Skoob Books Publishing, 11a-17 Sicilian Avenue, Southampton Row, London WC1A 2QH, 1994 E.V., Hardbound, $39.95 U.S., £24.99 U.K.
From the Introduction: "Outer Gateways is the first volume of a third Typhonian Trilogy." Which is to say 264 pages more of the same old rubbish, lunacy and perverse misinterpretation of Thelema.
"A word of caution is, perhaps, not out of place. Although a recently 'received' text, and therefore a genuine qabalah, Wisdom of S'lba is not announcing a New Dispensation, or attempting to overthrow any particular systems of magick or esotericism. Nor is it claimed on its behalf that it contains a universally applicable grimoire. It is, purely and simply, a synthesization of emanations received under curious circumstances outside normally accepted magical procedures, and subsequently translated into terrestrial language. It has been described as a Typhonian Tantra, but a more precise definition would identify it as a text of the Typhonian School fed by Ophidian Vibrations emanating from the Tunnels of Set. ..."
However, what the Widsom of S'lba REALLY represents is the ravings of a disordered mind, cut off from the Creative factor or one might say the Creator, stitching together the soiled and tattered rags of various philosophies, facts and fantasies, in yet another crude imitation of The Book of the Law - a silly trick several madmen and charlatans have tried since the popularity of Aleister Crowley grew, trying to capitalize on that popularity, trying to use it to promote their own petty egos. Grant may say that it does not announce a "New Dispensation" or "overthrow any particular systems", but in fact, as he did in his previous book, Hecate's Fountain, Grant takes every opportunity he can to claim that Crowley [and others] had it all wrong and he, Frater Aossic-Aiwass, 718, self-proclaimed O.H.O. of the O.T.O., has all the answers. Flock to him, my children. Flock to the new slave master and be as Christian sheep to be sheared and slaughtered!
Dispensing with the latter part of Outer Gateways as quickly as possible, the Wisdom of S'lba, and please note that S'lba converted into Hebrew characters as Samekh, Lamed, Beth and Aleph comes to the numeration of 93 [cute], also called The Doctrine of Self-Neither Attained through the Bliss of Non-mobile Becoming - yeah, right - which to me means becoming nothing by doing nothing, a philosophy that should catch on well in the 90's, is sixteen pages of complete lunacy that deserves not a second of careful study unless, of course, one wishes to study the disordered and deranged mind of Kenneth Grant, a would-be magician gone very wrong. Here is a small selection of verses in this "received" book:
"36. Madness is a state of mind; so is death. Death is but an event in the waking state. No one can dream his own death. Who dreams it? Like death, madness is ever becoming, ever changing, elusive, ecstatic. There is no death, but there is release of mind from follies against S'lba."
"55 8. Abide alone in places of Selfhood. Even in cities remain alone. If worlds dissolve, see that they merge in you, for the rivers of their dissolution are a living Light which is the outer robe of S'lba-bel-Aossic."
These two phrases alone, but which are supported by many others, shows that Kenneth Grant has isolated himself from humankind, feels intensely his isolation, and revels in the madness that initiated and maintains that isolation, is intensified by that isolation, interpreting it by way of his ego as something divine and desirable.
"59 12. Herein indeed is a New Sexuality, but he who has not Bel-Aossic attained comprehends it not."
Personally, I find nothing wrong with the old sexuality - merely in some of the Puritanical and unreasonable views of sexuality most strongly held, it seems, in the ever perverse contradictory United States. But let's continue.
"62 15. In your identity therewith is Bel-Aossic perfect, shadowed forth in form as the Sigil of S'lba."
"69 22. The state Bel-Aossic is primary, sexless. Man must seek inward and pierce the deep centre, unveil the shrine of his desire and rouse the vague spectres of the Backward Darkness."
"168 14. Destroy not, neither create. Within the nightmind alone Desire attains Aossic."
"174 20. Disintegration of Form is Madness is the Victory achieved by the Ravens of Dispersion."
"179 25. Aossic attained through non-mobile Becoming yields the knowledge of Impossibility and the key to the Sphere of Non-Necessity: the realisation of Pleasure in explosion of Self, as Black Eagle instructed the Zos in the Book of that Name."
"201 47. The basilisk spirals; Aossic-esses hissing; Ixaxaar!"
On page 182 Grant points out that "The word S'lba is a tentative rendering of the magical characters which appear in verse 16 of the second chapter ...", but that its numeration is 93 is probably no coincidence nor part of some divine plan. Nor does a document like this, that constantly trumpets variations of Grant's "magical name", come from a divine source - unless one consideres a disordered mind and an out of control ego divine.
