Tag Archives: liber CCXX

The Commentaries of AL

The Commentaries of AL, Volume V No 1 of what is sometimes called the Red Equinox, by Aleister Crowley and another (Marcelo Ramos Motta), the 1975 first edition hardcover from Weiser Books, is part of the collection at the Reading Room.

Marcelo Ramos Motta and Aleister Crowley's The Commentaries of AL from Weiser Books

Unfortunately not in great shape, and without the dust cover, but this much maligned Motta commentary on Liber AL vel Legis, The Book of the Law is still an interesting addition to the collection.

If anyone with a physical copy of this that still has the dust cover would let me know what the inside flap for this book has to say, if anything, about itself, I’d much appreciate hearing from you so I could add that information to this post.

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

My Life with the Fill Kill Kult

You may have felt a tremor within the normally calm and placid Thelemic community lately over the words “fill” and kill” as they appear, or not, in the Book of the Law, Chapter III Verse 37. I’ve seen a number of people arrive on the site and blog looking for information about a recent proposed textual change in this core Thelemic document. I thought I’d pull together some notes and references about this for those who might be interested in reading such things in context or who are curious. I also ramble a bit, which rambles are, of course, nothing more than my own thoughts, occurring to me at this particular time …

Unicursal Fill Me Kill Me poster
FILL ME KILL ME

News

Embedded in a recent April 10, 2013 update (the previous update was posted back in June 2008!) to the international Ordo Templi Orientis news pages was a comment about some marginalia in a copy of the 1909 single-volume edition of ΘΕΛΗΜΑ (Thelema, or The Holy Books of Thelema) acquired from a significant James Thomas Windram Accession:

… the book includes several early comments on verses of Liber Legis (a few of which are important), as well as a very important text correction to Liber CCXX III:37 which resolves a longstanding textual difference between three sources: (1) the versification of the Stèle of Revealing from a now-lost vellum notebook, which was published with the reading “kill me!” in The Equinox I(7) (1912) and The Equinox of the Gods (1936); (2) a quotation (“fill me!”) given in a pencil note to Liber XXXI, the MS. of Liber AL, giving directions for the extent of the quotation to be inserted from a contemporary vellum notebook; and (3) the editions of Liber Legis published by Crowley, all of which gave “fill me!”. In this copy Crowley’s marginal holograph note clearly corrects “fill me!” to “kill me!” in the text of Liber CCXX.

Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.) News

So, look for the next edition of The Holy Books of Thelema to include this change and perhaps some additional notes derived from the newly available marginalia from that acquisition. And, there were a number of interesting bits about other pending publications in that new update, so it’s great to have something like this textual change to distract people from that, especially since this offers a nice change from the generally unanswered constant complaints about various books being out of print or unavailable.

Provenance

The speed at which this change has rippled around the community is pretty striking, and also very familiar.

Recently, for example, in the last year, there was a document being called “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” which was put forth as being written historical evidence that referenced a wife of Jesus. Of course, the saga of that fragment of papyrus was one of rapid fame that was steadily eroded by the work of a number of careful and considered critics. (That is actually a very interesting saga, if you didn’t keep track of it. It is also an example of the kind of similar things that happen periodically.)

What has been presented so far is a textual statement about what does seem to be solid provenance accompanied by some rather poor photographs in which it was largely impossible to see any details. I’m not saying that the evidence presented is faked as I’m in no position to know one way or the other. Certainly, I tend to believe the statement of a respected Crowley scholar and the head of an order in which I am a member about his belief in regard to the item and the details of the provenance, but it is important to remember that even experts can be mistaken.

But, with that said, I’m of the mind to assume that the marginal note is genuine and go from there. I just wanted to point these reasonable academically-minded considerations out to those who tend to leap on such news without being careful about it.

Equinox I / The Temple of Solomon the King / Equinox of the Gods

If one looks at Equinox I vii, one will find that in The Priest from the serialization of The Temple of Solomon the King, this verse of Crowley poetry appears with the final line, “Aum! let it kill me!”:

I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veiled sky,
The self-slain Ankh-f-n-Khonsu
Whose words are truth. I invoke, I greet
Thy presence, o Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee: —
I, I adore thee!

Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! let it kill me!

The Priest in The Temple of Solomon the King

This is the version which I used for the poem on the page about the Stèle of Revealing, so the version that appears there has read “kill” for some time both in print and on the site.

This final line is also in the text of the book Equinox of the Gods, largely a reprinting of the relevant parts of The Temple of Solomon the King. Previously, the version of Liber AL vel Legis that was part of the Equinox of the Gods pages on the library site was elided in favour of pointing people to other pages, but I have now restored this specific version from the old text files, so there now appears there that full version of Liber AL vel Legis using the word “kill” and I will finish formatting it soon for improved presentation.

The Holy Books of Thelema & c.

In many printed versions of The Book of the Law: Liber Al Vel Legis (such as the 2004 centennial edition, and others) and in The Holy Books of Thelema, edited by Hymenaeus Beta, published in 1983 as Equinox III ix, the text of Liber CCXX, Chapter III 37 [also] appears with the final line “Aum! let it fill me!”:

I adore thee in the song—

I am the Lord of Thebes, and I
The inspired forth-speaker of Mentu;
For me unveils the veilèd sky,
The self-slain Ankh-af-na-khonsu
Whose words are truth. I invoke, I greet
Thy presence, O Ra-Hoor-Khuit!

Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the gods and death
To tremble before Thee:—
I, I adore thee!

Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! let it fill me!

This is the version that has been generally, until now, preferenced at the library, for the most part. And, since it is the version that appears in the Technical Libers of Thelema directory, it has been signified as the canonical version, of the several across the site. The two primary versions of this text that appear on the site, both in the Aleister Crowley and Liber Legis sections, were proofed by me recently against the 1983 edition of The Holy Books of Thelema and thus tend to conform to that rendering. Both of these currently show “fill” for III 37.

Manuscript

In Equinox I x there were facsimile versions of the manuscript pages from which the typescripts have been produced. Of course, as instructed in the Book of the Law itself, the images of these manuscript pages should be included with any typed text. I have versions of the manuscript for Liber XXXI both with my own transcription (which I did as a personal project) and a version without transcription. Also, there is a transcription over in the Eidelons of Ash as well.

MS of Liber Legis, Chapter 3 page 10
MS of Liber Legis, Chapter 3 page 10

37 I adore thee in the song
“I am the Lord of Thebes” & c from vellum book
Unity –
— “fill me”

MS chapter 3, page 10 – AL (Liber Legis)

So, the actual manuscript of the Book of the Law does not include more than the suggestion of the first and last couple words from the section of poem intended, but rather includes it by reference from a now lost vellum notebook. However, you will note that this does mean, even if the rest of the poem isn’t, “fill me” is in the manuscript. On that same manuscript page appear both initial ‘f’ and ‘k’ glyphs to which this can be compared, if one is curious about that.

The Comment

One of the amusing twists to this is that The Comment, or the Tunis Comment, would appear to clearly warn us away, and perhaps inoculate us, from this very kind of centum-satem struggle over textual interpretation that might lead to schism or in-fighting, but what if, as in this case, the actual text to which one might appeal is itself in question?

All questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.

The Comment

The Old and New Comment

No comment by Crowley really has much to say about the verse in question, and one might take a message from that, or no. The Old Comment is just a note that these lines come from the Stèle, which is perhaps important to saying that the poetry is not integral to the text of the book itself.

“36-38. Mostly translations from the stele.” [via]

The New Comment does offer at least some additional reflection and sense to the verse.

“Stanza 3 suggests the Rosicrucian Benediction:
May thy Mind be open unto the Higher!
May thy Heart be the centre of Light!
May thy Body be the Temple of the Rosy Cross!” [via]

Of the three stanzas in this verse of the book, the end of stanza 3 is exactly the place in question, so this comment is particularly relevant in offering a sense of the words; and, one can decide for themselves if the comment or the notion of a Rosicrucian Benediction suggest a sense more suited to “fill” or “kill” in the last line.

