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Babalon the Warrior

Kali trampling Shiva. Chromolithograph by R. Varma. Wikimedia image

I sing of Babalon the warrior.

I sing of Babalon who wields the sword.

Her priestesses cry out against those who have transgressed against them.

“We came to you offering holy joy

and you have placed your eyes and hands on us against our will.

That which was divine turned corrupt in your hands.

You ripped from us what would have sustained us both.

Contemptuous and violent

you saw Our Lady in our faces

and believed She only marked us for your use.

We call on Her to hear us, protect us and heal us.

We call on Her to collect what is her due.”

 
 

Babalon rides the lion, she is the lion.

See her face change now to the lion’s face.

As Sekhmet she strides in from the desert, slaying.

Her terrible roar shatters bone and spills blood.

She rages against the unspeakable wrong.

“You who have placed your eyes and hands upon my priestesses

not in holy joy but against their will

committing the blasphemous act of violation

I have come to harvest your life.

Unexpected, unshriven, unwilling,

you will pay the tribute of your blood.”
 
 

Babalon rides the lion, She holds the cup,

She wields the sword, She harvests the life,

She gathers the blood, She swallows the soul.

Hail to the Lady of death and of life!

Hail to the flame which consumes that which threatens the balance!

Hail to the Red Lady in her righteous rage!
 
 

Even when that which is corrupt is purged Her rage continues.

She sees red and drinks blood and deals death.

Once Her slaughter has begun what can stop Her?

The violence offered to Her priestesses

has driven them from the holy office that saves us.

Without them, without Her, we will all die.
 
 

Babalon dances like Kali drunk on the blood of corruption.

What will turn her rage, what will save us?

Only when one comes who is the willing sacrifice,

who lays beneath Her feet so She can trample him

who offers the last drop of his blood to Her cup,

he is holy, he is sacred, he restores the balance.

Only when one comes who is the willing sacrifice,

who lays beneath Her feet so She can trample her,

who offers the last drop of her blood to Her cup,

she is holy, she is sacred, she restores the balance.

Only when one comes who is the willing sacrifice,

who lays beneath Her feet so She can trample them,

who offers the last drop of their blood to Her cup,

they are holy, they are sacred, they restore the balance.
 
 

Then Babalon becomes as Hathor, the Red Lady of Love.

Then Babalon becomes as Lalita, the Red Lady of Love.

Then Babalon becomes herself, the Red Lady of Love.

“I shine in the faces of my priestesses.

I shine in the faces of my priests.

I shine in the faces of my deacons.

For I am the holy joy which loosens limbs and softens hearts.

I am the promise of renewal and the source of immortality.

I am the surrender which is the victory of life over death.

Come to me with your love, withholding nothing.

Fall to your knees before My holy presence.

Recognize the awful power of my limitless yielding.

Experience the ecstasy of dissolution.

Spill into eternity in My arms.”

Sexual Harassment In OTO: Confronting The Issue

by Brandy Williams

 

We of Thelema say that ‘Every man and every woman is a star.’ We do not fool and flatter women; we do not despise and abuse them. To us a woman is Herself, absolute, original, independent, free, self-justified, exactly as a man is. Commentary to The Book of the Law, III:55

Women have been exchanging information about our experiences of gender and sexual harassment within O.T.O. It is becoming clear we are not fulfilling Aleister Crowley’s vision for an order which is equally supportive to all genders. What would it take for women and other non-male genders to experience the same freedom as men in the O.T.O.?

US law defines two categories of harassment:

  1. Quid pro quo, “this for that”. For example, an employee could be offered a promotion in exchange for sexual interaction. In the magical communities, a candidate could be required to engage in a sexual act before being approved for initiation, be ordained, or hold an office.
  2. Hostile work environment, unwelcome conduct that renders the atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive.

O.T.O. US Grand lodge has an explicit policy prohibiting sexual harassment. There is also a system that addresses complaints which is outlined in the Path of Mediation. Despite this longstanding policy and process sexual harassment continues to be an issue.

