Tag Archives: Aleister Crowley

Sexual Alchemy

Sexual Alchemy

by Robert Anton Wilson

from GNOSIS Issue #8: Alchemy
Summer 1988
reprinted in Email to the Universe

The Chariot of Antimony by Basil Val­entine (1642) contains the following typical bit of Alchemical exposition:

Let the Lion and Eagle duly prepare themselves as Prince and Princess of Alchemy – as they may be inspired. Let the Union of the Red Lion and the White Eagle be neither in cold nor in heat … Now then conies the time when the elixir is placed in the alembic retort to be subjected to the gentle warmth…. If the Great Work be transubstantiation then the Red Lion may feed upon the flesh and blood of the God, and also let the Red Lion duly feed the White Eagle – yea, may the Mother Eagle give sustain-molt and guard the inner life.’

In general, the preceding passage is representative of the Iimpid clarity of exposition and crystalline lucid­ity of style to be found in alchemical literature. We can already see why so many Rationalist historians have concluded that the alchemists simply went off their skulls from inhaling too many narcotic and/or toxic vapors and wrote hallucinogenic gibberish.

Occultists of various schools, of course, have other ideas. They all agree that alchemical literature was written in code – because “humanity is not ready to receive certain knowledge,” say the esoteric; because any alchemist who wrote clearly would bring down the wrath of the Inquisition on his head, say the more pragmatic. Unfortunately, there are a few dozen theories about what the code means. What follows is the theory that I have found most satisfactory over the years, although I am not smart enough to be absolutely sure it is the one and only correct theory.2

According to Louis T. Culling, Grandmaster of an occult lodge called the G.B.G. (short for Great Brotherhood of God), in his Manual of Sex Magick, the main terms in the code, and their translations, are as follows:

RED LION – the male Alchemist, or his penis.

WHITE EAGLE – the Alchemist’s mate, or her vagina.

RETORT – the vagina and/or womb.

TRANSMUTATION – (or transubstantiation) an altered state of consciousness.

ELIXIR – the semen.3

Applying this key to Valentine’s gnomic paragraph, we find that he is instructing the novice alchemist to find a suitable mate, and to take a “royal” or lofty atti­tude – i.e. he is a Prince, she a Princess, ergo they are no longer ordinary people. (cf. Tim Learys 1960s’ slo­gan, “Every man a Priest, every woman a Priestess, every home a shrine.”) The union of the alchemical mates should be neither in cold nor in heat” —- they must be passionate, not indifferent to each other or merely cas­ual, but they must not be too damned passionate. That is, they should not gallop toward Climax in the man­ner all too typical of our culture. The sexual commun­ion, in short, should be tantric, leading to the “tran­substantiation” – a higher state of consciousness.

The late Dr. Francis Israel Regardie, an egregious chap who had two separate selves and careers — as Dr. Francis Regardie he was a neo-Reichian psychothera­pist, while as Israel Regardie he wrote a series of books which have influenced contemporary American oc­cultism more than the work of any other single author — also taught this interpretation of alchemy, but, un­like Culling, only in the traditional codes. For instance, inThe Tree of Life Regardie offers the following advice on how the Cabalistic Magician may add alchemy to his working armory:

“Through the stimulus of warmth and spiritual Eire to the Athanor, there should be a transfer, an ascent of the Serpent from that instrument to the Cucurbite, used as a retort. The alchemical marriage or the mingling of the two streams of force in the retort causes at once the chemical corruption of the serpent in the menstruum of the Gluten, this being the Solve part of the al chemical formula of Solve et coagula…. the opera­tion should not take less than an hour.4

Dr. Regardie offers the further helpful hint that, complex as it sounds, the operation is “no harder than riding a bicycle.” In correspondence, Dr. Regardie cheerfully acknowledged that I had decoded this cor­rectly. Culling differs from Regardie chiefly in claiming that the ascent of the Serpent requires at least two hours.

If some readers still feel a bit in the dark about what is involved in the prolonged tantric act, consider the following broad hints from Thomas Vaughn, another 17th Century alchemist roughly contemporary with Basil Valentine:

The true furnace is a little simple shell… But l had almost forgot to tell thee that which is all in all, and is the greatest difficulty in all the art – namely the fire… The proportion and regimen of it is very scrupulous, but the best rule to know it by is that of the Synod: “Let not the bird fly before the fowler.” Make it sit while you give fire and then you are sure of your prey. For a close I must tell thee that the philosophers call this fire their bath, but it is a bath of Nature, not an artificial one; for it is not of any kind of water… In a word, without this bath, nothing in the world is generated.5

As Kenneth Rexroth noted in his introduction to The Works of Thomas Vaughn, Vaughn seems to have been less concerned with hiding the secret, like earlier alchemists, than with making it clear by progressively broader and broader hints. There is only one bath from which all creatures are generated and ‘that is the bath of vaginal fluids, which is “not of any kind of water.” The furnace that is also a shell is a nice poetic image of female anatomy, worthy of John Donne -‑ whose poems sometimes suggest that he was in on the secret. Note especially Donne’s “Love’s Alchemy,” with its “pregnant pot” and “The Ecstasy,” with its clear tantric emphasis.

The “bird” (English slang for woman, but also a cross reference to the traditional Eagle symbolism) must sit while the alchemist gives fire. This is, of course, the traditional tantric position, which slows down the sexual communion and creates maximum intimacy and tenderness. Similarly, the lovers in Donne’s “The Ecstasy” sit and make “pictures” in each other’s eyes, leading most commentators to think no sexual connection was involved, but the yabyum (sitting) position of Tantra also demands communion by eye contact.

John Donne and other Elizabethans who show signs of knowing this tradition – Sir Philip Sydney and Sir Walter Raleigh, especially, but try re-reading Shakespeare’s sonnets with this model in mind – probably came under the influence of Giordano Bruno of Nola, who was lecturing at Oxford while Donne was there. It was during those Oxford years that Bruno published his Eroica Furioso, which alternates love poems with prose passages on the union of the soul with God. It is usually assumed that the poems are allegories about the soul’s pilgrimage, but they may just as well be keys to the yoga that produces the ultimate union and communion. (Incidentally, the historian Frances Yates believes that Bruno was the model for at least two of Shakespeare’s characters – Berowne in Love’s Labour’s Lost and Prospero in The Tempest.)6

Bruno, of course, ultimately returned to Italy, where the Inquisition locked him in a dungeon for 8 years and then burned him at the stake. Most historians note only that the Nolan (as he liked to call himself) was condemned for teaching the Copernican theory of astronomy, but actually he was charged with 18 offenses, including practising Magick and organizing secret occult societies dedicated to overthrowing the Vatican. Francis Yates suspects that the latter might be true and finds a Bruno-esque influence in the first Rosicrucian manifestoes.7 Certainly, The Alchemical Marriage of Christian Rosycross shows more than a tinge of Bruno’s Tantrism, and “dark sayings” like “It is only on the Cross that the Rose may bloom” strongly suggest both Bruno’s sex-magick and his love of paradox.8 (Two of the Nolan’s favorite koans were “In filth, sublimity; in sublimity, filth” and “In joy, tears; in tears, joy.”)

The question of how this tantric tradition got into Europe has no clear, unambiguous answer. Ezra Pound, in addition to his other achievements and infamies, was one of the leading scholars in the area of early French poetry, and in the revised 1916 edition of The Spirit of Romance included a chapter presenting evidence that a tantric cult existed in Provence at the time of the Troubadours and is referred to guardedly in much of their poetry. In addition to the data presented by Pound, I have noted that the characteristic verse-form of the Troubadours, seven stanzas, may refer to the seven “chakras” involved in tantric yoga. Certainly, there is nothing earlier in European literature (but much in Tantra) to foreshadow Pierre Vidal’s shocking, “I think I see God when I look upon my lady nude.” That was hair-raising blasphemy when written; but even more in the inner tradition of Tantra is Sordello’s lovely:

And if flee you not, Lady who has captured my soul, No sight is worth the beauty of my thought

Pound guessed (and admitting he was guessing) that this “yoga of male and female energies” had surfaced in medieval France after a thousand years of underground existence as Gnostic heresy. Louis de Rougemont, however, in Love in the Western World, presents an impressive body of evidence that the Troubadour yoga had been brought back from the Middle East by crusaders who learned it from Arab mystics, probably the more oddball Sufis.9

Louis Culling, op. cit., claims that the tantric tradition in the West is of definite Sufi origin and is also coded into the Rubiyat of Omar Khayaam. This allegation is based, alas, on “inner teachings” of various occult orders and not on sources recognized by historians. Surely, there seems to be a tantric element in the 14th Century Sufi Mahmoud Shabistari who wrote, “In every atom a thousand rational beings are contained.”

The Ordo Templi Orientis (of which Aleister Crowley was Outer Head for a quarter of a century) teaches the elements of Tantra in nine slow and care-fully scheduled “degrees” of initiation; the first degree unambiguously attributes this tradition to Sufism in general and, in particular, to Mansur el Hallaj – a Sufi martyr who was stoned to death for proclaiming the eminently tantric (and vedantic) doctrine, “I am the Truth and there is nothing within my turban but God.” (Some O.T.O. initiates think the true story of Mansur is the origin of the myth of Hiram in orthodox Masonry.) In my Sex and Drugs: A Journey Beyond Limits (Falcon Press, 1988), I give some credence to all these theories but suggest that a major role was also played by Hassan i Sabbah, founder of the Ishmaelian sect of Islam, who used both drugs and tantric sex to produce psychedelic experiences, which allegedly caused many to believe they had literally been privileged to experience Paradise while still alive.

This is the point at which most commentators on this Art tend to stumble or to wave their arms excitedly and start howling in rage. Some think all you have to do is adopt the “right attitude” during sex and – hey, presto – you are an alchemist or a magician or at least a Hermeticist of some sort. Others proclaim that all such yoga is “black” and “left-hand” and undoubtedly diabolical. While I cannot hope to dissolve the preju­dices of the latter group in a short article, I can at least jar the naivete of the former group somewhat.

Tantric yoga requires at least as much discipline as hatha yoga and as much capacity for loving and giving of oneself as bhakti yoga. To be effective at all, that is, the Tantra of sex must have the delicacy of a first-rate ballet troupe and the tenderness of true communion – in the religious sense of that term. Aleister Crowley, our century’s leading proponent of this yoga (and the teacher of Louis Culling, by the way) said this yoga requires “the nine and ninety rules of Art.” Elsewhere Crowley expressed this in the mantra, which has many additional meanings outside Tantra, “Love is the law, love under will.” One only knows if the art has been mastered if one comes to a state of consciousness in which one can immediately grasp, without doubt or hesitation, the meaning of another of Crowley’s hermetic aphorisms, “Every man and every woman is a Star.”

The power of Tantra may be indicated by the fact that Ezra Pound, who never studied this art under a Master, learned enough from his years scrutinizing Troubadour texts that, by 1933, in his essay on Guido Cavalcanti, he speaks of “magnetisms that border on the visible” and consciousness “extending several feet beyond the body.” These are characteristic signs of passing from ordinary sex to meta-sex, from the crude act Shakespeare called a “momentary trick” (and D.H. Lawrence called “the sneeze in the loins”) to tantric transcendence. What happens beyond those magnet isms and that expansion of consciousness is not worth discussing; those who know, know – and those who know not will simply not believe.

One might venture, however, that the mingling of yang and yin magnetisms tends to produce a synergetic third which burns up or consumes the original elements. Kenneth Grant, an oddball Crowleyan obsessed with menstrual magick (“the Mystery of the Red Gold”), speaks of this as the “bisexualization of both partners.”10 More precisely, one can say that, in Chinese terms, active yang becomes passive yang, passive yin becomes active yin, and both tend to merge into the Tao, to re-emerge in new and unexpected forms. Crowley’s notorious 2 = 0 equation, which he alleged explained the universe and would eventually explain quantum mechanics, at least serves as a useful glyph for this stage of the alchemical mutation. And, although Crowley loved to play the bogie-man and terrorize the naive and nervous, one should take with some serious­ness his warning when he says in Magick:

The Cup is said to be full of the Blood of the Saints; that is, every saint or magician must give the last drop of his life’s blood to that cup in the true Bridalchamber of the Rosy Cross… It is a woman whose cup must be Filled… the Cross is both Death and Generation, and it is on the Cross that the Rose blooms.11

One has to be knowledgeable in both Freudian and Jungian analysis to understand this even dimly, until one has had the experience. But then everybody who did LSD in the ’60s knows a little about Death and Rebirth; we are not a totally unprepared generation for these Mysteries.

This begins to sound too metaphysical. The processes involved can be defined very materialistically, in terms of exercizing to move the center of Consciousness from usual domination by the left brain hemisphere and the sympathetic (active) nervous system to balance between both hemispheres and a growing ability to relax into the parasympathetic (passive, receptive) nervous system. The old mystic terminology lingers on chiefly because it is poetically precise and psychologically highly suggestive.

It is, however, worth quoting Dr. J. W. Brodie-Innes, an initiate of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in England in the 1890s, who said of the relevance of traditional occult concepts:

‘Whether the Gods, the Qlipothic forces or the Secret Chiefs really exist is comparatively unimportant; the point is that the universe behaves as though they do. In a sense the whole philosophy of the practise of Magick is identical with the Pragmatist position of Pierce the American philosopher.12

In other words, we never know “the universe” per se; we know the universe as filtered through our consciousness, and when consciousness alters, the known universe alters. Crowley defined Magick as “the art of causing change by act of will,” and Dion Fortune defined it as “the art of causing change in consciousness by act of will,” and neither was over-simplifying or being cute: The traditional Aristotelian “Iron Curtain” between Mind and Universe has no meaning in magick, for the same reason it no longer has any meaning in quantum physics. As John Lilly wrote:

…if one plugs the proper beliefs into the metaprogrammatic levels of the (brain)… the computer will then construct (from the myriads of ele­ments in memory) those possible experiences that fit this particular set of rules. Those programs will be run off and those displays made which are ap­propriate to the basic assumptions and their stored programming.13

The Puritan looking at the Playmate of the Month sees something disgusting, awful, diabolical, and sinful; Pierre Vidal would see another manifestation of the glory of God. It all depends on the programs in the bio-computer. But all programs have a tendency to be-come self-fulfilling prophecies: a classic case is the sad, melancholy man who sits often in the dark, shunning sunlight, or walks around wearing dark glasses all the time, and gradually becomes even gloomier until he arrives at clinical depression. He has created the set and the setting for depression.

Conversely, those who achieve Divine Union with a beloved sexual partner tend to create their own self-fulfilling prophecies, and the most common effect is that all things become as beautiful as Vidal’s nude lady was when he saw Her as God. This transmutation of experience is technically called “the multiplication of the first matter” and many alchemists said of it, wittily, that this “gold, unlike ordinary gold, could not be spent or used up, because the more of it you pass on to others, the more of it you find you still have.

All religions preach charity and forgiveness; but those virtues are hard to practice when you are surrounded by sons of bitches. When the alchemical gold” is found, when consciousness mutates, you are surrounded by gods and goddesses, and the more of the “gold” you give away, the more comes back to you from an increasingly divine Mother Eagle. Quite simply, it is a short and almost inevitable step from Tantra to pantheism. It is no accident that William Blake, who, like Shabistari, saw “infinity in a grain of sand,” also penned the most searing indictment ever written of the puritan and ascetic hatred of Eros:

Children of a future age

Reading this indignant page

Know that in a former time

Love, sweet love, was thought a crime.14

Robert Anton Wilson is the author of numerous books including the Historical Illuminatus Chronicles, The New Inquisition, and Cosmic Trigger (Falcon Press, Santa Monica).



1.       See The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony, reproduced in The Alchemical Tradition in the Late Twentieth Century, ed. Richard Grossinger, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, 2nd edition 1983, pp. 34-47.

2.       However, I am quite sure that many readers of GNOSIS are that smart, and you can look forward to seeing their corrections of my ignorant guesses in the letters column of the next issue.

3.       A Manual of Sex Magick, Louis T. Culling, Llwellyn Publications, St. Paul, Minnesota, 1971, p. 57.

4.       The Tree of Life: A Study in Magic, Israel Regardie, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1975 edition, p. 251.

5.       “Coelum Terrae, ” in The Works of Thomas Vaughn, ed, A. E. Waite, University Books, New Hyde Park, NY, 1968, pp. 219-221.

6.       Giordano Bruno the Hermetic Tradition, Frances A. Yates, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1977, p. 357.

7.       The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Frances A. Yates, Routledge & Kegan Paul, Boston, 1974 ed., p. 216.

8.       Reprinted in Commentary on the Chymical Wedding, Gareth Knight and Adam McLean, Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks #18, Edinburgh, 1984.

9.       Love in the Western World, Denis de Rougemont, Harper & Row, New York, 1974.

10.   The Magical Revival, Kenneth Grant, Samuel Weiser, New York, 1974, p. 142.

11.   Magick in Theory and Practice, Aleister Crowley, Dover Publications, New York, 1976, pp. 41-42.

12.   For more writings of Brodie-Innes, see: The Sorcerer and His Apprentice: Unknown Hermetic Writings of S. L. MacGregor Mathers and J. W. Brodie-Innes, ed. R. A. Gilbert, Aquarian Press, Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, 1983.

13.   Programming and Meta programming in the Human Biocomputer, John C. Lilly, Bantam Books, New York, 1974, p. 50.

14.   From “A Little Girl Lost,” Songs of Experience, William Blake, Dover Publications, New York, 1984, p. 40.

Cabala: the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Life

Cabala: the Forbidden Fruit of the Tree of Life

by Robert Anton Wilson

from High Times, July 1981  (art jpg)

There’s a tale they tell at Military Intelli­gence in London, when the candles gutter low and the fog curls about the windows. It happened in 1914 (they say), whenEnglandwas losing the first world war and it seemed only a miracle could save her. There was this writer bloke (they say), name of Arthur Machen, never popu­lar or well known, a bloody Welshman in fact and a mystic to boot. Well (they say), this Welshman, this Machen, took it into his head to write a story about the kind of miracle England needed, so he imagined St. George himself leading a group of medieval archers to aid the English troops at Mons. And after the story was published in a mag­azine, some enterprising newspapers picked it up and reprinted it as fact. And (they say) the whole damned coun­try was gullible enough to believe it. It did as much for national mo­rale as the real miracle would have.

What is even weirder is the sequel -and the chaps at Military Intelli­gence only discuss this when the candles gutter quite low and the fog is very thick, of course. Soldiers at the front, inMons, began claiming that they had actually seen the phan­tom archers created out of Machen’s imagination. They insisted on it. Some of them were still insisting on it 40 years later. They said they had won the battle because of this su­pernatural assistance.

Fair gives you a turn, doesn’t it?

Stranger still: Machen, the man with the contagious imagination, was a member of a secret society inLondon. This was known as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and it claimed to know the long-hidden secrets of Cabalistic magic.

There were several other mem­bers of the Golden Dawn who made a bit of a name. Florence Farr, one of the great actresses of the period, was a member, and it was she who gave Bernard Shaw the ideas about life-energy and longevity dramatized in Back to Methu­selah; those ideas are currently influencing life-extension research. Algernon Black­wood and Bram Stoker (Dracula’s creator) were members; so was the coroner of Lon­don; so was an electrical engineer named Alan Bennett who later, as Ananda Maitre­ya, played a key role in introducing Bud­dhist ideas to the West.

