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The Winged-Disk and Hadit

To: alt.magick,alt.tarot,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: The Winged-Disk and Hadit
Date: Wed, 09 Jul 2003 03:27:25 GMT

jk wrote:
> catherine yronwode  wrote :
> > jk wrote:
> > > One reason Crowleyism as a going commercial concern is
> > > still going is because of the ardent work done by old 
> > > hippies such as yourself in support of resurrecting,
> > > reestablishing, and popularizing his religion and his 
> > > secret order.
> > Old hippies *such as myself* have done no such thing.
> > Old hippies *not a bit like me* have done it. 

> tell us what you see as the
> main distinguishing characteristics between your crowd of
> old hippies and those ones who pushed Crowleyism to its
> present popularity.

The ones who promoted Crowley to his present popularity
differed from my circle in several ways:

1) They liked joining groups.

2) They had a monetary interest in claiming copyright 
ownership over his works rather than attempting to allow 
the works to lapse into the public domain.

3) They were eager to avoid open discussions of Crowley's 
racism and sexism and/or they were willing to falsely
his racism and sexism as a "product of his times" and/or they
sought to lamely excuse his racism and sexism as "irony" or "lampooning."

> Was it just that your crowd was more skeptical? 


> Less attracted
> to edgy occultism and more to pabulum? 


> Or just that you all
> didn't do quite so much LSD as those other Berkeleyites?


> Or what exactly?

1) My friends and i were less likely to be "joiners" 
than those who applied for admission to the Grady-era O.T.O. 

2) Some of us preferred a personal approach to the study 
of magick rather than a curricular or initiatic approach.

3) Some of us were so politically committed to putting an 
end to institutionalized racism that we could not condone 
Crowley's racism, especially that which derived from the 
scurrilous racism of Sir Richard F. Burton. (cf. "Sepher 
Sephiroth" -- about which another thread has recently been 
running in alt.magick and which you might enjoy reading).

LSD use, since you mention it, was widespread among all the
hippies i knew, whether they became Crowleyites or not.

> You wrote:
> "It still amazes me -- who first read to Crowley in my youth
> and then saw him "discovered" by my fellow hippies---"
> This is intended to suggest you yourself "discovered"
> Crowley before anyone in your generation, as if you'd
> had it all under control before these "fellow hippies"
> even applied to the class. 

I have no idea what you mean by "as if you'd had it all
under control," but as far as i know, i was among the first,
and probably actually the first, hippie-to-be in Berkeley to
read the entire works of Aleister Crowley. No big deal there
-- i just happened to be the child of antiquarian book
dealer parents who acquired a huge estate filled with
Victorian and Edwardian era occult books. I first read and
catalogued an entire set of Crowley first editions in 1964,
before the word hippie had been coined, when my friends and
i called ourselves, "beatnik kids" (most of our parents were
beatniks) and before someone coined the phrase "hip people,"
which later became "hippies." I have described how i came to
read and study the works of Crowley, Waite, Mathers, et al
in detail in another thread only yesterday; it was in the
posts dealing with Crowley's anti-Jewish bias. You can find
it via google, i am sure.

By the way, one thing i mentioned in that thread -- which
relates to the tarot -- is that in the library of the
Mistress of the Lotus Lodge, there was not only a first
edition copy of the Book of Thoth, but also an illustrated
catalogue for the exhibition of 78 of Frieda Harris'
original tarot paintings at the Berkeley Gallery in London
in 1942 (the extra two Magician cards were apparently not
exhibited there).

To my knowledge, this booklet has never been republished.
The uncredited text differs from Crowley's descriptions of
the same cards in "The Equinox" and in "The Book of Thoth."
Most importantly, this booklet also contains yet ANOTHER
variant Hebrew letter ascription to The Star -- one not
found elsewhere in any other Crowley texts.

I was given this booklet as part of my wages for cataloguing
the collection and i kept it for the next 35 or so years.
Upon falling in love with my husband-to-be nagasiva in 1998,
i presented it to him as gift when he moved in with me. I
hope that he will transcribe it electronically some day,
since i have not found evidence of its preservation or
reprinting anywhere.

The 1942 exhibition catalogue booklet is alluded to in the
"Bibliographical note" section of "The Book of Thoth" --
pages xi and xii -- attributed to S. H. Soror I.W.E. 8=3
A.'. A.'."  a.k.a. Martha Kunzel / Kuntzel (spellings vary
in modern sources; some also give an umlaut over the "u" --
all of which which makes web searches tedious).