One reason this should not be a surprise is that the O.T.O. is the kind of organization which can be predicted to be at risk for harassing behavior. The three things that make organizations more prone to sexual harassment are that they are hierarchical, male dominated, and forgive harassment. This profile describes the O.T.O. It is hierarchical by nature; this is not a concern in itself but is identified as a contributing factor. Women are moving up in the ranks of leadership which is a positive development and one reason that the organization is moving toward addressing these issues. However there is at present no woman in the tenth degree, that is, ultimate authority in a given grand lodge (country).

Most importantly the organization has a history of forgiving harassment. Research indicates the biggest predictor of sexual harassment “is how permissive an organization is of this conduct. Permissive organizations are ones in which employees feel it is risky to report sexual harassment, think that their complaints won’t be taken seriously, and believe that perpetrators will face few to no consequences.”

A Harvard Business Review article notes:

Minimizing or excusing sexual bullying by star employees affects the targets of their harassment even more than the harassment itself, research has found, and it sends a clear message about priorities. When sexual harassment isn’t taken seriously by managers and others in positions of authority with the standing to discipline the offender, employees know that speaking out is likely to carry more risk than reward. The result is a workplace where people know they can get away with mistreating their coworkers. This demoralizes not only victims, but witnesses and bystanders (including men)…

The order has responded to public reports of harassment by calling on the women reporting the behavior to stop speaking about it in public. Sister Georgia reports being counseled by multiple people to keep silent about her experiences and the experiences others have shared with her. This is not the only public report of an attempt to silence, it is only the most recent (and incandescently articulate) example. The tendency of the organization to date has been to treat the report as if it is the actual harm rather than addressing the harassment. The fact that harassment occurs in O.T.O. settings is not a secret and is not news. Thelemic community in general and the O.T.O. in particular has a longstanding reputation among the magical communities as a place in which gender and sexual harassment is commonplace. The effort to silence targets of harassment registers as a cover-up of the behavior and acts as a confirmation that the behavior itself is condoned. It is the cover-up, not the initial report, that constitutes the PR crisis.

There is an important point to be made here about the connection between sexual harassment and gender harassment. The EEOC found in a survey that 25% of women reported experiencing sexual harassment. When questions shifted to gender harassment that percentage jumped to 60%. While sexual harassment describes unwelcome touch and requests, gender harassment includes displays, jokes and comments. Women are reluctant to report these and endure them as normative. When we ask ourselves why twenty years of prosecuting the anti-harassment policy has not resulted in a cessation of the behavior, one answer is that we have failed to address the hostile environment. For our anti-harassment policy to be effective we must actively dismantle the culture of gender harassment which permits sexual harassment to flourish.

Another answer is that our prosecutions have not resulted in significant relief to the targets of the harassment. Public harassment reports are not a problem, they are a wake-up call. When women take their complaints to the court of public opinion this is a clear signal that internal processes have failed. The O.T.O. does not issue statements about the results of internal investigations. Again, this is not problematic in itself. Internal investigations are confidential in every organization – no employer will confirm that an employee has been dismissed due to harassment. That does not mean that the action itself is unknown to the other employees. When a problematic individual’s employment is terminated it is clear to the other employees that the employer has acted. Similarly when harassers continue to function in an organization and even receive advancement that sends an overt message to the entire membership.

There are a number of reasons that addressing gender harassment is a priority. Failing to address both sexual and gender harassment exposes an organization to legal liability. This is not just a workplace issue but a risk for any incorporated entity; the Non-Profit Risk Management Center points out non-profits are also at risk for sexual harassment claims.

In addition to the legal liability surrounding harassment there is also the damage to the organization’s reputation which is not mitigated but instead exacerbated by the attempts to control information. There is the loss of the contributions of those who were targeted and left the organization, as well as those who choose never to join. Finally, of course, there is the damage done to the emotional and spiritual lives of all members through participating in an organization in which harassment is tolerated.