The egregious Aleister Crowley; who claimed to have come to earth to destroy Christianity; was a member for a while, and I know a good World War I story about him, too. It wasCrowley’s habit to give his pupils a word to meditate on every year. In 1918,Crowleygave them a number instead of a word: 11. All year his pupils meditated on 11 for at least a half hour every day. . . And the war ended on the 11th minute of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Did you feel another queer flash then?

The most famous Golden Dawn alum­nus, however, was the great Irish poet, Wil­liam Butler Yeats. In 1894 Yeats predicted that “the right pupils will be drawn to (the Golden Dawn) by dreams and visions and strange accidents . . .”

Cabala, the working philosophy be­hind the Golden Dawn, is the science of “strange accidents” – which are known as “mere coincidences” to the rationalist or “synchronicities” to Jungian psychologists.

Cabala (also spelled Qabala or Kaballah) was either taught by God to Adam in the Garden of Eden, according to its own tradi­tion’ or was invented by a group of rabbis c. A.D. 200 as a means of transmitting the esoteric inner teachings of Judaism after the fall ofJerusalemand the Dispersion. Among the prominent medieval and Re­naissance philosophers who were Cabalists one can mention Raymond Lull, Cornelius Agrippa, Giordano Bruno, Dr. John Dee, Pico della Mirandola and Isaac Newton. Cabala became unfashionable in the 18th century and did not begin to make a come­back until the Brain Explosion of the 1960s -the drug culture, the consciousness movement, the importation of Oriental mind-sciences, the popularity of Jung and Leary and Castaneda.

One way to get into the Cabalistic head space is to reflect long and hard on the sin­gular fact that we could not live-could not breathe, in fact-without the trees busily pumping oxygen into the air. Yet the trees are not “thinking” about producing life-supportfor us. To the rationalist, it seems that our need for oxygen has no real con­nection with the trees’ production of that element; sheer chance (or, the more vehe­ment rationalists will anthropomorphically say, “blind chance”) happens to have pro­duced trees, through natural selection, over many aeons. The fact that we exist is, to this philosophy, a total accident, a very strange coincidence.

And, to the same rationalist, Arthur Ma­chen’s imagination has no real connection with what was happening on the battlefield atMons. The magical link between Machen’s imagination and the “collective hallucina­tion” of the soldiers is just coincidence – like the magical link between us and the trees.

To the Cabalist, the rationalist sounds like a man found in a closet by a jealous husband, who hopefully explains, “Just by coinci­dence, while you were away on business I happened to wander into this closet without my clothes on. . .”

To the Cabalist, the whole uni­verse is a network of meaningful connections. The seemingly coinci­dental is as full of meaning as anything else. To begin thinking like a Caba­list you must regard everything as being just as important as every­thing else. All that seems “acciden­tal,” “meaningless,” “chaotic,” “weird,” “nonsensical;’ et cetera is as significant as what seems lawful, orderly and comprehensible.

An elementary Cabalistic train­ing technique is to try every day to “regard every incident and event as a direct communication between God and your sou1.” Even the li­cense plates on passing cars are such communications-or can be considered as such-by the devout Cabalist.

Some will be thinking of Freud at this point; and indeed Nathan Fo­dor points out in Freud, Jung and the Occult that Freud was heavily influ­enced by a friend who was a Caba­list. The “dreams, visions and strange accidents” that Yeats thought would bring people into the ambience of the Golden Dawn are all Freudian “unconscious material.”

A more modern metaphor is to be found in current neurology; which points out that the brain is divided into two hemispheres. The left hemisphere is where we do most of our conscious thinking, and it is linear; it breaks things down into sequences of A-causes-B, B-causes-C, and so forth. The right hemisphere, on the contrary; thinks in gestalt-meaningful wholes, comprehen­sive systems.

Cabala, like dope, is a deliberate attempt to overthrow the linear left brain and allow the contents of the holistic right brain to flood the field of consciousness. When you are walking down the street and every li­cense plate seems part of one continuous message-one endless narrative-you are thinking like a very advanced theoretical Cabalist. (Or else you’re stoned out of your gourd.) Practical Cabala (or Cabalistic magic) is the art of utilizing such holistic perception to create effects that will seem like “strange accidents” to the non-Cabalist.

A legendary example concerns an inci­dent when the king ofPolandwas being urged by his advisers to authorize a pogrom against the Jews. One old Hasidic rabbi­ and the Hasidic rabbis spend most of their time studying Cabala-sat down, on hear­ing of this, and pretended to be writing something; but he did not write. Instead, he deliberately knocked his bottle over three times. His students, who saw this, thought the old man was getting a bit funny in the head. Then, a few days later; came news from the capital: The king had tried to sign the order for the pogrom three times, and each time he had-by “strange acci­dent knocked over his ink bottle. “I can’t sign this,” the king finally exclaimed. “God is against it!”

Every Oriental culture has some equivalent to Cabala – some neuroscience of medita­tions, visualizations and yogic con­tortions calculated to shift conscious­ness, or part of consciousness, from the usually overactive left hemi­sphere to the usually underactive right hemisphere. Cabala differs from all these Oriental disciplines in being as systematic as any natu­ral science-although far weirder:

The system of Cabala is contained in a kind of ontological periodic ta­ble of elements (see illustration). The purpose of this diagram has been nicely defined by the eminent contemporary Cabalist (and Jungian psychologist) Dr. Israel Regardie, who describes it as “a mnemonic system of psychology. . . to train the Will and Imagination.”

The tree, as you can see, is made up of ten circles, called lights, and 22 paths connecting the lights. Each light represents a separate lev­el of consciousness, and hence a separate level of “reality:’ That is, to the Cabalist, each perceived reality is a function of the level of consciousness which perceives it, and how much reality you can absorb de­pends on how rich your consciousness is.

The paths, which are more technical than the lights, are techniques for getting from one light (one level of awareness) to another: ‘

The aim of the Cabala is to always know which “light” you are in, which is the level of consciousness that is creating what you are perceiving; and then to know the paths, or tricks, to get from one light (perceived re­ality) to another.

Dion Fortune, a Cabalist who also prac­ticed psychoanalysis under her birth name, Violet Wirth, sums it all up by saying Caba­la is “the art of causing change in conscious­ness by act of will”

The Tree of Life may be regarded as a map of those parts of consciousness which (a) are active in everybody-the lower parts of the tree; and (b) those which are only ac­tive in various orders of adepts-the higher parts of the tree.

The pragmatic theory of Cabala is that each action creates a new “universe,” each experiment creates a new experimenter, each dance creates a new dancer. We are growing and evolving all the time, without noticing it usually; but a_ certain crucial points we can make a mental quantum jump to a level of awareness that puts us in a new reality we have never noticed before. Each of the lights on the Tree of Life repre­sents such a quantum jump.

Concretely, we all start out in Malkuth, at the bottom of the tree, which represents the lowest level of awareness. This is what Freud called the oral stage: We simply drift and wait to be fed. Alcoholics, opiate addicts and most of the people on welfare for “psycho­logical” reasons represent this state in its pure form, but we all contain it and relapse into it under sufficient stress. “I can’t cope; somebody come help me:’ Hear the infant’s shrill cry. “Maaa-Maaa!” and you know what Malkuth is all about.

Above this is Yesod, the area of strong ego-awareness and what Gurdjieff called conscious suffering. This is where you struggle to be a real mensch, to be honor­able, responsible, and self-sufficient. If you never get beyond this, you become what doctors called Type A and are a good bet for an early heart attack.

There are two ways to transcend Yesod’s struggles. One takes you to Hod, which can be called the tactic _of the rationalist (Dr: Carl Sagan will serve as a model for this), and the other to Netzach, which is the strat­egy of the ordinary religionist (Jerry Fal­well, say).

According to Cabala, both the rationalist and the vulgar religionist are unbalanced; in modern neurological language, the ra­tionalist leans too much on the left brain and the religionist too much on the right brain. The synthesis, or balancing, brings you to the Middle Pillar and is represented by the light called Tiphareth-which charm­ingly enough means “beauty” in English.

Looking at the tree, you can see that the rationalist has a different path to Tiphareth from that of the religionist. The rationalist must go the path of nun (“fish”) and the reli­gionist the path of ayin (“eye”). Any book on Cabala will tell you what nun and ayin im­ply in terms of the psychological transformation involved. Fortu­nately, the tarot cards were either created or revised by a Cabalist and the meanings of nun and ayin are vividly conveyed to the uncon­scious by the two cards called, re­spectively. Death and the Devil. Anybody with even a rudimentary knowledge of psychology can grasp part of what is meant here-the ra­tionalist must “make friends with” Death and the religionist with the Devil. This is what Jung means when he says each man must face his own shadow.

(Every path on the tree has a tarot card illustrating it, and the quickest way to make the tree clear to your unconscious is to layout the cards representing the paths’ between each light. The next step is to re­design the cards in terms of your own understanding. Some Caba­lists redesign the tarot every two or three years, as their understanding grows.)

Tiphareth, the balanced center between and above both rationalism and religion, means beauty, as we said above. It is the first light that does not appear in normal, statistically av­erage consciousness, and is identified with everything we mean by rebirth or awaken­ing. It is dhyana in the Hindu system, “Bud­dha-mind” in Buddhism, the “New Adam” inSt. Paul’s epistles, Cosmic Christ Con­sciousness to Christian Cabalists. It repre­sents a total reorganization of the psyche for a higher level of functioning than most hu­mans ever attain. When Dr. Timothy Leary says gnomically that “the nervous system sees no color, feels no pain;’ he means that the nervous system on this level sees no col­or; feels no pain. You are floating, and this is the first light on the tree that really feels like a light. Acidheads will know.

Above Tiphareth are two more unbal­anced lights called Geburah and Chesed. Roughly; Geburah is the stage of Nietzsche’s superman: he who is much more conscious than ordinary people and knows it. In George Lucas’s symbolism, Geburah means “being seduced by the dark side of the Force:’ It needs to be balanced by Che­sed, which is humility in the deepest, more ego-destroying sense. In Castaneda’s lingo, Geburah is “taking responsibility” and Chesed is doing so while always remem­bering that “you are no more important than the coyote.”

Geburah says “I am God”; Chesed says, “And so is everybody else – and everything else!”

There are three more lights on the tree. These are known as the supernals and are much further from ordinary human con­sciousness than Tiphareth, Geburah or Chesed. Many Cabalists say that you can­not reach the supernals without the direct help of the Almighty. Even with such divine aid, reaching the supernals is known as “crossing the abyss” and is regarded as fraught with peril.

The first two supernals are Chok­mah and Binah. You will note on the diagram that they are both unbalanced – off the Middle Pillar. Basically; Chokmah is direct contact with the masculine aspect of “God” and corresponds to whatever you asso­ciate with Jehovah, Jupiter; Brah­ma, Zeus, et cetera. Binah is direct contact with the female side of divin­ity and corresponds to Venus, Ishtar, Kali or the White Goddess that Rob­ert Graves is always writing about. Cabala says that each of these Close Encounters has to be “balanced.” That is, you have to get beyond both Big Daddy and Big Mommy to ar­rive at the ultimate light, Kether, the balanced center of all conscious­ness, which is beyond gender, be­yond space, beyond time, beyond words and beyond all categories. In short, Kether is exactly what all the Oriental mystics are seeking: pure consciousness without a blemish of emotion, idea or image, and there­fore infinite and formless.

Cabala is very complicated and very; very intricate; the above sketch is no more than a hint of what the Tree of Life contains, on about the level of a discussion of chemistry that tells you there are eight families of elements but does not go on to list the elements in each family. To discuss Cabala fully requires many books; and indeed there is one good-sized book, Liber 777, by Aleister Crowley; which consists only of listing the elements in each light and path of the tree, and Liber 777 consists of 155 pages with four columns on each page.

The purpose of such lists is to design ritu­als, and the purpose of rituals is to program your own experience as you navigate from one light to another. As Tim Leary once said, “Ritual is to the inner sciences what experiment is to the outer sciences.” Caba­lists agree.

For instance, suppose you have had a very powerful experience of the Punishing Father aspect of God, such as John Calvin once had. Within the orthodox Judeo-Christian tradition, you might take this lit­erally and proceed, as Calvin did, to estab­lish a new religion. As a Cabalist, you will recognize it as a Chokmah experience and know that it needs to be balanced by a Bi­nah experience.

You then look on the Tree of Life for a path from Chokmah to Binah. That turns out to be daleth (“door”), which corresponds to the Empress card in the tarot. If you look at the Empress you will immediately note that she happens to be a pregnant woman sitting in a field surrounded by veg­etation. That should tell your unconscious what the path of daleth means. (By a “strange accident” or “mere coincidence” the Empress card, in most tarot decks, con­tains the women’s-liberation symbol and always has, long before there was a femi­nist movement. That should help jar your consciousness. )

If the Empress card doesn’t tell you enough, you look up daleth in any Cabalis­tic textbook, such asCrowley’s 777. You will find that daleth is “in correspondence with” such things as the planet Venus, the color emerald green, the swan, the rose, sandal­wood incense, the heptagram (seven-sided polygon), et cetera, and is most powerful on Friday. Thus, to get from Chokmah to Binah, you construct a ritual-a dramatized rnind­change operation-to be performed within a heptagram, on Friday evening as Venus is rising, using emerald green decorations, roses, swan feathers and sandalwood in­cense. If you follow all these correspon­dences, and know how to write rituals, and have had enough experiences with Cabala to have developed a powerful will and im­agination, you should achieve Binah, the vision of the All-Loving Mother.

Similarly, there are favorable days, and perfumes, and geometric figures, and other accessories, for every type of brain change operation. Sunday is best for Tiphareth (Christ consciousness), Monday for Yesod (building a stronger ego), Tuesday for Ge­burah (accumulating powers), Wednesday for Hod (wisdom). Thursday for Netzsch (moral strength), Friday for Binah and Sat­urday for Chokmah.

This is only the skeleton of Cabala, how­ever. Real Cabalistic practice consists of so familiarizing yourself with all the corres­pondences on the Tree of Life that every­thing you experience is filed and in­dexed by your brain as a Cabalistic “message.” Thus, if you walk out the door and see a palm tree, you imme­diately (by self-conditioning with Cabala) think of Venus and Hermes – because door is daleth is Venus, and palm is beth is Hermes. If you see a license plate with 333 on it, you re­member that that is the number of egotism and deception, and you must ask what egotism and decep­tion remains in yourself. In short, nothing is trivial; nothing is insig­nificant; nothing is meaningless. The whole universe, asCrowleysays, becomes a continuous ritual of initiation.

A Zen Master was once asked, “What is Zen?” “Attention,” he replied. “Is that all?” asked the inquirer. “Attention,” the Zen Master repeated. “Won’t you say anything else?” per­sisted the questioner. “Attention,” said the Master, one more time.

Cabala creates attention by using the Tree of Life to “key” every possible impression to one of the lights or paths and hence to a stage in the evolution of consciousness. The world becomes – as it was to Plato and Mary Baker Eddy and Sir Humph­rey Davy when he tried nitrous oxide – nothing but ideas.

Theoretical Cabala is much concerned with words and numbers, and indeed insists that every word is a number. This is literally true in Hebrew, because all Hebrew letters are numbers, and the num­ber of a word is the number obtained by adding its separate letters together. Cabala claims that any words having the same number are in some sense identical or “in correspondence with” each other.

For instance, achad (I am writing the He­brew as if it were English, for simplicity’s sake) has the value of 13. So does ahebah. What does this mean? Well, achad trans­lates as “unity” and ahebah as “love,” so by the mathematical theorem that things equal to the same thing are equal to each other; the Cabalist calculates that love (ahe­beh) equals 13 and unity (achad) equals 13 and therefore love equals unity. And, of course, when you love somebody you are in union with them: You are happy when they are happy; you suffer when they suffer.

Better still, it works backwards, too, ac­cording to some Cabalists: 31 is 13 back­wards and therefore 31 is mystically the same as 13. And AI, the oldest name of God in Hebrew; has the value 31. Therefore, God equals love equals unity.

Which is all very nice and cheerful, and it’s pleasant to have our first lesson in theo­retical Cabala coming up with such pleas­ant information.

Unfortunately; la (nothing) also equals 31. Is God therefore nothing? Or is it unity that is nothing? or love?

The theoretical Cabalist is not abashed. God is nothing, he says firmly – no-thing. And in this he is in agreement with the Buddhists and Hindus and, indeed, the most advanced mystics of all traditions. It only sounds queer to those primitives down at the bottom of the Tree of Life in Hod (ra­tionalism) or Netzach (conventional reli­gion); if you persist in Cabala long enough, the divine no-thing will make perfect sense to you.

Unfortunately; before you arrive at Ke­ther – “the Head without a Head,” the divine nothing – you will be sure to encounter even worse shocks in theoretical Cabala. Thus, neschek, the serpent in Genesis, the devil himself, has the value 358. You don’t have to look far to find another Hebrew word with the value 358. It jumps up at you, as soon as you start studying Cabala. It is messiah.

In what sense is the devil the messiah? Some Cabalists have gone quite batty work­ing on that one.

The charm of Cabala is that the universe adjusts-or in your excited and overstimu­lated state, appears to adjust-in ways that heighten such perplexities. When I first dis­covered the 358-equals-devil-equals-messi­ah paradox, I had to go toLos Angeleson business. Arriving at my hotel I found I had been given room 358. That’s the sort of “strange accident” that Yeats was talking about, as one of the portals to Cabala. . .

For several years English biologist Lyall Watson has been collecting the products of Jung’s “collective unconsciousness” – dreams, hypnotic states, mediumistic phe­nomena, automatic writing, et cetera. In his book, Lifetide, Watson offers a tentative summary of the data: “… there is a same­ness in the tone, the word structure, the feeling, and the delivery of almost all the material. It has a dreamlike quality; and my feeling is that the vast majority of all the evi­dence I am looking at is a series produced by one prodigious dreamer” (italics added).

William Butler Yeats, trying to justify his interest in Cabalastic magic to rationalistic friends, came up with the same metaphor: “The borders of our minds are ever shifting, and many minds can flow into one another; as it were, and create or reveal a single mind. . . our memories are part of one great memory; the memory of Nature herself.”

This “one great dreamer” or “one great memory” can be accessed by Cabalistic practices, or by Zen meditation, or by LSD, or by a dozen other gimmicks. It has the quality of oneness in that it is the same no matter who accesses it or when-whether they are in India 500 B.G orFlorenceA.D. 1300 or in New York Citytoday. It seems to be “timeless” or unconnected to our con­scious notions of sequential time, as even so materialistic an observer as Freud noticed. One of the benefits of the psychological in­vestigations of our times-from Freud and Jung to the LSD research of the ’60s and the human-potential movement-has been to make most of us aware again, for the first time since the 17th century; that this level of the psyche exists in all of us and cannot safely be repressed or ignored.

The Cabalist, scorned by the 19th century as a crank or a charlatan, seems to be having the last laugh after all. There may be only one person in 10,000 – or in 100,000 – who seri­ously studies Cabala, but the avant-garde third of the population understands Cabalis­tic logic very well. If you show them the Tree of Life, and explain it, they might say that it is an alternative map of the charkas – if they are into Oriental mind-science; or an anato­my of the collective unconscious- if they’re into Jung; or the circuits of the nervous sys­tem-if Tim Leary is their bag; but one way or another they will recognize it. It looked like gibberish to Yeats’s contemporaries.

