Tag Archives: nuit

Events at Treadwell’s through June, 2014

Here is a selection from the upcoming events at Treadwell’s Books in London for through June, 2014, which may be of interest.

Treadwell's Books in London

 

Surrealism, Satanism and Witchcraft
16 May 2014
Dan Zamani

Dan Zamani Surrealism Satanism Witchcraft at Treadwells

Surrealism celebrated Satan and the witch as powerful agents of social rebellion, and tonight’s speaker argues their inspiration came from Jules Michelet’s 1862 book La Sorciere, which was violently anti-Catholic as well as shockingly erotic. Some women Surrealists confidently cast themselves as witches, and the talk looks at three of them: Dorothea Tanning, Leonor Fini and Leonora Carrington. Dan Zamani is completing his PhD in art history at Cambridge; he returns to Treadwells by popular demand.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Crowley’s Liber Nu
23 May 2014
Bob Stein

Bob Stein Aleister Crowley Liber Nu at Treadwell's Books

Tonight a longstanding magical practitioner of Thelemic magic examines one of Crowley’s most magnificent ritual texts, Liber Nu (‘The Book of Nuit’, a rite for attainment of the Goddess Nuit) and relates the extraordinary experience of preparing and then performing the rite at Gosse’s Bluff in Central Australia. He goes on to interpret Liber Nu as Crowley’s “how to write and do a high magic ritual.” Bob Stein has been a member of O.T.O. since 1983 and has been involved with the organisation since then in a range of capacities.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Abraxas 5 Launch Party
30 May 2014

Abraxas issue 5 from Fulgur Esoterica UK

Please join us for to celebrate Issue Five of Abraxas, the journal of esoteric studies issued jointly by Fulgur Ltd and Treadwell’s. We will have fascinating people, art, poetry and short talks. This issue has contributors worldwide on surreailsm, the Fellowship of Isis, Platonism, spirit-summoning, David Blank of the famed Oracle Magazine, an occult manuscript, Peladan, Bertiaux, and the wonderful ancient gods Antinous and Glykon.

Free, but please RSVP to info@treadwells-london.com
Time: 7pm to 9:30pm. Short talks at 7:45pm

 

Elias Ashmole: London’s Forgotten Adept
2 June 2014
Ruth Clydesdale

Ruth Clydesdale Elias Ashmole at Treadwell's Books

Elias Ashmole (1617–1692) is famed for founding the first public museum, the Ashmolean, a fact that overshadowed his importance in the history of occultism. He was the astrological advisor to Charles II, an early freemason, an alchemical secret-holder. He collected rare esotericism texts and even saved a fellow astrologer from the gallows. Tonight revives him from obscurity, celebrating his secret life. Ruth Clydesdale is a writer and astrologer with interest in the history of astrology and its links to magic, alchemy and art.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

Walking Tour: Occult London
7 June 2014 (and again on July 5th)
Delienne Forget

Delianne Forget Occult London through Treadwell's Books

London’s secret occult history comes alive as you traipse the cobblestone streets of the West End, and you learn the secrets behind some of the area’s past magicians, witches and sorcerers: some famous, some infamous. Delianne Forget is a London registered Blue Badge Guide with a solid grounding in London history. A white witch herself, she also knows her cauldron potions from her good-luck charms. These tours return after a two year hiatus, due to popular demand.

Price: £10
Time: 2pm to 5pm, starting at a central London tube station. Look for the lady in the witch hat.

 

Aleister Crowley on Rock’n’Roll
19 June 2014

Gary Lachman Aleister Crowley from Tarcher / Penguin at Treadwell's Books

Join us for a summer party to celebrate the launch of Gary Lachman’s new book: Aleister Crowley’s influence on rock-and-roll giants from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, to Black Sabbath and Blondie, of which Lachman was a founding member. Gary will give an informal talk for about 20 minutes at about 7:45, and as ever we give most of the evening over to socialising, book-signing and gentle revelry. Please join us.

Free, but please RSVP to info@treadwells-london.com
Time: Come anytime 7pm – 9:30pm. Short talk at 7:45.

 

Love Magic in Seventeenth-century England
20 June 2014
Alexander Cummins

Alexander Cummins Love Magic at Treadwell's Books

This talk explores the occult theories and magical practices which grasped both the divinity and madness of love. Al Cummins takes us into the world of elemental humours, psychological notions of the passions, and the spiritual and physical mysteries of the heart. We will delve into the love magicians’ toolkit, examining means of seduction: from aphrodisiac herbs to conjuring matchmaking spirits … and onto bindings, leashes, and “erotic malefic” workings. A vibrant speaker, Alexander Cummins recently completed his PhD from Bristol: he is an historian of early modern magic, astrology and the passion. He is also a professional poet.