How do we change a culture which condones harassment? We don’t have to invent processes to do this. This is a common issue with widely articulated solutions. An organization can begin to recover a culture which condones sexual harassment when its response is clear and credible. Legal advisors list steps to take:

  • Define anti-harassment policies.
  • Express support from the top through repeated messages from leadership that harassment is not tolerated.
  • Make anti-harassment education a priority and renew frequently.
  • Encourage reporting and protect those who report.
  • Review processes frequently.

Finally, prosecuting harassers by terminating their involvement in the organization is a necessary step to establish credibility and back up policy. Organizations have found that “cracking down on harassers, severely and transparently, discourages the behavior across an organization.”

It is uncomfortable to confront these issues and to contemplate severe actions that affect people we know well. Reforming a toxic culture requires making discomfort a priority. In an interview humanitarian Zainab Salbi offers a firm but reassuring path to a more equitable and safe environment. “There will be a way out of this, and the only way for all of us to get out of this is actually if we have the uncomfortable conversations today—not tomorrow, today. If we each own what we need to own, our own complicity and complacency in it.” Each of us is responsible to advocate for this change and to hold each other accountable to implement it.

Addressing Harassment In Ordo Templi Orientis

by Brandy Williams

 

O.T.O. US Grand Lodge Policy states:

It is no secret that Aleister Crowley’s writings include a number of statements that are demeaning to women and to specific racial or ethnic groups. We make no attempt here to justify or explain away those statements. They are what they are, and they are now part of our history as an organization. However, at this time, we find that ideas of the inherent superiority of one sex over the other, or of the inherent superiority or inferiority of specific “races” or ethnicities of humanity, relative to each other, are not supported by the best science, and are contrary to our stated goals of promulgating the Law of Thelema and realizing the age-old vision of the Universal Brotherhood of Man, which includes all Humankind. Therefore, the U.S. Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis hereby formally and unequivocally rejects all such ideas. O.T.O. draws strength from diversity; we welcome the participation and friendship of Thelemites of all sexes, genders, “races,” and ethnic groups, and from all cultures; and we are committed to opposing their unfair treatment, within and without the Order. We further remain committed to opposing ideas and doctrines–whether religious, political, philosophical, or pseudo-scientific–that tend toward the enslavement of the human spirit, which indwells “every man, every woman, and every intermediately-sexed individual.”
Adopted unanimously, An. Viii Sol in Leo, Luna in Leo; 20 August, 2017 e.v.

Sexual, gender, racial, and LGBTQ harassment directly prevent implementation of this policy. Sexual harassment is on the rise everywhere in America, including within the order. Since the publication of the policy racial harassment incidents have come to light which mirror the increased hate speech trend in American culture.

The existing Path of Mediation does not address the specific nature of these complaints and as a consequence actively discourages reporting harassment. It is clear that new processes are urgently required to address this and ensure the implementation of the policy.

Limitations in the existing Path of Mediation

Merriam Webster defines mediation as an “intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it”. A dispute is “a disagreement, argument, or debate”. Mediation is applicable where the parties to a dispute are more or less equally powerful.

Harassment, on the other hand, is “aggressive pressure or intimidation.” Sexual harassment is not about sex, racial harassment is not about race, LGBTQ harassment is not about orientation or presentation. Harassment is about power. Someone who has power forces a less powerful person to do something they would not otherwise do.

The Path of Mediation starts with examining yourself to see how you have contributed to the situation, then talking with the person with whom you have the dispute. Only after this has failed to resolve the dispute do you take the matter up the escalation chain to the body master, Committee of Four and Grand Tribunal. This process covers disputes between equally powerful parties but does not address harassment where the parties are not equally powerful.

Looking inside yourself for how you contributed to the situation: in a harassment situation this is victim-shaming. The cause of the harassment is not the target’s behavior, it is the harasser’s willingness to use a power differential to touch or talk to someone against their will. What makes “look inside yourself” particularly unsuitable is the pressure the harasser often places on the target to take responsibility for it. The target did not initiate the action and is not responsible for it and our process should reflect this.