Military Intelligence never could figure out how the “angelic archers” escaped from Arthur Machen’s imagination to the percep­tions of the soldiers atMons. But the readers of this magazine understand. Don’t you?

Racism, Sexism and Evolution

Racism, Sexism and Evolution

by Robert Anton Wilson

from Green Egg, Vol. IX, No 77
September 1976

ALEPH:  If Crowley had said, “Do what I wilt shall be the whole of the law,” he wouldn’t have sounded any different from all the other religious nuts of past and present.  Because he actually said, “Do what thouwilt shall be the Whole of the law, he is known as the worst Monster and Madcap in the history of mysticism.  Whatever else this proves, it clearly indicates that most people are desperately looking for some Authority to tell them what’s right and wrong, desperately afraid of taking that responsibility for themselves.

BETH: “Do what I will,” is the basic ethical teaching of Confucius, Buddha, Plato, Jesus, Zarathustra, etc. etc.  Among the domesticated apes of Sol-3, any expansion of consciousness beyond the robotic level of conditioned sex-and-status tribal roles is experienced as so shattering, so illuminating, that the bewildered mind, when it returns to social consensus reality, is convinced that it has achieved some absolutely cosmic Enlightenment.  Actually, it is probable that the highest trances of the most advanced adepts on this planet are only a distorted fraction of what Objective Intelligence would be (in those sections of space-time where it presumably exists.)

GIMMEL: “The only intelligent way to discuss politics is on all fours,” said Dr. Timothy Leary recently.  Politics is standard vertebrate behavior to determine control of turf.  Among the hominids of this backward planet, the territorial brawling has steadily grown more excessively violent as technology has advanced.  The growling, fur-bristling, and similar kinesic domination signals, meanwhile are ephemeralized into stiffly-worded diplomatic “white papers.”  Ideology and morality, the two chief causes of misery on this unfortunately primitive planet, provide “philosophies” which disguise the mammalian political struggle as a metaphysical conflict between abstract Good and abstract Evil.  Visitors would do well to regard all the domesticated apes of Terra as mad unless they exhibit some overt signs of detachment from ideology and morality.  It is certainly a safe rule-of-thumb that the most ideological and most moralistic are the maddest of all.

DALETH:  Even though Kant gets the credit for inventing the Categorical Imperative, he merely made articulate what the best hominid brains had been groping toward for a few thousand years at least.  Since the founding of civilization (i.e. Empire,) it had become obvious to the thoughtful that something like a Categorical Imperative was necessary.  All of the “Do What I Will” ethical systems are attempts by shamanic-yogic individuals to state what sort of game-rules might tame, domesticate or retrain the ever-accelerating horror of our mammalian politics expanded by our technology.  Civilization (i.e. Empire), it is now obvious, can easily destroy the planet without some such ethical check.

HE: There is, to my knowledge, no record of a pre-civilized (i.e. pre-0Imperialistic) people ever inventing a Categorical Imperative.  As Nietzsche so succinctly points out, ethics among tribal and barbaric peoples are totally subjective.  “Good” is what is good for me and my tribe.  “Bad” is what is bad for us.  Enslaving another tribe, raiding their cities, looting their ships piratically, etc. are all “Good“ because good-for-us. This is pure vertebrate politics and no lion, rat, hamster, hawk, etc. would ever behave on any other basis.
VAU:  The Categorical Imperative was invented, the altruistic ethics (which ALWAYS are practiced within the tribe) were expanded to the whole human race (at least in religious teaching and in humanitarian hopes) only when the rise of civilization (Imperialisms) made territorial brawling increasingly constant, increasingly bloody and increasingly dangerous to everybody.  When Nietzsche or James H. Madole protest that planetary altruism is unnatural, they really mean unmammalian.  The attempts at universal ethical systems by Confucius, Jesus, Buddha, etc. (however contradictory and arbitrary) were attempts to fulfill a need that had arisen because we had evolved in a new evolutionary direction, outside the mammalian norm.  Domesticated ape plus Alexander’s military organization was already a frightening spectacle to the intelligent and intuitive minds of that period.  Domesticated ape plus hydrogen bomb is even more dismaying.

ZAIN: Ethics, like courtesy, is based on intersecting trajectories.  If you and I never intersect life-paths, there is no possibility of (or need for) ethics or courtesy between us.  As nations rise and vertebrate politics is magnified by organization and technology, intersections and/or collisions increase.  At least minimum standards of politeness and decency become necessary.  Since people, by and large, would still rather die, even in prolonged torture, than to think for themselves, it becomes inevitable that great prophets and Messiahs should arise and establish such game-rules on the basis of “Do what I will,: because some god told me to pass these orders on to the rest of you.”

OHETH: All that is past history.  The Categorical Imperative is as obsolete as Alexander’s chariots.  As The Book of the Law predicted in 1904, “The gross must pass through fire; let the fine be tried in intellect and the I lofty chosen ones in the highest.”  The “gross”, namely our bio-survival body-ego consciousness, has entered the fire since Hiroshima, planetary holocaust is a real possibility and there is no security anywhere.  The “fine” have been tried in intellect as Einstein’s relativity, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Gödel’s proof, etc. have removed all certainty from our intellectual system, leaving us no choice but agnosticism as the one remaining honest philosophy.  And the “lofty chosen ones”, our spiritual aspirations, have been “tested in the highest” by the jolting revelations of psychoanalysis and cultural anthropology, which have demonstrated beyond all question that all ethical systems are equally arbitrary and irrational.  We know that we are here, but we have no guarantee that a second from now we might not be incinerated in a planetary blunder; we know that we think, but we have no assurance that our thinking can every prove anything; and we know that we must make choices, but we have no grounds to believe out standards of better-and-worse have any validity.

TETH:  The collapse of certainty has been extremely painful to moralists and ideologists who are mostly inclined to deny it or ignore it. This leads to endless confusion, especially among Marxists and liberal-humanists, whose official philosophies of dialectical materialism and scientific agnosticism are incompatible with any ethical absolutes, but who still manage to remain morally indignant most of the time.  On examination, what such groups are morally indignant about is the fact that the Categorical Imperative ethical systems never did take any firm root (except in preaching and theorizing) and most domesticate apes of the hominid species continue to behave on the basis of standard mammalian politics, including racism, sexism, bullying, treachery, predation, etc.  Ironically, such behaviors also continue, rationalized by morality and ideology, among Marxists (cf. KGB) and liberal-humanists (who largely staff the CIA.)

YOD: A more hopeful view becomes available when we realize that while the planet has been shrinking, the available universe has been expanding.  The shrinkage of Earth is well-noted in books on World Federalism, etc.; what it comes down to is that we are all intersecting and colliding.  (For instance you recently had to decide whether or not to help napalm Vietnamese children.  If you paid your taxes, you helped in the baby-roast.  If you refused to pay, your life took a dramatic turn into adventure and high drama with jail at the possible climax.).  Hence the frantic attempts to recreate a Categorical Imperative, even after reason and morality have been proven totally random and unreliable.  Meanwhile, however, the expansion of the universe shows the alternate path and the evolutionary meaning of Crowley’s Law of Thelema.

KAPH:  “What is good for me and my gang” (standard mammalian politics) become counter-survival when technology and overcrowding made for more frequent intersections/collisions.  “What is good for all men and all women” (Categorical Imperatives) then become necessary.  Al of this is a very early stage of vertebrate evolution on a planet probably less than half-way through the average DNA script for satellites of type G stars.  Domesticate apes, of course, do not like to think that they are early evolutionary forms; they like to think they are the Crown of Creation.  Hence there is a notorious lack of evolutionary perspectivein virtually all hominid philosophies.

LAMED: The human nervous system is literally exploding.  Technology, the extension of our nervous system, shows exponential accelerations on all levels.  Speed of communications increased 107 times since 1900, speed of travel 102, data processing 106, etc.  None of our social institutions or mammalian philosophies can cope with change at this velocity.  The break-up of existing imperialistic Civilization is intuited as inevitable everywhere.  We are each on a collision course with all. The planet has shrunk to pin-size and our territorial squabbles are increasingly omi-lethal.

MEM: The DNA hasn’t guided us this far without having more metamorphic and mutational possibilities in reserve.  “We” are, you must remember, local cells in the 1.5-billion year old Genetic Brain which has adapted, survived, and tenaciously advanced toward Higher Intelligence by continuous strategic evolution.  It is and has been trillions upon trillions of experimental models: bee, ant, mantis, whale, hamster, tree, grass, ape, spider, eagle and dolphin.  Migration and mutation are its basic metaprograms.  (Specifically, most of our ancestors were not of our favored race or sex.  The majority of them weren’t even mammals.)

NUN: Migration and mutation, the flight from Earth into cosmic space-time, is the obvious direction of current technology.  The domesticated ape species calling itself Homo Sap is about to cease to exist, even if SHe does survive hir territorial rumbles.  The spread of human seed throughout the galaxy means the end of humanity-as-we-know-it.  A thousand post-human species, adapted to interstellar conditions of tremendous variety, must and will replace the homogenized humanity dreamed of by terrestrial egalitarians.  The racists are going to win out after all but it will be a bitter victory for them.  The races we know can never survive long beyond Earth.  Mutation and metamorphosis, the basic DNA strategies, will consign them all to the scrap-heap.

SAMEK: Quarrels over busing, dish-washing, salaries, capitalism, socialism, etc – the whole current of Left-Right debate – is as obsolete as the War of the Roses.  Prof. O’Neill’s space-cities are getting increased publicity and support.  Dr. Leary’s Terra II is now a legal corporation with some very wealthy backers.  In Germany, an engineer named Lutz T. Kayser of Stuttgart has raised $3 for the first civilian space exploration corporation in Europe.  The great migration is beginning.

AYIN: The old tribal-relativist question, “What is right for me and my gang?” once again becomes more relevant than the pompous and irresolvable Categorical Imperative of “What is right for all men and all women?”  The only intelligent choice today is to find your real gang – the tribe that is neuro-genetically wired up to be going in the same evolutionary direction as yourself – and synergize your group efforts toward achieving Escape Velocity.

PE: Many world-savers have taken on that occupation unwillingly, only because it seemed that the only way their evolutionary ideals couple be preserved would be through first uniting humanity into a homogenous hive without war and racial strife.  This Quixotic and well-nigh impossible burden can now be dropped.  The best way to assure the survival of some human seed, and the best way to give your evolutionary ideals a good chance, is to put all your efforts into migration.

TZADDI: Those whose evolutionary ideals are necessary to the cosmic mosaic, or compatible with it, will survive and even thrive during the migration-mutation.  Those whose evolutionary ideals are primitive, mammalian, typically primate, will probably not survive the migration-mutation.  Evolutionarily, this is the way it always works out.

KOPH:  I started out to write a letter to the Green Egg FORUM about why I disagree with James Madole’s racist philosophy as expounded in FORUM #VIII, 75; instead I wrote this article. (Thanks for the inspiration, Mr. Madole.) Squabbles about which kids should go to what schools (the chief bone of contention between Madole and the liberal-humanist Establishment) will fade away when migration opens infinite doors to space and the overcrowding, intersections, and collisions of civilized humanity are transcended by cosmic freedom.  Let Madole lead a tribe of pure Aryans to some Aryan heaven in the Orion system.  I personally am signed up for Dr. Leary’s Terra II, which plans to include all races and all 48 neuro-genetic types of humanity on the assumption that all genetic variations are necessary.  Let everybody else get their own space tribe together and go off in their own heavenly direction.  “Do what thou wilt” shall be “the whole of the law.”  (Frankly, I suspect that the weird brand of pseudo-science underlying Madole’s racist-occult philosophy will lead his gang into the same debacle where Hitler landed.  But Madole is at liberty to feel the say way about the Wilsonian philosophy) the universe is a big Mother!

SHIN: Shifting from a territorial to an extra-terrestrial perspective changes sex-role ideologies as much as race ideologies.  To make this explicit, I can do no better than to quote Robert. A. Heinlein’s perfect definition in Time Enough for Love:  “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, design a building, conn a ship, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.  Specialization is for insects.”

RESH:  Looking at matters from an evolutionary viewpoint, minus morality and ideology, leads to increased mental clarity and greater tolerance.  Anything that has been around for a few thousand years (e.g. racism, sexism) has served a definite evolutionary function; otherwise it would not have survived.  The same is even more true of anything that has lasted millions or billions of years (e.g. predation, violence) those of us who wish to move to a higher cosmic destiny have no real reason to get upset or discouraged by the continuation of these classic vertebrate games into our time.  The universe, as Dr. Leary has remarked, is an intelligence test.  If we cannot surmount bitter opposition (and even “unfair” tactics) by the mammalian establishment, then we do not qualify as fit to instigate the next mutation.  The proper course, then, is to have a good laugh at our own presumption and vanity.  Meanwhile, until we are forced into that cheerful Taoist surrender, our enemies are our best friends since they are teaching us to be smarter, quicker, more patient and dedicated, much shrewder and more practical.  Anger is a luxury for losers; those who intend to win can’t waste time on it.

TAU:  “Nobody is really sane until he has said sincerely, ‘Thank you, God’” (Oscar Ichazo) Leaving aside the sexist semantics of that aphorism, Oscar is quite right.  Whatever we mean by “God” or “Goddess,” it is obvious, at least, that every organism that ever lived on this planet contributed to making possible this city, this room, this typewriter where I sit recording my Signal and the like situation in which you sit receiving my Transmission.  The only sane attitude toward the trees and vegetation that made animal life possible, the creatures from amoeba to austral-epitecus that moved life upward and onward, the men and women who gave us culture and technology as our heritage at birth, is inexpressible gratitude.  Since history is made by our actions, not our sentiments, such gratitude needs to be expressed in action or it is mere Transcendental Masturbation.   The only actions that express existential gratitude adequately are those which transcend our seeming limits and strive upward toward higher intelligence, deeper compassion, more total responsibility, greater joy.  If we really understood the splendor of being conscious in this universe, we would shine like stars.

Every man and every woman is a star.   – Aleister Crowley

Neurologic, Immortality & All That

Neurologic, Immortality & All That

by Robert Anton Wilson

 from Green Egg, Vol. VIII, No 72
Lughnasad, August 1, 1975

Ritual is to the internal sciences what experiment is to the external sciences.   – Timothy Leary PhD

Self-denial is simply the self-expres­sion of self-denying people… Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. Or, as Mr. Shaw himself says, the golden rule is that there is no golden rule.   – Aleister Crowley, Gospel According to St. Bernard Shaw 

What is John Guilt?   – Atlanta Hope, Telemaahus Sneezed

Valerie Twilight’s letter in Green Egg VII, 71, raises so many interesting points that the only responsive and responsible an­swer is a new article, not another letter.

Ms. Twilight has some trouble understand­ing the published version of Neurologic; this is not surprising, since Dr. Leary wrote this essay in a hurry, with no re­search sources available, on the floor of a solitary confinement cell, under a 40-watt bulb. A longer (400-page) and much more popularized version of Neurologic was fin­ished shortly before Dr. Leary disappeared last year, but it, alas, disappeared along with him. (If a great scientist had similarly disappeared in Russia, and his greatest book along with him, the liberals would be having the fits, the shits, and the blind staggers about it; but, since it happened in the US, we can be sure that Dr. Leary is cooperating voluntarily with his captors, of course. Of course, of course, of course.)

To Ms. Twilight’s questions:

There are many ways in which the higher circuits can be activated and imprinted. Along with metaprogramming substances such as LSD or peyote, Dr. Leary has discussed (a) certain stressful illnesses, such as schizophrenia and epilepsy, (b) narrow escapes from death, and (c) the empirical techniques developed by shamans and yogis over the past 30,000 years. Judging from anthropological literature, the most widespread device has been the combination of metaprogramming chemicals with (b) narrow escape from death (or some pretense of such narrow escape) to frighten the student into the neural surrender-ecstasy of the death-trip.

The second most common method appears to be deliberate “starving out” or atrophying of the first four circuits. Patanjali’s systemization of yoga, two milleniums ago, had already simplified this to the basic steps of (1) asana the rigid posture which turns off the First Circuit (bio-survival forward-back movement) by ignoring it; (2) pranayama, regulated breathing, which turns off the Second Circuit (emotional domination -submission rituals) by stabilizing the emotional bio-energy; (3) dharana, concentration on one image (or mantra, concentration on one sound) which starves out the Third Circuit (symbolic consciousness, or the “internal monologue”); and (4) yama-niyama, or detachment and celibacy, which starves out the Fourth Circuit (sex-domesticity) by simply dropping out of the reproductive cycle. (An alternative to (4) is Tantra, which mutates the sex-energy directly into higher-circuit energy by what Dr. Leary calls “the delicate Hedonic Engineering” of postponed orgasm.) When the energy of the bioplasm is thus withdrawn from the first four circuits, it has nowhere to go but into the higher circuits.

It is not true, incidentally, that metaprogramming chemicals only turn on the higher circuits temporarily. The actual process seems to follow the equation (written by me, but accepted as a sound expression of his ideas by Dr. Leary):

Bn = Bo + Pn + S

where Bn is new behavior (including new con­sciousness, or new intelligence), Bo is old behavior, Pn is a new program and S is SHOCK in the Gurdjieffian sense, which in the case of metaprogramming chemicals is the chemical itself (and in other cases is the fright or near-death experience used in initiations of most shamanic schools). The most effective new program (Pn) is a ritual, or dramatic performance, which involves the entire neuro-glandular-muscular etc. systems, i.e. the organism-as-a-whole. (The rejection of rit­ual in modern psychotherapy is the chief cause of the ineffectiveness of said therapy. This avoidance represents, in semantic terms, confusing the map with the territory. That is, the “map”–the language–in which ritual has been traditionally discussed is “pre-scientific,” and therefore, modern psycho­therapists, trying to be very “scientific,” have phobically avoided the territory, the rituals themselves.)

An equally effective Pn is the chakra system of Sufism and kundalini yoga, which can be considered an internal ritual. Since there is not so much semantic phobia invol­ved here, many schools of modern psychother­apy have created rough approximations of this ancient science, e.g. Reichian bio-en­ergetic therapies, Gestaltism, Rolfing, etc… When the SHOCK of the metaprogramming chemical is not accompanied by any conscious­ly-chosen P– i.e. when the subject is just “tripping” for the sheer hell of it – the environmental set, whatever it is, provides an unintentional Pn. Lack of understanding of this point has given the metaprogramming chemicals an inaccurate reputation for “un­predictability.” Intelligently used, they are more predictable than any other behavior-modifying technology of the past 30,000 years; which is why so many shamans have used them.

Turning now to the question of immortal­ity, it is of course true that Circuit 4 (sex-reproduction) already provides basic genetic immortality. (The first 3 circuits have to do with survival in space; circuit 4 transmits the genetic code through time. This is why Nobel Prize geneticist Herbert Muller once joked, quite profoundly, that we are giant robots created by DNA to make more DNA.) On Circuit 7, basic neurogenetic con­sciousness, we tap directly into the DNA-RNA dialogue and experience that 3½-billion year old genetic mind which is the meaning of Pan, Brahma, the World Spirit, etc. This “collective memory” is the origin of the reincar­nation metaphor, probably.

