Thelema Lodge Calendar for February 2003 e.v.
Thelema Lodge Calendar
for February 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.
Ordo Templi Orientis
Berkeley, CA 94702 USA
February 2003 e.v. at Thelema Lodge
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Lodge Members and Officers
Year of the Goat
The new moon in Aquarius marks Chinese New Year on Saturday 1st February as
we welcome the Year of the Goat, opening a festival of celebrations around
Thelema Lodge in the center of the season of winter. Join the Buddhist
Enochian ritual Saturday evening at 7:00 in Horus Temple, and bring your
favorite culinary contributions for the feast afterwards. (Please don't feed
the angels.) Sunday 2nd February will be a full day of festivities at the
lodge, beginning with a Golden Topaz ritual in Horus Temple in the morning at
11:11, then a break for lunch and some exercise, followed by brother Matt's
pentagram seminar in the afternoon at 4:18, and of course the gnostic mass as
always on Sunday evening beginning not long after nightfall. The traditional
mid-seasonal holiday of Imbolg, or Candlemas, the feast of Saint Brigid the
Goddess of the Well, will find Our Father the Sun at fifteen degrees of
Aquarius around ten o'clock on Monday evening 3rd February. We will celebrate
that evening with the Companions of Monsalvat at Grace North Church, 2138
Cedar Street in Berkeley, beginning at 8:30. Join in for a new Thelemic
liturgy, with original choral arrangements by Leigh Ann Hussey, and hear the
choir straining in ecstasy as the vaulted sanctuary echoes with a hymn to
Babalon the Great, the mighty organ swelling behind them. The following
Saturday at noon on 8th February there will be an outdoor Brigid celebration
and picnic feast at Sibley Volcanic Park in the Oakland hills, in honor of the
lengthening of days and the turning of the year towards springtime. Bring
along plenty to eat and drink (packed to carry for half a mile or so), and
help the goddess rouse her consort.
This month, Michael Sanborn continues the series of experimental Enochian
rituals that began at the last Autumnal Equinox, with not one but two Enochian
workings in Horus Temple.
The first is a celebration of the growing confluence between Thelema and
Buddhism, as illustrated recently by the ongoing "Golden Topaz Mass" series
being performed at Thelema Lodge.
Why all this interest? One reason is that the adepts of Buddhism have had
an uninterrupted lineage of transmission going back many centuries, in
contrast to the western mystery tradition, which has only been able to exist
free from persecution in recent times (if at all). We westerners, then, can
glimpse a depth in the Buddhist teachings that inspires us in the
reconstruction of our native spirituality. From another viewpoint, the
mysteries are the mysteries whether expressed in the language of the East or
the West, and we have much to share with one another.
It's also significant to remember that Crowley considered himself a
Buddhist at the time of the reception of the Book of the Law. A comprehensive
study of Buddhism's influence on the foundations of Thelema has yet to be
accomplished (see, however "The Three Refuges," reprinted below, for an
example of the Beast's early Buddhist writings).
On Saturday evening 1st February at 7:00 we will open the Enochian Earth of
Air sub-quadrant in combination with an invocation of the "Burning Buddha"
archetype from The Gaia Matrix Oracle by Rowena Pattee Kryder. The ritual
will include the introduction of "The Vice of Kings," or Tonglen practice in a
Thelemic context, and will be followed by a discussion of the combination of
Buddhism and Thelema and its meaning.
Our second event marks the transition from the Air Tablet to the Earth
Tablet on the day after the festival of Brigid. "The Rite of the Conch" will
explore the New Aeon Atziluth as the spiritual realization that is the ultimate result (or Earth) of the Thelemic perspective. It will begin at 8:00
Tuesday evening 11th February, to be followed by a pot luck dinner.
The Three Refuges
by Aleister Crowley
This formula of adhesion to Buddhism is daily repeated by countless
millions of humanity; what does it mean? It is no vain profession of reliance
on others; no cowardly shirking of burdens -- burdens which cannot be shirked.
It is a plain estimate of our auxiliaries in the battle; the cosmic facts on
which we may rely, just as a scientist "relies" on the conservation of energy
in making an experiment.
Were that principle of uncertain application, the simplest quantitative
experiment would break hopelessly down.
So for the Buddhist.
I take my refuge in the Buddha. That there was once a man who found the
Way is my encouragement.
I take my refuge in the Dhamma. The Law underlying phenomena and its
unchanging certainty; the Law given by the Buddha to show us the Way, the
inevitable tendency to Persistence in Motion or Rest -- and Persistence, even
in Motion, negates change in consciousness -- these observed orders of fact
are our bases.
I take my refuge in the Sangha.
These are not isolated efforts on my part; although in one sense isolation
is eternally perfect and can never be overcome (i.e. on normal planes), in
another sense associates are possible and desirable. One third of humanity
are Buddhists; add men of Science and we form an absolute majority; among
Buddhists a very large proportion have deliberately gone out from social life
of any kind to tread these paths of Research.
Is the Way very hard? Is the brain tired? The results slow to come?
Others are working, failing, struggling, crowned here and there with rare
garlands of success. Success for ourselves, success for others; is it not
Compassion that binds us closer than all earthlier ties? Ay, in joy and in
sorrow, in weakness and in strength, do I take my refuge in the Sangha.
|(Chapter XII from "Science and Buddhism,"|
reprinted in The Collected Works of
Aleister Crowley, vol. II, 1906)
I take my refuge in the Buddha.
I take my refuge in the Dhamma.
I take my refuge in the Sangha.
Admonish the Water
The gnostic mass, our weekly thelemic communion ritual, is celebrated
according to the canon in Aleister Crowley's Liber XV every Sunday evening in
Horus Temple at Thelema Lodge, beginning not long after nightfall.
