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Karl Johannes Germer

Jan.22, 1885 — Oct.25, 1962

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Karl Germer, who was born in Elberfeld, Germany, was one of Aleister Crowley’s most dedicated disciples.  When Crowley — who was in Germany with other disciples and two of his Scarlet Women in 1925 era vulgari — got into a disagreement with his host, Germer gave him hospitality and assisted him financially ever since.  Although Israel Regardie, in his biography on Crowley entitled The Eye in the Triangle, theorized that Germer may have been the “rich man from the West” predicted in v.31 of ch.3 of The Book of the Law, Germer really only helped Crowley to barely get by in his later years, who would have been completely destitute without the help.  His marriages to somewhat wealthy women such as Cora Eaton and Sascha Ernestine Andre enabled him to assist Crowley financially from time to time, to an extent.  But the fact is that Crowley was hardly having showers of gold being poured over him by anyone, for if such were the case, he certainly would not have been dodging creditors to the last — nor would he have died in poverty, unable to publish his books or to travel abroad to visit his disciples in America.  This is a prophecy that has gone unfulfilled.

On February 2nd, 1935 e.v., upon his return to Germany from New York, Karl was handcuffed by the Gestapo for his association with Crowley and hauled off after ten days in a police station to the Columbia House Concentration Camp in Berlin, where prisoners were routinely tortured, beaten by the guards in the showers, denied meals and forced to sleep without a bed.  A copy of his arrest warrant appears below.  The second paragraph lists the reason for his arrest as his support for Aleister Crowley, who was regarded by the Nazis as subversive, “by consistently keeping in contact; and by spreading his teachings you have tried to recruit disciples for him in Germany”.

Germer described his time at Columbia House as brutal.  He wrote:

“Atrocious treatment. Methods. Solitary confinement.  Life in cell.  No reading permit for 4 1/2 months!  S.S. guards and their mentality.  Once for six weeks not let out into the open air.”

He wrote of murders and suicides; public beatings; insufficient food — one slice of bread in the morning and one in the evening, with a plate of soup at noon; and strict solitary confinement.  Once he complained about the treatment he received from an S.S. guard, and received eight days on nothing but bread and water for it.

After his stay at Columbia House, Germer was transferred to Esterwegen Concentration Camp in the bogs near the Dutch frontier.  He described it as “one of the worst camps in Nazi Germany”, a place of  “Unbelievable terror”.  He was forced to endure “Horrible slave work” and the “Cold inhumanity of S.S. guards as slave drivers and torturers”.  He wrote of his work conditions:

“Men had to roll through the manure; case when Dr. Leber [one of the men on his work detail, a socialist member of the Reichstag] on such an occasion tried to lift his face during ‘rolling’ in order to prevent it being soiled, and S.S. guard dug pole into manure and smeared it over his face and through his mouth”.

He also described some of the instances of torture to which he was subject.  Prisoners were painfully chained and forced to stand in a circle for up to 24 hours at a time.  Several prisoners were provoked as cruel entertainment for the guards; and when they tried to escape they were shot.

Germer kept his sanity by reciting in his mind memorized passages from the Thelemic holy books, achieving thereby the “Knowledge and Conversation” — i.e. the Gnosis and Communion — of his Holy Supernal Will.  He finally escaped from Germany in October, 1935 e.v., but was arrested again by the Belgians.  In a letter to Jane Wolfe, dated April 14, 1941 e.v., he wrote:

“As for myself, I was arrested by the Belgians the day the Germans marched into Belgium, i.e., May 10th, 1940. As the latter advanced we were transferred to the French authorities on May 14th and held in French Concentration Camps ever since.  I have been in the Camps of Le Vijean and just before the Germans advanced there, sent to the Camp of St.Cyprien on the Mediterranean near the Pyrenees of Spanish ill repute, and from there ultimately transferred to the worst Camp in France:  Gurs, in the Pyrenees, where conditions were so primitive, so horrible that even very mild descriptions of the actual conditions in the American press shocked and bewildered people over here.  And there are still 15,000 men, women and children held there in that Camp alone. I got out finally on February 1st, 1941, after a non-quota immigration visa had been anew procured by Cora as long ago as September last, but the French only gave me permission to go to Marseille to see the Consul four months after he had asked me to call urgently for the visa.  It’s just their complete incapacity for doing anything, for making progress, for organization, that made it impossible to obtain the permit before, despite all kinds of urgent steps that were undertaken by Cora, others and myself with the various French authorities and the American ambassador and Consul.  We in the Camps have come to understand thoroughly the basic reasons for the rapid break-up of French resistance both militarily and administratively.  Most, 95% of the prisoners in the Camps were Jews, all violently hostile to the Nazis, violently friendly to the French, many offering spontaneously to fight on their sides actively, who have now more or less become hostile to the French, due to the unsanitary conditions in the Camps, the dirt, the ridiculously poor food, causing scurvy, various diseases, the unhealthy water, and their incapacity and unwillingness to improve conditions until at long last attacks in the American Press based on reports smuggled out by devious and dangerous means forced the French to pretend to do something.  Believe me, I am glad to be out of that hell.  Fortunately, my health and general conditions do not seem to have suffered very much, and that is really a miracle which the French did their best to defeat.