Speaking directly to the other party: fighting back against harassment is very often more costly than enduring the harassment. Whistle blowers lose their jobs and their careers in retaliation. For this reason harassment is often not reported, in the workplace, in school, and in the order. Targets of harassment in O.T.O. report they fear that complaining will affect their standing in the community and their advancement in the order.

Escalating to the body master: this is the minimal starting place for a harassment complaint. This may be less feasible if the master is a friend of the harasser, and completely unfeasible where the master is the harasser.

Committee of Four: where the complaint cannot be made to the master, the starting point for the complaint will be the Committee of Four. As per the COLMH, the master may also choose to involve the committee for assistance immediately and directly.

In the case of a harasser who has achieved some rank in the order, the committee may also know the harasser well and significantly better than the complainant(s), or one member of the committee may be the harasser. However the fact that the body is composed of four individuals gives the group some flexibility and increases the chances that the complaint will be heard, taken seriously, and acted on. Also a master might be a Man of Earth, while committee members are Lovers and hopefully bring more experience and composure to bear.

Grand Tribunal: the GT has heard and will undoubtedly continue to hear complaints. Some who have served on Boards of Inquiry report that handling these complaints carries an emotional tariff which contributes to volunteer burnout.

Costs of harassment

Failing to address harassment as a significant issue continues the harm to the targets, costs membership, and may expose the order to liability.

Effect on the victims: targets of harassment experience emotional harm, including anxiety, depression and shame, which can also cause medical issues. Harassment presents a bar to the full development of the individual both personally and in the order. It is a theft of their freedom.

Loss of membership: In America it is estimated that 70% of harassment incidents are never reported. Targets of harassment often leave the site of harassment; those who experience harassment in the order may leave the order, and they may leave magical studies altogether. We cannot at present calculate how members and prospective members who have left have done so in response to harassment but we can be certain that we have lost membership to this.

Liability: The Society for Creative Anachronisms paid a $1.3 million settlement to settle a child sexual harassment case involving the director of one of their children’s programs. The order may have a legal as well as ethical responsibility to curtail harassment at O.T.O. sponsored events and at O.T.O. venues.

The impact of secrecy in handling harassment incidents

Multiple layers of secrecy affect the ability of individuals and the order to address harassment.

  • Whistle blowing serves the function of drawing attention to a behavior that is not being addressed. However whistle blowing activities are not generally available to order members who are constrained by the need to follow the path of mediation, a situation analogous to workplace agreements to engage in arbitration.
  • Members are required to keep the membership of others secret. This affects the ability of targets to blow the whistle on harassment activities, as naming a harasser publicly may be grounds for discplinary action against the complainant.
  • Since actions taken against harassers are not publicized, there is no deterrent affect, and no visible sign of the order’s activities in taking harassment seriously.

Harassment thrives in secrecy. Since arbitration is the only recourse available to a member who wishes to remain in good standing it is imperative to create and manage a process which specifically addresses harassment, protects members, and provides relief to targets.

Process improvements

Other communities have developed strategies to address the special challenges of harassment.

Military justice

As we are a military order we might profit from studying US military strategy. In 2014 the Senate unanimously approved the Victim’s Protection Act. Among other provisions, the act specifically:

  • Established a Special Victim’s Counsel. Every complainant is assigned an independent lawyer.
  • Eliminated the “good soldier” defense. A good military record no longer cancels an assault charge.
  • Required a minimum sentence. Those convicted of sexual assault automatically receive a dishonorable discharge.
  • Independent prosecution. The follow-up Military Justice Improvement Act, not yet approved, seeks additionally to overturn the requirement that the commanding officer decides whether to move forward with a complaint. This is exactly analogous to the requirement for a local master to file a complaint.

These steps could be implemented in the order.