The new immortality, or immortality2, becoming rapidly available in the next 10-15 years as genetic engineering advances, will confront each human with the option of new 8-circuit survival as an entity (for the first time in history). Many, like Ms. Twi­light, will undoubtedly choose the tradition­al path. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Evolution proceeds, always, through diversity, not through uniformity. The point is that, when this choice and the oth­er options of genetic engineering become available, humanity will cease to exist as an entity. There will be several human stocks, one of which will almost certainly choose the Maximum Trip, i.e. total reprogramming for higher intelligence, greater emotional equilibrium, continuous high-circuit ecstasy, immortality, eternal youth and beauty, cos­mic exploration, and (probably) eventual Circuit 8 fusion into the (hypothesized) Galactic Mind, made up of all races, galaxy-wide, who have chosen the Maximum Trip and are evolving toward Perfection, i.e. Cosmic Godhood.

The three main human stocks, Dr. Leary predicts, will be the Maximum Trippers or time-travelers, as discussed above, and (2) the planetary colonists, who will evolve in various ways on various planets, all of them divergent from the Earth-norm, as local gra­vitational and other fields determine, and (3) the stay-at-homes, who will probably ev­olve toward some variety of insectoid socia­lism (since that is about the only way the oncoming world-round Technocracy can be man­aged).

More concretely and immediately, the on­coming biological revolution will provide options, for the first time in history, on whether or not to continue such phenomena as idiocy, imbecility, various chronic diseases, the general emotional plague and mental in­stability of larval humanity, ugliness, crippling, deformity, etc. Once again, Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. The existence of the option does not mean that anybody must choose beauty and health and immortality etc.; those who really pref­er the old ways must have the freedom to retain personal ugliness and sickness and death, etc. Diversity is the path of evolution.

In terms of DT. Leary’s famous Two Commandments for the neurological age:

1. Thou shalt not alter the consciousness of thy neighbor without his or her consent.

2. Thou shalt not prevent thy neighbor from altering his or her own consciousness.

Like Dr. Leary, I personally prefer the Maximum Trip, i.e. serial reincarnation (through neural re-imprinting) within one time-traveling starship until eventual Cos­mic Fusion is reached. Again, like Or. Leary, I do not see any need to preach or harangue about the matter. The future evo­lution of humanity must be self-selecting. Those who are going to the stars, are going; those who are staying behind, are staying behind. The job of the neurologician is to make the options available, as quickly as possible, before the present Circuit 2 programs, as escalated and accelerated by tech­nology, wipe out humanity entirely.

Attachment to the Earth-womb is rein­forced on each of the first four circuits, where the bonds are made to mother or mother -substitute (Circuit 1 security), to father or father-substitute (Circuit 2 power), to tribal lore or academic regulations (Circuit 3 knowledge) and to one’s own family and offspring (Circuit 4 responsibility).

On the higher circuits, there are higher bonds. Specifically, the massive opening-activation of Circuit 5 rapture in the 1960s (the first historical occasion of millions of illuminations in one decade) partially misfired because the appropriate bond, to a Tantric partner, was imperfectly understood. (In the Tarot symbology, many remained Hanged Men and did not achieve the bonding of the Temperance-Art card’s alchemical fusion.)

Circuit 6, being increasingly activated in the 1970s, is the shamanic circuit  per se, and coded into the Tarot by the cards known as The Devil, The Tower, and The Star. That is, the opening of the circuit (Devil card) is the initial awareness of alien intelli­gences above and (in a sense) within us, ac­tivating every possible paranoia (cf. Colin Wilson’s Mind Parasites); the brain or Ges­talt of the circuit (Tower card) totally fissions and wipes out existing terracentric imprints (classic Samadhi); and the ultimate bonding (Star card) is when the alien pres­ences are recognized as our Galactic Par­ents who have secretly loved and nurtured us all along.

Dr. Jacques Vallee’s new book, The In­visible College, suggests (on the basis of data obtained by feeding UFO contactee stor­ies and traditional religious visions into computers and comparing the two) that Circ­uit 6 awareness always contains the Devil archetype at first, i.e. the fear of the un­known Superior Mind, the dread of “possess­ion,” etc. It is this aspect of the oncoming Gestalt (not neural re-imprinting, gene­tic engineering for immortality and ecstasy, or starflight itself) which will cause the most terror, paranoia, flip-outs and “cont­roversy.” The ruling classes, in particular; cannot constitutionally accept Powers and Intelligences higher than themselves without acute schizoid fugue.

Most people, however, are part of one ruling class or another. That is, they act as authoritarians to those “below” them, even while they act as submissive robots to those “above” them. The opening of the 6th Circuit will, therefore, cause even more panic than the opening of the 5th circuit in the 1960s. This is why it is important for those who understand, more or less, what is happening in genetics, neurology, molecular biology, parapsychology, etc. to communicate as much as possible about this transforma­tion from terrestrial mortality to cosmic immortality. To repeat: it is not necess­ary to preach, since the process remains self-selecting, but it is necessary to explain. The average larval human can only relate to Higher Intelligence with terror, as in the archetypes of the Elders of Zion, Illuminati, Secret Chiefs, invaders-from Mars, etc. The recognition that Higher In­telligence is continually active on this planet will blow many fuses before most hu­mans can see these entities as, in Don Juan’s phrase, “allies.”

In fact, the chief reason that Dr. Leary has been jailed, gagged and held incommuni­cado is that the local authorities under­stand his ideas just well enough to feel threatened, not well enough to accept that the Next Step in evolution (as Crowley and the Sufis call it) is as inevitable, and as self-selecting, as all the previous steps.

Finally, to answer a question Ms. Twi­light didn’t ask, how fast is this metamor­phosis happening? Well, C.P. Snow has said that the biological revolution of this decade will be more profound than the revolu­tion in physics in the decade of Hiroshima (1940s). Rattray Taylor’s Biological Time Bomb predicts that changes more basic than the invention of fire or the wheel will occur by 1980. The foremost molecular biolo­gist known to me is about to unleash a re­port on his latest research, about the same time this article will appear in print, that vastly exceeds the “wildly optimistic” fore­cast given by Leary and Benner in Terra II (1973). Nobody reading this sentence must die; you will have the choice. All the work of Timothy Leary personally, and of myself and my associates in the DNA Society collectively, amounts to no more than pro­viding a scientific-mythic scenario to give depth and context to your decision. As the Christians have been saying (prematurely) for 2000 years, the question of where to spend eternity is in your hands.

I Opening

I Opening
when is a magician a real magician?
by Robert Anton Wilson

from Gallery
November 1972 (first issue)

Once upon a time (it was in 1984 actually, that long ago) a man named John Disk achieved satori in a cell at San Quentin prison. It was like a million balloons bursting inside him and outside him at once, each balloon releasing a twinkle of light, each light a species of orgasm. Or, at least, that was the way he described it to Miss Portinari afterwards.

“Those are the best words I have,” he said.

“They’ll do,” Miss Portinari told him briefly.

Disk had received a life sentence for murdering the controversial magician, Cagliostro the Great. If there were any justice in our courts (loud laughter), the newspapers would have gone to jail with him, for they had planted it in his head that Cagliostro-the-commie, Cagliostro-the-dope-fiend, Cagliostro-the-sex-maniac, was un-American and, therefore, by definition, unfit to live. They had been riding Cagliostro’s ass, in fact, for more than two decades before Disk finally pulled the trigger and dispatched the loathesome creature to a well-deserved perdition. Disk was a believer in news­papers, back then.

“Rosenfelt doesn’t see it that way, of course. Rosenfelt and his buddies, the Rothschilds, want to crush free enterprise and competition. They call it socialism, but it’s really their own brand of capitalism. They been after me and Ford and every independent and maverick in the country for a hell of a long time. Crane the economic royalist. Crane the male­factor of great wealth. Crane the selfish interest. That’s their line–as if their interests aren’t selfish, too, the lying kike bastards. You remember all this, son. You remember what your father told you. It’s a big fortune, the Crane holdings, and they’re going to be trying to take it away from you, just like they’re trying to take it away from me. I earned every penny of it, when I invented ORGASMOR, and I don’t aim to ever let them take it away. From me or from you. You just remember why the bankers are all liberals, son. You remember who your real enemies are, and don’t think it’s those idiot socialists and other cranks. It’s those kike bankers who want the whole pie and are just using Rosenfelt as a pawn.”

That was old Crane, Tom Crane, the man who invented ORGASMOR, talking to his son, Hugh, in Central Park in 1934. Tom Crane was one of the last reactionaries; a tough, vehement man whose wealth was based on a swindle pure and simple. He never claimed, in any advertisement, that ORGASMOR actually created more orgasms, and the FDA never quite succeeded in putting him out of business for fraudulent representations; but the intelligent were inclined to regard his customers as dupes. It is a fact beyond dispute that most people who bought ORGASMOR thought it would have some salubrious effect ontheir sex lives, and, since the formula was very little different from Coca Cola, a strict constructionist might say they were being defrauded. “It doesn’t poison anybody,” Tom Crane always said when that was discussed in his presence.

In fact, Hugh-who was only ten in 1934 and would reach 12 before he learned that the correct pronunciation of the President’s name was Roosevelt – was only partially listening to his father’s ram­bling anti-semitic diatribe. He had heard most of it before. Besides, the tramp was much more interesting. He was stopping each person who passed and asking them something. They all shook their heads and walked by rapidly. This was puzzling to the boy: If the answer was negative, why did the tramp keep asking the question? Didn’t he believe the people he had al­ready asked?

“You see, son, Rosenfelt and the Du­Ponts and the Rhodes scholars have got it all sliced up, and they have to get rid of people like me,” Tom Crane was still rambling along his own paranoid yellow brick road when they finally came abreast of the tramp. The boy listened eagerly to catch the Mystery Question.

“Hey, mister, could you spare a dime, I haven’t eaten in three days, mister, hey, listen, mister. . .”

“Get a job,” old Crane said, walking faster. “You see, son,” he went on, “That’s the kind of good-for-nothing loafer who’s destroying this country.”

The boy, who was to become Cagliostro the Great, looked back and saw the tramp falling to the ground, very slowly, like the tree he has seen fall slowly after being chopped by the caretaker at the Crane country home Upstate. And, just like the tree, when he finally reached the sidewalk, the tramp didn’t move at all, not one bit; he even seemed to get stiff like the tree did, only faster.

Miss Portinari’ had started writing to John Disk as soon as he was sen­tenced – but many people wrote to him, telling him he was the greatest American since Robert Depugh and would be re­leased when the people rose up and drove the commie traitors out of Washington. Miss Portinari’s letters were different: they never told Disk he was right, they merely offered sympathy for a human be­ing locked in a cage. He didn’t answer any of them until he had served a year and reached the point of despair at which he wished humanitarians and liberals had never succeeded in abolishing the Cali­fornia gas chamber. “Please come to see me, Miss,” he wrote. “You seem to have a heart and I need to talk to somebody be­fore I go crazy from being cooped up in this terribul cage. Please, come, Miss.” She was there at the next visiting day.

Hugh Crane celebrated his fourteenth birthday in 1938 by climbing into the bed of the family’s black maid, Sophie Hage. She had observed his precocity and wasn’t surprised at the timing; and the deed itself, she had learned, was par for the sons and the female servants of the best families on Park Avenue. What was not normal was the passion that endured over several months, and the extent to which she her­self was picked up and carried by it. Soon they were sharing secrets, just as if they were true lovers and equals, not master and servant.

“Nails and glass in your shoes?” she asked him on the day that Nazi tanks crossed the border into Czechoslovakia.

“I read about it in a book about saints that I got from the library on 42nd Street,” he said.

“But that’s crazy, mon.” She was from Haiti.

“In a way. But I was only twelve then. And I finally did make it.”

“Make it?”

“All the way. It was in the country place. I stole a whip from the stable. I kept hitting my back and saying, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. All night long. Just at dawn, he appeared.”


“Yes. With a halo.”

“You sure were one crazy young child.”

“But I did see him.”

Sophie looked at the boy for a long time. “I did better than that once,” she said finally. “I became a god. Or goddess. Back on the island.”

“What goddess?” he asked eagerly.

“You never heard of her. Erzulie, a great goddess in the voudon religion. I was about thirteen, just before my first period. These things usually happen to kids at that age. Yours did.”

“What happened?” He was very in­tense.

“The drums were beating, and we were all singing. Suddenly I saw a white light bigger than all creation. Then it was the next morning, and they told me I had been Erzulie all night.”

“You don’t remember being her?”

“No. All those hours were  wiped out, mon.”

“I remember seeing Jesus. As clearly as I remember anything. The halo around his head was a white light, too-a very big white light.”

In 1941, the Carter Brothers Carnival played in Xenia, Ohio, and some pro­fessors from Antioch College, hearing in­credible stories about the mentalist, Cagliostro the Great, went to check him out. His act was what they expected: the girl assistant would circulate in the audi­ence while he sat blindfolded on the plat­form.

“Now what am I holding?” she would ask, when somebody handed her a watch.

“What do I have in my hand this time:” that was a locket.

“Can you tell me what the object is?”-a wallet photo.

The professors nodded happily to each other: a simple (and traditional) substitution-code. “Let’s give him a whammy,” one suggested, signalling to the girl. When she arrived in their midst, he handed her a dragon-headed Japanese condom.

Without a blush, she called to the platform, “Tell me what I have been given by this person.”

“It’s against the law in this state,” Cagliostro replied at once. “I would advise the man to restrain his sense of humor in the future.” Everybody turned to look at the professors, including the Xenia cop on duty to prevent trouble at the carnival. Xenia cops do not like Antioch students or Antioch professors.

On the way back to Yellow Springs one professor said to the other, “That’s quite a code. It even includes scum-bags.”

The next night they were back with a test-tube of copper sulphate.

“Are you able to see the object that I have been given this time?” the girl asked; and the blindfolded Cagliostro replied calmly, “A test-tube. With some blue liquid in it.”

“That’s a damn good code,” the professors agreed, more fervently this time, as they drove back to Antioch.

(There’s no hope of salvaging anything – the suicide note had said – and you’re going to have to make it on your own, just like I did. Rosenfelt has destroyed me and he’ll destroy free enterprise.)

The carnival was in Biloxi, Mississippi, that winter, and Cagliostro was trying his new gig, combining Houdini-style escapes with his mentalism act. He had been locked in a trunk, and the local police co­operatively used their best padlocks to se­cure the chains. He settled down to slow, regular yoga-breathing – the escape ac­tually took only a few minutes, but he was following Houdini’s formula that the audi­ence was more impressed if they had to wait a half hour for the miracle. The yoga conserved the oxygen in the trunk against any possibility that panic, toward the end, might force him into rapid breathing. He timed the breaths against a slow AUMMMMMM, his mind drifted back to Park Avenue and a black maid whose framed picture of a Catholic-looking Jesus some­times in certain lights seemed to have horns, and he relaxed his hands and feet (there can be no muscle tension in the torso if the extremities are totally limp) bringing her face back clearly, and he heard a voice shouting, “We’re at war! The Japanese went and bombed some place called Pearl Harbor in Honolulu!”

“You’re a disciple of his, of Cagliostro’s,” Disk said after Miss Portinari had been visiting him for two years. “I can tell by the way you talk. 

“Yes, ” Miss Portinari said softly.

“Then how can you forgive me?”

The first fame of Cagliostro began while he was touring with U.S.O. during the War. He had abandoned mentalism and his act depended entirely on escaping from everything the M.P.’s could devise to re­strain him. Variety called him “the new Houdini” in 1945, just a few months before Hiroshima. His first arrest occurred in the fall of that year, possession of marijuana, the charges dismissed without a trial. (His agent’s connections, the Crane family lawyer, the fact that the Crane for­tune had not been wiped out entirely when ORGASMOR dropped to the bottom of the Big Board, and judicious oiling of what Show Biz and underworld people call” tin mittens” – officials on the take – contrib­uted to this happy consummation.) He was one of the first guests on the Ed Sulli­van show, but was never asked to return due to a 1948″morals” arrest: the girl was quite young and an “act against nature” was alleged. Once again, money changed hands and there was no trial. His career was mostly “in the clubs” after that; Holly­wood and TV were both in one of their chronic contractions of cowardice at the end of the decade.

A second morals arrest, followed rapidly by a second pot bust, made him a little too hot for most club owners. Still-the crowds turned out wherever he appeared. The mob decided to set immediate money against caution, and he was allowed to go on working. Until his disastrous appear­ance before the House Un-American Ac­tivities Committee in 1950.

“You’re not a Communist, you hardly know any Communists, you could have sung like a bird without hurting yourself,” his agent said afterwards. “Why did you have to do it, baby?”

“Listen,” Crane said angrily. “Do you think I can get out of a fucking set of Junior G-Man handcuffs if I let one single jot of fear get into my head? You don’t under­stand. I can’t let anything scare me–es­pecially not shit-heads like them.”

“It’s your own funeral,” the agent re­plied glumly. “I’ll tell you the plain and varnished facts. You’re gonna end up like Chaplin. Two sex scandals, two drug scandals, and now this. You’re gonna end up worse than Chaplin. You’re box office poison, baby. From this day forward.”

Crane served his contempt-of-Congress sentence at Lewisburg Federal Peniten­tiary, the “gentleman’s club,” as the Maf calls it, where the government sends those honored guests who are not likely to shiva guard and climb a wall. He worked in the library with Alger Hiss. In 1981 , John Disk, the man who killed him, read his notes on the yoga exercises he performed in his cell:

“It helps if you identify each letter of AUM with one of the three Gods of the Hindu Trinity. A is Brahm, the Creator: let it explode from the diaphragm up­wards, like the big bang of creation itself. U is Vishnu, the Preserver: hold it so long that it vibrates, like the rhythm of life it­self, the Big Beat. M is Shiva, the De­stroyer: close the lips in a decisive bite of ‘This is the way the world ends’ as you en­ter the silence. . .

“Today, unexpectedly, pure dhyana. It was so much simpler than I ever guessed, and it is obviously merely a matter of practice. I am no better or worse, morally, and no wiser or more spiritual. It’s no more ‘mystical’ than Pavlov’s dogs, or my straightjacket escape. Repetition is the whole key. Force the muscles and glands and nerves, force them day after day after day, and it happens. Yet it was marvelous, and I will never fully identify with ‘Cagliostro’ or ‘Hugh Crane’ or even ‘me’ or the perpendicular pronoun, ever again.

“Another successful dhyana. There’s nothing to it, actually. The brain just operates on the same principle as those fellows in The Hunting of the Snark: ‘What I tell you three times is true.’ (Three million times is more accurate.) If I had been on the Jesus kick of my childhood, I could have conjured up Jesus instead of just abolishing ‘Hugh Crane.’ What I tell you three million times is true. . .

“I can hardly write. Today I reached sa­madhi. It makes dhyana look like nothing by comparison. All my certainty is gone. I should be terrified, but instead I’m ec­static. If this is possible, anything is possi­ble, and I can hardly deny walking on water or casting a curse or any other ‘su­perstition.’ This is the point where I must be on guard; it is very tempting to lapse into total gullibility. . .”

