Shave and a Haircut

 

Encyclical

In May 2013 c.e. Hymenaeus Beta, Frater Superior of the O.T.O., issued an encyclical titled ON THE KILL ME / FILL ME CORRECTION TO LIBER LEGIS.

I feel like the cartoon character Roger Rabbit in the animated film Who Killed Roger Rabbit. When Dr. Doom, attempting to draw out the eponymous rodent from his hiding place, raps out the shave-and-a-haircut beat, Roger is unable to contain himself and eventually bursts out yelling “Two bits!!”

I know William Randy Breeze to be a highly intelligent, well read and very competent editor and archivist. His six years as an undergraduate at Harvard University provided him with a knowledge base second to none in the occult world. His 27 years as O.H.O of the Caliphate O.T.O. has given him unprecedented access to documents pertaining to Aleister Crowley’s extensive writings. If anyone has the knowledge and authority to change the text of the Book of the Law, it’s Bill Breeze.

 

Trip

In 1976, I visited Bill at his apartment near the Boston Common. It was in an a lovely old building, the kind that has lots of large old-fashioned moulding around all the windows and doors. The spacious apartment was empty except for a futon on the floor and Bill’s viola case leaning up against the wall.

The plan was that Bill and I would trip on some acid overnight. The acid was up there with the cleanest I had ever had. As we took off, I happened to mention that LSD increased my astral senses to a large degree. He responded by asking me to ‘read his aura’. That’s not a term I would use, but I knew what he meant.

I stood back a bit, unfocused my physical eyes, and opened my Ajna chakra to have a look. I was shocked. I couldn’t see his aura. I felt embarrassed. Was there something wrong with me? I tried to remember if I had eaten something that, like pork, would have dulled my astral senses, but as a macrobiotic eater it seemed unlikely. Perhaps I had a virus, though I didn’t feel ill. Even without acid, I should have been able to see something. I was chagrined.

I knew I could reliably see a soft golden glow emanating from solid wood, so I looked at window moulding behind and to the side of where Bill was standing. (Chip board and other composite wood products don’t glow astrally, perhaps because their auras are incoherent, having been chopped up and reassembled.) I could see the wood’s glow through thick layers of paint, but only a few inches beyond the edge of Bill’s silhouette. I later realised that Bill’s Ka was shadowing the wood’s glow.

We talked through the night and in the morning went out to get some coffee. Bill knew a place that had freshly ground high quality coffee. It was so good! As we sat in a nearby student cafeteria and sipped our brew, I took the opportunity to look around at the other people having breakfast. I could see their auras, no problem. I figured that Bill’s evident enthusiasm for Thelema would soon wane, as there was no reason for him to pursue it. Then I thought no more about it.

 

Party

In the Fall of 1976, Peter Macfarlane (Fr. Altzba) of 93 Publishing, gave me a typescript to read, asking if I thought it was authentic. What I read completely astonished me. (The British term ‘gobsmacked’ provides the appropriate visual.) Like the Book of the Law, it seemed to come from the same level of consciousness that my own Holy Guardian Angel expressed. I had had a lot of communication with my Angel, culminating in the objective vision and voice in the Summer of 1972. Peter was doubtful, but his wife, Linda, saw the Book of Codes as I did: undeniably real.

Peter had already set out to publish the Book of Codes when, in early 1977, Jim Beck conveyed the three chapters of the Book of Oz to him. Again, the text spoke to me in the same language as my Angel had. That Summer, 93 Publishing issued The Book of Perfection as 625 numbered copies in high-quality paperback and 93 copies on handmade paper, suitable for binding in hard cover. It contained the three chapters of the Book of the Law, the five chapters of the Book of Codes and the three chapters of the Book of Oz. Eleven chapters, which contain 440 verses in all.

In the early Fall, Peter, ever the gracious host, threw a book-launch party and flew Jim and Opal Beck to Montreal from Beaverton, Oregon, for the event. Jim was a 22-year-old American suburbanite. He had been initiated to Ipsissimus, by his Holy Guardian Angel, only the previous Winter. (77,3:26) The largest social gathering Jim had previously experienced was high school.

Jim and Opal didn’t know anyone at the party, except for the hosts and me, so they stuck close by me. I had been having a disagreement with Peter and I was mad at him. At one point I shot a banishing pentagram at him from my Ajna chakra. Peter was a very accomplished magician, so it would not have harmed him in any way, even if he had noticed. Jim exclaimed to Opal, “Did you see that?” She hadn’t, but it was an indication of how acute Jim’s astral vision was.