  • A victim’s counsel could develop a course of training in harassment and in order process. This counsel could be drawn from Committees of Four or GICs or both.
  • A clear communication path to report harassment outside the chain of command can be established and advertised. The ombudsman-female gathers sexual harassment complaints today; this mechanism can be widely advertised.
  • Once a complaint has been lodged the target can be assigned an advocate from the victim’s counsel.

Restorative justice

Punitive justice focuses on the perpetrator. A punishment is levied, and once it is complete, the perpetrator may continue with their life as before. With punitive justice the questions might be: what is an appropriate punishment? What factors mitigate the punishment? How can the perpetrator navigate the situation and be able to return to community?

Restorative justice puts perpetrators together with their victims. Restorative justice methodology as currently practiced works best where the perpetrator is genuinely remorseful and wishes to make amends but it works less well where the perpetrator resists accountability. Victims rights advocates note that victims need more than apologies, they need a clear path to safety and return to their normal lives.

To implement truly victim-centered restitution, the questions might be: what enables those affected to continue their work in the order? What makes the order safe for them? Is it possible for the perpetrator to continue their work in the order while enabling the people affected to also participate? We must admit to the possibility that the answer may be no.

Next steps

Where official processes fall short communities create new processes. Member-led initiatives include:

  • Consent Culture: a community discussion developed by Brandy Williams (GIC), offered through the education committee, and implemented at Horizon Lodge, Sekhet-Maat Lodge and Blazing Star Oasis (so far).
  • Sexual Harassment and the O.T.O.: presented at Ladies of Force and Fire, 2016, by Lori Lent and proposed to add to Kaaba Colloquium.
  • #RespectTheNoInOTO: campaign with more than 60 participants drawing attention to the need to combat sexual harassment within the order.

These campaigns point to the urgent need to address these issues and establish processes to rapidly respond to harassment and provide relief to targets so that we are aiding, not hindering, the accomplishment of their wills.

Supporting material

USGL policy

Consequences of reporting and under-reporting sexual harassment

CBS NEWS. “Gretchen Carlson on sexual harassment in the workplace“. October 15, 2017:

“This overwhelming fear is one reason studies show 70 percent of women never report workplace harassment.”

Heather McLaughlin, Christopher Uggen, Amy Blackstone. “The Economic and Career Effects of Sexual Harassment on Working Women“. First Published May 10, 2017:

“Many working women will experience sexual harassment at some point in their careers. While some report this harassment, many leave their jobs to escape the harassing environment. This mixed-methods study examines whether sexual harassment and subsequent career disruption affect women’s careers. Using in-depth interviews and longitudinal survey data from the Youth Development Study, we examine the effect of sexual harassment for women in the early career. We find that sexual harassment increases financial stress, largely by precipitating job change, and can significantly alter women’s career attainment.”

Consequences of racial harassment

“There can be various consequences of such experiences: fear of going out, increased levels of stress and anxiety, low self-esteem and poor mental health.” [Source]

Diane Chinn. “What Is the Consequence of Racial Harassment in the Workplace?

“Workers subjected to racial harassment by their coworkers and supervisors experience high levels of work-related stress that may lead to medical problems, such as high blood pressure, depression and heart disease. In addition to feeling humiliated, rejected and hurt, they are often reluctant to object to the harassment or report it for fear of retaliation. Frequently, they tolerate it in silence until they find another job.”

Retaliation against harassment complaints

Yuku Noguchi. “Advice For Dealing With Workplace Retaliation: Save Those Nasty Emails“. September 14, 2016:

“Experts say between 50 percent and 70 percent of retaliation cases are perpetrated by managers, but retaliation can also include bullying as a form of retribution.”

SCA lawsuit

SCA Will Pay $1.3M To Settle Abuse Case“…

“Ben Schragger, then 43, was convicted in 2005 of charges including rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and corruption of minors, all crimes committed against 11 children participating in SCA programs to make medieval-style armor and weapons for mock combat.”