These notes were not published when Hugh came out of prison. Instead, he brought forth a book cheerfully titled There Is No Governor Anywhere, which ex­plained some – not all – of his magic es­capes, and set this in the context of a phi­losophy which declared every individual a creator of his own universe. The polemics against government and organized religion were tactless, to say the least, for a performer depending upon public good will; Crane did not hesitate to identify his outlook bluntly as atheism and anarchism. The motto on the title page was taken from the First Surrealist Manifesto of his birth-year, 1923: “Total transformation of mind, and of all that resembles it.”

To everybody’s surprise, including Crane’s, the book became a best-seller, and he became the most controversial man in the United States. Even in the fearful fifties-even with American Legion and John Birch chapters con­stantly reminding everyone of his drug ar­rests, his sex arrests, and the documented fact that prison authorities had delayed his parole because of his homosexual se­duction of a younger inmate – Hugh Crane acquired a new following. TV gingerly tested him on the egghead ghetto of Sunday afternoon, then promoted him to the late late talk-shows.

He managed to end every appearance with the words, “There is no governor anywhere: you are all absolutely free.”

And around then – to the vocal dismay of press and clergy – a club-owner decided he was a “freak” act (“They’ll hate him but they’ll come”) and Crane was able to work as a magician again. The crowdoverflowed into the street and many were turned away. Cagliostro introduced a new escape, from a lead box that had been welded closed in view of the audience, in ad­dition to his usual stunts, and included a running humorous monologue of mildly satirical and anti-religious tendency. “Re­member,” he told the audience at the end, “there is no restraint that can’t be es­caped. You are all absolutely free.”

A pudgy Broadway columnist in­terviewed him the next day. “How the hell did you manage that lead-box escape?” the columnist asked, off-the-record.

“I used real magic,” the Great Cagliostro pronounced.

“Come off it,” the columnist said; but Cagliostro merely grinned at him impud­ently.

His mistress at that time, Jane Ash, was a fairly prominent jazz singer in her own right-which made her friends wonder how she could be so completely enslaved by a man on the fringes of failure and likely at any time to come a worse cropper than Fatty Arbuckle. A particularly close friend, who saw the whip marks on Jane’s back, was especially shocked and puzzled.

“Why don’t you leave him?” she asked.

“It’s voluntary,” Jane replied. “It’s my own true nature.”

The scandal eventually became an official rumor – “A night-club Nostradamus, previously involved in other sex and drug offenses, is treating his ballad-belting sweetheart in a very sick way. Readers of a certain French marquis will know what I mean,” was its first printed form, in the nation’s most widely-read gossip colum­nist. “You’ve got quite a reputation as a sadist,” Epicene Wildeblood, the literary critic, said to Crane the very day that ap­peared.

“Afraid to be identified with me publicly?” Crane asked. They were in Wildeblood’s jet-set pad, on the Park, East.

“Oh, not at all, darling,” Eppy purred. “How funny that I should know what you really are. Don’t I, babe?” He lifted Crane’s chin with the toe of his shoe.

“Yes, master,” Crane mumbled.

“Oh, that sounded a little sullen. I think you’re just a bit rebellious today, babe. That must be punished.”

“Yes, master,” Crane said, going to the closet for the ropes. After he was stripped, and lying face down on the bed, Eppy carefully tied his four limbs to the four bedposts.

“You are my slave and you can’t escape,” he said.

“I am your slave and I can’t escape,” Crane repeated, as Wildeblood mounted him, both of them perfectly aware that he could slip the knots at any time.

Crane took Jane Ash to the Rainbow Room that night and made a point of loudly and brutally humiliating her throughout the meal. She accepted it all (her hundred most intimate friends and enemies in the room noticed with dis­approval) as if he had hypnotized her.

Jane actually took nearly a year to discover what was happening to her. It had started with a routine roll in the hay, but in the middle of it he lifted her to an unusual position. “What the hell is this?” she asked.

“Tibetan, angel,” he said softly. “Relax and you’ll enjoy it.”

She relaxed, and it was the most ex­traordinary sexual experience of her life. After that, for two months, she followed all of his instructions, with growing de­light and a firm belief that she was ap­proaching that Ultimate Orgasm the Mailer fellow was always writing about. Then, one night, he brought out the ropes.

“Now, wait a minute,” she said, “that’s English. That’s kink. Go to London if you want that.”

“I love you,” he murmured, his mouth moving south across her belly toward her bush; in a little while, she agreed to the re­straints. He tied them very firmly-and then, to her relief, no weapon was pro­duced. He didn’t even produce his own weapon; it was entirely oral. After five orgasms, she found him sitting up and lighting a joint. In a minute, he held it to her own lips. “For the big one,” he said. She smoked hungrily while he kissed and caressed her and muttered endear­ments-but she could still feel the ropes. When the joint was finished, he finally mounted her and galloped into some dimension of spasm she had never known before.

“God,” she said, coming back to her­self, “that was the big one.” But he was re­versed again, his mouth on her snatch, and her head spun.

The mild discipline began a few weeks later. “It builds up the charge,” he said, and she found that it did. Soon she agreed that stronger discipline built an ever greater charge. When the sadism switched to a psychological level, she was too far gone to stop, living in a dark and pulsating cave of ecstasy and pain millions of light-years from common earth. She accepted degradation, humiliation and the growing vampirism which seemed calculated to slowly destroy her last remnants of ego. Once or twice, she remembered later, she had feebly protested, “Enough. Too much. Please.”

“No,” he shouted, “we’re at the Edge. We’ve got to go all the way over.”

(“Yes, master,” he would be saying to Epicene Wildeblood a few hours later, “Whatever you wish, master.”)

“You could have lots of bookings, instead of just working in public terlets,” his agent told him. “I could get you In top-money rooms. People would forget those drug charges, and those teen-age girls, if you didn’t keep reminding them by being even worse. The way you and Jane carry on in public, everyone thinks you’re a kink. And you and that faggot, Wilde­blood – everyone thinks you’re a touch lavender yourself, bubby. Why don’t you straighten out, for Christ’s sake? You’re going to end up a beggar.”

The boy, who was to become Cagliostro the Great, looked back and saw the tramp falling to the ground, very slowly, like the tree he had seen fall slowly after being chopped by the caretaker at the Upstate Crane country home. And, just like the tree, when he finally reached the sidewalk, the tramp didn’t move at all, not one bit; he even seemed to get stiff like the tree did, only faster.

“On your knees,” Cagliostro said stern­ly, and Jane obediently crossed the floor on her knees.

“Ask for it,” he said.

“I beg you, master,” she said, “to stick your cock inside my cunt and fuck me and make me come again and again and again. Oh, please, master.”

He lit a cigar, pretending to deliberate, and then blew smoke in her face. “No,” he said. “I want you to suck me off. Noth­ing at all for you tonight.”

But a few nights later, when he was on top of her and inside her, and chanting in Tibetan, she suddenly thought she saw a kind of light around his head and two horns sprouting on his temple, and then it was like a million balloons bursting in­side her and outside her at once, each balloon releasing a twinkle of light, each light a species of orgasm. “Jane Ash” ceased to exist. Eternities later, re-entering time, she found he was again at the bottom of the bed, head between her legs, licking ferociously. She fainted.

He had a large library dealing with both stage magic and occultism and Jane had occasionally browsed in it. The next morning, while he was still asleep, she went back to it and searched in several volumes by Rosenkreuz, Therion, Iambacchus, Prinn, Dee and Kelly. “The Mass of the Holy Ghost” was variously described, but the Rose of Ruby was al­ways identified with water and the first H in JHVH, the H of motherhood. The Cross of Gold had different meanings, too, but was chiefly fire and the J of JHVH, the J of fatherhood. Bringing the J and the H together, the wedding of Cross and Rose, produced the manifestation of the Holy Ghost in the form of a eucharist, which was then consumed by the alchemist. My God, she thought, that’s why he goes down on me afterwards as well as just be­fore. “The eucharist,” old Prinn’s words said blandly, “is both male and female, both living and dead, both fire and water; and vet its creation involves no violation of nature but merely obedience to nature’s own laws, together with the proper spiritual attitude.

Professor Nosferatu of Columbia, an old friend of Jane’s, listened raptly as she recited the words to him. “That’s not Ti­betan, whatever he told you,” he said. He repeated it with correct pronunciation: “IO PAN IO PAN PAN IO PANGENITOR IO PANPHAGE. It’s an invocation of the god Pan in classic Greek. ‘Io Pan, Io Pan, Pan, Io Pan-All-Creator, Io Pan-All-Devourer.’ ” He looked at her curiously. “You know, I’ve heard some rather odd rumors about you and him. ”

“Whatever you’ve heard,” she said with a faint smile, “is probably true. I want you to give me the name of the best shrink you know. I want somebody to work on my head and help me to stay away from him.

In 1963, while the nation sweated through the Cuban Missile Crises and a Mr. Oswald ordered a Carcano-Mannlicher through the mails, Cagliostro the Great reached his 39th birthday. He was in Boston at the time, in a hotel room with a moderately renowned psychologist who was doing some novel research with a new chemical called lysergic acid diethylamide-25.

“Some people have had absolutely terri­fying experiences,” the psychologist was saying. “Some say they’d rather die than try it a second time. I want you to understand that fully before volunteering.”

“85 per cent,” Crane repeated from earlier, “had the most intense religious ex­perience of their lives. Is that right?”


“Those odds are good enough for me.” In 1982, John Disk read in Crane’s posthumous papers an account of the next eight hours:

“It’s like grass and a rollercoaster ride and Samadhi all happening at once: sen­sory awareness and the mind in spasms and the White Light flickering continu­ously. No, there are actually at least five levels, all simultaneous. Just like Lewis Carroll:

He thought he saw a banker’s clerk

descending from a bus

He looked again and saw it was a


And he looked again and saw it was the Eternal Father and Eternal Mother locked in the Rosy Cross; and looked again and saw it was his own big toe; and looked again and saw it was the Clear Light.”

Cary Grant had already told all the show biz columnists that this magic chemical had changed his whole life for the better; Cagliostro, typically, went fur­ther and began urging its use on everyone. When the backlash struck, he and the re­searcher who had initiated him and a few other researchers and a couple of famous poets and novelists were widely denounced as “high priests of the drug cult.” He be­came a favorite topic for the Sunday supplements and the more ox-like men’s magazines-any hack could make a lively story by re-hashing his pot arrests, his morals busts, the rumors about other sexual oddities, his public advocacy of LSD and anarcho-atheism, his mantra, “There is no governor anywhere,” and the increasingly popular speculation that his escapes were actually performed through black magic.

It was a disappointment to all the peo­ple who loved hating him when he sud­denly married the screen’s best known sex-goddess, Norma Nelson, and settled down to what appeared to be a very mo­nogamous and un-news-worthy fidelity-trip.

Norma herself was delighted that all those rumors about his sadism were ob­viously untrue. Their sex-life was quite normal, and the Mass of the Holy Ghost was performed without restraints. She discovered, also, the basic secret of his es­capes: he never accepted a challenge at once, always jetting on “urgent business” to another part of the country and only taking languid notice of the wager, casu­ally accepting it with total cool, a few days later. The interlude, she found, was spent in duplicating the conditions proposed and finding the gimmick that would work and the misdirection that would distract attention at the crucial moment. She also learned the essence of the okanna barra, or “gypsy switch,” which is the basis of almost all magic and most con-games. The people who thought their own screws, bolts and chains were used in Cagliostro’s escapes were as mistaken as those who think the handkerchief with a hundred dollars that they give the gypsy for bless­ing is the same handkerchief that comes back to them.

She also learned what alchemy was all about. “I thought that was all supersti­tion,” she said once, pointing at his shelves of old books on the transmutation of elements, the Mass of the Holy Ghost, the Kabala and the elixir of life.

“We do it almost every night,” he smiled. “You have the Cup and I have the Sword. Solve et coagula, divide and unite – that’s why I have to go down on you again at the end. The mystic number 210-that means us two becoming one in the peak and then falling into the void. You’ve got the Triangle and I cause the physical manifestation within it.”

“You mean it’s all a code? Why did they have to hide it?”

“Those who didn’t got burned at the stake,” he said. “Read about the witches and the Knights Templar sometime.”

He also began teaching her the Tarot. “Now, the Fool corresponds to aleph in Kabala, the ox, or bull-god Dionysus. But aleph is the path from Keser to Chokmah, and, therefore, the Holy Ghost or semen. The Magus is beth, the house or tem­ple–that is, the path from Keser to Binah, the womb. . .”

“Do you really think you’re going to live forever?” she asked him once.

“Eternity is another code word,” he said happily. “I won’t get any extension in time from these rites. What I get, and you’re beginning to get, is a deepening. Not more minutes but more fullness in each minute. That’s eternity.”

When Norma became pregnant, Cagli­ostro turned into the stereotype of an ideal husband, canceling bookings to be with her, joyously supporting her decision to employ natural childbirth, teaching her yoga to supplement the Lamaze condi­tioning techniques employed by her obste­trician. He filled her room with flowers-and with photographs of the moon (some of his occult studies were in­volved here, she realized.)

One night the phone rang, and when Crane answered it, Epicene Wildeblood purred, “I’m in Hollywood for a week and I guessed you might want to see me.”

“You guessed wrong,” Crane said.

Norma’s labor began prematurely, and the doctor quickly discovered that the baby was in the breech position. After a few hours, he realized this childbirth could never be natural. She accepted the ether and he performed a Cesarian, only to find the infant, in turning, had strangled on its umbilical cord.

“Oh, God,” she said when she woke and the doctor told her. “Oh, what a lousy God to make a world like this.”

Cagliostro was caught by a gaggle of re­porters coming out of the hospital. “How do you feel?” was the first question.

“How the hell do you think I feel?” “Where will the service be held?”

“There will be no religious service,” Cagliostro shouted, hopping into a cab. “Haven’t you fools heard yet? – God is dead!” It made headlines, and inspired editorials. One editorial – “Bereavement Is No Excuse For Blasphemy” – came to the attention of a 14-year-old boy, John Disk, who was tormented by desires which his priests told him were evil.

When Cagliostro returned to the clubs, his act had changed considerably. The mildly satirical patter between escapes had become bitingly mordant – “He’s a new Lenny Bruce!” – and entirely cen­tered around his declared philosophy of anarchism and atheism. The escapes themselves changed each night, because he explained them and showed how they were done at the climax of every per­formance.

“Now you know how I fooled you,” he would say. “Try to figure out on your own how your congressmen and clergymen fool you. There is no restraint that isn’t self-imposed: you are all absolutely free.”

The evening after the newspapers broke the story that he and Norma had joined Joan Baez in refusing to pay taxes, a drunk began heckling him during his act, “Why don’t you go back to Russia, you commie dope-fiend,” that sort of thing.

No man hates socialism more than me,” Cagliostro said intensely.

He and Norma were busted for possession of acid a few weeks later. “This is hard to fix,” his lawyer told him. “You’re too notorious now. The only chance I see is for you to vow to reform, lament the error of your ways, and pro­mise to go on a lecture-tour speaking to teen-agers about the evils of drugs. Then maybe I can get you a minimum sen­tence. Maybe.” Hugh’s old friend, the Boston psychologist, was in exile in Nepal, having fled a 30-year Sentence in Texas; political offenders in general were having a rough time in the United States.

“I’ll think about it,” he said.

The very next week, he led the Show Biz contingent among the protesters at the 1968 Democratic Convention. A photo­graph of him being tear-gassed outside the Chicago Hilton is still reprinted whenever an article about him appears.

“You’ve had it,” his lawyer told him. “As an officer of the court, I can’t tell you what I really think. An unethical attorney, were he here, would frankly advise you and Norma to get the hell out of the coun­try.”

But a change came over the country when Hubert Humphrey, the new presi­dent, withdrew all the troops from Viet­nam and began granting amnesty to poli­tical prisoners. Cagliostro and Norma, in the midst of the return to liberalism, re­ceived suspended sentences for the acid, and he was not tried with the Chicago Nine for conspiring the convention riots. IRS raided their bank account for the tax money instead of prosecuting them, and, by 1970, he was listed as one of ten top money-makers in Show Biz. His escapes were, the American Society of Magicians announced in an award, better than Hou­dini’s; his habit of explaining each” mir­acle” after the performance only built up crowd-interest for the next challenge.

On May 1, 1976, Cagliostro and Norma were in Mexico City on a vacation. At lunch, she held up a 20 centavo piece and said, “Isn’t that the same as the design on back of the dollar?”

“It’s Masonic,” he said. “The Mexican and American revolutionaries were both predominantly freemasons.”

“What does it mean anyway – an eye floating above a pyramid?”

He started to explain about the Third Eye and the pineal gland, and then noticed that she wasn’t listening.

“They’re waiting for you,” she said in a mediumistic voice.

John Disk, in 1982, read Cagliostro’s notes on the next three days very carefully:

“I refused to believe it. I put her to every possible test, whenever the Voice spoke. Looking for evidence of auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis, I found evidence of auto-suggestion and self-hypnosis –naturally! I also found 17 things I couldn’t explain. Most central was the fact that the message, when I finally encouraged her, came in Enochian, a language which no­body understands since all we possess are the 19 fragments received by Dee and Kelly in the 17th Century. Yet she gave me 19 new fragments, and translated them, and the grammar and vocabulary are consistent with the Dee-Kelly skry­ings. Even if she had studied the Dee and Kelly fragments (which she swears she hasn’t), concocting new sentences in that unknown language would be beyond the power of any human brain or even of any known computer. . .”

The 19 fragments of Enochian trans­lated by Norma in the same trance in which the fragments arrived, became the 19 chapters of The Aquarian Gospel. Crane wrote in the introduction:

“It is impossible to doubt that these are the communications of a superior intelli­gence. If the reader is, as I am (thank God!) an atheist, the identity of that intelli­gence will pose severe mysteries. Is it inter­planetary-or interstellar? A being leaping across Time from some more advanced future, or past (Atlantis)? Does it come from dimensions tangent to, but not iden­tical with, our own? I propose no answer to these questions, but I am sure that this in­telligence, or others like it, sent the messages which founded the great religions of the past, and that such communications are the foundation of the belief in beings called ‘gods’ . . .”

Norma was killed in an automobile accident the day the book was published. “What further proof do we need,” a pro­minent clergyman wrote in his syndicated newspaper column, “that this foul and ob­scene ‘revelation’ comes from a source not divine but diabolical?”

Crane’s first – and only – failure to es­cape from a challenge box occurred one month later.

The eye operation came later that year. “I can save one,” the doctor told him, “but not both.”

“A blind magician is worse off than a deaf musician, and I’m no Beethoven,”       Crane said simply. “Do the best you can.”

He retained the sight of one eye.

“Much as we are inclined to sym­pathize,” the New York Daily News editori­alized, “we do admit to a strong feeling that there is divine retribution in the tragedies befalling drug-cultist Cagliostro ‘the Great.’ ”

The Aquarian Gospel was burned by a citizen’s group in Cicero, Illinois, that week.

“These powers, whoever and whatever they are,” Crane wrote – in unpublished notes which John Disk read years later, weeping, “are determined that I abandon all else and become no more than the ser­vant who carries their message. To this end, they are taking away from me, one by one, all other things which I value. Or, perhaps, I am merely in the terminal stages of a long-brewing paranoid psychosis?”