The party had been well under way for a couple of hours when Jim pointed across the room and asked, rather excitedly, “Who’s that?” It took me a few seconds to make out the object of his interest. “That’s Bill Breeze, why?” I responded, curious to know why Jim would have picked him out of the crowd. “Can’t you see? It’s like he’s not there!” “Oh, Bill’s all right,” I responded, reflexively defending my friend from a perceived slight. I made a mental note to work on that neurotic need to make everything okay.

 

Book review

A book review of The Book of Perfection was published in The O.T.O. Newsletter, Vol. 1 No. 3, that Fall. Its author, Frater Iakasa 93, gives perfectly reasonable explanations as to why Liber 440 is really not worth bothering with. Like the Book of the Law, the Book of Codes reflects the degree of initiation of the person who reads it.

The fool readeth this Book of the Law, and
its comment; & he understandeth it not.

Let him come through the first ordeal, &
it will be to him as silver.
– 220,3:63-64

Liber 718, the Book of Codes, is the revealed comment on Liber Al vel Legis. The first ordeal is the Ordeal X, after which the aspirant achieves the perspective at Yesod on the Tree of Life. Yesod is the silvery Moon. The Book of the Law, and its comment, reflect the silver of Yesod to the Zelator. The Book of Perfection is a magick mirror.

Apparently, to Frater Iakasa 93, the Book of Codes looked like the Wannsee Protocol. I never saw that, but undoubtedly the reviewer was entitled to his opinion. Ironically, the participants in the Wannsee Conference were Lutheran Protestants and Adolph Hitler’s own Roman Catholics who were pursuing Pope Pius XI’s crusade against an imaginary Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy to destroy the Catholic Church and with it Western civilisation. The Book of Codes is not dedicated to the preservation of Christianity from the threat of Communism, as were the Nazis.

A simple examination of the weapons with which we are given to fight will reveal the nature of the battle. Swords (vaginas), spears (penises), cakes of light (unsweetened ginger-cinnamon cookies) and a war-engine (ritual of sexual magick). The enemies are our own neuroses. When we ‘kill’ them, with love under will, the neurological resources they reserved are released for reuse by our moldable brains.

If we are to look for harsh, insanely violent images in The Book of Perfection, it’s hard to beat these lines from the Book of the Law.

           Trample down the Heathen; be
upon them, o warrior, I will give you of their
flesh to eat!
– 220,3:11

Mercy let be off: damn them who pity!
Kill and torture; spare not; be upon them!
– 220,3:18

If you don’t know that the symbolism is of the occult realm of the unconscious mind, you would think these words were psychotic madness.

It is not surprising, then, that Frater Iakasa 93 would reject the Book of Codes, if he felt compelled to hold his nose and “accept” the Book of the Law in order to maintain a position in the Caliphate O.T.O. He may have recognised himself in the following verse from the Book of Codes.

And how shalt thou recognize mine enemies? ’Tis most simple to do. Those who bleat their nonsense against my Law shall be thy targets; those that attack thee physically I need not describe. But remember this also: those that resist my law on other planes than the physical are most potent to hurt thee if thou slayest them not. By this I mean the Christians, and those who claim to be initiated and to know of occult science, yet remain in separation from That we knowest of but cannot put into words. This they make their God, yet he is a false god; for while I am none other than the inmost Will of Man, this god is made to be completely other than Man, and therefore devoid of reality. Man is God; this God is not Man; therefore, this God is no God but a phantom, a ghost, to scare the world during the sleep of ignorance. Know then that Christians and all other Christly religions are evil in the conventional sense of the Word, and thou shalt make my vengeance known.
– 718,1:10

Ra-Hoor-Khuit’s Law is Do What Thou Wilt. I interpret that to mean: do the will of my inmost or Eternal Self, my Holy Guardian Angel. Experience has taught me that defying my Angel brings me grief, but serving my true will brings me joy and greater awareness.

There is no supernatural in the real world. The supernatural exists only in fable, fantasy and fiction. All gods are symbols. Gods encapsulate thoughts and feelings in the form of persons, or masks. Gods exist subjectively, we create them for ourselves and they can have great utility. Gods have no objective existence, but the things gods represent may have objective existence. The Sun-god Ra-Hoor-Khuit, from whose persona verse 10, chapter 1, of the Book of Codes is voiced, represents the Sun in the sky and my inmost will. But Ra-Hoor-Khuit does not exist unless I create him.