Military justice

  • Victims Protection Act: “In a 97-0 vote, the Senate approved S. 1917, the Victims Protection Act. The new bill eliminates the ability to cite a soldier’s good record when defending that soldier against assault charges… It also allows the victims of sexual assault to say whether they’d prefer their cases handled in a military or civilian jurisdiction, and includes sexual assault as part of commanders’ performance assessments.” [Source]
  • Military Justice Improvement Act: “Unfortunately, each year, thousands of service members are raped and sexually assaulted. In many of those cases, the assailant is someone in the survivor’s own chain of command. Only a small fraction of the perpetrators are ever held accountable for their heinous, violent crimes. Last year, the Department of Defense announced a record number of sexual assaults reported against service members,and the lowest conviction rates for their assailants on record, at just 9%.Worse yet, despite repeated efforts to stamp out the scourge of retaliation against military sexual assault survivors, the most recent Pentagon survey found that nearly 6 out of 10 survivors say they have experienced some form of retaliation for reporting the crime.” [Source]

Restorative justice

  • Overview of restorative justice as currently practiced: “Restorative justice views crime as more than breaking the law – it also causes harm to people, relationships, and the community. So a just response must address those harms as well as the wrongdoing. If the parties are willing, the best way to do this is to help them meet to discuss those harms and how to about bring resolution. Other approaches are available if they are unable or unwilling to meet. Sometimes those meetings lead to transformational changes in their lives.” [Source]
  • Improvements to restorative justice: “Repairing the harm is often far more complicated than apologies and restitution and relationship-building. It can require long-term sophisticated counseling, assistance with safety planning, relocation and any number of services required to rebuild a life–emergency day care for the parent who needs to get a job to handle new crime-related expenses, substance abuse treatment for the traumatized victim who has turned to drugs, an escort service for the victim now too afraid to leave home or go to the store alone, employment counseling or training for the victim who no longer can perform their old job–or even something as simple as new locks or windows for their home.” [Source]

Is the term black magic racist?

White light is good. Black magic is evil. We use these terms routinely in everyday language and in our magical work too. What do we mean by them? Is it racist to assign “black” to the idea “evil” and use “white” as a synonym for “good”?

Aleister Crowley used the term “Black Brother” to mean someone who has fallen off the path in a specific way (by failing to surrender all of himself to the abyss). Members of Ordo Templi Orientis refer to each other as “brother” and “sister”. I have brothers and sisters in the order who are white and sisters and brothers who are black. Obviously my black brother is not automatically a Black Brother any more than every white brother is a member of the Great White Brotherhood. But why do we use “black” to mean “failed magician” and “white” to mean “teacher”? What does that say about the way we think about black and white people in the world?

I work for a volunteer program which was recently asked to start identifying the ethnicity of the people we serve. Are they white, black, Hispanic, Pacific Islander? As I talked other volunteers about this requirement I often heard the objection “I don’t see color”. Well-meaning white parents taught their children to try to treat every person in the same way in an effort to build an equitable world.

People of color respond If you don’t see color you don’t see me. Even though we may be committed to building an equitable world this is not the world we live in now. People of color are treated differently than white people. Making that inequity right starts with listening to people of color about their experiences.

Eula Bliss said something interesting in her 2015 essay White Debt. She was reflecting on the Charleston massacre in which a self-professed white supremacist killed nine black people attending church Bliss said:

Hearing the term ‘‘white supremacist’’ in the wake of that shooting had given me another occasion to wonder whether white supremacists are any more dangerous than regular white people, who tend to enjoy supremacy without believing in it.

I’ve written a lot about how the experience of women, my sisters, differs from the experience of my brothers, in ways that our brothers are still learning to recognize. When a system fits you because it was built to fit you it takes an act of conscious will to recognize that. This is also true for myself as a white person; I recognize that esoteric language authorizes my experience at the expense of people of color.

How did we come to use “black” to mean “evil”? When we use the term “Black Brother” are we perpetuating that connection? Was the term racist in origin, and is it racist to use it now? If we genuinely ask ourselves this question we already know the answer. I wrote a lengthy essay White Light, Black Magic: Racism in Esoteric Thought to document the origin of these terms and suggest new ways of talking about good, evil, and the multicultural experience of magical people.

