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Karl Germer


Tiger
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Ok Hoping to get out of the cackle for a while .

Can we talk about Karl Germer .

I read his letters that David Shoemaker put out .
I would think there are more letters between Yorke, Motta, Grant etc that would be interesting .


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Michael Staley
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@Tiger

I read his letters that David Shoemaker put out.

I haven't read this collection, so I'd be interested to know what you made of the letters.


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Tiger
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For starters there were bits of info in there that were interesting .

He had high regard for the holy books .
A loner .
He seemed not interested in grades .

Had a letter from Bayley .

This i found interesting .

"The Book of the Law always speaks of “The Beast” , and the Thou always means this generally . Aleister Crowley has no place in this scheme of things . Thus the death of the mortal body of the tool used by the author of The Book of the Law has no bearing whatever on the teachings of Liber Al . The Beast is a four-dimensional being, who did not die (excuse me for being so trite !), but which is active and very much alive, and operative all the time . "

pg 181 - selected letters 1928-1962


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Tiger
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He seems to treat the HGA as a real thing as a twin (not as a concept).


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Michael Staley
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I think that Germer was put in a very difficult position. Several years before his death Crowley appointed Germer as his successor, but didn't prepare him for the role. Thus, for instance, Germer was head of the O.T.O. but had no knowledge of the grades of the Order. He was happy to admit this, for instance in correspondence with Kenneth Grant, and probably to others. He seems to have regarded himself as essentially a caretaker until another leader emerged, and saw his job as being promarily the publication of works such as ‘Liber Aleph’, ‘Magick without Tears’, and ‘777 Revised’.

Germer was not as rigid and unyielding as is often thought, though. When in 1952 Grant sent him the Manifesto and Degree Structure of the British Branch of the O.T.O. which he had put in place on the basis of a Charter from Germer, it was clear that it didn't conform to the Blue Equinox structure, and had elements of which Germer made clear he disapproved. Nevertheless, he encouraged Grant to go ahead with the structure he had put in place.


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Tiger
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Well he seemed interested in gathering Crowley’s material to what he called Head Quarters and he did not want it going to the British Museum or to the Public .
He liked things done legally and did not seem to have a high regard for anyone except maybe Smith or Achad but they had fallen .

The Letters are a little over my head .
The book has no index and the chapters are not titled by the person it is addressed but just a year date .

Grant might have been mentioned once .
There is at least one letter to Motta included .


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Tiger
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I guess the insinuation is, is that he regarded Jane Wolfe better than Motta .


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Michael Staley
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@Tiger

Well he seemed interested in gathering Crowley’s material to what he called Head Quarters and he did not want it going to the British Museum or to the Public .

That's not quite the case.

Crowley's Will directed that his papers be sent to Germer. Grant and Yorke set about making typed copies of the papers which seemed most important. Germer was in touch with both Yorke and Grant whilst this work was in progress, and agreed with what they were doing. Yorke made no secret of his plans to leave his collection of Crowleyana, including these typed copies, to the British Museum. After the last of the papers had been shipped to Germer, Yorke carried on acquiring diaries, typescripts, manuscripts etc which came onto the market. Unfortunately the British Museum, to Yorke's chagrin, didn't want the collection of Crowleyana - their acceptance of Blavatsky's papers had caused them trouble - and thus it wound up at the Warburg instead. But the point is that the British Museum was Yorke's planned destination, and Germer went along with that.

He liked things done legally and did not seem to have a high regard for anyone except maybe Smith or Achad but they had fallen

Germer had no time whatever for Achad. By the time that Germer was working with Crowley, in the early to mid 1920s, Crowley and Achad were at loggerheads, the legally cast 'Release' of 1925 formalising the separation of their affairs. However, wary relations between Achad and Crowley rekindled in 1936, when Crowley wrote to Achad in connection with preparations for 'The Equinox of the Gods'. Old hostilities quickly resumed, and the correspondence descended inevitably into acrimony. Crowley was scathing when Achad approached him again via Germer in the mid 1940s.