D

The Djeridensis, or D, Comment on the Book of the Law is particularly terse in relation to the third chapter:

“The first two chapters of this Book describe Ideas without limit; the third concerns a fixed Event due to one union of them, namely the coming of

HERU-RA-HA.

The contents of the chapter are instructions to those who are to govern His Aeon in His Name; and these rulers will appeal to me The Beast 666 for a comment upon the text when need is.” [via]

The suggestion here appears that the third chapter is about “union” and thus, perhaps, particularly relevant and reflective to the way that something as seemingly simple as a word change can create division and conflict.

The Translations

In addition to checking out the various Crowley comments, I had the idea to check out the translations of the Stèle to see if there was something interesting there to add. Crowley had a translation done of the Stèle and a newer, more up to date translation was done as part of The Holy Books of Thelema, Equinox III ix. Those may be interesting to take a look at, but, unfortunately, from my reading neither offer clear source for the section of Crowley’s poem in question. The section of the poem where this change occurs seems to be one derived from something other than the direct text of the Stèle itself; and thus the Stèle text does not seem to offer a clear reference tending to support one or the other word in the Crowley poem.


Unicursal My Life With The Fill Kill Kult poster

MY LIFE WITH THE FILL KILL KULT

A is Not A

One of the complications that makes this minor textual change of a single word such a potentially big deal is that the wording in question appears in relation to a “Class A” document.

As previous noted, the poetry pre-existed the reception of the Book of the Law. The poetry was only included by reference within the actual manuscript. Including the entire poem within any subsequent typescript was itself an innovation and change over the hand-written manuscript.

One document classification for Thelemic text is “Class A”, or Holy Books of Thelema, and the description of this classification should help make clear why just the idea of making a change, even without considering that the Book of the Law also contains an internal proscription against changes.

“Class “A” consists of books of which may be changed not so much as the style of a letter: that is, they represent the utterance of an Adept entirely beyond the criticism of even the Visible Head of the Organization.” — A Syllabus of the Official Instructions of the A∴A∴

Therefore, a “Class A” document is intended as inviolate and unchangeable. Typically, both Liber CCXX and Liber XXXI are classified as “Class A” documents as released by A∴A∴.

However, even if one were to take the typescript text of the Book of the Law as a “Class A” document issued under the authority of A∴A∴, like the various other cases where one class of document co-exists with others, it might be important to recognize that the poetry is not directly included in Liber Legis, except by transclusion. One might consider the poetry from the Stèle to be something other than “Class A”, and not particularly, therefore, immune to changes either by virtue of being “Class A” or even, since it was not, by direct inclusion in the Book of the Law itself self-protected from change.

The Wisdom of Robert C Stein

I’m also reminded here of Bob Stein’s presentation at NOTOCON VII, “Liber XXXI and Liber CCXX, Liber L, The Book of the Law“, which leads me to the suggestion that it is, perhaps, not even Liber CCXX which is Class A, but rather only the actual manuscript, Liber XXXI, which should be considered Class A. Thus, the poem from the Stèle is clearly excluded from protection from changes by any virtue of classification as Class A or as part of Liber Legis, since it would be neither.

Somewhat facetiously, the other day, I joked to someone that perhaps Thelemites should have Books of the Law with only the reproductions of the manuscript and not the typescript at all …

Atemporal Truth

One of the interesting tendencies that I think I’ve noticed in this recent turn of events is a kind of anachronistic memory hole where an instant event is taken to colour every other moment in time. The one thing that the news from O.T.O. suggests is that at the time of the marginal note, in what purports to be the handwriting of Crowley, there was a correction to the printed text. This, in and of itself, is a fact, not a proof. It is evidence used to derive a conclusion. The conclusion that seems to be most quickly announced is that any deviation from the handwritten correction was a typo, or mistake; whether before or after that moment in time the note was made.

