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XI degree OTO Questions

To: alt.magick,alt.magck.tyagi,alt.magick.tantra
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: XI degree OTO Questions
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 19:04:38 GMT

joseph wrote:
> if the point that XIth degree O.T.O. is of a homosexual nature is 
> accepted would any one care to comment on the 4th chapter of magick 
> in theory and practice (the formula of  ALHIM and that of ALIM) and 
> most particularly the footnote at the end of the chapter?

Thanks for bringing that up, joseph -- it has spawned its own very
interesting thread (The Formula of ALHIM and of ALIM Part 1) in
alt.magick -- and it has given me a valuable personal memory flash. 

As some of you know, because i have posted about this in the past, i
first encountered the writings of Aleister Crowley in 1963 or so, when
my parents, who owned an antiwaurian bookstore, purchased the
library-estate of an elderly women who had died under mysterious
circumstances in the hills (wealthy section) of Oakland, California. She
had been, to judge by the books in her collection, a Theosophist and/or
a friend and near-contemporary of Crowley's, and had probably been born
in England or had lived there before World War II. She had beautifully
leather-bound copies of every one of Crowley books and magazines, plus
letters and other papers, such as a colour flyer and descriptive text
for the London art gallery exhibit of Freida Harris' original paintings
for the Thoth tarot deck. 

This woman was said to have been "The Mistress of the Lotus Lodge," but
i have been unable to find anything regarding that lodge -- not even
information as to which fraternal or magical order sponsored it. In any
case, at about 75 years old, we were told by the estate lawyer, she had
died of a heart attack while performing a ritual -- her body was found
in an invocation circle, surrounded by tarot cards (the original
Rider-Waite deck, as it turned out, which i know because i got the
cards, as well as her gold-plated silver headdress [made in the UK circa
1915-1920, according to the hallmarks]) and by dozens of gold coins
(purchased by a coin dealer, not by my folks). 

Well, i was already interested in magic at the time my parets bought the
library of the "Mistress of the Lotius Lodge," so i read every one of
the books from this woman's collection -- and one of the most ODD
paragraphs i ever read was the one quoted in the current thread:

     We have thus a tetragrammaton which contains no feminine 
     component. The initial force is here the holy spirit and 
     its vehicle or weapon the "sword and balances."  Justice is 
     then done upon the mercurial "Virgin," with the result that 
     the man is "hanged" or extended, and is slain in this manner.
     Such an operation makes creation impossible [snip]...The great 
     merits of this formula are that it avoids contact with the 
     inferior planes, that it is self suficient, that it involves 
     no responsibilites, and that it leaves its masters not only
     stronger in themselves, but wholly free to fulfil their 
     essential natures. Its abuse is an abomination.

I was into John William Lloyd's book on karezza sex-mysticism at the
time, and to find such an antithetical -- such an anti-hetrosexual --
viewpoint in Crowley's works surprised me. I knew several homosexual men
(friends and co-workers of my mother's from the UC library system) --
but i did not fully comprehend then, being only 16 years old, the degree
of misogyny that might suffuse the writings of an ostensibly
heterosexual (i mean, he was married! he had had kids!) so-called
"sex-magician." And the it didn't just seem to be about the joys of gay
sex -- it seemed to be about busting "virgin" cherries!

I must have read that paragraph ten or twelve times over during the
course of a week, trying to understand it without letting it ruffle me.
I wondered what the Mistress of the Lotus Lodge had thought when she had
read that stuff about "inferior planes." Did she just laugh it off -- or
did she, like me, begin to doubt the universal basis of a system of
magic so evidently motivated by personal sexual concerns? 

And what about Lloyd and karezza? After all, neither he nor his mentor
Alice Bunker Stockham had the time of day for homosexual sex-mysticism.
Were THEY as universal as they claimed to be -- or merely the
statistical-majority voice, self-congratulatory and smug? 

And why the insistance on RANKING? Why did Stockham and Lloyd place
heterosexual union on such a distinguished plane and Crowley exalt
homosexual cherry-busting sex as superior? Wasn't sex-magic itself an
unusual enough path when contrasted to the dominant social paradigm that
these long-dead teachers should have considered each other
comrades-in-arms, no matter what their gender preference differences? 

Such were my thoughts in 1963 as a sexually active but socially and
psychologically naive teenager. 

I went on to study plenty more magic, but after that exposure to
Crowley's dark underside, i always kept his system at a distance --
because as a woman, i found that reading paragraphs like that evoked in
me feelings similar to those i got as a Jew when i read Aryan supremacy
propaganda of the 1930s. 

And now, almost 40 years later, here it is again -- the very paragraph
-- out of all of Crowley's works -- that so startled me when i was
young. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I need to be shaken up
every few decades, lest i become complacent. 
cat yronwode 

Hoodoo in Theory and Practice --

No personal e-mail, please; just catch me in usenet; i read it daily. 

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     Copyright (c) 2001 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.

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