Price: £7
Time: 7:15pm for a 7:30pm start

 

And, Treadwell’s comes to New York!

New York City — The Night of the Witch
25 June 2014

Night of the Witch in New York from Treadwell's Books

Two illustrated lectures on witchcraft in a vibrant double-bill. Witch Pictures — Pam Grossman and British Witchcraft — Christina Oakley Harrington.

Witch Pictures — Pam Grossman

The witch burst into Western art in the late 15th century and never left: the likes of Durer, Fuseli, Goya, and Blake used the image of magical women to titillate their patrons or reflect their own anxieties — with results both grotesque and beguiling. Then in the 19th century women took up the brush to create works inspired by personal occult experiences, reclaiming the witch, and we see a female ‘witchcraft’ in action in Abstraction, Surrealism, Modernism, making a corner of art history where craft and Craft are one and the same.

British Witchcraft — the Fifties to the Seventies — Christina Oakley Harrington

British Witchraft revived in the 1950s and 1960s. To the horror and fascination of the English press and public, some of these witches gave interviews and even allowed secret rites to be photographed. They wanted the world to know a non-Christian basis of ethics, a radical concept of the sacred, and the power of altered states of consciousness. Both tradition-based and forward-thinking, they were paradoxical yet compelling. Tonight’s speaker comes from the UK Wiccan community, and brings these characters to life and shares insights into their vision of the Craft.

Pam Grossman is the Brooklyn-based guiding spirit of Phantasmaphile, and was co-host of the 2013 Occult Humanities Conference at NYU. Christina Oakley Harrington is founder of London’s famed Treadwells Bookshop and a former academic; she also co-edits Abraxas Journal and gives occasional lectures.

Venue: New York City’s META Center, 214 W 29th Street. The talks will be followed by an informal social at a nearby restaurant: all are invited.
Tickets through Brown Paper Tickets
Time: 7pm – 9pm

 

Goddess Nuit Kitty

Goddess Nuit Kitty is a another Aleister Crowley related Hello Kitty sculpture by The All Seeing Cat, which may be of interest.

The All Seeing Cat Goddess Nuit Kitty

“‘Every man and woman is a star.’—Nuit; Liber AL vel Legis, 1:3 (April 8th, 1904)

‘Note that Heaven is not a place where Gods Live; Nuit is Heaven, itself.’—Aleister Crowley; Magical And Philosophical Commentaries On The Book Of The Law (1974)

As the mother of Isis, Osiris, Nephthys, Horus and Set, the reign of Nuit (or Nut) as an Egyptian mythological deity lasted for thousands of years. While her popularity has waned through the ages, a new interest in ‘The Queen Of Infinite Space’ was sparked by Aleister Crowley and his Thelemic movement. Nuit dictated the first chapter of The Book Of The Law through Aiwass and to Crowley in 1904. Crowley referred to her as the ‘Lady of the Starry Heaven, who is also Matter in its deepest metaphysical sense, who is the infinite in whom all we live and move and have our being.'”

The All Seeing Cat Goddess Nuit Kitty alternate view

Excerpt from The Argument That Took the Wrong Turning

Here’s an excerpt, pages 1–8, from The Argument That Took the Wrong Turning: A Vindication of Priest/ess and Queer Gnostic Mass in Reply to T Polyphilus by Michael Effertz, which is offered at the Reading Room courtesy of the author. While you may have had a chance to read T Polyphilus’ review previously posted and heard various other responses about Priest/ess, unless you have had access to one of the few privately printed and distributed volumes, this may be your first glimpse of Effertz’s argument, as well as the tone and tenor, as it appears in the book; and unless you have acquired one of the new editions with which it is offered this may be your first chance to read some of the substance contained within the new pamphlet.

Michael Effertz's The Argument That Took the Wrong Turning from Luxor Media Group

I thank E.G.C. Bishop T Polyphilus for his critical review1 of my book, Priest/ess: In Advocacy of Queer Gnostic Mass. Polyphilus kindly prefaces his critique with the observation that “significant expense and care” went into the production of what became an “attractive little book.” In writing and designing the private edition of Priest/ess, I resolved to evince the same commitment to quality that Crowley once stressed in a letter to Frank Bennett, writing that “it has always been a point of honor with us to make our publications physically worthy of their contents.”2 The Bishop may not share my estimation of Priest/ess’ contents, but his praise is nevertheless well received. It is for this reason that I have endeavored to ensure that the trade edition, handsomely bound in hardcover and released in both a standard and deluxe edition, will likewise please the reader in form.