I thought I’d like to see a bit of a timeline of when things where one way or the other, so I quickly sketched out for myself a list of just a couple points in time. From the evidence, here’s a few not-exhaustive points in time with corresponding statements that can be made about this particular line of text.

1904 ??? in the missing and presumed lost vellum notebook
1904 “fill” in Liber Legis MS
1909 “fill” in Thelema / The Holy Books of Thelema
aft 1909 – bef 1913 “fill” hand corrected via marginal note to “kill” in THELEMA
1912 “kill” in The Priest from The Temple of Solomon the King, Eq I vii
1936 “kill” in The Equinox of the Gods
1983 “fill” in The Holy Books of Thelema, Equinox III ix

However, during these period there are also attested contemporaneous oral teaching that has delivered the text of the poem as “fill” for over 40 years, even during periods when textual evidence might suggest otherwise.

But, it does appear that during Aleister Crowley’s lifetime the text changed at least once from “fill” to “kill” after 1909 and before 1913. It also appears that there was after his death a change from “kill” to “fill” after 1936 and before 1983.

Curiously, the person who was in charge of many of the posthumous editions of Crowley’s work during the period when this seems to have entered publication is now pointing out this change as a mistake. So, for context, this recent change may be a form of admission of a mistake, and understood as the natural and normal attempt to correct the text based on developing understanding of facts.

We have always been at war with Eastasia

What seems clear to me from the timeline is that this particular text was at no time “always” one way or the other. There are multiple points in time, some while Crowley was alive and some after his death, when this particular line changed in the published texts. To consider either “fill” or “kill” to have always been the case would be a mistake and hyperbole.

Respect Ma Authoritah!

Another complication to this particular issue is one of authority. In some ways, the long-standing question of authority within the Thelemic community, which has seemed to cool and calm a bit in the last few years, is merely exacerbated by this recent development, but changing anything about a core, one could say the core, document in a tradition is liable to irritate wounds that have not fully healed.

The issue of authority that I’ve heard might be summed up by pointing out that the Book of the Law, Liber Legis, was released under the authority of Crowley’s esoteric teaching order A∴A∴. The Outer Head of the Order, O.H.O., who is currently Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta, is charge of O.T.O. internationally and is also the Crowley scholar who’s authored the news announcement making the discovery and apparently decision about the authoritative reading of “kill” over “fill” … only technically he’s not in charge of A∴A∴. Although, to be sure, there has been a generally close relationship between O.T.O. and the A∴A∴ as presenting itself publicly via outercol.org. However, only a little research will surface how the question of authority over A∴A∴ is in various degrees of dispute, as, historically, so too with O.T.O. itself. And, although O.T.O. was given the copyrights, that doesn’t necessarily also give the organizational authority over the spirit of them.

So, the announcement about the authoritative reading of “kill” was by someone other than in direct and clear authority over documents that were released under the auspices of A∴A∴, and exactly who could be that authority could be seen as in dispute.

Litmus Test of Loyalty

One of the most disturbing aspects of these current events, at least for me, is the degree of exuberance with which partisans on either extreme have had in their leaping to the ramparts on this issue. Unfortunately as disturbing as it may be, it is by equal measure not at all surprising.

This seems to have become a kind of loyalty test, and one where differences of opinion are taken to be failures of moral character. This leads to both direct, indirect and internalized censoring of ideas and thoughts in the community. Authoritarian control over ideas is one of the core criteria on schedules designed to identify dangerous cults, so there seems to me a slippery slope forming under some people’s feet.

And, I’ve already heard disturbing rumours of people being told by some authority, or someone purporting to represent authority, not to post or “like” certain things on social networks … I’ve personally experienced back channel harassment from certain antagonistic members who, desperate to assume some importance, take it upon themselves to represent their opinion as that of others, or of some authority, and that’s bad enough; but, it seems entirely another matter if actual authority is being used to silence people …

Reactionary Antagonists

Whether it’s reactionary haters or reactionary loyalists, there seem to be many of the same sectarian lines being drawn on this issue as there are on any issue whatsoever. The reactionary factions and sectarians can all agree to duel to the death, for all I care, and I kinda wish they would, but somewhere isolated I hope. However, there also seem to be normally reasonable people becoming upset as well, not to mention the rest caught in the middle.