Communicants are welcome at mass, and should arrive at 7:30 to await their
summons into the sanctuary of the gnosis. First-time guests please call the
lodge well ahead of time for directions to the temple and additional
information. To serve the lodge at mass as an officer in the liturgy, learn
the mass completely, form a team to work with, and consult with other active
mass officers for encouragement and suggestions; then contact the lodgemaster
when you're ready for a date on the temple calendar. The gnostic mass has
been the focal point of our Thelemic community for over twenty-five years, and
provides the best opportunity for guests to meet the members of the lodge and to participate in the traditions of the world's oldest continually functioning
official body of Ordo Templi Orientis.
Thelemites assembling for the gnostic mass form by their congregation a
church known as Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, which like any church may be
called upon to witness significant transition points in the lives of its
members. This month the lodge will offer a forum for discussion of personal
rituals (such as baptism and ordination) within our church, to be held in
Horus Temple on Sunday afternoon 23rd February at 4:18. Members of the
temple clergy, led by gnostic bishops T Theodora and T Mendacious, along with
other interested communicants, will conduct an informal examination of the
theory and practice of such rituals, locally and in the E.G.C. generally.
Baphomet's note on these rituals near the end of Liber XV mentions marriage,
the baptism of children, and their confirmation at puberty, along with
administration to the sick. (There is an unspecified category of
"celebration" mentioned first which may not pertain to any particular
participant, but one can only guess at the circumstances which this clause was
meant to address.) The note goes into no detail, but lists these rituals as
exceptions to the general principle that "none other should be present" at the
celebration of mass than "people who intend to communicate." This implies
that such ceremonies would consist in a special celebration of mass,
presumably with additions made to introduce the persons being baptized or
confirmed, or "the two to be married," as the only communicants (other than
the priest). Although the note's wording seems plain, its suggestions have
not been generally implemented within the E.G.C. as we know it. Weddings at
Thelema Lodge over the years have often involved special celebrations of the
mass, with an interpolated interlude featuring the couple and their mutual
enterprise, but seldom has the communion been restricted to the wedding
couple. Baptism and confirmations have often consisted of a ceremony added on
to the weekly mass in which all present have taken communion, and they have
been administered to adult members (rather than to the children and teenagers
for whom they seem intended). Regarding the ordination of priests (perhaps a
redundancy, or even a contradiction in terms, among a gnostic congregation),
Liber XV tell us only that "certain secret formulae of this Mass are taught to
the Priest in his Ordination." This seems to have little to do with the bald
loyalty oath that is currently being administered to priests who opt for
"official" gnostic clerical status. Furthermore, there is nothing in the mass
suggesting the formal recognition of deacons, and the qualifications for
priestess which Liber XV sets forth -- virginity, dedication, or perhaps
whoredom -- do not require a ceremony. What then is the meaning of such
sacraments of personal accomplishment, are they necessary, and in what
circumstances might they best be offered? Attend this discussion forum to
share ideas and impressions of these special ecclesiastical experiences in the
lives of Thelemites, and help set the tone with which they may be offered here
in the future.
Medicine of Metals
Brother Matt Marcus shares with Thelema Lodge the endeavors of his ongoing
study group this month with a seminar on Sunday afternoon 2nd February in
Horus Temple at 4:18. The subject will be the pentagram ritual, of which
Crowley made the claim that "Properly understood it is the Medicine of Metals
and the Stone of the Wise." We shall explore the spiritual aspects of this
ritual from the standpoint of the Tree of Life, Hebrew gematria, and the
geometry of the pentagram itself in order to gain greater facility and
understanding of a ritual that is important for every practicing magician.
Our inquiry will cover material ranging from practical aspects of the ritual
in Liber O to the famous Fibonacci sequence and Golden Ratio, which
characterize various aspects of nature. Whether a seasoned veteran of the
ritual or a first-time practitioner, we invite you to join us a few hours
before the gnostic mass for an entertaining and enlightening discussion.
The Magical Forum presents:
A Philosophical Consideration
This month the Magical Forum will host a presentation by Nathan entitled
"Understanding is Transcendent," on Wednesday evening 12th February at 8:00 in
the lodge library. It will be a series of reflections on the meaning and
significance of the logos, a Greek word with a variety of meanings. For the
earliest Greek philosophers it designated the fundamental order and
rationality of the cosmos, as a universe not totally random but structured in
a meaningful manner. Logos therefore fundamentally means meaningfulness
itself, and we will enquire after the nature of this meaningfulness. What is
it in virtue of which all things are meaningful? A series of specific
arguments will be presented, largely drawn from the work of the 20th century
philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, that understanding, intelligibility, or
logos, is not constructed out of our experience, but in fact ontologically
precedes it, as the condition of the possibility of us having any experience
at all. The implications of this view for the nature of consciousness will
also be explored. The Magical Forum is an ongoing series of monthly
presentations at Thelema Lodge on a variety of topics germain to the work of
the Order and the interests of the community. Anyone can contribute, and if
you are interested in presenting an original paper or ritual please contact
the facilitator, Nathan, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Novellino of Masuccio
Liber Artemis Iota vel Del Coitu Scholia Triviae (Book 666) is a late work
of Crowley's consisting of commentary upon selected verses from the Book of
the Law, together with instructions in "sexual morality." (It is available in
chapter 15 of Magick Without Tears.) It closes with a brief curriculum for
study, practice, and "original research" in the discipline of erotic
enthusiasm, with a bibliography of classic erotica offered in the "study"
section. Apart from a few obscure nineteenth-century French pornographers
covering specialty subjects, this reading list will for the most part be
familiar to participants in the Section Two reading group. After listing
other A A and O.T.O. instructional works, Crowley turns to ancient and
medieval literature: "There are also various classics of the subject, helpful
to assimilate the romantic and enthusiastic atmosphere proper to the practice
of the Art: one may instance Catullus, Juvenal (especially the sixth Satire),
Martial, Petronius Arbiter, Apuleius, Boccaccio, Masucci, Francois Rabelais .