With this supplementary essay, I offer a reply to Polyphilus’ review in the same spirit as the arguments given in Priest/ess. As such, I will neither speculate as to Polyphilus’ motives nor ascribe to him any ill will in criticizing my work. I cannot say with certainty, and so will not assert, whether the errors in his review indicate an accidental or a willful misunderstanding of my arguments. I will, therefore, focus on the content of the review itself, checking its claims against the facts of each case rather than dwelling on the character of the author or his possible intentions. Where a misunderstanding is evident, I lay the fault squarely on my own deficient exposition; this will require the occasional reiteration of points originally made in the Priest/ess, in which I anticipated several of the criticisms made in Polyphilus’ review.

In his brief review, Polyphilus makes a series of claims about Priest/ess, the Gnostic Mass, and related subjects, which I will address seriatim. These include the claims that:

  1. I am wrong about the purpose of E.G.C. clergy,
  2. Nobody has the generic right to ordination or to serve as an ordained member of the clergy in the performance of E.G.C. rituals,
  3. Clergy do not have the authority to impose their own interpretation on the Gnostic Mass, because it is not a vehicle for personal expression,
  4. I obscure and misrepresent E.G.C. policy concerning private and public celebrations of queer Gnostic Mass,
  5. For public Gnostic Masses, E.G.C. policy requires Priests who are socially masculine in their life outside the temple and Priestesses who are similarly feminine,
  6. Restricting queer Gnostic Mass to private celebrations enhances it, and
  7. Prohibiting public queer Gnostic Masses does not “closet” queer personal relationships.

In addition to these explicit claims, Polyphilus insinuates that there are still more issues at stake and criticisms to be made, but opts not to specify in the course of his review what those issues are beyond alluding to their magical and doctrinal nature. E.G.C. policy, he argues, is constructed with a view toward assuring the simultaneous fulfillment of three effects or purposes of the Gnostic Mass (magical, communal, and doctrinal), even when individual celebrants do not consciously comprehend all three. Polyphilus directs the reader to his essay “Discourse on the Sixth Article,” wherein he elucidates his views on these three purposes of the Mass. The essay genuinely rewards study. Contrary to settling the question of queer Gnostic Mass against its acceptance, the three purposes of the Mass proposed by Polyphilus provide us with fertile ground for defending the propriety of its public celebration. While we cannot scrutinize his reasons for dismissing queer Gnostic Mass on magical, communal, and doctrinal grounds, since those reasons are not divulged in his review, we can make our own assessment of the merits of public queer Gnostic Mass as it might pertain to these matters with reference to the wealth of published and publicly available writings by Crowley on the Mass, the Eucharist, the O.T.O. and its various degrees, magick, sex and gender, and other kindred subjects. As Polyphilus’ review is consciously informed by his concept of the three purposes of the Gnostic Mass, we turn first to an evaluation of the magical, communal, and doctrinal considerations at the heart of his critique.

The Magical Purpose of the Gnostic Mass

Polyphilus cites magical issues as under the purview of the E.G.C. in the oversight of its clergy, which issues motivate and guide the construction and enforcement of E.G.C. policy in prohibiting public celebrations of queer Gnostic Mass. In so stating, Polyphilus implies, without evidence or explanation, that public celebrations of queer Gnostic Mass could not fulfill the magical purpose of the Mass. Presumably, the problem of magical bankruptcy is evaded through private celebration.

Of the magical purpose of the Gnostic Mass, Polyphilus writes:

The Magical effect for the individual
Is the one that Crowley explains in Magick in Theory and Practice:
The communicant is gradually made divine,
Being brought swallow by swallow
Towards Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel
And to the ultimate attainment that lies beyond.
And this effect is secret in the sense that it is utterly ineffable.3

We may then reasonably infer Polyphilus to contend that communicants in a public celebration of a queer Gnostic Mass could not be “gradually made divine, being brought swallow by swallow towards the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel and to the ultimate attainment that lies beyond.” Such a suggestion is contradicted by Crowley’s teachings concerning magical ritual and the Eucharist, as documented in his diaries and other works. For example, in defining the universal object of magical ritual, Crowley instructs the magician to use ritual to confront weaknesses in his understanding and offers sexual identity as one such area for exploration:

There is a single main definition of the object of all magical ritual. It is the uniting of the Microcosm with the Macrocosm. The Supreme and Complete Ritual is therefore the Invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel; or, in the language of Mysticism, Union with God.