Aossic is defined in the glossary as
"A Great Old One. His Sigil, and therefore His formula [please note the capitalization of the H in "His" - ED], is described in The Wisdom of S'lba. His Name, which contains the formula for evoking the Children of Isis has been adopted by the present Head of the O.T.O. - Aossic-Aiwass, 718, a number which combines with the Supreme Goddess, 393, to produce 1111, the Double Eleven, and to open the 22 (11 x 22) Tunnels of Set."
By the way, in my opinion the "Tunnels of Set" are nothing more than the twisted and perverse pathways of Grant's demented mind.
Grant, as usual, misdirects the aspirant who may take his book seriously by again identifying the Silver Star much too strongly with Sirius ... something anyone with at least an ounce of intelligence can't take siriusly [sorry] ... as even Grant must cry out "I'm mad! I'm mad!" by directing the reader to Crowley's "One Star in Sight".
He defines the Mauve Zone here as
"The belt which rings the Abyss. Its symbol is the swamp, and its substance the marsh effluvia in which are reflected the qliphoth of the Ancient Ones back of the Tree of Life. The subject is highly complex; see, in particular, Nightside of Eden, and Hecate's Fountain."
And Grant speaks of a "Primal Grimoire", claiming that
"the Necronomicon actually exists on a plane accessible to those who, either consciously like Crowley, or unconsciously like Lovecraft, have succeeded in penetrating it. There are vague hints of the book's existence in the arcane literature of East and West".
The myth of a most powerful book of wisdom and/or spells is common throughout the world, ever since the written word was invented and books came into being, but close examination of the myths should make it clear to any thinking person that different books are being vaguely alluded to - books that are little more than a storyteller's device.
Grant is still and probably will always be completely potty about Lovecraft's fictional Cthulhu. On page 10 he tells us that
"The word Tutulu was heard by Crowley during an initiation into the Aethyr of Zaa*" and that "It is probable that the word transcribed by H. P. Lovecraft as 'Cthulhu' is a variant form or corruption of Tutulu, in much the same way that Choronzon is a variant of Chozzar and Choronzain." [He also says on page 13 that "it is probable that he", Crowley, "misheard the word Tutulu. It may have been Kutulu, in which case it would be identical phonetically, but not qabalistically, with Cthulhu."]
Of course, during the invocation of the 27th Aethyr Crowley "heard" more than that one word, in fact he recorded in The Vision & the Voice this:
"ARARNA OBOLO MAHARNA TUTULU NOM LAHARA EN NEDIEZO LO SAD FONUSA SOBANA ARANA BINUF LA LA LA ARPAZNA UOHULU"
and the only thing that makes Tutulu stand out is that Crowley could not define it in any way. And perhaps Grant is wrong - I know, impossible to conceive, isn't it - but maybe, just maybe both Crowley and Lovecraft got it wrong, maybe it wasn't "Tutulu" that was heard, perhaps it was the great warrior's name, Shaka Zulu! Or perhaps the Goddess of Comedy, Little Lulu! What is interesting in this context is that aside from the fact that an "ulu" is a type of knife used by Eskimo women, to "ululate" is to "howl or hoot", "ululation" being "a wailing, howling, hooting", "ululant" being "a howling, hooting, wailing or screaming as an owl or animal", and this causes one to think of the word "goetia", derived from a Greek word, "goes" or "goetos", meaning "one who howls out enchantments, a wizard, sorcerer", "goeteia" meaning "sorcery". Be that as it may, Grant has again plucked some essentially insignificant word, important probably only within that aethyr or inner space, perhaps only important to Crowley, and he's used it to go off on another flight of fancy. He goes on to say that the number of Tutulu is 66, true if the English letters are replaced with Hebrew Teths, Vaus and a Lamed, which is the number of the Great Work as well as Nu and Had conjoined, blah, blah, blah, and he points out that
"66 is the mystical number of the Qliphoth, the 'world of shells' which suggests the abode of the Deep Ones of which Cthulhu or Tutulu is supreme."
The "shells" in question, the qliphoth, are empty shells, as empty as Grant's words and inane pseudo-philosophy and pseudo-magick. He also states that "66 is a number of Aiwaz" but does not go on to explain how this is so, this information he thanks Mr. André Cote for. I corresponded with Mr. Cote once, that correspondence ended long ago ... now I know what became of him. Nothing, I suppose, if he has hooked up with the "master" of becoming nothing by doing nothing.
On page 10 one of Grant's numerous distracting, concentration breaking footnotes says that The Vision & the Voice, Liber 418, are "invocations of the outer spaces", but again he is misleading and misdirecting readers and aspirants, for it is inner space which one explores by way of the Aethyrs.
