"For these fools of men and their woes care not thou at all! They feel little; what is, is balanced by weak joys..."
- CCXX I.31
"These are dead, these fellows; they feel not. We are not for the poor and sad: the lords of the earth are our kinsfolk."
- CCXX II.18
"We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world..."
- Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX, Chapter II, Verse 21
These and many other verses of The Book of the Law ran through my mind as I attempted to read and understand the books of C. F. Russell. Yes, he is still alive.* However, I am not at liberty to divulge his home address. Anyone interested in communicating with him, or in obtaining some of his privately printed books, should contact: Gilbert's Book Shop, Hollywood & Vine, 6278 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, California 90028 (465-4185). It should be noted that Frater Genesthai is getting rather old and tired of it all and that he discourages most communication and correspondence.
Now, I have done my duty, as we agreed upon, but for one more thing. To quote from his letter to Frater Keallach of the 25th of April, "if you want an article you can select any part of Z is Z, label it 'taken out of context' & refer the reader to Gilbert's for the set." The three volumes cost Newaeon $45.00. Frater K. asked him to explain the title of his "Memoirs of a Magician", as he calls Znuz Is Znees, and in that same letter he replied: "P 84 of Z is Z tells how to learn meaning of title but to save you time it means simply 'Extremely Cool'." I should also note that the copyright notice in the second edition of his Book Chameleon gives one the right to quote from it for the purposes of reviews, and why not--it is free advertising! And let's face it, he needs all the help that he can get.
My purpose for this review in The Sword of Horus is perfectly in line with the Will of Newaeon, which is expressed by Atu VIII of the tarot, Adjustment. Aleister Crowley, in his Confessions (see pages 871, 872, 874 and 875) showed himself to be the gentleman that he was often accused of not being. He disguised Russell with the name Godwin. Then, after A.C. had passed on, Russell decided to speak against him, in no uncertain terms, showing himself to be less of a gentleman than the Beast 666. (Is it not interesting how people like Russell and C. S. Jones waited until after A.C.'s death to speak out against him? I do not know what this would mean to you, but to me this implies a certain amount of cowardice. A.C. would either speak out plainly against a person, or politely decline to comment. Rarely did he deign to fight on another's low level, and when he did, he did so for very specific, even magical reasons and only in such a way that humour more than anything else was attained. Most people cannot laugh at themselves, as A.C. could, and he knew this.) Purpose? Adjustment. To rebalance the scales. Then to finish with the subject. C. F. Russell is also here used as an example for the student and aspirant not to follow.
In Russell's Book Chameleon he altered the arrangement and numbers of the I Ching (Yi King), which I and many others have found to work perfectly. And what intelligent person would want to change something that works well as it is? In this book he changed even more than the order and number of the Hexagrams, as, for instance: Hexagram 12 he changed to 8 and calls PHI:
"PHI blesses those who gladly give--
Happiness to those with whom they live.
The Earth reflects the Heavens above--thus do!
Let little children teach thee something new.
'For Beauty's sake & Love's,' let us be true.
'My joy is to see your joy'--bless from afar.
Balanced, serene, not up nor down we are.
'In Thy Name, Christ Jesus, we thank Thee, AUM HA!'"
Throughout the entire work there is an odd and often conflicting mixture of philosophies and mythologies. For instance, note the above in which he mixed Liber AL vel Legis, which he never gave credit to, and Christianity, to which he often gave credit, within the Chinese I Ching. He also had a very bad and disrespectful habit of misquoting The Book of the Law, which, I am sure, is no help to his spiritual evolution. There is another thing which runs throughout his Book Chameleon: "7 (25) WU-WANG declares--in Daath we trust, The Will of God our only must!" and "25 (26) TA-KHU accumulates--nourishes power. Daath informs--await the proper hour." Do you see what I am getting at? Daäth, the false crown of Knowledge which must be cast aside as soon as it is attained, cast aside for the True Crown of Kether, is the only real entrance to the Qliphothic realms, though some people would have us believe that Daäth is a door to the "other side" of the Tree. We will deal with that subject at another time.