“If we had been prisoners of war, if we had been enemies of the French, if we had been young and vigorous, if we had been nothing but men, if we had shown the least sign of revolt on occasion –one could perhaps excuse the French. But most of us were over forty (up to 70), several thousands were women (of whom perhaps 35% over 65 and up to 95 years of age), 10%children and babies.  And yet all those atrocities.  There is no reasonable excuse or even explanation.  No wonder that the death rate was horrible and that the blind sympathy for the French and their cause in those Camps has turned to the complete opposite”.

In 1938 e.v., Crowley recognized Germer’s attainment to the Grade of Magister Templi, or Master of the Temple — equivalent to the Fourth Thelemic Grade, or the Supernal Grade, in the HTC.  And on July 18th, 1941 e.v. he designated Germer as his successor in the O.T.O., the first of the great religious bodies to officially accept the Law of Thelema.  But Germer did not take particularly well to the system of the O.T.O., writing:  “I feel lost in the grades, rituals, dignities, offices, rights and what not”.

Crowley, in a letter to Germer dated March 14, 1942 e.v., wrote:  “I shall appoint you as my successor as O.H.O. [i.e. Outer Head of the Order of O.T.O.], but on special terms.  It is quite clear to me that a complete change in the structure of the Order, and in its methods, is necessary”.

Such a change was never implemented.  Germer later wrote of Crowley:  “He suggested to me that I may either drop this form or system of working, or devise my entirely independent method”.  He apparently chose the former option, as he ceased all initiations and dropped the work entirely, choosing to focus on publishing Crowley’s works alone.  Germer is often criticized for this; but it was his prerogative.

1007 Lexington, Germer’s New York apartment in 1942 e.v.

It being the war years, Germer was investigated by the F.B.I. in 1942 e.v., and the U.S. government being as it was, i.e. suspicious and overly zealous in its treatment of certain foreigners, he failed to get glowing reviews.  His F.B.I. files read:

“In a supplementary statement he indicated that he is a German refugee stating that when he was on a visit to Germany in 1935 he was arrested by the Gestapo and was in a Nazi Concentration Camp for seven months.  He stated that he was forbidden to leave Germany after his release but escaped to Belgium in October, 1935 and resided there until the Nazi invasion on May 10, 1940 and from that time was in a French Concentration Camp until February 18, 1941.

“When the Nazis first came to power he was put into a concentration camp for translating into German the books of a notorious English author ALISTER CROWLER [sic].  He escaped to Belgium and later to France.  Then through the efforts of his wife who is an American he was allowed into the United States.”

In spite of the fact that Germer had spent years under the cruel persecution of the Nazis for his devotion to Crowley, the blockheads at the F.B.I. insisted on profiling him as a Nazi-sympathizer on no good basis of logic whatsoever.  Such is the typical American tendency even today, to profile an entire group of people in reaction to a segment of extremists who share no other attribute with them beyond the fact that they are of the same race.  It seems that nothing ever changes.  The report goes on to state:

“I have felt worried because his conversation is violent Nazi propaganda”.  As if he would be one to promote the Nazis after being so mistreated by them for so many years — and might have died were it not for his eventual escape!  It goes on:  “At once on his arrival he got a powerful short wave radio set and a large motor car, both put in his wife’s name.  It seems strange because they have no money and living in one roomed apartment, 1007 Lexington Avenue, N.Y.C.   It has been so much in my mind that you might feel this case should be looked into”.  So much for being the “rich man from the West”!  The agent then goes on to assert that “His wife is a very loyal American but quite in the power of her husband”.