Hugh Crane celebrated his fourteenth birthday in 1938 by climbing into the bed of the family’s black maid, Sophie Hage. Soon they were sharing secrets, just as if they were true lovers and equals, not master and servant. She even told him a small bit about voudon and the goddess Erzulie. “Are there any voudon groups in New York?” he asked her intensely.

The group in Harlem at that time ac­tually combined elements of voudon and Masonry. Since voudon was already a blend of European witchcraft and African magic, and Masonry is a mixture of elements from Rosicrucian mysticism and French revolu­tionary free-thought, there were actually four traditions involved, and the Rite of Initiation was unique. Borrowed from the third degree of Masonry, it replaced Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum with the Grand Zombi, and, since marijuana was involved, the ordeal became as real as in those days when candidates knew they would be killed if they failed.

In a dark cellar on 110th Street, the Grand Zombi demanded, “Reveal the Secret Word or I will kill you. Reveal the Secret Word and give up your quest for Truth and Power.”

Hugh, repeating the formula taught him, replied, “Kill me if you must, but I will search again for Truth and Power as soon as I am re-born.”

The Grand Zombi, black face above a black robe, raised his sword. “Do you fear me now, mortal?” he screamed.

“I have eternity to work in,” Hugh re­plied, according to rote. “Why should I fear?”

“Then, die!” screamed the Zombi – the part of the rite which had not been ex­plained to the candidate in advance-and Hugh felt the sword cross his neck and saw the blood spurting.

He also saw the bulb which the Zombi squeezed to make the blood spurt out of the end of the sword.

And he saw more than any previous ini­tiate in that cult; he saw the secret of truth and power completely.

He saw it again, in 1980, as he was coming out of his apartment for a morn­ing walk in Central Park, and the wild-eyed young man stepped in front of him shouting something about “Anti-Christ” and “Devil-worshipper.” There were three quick blasts from the revolver. Crane cried, “I love you!” as he sank into the darkness, but the blood bursting up­ward into his throat clotted the words and John Disk never heard them.

The newspapers emphasized, malicious­ly, the smallness of the group who turned out for the funeral of Cagliostro the Great. In fact, it was small – most of his Show Biz friends had dropped him since he became a religious nut – but famous poets, psychologists and psychic re­searchers do not so often gather in one place to pay tribute to a man who was, af­ter all, best known as a night-club per­former. The rite was simple-and, to the press, scandalous-consisting, according to the dead man’s wishes, of a simple reading of Yeats’ lines:

Cast a cold eye

On life, on death.

Horseman, pass by!

Joseph Wendell Malik, editor of Confrontation, a distinctly peculiar sort of left­wing magazine, purchased Crane’s un­published manuscripts and began publish­ing them. To everybody’s disappointment, they were almost all about the psychology of perception-“Nobody ever really sees what’s in front of his eyes,” was their main theme-and they hardly mentioned his Aquarian Gospel revelations. One exception was an unfinished essay about a childhood experience:

“. . . Get a job,” my father said. Turn­ing back, I saw the beggar falling to the ground, obviously fainting from starvation, but when he landed I knew, from his limpness, that it was more than a faint: that he was dead.

“It has sometimes occurred to me that there is a parallel here to the famous expe­rience of the Buddha, who, like myself, had the misfortune to be born rich and only discovered what life is like for most people when he encountered a beggar and a corpse. Is this parallel an accident? I am not sure: I cannot say when I was chosen to receive the Aquarian message, the great affirmation that’ All is joy,’ in contrast to Buddha’s equally-true equally-false and now obsolete ‘All is sorrow’ . . .

“We never see what is in front of our eyes. My father did not see what happened to me when that beggar died; I have brought women (and men) to the edge of the Vision, and they, afraid to see it, ran off to psychiatrists . . .

“What we see is inside our heads, a con­struction of our brains more than a re­flection through our eyes; nobody has seen the real world, ever. That is why the an­swer to Buddha and the yogis is not ma­terialism but magic, the transformation of the universe by Will . . .”

John Disk said, “You’re a disciple of his, of Cagliostro’s. I can tell by the way you talk.”

“Yes,” Miss Portinari said softly.

“Then how can you forgive me? How can you keep coming here to comfort me?”

“You acted on your beliefs and took the consequences,” the Italian girl said sim­ply. “That’s all Hugh ever tried to teach anybody. ”

The week LSD was legalized in the U.S.A., there was a C.B.S. special about the Aquarian Church of Cagliostro. The young men and women in the cult looked much like Jesus Freaks, but were less dogmatic. Asked for positive statements, they usually answered either “Maybe” or “He was seeking; we are seeking.” One of their members, a Miss Portinari, astonished the interviewer by mentioning the Church’s petition seeking clemency for John Disk. “Why not?” she asked laughing, “He has a strong religion, too-even if it’s not our religion.”

Crown Point Jail, in Indiana, was called “the escape-proof jail,” when John Dillinger was brought there early in 1934. On the day he destroyed that name by es­caping, an out-of-work magician was begging in Central Park. One thought burned in this man’s head – With a little luck, I could be a second Houdinic – and he was thinking of it as he laid his spiel on Tom Crane, but when the cramp hit him and he felt the ground move in the big wobble of uncertainty, he remembered suddenly his previous life as Adam Weishaupt and before that his life as Mohammed and be­fore that his life as Gotama the Buddha and before that it was like a million balloons bursting inside him and outside him at once, each balloon releasing a twinkle of light, each light a species of orgasm. . . “But that was just a hallucina­tion,” Miss Portinari told me. “A dying man’s hallucination. There is no continu­ity in the ego from moment to moment, much less from life to life. Nevertheless, the little boy, Hugh Crane, picked up that hallucination telepathically, and it de­termined the rest of his life.”

“And what was the secret of truth and power-the secret he learned from the Grand Zombi?” I asked.

“Love and fear cannot co-exist at the same time in the same mind,” she said simply. “If you make yourself love some­thing, it can’t frighten you. If you make yourself love everything, nothing can frighten you.”

And they took me back to my cell, from which they thought I could never escape, and I walked through the walls. When I came back, my body was still in their custody, and I pretended that I had never left.

The Great Beast – Aleister Crowley


by Robert Anton Wilson

from Paul Krassner’s The Realist
Issue No 91-B, September – October 1971;
91-C, November-December 1971;
92-A, January-Febuary, 1972;
92-B, March-April, 1972

O – The Fool

All ways are lawful to innocence. Pure folly is the key to initiation.  – The Book of Thoth

Crowley: Pronounced with a crow so it rhymes with holy: Edward Alexander Crowley, b. 1875 d. 1947, known as Aleister Crowley, known also as Sir Aleister Crowley, SaintAleister Crowley (of the Gnostic Catholic Church), Frater Perdurabo, Frater Ou Mh, To Mega Therion, Count McGregor, Count Vladimir Svareff, Chao Khan, Mahatma Guru SriParamahansa Shivaji, Baphomet, and Ipsissimus; obviously, a case of the ontological fidgets – couldn’t make up his mind who he really was; chiefly known as The Beast 666 or The Great Beast; friends and disciples celebrated his funeral with a Black Mass: or so the newspapers said.

Actually it was a Gnostic Catholic Mass (even John Symonds, Crowley’s most hostile biographer, admits that at most it could be called a Grey Mass, not a Black Mass – observe the racist and Christian-chauvinist implications in this terminology, but it was certainly not an orthodox R.C. or Anglican mass, I mean, cripes, the priestess took off her clothes in one part of it, buck naked, and they call that a Mass, gloriosky!

So the town council had a meeting – this was the Ridge, in Hastings, England, 1947, not 1347 – and they passed an ordinance that no such heathen rites would ever be tolerated in any funeral services in their town, not never; I sort of picture them in the kitch Alpine-Balkan garb of Universal Studios’ classic monster epics, and I see Aleister himself, in his coffin, wearing nothing less spectacular than the old black cape of Bela Lugosi: fangs showing beneath his sensual lips: but his eyes closed in deep and divine Samadhi.

Because that’s the sort of images that come to mind when Aleister Crowley is mentioned: this damnable man who identified himself with the Great Beast in St. John’s Revelations in an age when the supernatural is umbilically connected with Universal Studios, Hearst Sunday Supplement I-walked-with-a-zombie-in-my-maidenform-bra gushings and, God’s socks, Today’s Astrology (“Listen, Scoorpio: This month you must look before you leap and remember that prudence is wiser than rashness:  Don’t trust that Taurus female in you office” – I repeat: God’s socks and spats); this divine man who became the Logos when Logos was just a word to pencil into Double-Crostics on rainy Sundays; this damnable and divine paradox of a Crowley!

Listen, some critic (I forgot who) wrote of Lugosi “acting with total sincerity and a kind of demented cornball poetry” and the words, like the old crimson-lined black cape, seem tailored equally well for the shoulders of Master Therion, To Mega Therion, the Great Beast, Aleister Crowley.  This is the final degradation:  this avatar of anarchy, this epitome of rebellion, this incarnation of inconsistency, this man Crowley whom his contemporaries called “The King of Depravity,” The Wickedest Man in the World,” “A Cannibal at Large,” “A Man We’d Like to Hang,” “A Human Beast”; and, with some anti-climax, “A Pro-German and Revolutionary.”

Now, to us, he is quaint.  Worse:  he is Camp.  Worse yet:  he is corny.

We don’t even believe his boast that he performed human sacrifice 150 times a year, starting in 1912.

None of these cordial titles was invented by myself.  All were used, in Crowley’s life-time, by the newspaper John Bull, in it’s heroic and nigh-interminable campaign to saveEngland from the Beast’s pernicious influence.  See P.R. Stephenson, The Legend of Aleister Crowley.

I — The Magician

The True Self is the meaning of the True Will: know Thyself through Thy Way.  – The Book of Thoth

For there is no clear way, even on the most superficial level of the gross external data, to say what Edward Alexander Crowley (who called himself Aleister: and other names) really was trying to do with his life and communicate to his fellows.

Witness: here is an Englishman (never forget that: an Englishman, and bloody English at times he could be) who in the stodgiest year, of the dreariest decade of the age we call Victoria, commits technical High Treason, joins the Carlists, accepts a knighthood from Don Carlos himself, denounces as illegitimate all the knighthoods granted by “the Hanoverian usurper” (he also called her a “dumpy German hausfrau” – poor Vicky), yes, and then for years and decades afterward continues, with owl-like obstinacy, with superlative stubbornness, with ham heroism, with promethean pigheadedness, to sign himself “Sir Aleister” –  a red flag in the face of John Bull.

But more: the same romantic reactionary, the same very parfet bogus knight, hears that the French authorities, scandalized by the heroic size of the genital on Epstein’s statue of Oscar Wilde, have covered it with a butterfly – and, bien bueno, you guessed it, there he is, at twilight with hammer and chisel, sworn enemy of the Philistines, removing the butterfly and restoring the statue to its pristine purity – but why by all the pot-bellied gods in China, why did he turn that gesture into a joke by walking, the same night, into London’s stuffiest restaurant, wearing the same butterfly over the crotch of his own trousers?

A Harlequin, then, we might pronounce him, ultimately: the archetypal Batty Bard superimposed upon the classic Eccentric Englishman?  And with a touch of the SardonicSodomist – for didn’t he smuggle homosexual jokes (hidden in puns, codes, acrostics and notarikons) into his various volumes of mystical poetry?

Didn’t it even turn out that his great literary “discovery” the Bagh-I-Muattar [The Scented Garden] was not a discovery at all but an invention – all of it, all, all! from the pious butpederastic Persian original, through the ingenious but innocent English major who translated it (and died heroically in the Boer War), up to the high Anglican clergyman who wrote the Introduction saluting its sanctity but shivering at its salacity – all, all from his own cunning and creative cranium?

Yes: and he even published one volume, White Stains (Krafft-Ebing in verse) with a poker-faced prologue pronouncing that “The Editor hopes the Mental Pathologists, for whose eyes alone this treatise is destined, will spare no precaution to prevent it falling into other hands” – and, hot damn, arranged that the author’s name on the title-page would be given as “George Archibald,” a pious uncle whom he detested.

Sophomore pranks?  Yes, but in 1912, at the age of 37, he was still at the same game: that was the year he managed to sell Hail Mary, a volume of versatile verses celebrating the Virgin, to London’s leading Catholic publishers, Burns and Oates: and he even waited until it was favorably reviewed in the Catholic press (“a plenteous and varied feast for the lovers of tuneful verse,” enthused the Catholic Times) before revealing that the real author was not a cloistered nun or an uncommonly talented Bishop, but himself, Satan’s Servant, the Great Beast, the Demon Crowley.

But grok in its fullness this fact: he really did it.  You or I might conceive such a jest, but he carried it out: writing the pious verses with just the proper tone of sugary sanctimoniousness to actually sell to a Papist publisher and get cordial reviews in the Romish press – as if Baudelaire had forced himself to write a whole volume of Edgar Guest:  And just for the sake of a horse-laugh?

To understand this conundrum of aCrowleywe will have to Dig.

II — The High Priestess

Purity is to live only to the Highest: and the Highest is All; be thou as Artemis to Pan.  –  The Book of Thoth

These jokes sometimes seem to have an obscure point, and one is uneasily suspicious that there might be Hamlet-like method in this madness. Even the alternate identities can be considered more than games: They might be Zen counter-games. Here’s the Beast’s own explanation of the time he became Count Vladimir Svareff, from The Confessions ofAleister Crowley: An Autohagiography.

“I wanted to increase my knowledge of mankind. I knew how people treated a young man fromCambridge. I had thoroughly appreciated the servility of tradesmen, although I was too generous and too ignorant to realize the extent of their dishonesty and rapacity. Now I wanted to see how people would behave to a Russian nobleman. I must say here that I repeatedly used this method of disguise – it has been amazingly useful in multiplying my points of view about humanity. Even the most broad-minded people are necessarily narrow in this one respect. They may know how all sorts of people treat them, but they cannot know, except at second hand, how those same people treat others.”

And the Hail Mary caper has its own sane-insane raison d’etre:

“I must not be thought exactly insincere, though I had certainly no shadow of belief in any of the Christian dogmas… I simply wanted to see the world through the eyes of a devout Catholic, very much as I had done with the decadent poet of White Stains, the Persian mystic of Bagh-i-Muattar, and so on… I did not see why I should be confined to one life. How can one hope to understand the world if one persists in regarding it from the conning tower of ones own “personality?”

Just so: the procedure is even scientific these days (Role-Playing, you know) and is a central part of Psychodrama and Group Dynamics. “You have to go out of your mind before you can come to your senses,” as Tim Leary (or Fritz Perls) once said. Sure: you can even become Jesus and Satan at the same time:  Ask Charles the Son of Man.

For Artemis, the goddess of nature, is eternally virgin: she only surrended once, and then to Pan: and this is a clue to the Beast’s purpose in his bloody sacrifices.

III — The Empress

This is the Harmony of the Universe, that Love unites the Will to create with the Understanding of that Creation. –  The Book of Thoth

The infant Gargantua was sent to a school run by the Plymouth Brethren, the narrowly Fundamentalist sect to which his parents belonged.  He commends the school in these cordial words from his essay “A Boyhood in Hell”:

“May the maiden that passes it be barren and the pregnant woman that beholdeth it abort!  May the birds of the air refuse to fly over it!  May it stand as a curse, as a fear, as a hate, among men.  May the wicked dwell therein!  May the light of the sun be withheld therefrom and the light of the moon not lighten it!  May it become the home of the shells of the dead and may the demons of the pit inhabit it!  May it be accursed, accursed – accursed for ever and ever.’

One gathers that the boy Alick was not happy there.  In fact, the climax of his miseries came when somebody told the Headmasters that he had seen youngCrowleydrunk on hard liquor.  Our anti-hero was put on a diet of bread and waters and placed in coventry (i.e., nobody, student or teacher, was allowed to talk to him), without being told what offense he committed; this Christian punishment (for his own good, of course) lasted one full year – at which point his health collapsed and a relative not totally committed to Plymouth Brethren theology insisted that he be removed from that environment before it killed him.

This incident is a favorite with the Beast’s unsympathetic critics; they harp on it gleefully, to convey that they are not the sort of religious bigots who would torture a child in this fashion; and they also use it to explain his subsequent antipathy to anything bearing the names or coming under the auspices, of “Jesus” or “Christ.”

It was this school, they say, which warped his mind and turned him to the service of the devil; a nice theory for parlor analysts or term papers, but it has the defect of not being quite true.  The King of Depravity never did embrace Satan, as we shall see, and he kept a very nice mind full of delicate distinctions and discriminations; of this experience he himself says, “I did not hate Jesus and God; I hated the Jesus and God of the people I hated.”

But now we jump ahead, past adolescence (skipping the time he seduced a housemaid on his mother’s bed; sorry, Freudians), past Cambridge (missing a nice 1890-style student riot) and past mountain-climbing (by 1901, he and his favorite fellow-climber, Oscar Eckenstein, held most of the climbing records in the world between them – all but one to be exact); we came now to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn; caveat lector; we enter the realm of Mystery, Vision – and Hallucination; the reader is the only judge of what can be believed from here on.

IV — The Emperor

Find thyself in every Star. Achieve thou every possibility.  – The Book of Thoth

It seems that the Golden Dawn was founded by Robert Wentworth Little, a high Freemason, based on papers he rescued from a hidden drawn inLondon’s Freemason Hall during a fire.  No: it wasn’t Little at all, but Wynn Wescott, a Rosicrucian, acting on behalf of a mysterious Fraulein Sprenger in Germany, who herself probably represented the original Illuminati of Adam Weishaupt.

No: not so either: behind the Golden Dawn was actually a second Order, the Rose of Ruby and Cross of Gold – i.e. the original medieval Rosicrucians still in business at the old stand; and behind them was the Third Order, the Great White Brotherhood – i.e., the Nine Unknown Men of Hindu lore – the true rulers of earth, one can only say, if the last theory be true, that the Great White Brotherhood are Great White Fuckups.

The true true story of the Illuminati, Rosicrucians etc. – or another damned lie – is given in Illuminatus: or Laughing Buddha Jesus Phallus Inc., by Robert J. Shea and this writer, to be published by Dell this year, unless the Nine Unknown Men suppress it.

Well anyway, whenever the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn came from, there it was almost practicing in the open in London in the 1890’s, with such illustrious members as Florence Farr (the actress), Arthur Machen (the horror-story writer: you must have read his Great God Pan?), George Cecil Jones (a respectable chemist by day and a clandestine alchemist by night) and William Butler Yeats (a poet who thought his verse was superior to Crowley’s, he is described in Autohagiography as “a disheveled demonologist who could have given much more care to his appearance without being accused of dandyism.”).

In 1898, the King of Depravity was admitted to the Order: Crowley took the new name Frater Perdurabo which means Brother I-Will-Endure-To-The-End; he later changed it to Frater OuMh or Brother Not Yet – and began acquiring great proficiency in such arts as the invocation of angels and demons, making himself invisible, journeying in the astral body and such-like Wonders of the Occult.

In one critical operation of magick the Wickedest Man in the World failed abjectly in those early days; and this was the most important work of all. It consisted in achieving the Knowledge and Conversation of one’s Holy Guardian Angel – what, precisely, that may mean will be discussed later.