Kuntzel's magical motto was "Ich Will Ess" ("I will it");
she was the notorious German member of the O.T.O. who,
according to Mike Culkin, Peter Koenig, and others, believed
that Adolf Hitler was her Magical Child and who
unsuccessfully urged him to adopt Crowley's "Book of the
Law" as his personal guide in life. Her note  in the "Book
of Thoth" would have written at the age of 87 -- although
Koenig and others claim she had died in Germany in 1942 in a
convalescent home and that Crowley used her name as a sock

The Bibliographical note in "The Book of Thoth" specifically
credits Crowley as the author of the 1942 booklet that
accompanied the Harris paintings -- but internally the
booklet's text appears to be by Harris, for at its close
thanks are given to "an expert" [presumably Crowley] for
supplying the Hebrew attributions for the cards. Of course,
Crowley often played what we now call "sock puppet" games,
and i personally think the writing style in the 1942 
booklet is his, not Harris's.

The fact that Crowley had many creditors in 1942 may have
prompted his wish for his name not to appear in the
exhibition at the Berkeley Galleries or on "The Book of
Thoth" two years later, but in internal documents to Harris,
and to a photoengraver, he asserted his 2/3 ownership of the

Likewise, in a bizarre letter Crowley wrote to himself and
claimed came from "The Hidden Masters," he said, addressing

             "19. Too well aware that in the past your work 
     has been stolen and exploited by unscrupulous rascals 
     and also that doctrinal argument of a lightly technical 
     kind may all too frequently prove rather hard for a
     you took the precaution of introducing certain symbols 
     into the designs [ of he cards] of such a character 
     that the most stupid would be compelled to acknowledge 
     your authorship of the Work. Your conduct is abominable 
     and inexcusable to allow Lady Harris to issue a catalogue
     crammed with the grossest errors of fact, blunders of
     scholarship, irrelevancies and absurdities; to allow
     to make herself the laughing-stock of London by larying
     [sic] claim to the authorship of pictures of which all 
     artists know her to be utterly incapable, her work 
     having been that of a wealthy amateur persistent enough 
     to acquire a good technique but with no personality,
     no "message" groping in Bloomsbury forgs [sic -- fogs?] 
     for the parasitic adulation of a gaggle of sycophants.

and, in an equally bizarre "reply" to himself, he wrote

     I do however most strenuously deny participation in the 
     hoax. This was perpetrated by Lady Harris without my 
     knowledge or consent; I only learnt of the exhibitions, 
     in the first case several days after the opening, from
     information supplied by loyal friends.

Full text at

For what it's worth -- and in either case, no matter whether
Crowley wrote the booklet or Harris wrote it with his
"ascriptions" -- the odd ascription given to The Star
therein is worthy of note as yet another of Crowley's
"blinds" or ruses regarding the Star-Emperor switch -- and
it predates and contradicts Crowley's earlier  ascriptions
AND the official switch from Tzaddi to Heh that first aired
in 1944 in "The Book of Thoth."

> You certainly can't believe
> this is factually true

I am not trying to make some idle boast or paint myself as
special -- but i truly know of no other hippies who had read
all of Crowley's and Waite's books before 1965 -- or who COULD
have, given that in California, where the hippie movement
first began, there were no university collections of these
books and most of them were out of print at the time.

By the way, the copies of the Crowley books i catalogued and
which my parents sold were bought up piecemeal, not as a
lot, and were consequently distributed widely in the Bay
Area over the course of several years. 

Some went to the owners of what is now Shamballah Books, 
others to people now in the O.T.O. The copy of "777"
was stolen by Walter Breen (a member of science fiction
fandom, the husband of the author Marion Zimmer Bradley, a
published authority on early US coins, and a convicted child
molester). Check old google posts for my account of how
Walter Breen stole "777" from our family's book shop circa

>  the very people who 
> enabled her [catís] amazement were people now considerably
> "over 40", indeed people of her own generation. 

Not so. 

The Mistress of the Lotus Lodge, whose death facilitated my
study of Crowley, Waite, et al, was in her 80s when she
died. She was about the age of my grandmothers at the time,
not a member of my generation.

My parents bought her estate. They were younger then than i
am now (my mother was 49 and my step-father was 43 when the
library was purchased; i am now 56) -- and they were not
members of my generation either.

