a cache of usenet and other text files pertaining
to occult, mystical, and spiritual subjects.


OTO Bashing

To: alt.satanism,alt.magick
From: (Tim Maroney)
Subject: Re: OTO Bashing (sigh)
Date: 29 Nov 95 04:41:48 GMT (Tim Maroney) writes:
> >I'm not familiar with his metaphorical or joking usage of the terms
> >"Satanism" or "Satanist." Crowley's attitude toward the Gods was mutable
> >and ambiguous: he could never decide if they were extrahuman or not,
> >but did generally ascribe to them some sort of extra-literary reality.
> >His interpretation of Satan is subject to the same caveats, but it is
> >beyond question that he personally did adore the figure and direct
> >poetry and prayer its way. (Bill Heidrick) wrote:
> By this standard, WWI Pacific Theater American bomber crews worshiped
> Disney characters.

As another poster has pointed out, Crowley's religious veneration of
Satan is easily distinguishable from the attitudes of servicemen to
Disney characters.  I would add that I am aware of no "prayers" of this
type to Donald or Mickey, while there are very plain prayers to Satan
in the Crowley corpus. There _is_ certainly some connection between
the gods of old and modern media figures, but their culti are quite
distinct in form.

> >Here are a few sections from MTP bearing on Satan:
> I'll happly rest my case on the MTP quotes you gave in your post.  They
> make quite clear the point that Crowley used Satan &c as metaphor,
> categorical of an idea or a symbol and little else.  That conforms to
> his other usage of deities, demons and various spirits.  The matter is
> to the usage and the state of mind.  Crowley used poetry and dramatic
> ritual along with imagry in the manner described in the theory chapters
> of MTP.  The furtherist you could go with that is to call him a "method
> actor".  Are these things real?  Certainly, if by real you mean something
> capable of function in the mind.  Are these things actual in the sense
> of dwelling in the world as such, apart from human awareness?  Who can
> say, save a blind believer in the myths of the ages -- and Crowley was
> not that on this level.  He played on images of this sort as a musician
> handles themes in music, not as a trembling believer in boogies.  Did
> he consider that independent (from him) intelligences respond to such
> names?  Yes, some of the time and for some personal experiences.  That
> is not the same as taking a thing simply for its name, else the world
> would be overrun with incarnations of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
This is a somewhat rambling treatment of the matter. It is clear to me
that Crowley's dominant position on the nature of gods was that they
were actual personalities existing independently of the human mind.
Attempting to dismiss his repeated usages of "Satan" as merely jokes
or metaphors ignores what he himself said about his ideas about the
nature and importance of deities. I will quote from _Magick_Without_Tears_,
which is copyrighted by the O.T.O. and used here for critical purposes:

    Now, on the other hand, there is an entirely different type of
    angel; and here we must be especially careful to remember that we
    include gods and devils, for there are such beings who are not by
    any means dependent on one particular element for their existence.
    They are macrocosms in exactly the same sense as men and women are.
    They are individuals who have picked up the elements of their
    composition as possibility and convenience dictates, exactly as we
    do ourselves.  I want you to understand that a goddess like
    Astarte, Astaroth, Cotytto, Aphrodite, Hathoor, Venus are [sic] not
    not merely aspects of the planet; they are separate individuals who
    have been identified with each other, and attributed to Venus
    merely because the salient feature in their character approximates
    to the ideal.
	-- Letter 43, "The Holy Guardian Angel: An Objective

    I must very strongly insist, at this point, on the difference
    between "gods" and "angels". Gods are macrocosmic, as we
    microcosmic; an incarnated (materialised) God is just as much a
    person, an individual animal, as we are; as such, he appeals to all
    of our senses _exactly_ as if he were "material."
	-- Letter 58, "Do Angels Ever Cut Themselves Shaving?"

    Yet all the time the difficulty is of our own silly making. The
    most elementary consideration of the nature of Gods, angels,
    demons, and the rest, as shown by their peculiar faculties, stamps
    them all instantly as Beings pertaining to more than three
	-- Letter 36 "Quo Stet Olympus: Where the Gods and Angels Live"

    For as I have explained in a previous letter, Gods are people:
    macrocosms, not mere collections of the elements, planets and signs
    as are most of the angels, intelligences and spirits. It is
    interesting to note that Gabriel in particular seems to be mroe
    than one of these: he enjoys the particular privilege of being
    himself. Between you and me and the pylon, I suspect that the
    Gabriel who gave the Q'uran to Mohammed was in reality a "Master"
    or messenger of some such person, more or less as Aiwass describes
    himself as "the minister of Hoor-Paar-Kraat."
	-- Letter 76, "The Gods: How and Why They Overlap"

> >I don't see anywhere that Crowley states that all these usages are
> >metaphorical or joking, and I don't consider that to be a natural
> >interpretation of the texts themselves.
> Tim, in this admission of your interpretative limitations, I am amazed!

If you know of a case in which Crowley states that these usages of
"Satan" are metaphorical or joking -- distinguishing them from other
usages of deity by which, as we have just seen, he meant to refer to
actual personalities -- then it would be better for your case to cite
that case rather than lob brickbats.

Of course one could decide to reinterpret Crowley in this way, given
enough determination to ignore his own explanations; and this might be
entirely admirable in devising one's own personal system. I adopt a
metaphorical, literary, and non-literal view of the nature of deity,
and if you do too, my hat is off! But here we are not arguing what
either of us believes or should believe; we are arguing what Crowley
believed, as a matter of biography; and it's all plain enough to be
called a fact.

> The gods are the personification of the forces of nature.

That's certainly no strange theory to students of Greek or Hindu
philosophy, but it is not Crowley's theory. If you wish to argue
otherwise, I hope you are prepared to cite expositions of that theory
which are as clear as the above expositions of a literalist theory.
Tim Maroney.  Please CC all public responses to

The Arcane Archive is copyright by the authors cited.
Send comments to the Arcane Archivist:

Did you like what you read here? Find it useful?
Then please click on the Paypal Secure Server logo and make a small
donation to the site maintainer for the creation and upkeep of this site.

The ARCANE ARCHIVE is a large domain,
organized into a number of sub-directories,
each dealing with a different branch of
religion, mysticism, occultism, or esoteric knowledge.
Here are the major ARCANE ARCHIVE directories you can visit:
interdisciplinary: geometry, natural proportion, ratio, archaeoastronomy
mysticism: enlightenment, self-realization, trance, meditation, consciousness
occultism: divination, hermeticism, amulets, sigils, magick, witchcraft, spells
religion: buddhism, christianity, hinduism, islam, judaism, taoism, wicca, voodoo
societies and fraternal orders: freemasonry, golden dawn, rosicrucians, etc.


There are thousands of web pages at the ARCANE ARCHIVE. You can use ATOMZ.COM
to search for a single word (like witchcraft, hoodoo, pagan, or magic) or an
exact phrase (like Kwan Yin, golden ratio, or book of shadows):

Search For:
Match:  Any word All words Exact phrase


Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races