The usual operation, as found in The Book of Sacred Magick of Abra-Melin the Mage, requires six months’ hard work and is somewhat more grueling than holding the Ibis position of Hatha Yoga for that interlude, or working out pi to the thousandth place in you head without using paper or pencil.  The beast’s critics like to proclaim that he couldn’t manage this because he was incapable of obeying Abra-Melin’s commandment of chastity for the necessary 180 days.  We will later learn how true that claim actually is.

Invisibility, by the way, isn’t as hard as Lamont Cranston’s Tibetan teachers implied.  After only a few months practice, guided by the Beast’s training manuals, I have achieved limited success twice already; and my cats, Simon and Garfunkel, do it constantly.  There is no need to look for mysteries when the truth is often right out in the light of day.

V — The Hierophant

Be thou athlete with the eight limbs of Yoga; for without these thou art not disciplined for any fight.  – The Book of Thoth

Early in February, 1901, in Guadalajara, Mexico, the Beast began seriously working on dharana, the yoga of concentration.  The method was that long used inIndia: holding one single image in the mind – a red triangle – and banishing all other words or pictures.  This is in no wise any easy task, and I, for one would have much more respect for Aleister’scritics and slanderers if there were any shred of evidence that they ever attempted such self-discipline, and, attempting it, managed to stay with it until they achieved results.

For instance, after three weeks of daily practice, the Beast recorded in his diary that he had concentrated that day for 59 minutes with exactly 25 “breaks” or wanderings from the triangle: 25 breaks may not sound so great to those who haven’t tried this; a single hour, however, will convince them that 3600 breaks, or one per second is close to average for a beginner.

Toward the end of April, the Beast logged 23 minutes with 9 breaks; on May 6th, 32 minutes and 10 breaks.  I repeat: anyone who think Acid or Jesus or Scientology has remade his or her life ought to attempt a few weeks of this; it is the clearest and most humiliating revelation of the compulsive neurosis of the “normal” ego.

On August 6 the Beast arrived in Ceylon, still working on daily dharana – oh yes, in Honolulu he’d had an affair with a married woman, later celebrated in his sonnet sequenceAlice: An Adultery, published under the auspices of his fictitious “Society for the Propagation of Religious Truth”: his critics always mention that, to prove that he wasn’t sincere; one sometimes gets the cynical notion that these critics are either eunuchs or hypocrites.

Under the guidance of Sri Parananda and an old friend, Allan Bennett, now the Buddhist monk Maitreya Ananda, he plunged into the other “seven limbs” of yoga.  I say that his mountain-climbing involved less self-discipline. I will not argue; I will give a hint only.  Here are the first two steps in beginning to do pranayama:

1.  Learn to breathe through your two nostrils alternately.  When this becomes easy, practice exhaling through the right nozzle for no less than 15 seconds and then inhaling through the left orifice for a like time. Practice until you can do this without strain for 20 or 30 minutes.

2.  Now begin retention of breath between inhalation and exhalation. Increase the period of retention until you can inhale for 10 seconds, retain for 30 second and exhale for 20 seconds.  This proportion is important: if you inhale for as long as, or longer than, the exhalation, you are screwing up.  Practice until you can do this – comfortably – for an hour.

Got it?  Good; now you are ready to start doing the real exercises of pranayama.  For instance, you can add the “third limb,” asana, which consists of sitting like a rock, no muscle moving anywhere; the Hindus

recommend starting with a contortion that seems to have been devised by Sacher-Masoch himself, but choose a position that seems comfortable at first, if you want – it will turn into Hell soon enough.

All this has a point, of course; when pranayama and asana mastered, you can begin to do dharana without constant humiliating failures.  Congratulations: now you can add the other “five limbs.”  Of course, the temptation (especially after your foot is no longer merely asleep but has progressed to a state gruesomely reminiscent of rigor mortis) is to decide that “There isn’t anything in yoga after all” or “I just can’t do it” and maybe there’s something in Christian Science or the Process or probably another acid trip would really get you over the hump.*

Footnote: *Oh yes, brethren and sistern, we have known people capable of much rationalization.  Back in 1901, even, the Beast discovered that some of the “lesser yogis,” as he called them, used hashish to fuel the last gallop from dharana to dhyana; and he later recommended this to his own disciples – but always with the provision that the results so obtained should be regarded as an indication and foreshadowing of what was sought, not as a substitute for true attainment.  The Beast achieved dhyana, the non-ego trance, on October 2, 1901, less than 8 months after beginning serious dharana inGuadalajara.

VI — The Lovers

…rest in Simplicity, and listen in the Silence.   The Book of Thoth

This may be getting heavy, but it has to be endured for a while before the band starts playing again. Specifically, we should have some understanding of what we mean by dhyanaand what the Beast has accomplished in those 8 months. The best analysis is probably that given by the Wickedest Man in the World himself in his Confessions:

“The problem is how to stop thinking; for the theory is that the mind is a mechanism for dealing symbolically with impressions; its construction is such that one is tempted to take these symbols for reality.    “That is, we manufacture units such as the inch, the chair, the self, etc., in order to organize our sense-impressions into coherent wholes, but the mind which performs this kind service is so built that it cannot then escape its own constructs. Having imagined inches and chairs and selves, the mind then perceives them “out there” in the physical world and finds it hard to credit that they exist only in the mind’s own sorting machinery.    “Conscious thought, therefore, is fundamentally false and prevents one from perceiving reality. The numerous practices of yoga are simply dodges to help one acquire the knack of slowing down the current of thought and ultimately stopping it altogether.”

The mind’s self-hypnosis, of course, arises anew as soon as one comes out of dhyana. One never retains the ego-less and world-less essence of dhyana; one retains an impression thereof polluted by the mind’s pet theories and most resonant images. The Beast calls this adulterated after-effect of dhyana “mixing the planes” and regards it as the chief cause of the horrors perpetrated by religious nuts on the rest of us throughout history:

“Mohammed’s conviction that his visions were of imperative importance to “salvation” made him a fanatic… The spiritual energy derived from the high trances makes the seer a formidable force; and unless he be aware that interpretation is due only to the exaggeration of his own tendencies of thought, he will seek to impose it on others, and so delude his disciples, Pervert their minds and prevent their development…    “In my system the pupil is taught to analyze all ideas and abolish them by philosophical skepticism before he is allowed to undertake the exercises that lead to dhyana.”

By 1904, the Beast had come to the conclusion that all he had seen and performed, among the Magicians and among the yogis, could be explained by combining the known psychology with the emerging beginnings of psycho-chemistry. He had pushed mysticism as far as one can, and retained his Victorian Rationalism.

Then came the cataclysm ofCairo.

VII — The Chariot

The Issue of the Vulture, Two-in-One, conveyed; this is the Chariot of Power. – The Book of Thoth

Ever since his initiation into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in 1898, the Beast has been practicing astral voyaging almost daily. This is considerably easier thanpranayama, asana, dharana, and it’s good clean fun even from the beginning.

If you are an aspirant, or a dupe, merely sit in a comfortable chair, in a room where you won’t be interrupted, close you eyes, and slowly envision your “astral body,” whatever the blazes that is, standing before you. Make every detail clear and precise; any fuzziness can get you into trouble later.

Now transfer your consciousness to this second body – I don’t know why, but some people stick at this point – and rise upward, through the ceiling, through the other rooms in the building, through the stratosphere, until you have left the physical universe entirely – to hell with it, Nixon and his astronauts are taking it over anyway – and find yourself in the astral realm, where NASA isn’t likely to follow with their flags and other tribal totems.

Approach any astral figures you see and question them closely, especially about any matters of which you wish knowledge not ordinarily available to you.

Return to the earth-body, awake, and record carefully that which has transpired. The diary of such astral journeys, carefully transcribed, is the key to all progress in High Magick, once the student learns to decipher his own visions.

The skeptical reader, if there are any skeptics left in this gullible generation, might point out that this process begins as an exercise of imagination and that there is no reason to think it ever crosses the line to reality. Quite so: but that objection does not diminish the value of the visions obtained.

The Beast has been at some pains to write a little book called “777” which is a copious catalog, in convenient table form, of the 32 major “astral planes” and their typical scenery, events and inhabitants. Using one’s own Magical Diary and the tables in “777” together with a few standard reference works on comparative religion, one can quickly discover where one has been, who has been there before and what major religions were founded on the basis of some earlier visitor’s account of what he had seen there.

One need not hold any occult hypothesis about these visions; you can even say that you have been exploring Carl Jung’s “Collective Unconscious” – or, more fashionably, that you have been deciphering the ethological record of the DNA code (Tim Leary’s favorite theory about LSD voyages, which fits these astral trips just as neatly). The important discipline is to avoid “mixing the planes” and confusing your explanation with the actual vision itself; or, as the Beast says in Liber O:

“In this book it is spoken of the Sephioth, and the Paths, of Spirits and Conjurations; of Gods, Spheres, Planes and many other things which may or may not exist.

“It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things certain results follow; students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them…

“The Student, if he attains any success in the following practices, will find himself confronted by things (ideas or beings) too glorious or too dreadful to be described. It is essential that he remain the master of all that he beholds, hears, or conceives; otherwise he will be the slave of the illusion and the prey of madness…

“The Magician may go a long time being fooled and flattered by the Astrals that he has himself modified or manufactured… He will become increasingly interested in himself,imagine himself to be attaining one initiation after another. His Ego will expand unchecked, till he seems to himself to have heaven at his feet…”

The teachers of Zen have the proper tactics against this danger of grandiosity:Crowley’s independent discovery of this strategy led to those behaviors – the jokes, the “blasphemies,” the shifts in name and identity – which led to his reputation as a kook, a Satanist, and the Wickedest Man in the World.

Having watched the decline into dogmatism and self-aggrandizement of various heroes of the New Wave of dope and occultism, some of us are maybe ready to see that the Beast’s incessant profane mockery against himself and his Gods was a necessary defense against this occupational hazard of the visionary life.

But then came the Mystification of Cairo – and beyond it, the Mindfuck inChina… and the discovery of the value of human sacrifice.

VIII – Adjustment

Balance against each thought its exact opposite. For the Marriage of these is the Annihilation of Illusion.  – The Book of Thoth

In March, 1904, the Beast and his first wife, Rose, were inCairo, and he was trying to teach her some Magick, a subject which bored her profoundly. And now this is the part we warned you about, take it or leave it, this is what seems to have happened – Rose went into a kind of trance and began murmuring various disjointed phrases, including “It’s about the Child” and “They are waiting for you.”

It soon developed that some god or other was trying to communicate;Crowleyasked 12 questions to determine which god and, gulp, her answers were correct, consistent and revealed a knowledge of Egyptology which in her conscious mind she did not possess.

Like: “What are his moral qualities?” “Force and fire.” “What opposes him?” “Deep blue” – until one god emerged that fit the box just as sure as Clark Kentfits the phone booth at the Daily Planet; Ra-Hoor-Khuit, or Horus in his War God aspect.

The Beast then took Rose to theBoulakMuseumand asked her to pick out the god in question. She walked past several statues of Horus – which The King of Depravity observed stolidly, although, he says, “with silent glee” – and then (shiver!) she stopped before Stele 666, Ra-Hoor-Khuit. “This is him,” she said.

Sorry about that, fellow rationalists.

And, of course, alas and goddam it, 666 – the Number of the Beast in St. John’s Revelations – was Crowley’s own magick number and had been for years.

Those who want to invoke the word “coincidence” to cover the rags of their ignorance are welcome to do so. Some of us have a new word lately, synchronicity, coined by no less than psychologist Carl Jung and physicist Wolfgang Pauli – and I’ve read their books and must admit I came out as confused as I went in; as far as this brain can comprehend,coincidence is meaning-less correspondence, and synchronicity is meaning-ful correspondence, and if that makes you feel superior to the custard-headed clods who still saycoincidence, you’re welcome to it.

And there’s more: when the Beast acknowledged Ra-Hoor-Khuit on the other side of the astral phone hook-up, he was turned over to an underling, one Aiwass, an angel, who told him among other things that the true Word of Power isn’t abra-ca-dabra but abra-ha-dabra and the letter adds up to 418, which was the number of Crowley’s home on Loch Ness in Scotland; and Aiwass’s own name adds up to 98, which is also the number of love and will, the two chief words in his total communication, which is known as The Book of the Law – But enough; the proofs, mathematical and cabalistic and coincidental (if you must) run on for pages.

In summary, the Beast had been playing a Game against himself for six years, since 1898, invoking the miraculous and the proving after the fact that it was “only” his mind.

Now he had to begin considering that he had made himself the center of an “astral” field effect, having the qualities of an intelligence greater than his, and signifying same by multi-lingual and numerological correspondences coming not from “inside” but from “outside”: Rose’s mind, the “independent” decisions of the curators of the Boulak Museum and, then, a certain Samuel bar Aiwass.

For, in 1918, Crowleyhad adopted the name To Mega Therion, which means The Great Beast in Greek, and adds to 666, and, in an article in The International, he asked if any of his readers could find a word or phrase of similar meaning, in Hebrew, which would also add to 666.

He was himself no mean cabalist and had tried all sorts of Hebrew synonyms for “beast” but none of them added to anything like 666; yet the answer came in the mail – Tau,Resh, Yod, Vau, Nun, equal 666 – and it was signed Samuel bar Aiwas.

Aiwas is the Hebrew equivalent of Aiwass, and also adds to 93, the number of his Holy Guardian Angel.

But meanwhile came the Chinese Mindfuck.

IX — The Hermit

Wander alone; bearing the Light and thy Staff.  – The Book of Thoth

One day inRangoon, in 1905,Crowleyhappened to mention to a man namedThorntonthat there is no necessary connection between the separate quanta of sense-impression. Philosophy-buffs are aware that this has been observed by David Hume, among others, andThorntonreplied with another truism, pointing out that there is no necessary connection between the successive states of the ego, either.

The beast, naturlich, was aware that the Buddha had spotted that disturbing fact a long time ago, but suddenly the full import of it hit home to him on an emotional level.

Chew on it: he could not absolutely prove that there was an external world to Aleister Crowley, but merely that there appeared to be a tendency for sense-impressions to organize themselves to suggest such a world, Lord help us; and he could not absolutely demonstrate that there was an “Aleister Crowley” doing this organizing but only that there seems to be a tendency to aggregate internal impressions in such a way as to suggest such an entity. (Get the Librium, mother). All intelligent people have noticed that at one time or another – and quickly brushed it aside, to carry on in the only way that seems pragmatically justified, assuming the reality of the World and the Self.

The Beast, after the workings of his Magick, the experience of his dhyana (in which Self, indeed, had vanished for a time) and his encounter with the ever-lovin’ Aiwass, was not satisfied to rest in assuming anything.

There was no absolute proof that he had ever achieved dhyana, for instance, but only a tendency to organize some impressions into a category called “memory and to assume that they corresponded to “real” events in a time called the “past.” Nor could reason alone prove that he had seen a “miracle” in “Cairo,” or performed “Magick” in “London,” or suffered in a “school” run by “Plymouth Brethren,” or had a “biological” “relationship” “with” “beings” know as “Father” and “Mother.”

“About now,” he scribbled in his diary on November 19, “I may count my Speculative Criticism of the Reason as not only proved and understood, but realized. The misery of this is simply sickening – I can write no more.”

He started on a walking journey across Chinawith his wife and daughter, or his earth-body did; his mind was on a far weirder trip. “He had become insane,” writes unsympathetic biographer John Symonds in The Great Beast; “If this happened to any of us,” adds sympathetic biographer Israel Regardie in The Eye in the Triangle, “we too might feel we had become insane.” Of course, lately it has happened to a lot of us, thanks to the free enterprise pharmacopia of the streets, and we know with bitter memory what the suffering Beast was going through.

And it wasn’t six or ten hours in his case; it lasted four solid months, whileChinadrifted by like the eye in the triangle. We’ve been there, and some of us did the Steve Brodie out the window (the triangle?) and never came back and some of us found weird clues in songs like “Helter Skelter” – what triangle? – Rocky Raccoon went up to his room and Sharon Tate must die – doesn’t it? – Because John Lennon wouldn’t lie to us when a man is crashing out like American life bomb went authoritarian (what eye?) – So we’ll write PIG on the wall and they’ll blame it on the spades, see? Oh, yes, Charlie, I see – Sixty-four thousand, nine hundred twenty-eight, because 7-Up Commercials and we start from Void and anything we manufacture is necessarily composed of the elements of Void even when you call it your Self or your World – And then there was the strawberries…

Manson, hell; you could turn into Nixon that way.

X – Fortune

The axle moveth not; attain thou that.  – The Book of Thoth

The Beast described this 120-Days-of-Bedlam in a poem called Aha!:

The sense of all I hear is drowned;
Tap, tap, tap and nothing matters!
Senseless hallucinations roll
Across the curtain of the soul.
Each ripple on the river seems
The madness of a maniac’s dreams!
So in the self no memory-chain
Or casual wisp to bind the straws!
The Self disrupted! Blind, insane,
Both of existence and of laws,
The Ego and the Universe
Fall to one black chaotic curse…
As I trod the trackless way
Through sunless gorges of Cathay,
I became a little child!

“The are waiting for you,” Rose, in a trance, had said, a year earlier. “It’s about the Child.”

WhenCrowleyreturned toEngland, after becoming “a little child,” he received a letter from chemist George Cecil Jones, a friend in the Golden Dawn. Jones, who recognized what happened, wrote: “How long have you been in the Great Order, and why did I not know? Is the invisibility of the A.A. to lower grades so complete?”

Israel Regardie, a biographer sympathetic to Crowley, but dubious about the existence of the A.A. (the Third Order, or Great White Brotherhood, behind the Rose of Ruby and Cross of Gold) comments thoughtfully, “I do not wholly understand this.”

Herman Hess, who described the Third Order very clearly in Journey to the East, gives the formula for initiation in Steppenwolf:



XI – Lust

Mitigate Energy with Love; but let Love devour all things.  – The Book of Thoth

One act remained in the drama of initiation: the achievement of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.  This most difficult of all magical operations had been started anew even beforeCrowleyleftChina, and, for all of his previous failures, he was determined to complete it successfully this time.  As mentioned earlier, this invocation takes six months and requires a rather full battery of magical and mystical techniques.

Sometime after his return to England, the Beast arranged to have George Cecil Jones “crucify” him (I am not totally sure what this means, but suspension on a cross, even via ropes, gets quite painful in a very short while) and, while hanging on the cross, he swore an oath as follows: “I,Purdurabo, a member of the Body of Christ, do hereby solemnly obligate myself… and will entirely devote my life so as to raise myself to the knowledge of my higher and Divine Genius that I shall be He.”

I n Chapter 9, “The Redemption of Frank Bennett,” in The Magick of Aleister Crowley, John Symonds tells how with a few words Crowley brought a species of Samadhi orSatori to Frank Bennett, a magician who had been striving unsuccessfully for that achievement over many decades.

The words wore, in effect, that the Real Self or Holy Guardian Angel is nothing else but the integration that occurs when the conscious and subconscious are no longer segregated by repression and inhibition.  It is only fair to warn seekers after either-or answers that in Magick Without Tears Crowley flatly denies this and asserts that the Angel is a separate “Being… of angelic order… more than a man…”

After the Crucifixion, the King of Depravity went on plowing his way through the required 180 days (the essence of the Abra-Melin operation is “Invoke Often”) and adding other various techniques.

