U.S. O.T.O. Grand Lodge
Other U.S. O.T.O. bodies
The Scarlet Letter
Volume III, Number 2 | December 1995
From the Camel's Back
by Sr. Continuity, Oasis Master

When I was a small kid, the pivotal annual event that marked the calendric year was the "Christmas season."Content This began simply enough with the gradual darkening of the days, which I perceived with a vague apprehension, and a sense of an unseen hand wielding a big eraser which was rubbing out the margins of my small kid day. This apprehension was accompanied by a stomach tingling anticipation of the delights to come, a glamour of excitement that took shape sometime in Scorpio and which could be counted on to last until Capricorn was well launched, when of course the world would have turned and with it, our ascent from the pit of winter well begun. It was in this natural manner that I first tied the archetype of Persephone and her descent to the Christmas mythos, which doesn't have much to do with Christ per say for me, but is all tied up with family and the annual marking of family time. I still celebrate Christmas as a family holiday. I see no philosophical contradiction. In fact, if you have a holiday, chances are I will celebrate it with you. Joy is joy, and I'm making it my personal business to partake of as much as I can in my current incarnation. Trance of Sorrow is as Trance of Sorrow does. I have had the Vision of Beauty.

In ancient Greece, the pivotal annual event that marked the calendric year was the Rites of Eleusis. These were divided into the Greater and Lesser mysteries; the Lesser Rite concerned Dionysus and was celebrated in the spring, and the Greater concerned Demeter/Persephone/Hades and was celebrated in the fall. Although we know something of their structure and general nature, and of the events and ritual that accompanied the Rites before and after, and though we can draw certain inferences based on our view of the immediate overall cultural impact of the Rites and on the length of the duration of their significance as a live and active part of Greek culture, the real secrets of Eleusian initiation remain veiled.

So this was the year that we took on the Rites of Eleusis. (Crowley's Rites of Eleusis. But you knew that.) It was a natural extension of our abilities as a
group, and in fact seemed tailormade to our need for a project that would test and thus expand our limits. We planned for fall, starting at midsummer. We had no due. I wrote around, and called a few people, trolling for treasure maps, secret decoder rings, and easy interpretations. I noticed an informational trend that suggested that while experienced informants could be found, their advice and commentary tended to address technical and mundane points of production. Nobody wanted to climb up into Bri'ah with me and loll around the big bed telling tall tales. Hmxnm, I thought, interesting. I directed the Rite of Saturn; one day early early in the proceedings I called up my favorite M.T. and asked him flat out to give me the low down on the Rite That He Alone Understandeth. Hah, hah, hah. Thanks for asking. Ask again. Hah, hah, hah. So there we were, floating down to the Sea of Love with scripts in our hands, no paddle, eyes wide open, adventure lovers all.

We performed our Rites from the second decant of Scorpio to the second decant of Sagittarius. I'm not far enough away from the process now to be able to reliably judge the extent of the transformation that occurred. But we changed as a group, and the individual transformation process is still alive. Live wire, Big voltage. This is the privilege, the price and the truth. Sometimes you get to choose the crucible of your transformation, but never can you know just what you will be when you climb on out. The essence of thelema suggests that from the center of the wheel, all willed action is Right Action. We stuck our whole hand in the socket voluntarily.

I'll spare you a litany of the details of the preliminary process, the endless cycle of rehearsal, technical prep, etc. It is worth noting that the planetary energies descended with missionary zeal, much as we suspected and hoped they might. Saturn was disciplined, black blooded, and for those of us 8th house afficionados, oozing with that particular kind of death energy that we read as really hot sex. Jupiter was wildly undisciplined and expansive. We fought like cats and dogs in Mars. I personally thought I was going to burst an artery. Sol was very balanced with a certain green tinge of decay trying to crawl in the cracks. Venus was overblown, splendid, bitchy and luxuriant. Mercury was rigorously rehearsed, meticulous and clean, with a natural emphasis on technical tricks. Luna was chaotic, immature, and absolutely changeable. Recasting abounded in Luna. And that just about describes the rehearsal process. We thought it was cute. Even when we started that fire at the Mars dress rehearsal.

One of the biggest benefits of choosing both your crucible of transformation and just when you climb into it is that you give yourself a better than average shot of observing your own process while it is occurring. I have noticed that this is a factor that distinguishes the working Magician from the latent Magician.

The actual performance cycle was amazing and triumphant. We invited the general public and they came. Flu season did not stop us, but it did slow some us of down, lending others the opportunity to perform amazing feats of speed memorization followed by heroic acts of unannounced last minute substitution. Everything took on a larger, mythic, archetypal significance. I became aware that this was an extraordinary time and I was walking among heroes, great mythical women and men of whom you have likely heard little (unless of course you are one of them). The matrix was so live. When the Rites of Eleusis are performed, the Gods appear.Yeah, that's right.

Our physical temple space improved vastly too. People bought and made and donated. We did work we had been talking about for a dog's age with a new sense of urgency. We reoriented our (Temple) East/West axis corner to corner, and in one swift blow doubled both the available seating and the general efficiency of the spatial dynamic. Our shrine in the East became a filly enclosed luxuriant palace for our Priestesses, being about the size of a whole dressing room back there when the gorgeous veils are drawn. The energy of the egregoire worked as a magnet to draw the best of our individual energies together. This in turn worked as a magnet in the larger world to attract some very cool new people.

When the dust settled after the Rite of Luna, we looked around and knew immediately that we had evolved into a very different beast during our travels.We had transformed our immediate environment, ourselves individually, and ourselves as a community in which we are all very much extensions of one another. It has come to my attention that an attendant cycle of personal growth, karma burning, and shape shifting has occurred/is occurring in a somewhat parallel manner for many of us with various different individual manifestations. The parallel is that each individual's transformation appears to be occurring at that razor edge on the wheel where our walk no longer matches our talk. These are looking like karmic issues from where I sit. What's yours? Jealousy, control, communications, anger? I believe that if you stick with a philosophy for a number of years and earnestly endeavour to embody it, you will eventually come up against your own personal bullshit. If you know this is occurring at the time, you get the opportunity to deal with it and thus banish it forever. If you don't see it, or worse, see it and bury it, you get to deal with it again. Perhaps over and over again through many lifetimes. We bought this opportunity; and friends, it's the big flicking juicy deal of the decade. Don't miss this chance to deal with your worst nightmares. I'll hold your hand if you'll hold mine. No fear, dear ones.

When I was a small kid, I had a natural sense of the turning of the seasons. Change was the marker of growth, and Christmas was the time of darkness and mystery. They say that Christmas is for children, that the wonder and the mystery will hold no truth for the adult who puts aside foolish pursuit. So make sure to hold on tightly to your foolish pursuit. During the season of the Rites, I woke up every day with a sense of excitement and anticipation. I love you each, and I congratulate you all.

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