Having reviewed Kenneth Grant's book Outside the Circles of Time in TNN IV.4 by considering only the first half, we felt that the job was left incomplete. Therefore we have decided to finish the job and tear apart ... er ... I mean study the second half of this volume.
In Mr. Grant's case as well as the case of his associates, one can judge by association and it is well to note that Mr. Grant has taken to filling his books with the mad rubbish of others such as Michael Bertiaux, and in this particular book he incorporates a great deal of material by and about one Soror Andahadna, sometimes called Nema (and we can assure you that despite this nom de plume she is not a "Mistress of the Temple"). This lady is, of course, Maggie Cook and she has worked closely with an "adept known as the Shadow". An adept known as the Shadow? - really now!
Ms. Cook has communicated with "three 'geometrical intelligences' known ... as Rosarion, Rotat, and Navahem" and others from what she calls "the Comity of the Stars", which is supposed to be the same as the Great White Brotherhood or the A.·.A.·.. Ms. Cook has, during a past personal correspondence with this reviewer, claimed intercourse with various entities - all this while manufacturing such bits of pseudo-esoteric rubbish as Liber Pennae Praenumbra, hiding out on a farm from an ex-husband who wanted custody of their children (and should probably be awarded custody) and waiting for the end of the world - wonder if she is disappointed that the end has not yet come? The relatively long correspondence with Ms. Cook proved, at least to this reviewer, that she lacked balance and that she has digested a vast number of occult books, good and bad, and even more science fiction novels, stirred it all up into a mucky soup in her brain, and now proceeds to regurgitate that horrible mess of primarily fiction and present it as the profoundest facts of esoteric knowledge. (And L. Ron Hubbard did it better!) How anyone could take her silly ravings seriously is amazing, amusing and sad at the same time. However, Ms. Cook is not the subject here. The purpose in mentioning this lady is to illustrate something about Mr. Grant who constantly presents her silliness in his books as if it deserved serious consideration. One wonders if he takes it seriously himself - and if he does, Grant is worse off than we imagined! - or if he has simply run dry and has resorted to any tactic to sell further books, to profit from fostering garbage on those who may sincerely aspire to the Path. It is my considered opinion that he is indeed more interested in monetary profit than in truth and honour, but also that he half believes all this rubbish and in part, controlled by the qliphothic forces and the Black Brotherhood, desires to mislead aspirants so that they stray from the True Path and wander or rush headlong into the qliphothic realms to be torn apart and consumed, giving these unbalanced forces more strength. It is not the Lovecraftian "Old Gods" or "Old Ones" that he wishes to bring into our universe - he is doing his very best to give control of our universe to the qliphothic forces and the Black Brotherhood. To this end he uses confusion, the understandable ignorance of students, and misleads by mixing fact with fiction and presenting it all as truth absolute.
"The 'higher' you reach to the gods of light, the 'lower' you must plunge to the gods of darkness. To ignore their presence is to guarantee their eventual dominion over your will."
Grant enthusiastically embraces this misleading statement. In part it is correct. It is dangerous to ignore these "gods of darkness", such as the qliphoth, but he consistantly advises the would-be magician to wallow in the sewage of the qliphothic realms and revel in the filth of their excreta. Such things as careful introspection and self-psychoanalysis to study and understand one's own qliphothic elements are necessary as one "ascends" the Path, but this is for the purpose of banishing these "demons" and loosening their control over one's being. It is obvious to one who reads Grant's material that he advises something rather different, that he leads the aspirant down the Path almost exclusively with only a brief step up occasionally to give the impression of ascent. Calling these qliphothic forces "gods" is an indication of his thought patterns. Gods they are not! They lack, for instance, the necessary Unity.
Page 155: "SS (the Silver Star) is the Star Sirius ..." Grant persists in identifying the Silver Star, Argenteum Astrum, with Sirius, a material star in the physical universe. He persists in misleading the aspirant, to direct his/her attention upward and outward instead of inward to the true Silver Star, one's own Holy Guardian Angel or True Self, the obvious implication in "One Star in Sight" and Liber AL vel Legis. Personally I wish Mr. Grant could travel to Sirius and take up his abode there. Considering the temperature there I really do think Grant should go to Sirius.
Page 163: "the Operation of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin ... evoking the denizens of the Tunnels of Set." Grant makes it seem as if the Abramelin opera is for the purpose of descending to the realms of the qliphoth instead of ascending to the Knowledge and Conversation of the H.G.A.. It should be noted that in this magical opera the magician is to first obtain the K. & C. of the H.G.A. and only after that have any dealings with the so-called "demons". It is during the first half of the opera that the magician comes to an understanding of his own demonic elements and gains control over them by shifting his Point of View away from them - or banishing them, if you will. It is rather like a form of conservation, understanding that everything that is has a valuable use. The magician does not consume excreta, but rather he/she handles it with care, protecting him-/herself against disease, properly prepares it, and uses that waste matter as fertilizer for the purpose of creation. In a manner of speaking, Grant would have the magician consume this matter directly and allow dis-ease to take control of his magical body - his mind and spirit.
