FEBRUARY 14, 2001 E.V.
A VALENTINE (of the Basil type)
camel studded with gems of rivulets of sweat
oasis aflame in twilight,camel hobbled to a palm
decorously clad in a fluttering abbai of scarlet,
High Priestess shedding rays in a bespangled headdress,
Lioness playful on the tapestry of a sequined night,
supine amongst the flame-patterns dancing all around,
brilliant! O Lady of the forgotten gates,
brazier of smoldering embers on a sparkling mound,
Blair MacKenzie Blake, Summer 1998 e.v.
In that the theme of this newsletter is sex-magick, I will attempt to answer a few questions on that subject. Referring to the pentacle in the "Star of the Magi" piece, one of our readers, Meggie, asks the following: "...I always thought that the satanic symbol was the other way around, with two spikes of the star pointing up and only one on the bottom (basically, your star, upside down). I thought it was specifically this way because it was somehow related to the Goat of Mendes (the spikes being horns, ears, and (snout?) of the goat. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if this is the actual origin of the satanic pentacle or just a bunch of stuff Anton Le Vay appropriated when he decided to make the pentacle the symbol of his brand of Satanism. You don't have to give me the history of the pentacle, but what I'm asking is: does it matter which way the pentacle is pointed?
A: Throughout the ages, in either position, the pentagram has been a symbol of enlightenment -associated with attainment of the Philosopher's Stone of Hermetic alchemy, which is a crucial component to the Great Work. Both positions are also related to our occult anatomy, the subtle power zones (charkas) and their corresponding glands and conduits (nadis) which carry valuable endocrinal secretions, some of which are still unknown by modern medical science. In the "male" Goat of Mendes position, the pentagonal mask reveals the location of the sacred jewel Š the emerald stone in the crown of Lucifer, this being emblematic of the pineal-pituitary hypothalamic complex, said to be "the seat of the soul." Hence, the region between the uppermost points (spikes of the star) is often depicted with flames, which represent the astral light. When reversed in the female "Venus-Lilith" position it becomes the pentagram of the Goddess (the "horns" of the Goat of Mendes now becoming the legs of the Goddess).
This vulval position, which David Wood (Genisis) calls the LAP of Isis, reveals the location where the glandular secretions, or the specific elixirs obtainable are collected to be used in consecrating talismans, living or otherwise. With this simple inversion, the astral light becomes the uterine flames of the alchemical substance called Star Fire.
In his Typhonian trilogies, the British occultist Kenneth Grant informs us that "the metals of the alchemists were living substances." Here, Mr. Grant is referring to the mysterious Tantric science of the kalas (mystical essences or perfumes). These are the sacred emanations of bodily fluids that flow from the magically inspired priestess and are received via the genital canal (i.e. Holy Graal). Of these secretions there are several types, depending on whether or not they are solar or lunar generated, or if they are produced from mixed currents Š respectively gold, silver, or mercury. Of the three, Grant explains that the weakest is urine, with extracts from the menstrual blood (Elixir Rubeus or the lunar essence Red-Gold) being more potent, and with the sadhakya kala being the most secret kala of all, described as the "nectar of supreme excellence", a fluid that "bisexualizes man and woman." All of these sacred vaginal emanations contain valuable substances carried in the cerebro-spinal fluid when purified or magically charged during the tantric rite.
DEW WHICH THOU SPILT SHALL BE...
As you can well imagine, we get a lot of e-mail questions about Aleister Crowley. Many are related to his "BOOK OF LIES" (falsely called). Here are just a couple of examples: "Do you understand anything in "The Book of Lies", because I don't." Or: I have recently attempted a reading of A.C.'s "The Book of Lies." At my current level of knowledge on things occult, this is but an exercise in futility. The mathematical and geometrical complications of the prose are completely gibberish to me and I'd like some info into a few "keys" of reading this type of text..." But, by far, most of the questions we receive concern a specific chapter in the book - people want to know which chapter contains the supreme secret of the O.T.O. To tell the truth, I don't know the answer. However, I will give it a shot. But first, for those readers not familiar with the story, I will give a brief description of the events surrounding the mystery.
