., UK:
Mandrake, 1990). Performance of the Eleusis cycle was revived by the
Thelema Lodge community in the late 1970s, with 23 complete cycles
staged here since then, and similar revivals now common throughout the
world.

The Scorpion: A Tragedy -- Despite his subtitle, Crowley later described this

play as "a romance, and neither comedy nor tragedy in the best sense."
A prose play in three acts, it is one of his most effective dramas.
Occultly based upon the 30 of freemasonry, the plot turns upon the birth
of the O.T.O. tradition in Jerusalem during the Crusades. It was written
in a sudden fit of inspiration in a hotel in El-Kantara, near the end of
Crowley's stay in Algeria with Victor Neuberg, about January 1911, and
published in Equinox I:6 (1911).

The Blind Prophet: A Ballet -- Attempting "a combination of ballet and grand

opera," this verse play with music was written in transit between Algiers
and Marseilles early in 1911. The silly old Prophet manages only to kill
himself, preaching destruction upon the dancers in an Egyptian temple
celebration. Published in Equinox I:5 (March 1911), it was set in type
again for Crowley's anthology volume The Giant's Thumb (New York:
Mitchell Kennerley, 1915) which was never printed.

Snowstorm: A Tragedy -- A prose play in three acts, set amidst the petty royalty

of the generic Continental principality of "Fiordland," this work
incorporates a series of violin solos for Leila Waddell. It was written in
Eastbourne in the spring of 1911 and published in Equinox I:7 (March 1912).

Household Gods: A Comedy -- Described vaguely by its author as "a sort of

magical allegory," this verse play was written in Italy around May 1911,
and is one of the most directly erotic of Crowley's writings. A British
barbarian of the Dark Ages works with his noble Roman wife to invoke the
spirit of Pan. Printed only in the author's limited private edition of 1912,
with the place of publication given as "Pallanza," the volume was actually
produced by the Chiswick Press in London.

His Majesty's Fiddler: A Sketch -- This brief prose play was written in Paris

during the summer of 1911 and is set in a Siberian penal outpost. The text
reads somewhat improbably as drama without the virtuosity of Leila
Waddell, for whom Crowley wrote several plays during this period.
Although its title appears listed in the essay "Energized Enthusiasm"
(1913), Crowley never got around to printing this one-act drama, and until
now it has survived only as an archival typescript.

Elder Eel: A Sketch -- This single scene in prose, written in Scots idioms,

concerns religious hypocrisy in a village market-place. Another product
of the Paris summer of 1911, it was first published in Equinox I:8 (1912),
and reprinted in International XII:3 (New York: March 1918).

The Ghouls: A Satire -- Inspired by a meeting in Paris with Fenella Lovell of

Inverness, this prose play in two scenes is set in Scotland on the old
Boleskine estate, and features "The M'Alister" in a leading role. "The
Ghouls" and "Adonis" were both composed in Paris, "written straight off,
one after the other" in August 1911. Published in Equinox I:7 (1912).

Adonis: An Allegory (Liber CCCXXXV) -- A lyric ritual drama in five scenes,

set in the gardens of ancient Babylon, this is another of Crowley's greatest
successes as a playwright, and was published in Equinox I:7 (1912).
Later it was set in type for The Giant's Thumb (1915) but not printed.

Mortadello, or, The Angel of Venice: A Comedy -- The longest and one of the

best of his poetic dramas, this lurid tragicomedy was the crowning
achievement of Crowley's Paris summer of 1911. Set amidst the decadence
of the Renaissance, it is written with amazing fluency in the Alexandrine
meter (after the manner of French dramatic verse). It was published only
as a separate volume (London: Wieland, 1911).

Doctor Bob: A Sketch (collaboration with Mary D'Este) -- A brief study in

fatalism and mortality, set in a medical consulting room, this prose scene
appeared in Equinox I:8 (1912).

The Tango: A Sketch (collaboration with Mary D'Este) -- The fiery dancer

Jaja and her fiance, a bully named "Negro," create a scene on their
farewell visit to Fischer's Cafe, a jazzy Paris nightclub. Published in
Equinox I:9 (March 1913).

