Monday, May 12, 2014

Iluminatus online reading, Week 12 (with special guest Oz Fritz)


Aleister Crowley in Golden Dawn clothing. 



(As much of this section of the work concerns magick, I asked Oz Fritz if he would consider doing a guest post for me, and he kindly obliged. 

Oz is a professional recording engineer who has worked with a variety of artists including The Ramones, Buckethead, Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, The Golden Palominos, Tom Waits, Primus and Iggy Pop. Although he is based in California, his excellent blog includes recent dispatches from Mali, Australia and Israel. His album, Oz Fritz: All Around the World received a positive review from Allmusic. com.  He has studied magick for many years and once gave a copy of the American Book of the Dead to Sting. I am sure you will find his post as interesting as I did. -- The Mgt.)


(This week: Page 114 "After being lost for an hour in Hitler's old neighborhood" to Page 124 "but I've felt weird for the last week and a half.")

By Oz Fritz

This week’s reading begins on p. 114 right after the phrase “23 Skidoo…” Besides being old American patois, Skidoo recurs as the title of Chapter 23 in Crowley’s Book of Lies thus reading as 23 Skidoo.  Crowley defines this phrase as “Get out” and turns it into an initiatory practice in that chapter.  As this turned out to be one of the first things we studied in RAW’s online Crowley course, I suspect the pun intended especially since in the next sentence Clark Kent and His Supermen get out of Munich.   Their band name appears an obvious glyph for transformation with the bonus of representing an instantly recognizable image from pop culture.  That they were “lost for an hour in Hitler’s old neighborhood” mirrors the archetypal descent into the underworld or dip into the darkside that seems part of the course on the initiatory path.

Starting toward the end of p.114 we see Simon Moon inviting Joe Malik to a meeting which turns into a sex magick ritual.  The ritual seems to be the authors’ own creation based on Crowley-style magic but viewed through the lens of someone programmed in the Judeo-Christian tradition.  Malik calls it a “black Mass.”  He interprets the “God is dead” chant as blasphemy.  “God is dead” could refer to the famous quote by Friedrich Nietzsche which brings us back to Clark Kent and His Supermen, and transformation.  The end of the paragraph in the book where Nietzsche first made that proclamation reads: “Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”
p.115: “They were in an elegant apartment…” important for the ritual because it shows what kind of space they were in – “elegant” ie high aesthetic.  Next we see some obvious allusions to other preparations for the ritual, spelled out as it were, perhaps tempered at the end of the paragraph with Joe’s suspicion that it’s for a black Mass.  “… the sounds of the automobile traffic …”  introduces a sense of flow and movement into the environment.  Also automobile = auto - mobile, ie get yourself going.

Readers can make of it what they will concerning the coincidence that these other preparations occur on p.115 which in the Gematria dictionary found in 777 = “Here am I,“  “The heat of the day,“ and  “to make strong;  vehement, eager.”

Next we see the classic Crowley greeting intended to begin all communications.  The priest then gets introduced as “Padre Pederastia.”  To me, this name sounds oddly prescient of the widespread pederasty scandals afflicting the Catholic Church in recent years.  It could also have been inspired by the conspiracy rumor that the Roman Catholic Church power elite originated in the gay cabal power elite behind  the Roman Empire.  When they could no longer control their empire militarily, they learned to control the people ideologically through the Church.

p.116: Simon and his partner draw a pentagram.  Some form of the banishing ritual of the pentagram usually begins a magick ritual as it works to focus and protect.  The method the authors have of making the pentagram here is unique to my experience.   They may have done it this way for the sentence: “A triangle was added to each side of the pentagon, forming a star – the special kind of star.” The triangle suggests Binah, the title of this chapter.  The pentagon may represent the highly combustible energy of Geburah, the Sephiroth right below Binah on the Tree of Life.  The path that connects Geburah with Binah = Cheth = The Chariot from the tarot.   Crowley called The Chariot the formula of this modern age of Horus, a formula you can read about in his Book of Thoth.  This formula also underlies this ritual up to the point where the demon Billy Graham makes an appearance.

The poem from the Wolfman movies Joe remembers on p. 116 looks quite accurate for ritual magick.   You can be as pure and pious as anything and still get overwhelmed by primal energies when launching into those kinds of spaces.   Strategies and techniques exist to not succumb, one of the most basic being the pentagram just given which effectively acts as a shield .
p.116:  “Joe felt a strange, ashy, acrid taste…”  Joe feels a space change, not uncommon symptoms.  He’s no longer in Kansas.

“Ol sonuf vaoresaji”  - the first phrase from the Enochian First Call that translates as “ I reign over  ye.”