Christians are undoubtedly the enemies of the inmost will, which they project as their devil, Satan. All Sun gods: Mithras, Helios, etc., are Satan. If you fail to disarm the Christian slave within yourself, you will be subject to the will of others, particularly those you imagine are closer to the objective phantom than you are, and so have greater authority than you. The fallacy is to create a god, disown it, imagine it has objective existence, then insist you are only doing God’s will. The crime is to separate authority from responsibility. The will of Jesus is whatever the ranking white adult male Christian says it is. So the deaths of 40 million non-Christians at the hands of Christians, between 1940 and 1945 in Europe, was God’s will. Until it wasn’t. We can all see the lying hypocrisy caulking the cracks of the sanctimonious façade.

Reading the review of The Book of Perfection from 36 years ago, I can’t help but be struck by the similarities of style and approach to ON THE KILL ME / FILL ME CORRECTION TO LIBER LEGIS.

 

Aura

The aura is like a Chinese lantern. A Chinese lantern has decorated paper or cloth stretched around a frame with a light source inside. The external material filters the internal light, making a colourful display.

The Khu is the bright, shiny solar spirit body which is the temple of the Holy Guardian Angel. The Khu is found deep within the unconscious, or subconscious mind. We access the Khu most directly through the Anahata Chakra (Tiphereth). The Ka is the external astral body, representative of the ego/identity and personality. The Ka is found one step inward from the physical body. The Ka, astral double or shadow, filters the light of the Khu to produce the perceived aura. We access the Ka most directly through the Svadhisthana Chakra (Yesod).

All the colours and shapes seen in the aura are of the Ka. The light of the Khu is simple and spectral, though it may be ever so subtly influenced by the Holy Guardian Angel. The human animal communicates with his or her own Angel via their Khus. The Great Work in the outer is to simplify the Ka, making it transparent, to reveal the Khu within. The unveiling of the Khu evokes the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.

The Book of the Law says,

           Yet there are masked ones my
servants: it may be that yonder beggar is
a King. A King may choose his garment as
he will: there is no certain test: but a
beggar cannot hide his poverty.
– 220,2:58

The garment is the physical body, the Ka and the Khu. These are the elements that make up the manifested incarnation. A King or Queen can hide the light of the Khu within a dark opaque Ka, but a dog has no light to hide. A dog, in the context of the Book of the Law, is not a canid but the opposite of a god. A dog’s Khu never develops because there is no Angel to house within the incarnation. A dog was not chosen to be the vehicle of an incarnating star. Every living thing has a Ka, but only the Angel reincarnates and only the material-world manifestations of Angels have Khus. A beggar cannot hide his poverty because there is no golden solar light, no Khu, within the garment; there is only the garment. Without the indwelling Sun, that garment is looped and windowed wretchedness. However, a beggar can, apparently, hide his poverty from those unable to see. A Zelator is in the process of developing the senses of light. The Practicus has mastered astral vision. A beggar cannot hide his poverty from most Zelators or any Practicus, but a beggar can easily hide his poverty from those who possess no real initiation.

 

Correction?

Bill goes into some detail regarding an apparent disagreement between Crowley’s poetic paraphrase of a French translation of the Stélé of Revealing and his note regarding which to insert in 220,3:37. The standing paraphrase reads, in part,

Appear on the throne of Ra!
Open the ways of the Khu!
Lighten the ways of the Ka!
The ways of the Khabs run through
To stir me or still me!
Aum! let it kill me!

The manuscript of chapter 3, page 10, on which verse 37 appears is reproduced below.

Liber Al - chapter 3, page 10

The manuscript says, for verse 37,

I adore thee in song
“I am the Lord of Thebes” +c from vellum book
Unity +c
———“fill me”

Apparently, the note to insert from “I am the Lord of Thebes” etcetera from vellum book to “fill me” was pencilled in by Crowley after the dictation. Bill makes the point six times that the note to insert is in pencil, as opposed to the ink of the dictation. Perhaps the inference is that Crowley’s handwriting in pencil carries less weight than the same in pen and ink.