The Ship: A Mystery Play (Liber DCCC) -- This ritual drama in two scenes

is a companion-piece to Liber XV (the gnostic mass), and was written
along with it in Moscow in the summer of 1913. Set in the Temple of
the Sun, the mystery of the play is the resurrection of John the Priest,
expressing (as Crowley later commented) "the full interpretation of the
central mystery of freemasonry." It includes the original long version
of the gnostic anthem, part of which is used in the mass. Published in
Equinox I:10 (September 1913), it would have appeared again in The
Giant's Thumb (1915) but that volume survives only as the author's
bound proof copy. This play has had several performances in the Order
of late; it was staged to great acclaim in 2001 e.v. at the O.T.O.
convention in Long Beach, and copies of a video recording made there
have been distributed on cassette by 93 Lodge.

The Three Wishes: A Play in Three Acts and a Prologue -- Written in

American idioms, this full- length prose drama follows the lives and
careers of three men who are periodically reunited by a pact they have
made in childhood. Never printed, this work is nowhere even referred
to in print, and its date cannot be certainly established, though presumably
it was written in New York during the first world war. Crowley is
supposed to have sent it later to Orson Wells (probably for the Mercury
Theater) but nothing is known of its reception. A complete typescript
survives in O.T.O. archives.

The Bonds of Marriage: A Romantic Farce in One Act -- A young wife

engages the services of master detective Slyman Squiff ("the man who
arrested Edward Kelly!") to investigate her husband's infidelity, in this
prose sketch "set in any city in the United States." The whole thing turns
into an advertisement for wartime Liberty Bonds. It was published in
International XII:3 (1918).

The Gods: A Drama -- Suspended in eternity, the ancient gods discuss the

nature and creation of time. This short piece is set amidst the stars of
heaven, and purports to be a translation "from the Coptic of Iao Sabio."
It too was published in International XII:3 (1918). We performed this
play in celebration of the spring equinox of 2002 e.v. in Horus Temple
at Thelema Lodge, and it then appeared in the Thelema Lodge Calendar
(July 2002).

The Saviour: A Drama in One Scene -- Hysteria grips the Council of Elders,

under siege in the generic European city of Blabre. In the crisis they
ignore the advice of their Fool, and are persuaded by a local Prophet to
accept the long-promised "Saviour." Written in New York in the summer
of 1915, this prose play was intended for stage production under the
direction of Morris Brown. The production was never realized, and the
play eventually appeared in International XII:3 (1918), Crowley's
special "all drama" issue.

The Pearl Girl, or, The Whale, the Siren, and the Shoestring -- A comic

screenplay in three reels for the silent cinema, with notes indicating
established stars of the period for the leading roles, accompanied by
five crude drawings of the principal figures (presumably from the
author's own sketchpad), this satirical summary was published in
Vanity Fair (New York: June 1916). Billed as the "winner of the
thousand-dollar reward for the worst short film story," it describes an
improbable sequence of extravagantly artificial situations. A wealthy
Mexican girl wearing a fabulous pearl is kidnapped in New York and
winds up in frozen Alaska, where an "exquisite blonde" fisherwoman
finds the pearl, takes it to London, is arrested as a spy, and escapes by
German submarine to New York, where she meets the Mexican girl.
This piece was reprinted with its illustrations in Thelema Lodge
Calendar (September 1998).

The Opium Dream -- This work may have been either a stage play or a

screenplay, which Crowley outlined but may never have completed.
It has seven scenes, without dialogue, each culminating in the expression
of a single powerful emotion. There seem to be no references from
which its date might be established, but the summary in five typescript
pages (published in the Thelema Lodge Calendar, October 1998)
survives in O.T.O. archives.

The Astrologer -- The composition of this screenplay at Cefalu is recorded

in Crowley's diary for late August 1920, along with its revision the
following month. The diary refers to various characters and situations,
but nothing further is known of this piece. It was never filmed, and may
not have survived at all.

Previous from the Library Shelf                   Next from the Library Shelf



Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for January 2003 e.v.

1/1/03New Year, Old Aeon
1/2/03New Moon in Capricorn 12/23 PM
1/5/03Golden Topaz ritual 11:11AM
in Horus Temple
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/5/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/8/03Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian
with Charles 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/12/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/15/03Magical forum: "Origins of the Tarot"
with Nathan 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/19/03Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/20/03Section II reading group with
Caitlin: Apocryphal Books of Enoch
8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/22/03Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian
with Charles 8PM in the library
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/24/03Pathworking with Paul 8PM
in Horus Temple
(510) 652-3171Thelema Ldg.
1/26/03Gnostic 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