. ." and so on to Balzac and other French writers of the nineteenth century.
The only author here who is not widely available in a variety of translations
is the almost completely obscure Italian Renaissance storyteller called
Masuccio. His collection of fifty stories, the Novellino, will be our subject
for reading and discussion this month when the Section Two group assembles
with Caitlin in the lodge library on Monday evening 17th February from 8:00
Few facts are established regarding the life of Masuccio Salernitano, a
Neapolitan courtier who served as secretary to Roberto di Sanseverno in the
administration of the notorious Ferdinand I, King of Naples in the middle of
the fifteenth century. His very name, which survives as a story-teller of
Italian village life in the Novellino (1476), is now thought to be false, the
pseudonym of one Tommaso Guardati (born in Salerno about 1415, and last known
alive in the 1470s). His stories, in the style of Boccaccio's Decameron
(1351), are part of a long tradition of Italian collections of short prose
tales. Other notable novellieri (short story authors) include Giovanni
Fiorentino (Pecorone, 50 tales, about 1380), Giovanni Sercambi (Novelliero,
155 tales, about 1385), Franco Sacchetti (Trecentonovelle, 300 tales, about
1390), Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti (Porretane, 61 tales, 1478), and Matteo
Bandello (Novelle, 24 tales, 1554). They also had imitators in French, such as Christine de Piza (The City of Ladies, early 15th century) and Marguerite
de Navarre (Heptameron, early 16th century). Masuccio's collection has not
been extensively studied, and seems nearly unknown and unavailable today. It
was probably as a Cambridge undergraduate that Crowley encountered the only
English translation known to have been published, which he recalled a lifetime
later as he prepared Liber Artemis Iota. The deluxe two-volume edition
translated by W. G. Waters (London: Lawrence & Bullen, 1895), beautifully
designed and lavishly illustrated with engraved plates, was issued in such a
limited edition (only "two hundred and ten copies for England and America")
that it has remained extremely rare, and has never been reprinted. Although
it also appears in the "O.T.O. Curriculum" appended to the great 1997 revised
edition of Crowley's Book Four, few readers have had reference to this text up
to now. Thelema Lodge, however, has recently obtained an electronic copy of a
complete digital scan of the book, which can be made available to interested
In subject matter the Novellino participate fully in the erotic concerns
which were earlier established for this genre by the tolerant sexual morality
of the Decameron and of the fabliaux tradition out of which such stories
emerged into literature. Not all of his stories are sexual, but the vast
majority are concerned in the affairs of lovers. Characters are drawn from
all walks of Italian life, with a few venturing into foreign lands or even
being carried off by barbarian pirates. Unusual sexual combinations and group
unions are a special interest of the Novellino, with several stories involving
partner exchanges between two couples. Issues of rape and sexual slavery are
explored, along with incest and prostitution and all of the varieties of
adultery. The sample tale from Masuccio which appears later in these pages
suggests the happy formation of a durable group marriage arrangement which is
more advanced than anything which Boccaccio -- himself relatively enlightened
in such matters -- could have condoned. Masuccio depicts a wide variety of
responses to the problem of jealousy, some murderously violent or coldly
hateful, others freely forgiving or simply unconcerned, leading either to the
liberation or the reunion of the divided partners. Ritual sex is a topic, as
well as sexual mysticism and the spiritual implications of erotic enthusiasm.
Although in no sense pornographic or salacious, the collection evinces a
thorough fascination with sex, and a degree of respect for sexual desire which
is quite unusual in the literature of its age.
Previous Section Two Next Section Two
The Sevenfold Wonder
The seven Filii Lucis [Sons of Light] appeared like seven young men, all with bright countenance, white apparelled with white silk on their heads, pendant behind, with a wreath down to the ground, all apparelled of one sort. Every one seemed to have a metalyn ball in his hand: the first of gold, the second of silver, the third of copper, the fourth of tin, the fifth of iron; the sixth tossed between his two hands a round thing of quicksilver; the last had a ball of lead. The first had on his breast a round tablet of gold, and on it written a great "I," and the second on his golden tablet had his name also written; and every one orderly coming forth showed his names upon their golden tablets. At their departing they made curtsy, and mounted up to heavenward.
Visions of angels setting forth the innumerable details of the universal
emblem of creation entitled Sigillum Dei Aemeth were narrated by Edward Kelly
and recorded by John Dee over the course of several years of scrying. The
extracts here quoted were received on 21st March 1582 during their early work
together, as they generated the fundamentals of what was to became known as
"Enochian" magick. Their practical notes for this comprehensive system of
angelic interrogation and employment, most of which they themselves never
ventured to put into practice, are the subject for the Heptarchia Mystica
series at Thelema Lodge. These Enochian seminars are taught for us by brother
Charles Humphries on alternating Wednesday evenings, and meet next on the 5th
and 19th of February from 8:00 until 10:00 in the lodge library. Don't miss
the endless parade of heavenly messengers, who are sometimes not above
behaving in the most extravagant and outrageous manner in order to hold one's
Septem Filii Filorum [seven Sons of the Sons] appeared like seven little children, like boys covered all with purple, with hanging sleeves, like priests' or scholars' gown-sleeves; their heads attired all after the former manner with purple silk. They had three-cornered tablets on their breasts, and the tablets seemed to be very green, and on them the letters of their names written. The first two letters made in one type, of "E" and "L"
[combined into a single letter]. They made reverences to Michael (who called the first and these) and so mounted up to heavenward.
