The Scarlet Letter
Volume I, Number 4 | May 1994
by Sr. Zohar
On April 17th instead of a regular Mass we did Baptisms and Confirmations. (Sr. Continuity/Fr. Sharash, Fr. Dionysus Soter) Those baptized included Sis. Firehawk, Sis. Esoterica, Fr. Seahorse, Br. Erebus606, and Br. Maitreya. Joining the ranks of the confirmed were Fr. Kestrel, Sis. Esoterica (an enthusiastic and amazing quick study student of the creed!), and Sr. Hortus Inclusis. Let's hear some O.T.O. applause for these folks.
SWC business meetings were held on Feb. & March 19th and April 16th at Sr. Continuity's. Meetings consisted primarily of coordinating scheduling for the next month or so, sharing of incoming mail (see our complementary letter from Br. Lon Duquette in this issue), and planning for upcoming Minerval initiations. The March meeting was bracketed by an Equinox ritual beautifully performed by Fr. Pi., Fr. Kestrel and S.Oroboros. The April meeting was pretty much dedicated to planning for the CMA Tree of Life Playshop. More on that later...
Initiation news is that we had Minervals scheduled for March 26th which had to be postponed because our guest initiator, Sr. E.I.A.I. from Apotheosis Camp in Houston came down with strep throat. She is much better now and a new date has been set for May 14th. Also II° initiations are scheduled at Apotheosis on June 4th. There are rumblings of I° being scheduled for sometime in August here at SWC and we have candidates chomping at the bit.
Our illustrious Camp Master, Soror Continuity, and erudite Editor, Fr. Sharash, participated in initiations and E.G.C. Ordinations in Dallas over the March 12th weekend. The G.S.G. of the O.T.O., Fr. Y.V. came to Bubastis Oasis to do the honors. Congratulations to you both!
Although we couldn't descend upon Bubastis and participate in the initiations there, Fraters and Sorors of III° and less were able to dine with Fr. Y.V. on Friday night. Scarlet Woman Camp members made a good showing despite the three hour drive to reach the event. Fr. Homo Solitarius, Fr. Pi., Sr. Oalimn, Sr. Zohar, and Fr. Kestrel all shared a cafeteria table with Houston and Dallas siblings and Fr. Y.V. Lively discussion on the E.G.C. and other topics could easily be overheard and hardly avoided by other folks dining nearby.
Educational and Special Interest Activities abounded this quarter. Feb. 6 Tarot Colloquium Part 1 and March 5 Part 2 were both led by Soror Continuity. I unfortunately missed the first part which I understand concentrated on discussion of "How to do divination for others." Part 2 consisted of a series of readings done in turn each by one reader for another querant. Some discussion of observed techniques, style, and additional contributions to the readings were made. A very educational afternoon for all. We hope to schedule another section of this during the summer months, perhaps something geared more for beginners on the symbolism and correspondences of the cards. Tarot part 2 was the first Camp event attended by soon to Minerval Br. Pab S. who moved to Austin from New Mexico in the recent past. Welcome Br. Pab and many thanx for the terrific reading you did for yours truly that day!
Two-part knowledge expansion activities were the thing this quarter. Feb. 10 was Astrology part 1 and March 31st part 2 were led by Soror Zohar. Part one was the basic energies and properties of the signs, planets, houses and aspects. A lot of vocabulary work and an attempt to give a sense of how the moon moving through the signs affects our daily lives. Part two had a smaller but very dedicated attendance. Advanced topics such as progressions, transits, aspects, zodiacal ages, and more vocabulary were covered. S.Oroboros and Br. Adam K. agreed to guinea pig for an abbreviated synastry reading. There has been some voiced interest in having part 1 for beginners offered again and we will try to schedule an evening to do that after Minervals. Feedback indicates that folks enjoyed the presentations, did absorb information and many want to attend repeat offerings. [Glad you enjoyed it.]
On Feb. 13 Hand & Arrow was led by Fr. Pi. Primarily a discussion of Hexagram rituals and we finished out our detailed examination of Liber O as an academic document. March 13 Hand & Arrow was a demonstration of banishing rituals in various personalized forms by each of the attendees. "Awesome" reports Fr. Kestrel..., particularly Br. Eric D. who did a chaos magick banishing and Fr. Pi's 'Thelemicized' Rose Cross which were particularly effective.
February 26th was originally scheduled to be an Enochian working, but metamorphosed into a discussion on the Eleusian Rite of Jupiter. We read aloud and brainstormed on ways to possibly update it for performance by the Camp at a later date. No subsequent work has been done on this project despite many enthusiastic exclamations by various Camp members. It does constitute a considerable undertaking.