Declassified F.B.I. file 100-18329 states:  “[agent]…has often heard of ALEISTER CROWLEY’s [sic] being consulted by HITLER concerning his “Black Magic” and he has often heard GERMER state that he, GERMER, is a believer of HITLER’s ideology…”   More nonsense; but what else is to be expected of  those who take the easy route of stereotyping people, throwing innocent American citizens into internment camps, and not taking the time to study thoroughly the works of authors before condemning them?  And while it is true, by Crowley’s own admission, that Hitler was indeed the Dynasthai or “magical child” of Martha Kuntzel, Crowley’s disciple in Germany who was herself a Magister Templi and Thelemic saint — in subtle occult ways moreso than any direct way —  it was equally true that he had failed, turned against the ones from whom he had derived his magical power and wound up persecuting not only his former masters but millions of others as well.  An agency the F.B.I. may have been, but not one of very much intelligence.  It hardly takes a genius to realize that a man as tortured as he had been would never side with the monsters that had abused him so.

After Crowley was cremated in 1947 e.v., Germer, who by this time had relocated to a rural property in or near Hampton, New Jersey, decided to bury the urn containing Crowley’s ashes beside a large tree on the property.  For whatever reason, Germer told McMurtry in 1951 e.v. that his wife Sascha had smashed the urn upon the side of a tree, proclaiming it the Aleister Crowley tree.  In his correspondence with Jane Wolfe, however, he stated that they had indeed buried the urn at the foot of the tree.  He wrote:

“On April 8th Sascha and I gave A.C.’s ashes the final resting place. We have 5 very large Pines in the front of our house and Sascha suggested the foot of the finest (called Aleister) as the spot. I dug a pit under the pine and we had a small ceremony on April 8th. The ashes are in a small casket which in turn is in a strong box.”

Years later, when the Germers decided to move to California, Karl tried recovering the urn to take it with them.  But someone had clearly beat him to it.  Obviously what he had revealed to Jane Wolfe somehow got leaked to someone with no compunction against stealing from Germer.  For when Karl went digging for Crowley’s remains, all that he could find were a few rusty nails that were once part of the strong box.  The urn was gone.  Where the ashes of Aleister Crowley are today remains a mystery.

Magister Templi notwithstanding, nobody is infallible.  Karl Germer demonstrated that more than at any other time when, on July 20th, 1955 e.v., he expelled Kenneth Grant — a living Thelemic saint — from the O.T.O., merely because of the latter’s association with Eugen Grosche, a.k.a. Gregor A. Gregorius — yet another Thelemic saint — whom Germer personally disliked.  This, after Germer had written a letter of praise to Grant, on January 18th, 1952 e.v., which reads:  “If we want to get the O.T.O. properly going again, we need a competent leader, not only for England but for the whole world…I have often thought that you might be chosen for the job”.  Germer clearly allowed his unwarranted personal animosity to interfere with his judgment.

In 1962 e.v. Karl Germer died as a consequence of botched surgery for prostrate cancer of the groin, and was, according to Sascha, the victim not only of medical malpractice but of abuse.  Her diary reads:

“He started crying loud! ‘Help me! Help me!’  I came in and ask the nurses what happened, they say ‘Nothing’, they only clean him! I went out again”.  She heard more screaming, so she returned:  “his Face tortured in expression”.  At the last moment she was with him:   “slowly he calmed down, I had his left hand in both My Hands and suddenly the Heart stood still”.

Her diary goes on to say:  “Why was the Tel[ephone] taken out of his Room, why was I not allowed to see him — why was he scared to Death whenever I wanted to talk to him”.  More prejudicial treatment, it seems.  She should have stood up to these vile racists and insisted on remaining by his side no matter what.

Karl Germer may have fallen short in certain small respects but his dedication to the legacy of Aleister Crowley remained strong to the end.  He had come through the worst possible experiences, suffering the most atrocious persecution not just in Germany but in the United States as well, and emerged nothing short of a Supernal Genius, with untiring devotion to the work and legacy of the Prophet of the Thelemic Age.  And he issued publications that were instrumental in spreading the Thelemic message for posterity.  For these things we honor him today, in our small way, Karl Johannes Germer, Frater Saturnus, Thelemic saint.