The pioneering scientists of the Age of Enlightenment created the idea that light is white. Robert Boyle, John Locke and Isaac Newton were friends, men of substance, and alchemists. They believed their experiments and observations uncovered something fundamental about the nature of white and black as substances. White skin color designated people who could think, who bore the true religion, and who had the right to own people with black skin. This mixing of empiricism with colonial exploitation and religious conquest stripped racism into both scientific and esoteric thought.
White settlers in America lacked medical knowledge; black and indigenous medicine saved lives. Black slaves used more than medicine, they used magical knowledge to protect themselves and heal their families. Contemporary black root workers critique white appropriation of this knowledge both in the past and in the present. Shannon Barber writes movingly in Black Magic, Black Skin: Decolonizing White Witchcraft about how “the idea that darkness = badness” delayed the development of their own magical viewpoint.

Even today groups who identify as “The Great White Brotherhood” offer themselves as teachers, “masters”, to the esoteric community, while standing against the errors and bad judgement of hypothetical “Black Brothers”. The terms are cringe-worthy and call up the worst racist stereotypes. There isn’t a lot of discussion or awareness of this yet, but there should be. True teachers don’t have enemies, and none of us need “masters”.

Our challenge is to correct the impact of racism in our thought and practice by creating an accurate, honest, inclusive language. We can re-frame our white light visualizations to use color, explore the positive aspects of darkness, and actively interrogate our use of color terms to create hierarchies and judgements.

After all, since light contains all the colors of the rainbow, why limit ourselves to thinking in black and white?

Ecstatic Ritual typo correction

Ecstatic Ritual

In the second edition of Ecstatic Ritual published by Immanion Press, page 115, paragraph: “It’s possible to shape an image of a lover, if you joke, to call one to you.” Replace “joke” with “like”.

Feminist Thelema

I presented on “Feminist Thelema” at NOTOCON VI: Beauty and Strength. I’ve made the final version of my paper available as a free download here: Feminist Thelema. Enjoy it!

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Resources to study racism in esoteric thought


These will eventually inform an essay. If you are following along in your reading ping me! Would love to discuss.

Racism in Aleister Crowley’s works: Catherine Yronwode, Racism, Gender-Bias, and Other Forms of Bigotry in the Writings of Aleister Crowley

Racism in Theosophy and Rosicrucianism: Karen Swartz, Views from the Great White Brotherhood

Racism in Jung: Farhad Dalal, Jung, a Racist

Racism in Enlightenment Philosophy: Professor Julie K. Ward, The Roots of Modern Racism, Early Modern Philosophers on Race

Theurgy Bibliography

By ILAOSVSen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By ILAOSVSen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

A quick bibliography for the two theurgy presentations I’m making at Blazing Star Oasis on Saturday Sept. 30

  • Jean-Louis de Biasi: Rediscover the Magick of the Gods and Goddesses
  • Patrick Dunn: Practical Art of Divine Magic, Contemporary and Ancient Techniques of Theurgy
  • Jeffrey Kupperman: Living Theurgy
  • Bruce McLennan: Wisdom of HypatiaTony Mierzwicki: Graeco-Egyptian Magic
  • John Opsopaus: Omphalos
  • Richard Reidy: Eternal Egypt, Ancient Rituals for the Modern World
  • Brandy Williams: For the Love of the Gods, The History and Modern Practice of Theurgy, Our Pagan Inheritance

Babalon and Asherah presentation: bibliography and ritual notes

By unknown artist Details of artist on Google Art Project [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


I’m filing these notes here so folk don’t need to scribble madly while I talk.