One aspect of this that touches closely to home for me is that as the librarian of Hermetic Library no matter what I do about maintaining the site both extreme sides will take issue. There’s a few voices who will slag the library any chance they get, of course, and rationalize their consuming hatred in some fashion when presenting it to others in an attempt to make themselves seem reasonable; when the core of it is a pattern of abuse not directly connected to any particular issue. So, to them I really don’t need to respond nor on them do I particularly care to waste energy; because they’ll continue their pattern of behaviour no matter what.

For everyone else, my current stance is that I’ve several places where I maintain at the library versions with “kill” and several where I maintain “fill”. The documents where these appear, respectively, are those in which they appear in the timeline I previous outlined. And, to that end, one of the things I’ve done is to restore the text of Liber AL vel Legis that was part of the Equinox of the Gods pages, where it previously had not been included in favour of a link to another location on the site.

Suggestions

So, from what I’ve described it should be clear that the typescript has changed over the years, and bodies of practice have been developed around various versions, regardless of what at any one time the typescript has suggested or no. Therefore, for one’s personal practice it seems primarily a matter of choice. In the same way that there are multiple version of the Gnostic Mass, published at different times with various differences; so too is the versification of the Stèle something which has changed from time to time.

One of the main places where this versifaction is used is in the practice of Liber Resh. There are already, even without this issue, variations in the celebration of Liber Resh including which grade signs are used and in how or if one composes oneself to holy meditation; not to mention the minor variations of timing and so forth. The versioning of the Stèle versification is just one more variation among many others in the overall tradition.

Another example of a bit of poetry that is transcluded within another document is within the Gnostic Mass. The first and father Anthem for the Gnostic Mass is not only from but is modified from how it appears in the play, The Ship. Not only is this included in modified form, but is also replaceable by another anthem, if one has permission to do so, but there are already variations on the words used introduced by local bodies, based on the premise that the transcluded poetry of the Anthem is not a canonical part of the Gnostic Mass, and, therefore one will often hear some mixture of people who say “Glory and worship be to Thee” and others “Glory and worship unto Thee” in almost any celebration. Anyhow, my point is, there’s an example of differences, from the original and from versions, in a transcluded poetry coexisting in the overall tradition.

I suggest that it is both true that the “Class A” manuscript says “fill” and at the same time that the poetic rendering of the Stèle has been at various times “fill” or “kill”.

It seems to me those who take an immovable stand on the issue one way or the other are probably using this issue as an excuse for something else, as an ersatz catalyst for a conflict they were already feeling and needed some way to rationalize their expression. I mean this of both those who are reactionary naysayers as well as those who are reactionary advocates. A plague on both your houses.

One might even point out the rest of the poem from the Stèle as it appears in Chapter III Verse 37 and suggest this is an opportunity for “Unity uttermost showed!”, supported by the overall synthesis of points of view in the 3rd chapter, in the spirit of union; this is not a time to get stuck in 1st or 2nd chapter extremes, unable to grow up or out of ego and into a New Aeon.

Independence
Is still important for us though (we realise)
It’s easy to make
The stupid mistake
Of letting go (do you know what I mean)

My weaknesses
You know each and every one (it frightens me)
But I need to drink
More than you seem to think
Before I’m anyone’s
And you know

It’s a question of lust
It’s a question of trust
It’s a question of not letting
What we’ve built up
Crumble to dust
It is all of these things and more
That keep us together

— Depeche Mode

Liber AL vel Legis

Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews The Book of the Law: Liber Al Vel Legis by Aleister Crowley:

Aleister Crowley's The Book of the Law

 

“FRATER PERDURABO composed His talisman by invoking His Holy Guardian Angel according to the Sacred Magick of Abramelin the Mage. That Angel wrote on the lamen the Word of the Aeon. The Book of the Law is this writing. To this lamen the Master Therion gave life by devoting His own life thereto. We may then regard this talisman, the Law, as the most powerful that has been made in the world’s history, for previous talismans of the same type have been limited in their scope by conditions of race and country.”