Grant, who insulted Pagans and neo-pagans in Hecate's Fountain with his remarks about Witchcraft, shows just as much ignorance when on page 17 he speaks of "Spare's sorcery, which had its origin in the Amerindian witchcult refracted through Yelg Paterson, who claimed descent from Salem witches." I believe I read in the book that this Paterson lived in Wales. Aside from the fact that in all probability the "witches" of old Salem were not in fact witches, but only innocent Christians of one variety or another, ignorant of the Craft, there is no "witchcult" in the "Amerindian" or American Indian [Eskimo] culture. Their religious practices are shamanistic, similar to the paganism of Europe but not the same. And further on Grant mentions Austin Osman Spare's "involvement with various spiritualist organisations", that he was "a prominent advocate of spiritualism", and this says a lot about the undisciplined mind of the artist gone mad and the madman who bases so much of his own ravings on Spare's lunacies.
On pages 25 and 33 in particular, Grant refers to the Rev. Montague Summers, author of such books as The History of Witchcraft, Geography of Witchcraft and The Werewolf, in overly flattering terms. He refers to Summers' books as "erudite works", praising "that divine's work". Yet while it is true that Summers collected a good deal of information and folk tales, no serious student of the esoteric can take him seriously since he saw the Christian Devil everywhere, in everything that was not part of his particular belief system, and as Grant is positively potty on Cthulhu, Summers was just as fixated on the Devil. Two of a kind I suppose, Grant's interpretation of Lovecraft's fiction and the Christian bogeyman, as well as Grant and Summers. Only difference between the latter gentleman and the former is that probably Summers was not precisely mad, but merely blinded by his religious intolerance.
UFology provides Grant with more nonsense from which to draw in the formation of his madness, and on page 35, for instance, he tells us that
"The subject [of Horus, et al - ED] is further complicated by the fact that Crowley's death in 1947 occurred on the brink of the Ufological Era", and "the earliest colonisers of earth ... descended from Typhonian star systems. The solar lineage, so called, was, in a later mythos represented as coming via the moon, to pave the way for those of whom they themselves were a pale reflection or a distorted projection. 'Those', whose provenance was confused with the sun, came from Sirius - the 'sun behind the sun'."
He will include anything into his personal wild and crazy universe if he can make it fit, like a square peg forced into a round hole.
Of course he remains fixated on Choronzon, "the functional aspect of the negating factor [which] is now forcing its entry into the terrestrial sphere," he states on page 64, as if Choronzon too were an alien extraterrestrial entity. And he points out that "Crowley notes that the only power that may overcome Choronzon is Silence", which is quite true, but with this his first book in a third trilogy that goes on and on about the same old insanity, Kenneth Grant proves that he could not employ that weapon and that he has been overcome by Choronzon [the chattering ego monkey] and is now under the dominion of that which we call by the name whose numeration of 333. Understandably then he wrote on page 65 that the Cult of Cthulhu is identical with that of Choronzon, although H.P.L. might disagree strongly, and Grant asks "Are we not justified therefore in alluding to the Aeon of Horus as the Aeon of Choronzon?" Madness.
The "Aeon of Horus" refers to the concentration upon the Solar Self, that One Star in Sight, the True Self, the centre or core of one's personal universe, whereas the "Aeon of Choronzon" would imply a concentration upon the ego, the false self, not the core but rather the outer layers of reality which are in fact illusion. But what else can we expect from a man who cannot differentiate between fact and fiction, which are important distinctions below the Abyss, as it were, and having plunged into Daäth Grant cannot claim to be speaking or writing from a Supernal Point of View.
On page 70 we find an interesting rationalization of Grant's downfall:
"... Crowley acknowledged that this experience* had shaken him utterly: 'The secret comes along the Path of Aleph to Chokmah', which is a manner of saying that it comes from Outside (the Tree of Life). Crowley observed of this secret that it has 'the might to hurl every master of the Temple into the Abyss, and to fling every adept of the Rose Cross down to the Qliphoth'.* This, because the Qliphoth is the source of the shells or Space-capsules that traverse the abyss between man and extraterrestrial consciousness."
But of course the empty shells, the leftovers of creation and the shredded remains of the unwary are not "Space-capsules", unless you turn that phrase around to imply capsules containing naught but empty space, and the qliphoth have nothing to do, essentially, with "extraterrestrial consciousness", but more so related to subconscious complexes. And yet Grant proves his egoism and domination by these forces by stating on page 73:
"That which Crowley describes as the power of the vision to 'fling every adept ... down to the Qliphoth', and which Kafka describes as 'bottomless pessimism', is the doctrine of anatta presented by the Madhyamikas. Both writers have failed to understand the doctrine."