> Furthermore,
> there are plenty of people "under 40" capable of intelligently
> and skeptically reading Crowley

I was not speaking of the age of 40 with respect to purported
wisdom, rather to with respect to *birth year* -- to the
fact that Crowley's reputation is higher now, among people
born after 1960, than it was and is among people of my
grandparents' or parents' or my generations -- people born
between 1880 and 1950. 

Good luck to you in pursuit of knowledge, Jess, and best 
wishes for success in your continued study of the tarot. 

cat yronwode 

Herb and Root Magic


To: alt.magick
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: The Winged-Disk and Hadit
Date: Sat, 05 Jul 2003 19:06:57 GMT

jk wrote:
> catherine yronwode  wrote in message news:<>...
> > It still amazes me -- who first read to Crowley in my youth
> > and then saw him "discovered" by my fellow hippies, who
> > enjoyed Crowley's style but thought out things for
> > themselves -- to see the latter day cult of Crowleyism
> > flourish among those under 40 years old.
> One reason Crowleyism as a going commercial concern is still going
> is because of the ardent work done by old hippies such as yourself in
> support of resurrecting, reestablishing, and popularizing his religion
> and his secret order. 

Old hippies *such as myself* have done no such thing.

Old hippies *not a bit like me* have done it. 

> Your attempt to anoint yourself and your
> generation as superior to those your junior is certainly
> understandable, given that you'll all soon begin your mass exits from
> this world, but once again the facts betray you.

I said, "it still amazes me." The word "amaze" describes my
mental state with regard to the subject at hand. 

I did not write "it makes me feel superior." The word
"superior" does not describe my mental state with regard to
the subject at hand. 

Moving past the spurious emotions you have injected into the
discussion, i would like to note for the benefit of other
readers that i was not speaking of generational matters at
all. I was speaking of the amazing (to me) fact that people
would adopt as a religious text something that had
*formerly* been regarded as, in the words of Secret Chief, a
booklet "...penned by a bisexual junkie in Cairo on his
honeymoon in 1904." 

The subject here is the effects of the passage of time, not
my generation as contrasted with any other generation. 

My interest in how the passage of time affects religious
texts has been brought to the fore recently due to some
conversations siva and i have had about the arguments made
pro and con by scholarly authors such as John Dominic
Crossan ("Who Killed Jesus?") and James Carroll ("The Sword
of Constantine") with respect to the historicity of Jesus. 

In these books it is taken as a working model that if there
is a historical core to any given religion (a Jesus who
lived, preached, and was crucified; a "bisexual junkie in
Cairo on his honeymoon in 1904"), that within one hundred
years of the personage's death, his or her role in history
would begin to submerge and in its place there would arise a
fable-making tradition that worked to both excuse and
ennoble the venerated person's  most inexplicably
anti-social acts (Jesus blighting a farmer's fig tree,
Crowley shitting on a friend's rug). 

In discussion with siva, i had argued -- just as an
intellectual standpoint, not out of complete conviction --
that although such religion-making was understandable in the
largely illiterate era of Jesus, about whom there are only
one actual historical account (a glancing mention by Flavius
Josephus), such apotheosis would be unlikely to occur if the
personage in question lived during an era of great literacy
and had left many records of his or her life. Yet, in the
case of Aleister Crowley, it does seem to be happening. 

I was born the year Crowley died. To me, he was a junkie 
and a poet (just like my own poet-uncle John Manfredi), a
good writer and thinker in a field with few good writers and
thinkers, a fairly good word-puzzle maker and symbol
manipulator, a spoofer and joker, and a man with some talent
for arranging titty-shows and sex acts on stage. And that is
ALL he was to me. However, not 50 years have passed since
his death and already i have heard people say that he was a
"spiritual adept" and that they have "accepted 'The Book of
the Law'" as a religious text. 

It amazes me -- but only because it flies in the face of my
theory that this would not happen with such rapidity in an
era of wide-spread literacy. 

Finally, as an aside, i would like to place my amazement at
the seemingly imminent deification of Crowley on a scale of
relative amazement, so to that effect i will note that what
amazes me MORE than the fact that some  people take "The
Book of the Law" as a spiritual "law," is the fact that even
more people regard the fictional works of the anthropologist
Carlos Castaneda as quasi-religious handbooks. (See for a brief skeptical
overview of the Castaneda hoax.)

cat yronwode

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{ Secret Chief } wrote:
> catherine yronwode  wrote:
> > You were doing okay there until you started making up
> > fantasy roles for me and guessing my reactions to people.
> Well, I got a couple things wrong (Woodstock for instance; in
> retrospect, that was more of a transition point).