This book “is the Interpretation of the Secret Will of Man on every Plane of his By-coming.”

P.S. “The study of this Book is forbidden.” [via]

 

 

The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.

Credo the webseries trailer

 

Credo the webseries trailer is a video for a project that appears from their social network page to have begun work on actually filming episodes. The trailer dialogue quotes The Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis, I 15, “and in his woman called the Scarlet Woman is all power given” but also has a rather angry man in what appears to be a pulpit or witness stand shouting a radical misquote: “People do what they will. That is the whole of the law!” So, you know, it seems like this is going down a lazy path into sensational boogeyman territory with a storyline based on crazy people and panicky straw man interpretations of esoteric ideas, or some such.

But, maybe they can pull it out of the nose dive and avoid another Chemical Wedding fiasco. Or, at least, make it clear in the narrative that the character is mistaken. How interesting would it be if the next line of dialogue has the seemingly stuffy and square old man in the trailer turn out to be rational enough to point out the misquote and hip-check the nutter? “You know, that is not what the Book of the Law actually says, and I’d encourage you to read Aleister Crowley’s comments on the topic, because you may find that enlightening in regard to the difference between ‘want’ and ‘Will’. Also, anger management much?”

Anyhow, this is a project I’ve noticed before, and was quite sure I’d mentioned though I cannot now find where (maybe it’s an old social post not added back to the blog yet), so I thought I’d point this out and also that they are actually casting now and appear to be getting this series filmed. I half think I should suggest that if you’re an actual Thelemite in the Colchester Essex area, you could try an audition and stealthily get someone on the inside who can at least activate the autopilot in time to avoid a wreck …

“An original supernatural thriller webseries being independently produced in Colchester Essex. Created by Will Wright and written by Tobias Bowman” [via]

Overthrowing the Old Gods

Overthrowing the Old Gods: Aleister Crowley and the Book of the Law by Don Webb, from Inner Traditions, is scheduled to be published on Oct 15, 2013.

Don Webb's Overthrowing the Old Gods from Inner Traditions

“New commentaries on Aleister Crowley’s Book of the Law reveal how it is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths

• Examines each line of the Book of the Law in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, Gurdjieff’s teachings, and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought

• Explores Crowley’s identification with the First Beast of Revelations as well as his adoption of the Loki archetype for becoming a vessel of love for all humanity

• Recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation

• Includes commentary on the Book of the Law by Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996

Received by Aleister Crowley in April 1904 in Cairo, Egypt, the Book of the Law is the most provocative record of magical working in several hundred years, affecting not only organizations directly associated with Crowley such as the Ordo Templi Orientis but also modern Wicca, Chaos Magic, and the Temple of Set.

Boldly defying Crowley’s warning not to comment on the Book of the Law, Ipsissimus Don Webb provides in-depth interpretation from both Black and White Magical perspectives, including commentary from Dr. Michael A. Aquino, who served as High Priest of the Temple of Set from 1975 to 1996. Webb examines each line of the Book in the light of modern psychology, Egyptology, existentialism, and competing occult systems such as the teachings of G. I. Gurdjieff and contemporary Left-Hand Path thought. Discarding the common image of Crowley formulated in a spiritually unsophisticated time when the devotee of the Left-Hand Path was dismissed as a selfish evil doer, Webb unveils a new side of Crowley based on his adoption of the Loki archetype and his aim to become a vessel of love for all humanity. In so doing, he shows how the Book of the Law is connected to both Right- and Left-Hand Paths and reveals how Crowley’s magical path of mastery over the self and Cosmos overthrew the gods of old religion, which had kept humanity asleep to dream the nightmare of history.

