(07/1977) The Real Presence of the Caliph

NOTE: This essay was drafted by Grady for The O.T.O. Newsletter around July 1977 e.v. when that publication was just getting started. Much of its content appeared in a completely rewritten form several months later, as part of a longer essay entitled “Democracy Dodders” in volume one, number three (Berkeley: O.T.O., December 1977). In the published version the work was not credited directly to Grady, for his writing had been thoroughly revised by an initiate who volunteered to edit the Caliph’s notes for publication. The awkwardness of Grady seeming too blatantly to blow his own horn in the opening comments regarding his especially authentic writing style was overcome by transposing his voice out of the first person, so that the judgment appears to be the result of more objective evaluation. In many other small ways a rhetorical sophistication and an editorial polish were added to the draft, and it was combined with much additional material (for which the original drafts are not available) to make a substantial essay “by Brother Al MacGregor, — ab op. Fr. H. A. “(the abbreviation means “from the work of” Grady). In reviving the early draft, which its author determined at the time not to be ready for print, the present reader is advised to be mindful of the details and of the tone of these statements, rather than too simply applying the all-too-obvious criticisms of their social and political stance. This note survives on one page of single-spaced, corrected, and patched together typescript, with a penciled notation on top reading: “#3, Democ Dodders” and the date 7-27-77.


The Real Presence of the Caliph
by Grady Louis McMurtry

It has sometimes been remarked that our Rap with the Caliph or Tales My Caliph Told Me have an extraordinary ring of reality. “Here is authenticity,” is the reaction. Here is someone who has “been there,” wherever “there” is. It is a curious fact that some people are more “real” than others. Castanada in the Don Juan series goes into the phenomena that there are “forces,” as he calls them, seemingly human beings, but they have no “soul,” i.e. they are incarnated elementals, “angels,” circuits, whatever, but they cast no shadow in the psychic realm. They are incomplete. Or, as Dion Fortune puts it in Psychic Self-Defense (The Aquarian Press, London, 1970, p. 81), “We must not allow the human form to mislead us as to the existence of a human soul. A non-human is a pet animal, not a fellow-creature. That, frankly, is the only possible ground upon which they can be approached.” It provides a curious puzzle for the political theory of democracy. How does one account for people who are not “people?” This will become one of the leading problems of the New Age.

We ran into this a long time ago in Thelema. The Book of the Law is quite specific on the subject, and it would be easy enough to cite chapter and verse. But this is an essay on history, and you are encouraged to look up the chapter and verse yourself. Anyway, when I first became involved with old Agape Lodge on Winona Boulevard in Hollywood in the late ‘thirties, they were in the process of publishing a copy of The Book of the Law. A commendable exercise, certainly. It was a small paperback, and had a blue cover with gold lettering. It was a completely authentic edition of The Book of the Law in every respect, for those people — Wilfred Smith, Regina Kahl, Jane Wolfe, Lew Carroll, Jack Parsons, etc. — were dedicated Thelemites; but it did leave one thing out. Not out of The Book of the Law itself — they would never have dared tamper with that — but out of Aleister Crowley’s “Introduction” to The Book of the Law. Before we become too harsh on them for having done so, we must remember the temper of the times, as I do most vividly. Those were the days of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Nazis running around in Europe barbecuing every Jew they could find. It was a time of paranoia, and one did have to think in terms of survival. So they left a sentence out of the “Introduction.” The first sentence to Chapter 5 of the “Introduction” to The Book of the Law reads, “Democracy dodders!” This can be verified by reference to previous editions, or, for that matter, to the manuscript, facsimile reproductions of which are available with every copy of The Equinox of the Gods that I have ever seen. Why would they do that? Well, quite obviously they had some idea of surviving the times without being crucified. Personally I commend their good sense. Times change, however.

Today it is obvious that democracy is on the way out. It was never more than an accident of history to begin with. It has no roots, in epistemology of ontology. As a Political Theorist (Master’s Degree, Political Theory, University of California, 1953) I have known this for twenty years. What will replace it? Quite obviously something more real. Something that recognizes the validity of psychic phenomena in the universe. People, not “things.” Mankind, not robots. There is a great mystery here. As Crowley says in the Gnostic Mass,

Man-being veiled in woman form.

Or, as we say in the A∴A∴,

The aspirants to A∴A∴are men; the Brothers of A∴A∴ are women.

It is going to be a far-out new universe.


Note: Published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, February 2003