Crowley's addresses to the readers of his poems include some of his most playful and dishonest presentations of himself. About the long poem Orpheus
he recounts in Confessions how he wrote most of it while traveling around the world, beginning the work while staying in San Francisco (mostly in Chinatown) in 1901. "For some time," he writes in chapter 26, "I had been contemplating a lyric poem in which everything in the world should be celebrated in detail. It was a crazy notion -- one of those fantastic follies which is impossible in nature -- a species of literary 'squaring the circle.' I doubt whether it was a genuine impulse. Its motive was the vanity and vulgarity of attempting something big. It was the American passion for tall buildings and record processions in another form. It was probably my reaction to the spiritual atmosphere of California. In any case, the worst happened. I began it!"
Clouds Without Water was written a few years later, also on several continents, and Crowley remained proud of it as a technical achievement in verse. "It may well be that history will say that Clouds Without Water, a story told in quatorzains, as Alice [an Adultery] is in sonnets, is my supreme lyrical masterpiece." He was especially pleased in later life to hear the Shakespeare scholar Louis Wilkinson declare it "the most tremendous and the most real love poem since Shakespeare's sonnets"(Confessions, chapter 43).
Two Poetical Prefaces
by Aleister Crowley
to the readers of Orpheus
May I who know so bitterly the tedium of this truly dreadful poem be
permitted to warn all but the strongest and most desperate natures from the
task of reading or of attempting to read it? I have spend more than three
years in fits of alternate enthusiasm for, and disgust of, it. My best
friends have turned weeping away when I introduced its name into conversation;
my most obsequious sycophants (including myself) were revolted when I
approached the subject, even from afar.
I began Book I in San Francisco one accursed day of May 1901. I was then a
Qabalist, deeply involved in ceremonial magic, with a Pantheon of Egypto-Christian colour, in fact, the mere bouillon of which my Tannhauser was the
froth. The idea was to do the "biggest thing ever done in lyrics." I bound
myself by an oath to admit no rhyme unless three times repeated; to average
some high percentage of double rhymes -- in brief, to perform a gigantic
juggle with the unhappy English language. The whole of this first book is
technically an ode (!!!) and was so designed. So colossal an example of human
fatuity truly deserves, and shall have, a complete exposure.1
Book I was finished in Hawaii, ere June expired, and Book II begun.
I had just begun to study the Theosophic writings -- their influence,
though slight, is apparent. So intent was I on producing a "big" book that
the whole of my Argonauts was written for the shadow-play by which Orpheus
wins Eurydice to an interest in mortal joys and sorrows. Also -- believe it!
-- I had proposed a similar play in Book III, to be called "Heracles" or
"Theseus," by performance of which Persephone should be moved, or Hades
But luckily I was myself overwhelmed first, and it never got a chance at
Hades. Book II, then, and its Siamese twin, were written in Hawaii, Japan,
China, Ceylon, and South India, where also I began Book III. That also I
finished in the Burmese jungle and at Lamma Sayadaw Kyoung at Akyab.
During this period I was studying the Buddhist law; and its influence on
the philosophy of the poem is as apparent as that of Hinduism on Book II.
The summer of 1902 asked another kind of philosophy -- the kind that goes
with glacier travel in the Mustagh Tagh. Orpheus slept.
Book IV was begun in Cairo on my way to England, and bears marks of
confirmed Buddhism up to the death of Orpheus.
But the more I saw of Buddhism the less I liked it, and the first part of
Book IV is flatly contradicted by its climax.
This is a pitiable sort of confession for a man to make!
What was I to do? I could not rewrite the whole in order to give it a
philosophic unity. Gerald Kelly forcibly prevented me from throwing it into
the river at Marlotte, though he admitted quite frankly that he could not read
even through Book I and did not see how any one could. Tell me, he said,
conjuring the friendship of years, can you read it? Even a poet should be
honest; I confessed that I could not!
Taking it in sections, with relays and an ambulance, we could see no fault
in it, however. It is clumsily built; it is all feet and face; but you cannot
make a monster symmetrical by lopping at him.
Still, we cut down every possible excrescence, doctored up the remains so
as to look as much like a book as possible (until it is examined), and are
about to let it loose on society.
The remaining books all share this fatal lack of Architecture; but they are
not so long; there is some incident, though not much; and they are
proportionately less dull. Further, the scheme is no longer so ambitious, and
the failure is therefore less glaring.
I might have done like Burton and his Kasidah, and kept the MS. for twenty
years (if I live so long), ever revising it. But (a) I should certainly not
live twenty years if I had the accursed manuscript in all sorts and sizes of
type and colour of ink and pencil to stalk my footsteps, and (b) I am
literally not the man who wrote it, and, despise him as I may, I have no right
to interfere with his work.
But I will not be haunted by the ghost of a Banquo that another man has
failed to lay; and this kind of ghost knows but one exorcism.
One should bury him decently in fine fat type, and erect nice boards over
him, and collect the criticisms of an enlightened press, and inscribe them on
Then he is buried beyond resurrection; oblivion takes him, and he will
never haunt the author or anybody else again.
Old Man of the Sea, these three years you have drummed your black misshapen
heels upon me; I have had no ease because of you; I am bepissed and conskited
of your beastliness; and now you are drunk with the idea that you are finished
and perfect, I shall roll you off and beat your brains out upon that hardest
of flints, the head of the British Public. I am shut of thee. Allah forget
thee in the day when he remembereth his friends!