 

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In Memoriam Soror Solaris

January 11, 1973 – July 22, 2010

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

Yesterday, I received news from the Grand Chapter that it had only just gotten wind of the passing of our dearest Soror Solaris, who was known to the profane world as Sharon Miller.  She died of cancer at only 37 years of age.  She was born on January 11th, the date on which our Matron Saint, Alostrael, took the Holy Oath of the Office of Scarlet Woman in 1919 E.V.  She died on July 22nd of this year, a date also significant to me personally, as it was the day on which, in 1989 E.V., I obtained first contact with my own Holy Supernal Will.

Soror Solaris has been a tremendous inspiration to me, and I only wish that I could have known her sooner.  She believed wholeheartedly in the mission of our Church, was unreserved in her passionate defense thereof, and didn’t care what anyone thought of her for it.  She has moved me as few in this world have done.  Although I will now recall some of her words here, I would rather leave out some of the more extreme statements that refer to me directly, as that would only come off as self-aggrandizing.  This is meant to exhibit her great spirit, not to glorify others.

On February 14th, she wrote an open letter to certain members of our little community of Thelemites.  In that letter she addressed me specifically, writing, “Brother, coming into contact with you would make this life complete for me…I love you 777…Never turn back.  My children depend on it.  I have all of your works printed in a large binder.  I am taking that with me.”

Needless to say, I have rarely been so moved, and shall never forget those kind words.  Of course I thanked her for that public defense of our mission, to which she replied privately, saying:  “I am a woman of the New Aeon and I simply say what I mean.  I finally decided to stand up and say “wake up”. People do not pay attention to what is going on around them.  They do not listen…I was only speaking the truth in the hopes that others will take notice.”

She went on to write:   “I really do not know if I will be coming back.  I am much sicker than I have made known to others.   But I am a fighter and I will fight with all of my might to beat this.  Thelema is my life:  it is who I am.  Take care of yourself and thank you so much for everything that you have done for me and for humanity.  The time will come when that statement will ring true to all.  But for now we that carry the light of truth must pass it on one by one.   I love you Brother.   One of my final thoughts will be of you.”

I will think of her to my dying day.

She was also very close to both of the leading lights of our Grand Chapter, Grand Minister 121 and Deputy Grand Minister Soror Heartfire XC.  In her open letter to the Church, she wrote:

“You [i.e. Fra.’.121] are my brother, my family.  I have never felt so close to someone that I have never met face to face.   But the nights that we have spent on the phone drinking and actually watching TV together have been wonderful and we will do it again…I just love you and Melinda [Soror Heartfire] so much…Until I met you I had not felt that kind of fraternal love.  Thank you for everything that you have done.   If for some reason I do not come home I want you to know that you reignited a fire in my heart that had been a dying ember for many years.”   She concluded by writing:  “please do not worry.   Life or death I will be just fine.   Remember:  “I give unimaginable joys on earth:  certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death;  peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy…”

Her last words were:  “Love is the law”.

We love her and she will be greatly missed.  Let her death be not a cause for sorrow, however, as that is contrary to our Law and to what she herself would have wanted.  For death is not an end but only another beginning.  As James Morrison put it so well:   “We live, we die — and death not ends it”.

Ceremonial proceedings are underway to inaugurate Soror Solaris into canonization in the Holy Thelemic Church as a Category VI Thelemic Saint:  i.e., “Those whose lives have been a great inspiration to the Church”.  This is rarely done but in this case it was well deserved.  The petition for canonization has also received the approval of the Office of Oracle of the Church, Soror Aliana XCIII.

“Aye! feast! rejoice! there is no dread hereafter.  There is the dissolution, and eternal ecstasy in the kisses of Nu.”

Farewell, dear Soror, for now.

“Love is the law, love under will.”

Aleisterion

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Mary Desti Sturges, Thelemic Saint.

Mary D’Esti Sturges, or Soror Virakam, was the second of eleven Scarlet Women.  The photo above depicts her around the time that she knew Aleister Crowley.

Virakam — who certainly resembled Rose Kelly, the woman she succeeded as Scarlet Woman — assisted Crowley in establishing the magical link with the praeterhuman minds that inspired him with one of his greatest works, Book 4, or Liber ABA.  Her ability as a seer was great;  a record of her oracular talent can be found in The Ab-ul-Diz Working.

She was born on October 10th, 1871 E.V., in Quebec, Canada.  She owned a cosmetics firm called Desti Beauty Products and she also owned a New York City studio that sold art, perfume and clothing.  And she was a close friend of the dancer, Isadora Duncan, and authored her biography, entitled The Untold Story: the Life of Isadora Duncan.