All in all the book is rather ... well ... you put a name to it. The complete title runs like this: "BOOK CHAMELEON A New Version in Verse of the YI KING by C. F. Russell ** Second Edition with ABSO*MING*WEN*LUTELY ABSEY-BOOKE..." [Note: there is a third point above the F in his name not easily reproduced in this place.] When Soror S.O., a Taiwanese ballerina with a B.A. in English Literature, saw the Chinese characters in this book she broke into laugher and said that it looked like the writing of a six year old child just learning how to write. But enough of this book. On to that mysteriously titled three volume set called Znuz is Znees.
The binding is cheap, lacking in good taste and positively unattractive. The printing is really very poorly reproduced, badly typwritten sheets. The books are full of black and white photographs of Russell at various ages, some well reproduced while some are almost impossible to make out. There is one photograph that is supposed to be A.C., but it is so poorly reproduced that it could be anybody else--and probably is.
But let us not judge a book by its cover. Let us open it up and read what Russell has to say, and how he has to say it.
"All characters in this story are for real. If you were left out & haven't sense enough to be glad, don't cry yet - look in future volumes under other categories."
(He is, by the way, working on Volume 4 at this time.)
Cute. I liked that. We will go on--and it is not easy to do for the book is full of those childish Chinese characters and pages upon pages of curious calculations composed of letters, words, numbers, symbols and geometric-like lines and circles which often run through an entire page of text. This kind of thing not only runs rampant throughout the three volumes, but often when you least expect it, there it is! You would think he had something more to say about a subject, then suddenly you are thrown into a whirlpool of chaotic forms. (The allusion to Daäth is intentional.) He also has a habit of changing the subject so abruptly that one often has to reread a passage over several times before one can separate one subject from another.
On page 18, IV CONCERNING THE MILLER'S DAUGHTER: "This area of reminiscence shall reek prudently of Piss. Off the opo know this that for many years to get on to the Po po for Oui oui never occured to me. Ads offer the cure for my affliction; dubious or not I wouldn't guess, but nothing of that sort was ever tried on me. How I stopped bed wetting will emerge. As early as four I had a ball mashing maggots on my rump up to the giddy hilt in soaking sheets night after night with scarcely gentle remonstrances from my parents - may they rest in peace."
I would go on and on in this vain, quoting even stranger passages, which, aside from many other things, shows a curious obsession with the functions and results of excretion, but I shan't. You are welcome.
How about this: "...I am no cad or muck raker, there has been enough of that! Here I will be content simply to dispel the illusion held by this man & his disciples that he was 'The Beast'. In this he was never sincere except in a psychopathic manner until laterly he became addicted to drugs & lost capacity to overcome this obsession."
I suggest here that one read the works of A.C. before, during and after he began his experiments with drugs, and then read and compare the material which Russell has produced. Comparison is really interesting, especially in this case, because A.C.'s approach, particularly pertaining to himself, was always skeptical, scientific, logical and careful, whereas Russell seems totally unable to even approach himself in any manner. He went on to prove that "The real Beast is SORATH," and other things misunderstood by him, and finished this section with: "I retired from the Outer College & ceased to promote his work over thirty years ago, although in view of the fact that Light must have Darkness as a foil I can still find uses for his masterpiece, Liber Legis..."
How very typical. Vilely slander Crowley and then turn about and use everything that he did, knowing it to possess wisdom unobtainable by the slanderer, for the attainment of his own personal goals. This is so common. Crowley was a lunatic, men like Russell [an obvious lunatic] say, yet Crowley apparently wrote the most lucid, sane and quotable things. How transparently hypocritical some people are, and how utterly stupid, really amazes me. And how cruel and mercenary!
On page 112, after mentioning certain errors that Louis T. Culling made in his book, Frater Genesthai, Culling's mentor, in a manner of speaking, went on to say: "...except for incompleteness & obsolenscence the 'Curriculum' has merit - read it, shows a heap of hard work, utmost sincerity & loyalty! How could I possibly put down (page 2) - 'Well the, frater .·.GENESTHAI, C. F. RUSSELL, as a teacher in Practicing Magick, was, without question the greatest genius of this century, or of several past centuries that I have been able to trace.'"