1. Vide the Contents. Can the Spirit of Perversity attribute the
unwieldiness of the structure to its formal symmetry and perfection?
to Clouds Without Water
by the Rev'd C. Verey [Aleister Crowley]
"Receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
So wrote the great apostle nearly two thousand years ago; and surely in
these latter days, when Satan seems visibly loosed upon earth, the words have
a special and dreadful significance even for us who -- thanks be to God for
His unspeakable mercy! -- are washed in the blood of the Lamb and freed from
chains of death -- and of hell.
Surely this terrible history is a true Sign of the Times. We walk in the
last days, and all the abominations spoken of by the apostle are freely
practiced in our midst. Nay! they are even the boast and the defense of that
spectre of evil, Socialism.
The awful drama which the unhappy wretch who penned these horrible
utterances has to unfold is alas! too common. Its study may be useful to us
as showing the logical outcome of Atheism and Free Love.
For the former, death; for the latter, the death-in-life of a frightful,
loathsome, shameful disease.
"Receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet."
It may seem almost incredible to many of us, perhaps safely established in
our comfortable cures, among a simple and Godfearing people, that any man
should have been found to pen the disgusting blasphemies, the revolting
obscenities, which defile these pages.
Nor can it be denied that a certain power of expression, even at times a
certain felicity of phrasing -- always, indeed, a profound dramatic feeling --
is to be found in these poems. Alas! that we should be compelled to write the
words! That an art essentially spiritual, an art dignified by the great names
of Gascoigne Mackie, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, George Herbert,
should here be prostituted to such "ignoble use." Truly the corruption of the
best is the lowest -- corruptio optimi pessima. Nor can one gleam of Hope,
even in the infinite mercy of our loving Father, tinge with gold the leprous
gloom of our outlook.
These clouds without water have no silver lining.
The unhappy man need not have feared that the poor servants of God would
claim him as repentant, though surely we would all have shed the last drop of
our blood to bring him to the grace of God. Alas! it was not to be.
The devilish precautions of this human fiend excluded all such
possibilities. He died as he had lived, no doubt. Alas! no doubt.
Where is now that spotted soul? There is but one appalling answer to the
question. In the "place prepared for the devil and his angels;" for "he that
believeth not is condemned already."
Not even in that modern evasion, the plea of insanity, can we find any
hope. Nothing is clearer than that these wretched victims of Satan were in
full possession of their faculties to the last moment.
Surely the maniacal violence of their unhallowed lust and hate is no ground
for pity but for reprobation. When our blessed Lord was on earth He made no
excuses for those who were possessed of devils. He took this simply as a fact
-- and he healed them.
It is only the shocking atheism and materialism of modern science that, in
an insane endeavour to whittle away the miracles of our blessed Saviour, has
sought to include "possession" in the category of disease.
Our Lord has no doubts as to the reality of demoniacal possession; why
should we, His humble servants, truckle to the Christless cant of an
The facts of this shocking case are familiar enough in the drawing-rooms of
the West End.
Both the characters in the story were persons of considerable education and
On this account, and because a statement of the truth (however guarded)
would have compromised persons of high rank, and was in any case too
disgusting to publish in the press, the tragedy was not -- one is glad to say
in these days of yellow prurience -- become matter for public comment.
But the wife of the man, driven to drink and prostitution by the inhuman
cruelty of his mistress -- this modern worse than Lucrezia Borgia or Mdme de
Brinvilliers -- and the fiancé of the girl betrayed and ruined by her
machinations, still haunt the purlieus of the Strand, the one an unfortunate
of the lowest order, the other a loafer and parasite upon the ghouls that
traffic in human flesh and shame. Thus we see evil reproducing itself, spreading like an incurable cancer throughout society from one germ of infidelity and unhallowed lust.
I may perhaps be blamed for publishing, even in this limited measure, such
filthy and blasphemous orgies of human speech (save the mark) but I am firmly
resolved (and I believe that I have the blessing of God on my work) to awake
my fellow-workers in the great vineyard to the facts of modern existence.
Unblushing, the old Serpent rears its crest to the sky; unashamed, the
Beast and the Scarlet Woman chant the blasphemous litanies of their
Surely the cup of their abominations is nigh full!
Surely we who await the Advent of our blessed Lord are emboldened to trust
that this frenzy of wickedness is a sure sign of the last days; that He will
shortly come -- whose fan is in His hand, wherewith He shall thoroughly purge
His floor -- and take us His saints -- however failing and humble we may be --
to be with Him in His glory for ever and ever, while those who have rejected
Him burn in eternal torment, with wailing and gnashing of teeth, in that Lake
of Fire and Brimstone from which -- thank God! He in His infinite mercy hath
But until that happy day we are bound to work on silently and strenuously
in His service.
May the perusal of these atrocious words enlighten us as to the very
present influence of Satan in this world -- naked and unashamed.
May it show us the full horror of the Enemy with whom we are bound to
fight; may it reveal his dispositions, so that under our great Captain we may
again and again win the Victory.
It is my prayerful hope that He who turns evil to good may indeed use to
His glory even this terrible and wicked book.
It has cost me much to read it; to meditate on it has been a terrible shame
and trial; to issue it, much against my own poor human judgment, in obedience
to His will, has been a still harder task; were it permitted me to ask a
recompense, I would ask none but that of His divine blessing upon my fellow-
labourers in His great field.