Providing in-depth analysis of Crowley’s sources and his self-identification with the First Beast of Revelations from a profound esoteric perspective, Webb takes his views out of the Golden Dawn matrix within which he received the Book of the Law and radically recasts the Cairo Working as a text of personal sovereignty and a relevant tool for personal transformation.” [via]

A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, 1967 to 1973, Part I

Aiden Kelly discusses Aleister Crowley, Ordo Templi Orientis, and more in a post at A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, 1967 to 1973, Part I. The post discusses the history Ordo Templi Orientis, particularly in California during the time of Grady McMurtry, and also mentions in passing the events detailed in Tom Whitmore’s Raiders of the Lost Basement.

“During the 13 years that McMurtry, using the name Hymenaeus Alpha, oversaw the OTO, it revived, grew, and expanded. His chapter held regular, well-attended meetings in the East Bay. Its history did not intersect with that of the NROOGD until about 1974, when both Glenn Turner and Chandria from Glenn’s coven, Allan Moonbloode from Isis Rising and Silver Star, plus Witches from several other traditions, were active in it. Chandria subsequently founded the Nuit-Urania coven, practicing what she called “Thelemic Wicca,” a blend of OTO and NROOGD practices. This NROOGD variant subsequently spread into the Pacific Northwest, under the leadership of Vandimir and Lady Jezebel.

Grady McMurtry passed over on July 12, 1985, at age 66. After McMurtry’s death, the IXth grade members of the OTO elected his successor, who has chosen to be known publicly only as Hymenaeus Beta and who moved the international headquarters of the OTO to New York City. However, rivals appeared, claiming to be Crowley’s true successors. It is unusual for members of an occult organization to turn to the legal system to settle a dispute, but that is what happened. In decisions in 1985 and 1988, the United States Supreme Court ruled that McMurtry had been Crowley’s only legal successor, basing its decision not only on McMurtry’s letters from Crowley, but also on the fact that the original manuscript of Crowley’s Book of the Law had been found in a box in a basement in Berkeley, albeit under suspicious circumstances.” [via]

Liber AL I.13

 

Liber AL I.13 by Zero Kama from The Goatherd And The Beast

“Based upon a verse from Aleister Crowley’s Liber Al vel Legis or “The Book of the Law”. This track is the only remaining part of a later abandoned project in which Zero Kama intended to set Crowley’s Liber Al to music. Recorded in 1986 by Michael Dewitt (Voice, Shenai), Muki Pakesch (guitar) and Martin Wich (bassdrum). First published on the 1987 double LP compilation Q.E.D. by the N.L.Centrum Amsterdam” [via]

 

“I am above you and in you. My ecstasy is in yours. My joy is to see your joy.” — Liber AL vel Legis, Ch I, 13

NOTOCON IX: Neither East nor West

The website of the 2013 biennial National Ordo Templi Orientis conference for OTO in the US has been announced, so you may be interested in checking that out. The upcoming ninth conference is in Sacramento, CA on Aug 9 – 11, 2013. Of course, the conference is open to initiates only; but there’s time enough for that if you are interested. Although this is just the initial bit of information about the upcoming conference, you can gander through past conference sites to get an idea of the kind of presentations and events that will likely happen this time around as well.

“The NOTOCON IX Onsite Team invite you to join with Brothers and Sisters from around the country (and a few from around the world) for Ordo Templi Orientis U.S.A.’s ninth biennial national convention, to be held August 9 – August 11, 2013 e.v. in Sacramento, California.