Grant, who failed utterly as both a magician and a Thelemite, delights in constantly stating how this great mind and that great mind failed ... ah ... but he has all the answers!
It is truly a shame that Grant could not exercise silence to defeat Choronzon [ego], but of course dominated by Choronzon he talks about talk as if it were the fault of others and not his. On page 78 he wrote "People have always tended to talk too much, but the tendency to defame, denigrate, curse, blaspheme and wound has never been so universally rife as it is to day." I suppose he might hold me up as a glaring example, while in fact he is the one constantly denigrating others, mostly in a cowardly oblique fashion as above, while I am merely making clearer the obvious in an attempt to undo some of the wrong he has done.
"To abuse language, rhythm, harmony, is to pervert and to warp the subtle grid or yantra on which phenomenal structure is based", we also find on page 78, but then what of his silly word games with Cthulhu, equating the "Great Bear" with the "Great Bearer" because of the superficial similarity, and so forth? And his pseudo-gematria games! Dubiously transliterating English words, however it suits him at the moment, by simply replacing English letters usually with Hebrew characters to use and abuse the numeration of that alphabet. "One of the numbers of MAN is 91" he tells us on page 14, "91 being two* less than 93 suggests that only by the conjunction of both (male and female) is the Ophidian Current transmitted." Really? Now wait a minute, Kelly spelled in Hebrew, Kaph, Aleph, Lamed, Lamed, Yod comes to 91, so that means, being 2 less than 93, it is not whole without 2 more letters, well, the G and M of course! Aw ... give us a break, Kenny.
Aside from his simplistic half-baked transliterations and perverse form of gematria, there is that one-more-one-less nonsense of Grant's.
"Spelled out as ShVGNIGVTh, Shognigoth is one more than 777, the number of OVLM HQLIPVTh, 'the World of Shells', and of DGON, Dagon, 'Lord of the Deep Ones'"; from page 24, and "Anphar, which is one less than 33, is alternatively rendered as Angar which, as 255, equates it with Irem, the 'City of the Pillars', the cult-centre of Great Cthulhu amid the pathless deserts of Arabia",
page 96, and so forth. Worse still being the fact that Grant bases so much upon his inane brand of gematria while many of his simple addition calculations are incorrect. In one of the books by Grant Skoob republished there is a list of errata included that is at least a page long, being only some of the errors I pointed out in an earlier review, and a miniscule amount of errors actually in the book, yet the book and the arguments in the book are left standing upon that rotten foundation. In Outer Gateways, as in all of Grant's misbegotten literary monstrosities, errors that a child in the first grade would not make abound.
Footnote on page 16:
"Meon (MAON=166) in Arab myth was 'The Throne of Bel in the Heavens'. ... Its number, 166, denotes Caligo maxima, the deepest darkness (of Outer Space). ...",
yet if by "MAON" he means to imply Meon transliterated as Mem, Aleph, Ayin and Nun, as most certainly he does, that being his M.O. and S.O.P. for him, the numeration is 161, not 166, or 97 if O = Vau, and so forth if one plays around a bit more, but it does not come to the numeration of 166. [LATER NOTE: If Grant had written "Meon (MEON=166)" one could assume that he translated it as Mem (40), He or Heh (5), Ayin (70) and Nun (50), but that too comes out "wrong" as the total is then 165!]
On page 23 he wrote "936 is also the number of Kether, spelled in full" but again he is absolutely incorrect and his error is obviously a very simple matter a man of any intellect should not have overlooked when writing a supposedly important book upon which arguments are supported by such data. Spelled in full, i.e. Kaph Pe (20 + 80) for the initial letter of Kether and so on, the numeration comes to 1736, not 936. Obviously what he did was to first use the numeration for Pe-final, 800, then he added it all together, 820 + 406 + 510, but in adding it all up he somehow forgot the 8 of 820 so that he actually added 20 + 406 + 510. A simple mistake? Yes. Certainly. But it is the kind of simple mistake that he makes again and again, proving himself not to be an adept or master, but simply a simpleton, a careless, undisciplined, reckless simpleton.
Page 26: "An alternative number of Ossadagowah is 281 ... 281 is also the number of Sang Po", but employing his methods of arriving at a word's numeration it comes to 263 or 199. Page 71: "116 also indicates Kilena, the Tree of Crucifixion in the Dogon Cult, and a form of Golgotha (GLGLTh). 116 is one* less than Lam (71) + Mu (46), and, according to The Necronomicon, Lammu is the name of the first of the twins born of the Ancient Ones." But GLGLTh [Hebrew], the mountain atop which the Cross of Suffering was erected, comes to the numeration of 466, not 116, and there he goes again with that "one less" nonsense.