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from the Grady Project:
This essay was drafted by Grady for The O.T.O. Newsletter around July 1977 e.v. when that publication was just getting started. Much of its content appeared in a completely rewritten form several months later, as part of a longer essay entitled "Democracy Dodders" in volume one, number three (Berkeley: O.T.O., December 1977). In the published version the work was not credited directly to Grady, for his writing had been thoroughly revised by an initiate who volunteered to edit the Caliph's notes for publication. The awkwardness of Grady seeming too blatantly to blow his own horn, in the opening comments regarding his especially authentic writing style, was overcome by transposing his voice out of the first person, so that the judgment appears to be the result of more objective evaluation. In many other small ways a rhetorical sophistication and an editorial polish were added to the draft, and it was combined with much additional material (for which the original drafts are not available) to make a substantial essay "by Brother Al MacGregor, -- ab op. Fr. H. A. "(the abbreviation means "from the work of" Grady). In reviving the early draft, which its author determined at the time not to be ready for print, the present reader is advised to be mindful of the details and of the tone of these statements, rather than too simply applying the all-too-obvious criticisms of their social and political stance. This note survives on one page of single-spaced, corrected, and patched together typescript, with a penciled notation on top reading: "#3, Democ Dodders" and the date 7-27-77.
The Real Presence of the Caliph
by Grady Louis McMurtry
It has sometimes been remarked that our Rap with the Caliph or Tales My Caliph Told Me have an extraordinary ring of reality. "Here is authenticity,"
is the reaction. Here is someone who has "been there," wherever "there" is.
It is a curious fact that some people are more "real" than others. Castanada
in the Don Juan series goes into the phenomena that there are "forces," as he
calls them, seemingly human beings, but they have no "soul," i.e. they are
incarnated elementals, "angels," circuits, whatever, but they cast no shadow
in the psychic realm. They are incomplete. Or, as Dion Fortune puts it in
Psychic Self-Defense (The Aquarian Press, London, 1970, p. 81), "We must not
allow the human form to mislead us as to the existence of a human soul. A
non-human is a pet animal, not a fellow-creature. That, frankly, is the only
possible ground upon which they can be approached." It provides a curious
puzzle for the political theory of democracy. How does one account for people
who are not "people?" This will become one of the leading problems of the New
We ran into this a long time ago in Thelema. The Book of the Law is quite
specific on the subject, and it would be easy enough to cite chapter and
verse. But this is an essay on history, and you are encouraged to look up the
chapter and verse yourself. Anyway, when I first became involved with old
Agape Lodge on Winona Boulevard in Hollywood in the late 'thirties, they were
in the process of publishing a copy of The Book of the Law. A commendable
exercise, certainly. It was a small paperback, and had a blue cover with gold
lettering. It was a completely authentic edition of The Book of the Law in
every respect, for those people -- Wilfred Smith, Regina Kahl, Jane Wolfe, Lew
Carroll, Jack Parsons, etc. -- were dedicated Thelemites; but it did leave one
thing out. Not out of The Book of the Law itself -- they would never have
dared tamper with that -- but out of Aleister Crowley's "Introduction" to The Book of the Law. Before we become too harsh on them for having done so, we
must remember the temper of the times, as I do most vividly. Those were the
days of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Nazis running around in
Europe barbecuing every Jew they could find. It was a time of paranoia, and
one did have to think in terms of survival. So they left a sentence out of
the "Introduction." The first sentence to Chapter 5 of the "Introduction" to
The Book of the Law reads, "Democracy dodders!" This can be verified by
reference to previous editions, or, for that matter, to the manuscript,
facsimile reproductions of which are available with every copy of The Equinox of the Gods that I have ever seen. Why would they do that? Well, quite
obviously they had some idea of surviving the times without being crucified.
Personally I commend their good sense. Times change, however.
Today it is obvious that democracy is on the way out. It was never more
than an accident of history to begin with. It has no roots, in epistemology
of ontology. As a Political Theorist (Master's Degree, Political Theory,
University of California, 1953) I have known this for twenty years. What will
replace it? Quite obviously something more real. Something that recognizes
the validity of psychic phenomena in the universe. People, not "things."
Mankind, not robots. There is a great mystery here. As Crowley says in the
Gnostic Mass, Man-being veiled in woman form.
Or, as we say in the A A,
The aspirants to A A are men; the Brothers of A A are women.
It is going to be a far-out new universe.
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from the Library Shelf
The fifty tales of Masuccio's collection of Novellino (1476) have been one of the more obscure among Aleister Crowley's bibliographical recommendations. Very much in the manner of Boccaccio's Decameron, they recount ordinary incidents in the lives of courtiers and commoners of all sorts in late medieval Italy. The collection is notable for its wide range of erotic situations and variations.
Petruccio & Salvaggia & Augustino & Catrina
The Thirty-Sixth of The Novellino
of Masuccio Salernitano (1415? - 1480?)
translated by W. G. Waters, R.S.W.
At no great distance from this neighbourhood of ours there is situated a
certain spot, one little known and less visited, which, though it is for the
most part inhabited by people of gross and lumpish nature, numbered but a
short time ago amongst its dwellers two young men, the one a miller called
Augustino, and the other a cobbler Petruccio by name. Now betwixt these men,
from their youth up, there had been knit together as great a friendliness and
comradeship as ever existed between the truest friends. Likewise these two
had each one of them married a wife, young and very comely, and between the
women there was in like manner so great and constant familiarity and intimacy
that they were rarely or ever to be seen the one without the other.
