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Aleister Crowley and the LAM Statement

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Subject: Aleister Crowley and the LAM Statement

                  by Ian Blake

Thus far in my articles on the paranormal I have tried to convey an
impression of pragmatism and common sense, dealing almost exclusively
with the brain, its functions and - more especially - its
dysfunctions. My aim has always been to explain various types of
phenomena without explaining them away. Magic and the occult have been
mentioned on a number of occasions, but only in passing, as a side
issue, as it were. In the main I have confined myself to "armchair
UFOlogy", leaving the wider implications (magical, spiritual, etc.)
to other, possibly more capable hands. It is a fact however, that one
seldom gets very far in these areas without coming across occult
doctrine in one form or another, usually updated and translated into
"new age" jargon. In this article I intend to examine some of the more
esoteric aspects of UFOlogy, hopefully laying the ground-work for
further investigation.

                      MAGICK RELIEVES

UFO research, even of the armchair variety, calls for a high degree of
mental flexibility. One can draw up general rules to assist in
analysis, but it is necessary to keep an open mind at all times, and
be prepared for the exception that cuts across all previous theories.
This is especially true of the contactee syndrome, which serves as a
crystallization point for all manner of complexes and repressed
desires. My own, albeit limited experience has led me to the
realization that most contactees are basically no different from the
rest of us. They are in fact perfectly ordinary human beings suf-
fering from familiar symptoms, particularly those of boredom,
alienation and sheer lack of purpose. But what of the exceptions to
this rule? What, for instance of the occultist who strives by an
effort of will to establish contact with trans-spatial entities?
According to a recent edition of the OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis)
journal _Khabs, "the central concern of magic is communion with
discarnate or extraterrestrial intelligences." It is to this end that
much contemporary occultism is predicated. As long ago as 1918
Aleister Crowley conducted a series of experiments in what would today
be termed channeling, or "induced contacteeism". (This is of course a
simplification of what actually took place, employed here for the sake
of convenience.) Since then, several occultists, notably Michael
Bertiaux in the 1960s and a group of OTO initiates in the 1970s, have
carried out similar magical workings. What is more their efforts in
many cases have been crowned with remarkable success - at least if the
official OTO party line is to be believed. This in turn raises serious
implications for the entire field of UFO research. In order to place
these implications in their proper context, it is first of all
necessary to say a few words regarding Aleister Crowley's Amalantrah
Working, a series of visions and trance-communications received circa
January - March 1918 by the oddly-named Roddie Minor, who was at that
time acting as Crowley's Scarlet Woman.

It is not my intention in writing this article to provide an
introduction to the wider field of occultism, or to Thelemic doctrine
per se. For readers who would prefer a clear and reasonably objec-
tive summary of the Amalantrah Working, Crowley's own "Magical Record"
is invaluable. So too are Roddie Minor's own thoughts on the matter.
Readers who do not have access to either of these are best advised to
consult John Symond's "The Great Beast," which gives a well-balanced
and coherent account of what actually took place.

                     CROWLEY IN NEW YORK

The facts of the matter are briefly as follows: At the outbreak of
WWI, Crowley set sail from his native England aboard the Lusitania,
bound for the USA. Arriving in high spirits, he took up residence in
an apartment on New York's bustling West 36th street and there divided
his time more or less equally between acts of sex magic and the
composition of crackpot pro-German propaganda for The Fatherland.
Following an expedite to Vancouver via San Francisco and New Orleans
he returned to New York and moved into furnished rooms on Central Park
West. Roddie Minor, a married woman living apart from her husband,
joined him there circa September/ October 1917 and together they set
about exploring the wilder shores of magica sexualis.

Crowley's personal record for October 1, 1917 describes Minor as "big,
muscular, (and) sensual." John Symonds adds that she was
"broad-shouldered and pleasant-faced." In addition to these homely
attributes, she also possessed a well-developed clairvoyant faculty.
Under the influence of hashish and opium she described to Crowley a
series of archetypal visions involving (among others) a king, a small
boy and a wizard who introduced himself as "Amalantrah" - who
delivered exhortations to "find the egg." The reaction of most people
would no doubt be to view these accounts as nothing more than
drug-induced hallucinations having no wider significance, but Aleister
Crowley was no ordinary man. According to Symonds, he "made no attempt
to interpret this material in terms of unconsciousness. To him the
characters and incidents of mescal visions were more real than any-
thing reality or the ego could provide. He would not have been
surprised to meet...Amalantrah strolling up Fifth Avenue. The wizard
would have descended onto the plane of illusion, that is all."