Page 165: "the Forbidden Wisdom associated with the qliphoth ..." Here he tries to entice the would-be magician with the forbidden fruit, but the fact is that the qliphoth are without Wisdom (Chokmah) and have no wisdom to offer. The Wisdom comes only through rising above the forces of the qliphoth.
Page 171: "The Garden of Eden is to be interpreted as Daäth, the zone of electro-magnetic force which is the habitat of the Fire Dragon." Daäth is not the Garden of Eden, which would be better associated with Kether, the true Crown of Existence. And if by "Fire Dragon" he means the force known as Kundalini (it is not always easy to know what Grant means by a term when he uses terms differently at different times) then he is again incorrect. The Fire Serpent, Kundalini, is better associated with Yesod, perhaps even Malkuth.
Page 175: "magically controlled paranoia" - absurd! The man is constantly advising would-be students to deliberately unbalance their minds and since "Equilibrium is the basis of the Great Work" they really should know better ... but seldom do. If an apparent authority figure says it will help to take an axe to one's skull they very often cleave their skulls in twain, too lazy to think for themselves, too insecure to trust in their own judgment.
Page 200 footnote 13: "AL means God or the 'Ancient One'; hence Liber AL is The Book of the Great Old One." AL (Aleph Lamed) is employed as a God Name, but it does not mean "Ancient One", which Grant claims to try and link his perverted Lovecraftianism with Thelema.
Page 201: Grant quotes from A.C.'s introduction to the 1938 E.V. edition of The Book of the Law, Liber AL vel Legis sub figura CCXX regarding "certain vast 'stars'" and with his partial quotation implies both physical stars like Sirius and the so-called "kalas of Nuit". He does not quote the rest of the above statement that follows the word "stars", i.e. "(or aggregates of experience)". This and A.C.'s use of marks before and after the word "stars" indicates that he did not mean physical stars, and the following statement shows that he was not referring to "kalas", but rather to forms of universal personalities. In the introduction A.C. continues to explain that
"One of these ('stars' or aggregates of experience) is in charge of the destinies of this planet for periods of 2,000 years."
Then he goes on to speak of the "Gods" Isis, Osiris and Horus and how their universal personalities, if you will, take charge of the universe during these æons. As Grant consistantly does with the verses of CCXX, he perverts every statement made by Crowley to make it seem as if something different from the original meaning was said. He bewilders the understandably igonrant student and confuses him and when in this state feeds him perverted nonsense that the student is unable to judge accurately. In this confused and bewildered state of mind the would-be magician is pliable and eager to grasp on to anything that seems to make sense. Many students have confided in me that Grant's books confuse them to the point of headaches - and I know exactly what they mean. When one must read one of Grant's volumes a bottle of aspirin should be ready at hand!
And Mr. Grant's gematria and qabalistic games! He seems to do his very best to be inaccurate and inane. Some of the many errors can be attributed to the publisher's printers, such as APMI ARTz = 442 on page 157 which should be APSI ARTz, Samekh instead of Mem, which look very much alike to the untrained eye; page 177, OVIM HQLIPVTh = 777 should be OVLM ..., Lamed, not Yod; and page 198, "50 is the number of NDH", where the "50" should obviously be "59". However, not many of Grant's errors can be attributed to the printer. Most are the fault of Grant himself. For instance: page 148, ShT = 301 (Shin Teth = 309); page 165, 102 = LBN and means "the Ostrich" (LBN = 82 and means "white; white of the eye; whitewasher;" etc.); page 162, "The number of Kriztovov is 418" (only if the two V's are transliterated as Pe, Ph, as they obviously are, which is quite absurd; furthermore, it looks like a Greek word, although I cannot find "Kriztonon" in my books, and anyway the numeration would then be 677); on pages 165 and 166 he transliterates the "U" in "Besqul" as Ayin (O or A'a), a totally idiotic transliteration, but it serves his purpose; page 206, footnote, "52, the number of BHMH, Behemoth," whereas in the text of page 207 he states that 453 "is also a number of Behemoth" - certainly if he insists upon changing the spelling of words any time he so pleases! [LATER NOTE: Under 453 in Sepher Sephiroth one can find BHMVTh, "Behemoth", while listed under 52 one fines BHMH, defined as "A mare; brute animal, beast".] Page 213, "'UMR AT-TAWIL'... the number of His name, 311 ..." (the proper numeration of this "name" is 312), and so on the same page, ChBSH = Khabs, a Star, and equals 311, (the only way that ChBSH could come close to 311 is by reading SH as Shin (Sh), instead of Samekh (S) and He (H), as the two capital letters "SH" imply, and even then it comes to the numeration of 310, not 311 - besides, ChBSH is a dubious transliteration for "Khabs" - KBS, (Kaph Beth Samekh or Kaph Beth Shin), might be better; in Hebrew ChBSh does not mean "star" but rather "to bind, to govern", and is this not what he is trying to do? to bind the student's mind so that he may govern that mind! Page 223, "MT (Maat) = 440" (only if MT is Mem Tau, but this is silly as it does not account for the two A's which should be represented by one or two Alephs or even Hehs, but more likely Ayin as in "Daäth" - but that of course does not give Mr. Grant the numeration he needs to make his rather typical blunt point).