The Guardian they have to pass might signify psychic barriers that inevitably occur with these kinds of experiments.  Notice how they get energy when stepping into the pentagram.
p.117: the woman with red hair and green eyes recalls Marjorie Cameron who had the same.  She was the woman who entered Jack Parson’s life during his Babalon working eventually becoming his wife.


Jack Parsons and his wife, Marjorie Cameron

p.118: “the Malleus malificarum” isn’t a grimoire, it’s a medieval treatise put out by the Catholic Church on the persecution of witches, what they do, and how to discover them; seems to have nothing about sex rituals in it.  I suspect Shea and Wilson included it to represent resistance to the operation because in the next sentence Joe sees the protective pentagram.  Malleus malificarum translates as “Hammer of the Witches.”  Hammer = 291; 290 (which can get read as 291) = Thine enemy.

p.119: “She was Ishtar, Aphrodite, Venus…”  - seems a common practice in tantra,  to identify with a godform , in this case those associated with Binah.  This also seems closely related to verse 61 in the first chapter of The Book of the Law.

The priest then invokes Lucifer ending with fiat lux – let there be light, also the 3rd verse from Genesis - possibly another Binah allusion?  Powerful energy enters the space then becomes contained by different formulae.  We see an allusion to the Rosy Cross, and also “by Mary’s Son” which sounds a bit odd except  that emphasizing Mary more than her son harkens back to Binah once again.

“- but the distraction of his attention had its cost.” – another key for handling situations such as these.  If you’re a football or basketball player you have to work out regularly to keep your body in shape.   Likewise, if you’re a Shaman, you keep the attention buffed up for when having to play to the max in the big leagues.

The whole Lucifer manifestation sounds a bit gothic and medieval which perhaps the writers acknowledge with the paragraph on p.120 that starts “It was just a room again…”  It’s quite funny that this implied evil turns out to be Billy Graham, the ubiquitous face of evangelical Christianity when I was growing up.  Sounds pretty right to me!

The scene changes right after Billy Graham arrives .  Later we see some interesting notes about Lucifer and lux.   The note that really grabbed me (p. 123): D.E.A.T.H. – Don’t Ever Antagonize the Horn .  Does Pynchon know?  The Horn could = the Hierophant , maybe.  In previous times Crowley or Gurdjieff.  It seems like good advice.  In my opinion, after reading Against the Day (which came out after Illuminatus!), Pynchon definitely knows.  I would even go so far as to surmise that Pynchon put one or two things in Against the Day to directly answer the question ( I suspect) RAW put to him in Illuminatus!

(Next week: Page 124 "Simon parked the car and held the door open" to Page 134 "his old impudent grin flashed wickedly.)

41 comments:

michael said...

Such an elegant, knowledgeable and creative exegesis!

A pleasure to read.

Thanks, Oz Fritz.

Arthur Hlavaty said...

RAW describes his meeting with the priest he based Padre Pederastia on in the memorial essay on Bob Shea in Cosmic Trigger III

gacord said...

What Michael said + Bravo, Oz! I may read that a second (or even third!) time... Just as soon as I catch up to this week in the book...

michael said...

The most conventional reading of the Pynchon bit: W.A.S.T.E. in Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 was given as We Await Silently Tristero's Empire. The sign that appears in the environment is a muted post horn, thus Shea/RAW having another go at intertextuality. CoL49 came out in 1966, so it was probably influential for them, whereas the fat conspiracy-crazy Gravity's Rainbow appeared in 1973. RAW said in his interview with Dr. Eliot that their book was done, awaiting publishing when GR and Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo came out, both books seeming to have a lot in common with Illuminatus! It was just something percolating in the kulch...

Eric Wagner said...

1971-1974 seem to me a very interesting period. I love the ending of Neuromancer with its shout out to that period. We have Phil Dick's odd experiences, perhaps the Grateful Dead's best years, Bob's Sirius experience begining 7/23/1973 (the day of Monica Lewinsky's birth), the McKennas' odd experiences in South America, Watergate, Leary's jail transfiguration, and the books you mentioned, etc.

Goog post, Oz.

fuzzbuddy said...

Brilliant piece, Oz!
Pg. 114. Ludwigstrasse.
eg. Beethoven street.
Pg. 114. “Did you check out that cat at the wheel?”
- I think this refers to Joe Malik. Not 100% sure.
Pg. 114. And Joe Malik - ex-Trotskyist, ex-engineering student, ex-liberal, ex-Catholic…
- Some more references to RAWs background.
Pg. 115. Lake Shore Drive.
- abbreviates to LSD.
Pg. 117. She was a woman with red hair and green eyes.
- This is Lady Velkor.
Pg. 121 - The John Dillinger Died for you Society - http://www.gangstersandoutlaws.com/JohnDillingerdiedforyou.html

Neil_in_Chicago said...