In my opinion, the true opening of the hippie movement to
the public in the US was the Great Human Be-In in San

Woodstock was later, far, far later. 

In the UK, i believe that the Games for May marked the
opening of the underground movement to the public. 

> But I think my basic thrust was about right: there were several waves
> of counterculture.  

As there are several waves of *every* form of popular
cultural expression. 

> You, being college-aged in the early 60's and
> being the child of atheist antiquarian bookdealers, got in more or
> less on the ground floor.

That's right. 

> As I read COTO history, the "old hippy" leaders seem to represent a
> later stratum of counterculture.  During the formative experiences
> you've detailed, Hymenaeus B was still working for the government and
> Hymenaeus A was still in underoos.  (Heidrick might be an exception).

I believe you have your Hymenaeae reversed: B was still in
diapers (underoos did not yet exist, actually) while A --
who was not a hippie, by the way, was in the military. 

> Hence I'd endorse your assertion that it wasn't "old hippies like 
> you" who started the Caliphate. 

No one said that any hippies started the Caliphate -- only
that they popularized Crowley. 

> Your disagreement with them seems in large part to 
> be a disagreement over what the counterculture should
> look like.  

Not so. 

First, i would not characterize myself as having a
"disagreement" with the O.T.O. It takes two to tangle -- and
if any of them even know i exist, it is because my husband
is a member. 

Second, i do not consider any authoritarian, top-down,
hierarchical religious system to be "countercultural."

The Caliphate O.T.O. is, in my opinion, no more or less than
a clear example of "old aeon" recidivist culture, a church
whose services are modeled so closely on the Catholic Church
as to be mappable against it point for point, and whose
continuing legal battles for copyright ownership of its
scriptures are paralleled closely by the Church of
Scientology, with which it not-so-coincidentally shared some
early social overlaps. 

> Much of this difference of perspective stems from your obvious
> idealism, which the Caliphate, like so many 70's counterculture
> products (Hell's Angels, Manson, Weathermen), does not share.

You mentioned these three examples of what you called "70s
counterculture" before and i did not take the time to
correct you, but now i shall, with no malice, just for the

The Manson Family had lived together as a group, committed
their famous mass murders, and were all in jail awaiting
trial by the summer of 1969. Thus they were not an example
of the 1970s counterculture.

The Hell's Angels had first formed in the 1940s, and by July
4, 1947, they had already terrorized the town of Hollister,
California, an event that was fictionalized to great popular
acclaim in a 1954 movie called "The Wild One" starring
Marlon Brando and Lee Marvin, and directed by Laslo Benedek
under the production of Stanley Kramer. So they were not an
example of 1970s counterculture either. You may be thinking
of their 1965 conflict with a group Viet Nam War protesters
or their disastrous presence at a 1969 Rolling Stones
concert in Altamont, California -- but those events all took
place in the 1960s, not the 1970s. 

The Weathermen (also known later as the Weather Undergound)
formed in 1969, that is, during the 1960s. They ceased
activity in 1976, the middle of the 1970s. 

If you were to ask me for examples of 1970s counterculture,
i would list 
     Cheech and Chong and the Firesign Theater
          with their wink-and-nod drug references
     The sudden public awareness of feminism
          which had started a century earlier, of course, but 
          in the 1970s became a matter of wide public debate
     A shift in men's hair styles from full beards and long hair 
          parted in the middle (1960s) to trimmed mustaches and 
          long sideburns with relatively short head hair parted 
          on the sides (1970s). 
     The sudden availability of "hippie style" dresses in chain
          department stores, whereas previously they had to be
          hand made by their wearers or by skilled hippie 
          seamstresses such as myself; this influx of ready-made
          hippie and pseudo-hippie clothes put a rapid end
          to most hippie seamstress businesses. 
     The rise in suburban back-to-the-land-ism, as exemplified 
          by rising subscriptions to Organic Gardening Magazine
          (founded in the 1940s) and and the founding of the
          Mother Earth News in 1970.

> This non-idealism pisses you off. 

Uh-oh, you're trying to read my mind again -- and making a
poor show of it. I am not pissed off, and you are inaccurate
to claim i am. 

> This isn't me guessing your
> reactions to people, it is glaringly obvious from your posts.

Please, can we stick to the topic and just forget your
failed mentalism act? Thanks.

cat yronwode 

Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics ---------

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