In 1912, Theodore Reuss, O.H.O. of Ordo Templi Orientis read a copy of "The Book of Lies." Much to his dismay, he found that a passage in a particular chapter revealed the secret of the Ninth Degree of the O.T.O., this being the main secret (a secret which concerned sex-magick) of the Fraternal Order. Some time later(?), Reuss paid a visit to Crowley in London where he accused him of openly publishing their secrets. Since he was already acquainted with their supreme secret, Reuss insisted that Crowley now take the corresponding oaths of the O.T.O., to which Crowley replied that he could not have possibly published the Order's secrets because he, in fact, did not know them.
With this, Reuss walked over to a bookcase, picked up a copy of "The Book of Lies" and pointed to a passage in a certain chapter. In his "Confessions" Crowley states that: " It instantly flashed upon me. The entire symbolism not only of Free Masonry but of many other traditions blazed upon my spiritual vision. From that moment the O.T.O. assumed its proper importance in my mind. I understood that I held in my hands the key to the future progress of humanity..." (NOTE: italics mine).
So, the question is: what chapter did Reuss point to? The answer, according to most researchers is Chapter 36, "THE STAR SAPPHIRE" which begins with the words, "Let the Adept be armed with his Magick Rood (and provided with his Mystic Rose)." This is definitely an allusion to sex-magick, the Magick Rood being the erect penis and the Mystic Rose representing the graal of the priestess or female vagina. In "The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O.", published by Francis King, the secret instructions of the Ninth Degree O.T.O. are given in a book called Liber Agape, also called "The Book of the Unveiling of the Sangraal wherein it is Spoken of the Wine of the Sabbath of the Adept." Included in this is chapter 36 of Liber 333, "The Star Sapphire", which the editor (King) claims to contain the supreme secret. If that wasn't enough, in another secret book, DE ARTE MAGICA, being a commentary on Liber Agape (also written by Crowley), the author states that "the supreme secret of the O.T.O. is written in detail in the book called Agape and is also written plainly in Liber 333 (The Book of Lies), Chapter 36. So that should be it - case closed, right? Well, there are a few complications - things that need to be tidied up.
In his book, "The Cosmic Trigger", Robert Anton Wilson states that he believes the telltale chapter is #69, "The Way To Succeed - And the Way To Suck Eggs." Both the chapter number and the title are puns on oral sex (soixante-neuf) and definitely do give instructions on how to obtain the mingled sexual fluids in the Holy Graal, this with # 69's references to "the descending tongue of grace and the descending tongue of prayer." And the last paragraph explains that: "this Work also eats up itself, accomplishes its own end, nourishes the worker, leaves no seed, is perfect in itself ", a reference to the act of consuming the Sacrament.
At this point I asked a friend, Ryan M., a contributor to the web-site who is very knowledgeable in these matters to "go digging with his qabalistic trowel." Immediately he pointed to the correspondences between chapter 69 and the tarot card called " The Chariot" (the Seventh Arcanum in the Crowley "Thoth" deck) in which the chariot, the vehicle of triumph contains the passenger of the Merkabah. While there is certainly a connection with the graal here, the card I believe to be most connected to the psychosexual formula as a means of achieving mystical awareness is XIV. "ART", with its elaborate alchemical imagery of the Royal Marriage (hieros gamos) of black and white (sexual polarity) personages "now united in a single androgyne figure." Of this card, Crowley writes in "The Book of Thoth": " There is a particular interpretation of this card which is only to be understood by Initiates of the Ninth Degree of the O.T.O.; for it contains a practical magical formula of such importance as to make it impossible to communicate it openly." Both Ryan and I also realized the significance of the alchemical maxim contained on the card: Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem.