I think Wilson is underappreciated as a practical authority on Crowley. It can be unnerving how many "occult secrets" are exposed in Illumiinatus!, re-hidden merely by being dumped into a great heap of self-indulgent jokes.
Has anyone looked at all this material as being simultaneously genuflecting to Korzybski and Crowley? There's an almost archetypal union of opposites in sticking to Korzybski's clarity and Crowley's obfuscation.

Neil_in_Chicago said...

The red-headed woman is Arlen, always, whatever and whoever else she may be. Imnsho, she was at least Bob's peer, but totally private while he was a professional exhibitionist.

Cleveland Okie (Tom Jackson) said...

Page 120, "the Rev. William Helmer." As Adam Gorightly points out, Helmer was an editor at Playboy magazine:

http://historiadiscordia.com/week-10-of-the-illuminatus-group-reading/

Oz Fritz said...

Thank-you for all the kind words and additional input.

I haven't yet read The Crying of Lot 49, but it's now on the short-list. W.A.S.T.E. and the muted horn seems what Shea&Wilson referred to. Interesting that they personified the horn, making some different, expanded connection or reference. Both W.A.S.T.E. and D.E.A.T.H. have five letters to align with the Law of 5. Seconds ago I came across another fivefold delineation in Kerouac's Dharma Bums. The Gary Synder character quotes from The Book of Tea: "Now you understand the oriental passion for tea." said Japhy, "Remember that book I told you about the first sip is joy the second is gladness, the third is serenity, the fourth is madness, the fifth is ecstasy."

Arthur Hlavaty said...

I think Wilson's admiration of both Crowley and Korzybski reflects his theory that when you believe, you should really believe and when you doubt, you should really doubt.

Eric Wagner said...

The "yes" on pg. 114 seem a reference to Ulysses.

The location of the Black Mass in Providence seems a shout out to Lovecraft.

Drew Zi said...

I have not got much to say other than it seems to me like there is an indication here that there was a cut of some kind.

In each transition there is Howard reciting some poetry in brackets, but at the top of p124 two bracketed pieces come one after the other; it seems to me that there would be no reason for the brackets to close and then reopen. If so, there is a scene skip between these two pieces of Howard's recitations.

Oz Fritz said...

The Black Mass scene seems to draw upon Leary's ideas - and RAW's expansion of those ideas - about Reality Tunnels just as much as Crowley's ideas about magick. The pov appears Joe Malik's reality tunnel and he even ruminates about some of the belief system programming that went into that tunnel.

Drew Zi said...

@Oz Fritz

Robert Anton Wilson has an interesting take on The Crying of Lot 49, in his encyclopedia. It is worth checking out, he relates it to illuminatus in some ways. Also if people are not aware of the person, John Michael Greer also talks about discordianism, thelemism in his encyclopedia 'The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies, which is actually a very good complement to Wilson's own encyclopedia and for reading the illuminatus! trilogy, he also has a blog which is regularly updated about occult, scientific and environmental issues.

Oz Fritz said...

Thanks Drew Zi, I'll look for that info. I'm reading The Crying of Lot 49 now and can see some parallels with Illuminatus.

The D.E.A.T.H. - don't ever antagonize the horn acronym turns out to be from Pynchon not RAW and Shea like I thought. They just added, "does Pynchon know?"

michael said...

On p.124, Joe Malik tells Simon Moon that he's "sold," and that "I no longer claim membership in the liberal intellectual guild." Then:

"You behold in me a horrible example of of creeping mysticism."

From _Ulysses_, as Stephen and Haines are leaving the Martello Tower early in the morning:

(Haines): "Personally, I couldn't stomach that idea of a personal God. You don't stand for that, I suppose?"

(Stephen Dedalus): "You behold in me, Stephen said with grim displeasure, a horrible example of free thought."

michael said...

On p.124, Joe Malik tells Simon Moon that he's "sold," and that "I no longer claim membership in the liberal intellectual guild." Then:

"You behold in me a horrible example of of creeping mysticism."

From _Ulysses_, as Stephen and Haines are leaving the Martello Tower early in the morning:

(Haines): "Personally, I couldn't stomach that idea of a personal God. You don't stand for that, I suppose?"

(Stephen Dedalus): "You behold in me, Stephen said with grim displeasure, a horrible example of free thought."

Eric Wagner said...

Great Joycean observation, Mike. Also, the priest's comment, "Do you know how hot hell is?" on page 135 echoes the hellfire sermon in Portrait of the Artist.

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