She was also the mother of Preston Sturges — to whom Crowley referred as “The Brat” — who went on to become a famous Hollywood director.  As a child, Preston disliked Crowley for his bizarre appearance and unusual activities.  Later in life he was quoted as saying:  “I realize my mother and I were lucky to escape with our lives.  If I had been a little older, he might not have escaped with his.”  Which only demonstrates his complete ignorance of the man he loathed.

Mary died in New York City on April 12th, 1931 E.V.

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Leah Hirsig, Soror Alostrael, 31-666-31, the sixth Scarlet Woman, was born today in 1883 E.V.   To mark the occasion, G.’.M.’.121 has constructed a webpage in her honor.  To get there, simply click on the image above, or click on the button in the sidebar.

Thanks to the G.’.M.’. for this wonderful tribute to a great woman.

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Algernon Charles Swinburne, Thelemic Saint.

April 5, 1837 — April 10, 1909

Being as we are in the aftermath of the feast of the Slain God, it seems appropriate that we mark the lesser feast of Swinburne by reproducing his wonderfully scathing poetic diatribe, Before a Crucifix.

Here, down between the dusty trees,
At this lank edge of haggard wood,
Women with labour-loosened knees,
With gaunt backs bowed by servitude,
Stop, shift their loads, and pray, and fare
Forth with souls easier for the prayer.

The suns have branded black, the rains
Striped grey this piteous God of theirs;
The face is full of prayers and pains,
To which they bring their pains and prayers;
Lean limbs that shew the labouring bones,
And ghastly mouth that gapes and groans.

God of this grievous people, wrought
After the likeness of their race,
By faces like thine own besought,
Thine own blind helpless eyeless face,
I too, that have nor tongue nor knee
For prayer, I have a word to thee.

It was for this then, that thy speech
Was blown about the world in flame
And men’s souls shot up out of reach
Of fear or lust or thwarting shame –
That thy faith over souls should pass
As sea-winds burning the grey grass?

It was for this, that prayers like these
Should spend themselves about thy feet,
And with hard overlaboured knees
Kneeling, these slaves of men should beat
Bosoms too lean to suckle sons
And fruitless as their orisons?

It was for this, that men should make
Thy name a fetter on men’s necks,
Poor men’s made poorer for thy sake,
And women’s withered out of sex?
It was for this, that slaves should be,
Thy word was passed to set men free?

The nineteenth wave of the ages rolls
Now deathward since thy death and birth.
Hast thou fed full men’s starved-out souls?
Hast thou brought freedom upon earth?
Or are there less oppressions done
In this wild world under the sun?

Nay, if indeed thou be not dead,
Before thy terrene shrine be shaken,
Look down, turn usward, bow thine head;
O thou that wast of God forsaken,
Look on thine household here, and see
These that have not forsaken thee.

Thy faith is fire upon their lips,
Thy kingdom golden in their hands;
They scourge us with thy words for whips,
They brand us with thy words for brands;
The thirst that made thy dry throat shrink
To their moist mouths commends the drink.

The toothed thorns that bit thy brows
Lighten the weight of gold on theirs;
Thy nakedness enrobes thy spouse
With the soft sanguine stuff she wears
Whose old limbs use for ointment yet
Thine agony and bloody sweat.

The blinding buffets on thine head
On their crowned heads confirm the crown;
Thy scourging dyes their raiment red,
And with thy bands they fasten down
For burial in the blood-bought field
The nations by thy stripes unhealed.

With iron for thy linen bands
And unclean cloths for winding-sheet
They bind the people’s nail-pierced hands,
They hide the people’s nail-pierced feet;
And what man or what angel known
Shall roll back the sepulchral stone?

But these have not the rich man’s grave
To sleep in when their pain is done.
These were not fit for God to save.
As naked hell-fire is the sun
In their eyes living, and when dead
These have not where to lay their head.

They have no tomb to dig, and hide;
Earth is not theirs, that they should sleep.
On all these tombless crucified
No lovers’ eyes have time to weep.
So still, for all man’s tears and creeds,
The sacred body hangs and bleeds.

Through the left hand a nail is driven,
Faith, and another through the right,
Forged in the fires of hell and heaven,
Fear that puts out the eye of light:
And the feet soiled and scarred and pale
Are pierced with falsehood for a nail.