Bill goes on at some length about Crowley’s distaste for proof reading, and speculates as to how the supposed error was reproduced in every version of the Book of the Law printed in Crowley’s lifetime. The only place in which it was “corrected” was in a margin note in one copy, which he subsequently gave away. Though the paraphrase of the vellum book reads “Aum! Let it kill me” and the manuscript says, ——“fill me,” would it not make sense that Crowley settled on the “fill me” version because it worked better in context?

Bill was very careful not to mention the subsequent sentence, which reads,

So that thy light is in me; & its red flame
is as a sword in my hand to push thy
order.

Would it not make more sense that the ways of the Khabs (star) filled me so that thy light is in me, rather than that the ways of the Khabs killed me so that thy light is in me? Does it mean that I’m actually dead or just mortified? If the former, I don’t have a hand any more to push anything, let alone thy order. If the latter, perhaps I should put my hand down and go stand in the corner.

If Crowley remembered the paraphrase, incorrectly, as “fill me,” wouldn’t that then be the correct version at the time of the writing of the Book of the Law? Isn’t what was in Crowley’s mind in the moment more important than what some literal-minded fussbudget a hundred odd years later gets up to in taking it out of context?

“That Crowley gave away the one copy in which he had made the correction, and failed to make the change in any of the subsequent editions in his lifetime, should not surprise us.” writes Bill. It doesn’t. Crowley was a human being: changeable. Perhaps he thought fill was a better fit than kill, and simply failed to make a big fuss about it.

For every level of initiation I have reached, and there have been a few, Crowley got there first. What a relief to realise I’m not alone, I’m not crazy. The path of initiation is lonely and self-doubt a constant companion. You can’t imagine how grateful I am that Crowley left bread crumbs along the way. If you have not trod that path, you have no idea of how truly great the Great Beast was. That the picayune details of proof reading were not his strong suit is hardly a fault. He got the big stuff more right than you can possibly imagine. Do the work; shift your consciousness; then tell me I’m wrong.

Nor should it surprise us that Bill Breeze would arrogate the authority to do what the prophet of the aeon and amanuensis of the Book of the Law did not do: change as much as the style of a letter.

Harvard was founded by Puritans. Congregationalist ratiocination is shot through Bill’s entire argument. Decide what you want, show how what you want is really what God wants (shirk responsibility), indicate you are merely following God’s will in the matter (claim divine authority), conclude by condemning any opposition as heretical. If you are concerned that someone may call you on your logic, make it as convoluted as possible and trust they will eventually give up.

In this case, I doubt very much that Bill actually cares about the change itself. I think he is seeking relevance by asserting authority. He has to justify his stipend and it’s easier to stir up controversy over some trivial matter than to do real work, like fixing errors in The Book of Thoth or The Book of Wisdom or Folly which confuse students with mangled qabalah.

Bill “feels obligated” to make the supposed correction. “I really do not see that I have any choice in the matter, and what I might personally think (which might surprise some of you) is irrelevant,” he writes. What Bill personally thinks is the only thing relevant to his argument. “The implementation of Crowley’s correction rests on Crowley’s authority as prophet. It does not rest on my authority as an officer of any order, or my supposed (by some!) expertise as a Crowley editor,” writes Bill. Not my will, O Lord, but thine. This is on page 6 of the PDF, by the way. Folks who are not used to text editing might find the previous five pages baffling with tedious details. It’s a walk in the park for me. But page 6 is where Bill finally gets down to business.

“I have to assume that he [Crowley] was doing his best to honor the ‘order’ to ‘quote’ his Paraphrase that he had received…” writes Bill. So Aiwass ‘ordered’ Crowley to ‘quote’ the ‘Paraphrase’, eh? (Full disclosure: I’m a Canadian, eh?) I refer the reader to the manuscript of Liber Al chapter 3, page 16, below.

Liber Al chapter 3, page 16

This book shall be translated into all
tongues: but always with the original in
the writing of the Beast; for in the
chance shape of the letters and their
position to one another: in these are mysteries
that no Beast shall divine. Let him
not seek to try: but one cometh after
him, whence I say not, who shall
discover the Key of it all. Then
this line drawn is a key: then this
circle squared in its failure is a
key also. And Abrahadabra. It shall
be his child & that strangely. Let him not
seek after this; for thereby alone can he
fall from it.
– 220,3:47

I quote the entire verse for the sake of continuity, though only the latter part appears on the image of page 16, above. Don’t do it, Alex. Just say “No!” Aw, you went and drew a grid right on the manuscript page itself! Even though you were told multiple times not to mess with it. So much for Aleister Crowley’s willingness to follow orders. But not to worry. Bill will follow the ‘order’ of ‘Aiwaz’ for him to rigidly quote a piece of creative writing differently from the way that scamp, the Beast, did himself. One hundred and nine years after the fact. Because Bill has no choice. There is more than a whiff of sulfur about Bill’s argument.