All other magical rituals are particular cases of this general principle, and the only excuse for doing them is that it sometimes occurs that one particular portion of the Microcosm is so weak that its imperfection or impurity would vitiate the Macrocosm of which it is the image, eidolon, or reflection. For example, God is above sex; and therefore neither man nor woman as such can be said fully to understand, much less to represent, God. It is therefore incumbent on the male Magician to cultivate those female virtues in which he is deficient, and this task he must of course accomplish without in any way impairing his virility. It will then be lawful for a Magician to invoke Isis, and identify himself with her; if he fail to do this, his apprehension of the Universe when he attains samādhi will lack the conception of maternity. The result will be a metaphysical and—by corollary—ethical limitation in the Religion which he founds. Judaism and Islām are striking examples of this failure.4

Ritual offers the magician one avenue for symbolically uniting diverse elements within his being, though it is by no means the only method for achieving such union:

The doctrine here put forth is that the initiate cannot be polluted by any particular environment. He accepts and enjoys everything that is proper to his nature. Thus, a man’s sexual character is one form of his self-expression; he unites Hadit with Nuit sacramentally when he satisfies his instinct of physical love. Of course, this is only one partial projection; to govern, to fight, and so on, must fulfil other needs. We must not imagine that any form of activity is ipso facto incapable of supplying the elements of an Eucharist: suum cuique [Lat. “to each his own”]. Observe, however, the constant factor in this enumeration of the practices proper to “hermits:” it is ecstatic delight.5

The actual or symbolic union of the self with another, or even of different aspects of the self within oneself, is characterized by Crowley as the key to preparing the Eucharist, which process may be carried out through methods proper to the nature of each individual. This notion resonates alongside the previous passage with Liber A’ASH, which proclaims:

All holy things and all symbolic things shall be my sacraments.6

Among those Gnostic sacraments is semen, which Crowley says may possess different potencies depending upon one’s point of view:

Semen itself is mercury, the river of life flowing throughout the generations. That is fluid mercury. What is (from the point of view of life) waste, is knowledge. Hence the opposition between knowledge and life. One is homo- and the other heterosexuality. Those are reconciled in Mercury, who is wisdom.7

As with all opposing points of view, it is the work of the magician to reconcile these contradictions in a higher understanding. In this “fluid mercury” Crowley finds one resolution to the “opposition between knowledge and life” in a single Eucharist, which may elevate the communicant to divinity. Crowley provides us with an unambiguous illustration of the transformative power of this type of Eucharist in his notes to the Cephaloedium Working, which sacrament was prepared initially by two men together:

[…]
(7) Make Iacchaion God, by Ether. 

(8) Sacrifice him to the Beast, who thus becomes God. Use here the accendat & the right Mantram, the Tu qui es & the Quia Patris.8 

The “accendat,” “Tu qui es,” and “Quia Patris” all refer to the Grimorium Sanctissimum, ritual instructions for a mass along analogous lines to that of the Gnostic Mass (e.g., the consecration and dressing in ritual vestments of the “priest” by the “maiden,” speeches from “The Ship,” etc.) Another queer interpretation of the mass formula given in Grimorium Sanctissimum is provided in the Paris Working, during which Crowley assumed the role of “maiden” to Victor Neuburg’s “priest.” Throughout his diaries and instructions, Crowley evinces an understanding of the Eucharist that reconciles heterosexuality and homosexuality, life and knowledge, in one transcendent wisdom.

Polyphilus’ implicit contention that a Eucharist produced by a queer pairing cannot lead one “swallow by swallow” to Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel seems especially strange, given Crowley’s description of the relation between the Adept and his Angel:

In a secret code the Adept affirms that he is of the same sex (so to speak) as his Angel. It is not a union of opposites to produce a tertium quid [Lat. “third thing”], but a realization of identity, like the return to consciousness from delirium, whose ecstasy bears no fruit involving new responsibilities, new possibilities of sorrow, but is all-sufficient to itself, with neither past nor future.

The “peeled wand” is the creative Energy of the Angel, stripped of all veils, pointing to the Zenith, ready and eager to act. The Adept exclaims with joy that he has aspired to unite himself with this Idea, and has attained.