Bibliography

Ackerman, Susan. Under Every Green Tree, Popular Religion in Sixth Century Judah. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992.
Becking, Bob, Meindert Dijkstra, Marjo C. A. Korpel and Karel J.H. Vriezen. Only One God? Monotheism in Ancient Israel and the Veneration of the Goddess Asherah. New York: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
Kosnick, Darlene. History’s Vanquished Goddess, Asherah. Emergent Press LLC, 2014.
Levine, Amy-Jill, editor. A Feminist Companion to the Apocalypse of John. New York: T&T Clark International, 2009.
Long, Asphodel. . Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, 1993.
Patai, Raphael. The Hebrew Goddess. Detroit: Wayne Street University Press, 1967, 1978.
Schipper, Kristopher. The Taoist Body. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982.

Ritual notes

  • East – Queen of Heaven: Aleph Shin Resh Heh
  • South – The Sun/fire: Athirat
  • West – Lady of the Sea: Elat
  • North – Lady of the Steppe: Belit seri

Queen of Heaven, lady of the sun, lady of the desert, lady of the ocean, lady of the mountain, lady of the green tree, Athirat, Ashratu, Ashirtu, Ashritum, Ashrati, Asherah, Asherah, Asherah, Asherah, Asherah…

Day of Thelemic Magic Sat. Sept. 29 at Blazing Star Oasis!

I’m thrilled to be visiting the Bay Area next weekend. I’ll be presenting some of the material from my next book on theurgy! Also talking about Babalon and Asherah as Goddess of Life.

Here’s the Facebook invitation:

A Day of Thelemic Magic

Sign up here:
Public Admission: $30
Blazing Star Oasis Member/Affiliate discount: $20

Doors open at 12:30. Detailed presentation descriptions below.

Theurgy for Thelemites

“There is no part of me that is not of the gods.” What does that mean?

Thelema is a theurgic system rooted in Neo-Platonism. The Platonic philosophers explained the soul’s descent into incarnation and the path of return to the realm of the gods. Recent scholarship re-links the philosophical texts to the practical rituals preserved in medieval grimoires and rediscovered in ancient texts.

This presentation reviews Liber Astarte in the context of contemporary and ancient theurgy. Theurgic ritual offers a deeper understanding of Nuit and Hadit, Babalon and Chaos, Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Baphomet, and of ourselves.

Advanced Theurgy

We’ve offered devotional to our gods, built altars, called deities into statues, even called deity into each other. What is the final step that brings us into the presence of the gods in their own sphere? We can strengthen the soul’s body (ochema-pneuma), then bring the deity into that vehicle where we can commune with the god directly. This presentation discusses the nature of the soul’s vehicle, purification and invocation, how to rise to the presence of the gods, and our responsibilities when we return.

Babalon and Asherah

Before she was Babalon she was the Goddess of Life. In the Aeon of Isis she was Ishtar, Innana, Asherah. As Asherah she was worshipped in the Temple at Jerusalem alongside YHWH. The Aeon of Osiris rejected the Goddess and elevated the God to the status of creator. In that aeon Western religion rejected the female divine and demonized women’s sexuality.

In the New Aeon the Goddess comes roaring back! New rituals envision the universe as a creation of ASRH along with YHWY. The ASHR formula offers a new way to understand the manifestation of spirit in the human body. A new Thelemic ritual, the Star Garnet, allows the spiritual body to self-regenerate.

Thelemites in this Aeon take up the task of balancing the Goddess and the God, re-sacralizing sexuality, and working as sisters and brothers with each other.

Vespers of Nuit

Soror Asherah’s beautiful ritual calls on women teachers, Goddesses and saints as we lift our hands to the evening sky. We conclude with an opportunity to commune with Nuit.

Consent Culture

The O.T.O. has strict policies prohibiting harassment. Nonetheless harassment continues around the country and around the world. Policy is important but does not in itself create cultural change. We are looking for new ways to create a magical culture in which all Thelemites can freely and safely explore our sexuality and our magic. This requires conscious effort and participation on the part of everyone in O.T.O. communities. This workshop provides information, structures discussion, and offers an opportunity to engage in a consent negotiation exercise.