Our theme for 2013 e.v. is ‘Neither East nor West.’ No, we’re not referring to our physical location (which is decidedly West Coast)! This is a paraphrase from Liber AL, Chapter 1, verse 56: ‘Expect him not from the East, nor from the West, for from no expected house cometh that child. Aum! All words are sacred and all prophets true, save only that they understand a little…’

The true meaning of this verse will not be discussed here (so as not to become a ‘centre of pestilence!’) but we’re taking the verse as inspiration to explore the currents of thought flowing into Thelema from sources East and West: Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Voudoun, Christianity, Islam, Judaism (and mystical variants of these such as Sufism and Qabalah), medieval alchemy, martial arts, religion and magick of North and South America, Australia, and Africa. Thelema is a syncretic tradition. In the true spirit of ‘The aim of religion, the method of science,’ Thelemites from Crowley and on have studied every mystical and magical tradition available; taken what worked, and left the rest. This convention will celebrate the great diversity and depth of the traditions from which Thelema has drawn.” [via]

The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life

You may be interested in The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life by Robert C. Stein, available from Weiser Antiquarian Books.

The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life is an important new contribution to Thelemic studies. It begins with an examination and analysis of the “Class A” texts of the Thelemic canon, with special emphasis on the manuscript and symbolism of The Book of the Law. The author, Robert Stein, reminds us that the prophet of Thelema, Aleister Crowley, declared that the manuscript of The Book of the Law (Liber XXXI) was unequivocally the first and final authority above all other Thelemic literature. He surveys the mysteries and questions it poses, and encourages his readers not just to rely on a typeset version of the text, but also to study a copy of the manuscript, so as to derive a direct and personal understanding from it. He then examines the symbolism of Thelema by comparison to archetypal messages expressed historically through god-forms, kabalah, trigrams (I Ching), Tree of Life models, and alphabets. Stein further proposes a three-dimensional Tree of Life, relates it to Tarot and the paths in Liber 231. The model originates in Liber Trigrammaton and the Cube of Space, but while based on historical material, it approaches the symbolism from a fresh perspective. The Mystery of the Letters and The Tree of Life is not an “introductory work” or a “beginner’s guide,” but a serious and challenging study of a complex subject.

The author, Robert C. Stein, is a Professor Emeritus of Biology in the NY State University System, whose involvement in the study and practice of Thelema spans three decades and travels in five continents. In writing this study he has, as far as possible, approached the texts from a scientific and logical viewpoint, and in most instances has included facsimile excerpts of the pertinent material illustrating the basis of his thought.”

 

I had the chance to attend a presentation by Bob Stein back in 2009 at the seventh National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference (NOTOCON VII), and he has some strong opinions and interesting ideas about the Book of the Law as it appears in both Liber CCXX (Book 220) and the original manuscript Liber XXXI (Book 31).

“Crowley strived to have an unequivocal ultimate source book for Thelema. However, the Book of the Law has several variations that may affect an initiate’s individual interpretation. The history of the editions published during Crowley’s lifetime show the changes. The importance of the manuscript is emphasized. Please bring a copy of Liber AL that includes both the manuscript and the typeset version.” [via]

In fact, that presentation was one of the reasons I decided to do my own transliteration of Liber XXXI for the library, and though I know the same had been done previously I avoided referencing Ash’s version until after I’d completed my own. Anyhow, if that presentation was any indication, if you’re interested in the subject matter, you’re going to find this new release an interesting read.

You may be interested in a new post by Sabazius over on his blog about the Tunis Comment, or The Comment

You may be interested in a new post by Sabazius over on his blog about the Tunis Comment, or The Comment, at “A Brief Examination of ‘The Comment’“.

“These days, The Comment is sometimes regarded as a bit of irony, or an anachronism, or an example of ‘reverse psychology,’ or even a joke. But Crowley took this statement quite seriously, even if not perfectly literally.” [via]

“There is nothing wrong with studying Crowley’s evolving commentaries and writings dealing with Liber AL, such is encouraged by The Comment and was clearly the intent. But we know from experience that group discussion, especially in official contexts within a hierarchical organization, inevitably evokes the dynamic of intellectual leaders and followers, and subtle pressures to conform. O.T.O. is full of what might be considered operative paradoxes, and this is a significant one. We believe that by actively working to discourage the creation of social contexts in which individuals are expected to state their personal views on Liber AL and its meaning, we preserve their freedom.” [via]