If my ego got that out of hand, my Angel would slap me down so hard I’d never get up again in this life. But Bill has no Angel to guide him, so he has no problem insisting on an unwise and unnecessary change to a text that is sacred to those who are the earthy vehicles of Holy Guardian Angels. His circular reasoning leaves him no choice. Actually, his inability to silence his internal dialogue leaves him no choice. If the dust devil falls apart, there is nothing left. Death of the ego, for Bill, is a chasm of darkness that spells terminus. Death of the ego, for me, is a doorway to share consciousness with my Eternal Self.

 

Object lesson

When Bill Breeze was made O.H.O. of the Caliphate O.T.O., I was shocked. Not only was I wrong that he would lose interest in Thelema, since he lacks the spiritual equipment for initiation, but they elected a dog to lead them. That can’t be right, I thought.

I went through hell and back before I finally realised that anything other than my inmost will was restriction for me. I came to understand that my Angel sees a lot farther than I ever will. Early on, I rejected the prophecies my Angel provided me. Now they are coming true and I no longer resist. I think Bill’s ascension to leadership of the O.T.O. was mandated by that collection of Holy Guardian Angels that Crowley called the Secret Chiefs. I look to the Book of Codes to explain.

Let not my servants fall from my ways. Thelema is your only light. If the candle flickers, and is outened by an enemy wind, your light shall be darkness, your darkness shall be slavery, and it will all end in death. Death! Death! And not the kind that is my gift to the Kings, but the death of a dog, which is the ceasing of a soulless, drifting life. Verily, the King shall not die, but if the ruler be a dog, what hope is there for my people?
– 718,2:14

An enemy wind is a restrictive belief system and thought process. Wind, or air, is symbolic of the mind. The intellect must be the servant of the will, not its master. This is the lesson of Liber Resh vel Helios and it is essential to Thelemic practice. Kings and Queens reincarnate. Dogs do not. A King on the throne is a beacon of hope, an exemplar for those struggling through the ordeals which are consequent to real-world initiations.

We shall be victorious; my stélé shall be placed within thy secret temple; the original writing of the Book of the Law shall be rediscovered after years of loss; the Temple of the East shall verily become the Great Western Catholic Church.
– 718,1:15

Written in 1976 c.e., part of this prophecy was fulfilled precisely in 1984 with the discovery of the original manuscript of the Book of the Law, which had been abandoned in the trash, by Tom Whitmore. If Aiwass made such a clear prophecy eight years earlier, was the manuscript ever in jeopardy? Was Aiwass just showing off, or is he telling us that everything is as it is meant to be? Liber 75 vel Luciferi has something to say about that. If the Manuscript of the Book of the Law was never in any real jeopardy, then neither is the insignificant club that will one day become the Great Western Universal House of God.

Today, the O.T.O. is weak, its membership desultory, its leadership self-serving. Those sincerely working on their spiritual development along Thelemic lines are alone and without help. If the O.T.O. was functioning well, aspirants would still be alone, but with help from those who had been there before. Today’s O.T.O. is irrelevant. But a steep reduction in the planet’s human population is imminent. The O.T.O. will play a vital rôle in members’ survival in the future by being a beacon of hope. Today, a dog as O.H.O. is merely funny. It won’t be so funny when people’s sanity hangs in the balance, as loved ones pass away from the diseases which follow malnutrition and want. Then, a real initiate as O.H.O. will be critically important. Better to learn the lessons now, when no one dies and only feelings get hurt.

There are those who are angry that the O.T.O. does not, or cannot, meet their needs. Don’t blame Bill Breeze. It is not his fault. His suzerainty is a symptom, not a cause of the disease. On the contrary. I am grateful to Bill Breeze for teaching me so much of value and I hope he will continue in his rôle as O.H.O. of O.T.O. indefinitely, if only so real initiates can practice their astral vision.

My personal thanks to Hymenaeus Beta for playing the rôle that the Secret Chiefs marked out for him, and for giving me my cue.

Ahem.

Two bits!!

 

 Nemo Pandragon, 8 June 2013 c.e.

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