(11/25/1943) Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley

NOTE: Grady had asked Crowley for help with a magical name and motto. The result was a letter from Crowley to Grady, dated 19th November 1943 e.v.. From that point on, Grady L. McMurtry was Hymenaeus Alpha, 777 by Greek gematria. Here is Grady’s enthusiastic letter of thanks.

25 November 1943
1684th Ord MM Co (Avn)(Q)
APO 635, AFF 473
S. Army

Cara Frater,

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

Is 777 good enough? I should argue with Jack Pot! This Alpha business. A bi-lingual pun asserts itself, i.e., “Liber Aleph” which could mean anything from “Greetings, o perfect Fool” to “Hi Chump”. Yea, I think that it will do. And I think that I am the boy for the job.

Follow certain suspicious looking characters the result of doodling while making phone calls. Don’t blame me — they just happened.

{Doodles omitted, they are variations on lemniscate and line pierced circles}
“if one then rotates the figure through an angle of 90° on a vertical axis”

“eggs or sunspots?” “suspicious looking characters” “With scales and tails” {more doodles, this time curved lines and circles}

“in the sign of the Striking Falcon”
{Starting with a human figure in lotus asana, arms raised in a “V” to either side, these progress through several doodles. The drawing morphs into “X” and circle, combining elements of the above figures}
These might possibly suggest something to you. I spoke to you of figure A before.

It occurs to me that I should have the following information to hand — Mass of the Phoenix; hot to construct a Fiery Chariot; the banishing and invoking rituals of the Pentagram and their use on the astral plane in testing demons encountered — especially as related to elementals of air, fire, water, earth; a simple, effective method of challenging those elementals or angles (sign of the Enterer?) and of protecting myself from same (Harpocrates?) (this has in mind that while the banishing ritual of the Pentagram would probably handle almost any serious situation, it takes too much time for those minor challenges which can be turned aside by some more simple parry); The Vision and the Voice, and MAGICK.

I mentioned the diary in my phone call. Some of these you may be able to write out — others you may not be able to spare or procure — but, I would like to have them if possible.

I notice with interest that Levi means Louis. That makes me Grady Levi McMurtry. “Yah, Ikey, ve brew home brew yet.” And then there was the little moron in English class who said “Aiwass, you was, he was, she was”.

How about a comprehensive definition of “Phallicism”. It seems to cover too much territory.

I have been playing with idea of Symbology as a function of machine calculation for some time. Here is one man’s idea. What do you think? “A man can most easily obtain a good knowledge in the sciences, such as psychology, mathematics or physics if he is a student of symbology. Man lives in a World of ideas. Almost any phenomenon is so complex that he cannot possibly grasp the while of it. He abstracts certain characteristics of a given phenomenon as idea, then represents that idea as a symbol, be it a word or a mathematical sign. Human reaction is almost entirely reaction to symbols, and only negligibly to phenomena. As a matter of fact it can be demonstrated that the human mind can think (reason?) only in terms of symbols. When we think, we let symbols operate on other symbols in certain set fashion — rules of logic, or rules of mathematics. If the symbols have been abstracted so that they are structurally similar to the phenomena they stand for, and if the symbol operations are similar in structure and order to the operations of phenomena in the real world, we think sanely. If our logic mathematics, or our word symbols, have been poorly chosen, we think not sanely. For instance in mathematical physics you are concerned with making your symbology fit physical phenomena. While in psychiatry you would be concerned with precisely the same think, except that you are more immediately concerned with the man who does the thinking than the phenomena he is thinking about. But it is the same subject; always the same subject; symbology! From a story by Robert Heinlein, an American author. My conception of this reduced to a means of practical application for the correlation of all known phenomena would be a Center of Collation wherein the processes of machine calculation would sift the dust of knowledge through its steel webbed fingers — adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing all possible correspondences and combinations — even unto the “random association of semantically meaningful ideas”.

Do you mind if I take TO MEGA THERION apart to make TO ME GATHER ION?

Love is the law, love under will!

Big Chief Shootum Bull

{Signed amid doodles and “777”, “Hymenaeus Alpha”}

Note: Originally published in Thelema Lodge Calendar, July 2000.

(11/25/1943) Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley #1 (11/25/1943) Grady McMurtry to Aleister Crowley #2

Note: Thank you to William Heidrick for making these images available.