NOTE: This polemical essay was originally written for The Magickal Link, the Official Monthly Bulletin of Ordo Templi Orientis, where it appeared in April 1982 e.v. on the first two and one-third pages. The sectarian spirit evinced in this article seems a bit old-fashioned after twenty years, but in Grady’s critique Thelemic culture is cast as a very personal heritage, and his denunciations (echoing those of Crowley, which he quotes) are usually based upon personal encounters with the “revisionists.” The implied object of some sort of “Aleister Crowley Orthodoxy” is a bit disturbing to consider, but can not have been intended very seriously. The article includes a robust, insulting romp through the ranks of the laughable faux-O.T.O. organizations of that day (most of which existed only on paper), which seemed to spring up like weeds following the fallow decade of the Order from the middle ‘fifties to the middle ‘sixties e.v.
On Aleister Crowley Revisionism
by Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha X°
Probably the first to revise Aleister Crowley’s teachings was Norman Mudd, a mathematics professor who, after Cefalu, proved, with mathematical precision, a number of things that Crowley found most unlike. He then drowned himself. Crowley was not fond of him. When I asked about Mudd one day at 93 Jermyn Street he frowned, snorted, said, “Oh, you mean that idiot who loaded his pockets with rocks and walked into the sea?” Surely a lesson to all future revisionists, but they still try.
Then came Frater Achad and the Achad Tree. Crowley himself condemned it (note 1, page 7, MT&P) and it has certainly had a strange history with firm believers who have taken it to extravagant lengths, and equally firm opponents who agree with Crowley that turning the OTz ChIIM ( = 228) upside down by interchanging the leaves is dangerous nonsense. Personally I agree with Crowley. Intellectual brilliance will not get you across the Abyss.
Next on my check list (this is infinitely expandable) was a friend of mine, Jack Parsons, who with his Babalon Working supposedly brought down a Fourth Chapter of Liber AL. This seems to have set a trend. And it is a beautiful example of a magician seriously at work. But I can not accept it as a valid Fourth Chapter of Liber AL. He did, however, add something new to the brittle intellectualism of Mudd and Achad: passion! His feeling for Babalon is poignant. And his ability as a poet makes him worthy of consideration — even if only as a model of what not to do.Then there was Level Press, operated by a Mr Lee Heflin. Mr Heflin has a curious fixation about Liber AL. He refuses to believe it is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law,” but changes it to “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law.” Now this might make sense from some angelic point of view — angels living in a world of no-time where everything is happening all at once like the current inside a telephone line — but humans live in a world of renewal and decay. It wouldn’t be so bad if he were up-front, but his method of penetrating the Thelemic consciousness is interesting. In general it consists of publishing a Crowley book and inserting “Do what thou wilt is the whole of the Law,” without notice to the unwary that this is directly counter to Liber AL and Crowley. Why he should try to redirect the Thelemic current at this late date by calling blind signals from an unseen sideline is every Thelemite’s business.
The phenomenon known as “Fourth-Chapter-of-Liber-AL-itis” is a hard fish to pin down, because what is trumpeted as such among a few chosen insiders may not exactly say that when read. Also the authors are heavy into concealing their personal glory by ascribing the actual message to a Thelemic source. We have two candidates in that category. First, The Book of Perfection (93 Publishing, 1977) as delivered to 777 by Aiwass. Since Aleister Crowley designated me as 777 you might think that I wrote it. Not so. Pick a number, any number. It’s the Wheel of Fortune, folks! 777, like any number, can be claimed by anyone. Proof is another matter. The Book of Perfection is an endless repetition of words from Liber AL, especially those great big heavy HO-HO-HO ones, and other sources, and about as original as a frozen TV dinner. The only thing that interested me was page 73, where it is written “This book shall be sent to the Temple of the East in its original and typewritten copy.” The game’s afoot, Watson! This solves a mystery. About five years ago I received a large manila envelope in the mail. It had an Oregon return address, but no name of sender. It was postmarked “JAN 20 ’72”. Inside were two documents, one in manuscript and a typed copy. It contained Liber Jiha’ad and other material presumably published in The Book of Perfection. Since it was said to be communicated by Aiwass, presumably the same angel Aiwass who transmitted Liber AL to Aleister Crowley, I take it that we are supposed to take it as an authentic communication from the Gods of Thelema. That seems unlikely since the envelope containing this thundering nonsense was addressed to: Mr Kenneth Grant, c/o O.T.O., P. O. Box 2043, Dublin, CA 94566 — which happened to be the address of Hymenaeus Alpha a.k.a. Grady Louis McMurtry. Now it just so happens that I met Mr Grant in Aleister Crowley’s presence, in A.C.’s room at the Bell Inn, Aston Clinton, circa 1944 e.v. Since Aleister Crowley could obviously tell Mr Grant from Mr McMurtry at least long enough to introduce us, I am sure that this angel Aiwass could also do the same. Since he did not, I can only conclude that the Aiwass communicating The Book of Perfection is not the same Aiwass that transmitted Liber AL to Aleister Crowley.
Our final exhibit is Liber vel OVIZ 93 sub figura LXXVI as delivered by OVIZ to PRZOVAL 8 = 3 (The Khabs Temple, 537 Jones Street #8475, San Francisco, CA 94102). The text is the usual reshuffling of words from Liber AL, no new revelations I could find, and “Privately printed by the O.T.O.”, or so it says. Which O.T.O. it does not say. But what is really interesting is the “Introduction”. For one thing it lets me off the hook as a possible author since it proclaims openly its hostility to “the near total degeneration and fall of the existing Crowley pseudo-cults such as Hymenaeus Alpha’s Rosicrucianised O.T.O.” Apparently they have never been around to see our Gnostic Mass. As for the phrases such as “The Master of A.A.” and “The Brothers of A.A.”, etc., apparently the author of this work didn’t even check the Sigil of A A, clearly printed, in which the honor marks () after each letter are clearly shown. Now the honor (fire) marks indicate that A A is an inner, higher Order than O.T.O. (no honor marks). But that is hardly surprising considering that this particular Aiwas is spelled OVIZ. Crowley accepted three spellings of Aiwas: = 93; = 78; = 418 in the Greek cabala. In each instance the (I) is before the (F) and is properly pronounced “Aiwas”. With the Vau before the Yod, however, it is properly pronounced OEH-veh! I doubt if Crowley’s Aiwas would appreciate such a misinterpretation.And now for the dessert. Just as we in Aleister Crowley’s O.T.O. have our private recognition signals, verbal and written, we also have a private accord, never before published that I know of, that a Fourth Chapter of AL is concealed in the Third Chapter. Horus is a double God. As you will remember (AL III:35), The half of the word Heru-ra-ha, called Hoor-pa-kraat and Ra- Hoor-Khut, it having been the spell of Ra-Hoor-Khuit that was raised.
As for finding the unknown and unidentified author/s of Liber vel OVIZ 93, that should not be difficult. All we have to do is join the foray and call out the Baker Street Irregulars for — as Sherlock Holmes would say, It’s elemental, my dear Watson!
Written in the INFERNO CLUB in Columbus, Georgia,
and for all you other Thelemic buckaroos out there!
H. A. 777
Note: originally published in The Magical Link, April 1982, and Thelema Lodge Calendar, January 2002.
|Written in the INFERNO CLUB in Columbus, Georgia,
and for all you other Thelemic buckaroos out there!
H. A. 777