And priests against the mouth divine
Push their sponge full of poison yet
And bitter blood for myrrh and wine,
And on the same reed is it set
Wherewith before they buffeted
The people’s disanointed head.

O sacred head, O desecrate,
O labour-wounded feet and hands,
O blood poured forth in pledge to fate
Of nameless lives in divers lands,
O slain and spent and sacrificed
People, the grey-grown speechless Christ!

Is there a gospel in the red
Old witness of thy wide-mouthed wounds?
From thy blind stricken tongueless head
What desolate evangel sounds
A hopeless note of hope deferred?
What word, if there be any word?

O son of man, beneath man’s feet
Cast down, O common face of man
Whereon all blows and buffets meet,
O royal, O republican
Face of the people bruised and dumb
And longing till thy kingdom come!

The soldiers and the high priests part
Thy vesture: all thy days are priced,
And all the nights that eat thine heart.
And that one seamless coat of Christ,
The freedom of the natural soul,
They cast their lots for to keep whole.

No fragment of it save the name
They leave thee for a crown of scorns
Wherewith to mock thy naked shame
And forehead bitten through with thorns
And, marked with sanguine sweat and tears,
The stripes of eighteen hundred years

And we seek yet if God or man
Can loosen thee as Lazarus,
Bid thee rise up republican
And save thyself and all of us;
But no disciple’s tongue can say
When thou shalt take our sins away.

And mouldering now and hoar with moss
Between us and the sunlight swings
The phantom of a Christless cross
Shadowing the sheltered heads of kings
And making with its moving shade
The souls of harmless men afraid.

It creaks and rocks to left and right
Consumed of rottenness and rust,
Worm-eaten of the worms of night,
Dead as their spirits who put trust,
Round its base muttering as they sit,
In the time-cankered name of it.

Thou, in the day that breaks thy prison,
People, though these men take thy name,
And hail and hymn thee rearisen,
Who made songs erewhile of thy shame,
Give thou not ear; for these are they
Whose good day was thine evil day.

Set not thine hand unto their cross.
Give not thy soul up sacrificed.
Change not the gold of faith for dross
Of Christian creeds that spit on Christ.
Let not thy tree of freedom be
Regrafted from that rotting tree.

This dead God here against my face
Hath help for no man; who hath seen
The good works of it, or such grace
As thy grace in it, Nazarene,
As that from thy live lips which ran
For man’s sake, O thou son of man?

The tree of faith ingraffed by priests
Puts its foul foliage out above thee,
And round it feed man-eating beasts
Because of whom we dare not love thee;
Though hearts reach back and memories ache,
We cannot praise thee for their sake.

O hidden face of man, whereover
The years have woven a viewless veil,
If thou wast verily man’s lover,
What did thy love or blood avail?
Thy blood the priests make poison of,
And in gold shekels coin thy love.

So when our souls look back to thee
They sicken, seeing against thy side,
Too foul to speak of or to see,
The leprous likeness of a bride,
Whose kissing lips through his lips grown
Leave their God rotten to the bone.

When we would see thee man, and know
What heart thou hadst toward men indeed,
Lo, thy blood-blackened altars; lo,
The lips of priests that pray and feed
While their own hell’s worm curls and licks
The poison of the crucifix.

Thou bad’st let children come to thee;
What children now but curses come?
What manhood in that God can be
Who sees their worship, and is dumb?
No soul that lived, loved, wrought, and died,
Is this their carrion crucified.

Nay, if their God and thou be one,
If thou and this thing be the same,
Thou shouldst not look upon the sun;
The sun grows haggard at thy name.
Come down, be done with, cease, give o’er;
Hide thyself, strive not, be no more.


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Charles Stansfeld Jones, Thelemic Saint.

(Artwork by Fra.’.121)

Born on this day in 1886 E.V., C.S. Jones, or Frater Achad (Hebrew for “Unity”), was one of the giants, not at all the failure that he is painted as in certain quarters these days.

Achad’s Thelemic career began promisingly enough.   After a few years working in the exterior sanctuary of Aleister Crowley’s mystico-magical Order, he experienced a profound epiphany that originated with the Supernal Union of Beast and Babalon via their terrestrial avatars of the time — namely Crowley and Jeanne Robert Foster, aka Soror Hilarion, the third woman to hold the Holy Office of Scarlet Woman.   This epiphany led him to the discovery of Aleph-Lamed as the Key of the Law of Thelema — vide Liber 31, in which he expounds on this and more.   His presentation of his case in Liber 31 compelled Crowley to accept Achad’s epiphany as genuine, and to admit him to the Grade of Magister Templi — an unthinkable accomplishment for a mere Neophyte.