At length, feeling that Amalantrah had nothing further to impart,
Crowley decamped for Europe, leaving Roddie Minor to her own devices.
But the story doesn't end there. It would be beyond my competence to
provide a complete and faithful account of the Amalantrah Working and
its aftermath. The last word on the subject will probably never be
written. For the purpose of this article I need only observe that
Crowley was not interested in ideas for their own sake, but in
results. The details are unclear, but it seems that at some stage
during the proceedings he underwent a form of contactee experience
involving a large-headed entity now known to occultists as Lam.

Lam, (whose name derives from the Tibetan word for "way" or "path")
later became the subject of a portrait by Crowley, drawn from life and
imbued with a haunting inner quality of its own. The original was
first exhibited in New York in 1919 and has been reproduced several
times since then, most recently in the third issue of "Starfire"
magazine. Although lacking the crude power of Crowley's more
extravagant canvases and murals, it is nevertheless a remarkable piece
of work. The subject is depicted in extreme close-up and appears
somehow dwarfish, despite the fact that there is no indication of
scale in the overall composition. The head is large, smooth and hair-
less, tapering to a pointed chin. The mouth is slitlike; the eyes
extend part-ways around the sides of the face. There is no suggestion
of clothing beyond what appears to be a cloak buttoned at the neck,
nor does the entity have any ears. In short, Lam resembles nothing so
much as a typical UFO occupant of the "examiner" type (what Americans
would call "greys".)

                   ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE

Crowley's portrait of Lam passed into the hands of Kenneth Grant circa
1945 following an astral working in which he and Crowley were jointly
involved. Grant, who was authorized in the early '50s to work the
first three grades of the OTO, is now widely perceived as Crowley's
natural heir and successor. His interest in CETI-type phenomena is of
long-standing duration. In 1955 for instance, he announced the
discovery of a trans-plutonian planet called Isis, and simultaneously
established an order called the New Isis Lodge OTO for the purpose
(among others) of contacting higher intelligences. A similar situation
arose some 30 years later in the late 1980s, when Grant allegedly
received 'strong intimations' to the effect that Crowley's portrait of
Lam "is the present focus of an extraterrestrial - and perhaps
trans-plutonic-energy which the OTO is required to communicate at this
critical period..." I have no idea as to the nature of these
'intimations', besides which, writing about magic is a dubious
enterprise at best, fraught with semantic difficulties. Perhaps the
best option in an article as necessarily as brief as this, is to quote
directly from "The Lam Statement", a text circulated among OTO
initiates with a view to "regularizing the mode of rapport and
constructing a magical formula for establishing communication with
Lam." We are told first of all that:

"It has been considered advisable by the Sovereign Sanctuary to
regularize and to examine results achieved by individual members of
the OTO who have established contact with the magical entity known as
Lam. We are therefore founding an Inner Cult of this dikpala for the
purpose of amassing precise accounts of such contacts...

The portrait of (Lam) which is reproduced in "The Magical Revival" may
be used as the visual focus, and can serve as the Yantra of the Cult;
the name Lam is the Mantra; and the Tantra is the union with the
dikpala by entering the Egg of Spirit represented by the Head. Entry
may be affected by projecting consciousness through the eyes"...And
elsewhere in a section titled "The Magical Procedure" :

The Mode of Entering the Egg may proceed as follows. Each votary is
encouraged to experiment and evolve his own method from the basic

1) Sit in silence before the portrait.

2) Invoke mentally my silent repetition the Name.

3) If response is felt to be positive...enter the Egg and merge with
That which is within, and look out through the entity's eyes on what
appears now to the votary an alien world.

4) Seal the Egg, i.e., close the eyes of Lam and await developments.