Grant also tells the reader that such-and-such a word equals such-and-such a number, but refuses to explain how. He writes "555 is almost ..." (page 172), 473 "is one less than Daäth, 474" (page 217), and 556 "is one more than 555" (pages 207-8), going on with his one-more-one-less "almost" rubbish as if it actually meant something. Grant gives us "facts" such as the one on page 149, "On his 23rd birthday, Crowley was initiated into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn ...", a rather curious fact as A.C.'s birthday was October 12th and his first initiation was November 18th! Et cetera, et cetera ... A delineation of Kenneth Grant's errors and perverted "facts" could go on nearly forever, but I fear we have already wasted too much time on him here. It is interesting to note, however, that on page 148 he tells us that "The 'Soul of Not' is ALMALA, which is one of Frater Aossic's [i.e. Grant's] mottoes in the O.T.O.", his pseudo-o.t.o. that is, and that ALMALA transliterated into either Hebrew or Greek comes to the numeration of 103, which I have noted is also the numeration of malakia: "effeminacy, weakness" (Liddell & Scott's Greek-English Lexicon); "sickness" (Barclay M. Newman, Jr.); "masturbation" (Divry), as well as GOL in Hebrew, defined in Sepher Sephiroth as "loathed".
If you have wondered why this article was not opened with quotations as usual, it is because I wish to quote Grant himself from pages 217-18 and 204-5.
"The name Aossic was received prior to the present author's meeting with Crowley; it is the name of a Great Old One and was originally read as 300, which, united with the name Aiwass (418) is equal to 718, which is the number of the Stélé of Revealing and of the author's magical name - Aossic-Aiwass - as Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). Furthermore, the word 'child', by English gematria, is 52, which when added to 666 yields 718. Thus the identity of the Magical Child was both adumbrated and concealed, as long ago as 1939, in the name Aossic which Crowley interpreted as 400, the Sign of the Cross of Set, and the symbol of Manifestation (Maat)."
(52 = child if transliterated all too simplistically as ChILD and this is not "English gematria" but a crude adaptation of the Hebrew. Grant's obvious claim to be the Magical Child or Son of the Beast is based upon "proof" even more flimsy than that which he uses to claim the title of O.H.O. of the O.T.O. - and that is so flimsy as to be non-existant!)
"The above indicates the dangers, all too frequently encountered, of endeavouring to play a rôle beyond one's proper grade of spiritual attainment. It leads to disastrous consequences to chela and guru alike.
"If one's mask is not perfectly wrought, if one is not at all times thoroughly conscious that it is a mask, then trouble is to be expected, and the dangers of identifying with such a mask leads to dissociation of the personality (i.e. the gradual erosion and disintegration of the mask), thus denuding the magician and rendering him the prey of hostile and vampiric forces. His mask may be seized, 'patched up', imprisoned, and used by larvae as a zombie or a decoy to inveigle into the Tunnels the magician's unsuspecting associates. The intervention of a force from beyond the Abyss can alone salvage such a wreck."
(Mask = persona = false ego. The Tunnels of Set = the qliphothic realms. The "force from beyond the Abyss" is both one's H.G.A. and the A.·.A.·., that is, those who have successfully crossed the abyss and become one with That - and not only is such intervention rare indeed, but even that is sometimes unsuccessful in helping the failed adept or would-be magician.)
Kenneth Grant about says it all in regards to himself and his failure in these above quotations. It is a curious fact that those dominated by the qliphoth and controlled by the Black Brotherhood cannot help but to reveal themselves in such manner. Might we, perhaps, suppose that even such an one as Mr. Grant is never totally abandoned by his Angel and that that Divine Being, if you will, tries to intervene in such a way to reveal the failed adept's problem in the Hope that he may yet be saved from himself? I, for one, think so. I feel certain that no matter how far the adept falls and how consistantly he turns his back upon the True Self in favour of the false self, that that True Self, the H.G.A., never actually gives up entirely on the fallen adept, never completely abandons him in the Hope that some day that wreck may be salvaged.
For even one such as Mr. Grant, although it may take billions of incarnations and numerous centuries, perhaps even æons, there just may be salvation. Yet it is much wiser, my dear brothers and sisters, not to count on that and to carefully avoid the way Mr. Grant has chosen in life. It is much wiser to travel the Path carefully and ignore the pitfalls that he has fallen into - and that is one of the purposes for such a review as this: to assist the student in a surer and safer treading of the Path of the Wise in the Way of Thelema.
Take each step carefully though it may take a lifetime. After all, the true magician has all of eternity at his or her disposal.
(TNN IV.5.6-10, November 1985 E.V.)