Thus concludes the description of the relations of the Adept and his Angel so far as the element of Earth, the concrete and manifest aspect of Nature, is concerned. The whole illusion has been destroyed; the bread has become the body of God.9

As was delineated above, the sacrament by which bread is transmuted into the “body of God” may take any of various forms. Heterosexual union, whether actual or symbolic, is a commonly cited formula for effecting this transmutation. In Liber Aleph, Crowley provides commentary on “the ultimate attainment that lies beyond” and the manner in which homosexual formulae are efficacious in achieving this attainment:

O my Son, behold now the Mystery and Virtue of the Silver Star! For of these Four Works not one leadeth to the Crown, because Tetragrammaton hath His Root only in Chokmah. So therefore the Formula of the Rosy Cross availeth no more in the Highest. Now then in the Pentagram are Two Lines that invoke Spirit, though they lead not thereunto, and they are the Works of Hé with Hé, and of Yod with Vau. Of these twain the former is a Work Magical of the Nature of Musick, and it draweth down the Fire of the HIGHER by Seduction or Bewitchment. Shall I say Enchantment? Shall I say Incantation? It is Song. But Bewitchment is a Work opposite thereunto, whose Effect formulateth itself by direct Creation in the Sphere of its Purpose and Intent. But there remain yet Two of the Eight Works, namely the straight Aspiration of the Chiah or Creator in thee to the Crown, and the Surrender of the Nephesch or Animal Soul to the Possession thereof; and these be the twin geodesic Formulæ of the Final Attainment, being Archetypes of the Paths of Magick (the one) and Mysticism (the other) unto the End.10

If we agree with Polyphilus and assert that the magical purpose of the Gnostic Mass is to lead one to the “Final” or “ultimate attainment,” then one may reasonably maintain that the formula of the Gnostic Mass must be, by that fact, robust and flexible enough to find expression in “the Works of Hé with Hé, and of Yod with Vau” as well as those of Yod with Hé and Vau with Hé.

Though it remains unclear why, from the standpoint of E.G.C. policy and its hierarchy, a private celebration of queer Gnostic Mass could adequately fulfill the magical purpose of the Mass while a public celebration could not, a thorough survey of Crowley’s writings on the subject of the magical effect of the Mass, as Polyphilus describes it, offers decisive evidence in favor of the efficacy of queer Gnostic Mass, public and private.

 

1. T Polyphilus. “Priest/ess.” The Hermetic Library Blog. The Hermetic Library. 20 Feb. 2013. <http://library.hrmtc.com/2013/02/20/priest-ess/>.

2. Crowley, Aleister. The Progradior Correspondence: Letters by Aleister Crowley, Frank Bennett, C.S. Jones, & Others. Ed. Keith Richmond. York Beach, ME: 2009. 84.

3. T Polyphilus. “Discourse on the Sixth Article.” Vigorous Food & Divine Madness. The Hermetic Library, n.d. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://hermetic.com/dionysos/art6.htm>. [Formatting and emphasis as in original].

4. Crowley, Aleister. “The Principles of Ritual.” Magick: Liber ABA, Book 4. 2nd ed. York Beach: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2004. 144. [emphasis in original].

5. New Comment to AL, II:24, Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on the Book of the Law. Symonds, John and Kenneth Grant, eds. Montreal: 93 Publishing, 1974. 200.

6. Liber A’ASH Vel Capricorni Pneumatici, 20. The Holy Books of Thelema. 1st ed. York Beach: Samuel Weiser, 1983.

7. “The Paris Working.” The Vision & The Voice with Commentary and Other Papers. Boston: Red Wheel/Weiser, 1998. 363.

8. “The Cephaloedium Working.” The Hermetic Library, n.d. 22 Feb. 2013. <http://hermetic.com/crowley/cephaloedium.html>. [emphasis added].

9. “Commentary to Liber 65 – Chapter I.” Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers. York Beach, Samuel Weiser, 1996. 98-99.

10. “On the Four Major Operations of the Microcosmic Star.” Liber Aleph. York Beach: Red Wheel/Weiser, 2003. 107.

Concerning Death by Aleister Crowley in International, Dec 1917.

“Time that eateth his children hath not power on them that would not be children of Time. To them that know themselves immortal, that dwell always in eternity, conscious of Nuit, throned upon the chariot of the sun, there is no death that men call death.” [via]

Concerning Death by Aleister Crowley in International, Dec 1917.

“Is not the ecstasy of Nuit the consciousness of the continuity of existence, the omnipresence of her body? All that hath hurt thee was that thou knewest it not, and as that fadeth from thee thou shalt know as never yet how all is one.” [via]