But his errors are not confined to addition alone. On page 80 he says that
"This is an adumbration of the Aeon of Maat (Tia Mat). 77 equals MDLG, 'leaping' ... It is also a number of MDGL, the Tower sacred to Baal. The latter is the godform of the Baals, or Outer Ones, who inhabit a planet in the star system of Proxima Centauri."
Come down to earth, Kenny, my boy! If Tia Mat is supposed to come to the numeration of 77 I would like to know how. Using your methods I make it at best 70, and MDGL should be MGDL, Mem, Gimel, Daleth, Lamed. Mixing up Hebrew consonants can get one into trouble, like employing an unfamiliar language to ask a native where one might find the restroom but actually saying something like "I think you have a very obtuse bottom"! And Grant, using Crowley, misquotes him thusly on page 81: "Crowley describes all magick as being a reversal of the natural order,* ..." whereas A.C. actually wrote on page 248 of the 1972 E.V. Next Step Publications edition of The Magical Record of the Beast 666 "existing order", not "natural order", and this gives the old Beast's statement an entirely different meaning. Furthermore, even in quoting The Book of the Law he can't get things right, such as when he misquoted Chapter II, Verse 26, writing "If I droop down my head..." when "my" should have been "mine". A small error to be sure, but every Thelemite knows that in quoting this holiest book of Thelema one must quote it exactly, for every nuance is important, the structure filtered through the persona of To Mega Therion but transcending it.
Of course Kenneth Grant insists upon mistranslating the foundation stone of Thelema, Liber AL vel Legis, The Book of the Law, as for instance on page 82 when he says that "the Kingly Man extolled by Crowley" was "not understood by him in the sense of trans-human Intelligence." The Kingly Man basically being one who rules his personal universe, his own mind, emotions, and body, and is not ruled by them. True then this refers to ones True Self, the Supraconscious, i.e. the perfectly united conscious and subconscious aspects of self, but when Grant says things like "trans-human Intelligence" we know from long experience that he's talking about the proverbial Little Green Men, or Grey or whatever colour is in vogue and politically correct at the moment.
Mistranslating The Book and misdirecting readers and aspirants, leading them astray, he does pretty thoroughly in Outer Gateways, and all this plus his errors would, as I have said before, take a number of volumes the size of this one book of his to point out and correct. We are here limited by space, time, and ambition. Already, I fear, too much effort has been expended upon Mr. Kenneth Grant. However, let us look at a few more things.
Grant seems to have a big problem with the homosexual nature of the O.T.O.'s XI° and states on page 21 that "It is emphatically not a formula involving homosexuality." On page 126 we find: "A similar confusion of types has arisen in connection with the import of the XI° O.T.O., which involves the formula of protoplasmic reversion and which has nothing whatever to do with homosexuality.*" Apparently Grant is homophobic (not very p.c. of him!) and negates the existence of a large portion of the human population, among them many of the great masters and adepts, alienating homosexuals, and one might assume lesbians, as he has also driven Pagans away and others with statements that display ignorance and bigotry unbecoming of a true Thelemite. If a magical operation between a man and a woman can accomplish worthwhile results, why then cannot that magick performed by two men or two women also have value? It is only a matter of energy generated, types or polarities, and the manner in which that energy is employed or directed. As with simple magnetism, sometimes the use of opposing poles does the trick and sometimes the reverse accomplishes the task.
Kenneth Grant's problems, intellectual and emotional, are obviously legion, and because of them his basis for the books that he writes, the incredibly awful and twisted pseudo-scholarship and his phantasmagorical experiences within the realm of his own mind, bolstered by his "creative gematria" and "dream control", leads him and anyone foolish enough to follow him straight into the universal sewer of the qliphothic realm. A key to his madness can be found on page 151 where he wrote that "The mind, being constantly indrawn, is in danger of failing to distinguish between waking and dreaming, for there are in truth no boundaries between the two", and the fact that he lives his life pretty much as a hermit has become a well known fact.
The only value to Kenneth Grant's books is to the student of abnormal human psychology and the pathological states that might develop in one who carelessly and without proper guidance travels the Path of the Wise, surrendering himself to the first of the petty tyrants that declares itself GOD ... the ego. Otherwise, $39.95 is way too much to spend for a Grant book, as too would be a single dollar, and one should not encourage publishers to sacrifice further beautiful, oxygen-producing trees for such rubbish as Mr. Grant is only capable of producing.
*Each asterisk represents a 1 or 2 digit number used by Grant to indicate footnotes in his book, footnotes which abound and break the reader's concentration, tricking some minds into a weary, confused state that finds relief only in accepting without further thought what is written.