I then asked one of my readers, V*****, another person with a good deal of knowledge in these matters which chapter he thought contained the supreme secret. His reply contained (with one exception) the usual suspects (36 and 69) but with some elaboration to both which I will address shortly. It was his 3rd choice which put a big smile on my face, for I, too, thought this particular chapter fit with something else Crowley said about the chapter in question. Again in his "Confessions", he writes: One of these chapters bothered me. I could not write it. I invoked Dionysus with particular fervor, but still without success. I went off in desperation to "change my luck", by doing something entirely contrary to my inclinations. In the midst of my disgust, the spirit came over me, and I scribbled the chapter down by the light of a farthing dip. When I read it over, I was as discontented as before, but I stuck it into the book in a sort of anger at myself as a deliberate act of spite towards my readers." Could this refer to chapter 88, "Gold Bricks?" In this little gem, Crowley states that, when asked to teach his real secret of how to make gold and such Š the secret of infinite riches - after deigning to accept a lavish sum of money for said secret, he whispers into the fool's ear this secret: A SUCKER IS BORN EVERY MINUTE. Could this be it? It does sound like a deliberate act of spite towards his readers. Or does it contain some alchemical truth, one of the many paradoxes, multi-faceted or "contradictory interpretations and deliberate blinds" which comprise the Book of Lies (falsely called)? Something to keep in mind: Webster's describes a Gold Brick as a worthless metal bar or brick gilded to make it appear solid gold and sold as such by swindlers. Another definition is: anything worthless passed off as genuine or valuable. Consider the substances I spoke of earlier: urine, menstrual blood, and sexual fluids.
gild my heart wedge with the Light.
Taken from LIBER DCLXXI vel PYRAMIDOS
To further complicate things (if that were possible), let us examine letter # 25 in Crowley's "Magick Without Tears" in which he recounts the visit from our old friend, Theodore Reuss. When Reuss shows him the passage in "Lies", Crowley begins to stammer: "Yes, I wrote that. I don't know what it means; I donÕt like it; I only put it in the book because it was written in rather curious circumstances and I was too lazy - or perhaps a little afraid - to reject it and write what I wanted." Only this time, after he is shown the passage, Crowley says that he doesn't know what it means, "even now that he (Reuss) had claimed it as important." Compare this with what he wrote before about how "It instantly flashed upon me. The entire symbolism not only of Free Masonry but of many other traditions blazed upon my spiritual vision." And yet there's another problem. This time the date of ReussÕs visit is 1910 e.v. - and the book, which he picked up, WAS NOT PUBLISHED UNTIL THREE YEARS LATTER! Crowley, himself acknowledges this inconsistency: "My entire life was changed in its most important respect, by an incident which could not possibly have occurred" he wrote in his "Confessions."
Earlier I said that one of our readers, V***** believed that both chapter 36, "THE STAR SAPPHIRE" and chapter 69 were worth considering and, frankly, I must agree with him. V***** also thinks that the procedure is far more complicated than it appears and must be used in conjunction with other rituals such as those in Crowley's "LIBER PYRAMIDOS" and the "GRIMORIUM SANCTISSIMUM (The Holy Grimoire)." I also have another suggestion along these lines. Might not chapter 25, "THE STAR RUBY" be used with "THE STAR SAPPHIRE" to create the UNION OF STARS (the pentacle interlocked with the hexagram)? In fact, Francis King, who edited "The Secret Rituals" and who states that the chapter in question is 36, "The Star Sapphire" says otherwise in another book by Crowley of which he (King) is also the editor. In "Crowley on Christ", he claims that the chapter Reuss pointed to was "The Star Ruby!"
Okay, but there is one chapter that still bothers me. Might it be the despised chapter that Crowley scribbled down has he lay with a whore - one which is also "the key which opens up all Masonic and Hermetic secrets? Could its title, "STEEPED HORSEHAIR contain an example of the phonetic cabala? Read letter #25 in "Magick Without Tears" and then read chapter 8 in the "Book of Lies. " Its first line states that: "Mind is a disease of semen."