On October 9, 1906 The Beast recorded in his Magical Diary:

“Tested new ritual and behold it was very good… I did get rid of everything but the Holy Exalted One, and must have held Him for a minute or two.  I did.  I am sure I did.”

On October 10, he added: “I am still drunk with Samadhi all day.”  And a few days later, “Once again I nearly got there – all went brilliance – but not quite.”  By the end of the month, there was no longer any doubt.  Eight years after commencing the practice of Magick, Aleister Crowley had achieved the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

XII — The Hanged Man

And, being come to the shore, plant thou the Vine and rejoice without shame.   – The Book of Thoth

The Beast lived on for 41 more years, and did work many wonders and quite a few blunders in the world of men and women.  In 1912, he became the English head of the OrdoTempli Orientis, a secret Masonic group tracing direct decent from Knights Templar.  In 1915, he achieved a vision of the total explanation of the universe, but afterwards was only able to record, “Nothing, with twinkles – but WHAT twinkles.”

In 1919, he founded the Abbey of Theleme in Sicily- but was quickly expelled by a moralist named Benito Mussolini after English newspapers exposed the scandalous sex-and-dope orgies that allegedly went on there.

Somewhere along the line, he became the Master of the A.A. or Great White Brotherhood (assuming it ever existed outside his own head, which some biographers doubt) and began teaching other Magicians all over the world.

He married, and divorced, and married, and divorced.

He wrote The Book of Thoth, in which, within the framework of a guide to divination by Tarot cards, he synthesized virtually all the important mystical teachings of East andWest; we have used it for our chapter-heads.

He landed onBedloesIslandone day, representing the IRA, and proclaimed theIrishRepublic, repudiating his English citizenship.

He wrote The Book of Lies, a collection of mind-benders that would flabbergast a Zen Master, including the pregnant question, “Which is Frater Perdurabo and which is the Imp Crowley?”  He got hooked on heroin; kicked it; got hooked again; kicked again; got hooked again…

He died, and his friends buried him with a Gnostic Catholic Mass which the newspapers called Black.

But he is best remembered for writing in 1928 in Magick in Theory and Practice that the most potent invocation involves human sacrifice, that the ideal victim is “a male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence,” and that he had performed this rite an average of 150 times per year since 1912.

XIII – Death

… all Acts of Love contain Pure Joy.  Die daily.  – The Book of Thoth

Crowley’s admirers, of course, claim that he was engaged in one of his manic jokes when he boasted of performing human sacrifice 150 times a year;  he was not joking at all, as we shall see.

Even his bitterest critics (except Rev. Montague Sumners, who was capable of believing anything) admit that it’s unlikely that a man whose every move was watched by newspapers and police could polish off 150 victims a year without getting caught; but they are, most of them, not above adding that this ghastly jest indicates the perversity of his mind, and, after all (summoning those great and reliable witnesses, Rumor and Slander) there was some talk about Sicilian infants disappearing mysteriously when he was running his Abbey of Thelema there…

We have got to come to a definitive conclusion about this matter or we will never grasp the meaning of his life, the value of his Magick, the cause of his vilification, or the true meaning of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

XIV – Art

… make manifest the Virtue of that Pearl.  – The Book of Thoth

In 1912, we said, the Beast became English head of the Ordo Templi Orientis. This occurred in a quite interesting manner: Theodore Reuss, Head of that Order in Germany, had come to him and implored him to stop publishing their occult secrets in his magazine, Equinox.

The Beast (who had been publishing some of the secrets of the English Rosicrucians – but this wasn’t one of them) protested that he didn’t know anything about the O.T.O. and its mysteries.  Reuss then proclaimed that the Beast did know, even if he had discovered it independently, and that he must accept membership in the 9th degree with the accompanying pledges and responsibilities.

The Beast, who was already a 33-degree Freemason, thanks to a friend inMexico City, accepted – and found that his “new ritual” to invoke the Holy Guardian Angel in 1906 was the most closely-guarded secret of the Ordo Templi Orientis.

“Now the O.T.O. is in possession of one supreme secret,” the Beast writes in his Confessions.  “The whole of its systems… was directed towards communicating to its members, by progressively plain hints, this all-important instruction.  I personally believe that if this secret, which is a scientific secret, were perfectly understood, as it is not even by me after more than twelve years’ almost constant study and experiment, there would be nothing which the human imagination can conceive that could not be realized in practice.”

Israel Regardie, the Beast’s most perceptive biographer, comes close to revealing the secret in a book called The Tree of Life.  However, he remarks that the method in question is “so liable to indiscriminate abuse and use in Black Magic” that it is not safe to reveal it directly; he therefore employs a symbolism which, like a Zen riddle, can be decoded only after one had achieved certain spiritual insights.

Charlie Manson understands at least part of this Arcanum of Arcanums; his misuse of it is a classic example of the danger warned of by Crowleyin Liber O: “he will be the slave of illusion and the prey of madness…  His Ego will expand unchecked, till he seem to himself to have heaven at his feet…”

The secret, of course, is the formula of the Rose and Cross which, as Frazier demonstrated in The Golden Bough, is the magic foundation under all forms of religion.

XV — The Devil

With thy right Eye create all for thyself…  – The Book of Thoth

A word about Evil; the Beast’s frequent injunctions to “explore every possibility of the Self” and realize your True Will etc. have often been misunderstood, especially when quoted out of context, in which case he sounds battier than those armchair enthusiasts of mayhem and murder, Stirner and Nietzsche and Sorel.

But the Beast was not an armchair philosopher, but rather an explorer, mountain-climber and big-game hunter who knew violence and sudden death well enough to call by their first names; he did not romanticize them. Her are his actual instructions about Evil from Liber V, an instruction manual of the A.A.:

“The Magician should devise for himself a definite technique for destroying “evil.” The essence of such practice will consist in training the mind and body to confront things which cause fear, pain, disgust, shame and the like. He must learn to endure them, then to become indifferent to them, then to become indifferent to them, then to analyze them until they give pleasure and instruction, and finally to appreciate them for their own sake, as aspects of Truth. When this has been done, he should abandon them if they are really harmful in relation to health or comfort…

“Again, one might have a liaison with an ugly old woman until one beheld and love the star which she is; it would be too dangerous to overcome this distaste for dishonesty by forcing oneself to pick pockets. Acts which are essentially dishonorable must not be done; they should be justified only by calm contemplation of their correctness in abstract cases.”

Digest carefully that last sentence. These shrewd and pragmatic counsels are not those of a bloody-minded fool.

XVI – The Tower

Break down the fortress of thine Individual Self that thy Truth may spring free from the ruins. – The Book of Thoth

Now, The Morning of the Magicians by Pauwels and Bergier was a best-seller, especially in the hip neighborhoods, so I can assume that many of my readers are aware of the strange evolution of some forms of Rosicrucianism and Illuminism in 19th CenturyGermany.  Such Readers are aware that there is certain evidence – not a little evidence, but a great deal of it – indicating that Adolph Hitler joined something called the Thule Society in Munich in 1923, and then later obtained admission to its inner circle, the Illuminated Lodge, and that it was here he acquired certain ideas about the value of human sacrifice.

It is, in fact, not only possible but probable that the attempted extermination of European Jewry was not only the act of insane racism but a religious offering to gods who demanded rivers of human blood.

The same psychology possessed by the Aztecs toward the end.  The omens, the oracles, the astrological skryings all pointed to doom, and the blood sacrifices correspondingly multiplied exponentially, hysterically, incredibly… and south in Yucatan much earlier, the Mayans, who always tired to restrict the blood sacrifice to one or two a year, deserted their cities for an unknown reason and fled back to the jungle; they shared the same astrological beliefs as the Aztecs, and it is plausible to suggest that they ran away from a similar oracle telling them that only more blood could preserve the empire.

In fact – I note this only for the benefit of future students of paranoia – a similar theory about our own glorious rulers has sometimes crossed my own mind.  Why not?  Every time an S-M club is raided by the fuzz, the newspapers mutter vaguely that among the clientele were “prominent” and “high-placed” individuals; and don’t ever tell me,Clyde, that those birds actually believe the milk-water “liberal” Judeo-Christian faith that they mouth in their public speeches.

Is this the answer to the question we all keep asking – year after unbelievable year, with growing disgust and despair and dementia – Why are we in Vietnam?  “Many gods demand blood” the Beast once commented sardonically – “especially the Christian god.”

XVII – The Star

…burn up thy thought as the Phoenix.   – The Book of Thoth

And, yes, there is a link between Crowleyand Hitler.  Douglas Hunt, the Beast’s most hysterically unfair critic said so in his Exploring the Occult, and he was closer to the bullseye than the Beast’s admirers.  There is a link, but it is relationship of reciprocity, for Hitler and Crowley are the reverse of each other.  Thus (and now we plunge to the heart of the riddle) here are the mind-bending, gut-turning words from Chapter XII, “Of the Bloody Sacrifice and Matters Cognate,” in Magick in Theory and Practice:

“In any case it was the theory of ancient Magicians that any living being is a storehouse of energy varying in quantity according to the size and health of the animal and in quality according to its mental and moral character. At the death of the animal this energy is liberated suddenly.

“For the highest spiritual working one must accordingly choose that victim which contains the greatest and purest force.  A male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence is the must satisfactory and suitable victim.”

A footnote is appended here, not at the end of this sentence but attached to the word “intelligence.”  This footnote is perhaps the most famous sentence the Beast ever wrote:

“It appears from the Magical Records of Frater Perdurabo (i.e.,Crowleyhimself) that He made this particular sacrifice on an average about 150 times every year between 1912e.v. and 1928 e.v.”

This certainly seems clear, and horrible, enough, but the chapter concludes with the following further remarks:

“You are also likely to get in trouble over this chapter unless you truly comprehend its meaning…

“The whole idea of the word Sacrifice, as commonly understood, rests upon an error and superstition, and is unscientific. Let the young Magician reflect upon the conservation of Matter and of Energy…

“There is a traditional saying that whenever an Adept seems to have made a straightforward, comprehensible statement, then it is most certain that He means something entirely different…

“The radical error of all uninitiates is that they define “self” as irreconcilably opposed to “not-self.” Each element of oneself is, on the contrary, sterile and without meaning, until it fulfils itself, by “love under will,” in its counterpart in the Macrocosm.  To separate oneself from others is to lose that self – its sense of separateness – in the other.”

The chapter, let us remember, is called “Of the Bloody Sacrifice: and Matters Cognate,” and the Beast was a precise, almost pathologically sensitive, stylist.  If the whole discussion was about the “bloody sacrifice,” where the duce are the “matters cognate”?  And why does the footnote modify “male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence” instead of the last word in the sentence, “victim”?

Let us review:  The Beast originally failed in the invocation of the Holy Guardian Angel; his final success came after:
(a) his success in both the physical and mental disciplines of yoga.
(b) the achievement of accomplished skill in astral voyaging, and
(c) the death of the mind in China, after which he himself became “a little child;” the new ritual which successfully invoked the Angel in 1906 was the same which the Ordo TempliOrientis had kept as a secret for unknown centuries – presumably, other occult groups here and there, like the Beast, have also discovered it independently; because of his oath as a 9th degree member of the O.T.O., the Beast could not disclose it publicly; due to his love of both poetry and cabalism, we can be sure that the code in which he hints at it – the language of bloody sacrifice – would have some innate and existential (not merely accidental) correspondence with the true secret. Finally, the ritual seems somehow connected with “love under will” and losing (the) self – its sense of separateness – in the other.”

But some readers already know the secret and others have guessed…

XVIII – The Moon

Let the Illusion of the world pass over thee, unheeded.  – The Book of Thoth

Ezra Pound has remarked somewhere that Frazer’s Golden Bough, all 12 fat volumes, can be condensed into a single sentence, to wit: All religions are either based on the idea that copulation is good for the crops or one the idea that copulation is bad for the crops.

In fact, one can generalize that even the highest forms of mysticism are similarly bifurcate, some going back to ideas derived from the orgy and some to ideas derived from the ritual murder.

Leo Frobenius, in a series of heavy Germanic treatises on anthropology still untranslated from the Deutsch, has demonstrated, or attempted to demonstrate, a periodic oscillation between these two systems of magick, which he calls Matriarchal and Patriarchal. Two spin-offs from the Frobenius thesis in English are Joseph Campbell’s The Masks of God andRattray Taylor’s Sex In History.

The Beast himself (aided by the handy revelations of friend Aiwass) suggests that magicko-religious history, at least in the Occident, has passed through The Age of Isis(primitive matriarchy), the Age of Osiris or the Dying God (civilized patriarchy, including Christianity) and is presently entering The Age of Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child, in which woman will appear” no longer the mere vehicle of the male counterpart, but armored and militant.”

How’s that for a prophecy of Women’s Lib?

Thus, if the orgy is the sacrament of The Age of Isis, as Frazer indicates, the dying god – or the dying population – is the sacrament of the Age of Osiris. The link between ritual sex and ritual murder is not merely historical or sequential: they are the same sacrament in two different forms.

And the latter becomes magically necessary whenever the former is no longer functionally possible whenever that is, orgasm is no longer a true [although temporary] “death” and becomes only the “sneeze of the genitals” which all forms of psychotherapy are admittedly or overtly trying to alleviate.

It is a truism that, on the psychological plane, repressed or unsatisfied sex seeks relief in sadism or masochism: it is more true on the astral or magical plane (whatever that is) that is the spiritual spasm cannot be found through love, it must be sought in violence.

And so we see that human sacrifice is the characteristic sacrament of such peoples as the Aztecs (read any history of Mexico to find out how much male chauvinism, prudery andNixonian macho they wallowed in), the Holy Inquisitors of the middle ages, the Nazis, and some power elites closer to home; while matriarchal cultures such as the Danubians of pre-historic Europe, the pre-Chou folk of China, the first dwellers in the fertile crescent, etc have left behind clear evidence of an equal and opposite ritualized eroticism, some of which has survived via the Taoists in china, The Tantrists in India, the “Old Religion” or witch cult in Europe…

But the Beast was not trying to reinstate the Age of Isis, like these; his magick, he tells us again and again, is preparation for the Age of Horus.

XIX – The Sun

Make Speech and Silence, Energy and Stillness, twin forms of thy play. – The Book of Thoth

Even outside the Manson Family, there is a lot of religious balling going on these days by people who have rediscovered part of the ritual of Isis; what the Beast was teaching was nothing as facile as this. The following words from Chapter VII, “The Formula of the Holy Graal,” in Magick are meant with dreadful literalness:

“The Cup is said to be full of the Blood of the Saints; that is, every ‘saint’ or magician must give the last drop of his life’s blood to that cup (in) the true Bridal of the Rosy Cross…

“It is a woman whose Cup must be filled. It is…the sacrifice of the Man, who transfers life to his descendents…For it is his whole life that the Magus offers to Our Lady. The Cross is both Death and Generation, and it is on the Cross that the Rose blooms…”

The sacrifice must be a real death, a true Rosy Crucifixion, if it is to replace the more violent magic of the Osirian Age. I forbear further quotation, for the secret is concealed beneath many a veil throughout the Beast’s works, but it involves at least: a mastery of pranayama, allowing the postponement of orgasm until the magick working is performed at length and in properly exalted enthusiasm; skill in astral voyaging, so the astral body may be busy in its own plane also; perfection in dharana, so that one ray of the mind remains in perfect coordination on the symbol of the Holy Guardian Angel.

What happens, then, can be considered either the true, natural oceanic orgasm which the Patriarchal Age has tended to destroy – or a new and artificial creation produced by this complicated yoga. It’s the same debate we hear endlessly about acid: does it restore our “natural” form of perception, or does it “artificially” create a new form?

And, thus, we can understand Horus, the Crowned and Conquering Child, who is being created. He is “the Child” that Rose’s Cairo vision invoked; the “little child” that the Beast became after his bad trip to China; “the male child of perfect innocence and high intelligence” who was sacrificed an hundred and fifty times a year after 1912; the Beast himself; and also Aiwass, the Holy Guardian Angel, both an internal aspect of Crowley’s mind and a separate “Being…of angelic order…more than a man,” for the question posed by the materialist (“Inside or outside? Subjective or objective?”) loses meaning in that trance of Samadhi where all the opposites are transcended into a unity that is also a void.

XX – The Aeon

Be every Act an Act of Love and Worship. – The Book of Thoth

In an early issue of his magazine Equinox, the Beast wrote with uncharacteristic solemnity:

I. The world progresses by virtue of the appearance of Christs (geniuses).
II. Christs (geniuses) are men with super-consciousness of the highest order.
III. Super-consciousness of the highest order is obtainable by known methods.

Therefore, by employing the quintessence of known methods we cause the world to progress.

In the first issue, in a more characteristic vein, he wrote:

We place no reliance
On Virgin or Pigeon
Our method is Science
Our aim is Religion

He did his work seriously and humorously, stubbornly and flexibly, wisely and sometimes unwisely, synthesizing – from High Magick and from yoga, from Cabalism and the Koran, from experiments with hashish and peyote and nitrous oxide to years of study of the Tarot and comparative religion, slowly extracting “the quintessence of known methods.”

After him came Wilhelm Reich, who discovered the same quintessence independently, and was also hounded, vilified and slandered.  And after Reich was Timothy, who finally let the djinn out of the bottle and in a decade changed the face of the world by a century’s worth.

But the Beast started the Revolution, and some of us now see that it is the essential Revolution, far more important than that of economics, and that he and his good buddy Aiwassdefined it better than Marx or even better than the frontal-lobe anarchists, when they (he?) wrote in The Book of the Law:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law…
To worship me take wine and strange drugs whereof I
will tell my prophet,  & be drunk thereof!…
There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt…
It is a lie, this folly against self
I am alone: there is no God where I am…
Every man and every woman is a Star…
The word of Sin is restriction…
Remember all ye that existence is pure joy;
that all the sorrows are but shadows; they pass
and are done; but there is that which remains…
Love is the law, love under will…

For the Age of the Child is upon us; and those who seek to preserve the Aeon of Osiris and death are themselves only dying dinosaurs.

XXI – The Universe

And blessing and worship to the prophet of the lovely Star.  – The Book of Thoth

And yet – and yet – Manson reminds us, our brothers and sisters in the Movement remind us, sometimes our own unexpected behavior reminds us: there have been such millennial voices often in the past and they have been heralds not of a Golden Dawn but only of a false dawn.

If there is on central lesson to be learned from the Beast, it is not really Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law, which has been around since Rabelais; not even the more profound and gnomic Every man and every woman is a Star; not even the formula of the Perfect Orgasm for which Norman has been searching so loudly and forlornly lo! these many years; it is rather his humor, his skepticism, his irony that reveled in the title of Beast and, even, at times, Ass; the rationality that warned against becoming “the prey of madness” by trusting one’s visions too quickly, and the common sense which said that, even if good and evil are identical on the Absolute plane, a man operating on the relative plane simply doesn’t enjoy a toothache or invent rationalizations to pick a brother’s pocket; the solemn warning that the sacrament is not completed until the Magician offers “the last drop of his life’s blood” to the Cup, and dies; but, above all these, the simple historical record which reveals that with all the ardor, all the dedication, all the passion he possessed, it still took eight years (including four months’ madness) before he broke down the wall that separates Ego from the true Self and that Self from the Universe.