At first I thought that since Kenneth Grant's supposedly nonfiction books are so full of fantasy and fable, it just might be that he is at least good at writing fiction. I was wrong. I forgot that although he employs quite a lot of fiction in his nonfiction works it is fiction borrowed from H. P. Lovecraft and others, torn from this and that and badly pieced together to create the horrific world of his seriously unbalanced mind. And indeed, "The Stellar Lode", a poorly written imitation of a Lovecraftian tale lacking depth of plot or character, lacking the wonderfully overabundance of adjectives that overdramatized Lovecraft's stories, lacking anything that would move the story along, I decided was really quite a load indeed! It bored me and was a minor torture to read, although not nearly as much torture as his works of "nonfiction". Of course, this saving grace may have been because Grant "wrote this tale in the mid nineteen-fifties", before he was too far gone, thus I shudder to think how a work of fiction written by him today might read.
The tale, of course, is a story about his "Mauve Zone", and even here he cannot be original for surely he has seen the original Twilight Zone hosted and often written by Rod Serling.
This was originally a small part of a much larger review of the Skoob Esoterica Anthology 1 which appeared in the same Encyclical Letter as the article above.
Not so very long ago there appeared on P. R. Konig's rather large web site (http://www.cyberlink.ch/~koenig/) a document which has caused some debate in so-called Thelemic circles. The document, either two pages or written on both sides, which can be viewed on the site, purports to be a letter written by Aleister Crowley in the last weeks of his life in November of 1947 E.V., naming Kenneth Grant his successor as O.H.O. (Outer Head of the Order) of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis). Until now the only "proof" we have ever had of Grant's claim to this office has been his word, which I, for one, have no faith in. The late Grady Louis McMurtry (Frater Hymenaeus Alpha 777) used as "proof" that the office was his the so-called "Caliphate Letters", letters written by Crowley flattering the then young soldier with the title "Caliph", officially meaningless in the O.T.O., and which, in fact, could have also been another infamous Crowleyean leg-pull. The "Caliphate Letters" do not in any way prove that McMurtry was Crowley's chosen successor as O.H.O., but only that he was to act as Crowley's representative during a time when the various members of the last legitimate O.T.O. Lodge in Pasadena, CALIFornia, c. 1930's-1940's, were acting irrationally. Crowley specified that McMurtry was to act as his representative only if Karl Germer gave his approval, which he did not give. We may easily dismiss all other claimants to the title and office of O.H.O. such as the late Marcelo Ramos Motta and one of his successors, David Bersson, as their claims are tissue thin and their madness legendary
So what are we to make of this document? Well, first let us review the contents. What follows is the main text, but it is suggested that if you are interested you visit P. R. Konig's site to view what appears to be the original document. By the way, especially since it seems Mr. Konig has experienced no moral dilemma over "borrowing" from the Newaeon web site, I see no reason to feel distress over quoting from his in the context of this review:
"Knowing my death is near, and knowing that my loyal Frater Saturnus [Karl Germer], Grand Secretary General of the O.T.O. is capable only of the Office of Custodian, I hereby appoint Frater Aussik 400 [Kenneth Grant; note the difference in spelling] as my successor as Outer Head of the Ordo Templi Orientis, upon whose acceptance of the X°, Frater Saturnus is to surrender any of my personal papers and belongings that he has Custody of, to Frater Aussik. May Aussik fulfil [sic] his part in the Great Work."
This was signed Baphomet 729 X° O.T.O. and also possessed the usual Thelemic salutations and such.
Konig also presents the comments of two individuals regarding the authenticity of the document. One Joyce Martin, supposedly an individual with "a diploma in graphology from the British Institute of Graphologists", who may or may not be a real person for all we can tell, goes into some slight detail regarding this disputed document. Ms. Martin concludes "that it is unlikely that the questioned document was written by Aleister Crowley". On the other hand, another "expert", referred to as "(s)he", unnamed, supposedly wishing to "remain anonymous" for "personal reasons", seems to be saying on the stength of the paper and wax seal that this letter was indeed most likely written by Crowley. (S)he argues that the paper was indeed Crowley's personal stationary, which begs the question: To what did (s)he have to compare it to? (S)he also states that the wax seal "is clearly of an age consistent with the purported age of the document", but of course while (s)he has pointed out that graphology is not an exact science, the dating of the wax also cannot be done with any real exactitude, and for all we know this "expert" merely looked at it and made a determination.