Wherefore, passing their lives thus in a state of perfect friendship, it
chanced one day that the cobbler, although his own wife was very fair to look
upon, found the wife of his friend something more to his taste -- longing
peradventure for a change of pasturage. It chanced that on a certain occasion
an opportunity more favourable than usual of getting speech with her was
granted to him; so in becoming manner he made known to her his passion and
what he desired as well. As soon as Caterina, for so the miller's wife was
named, understood the meaning of this request, she put on a little air of
disdain and answered nothing thereto, although in sooth it was but little
displeasing to her. But the first time she chanced to meet with Salvaggia,
the wife of the cobbler, she let her know what amorous propositions Petruccio
her husband had been making; whereupon Salvaggia, the cobbler's leavings as it
were, although mightily disturbed in temper at the story she heard,
nevertheless kept her anger within bounds, and hit upon a plan by which she
might at the same time have vengeance upon her husband and keep intact the
great friendship subsisting between herself and Caterina; so, after having
made answer to her dear friend in many grateful words, she begged her to give
a promise to Petruccio her husband that she would, on some particular night,
wait for him to come to her in her bed, and that, in change for herself, she
should let be in the bed the rascal's own wife. Then they would assuredly
find great sport and pleasure in what would follow. The miller's wife, being
very anxious to humour her friend, agreed to do what she asked; and the result
was that in the course of a few days Petruccio, finding himself alone with
Caterina, preferred to her the same request as before, using stronger persuasion than he had used on the former occasion. After listening to him,
and giving him many and various denials (which forsooth seemed to have but
little heart in them), she showed herself ready to do his will, so that the
trick which had been planned might be duly brought to an issue. Then, having
had a discussion with him as to the when, the where, and the how, the young
woman said, "In sooth I can find no time fitting for such an affair save when
my husband may happen to be busied some night over his work at the mill. Then
I could very well let you come to me while I am abed." To this speech
Petruccio made answer in very joyful wise, "I come just now from the mill,
where there is so large a quantity of grain that two-thirds of the night will
assuredly be spent in the grinding of the same." Hearing this, Caterina said,
"So be it, in God's name. Come, then, between the second and the third hour
of the night [between seven and eight in the evening], when I shall be
awaiting you, and will leave open the door, as I am accustomed to leave it for
my husband. Then, without saying a word of any sort, you must straightway get
into bed. Tell me, however, by what means you will keep clear of your wife,
for I fear her more than I fear death." To this Petruccio made answer, "I
have already hatched a plan as to how I may borrow the ass of my good gossip
the arch-priest, and will tell my wife that I am minded to go away into the
country." Then said she, "In sooth this plan of yours pleases me greatly."
As soon as they had made an end of their colloquy, Petruccio betook himself
to the mill to get due assurance that his comrade had his hands full of
business, and in the meantime Caterina gave to her friend full intelligence as
to the plan which had been arranged. Petruccio, when he had ascertained that
the miller was at work in the mill according to his wont, went back to his
house, and making believe that he was vastly busied over his affairs, told his
wife that he had a mind to go forthwith to Policastro in order to buy some
leather for the workshop. The wife, who knew well enough whither he was
really bound, said to him, "Go at once then;" but laughing to herself she
said, "This time, forsooth, you will find you have bought leather of your own,
instead of skin belonging to another man." Petruccio having made a show of
departure, hid himself in a certain spot in the village, and there tarried,
waiting till the expected hour should come. Caterina, as soon as the night
had fallen, went to the house of Salvaggia, and, according to the plan settled
between them, took up her abode there for the night; while Salvaggia went to
Caterina's house, and having duly got into bed, waited with no little
satisfaction the coming of her husband to that amorous battle which he so
keenly desired, saying to herself many times that, after the business should
be finished, she herself would have something to say.
Petruccio, when it seemed to him that the time was ripe, went with gentle
steps towards his neighbour's house; but, just as he was about to enter
therein, he saw that the miller was coming back home -- the reason for his
return being that the mill, for some cause which he could not determine, had
broken down in such wise that during the present night no work whatever could
be done. On account of this Petruccio was stricken with fear, and, mightily
ill content with this accident, stole back to his own house without having
been seen or heard by anybody, saying to himself the while that, though the
business had miscarried this time, it should be duly dispatched the next
attempt. But because there yet remained to be spent a good part of this night
which had proved so unlucky to him, he began at first softly and then aloud to
knock at the door, and to call out to his wife to open it and let him in.
Caterina, perceiving who it was by the voice, not only refused to open to him,
but furthermore, without answering a word, kept herself as quiet as a mouse,
so as not to let him get wind of the plot that had been laid for him.
Petruccio, being mightily perturbed at this, plied the door so vigorously that
at last he gained entry thereby, and, having gone in, went straight to the
bed; and then, becoming aware of the presence of the woman, who was pretending
to be fast asleep, he shook her by the arm and awakened her. Believing all
the while she was his wife, he compounded a fresh story to account for the
fact that his journey had been abandoned, and, having taken off his clothes, he lay down beside her. And seeing that he had already prepared himself for
action, he set himself now to consider whether, after he had been frustrated
in his plan of tilling his neighbour's vineyard, he might not as well do a
stroke of work in his own. Wherefore, deeming that of a surety he had fast
hold of his Salvaggia, he took Caterina in his arms and gave her a valorous
proof of his powers, which the poor woman bore with due show of pleasure and
patience in order to make him believe that she was in sooth his wife.
In the meantime the miller, who had gone back wearily and with lagging
steps to his house, and had laid himself down in his bed in order to get some
sleep, lay quite immovable without uttering a word. Salvaggia, being well
assured that it was her husband who was with her, gave him a gladsome
reception, keeping quite silent the while; and, after she had waited for some
time without finding the lover in the way of giving any sign that he was
disposed for the battle, began to handle him amorously in order that she might
not be mocked and befooled in the business she had undertaken. The miller,
believing that he was abed with his wife, although he felt more need of a good
night's rest than any desire of skirmishing of this sort, when he felt her
lustful bitings and dallyings was stirred to get to work, and duly set going
the mill which was not his own. Now when it appeared to the cobbler's
neglected wife that the time had come for her to let forth the angry words she
had prepared, she broke the silence and took him to task in these words: "Ah!
deceitful rogue, disloyal dog that you are! Who was it you deemed you were
holding in your arms, the wife of your best friend, in whose field you thought
this night to spend your labour, for the sake of friendship, peradventure?