The Remainder of "The Lam Statement" deals with the practicalities of
invocation and banishing in a ritual context. Some parts of the text
are esoteric, having to do with the Cabala and other such difficult
matters (my knowledge of occultism is largely theoretical; I have very
little practical experience); others are remarkably straightforward.
It is difficult to assess whether the claims made for "LAMeditation"
have any basis in fact. Certain objections inevitably remain open.
Nevertheless, we should be cautious about assuming that it is all pure
imagination. There is a definite residue of data here that cannot be
dismissed out of hand. The real question now facing us is simply: what
exactly happens at times like this? What is the basis of these
extraordinary accounts? Do we, in order to explain them need to invoke
the concept of 'trans-plutonian entities', or are we dealing instead
with archetypes dredged up from the collective unconscious? There is
pervasive evidence to support both alternatives. All it takes is a
willingness to look at the facts.

Perhaps the most important point arising from "The Lam Statement" is
simply that contactee type experiences can be induced at will. There
are in fact a number of important parallels between "LAMeditation" and
the broader issue of "contacteeism" in general. Consider John Keel
once remarked that "in most contactee events the percipient is
alone...when the UFO contact occurs." This observation might equally
apply to the abductee syndrome. Once again the vast majority of all
cases are uncorroborated by hard evidence. Independent witness
testimony is so rare as to be virtually unknown. In short, whatever
else it may be, "alien contact" ( I am loath to use the phrase without
quotes) is essentially a solitary experience. And so too is
LAMeditation. "The Lam Statement" makes this point in no uncertain
terms, warning that group working is considered inadvisable. "Each
votary should work in isolation," it stresses, "or only with his or
her magical partner.. 1X Working is held to be _extremely dangerous_
(sic emphasis) in this area even if both partners are officially 1X."
The precise nature of this danger is not specified but we are left in
no doubt as to its reality.

Nor do the similarities (with the contactee experience) end there. In
common with most forms of magical procedure, rapport with Lam requires
stern self-discipline and dedication to a higher purpose. Referring
back to "The Lam Statement" we find that "adumbrations of identity
with Lam may be experienced as a strong sense of the unreality or
unfamiliarity of the "objective" universe. There is a definite
parallel here with the curious sense of dissociation experienced by
very many witnesses. In recent years there has been an increasing
acceptance that this sort of thing is not pure delusion. Jenny Randles
for instance, refers to it as the "Oz Effect". Writing in "The Pennine
UFO Mystery" she describes a typical case in which the witnesses "said
that they were not afraid: indeed they were very strangely calm and
subdued...isolated in time and space as if removed from the real world
and melded with the UFO above them; only they and it existed..."
Having personally experienced this odd sensation on two separate
occasions I am reluctant to dismiss it merely as the subjective
reaction of a highly-strung temperament. On the other hand, however, I
am equally reluctant to interpret it as some form of rapport with
extraterrestrial entities. I suspect that most investigators would
share my reluctance. (There is a tendency nowadays, particularly among
UFO researchers here in the U.K., to dismiss the ETH (Extraterrestrial
Hypothesis) as little more than a form of American cultural
imperialism, rather on par with Coca Cola, McDonald's, and Ninja
Turtles.) It is far more likely that we are dealing here with some
form of psychic response, the precise nature of which is at present a

                          THE EGG AND I

In magical terms it is possible to identify Lam with the Dwarf Self,
the Silent Self, Harpocrates, Hadit, and perhaps most significantly,
the Babe In The Egg. Here I quote from Michael Staley's forward to
"The Lam Statement" in "Starfire" vol. 1 no. 3: "The Amalantrah is in
many ways a continuation of the Abuldiz Working of several years
previous. In both of these Workings the symbolism of the egg featured
prominently. One of the earlier versions of the Amalantrah Working
ended with the sentence, "It's all in the egg." During the final
surviving version of this Working, in reference to a question about
the egg, Crowley was told: "Thou art to go this way."

There is a certain danger in constructing theories based on intuitive
or inspired source material. At this point I may be allowing my
knowledge of UFOlogy to influence my interpretation of the Lam text:
(Inevitably some of my assertions may seem to cross the line into pure
fantasy; I can only ask the reader to bear with me) I can't help see-
ing in Roddie Minor's channeled references to "the egg" a parallel
with various issues relating to UFO research in general.