This second "expert" states that "In the unlikely event that it is a forgery, then it is an extremely good 50 year old forgery, done on Crowley's o[w]n notepaper, in Crowley's handwriting, and sealed with Crowley's own ring." Of course it may be a 50 year old forgery, and perhaps it was not used earlier to wrest the office from the original Agape Lodge and Karl Germer, who did not want it, because the forger lost his nerve, and/or perhaps the document has been lost all these years. It is even possible that it was intentionally set aside to be found, the forger never imagining that it would take this long to be discovered. Am I saying that the possible forger is Kenneth Grant himself? Not necessarily. It could have been a friend of Grant's, an enemy of Crowley's or the Order, or a simple trickster looking for a bit of sport. Too much trouble for someone to go to for a mere hoax? Tell that to the investigators who have discovered Crop Circles, UFO sightings, photographs and video tape, pictures of the Loch Ness Monster and Big Foot to be clever hoaxes. And the faking of historical documents is almost a cottage industry in some circles.
This second "expert" also states that "The fact remains that the writing is on Crowley's original notepaper, and is sealed with Crowley's ring, both of which could not possibly have been faked." But why not? It's done all the time. And it could easily have been written on Crowley's own personal notepaper, if indeed it was all that personal. Blank sheets could have come into the possession of numerous people in a multitude of ways, and even recently found amongst his books and manuscripts. As for the seal ring, this "expert" points out that this is now in the possession of the Caliphate, and rightly asks why they would destroy their claims by forging this document? Of course, we do not know for certain if it was Crowley's seal ring used, or perhaps a very good duplicate, nor do we even know if it was the only ring of its kind or if, when it was made, a second copy was produced for whatever reason you can imagine for yourself. And of course, considering the back-stabbing "fraternity" one finds in the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o. it is not difficult to imagine a disgruntled member getting his or her hands on that ring long enough to add the finishing touches to a forgery, produced just to "get even".
The anonymous "expert", never detailing what methods(s) he used to determine the authenticity and age of the paper and wax seal, also stated that the document is unlikely to have been forged by the Typhonian pseudo-o.t.o., Kenneth Grant or any member of his group, because it would be pointless: "...why should they? Grant's claim to the leadership is stronger than the 'Caliph's', so the Typhonians would have nothing to gain and everything to lose by producing a forged document." This, to me, sounds like someone went one step too far. There is nothing before this that makes Grant's claim any stronger than McMurtry's was, and flimsy as they are, the "Caliphate Letters" are at least better than the word of Kenneth Grant. It sounds to me as if this anonymous "expert" is, in truth, a member of the Typhonian pseudo-o.t.o., despite claims to the contrary, or a dupe or sympathizer, maybe even Michael Staley himself, who would have something to gain if Grant died and he was left in charge of the group. It is also not outrageous to suspect that this second "expert" has a grudge against the Caliphate gang, there are certainly plenty of individuals out there with a legitimate right to be angry with the group and wish to exact revenge! And P. R. Konig himself is not above suspicion. Quite the contrary. Mr. Konig has long been working against the memory of Aleister Crowley and Thelema, and he has proven to have a special hatred for the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o.. Often he has gone overboard and well out of his way to quote out of context and otherwise pervert the facts to "prove" the lies of the Caliphate. This is an unfortunate aspect of his personality, for he seemingly has no life and has managed to fanatically dig up quite a lot of information and documentation on the subject of the Ordo Templi Orientis, but he undermines his own work by his tricks and games, proving himself untrustworthy and unreliable.
This unknown "expert" wrote that "If someone were to go to all this effort and undoubted expense, why would they then do such a poor job of forging the handwriting?" Well, we don't know how much effort or money had been put into the project. The paper may have been found in any number of ways, already aged. (Question: had the ink been tested?) The wax may have been simply "aged", we all learn odd little tricks like that in our lifetime, and the ring, again, may have been "borrowed" without the knowledge of Bill Breeze (Hymenaeus Beta), or a duplicate may have been made for the fun of it and later used for this purpose, and so forth. It may have been an easy and inexpensive operaton by someone who was simply not as clever at forgery as he or she believe him- or herself to be ... if, indeed, the person even cared about that. For all we know, the main purpose of the document may not have been to prove beyond question Grant's right to the title O.H.O., but merely to have fun with a hoax, throw a monkey wrench into the works and then sit back and enjoy the fun, stirring up controversy.