Anyone who has read The Complete Magick Curriculum of the Secret Order, G.·.B.·.G.·., by Louis T. Culling, and has any intelligence whatsoever, will recognize it for the silly, trite and useless piece of trash that it is, for the entire book is an insult to human intelligence. Of course, how could Russell not recommend it? Crowley himself noted that "Godwin's" consciousness had been utterly crushed during his adventure on the Rock at Cefalu and that his common sense was, so to speak, scattered to the four winds, dispersed, and that "Godwin" had attempted to cover his shame of failure by piling pride on top of that shame and developing and extreme case of megalomania. As usual, I cannot help but to agree with the words of the Master Therion.
I would like to go into details on how he attacks Crowley by saying that he "superstitiously" relied "on oracles (in this case, the Yi) rather than ... his own genius", but things like this only serve to show you that Russell really does not know what the bloody hell he is talking about. What is the I Ching but a method of contacting and consulting one's own Genius! Only the superstitious understand the Yi as Russell seems to "understand" it.
Throughout Znuz is Znees it is obvious that not only has C. F. Russell projected all of his own problems upon Crowley and others, but that Russell has done exactly what I have noticed other ego-centred aspirants to have done. Russell tried to compete with the Beast 666, naturally failed, and could not live with the shame, a shame which belongs to the Christian era and way of thinking. The Magical Path, the Path of the Wise, is not a race track. The Magnum Opus is not a competition to see who reaches Godhood first. THERE IS NO COMPETITION INVOLVED. "Every man and every woman is a star", each with his and her own individual magnitude and orbit in the universe of being. For instance, the subject of the poem "Hag-ridden", which appeared in an earlier newsletter, one Soror I.D.V., was also completely given over to the control of ego. She was not concerning herself with doing her Will, but was rather on an ego-trip and trying to compete not only with yours truly, but with Crowley himself! Through a series of ego-crushing trials that I put her through, I who she admires above all living mortals that she knows (silly girl!), she is finally beginning to face herself, her ego, for once. She has a long way to go yet, but at thirty-one she still has quite a lot of time. [Soror I.D.V., some time after this writing, "disappeared", so I expect that one day she will write of me as C. F. Russell has written of Crowley! -ED] But what of C. F. Russell? He has an even longer way to go before he can even discover for himself what the True Path is and he does not have much time left in his life* to travel upon it once he does ... if ever he does.
He has yet to learn that there is no competition along the Path. Each and every individual travels along the Path of the Wise at his or her own speed, in his or her own manner, and within his or her own orbit. The greatest thing that anyone can accomplish in the Way of Magick, in life itself, is not to better someone else, but rather to attain to the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and more, to attain to the Union with that Genius, one's True Self, one's self in the future, so to speak. Why should anyone want to compete with another, when in fact that Union with Adonai is the only true goal towards which anyone and everyone should aspire?
If you can obtain Russell's books without too much trouble or expense then do so. They are the Darkness that is the foil for the Light brilliantly shining in the books of Aleister Crowley. Russell's "Memoires" are also a perfect record of the many mistakes that one can make along the Path. And besides, Frater Genesthai could probably use the money.
"...a beggar cannot hide his poverty.  ... If he be
a King, thou
canst not hurt him. Therefore strike hard & low, and to hell with them,
- Liber AL vel Legis, Chapter II, Verses 58, 59 & 60
*[1997 E.V. NOTE: Genesthai has, since the writing of the above, died. He was an interesting man, capable of being very fraternal and vindictively nasty at the same time, obviously eternally at war with himself. I, like Crowley, by way of my correspondence with him, noticed something very fine about the man deep down inside, but, in part because of childhood abuse and God knows what else, he never really seemed to have much of a chance at mental and emotional stability. It would be wrong to hate the man and equally wrong to pity him. Wish him, instead, better luck in the next incarnation.]
(TNN. I.5.6-9, 8/23/78 E.V.)