Eggshaped UFOs are of course, by no means uncommon. There are dozens
of examples on file. The famous Soccoro, New Mexico case (April 24,
1964) springs readily to mind. So too do the Salem, Massachusetts
(July 16, 1952), Saigon, Vietnam (April 17, 1967), Levelland, Texas
(November 3, 1967); and White Sands, New Mexico (also November 3,
1967) sightings. Space and brevity preclude going into these cases at
length. Besides which, it would be to little purpose - a tenuous
connection at best. Far more significant are those cases where the
witness seemingly enters what psychologists would term an "altered
State of consciousness". Testimonies abound in this respect. For
instance: "The room is whitish," abductee Stephen Kilburn recalled
under hypnosis in 1978; "it's curved on the inside...I don't think
there are any angles in the room. Everything is kind of milky or misty
or something. it doesn't shine, but everything has that metallic glow
to it." Accounts like this are by no means uncommon, and it is
unlikely that all are pure fabrication. But what is the alternative?
We seem to be dealing here with something very simiIar to the process
of LAMeditation which, it will be recalled, entails "entering the egg
and merging with that which is within." This recognition is important,
for it leads us once again to the suspicion that the abduction
syndrome may have something in common with what is traditionally
called "magic".

Before we allow ourselves to be convinced however, it is worth taking
into account John Rimmer's observation that the witness in this case,
"one of a number investigated by Budd Hopkins, had _no conscious
memory_ of an abduction before the investigation." The phrase I have
underlined is important, not least because the Lam procedure also
involves a form of hypnosis, albeit self-administered and - regulated.
Rimmer adds that "the UFO abduction as a distinct phenomenon exists as
a result of the process of hypnotic regression." And again: " a
very great extent the evidence for alien abductions stands or falls on
the reliability of memories recalled through regression, and the
techniques of hypnosis themselves." (Budd Hopkins and others do report
that many abduction events are recalled without the aid of
hypnosis-but bear with Mr. Blake here-ed.)

                        STEP INTO MY PARLOR...

These comments obviously go to the very heart of the matter. In real
terms most accounts gained under hypnosis are so vague and imprecise
as to be virtually worthless. The sensible reaction to them must
inevitably be that they contain a certain amount of "confabulated"
material, expressing the repressed desires of the unconscious mind.
Hilary Evans seems to be referring to something of this sort in
"Visions * Apparitions * Alien Visitors" when he asks, "Are we to
suppose that, subconsciously, all the witnesses...were unconsciously
seeking their encounter? And in that case do we have to suppose that
every UFO percipient is also responding to some subconscious
motivation?" I suspect so - at least as a broad percept. I suspect
furthermore, just as the vampires of eighteenth century Hungary were
unable to cross a threshold uninvited, so the UFO entities of
contemporary folklore are bound by a similar constraint. Having given
the matter careful consideration, I am forced reluctantly to conclude
that they too are unable to cross the threshold of human experience
without first being "invited" in some way.

In writing this article I have experienced none of the satisfaction
from seeing a range of facts fall neatly into place. At the end of it
all, I am left feeling just as bewildered as ever. In order to assess
"The Lam Statement" fully, it is necessary to consider the possibility
that there may indeed be such a thing as genuine alien contact. Is it
conceivable that some students of Thelema have indeed established
contact with non-human entities? I believe that it is. I am not
however, convinced that these entities are necessarily
"trans-plutonian". There is a certain amount of evidence (internal
consistency, cross-correspondences) to support such a contention, but
the matter by its very nature cannot be proved scientifically. No
matter. More than anything else, "The Lam Statement" testifies to
the power of the unconscious mind. Translated out of occult
terminology into the language of conventional psychology, we can see
that it describes a process of self-exploration leading to a greater
realization of inner potential. Perhaps this is the best way to view

** End **

Don Allen - via ParaNet node 1:104/422
UUCP: !scicom!paranet!User_Name
INTERNET: Don.Allen@p3.f2112.n2430.z1.FIDONET.ORG

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