Here indeed you have gone to work with far more spirit than is your wont,
proving yourself to be a man of mettle, while at home you are ever short of
breath. But, God be thanked, this time you have missed the prize you dreamt
of, and all the same I will take good care that you smart for your sins." And
with discourse like this, and with words still more injurious, she importuned
him and demanded his answer.
The poor miller, although he was one dumb-stricken when he learned the
condition of affairs, understood nevertheless clearly enough, as soon as he
caught the meaning of her words, that the woman abed with him was no other
than the wife of his good friend. However, divining exactly how the matter
had come to pass, the pleasure which he had felt heretofore was quickly turned
into sorrow; but, by dint of resolutely keeping silence, he withdrew himself
from her side, and, for the reason that it was not daylight, he made his way
with all speed to the spot where he deemed for certain he would find his own
wife. Having arrived there and called for his friend, bidding him come down
on account of a pressing matter, Petruccio went forth, albeit mightily
distrustful, and him the miller at once addressed in these terms: "Good
brother of mine, it comes from your fault alone that we both of us have
suffered injury, and have been put to shame, and have met with a mishap of a
sort which renders it more seemly on our part to keep silence than to speak,
while there is assuredly no need to being about a quarrel over the same."
Then, with no small chagrin, the miller set forth the whole story in due
order to his friend, giving him full description as to how everything had
happened; adding, as his own judgment thereanent, that as Fortune had shown
herself propitious to the cunning and malice of their wives, she had likewise
shown no disposition to vent her spite upon themselves by letting happen
anything which might bring to naught, or even lessen, their friendship, which
had lasted so many years. He further went on to say that the mishap which had
just befallen them through trickery might, through the rectification of the
late lamentable error, be made to serve the common agreement and pleasure of
all four of them, and that, as in times past they had possessed all their
goods in common, so in the future they should likewise enjoy the possession of
one another's wives. Petruccio, perceiving what was the wise determination of
his good friend, and remembering that he himself had already taken his
pleasure with the woman who was his special fancy, and that the whole affair
was in a way to find an issue in goodwill and charity, came to the conclusion that it would be vastly more profitable to him to keep his friend, whom he
might well have lost on account of this slip of his, than the mere esteem of
the world (which, as may be seen in this our time, sells itself as if it were
a thing of little worth, or even barters itself away like goods of the basest
sort.) Wherefore, putting on a pleasant face, he affirmed that he was fully
content with the plan which the miller had already formed in his mind for
their common convenience and for the lasting peace and quiet of both their
And thus, having called to Caterina and bidden her not to go away, they
made it known to her that she was not the only one who had been tricked, and
gave her directions to go and summon Salvaggia forthwith. And when they were
once more all come together, they let it be clearly known what had been the
consequence of the attempted fraud, and how great would prove to be the boon
of peace and quiet agreed upon and established between them all by the happy
alliance just concluded, which thing seemed to all present to be most
excellent for many and divers reasons. Thus, from this time forward, neither
in the matter of their wives, nor in the matter of their goods of any kind
whatsoever, was any distinction recognized between the two friends, and the
agreement was carried out in such manner that the only parents the children
knew for their very own were their mothers.
(London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1895)
volume 2, pages 188-93
Without doubt there will be found some to hold up to derision the bargain
concluded between these two friends in the fashion which I have just described
-- men who set greater store on their friendship than on their common honour.
Nevertheless, I suspect that in the sight of those who may come after us (if
Heaven should not in the meantime work vast changes), this aforesaid honour,
which today is held in high esteem and lauded by virtuous folk alone, will
come to such a pass that, overwhelmed with universal contempt, it will not
only be held a thing of no account, but will even be chased to the uttermost
parts of the earth into a perpetual exile. However, this is an affair which I
will leave to posterity, merely saying that if two other noble companions,
concerning whom I am minded to write, had, while commending their loves to a
certain gentle maiden, taken as an example compact made between these two
clownish country fellows, there would have not ensued such grevious strife,
nor would so many people have died thereby, which things you shall hear of in
the story I will now gladly relate to you.
The End of the Thirty-sixth Novel.
Previous from the Library Shelf Next from the Library Shelf
Thelema Lodge Events Calendar for February 2003 e.v.
|2/1/03||Midwinter Enochian ritual with|
Michael. 7PM at Horus Temple
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/1/03||Chinese New Year of the Goat|
|2/2/03||Golden Topaz ritual 11:11AM||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/2/03||Pentagram seminar with Br. Matt|
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/2/03||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/3/03||Feast of Brigid (at 10PM)|
Candlemas ritual at Grace North
Church with Leigh-Ann at 8:30PM
|2/5/03||Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian|
with Charles 8PM in the library
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/7/03||Mid-winter picnic for BRIGID|
Sibley Park in the Oakland hills
|2/9/03||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/11/03||The Rite of the Conch 8:00PM|
at Horus Temple. Potluck after.
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/12/03||Magical forum 8PM: "Understanding is|
Transcendent" a philosophical
enquiry with Nathan in the library
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/14/03||Feast of Saint Valentine|
|2/16/03||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/17/03||Section II reading group with|
Caitlin: Masuccio's Novellino
(Italian stories) 8PM in the library
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/19/03||Heptarchia Mystica, Enochian|
with Charles 8PM in the library
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/21/03||Pathworking with Paul. 8PM|
in Horus Temple
|(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/23/03||Forum on EGC Baptism 4:18PM||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
|2/23/03||Gnostic Mass 7:30PM Horus Temple||(510) 652-3171||Thelema Ldg.|
The viewpoints and opinions expressed herein are the responsibility of the
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