There were three Cult Of Cunning Lingo meetings all hosted by S.Oroboros. On Feb. 24, Fr. Pi was dealer: we read and discussed Theatre and It's Double by Antony Artaud. March 24th was Br. Adam K. who assigned Sex Diary of a Magician by Cohn Wilson. April 28th we were dealt Generation X by Fr. Kestrel. Overall the feedback on the selected books has been good and discussions at the meetings lively.
In personal Camp news... S.Oroboros celebrated a Lesser Feast on Feb. 14, appropriate to the Scarlet Valentine she is.
Fr. Sharash & Sr. Zohar's son Sebastian celebrated his very first Lesser Feast May 2nd. His parents threw him a Gnostic Benediction and birthday party on May 1st. We all had a lot of fun playing with his new toys and he drummed and entertained all the adults in his extended family with his usual toddler charm.
Sr. Continuity and her partner Ron E. finally and decisively closed on the Yoga Center property and will be opening their new Scarlet Tantra Yoga Center on May 4th. They are offering lots of great classes on Yoga, Tai Chi and other stuff, and also personal sessions for tarot divination and massage work. Get in touch with them at the center (512)467-8703.
To close the column up with a bang we have just two more items of mention.
The Tree of Life Playshop presented by SWC at the Council of the Magickal Arts Beltane gathering was a great success. Lots of thought, preparation, and a great base script by Fr. Sharash and Sr. Continuity, a few props, good type casting of the Sephiroth, and lots of attitude combined to make an educational and challenging playshop. We processed about a 100 people through Malkuth, most got as far as Chesed, some were tempted off the path by the Qliphoth, and many made it past our most formidable Da'ath to the supernal triangle.
Folks who had completed the game were coming back to Malkuth dragging friends behind them and encouraging them to play. I heard instructions like, "this was great, you have to play", and "avoid the people in black 'cause they're the Q and they will try to tempt you off the path" and "you have to make a deal with this lady and she'll get you started." (I was selling maps to the Tree in Malkuth).
More serious feedback included one player saying that she felt like she now really understood what we mean when we say Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. I took that to mean that we were effective with the "sovereign game rules" which we emphasized by being passive about passing them on to the next sphere until they insisted, aggressive about waylaying them at some points, and insisting on players answering open ended questions with personally meaningful instead of "correct" responses. The best comment I heard was from a player with a very basic knowledge of the Tree who felt that she had absorbed and learned a lot through the theatrical interactive game setting. She reported firmly setting meanings and correspondences and identifying energies in her mind more fully than ever before.
We may be asked to do a reprise at CMA Samhain... we have lots of maps left!
My last item to report, is most certainly not the least: the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law. SWC does everything with style and this was no exception (fingers stuck proudly in suspenders while writing this). Three different chapters with very different hosts and activities all combined to make a wonderful weekend.
Chapter One was hosted by S.Oroboros who put together a multi-media presentation which was shown while people took turns reading verses through a voice modulator system. The overall effect was beautiful and eerie. My favorite part was the video footage of S.Oroboros as a naked priestess; very appropriate to celebrate a night in honor of Nuit. We also welcomed Fr. Insanvs to our Camp that very night. He is a ten year veteran of the O.T.O. and the Minerval twin of Fr. Sharash (they go back to high school together). He is in town from Florida and staying with Fr. Sharash for an extended and indeterminate time.
Night two was hosted by Sr. Zohar and Fr. Sharash with help from Fr. Kestrel. Often repeated words from Chapter Two (like "death", "dog", and "not") were randomly assigned to people. We took turns reading verses and when an assigned word came up it would be intoned by its keeper along with the regular reader. It turned into a great spontaneous energy working with people emphasizing words in singles and groups. It was a perfect warm evening in the back yard with a fire, drumming, reading of poetry and Book of Lies sections, wine, dancing, and impromptu songs. Special note of pleasure for Sis. Esoterica's performances. She graced us with her beautiful voice and body by singing a drinking song and dancing at the fire. This was also a celebration of Fr. Sharash and Fr. Insanvs's ten year anniversary in the O.T.O.
Sr. Continuity hosted Chapter Three which included another back-yard drumming (one of our all around favorite activities) and a ritual sovereignty challenge before entering ceremonial space for a reading of the chapter. I don't miss many SWC events, but I was unable to attend this night. Folks returning home reported having a very positive ritual experience and enjoying the social time.
This column just gets longer and longer as we get busier and more productive. I haven't even reported on Fr. Sharash and Fr. Pi's successful forays to the UT library. I hope that one of them will write something about it since there are lots of academic details of interest.
Until next time just one final note... Fr. Sharash and I are expecting a new baby Thelemite to join the family in early December, so we will have another stretch of pregnant Mass priestess viewing, and then a hiatus for this mass team late in the year. Thanx to all our extended O.T.O. family for being supportive and loving to us with our son Seb and the new one coming along. We are very happy.