And why, this "expert" asks, would someone "waste time and effort forging worthless documents, when they could be forging Beethoven's manuscripts or Hitler's diaries? This theory makes absolutely no sense!" I beg to differ. (I've always wanted to say that.) Perhaps Beethoven and Hitler do not interest this forger, or perhaps this individual has also tried to forge manuscripts attributed to Beethoven and Hitler. Perhaps the forger, if indeed the document was forged, did not believe he or she could get away with forging a document that would be closely studied by the greatest experts in the world, while the current interest in Crowley would not be enough to draw the attention of the real experts in our society and he or she stood a better chance at getting away with forging a document by A.C.. To have dismissed the possibility as easily as this so-called "expert" has ... that makes absolutely no sense! Unless....
Of course the anonymous and suspicious "expert" concludes that "Everything considered, there is no doubt in my mind that the document is genuine, regardless of what anyone may think about bad handwriting." Although I think I have sufficiently proven that this "expert", in fact, did not consider every possibility.
It is interesting to note here that in a letter written by Kenneth Grant this past Spring, a copy of which came into my hands in the usual roundabout manner, Mr. Grant (mailing address: BCM Starfire, London, WC1N 3XX) stated that he was "surprised by The Document squirted on to the Internet! However, as I have for the past 50-odd years acted [indeed! -K] as if such a document existed it makes no essential difference to me whether it is, or is not, a fake." And this certainly seems like either a reasonable attitude to have, or the mark of an extreme egotist who believes that his word would, anyway, be far more important that documentation. However, Mr. Grant also concludes his letter with this:
"A possibly relevant fact, which I had long forgotten, is that at A.C's [sic] funeral Frieda Harris, seeing me dejected and woebegone tried to console me over his passing. She said something to the effect that he had favoured me generously in the end. I thought at the time that it was but a grandmotherly effort to cheer up a callow youth on a stressful occasion. Who knows?"
With this brief apocryphal tale it sounds to me that should the document prove to be genuine, or at least remain in dispute and not be proven to be a forgery, he would be quite prepared to make the most of this letter to solidify the claim that he has arrogantly made all of these years ... and perhaps that was the plan all along.
Okay, I know you are wondering. Some of you are aware from this very site that I am an amateur graphologist, and the question has probably already arisen in your mind: So what does G.M.Kelly think?
I have briefly studied the document on Konig's site, comparing it to several other samples of Crowley's handwriting that I have in books, letters and documents, but admittedly I have not done a thorough study of it. And unlike Konig's anonymous "expert", I do not have access to the original document to test paper, ink and wax seal, and forging a document seen only on the Internet is pathetically easy. I won't go into details here for obvious reasons. However, I have made this three-part conclusion:
NUMBER ONE: Much of the handwriting does not well match Aleister Crowley's and appears to be a very bad forgery.
NUMBER TWO: However, one's handwriting is not completely static, it changes to a certain degree with mood and the state of one's health, and it could have been written by a 72 year old man in the last few weeks of his life, suffering from the various illnesses that beseiged Crowley, that handwriting also perhaps effected by the drugs he may have been using at the time in an attempt to counter the symptoms of his debilitating illness.
NUMBER THREE: And finally, what bloody difference does it make if the document is genuine or a forgery anyway? Kenneth Grant has proven himself mad, at the very least undisciplined, sloppy, and often irrational, and thus he would be unfit to hold the office of O.H.O.. Likewise, the late Grady McMurtry had also proven himself unfit for the office, and the current "Caliph" two-bit opportunist and second-string player called onto the field after the old man, McMurtry, died. Furthermore, Crowley was absolutely desperate in his last few years to find a successor to take the position of O.H.O., finding it difficult to give up entirely on the O.T.O. despite the insane monkey antics of the members of the original Agape Lodge in Pasadena, and it just may be that in his last moments of desperation he wrote that letter thinking that someone, almost anyone, is better than no one! And still further, it really does not matter since the Ordo Templi Orientis was a temporal order that essentially died with Aleister Crowley and Karl Germer, and the current attempts to resurrect it's rotting corpse and use it to serve the petty personal desires of those claiming to represent the order while misrepresenting that order, Aleister Crowley and Thelema in general, has been a gross act of selfish necromancy with the sole purpose of capitalizing upon the interesting reputation and work of Aleister Crowley either for self-aggrandizement or capitalistic gain, or both.
What do I think? I think the O.T.O. should be allowed to rest in peace and that these people should get on with their lives, stop acting like the parasites that they are, and if indeed they are truly devoted to the principles of Thelema, create in perfect honesty and sincerity, without an affectatious and fictitious history, new and genuine Thelemic orders to further the work of the Great Wild Beast 666, Aleister Crowley. After all, aren't we all rather tired of the monkey antics of Kenneth Grant, Bill Breeze and his cohorts, David Bersson and the rest? They are accomplishing nothing of real and lasting worth. They are only bringing Thelema down while creating little cults to satisfy their petty personal desires, and that is not what Thelema is really all about!
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