Later, of course, Crowley and Jones separated.   The source of the problem originated with a misplaced suspicion on Crowley’s part.   He mistakenly accused Jones of stealing a storage of books that did finally turn up many years later;  Jones was innocent.   But Crowley also disapproved of Achad’s reformation of the Qabalistic Tree of Life, and was highly critical of the works he came to write.   Yet such disapproval is as unwarranted as his suspicion was, as any meticulous initiated analysis of Jones’ Qabalistic revision should make clear.   We can only conclude that the Prophet was personally biased in his rash dismissal of Achad’s inversion of the paths of the Qabalistic Tree.

One of the differences between Thelemic religion and archaic religions is that it doesn’t deem its prophets to be infallible.   Crowley was only human, and the only logical thing is to accept that, and not take his pronouncements as absolute Truth, but rather as a generally reliable yet flawed guide — particularly in light of Liber Legis, ch.1 v.56 (addressing the Prophet):   “thou hast all in the clear light, and some, though not all, in the dark.”

Achad’s Reformed Qabalistic Tree of Life

Following his break with Crowley, Jones rebelled against his former teacher and denounced Aiwass.   He is mocked in some circles for having gone on to proclaim a new Age of Maat years later;  but in a letter dated 1948 E.V., he wrote:   “I may well have been over optimistic in thinking that the Aeon of Truth and Justice is very near at hand.”  Those who discredit him on the assumption that he was out of his right mind simply fail to grasp the whole picture.

What may be even more interesting is a quote of his from the very same letter:

“The Scientific Illuminism of the A:.A:. must continue.   The System of Initiation came to an end with the Aeon of Horus, but must be revised and continue according to New Aeon lines.”

This is exactly the kind of observation that Leah Hirsig made in her 1924 diaries (see A Tribute to Leah Hirsig, in the Library section of the sidebar of this blog).   Such a reformation of the Hierophantic system — streamlining the mystico-magical system propounded by Crowley in The Equinox and Book 4 — is now being worked out by the Ministers of the HTC.

For some of the writings of Frater Achad and more — including some nice images– see the site set up by G.’.M.’.121:

http://achad.yolasite.com/

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Joseph Campbell, Thelemic Saint.

Joseph Campbell was a Child of Thelema if ever there was one.  Born just days after the Advent of the Thelemic Age, and right before the revelation of the Law of Thelema,  he was very much imbued with the Spirit of the New Aeon.  Yet, like numerous others on our list of Saints, Campbell did not attain to the Gnosis and Communion of his Holy Bliss by clerical devices such as a routine of ceremonial invocation and formal meditation practices, but rather by an insatiable  passion for, and incredibly focused analysis and understanding of, the underlying threads of all myths and religions across the globe.

He started out as a Roman Catholic but quickly became passionate about Native American mythology, Asian philosophy, and Hinduism.  He was also an avid  student of Jung — yet another Thelemic Saint.  But he found great enlightenment in the fantastic works of James Joyce, whom Crowley regarded very highly.  Campbell was also greatly impacted with the genius of Friedrich Nietzsche, whom he often quoted.

Joseph Campbell went on to write such great works as Hero with a Thousand Faces and The Masks of God, and was later featured in a video series by Bill Moyers called The Power of Myth.  His most accomplished disciple was George Lucas, who found inspiration in his studies on comparative myth for his monumental series of science fiction films, which at their core are the saga of a lost soul emerging from the Abyss through sheer love.

Campbell left us with many great quotes.  Here are just a few of those highly Thelemic gems:

“Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically.  But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.”

“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”

“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world.  We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.”

“God is a metaphor for that which trancends all levels of intellectual thought.  It’s as simple as that.”

“I don’t have to have faith, I have experience.”

“It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life.  Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.”

“Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.”

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.”

…But perhaps his fondest saying was simply “Follow your Bliss”.  What a wonderful way of saying “Do what thou wilt”!  He once said:  “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”

His profound genius is appreciated and will be remembered.  Happy birthday to Joseph Campbell (Mar.26, 1904-Oct.30, 1987 E.V.).

-Aleisterion

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