Thus Germer gained a very jaundiced view of Achad from Crowley, and in the years after Crowley's death the relationship between the two was very strained to say the least.

So far as "liked things done legally" is concerned, the Crowleyan O.T.O. was not incorporated. This created problems for the O.T.O. in California when someone wanted to donate some property to the O.T.O. In California at the time, an unincorporated body could still own property so long as the body was registered - which wasn't the case. The donor was not willing to make the property over to Germer personally, and this was the impetus for Germer seeking incorporation. There's no evidence I'm aware of that he accomplished either the incorporation or the registration, except for a subsequent legal action. The McMurtry O.T.O. in the mid 1970s took successful action for the return of what they maintained was O.T.O. property - books, papers etc. - in the estate of Sascha Germer, and I assume that this action would not have been successful in the absence of at least registration of the O.T.O. on Germer's part.


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"All these people (Yorke included) are shallow. Yorke should know better; but having fallen down in a critical magical stage turned his love into hate, the usual way (like Jones ). The magical art is to acquire a point of view to use even the slaves for their proper job.
……..
I think you should make a Will to pass all this material on to H.Q. which will be the center of everything - not the British Museum or Yorke ! What you have is stuff of the Order, and must go to the Order again, not to outsiders ."

Pg 215 in a Letter to Jane Jan 4 1950

"I have to have a place where i can collect all the valuable property of the Order ( mostly AA material, but also O.T.O. ), and where i cannot be in danger of claims by members who might contest property rights, once material has been stored, buildings erected. I must stand on clear legal grounds.
The 50 acres at Mrs. Millers are deeded in my name ( I wanted it as Treasurer of the Order ). Here then I can put my whole weight into developing the property and makingg within a reasonable time a H.Q. out of it where members and visitors can stay and work.
Roy’s place is unsafe legally ( “ all must be done well and with business way “) and that is the point I have stressed. He has done nothing to redeem his original pledge -"

Pg 157

"You say: “ You dedicated the ranch solemnly in 1940 to the Great Work. To Mega Therion, and the Crowned and Conquering Child’. Those that supervise such matters take such an act in the cleanest sense of the word. If you try to withhold one iota, if there is mental reservation, or if you even try to quibble, saying ‘it was only Temple Hill that was vowed, not the ranch’,They simply take by force. They laugh at tricks of an American Lawyer or politician. You of all people had ample warning.
My View is that ever since you made that’dedication’ the ranch no longer belonged to you. The Chiefs accepted it, and what you should have done, was to put the act at once in legal form. Lofty vows or intentions must be completed by the final seal, and one must be prepared to face the possibility of bitter consequences of all that is involved. The inherent vice of ‘clinging’ must be torn from its subtlest roots ."

Pg139,140


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Michael Staley
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@Tiger

An interesting collection of quoted passages. I wonder what material Jane Wolfe had in Jan 1950 that Germer regarded as so important that it be Willed to the Order.

I'm surprised that Germer referred to Yorke as "shallow"; having studied Yorke's correspondence with Achad in 1948 and 1949, it's not my opinion.


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Tiger
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Karl only mentions in the sentence before. “As to your own 93 stuff and files: I think you should make a Will…. “ Pg215

Well he seems to have contradictory view points at different times .
On Parareligion site Germer praises Lekve (Frederick Lekve section)
In a Letter to Ray Burlingame Dec 13, 1948 he criticizes him and says he has the Achad-Smith-Mudd craze .
Pg 174

I’m surprised that Germer referred to Yorke as “shallow”; having studied Yorke’s correspondence with Achad in 1948 and 1949, it’s not my opinion.

Sounds interesting Michael.
Hope some of that distilled knowledge makes it’s way here.


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Jamie J Barter
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Someone ought to do a good biography of Germer --- there is a distinct lack of one in the market (ditto with Mathers). Perhaps when Kaczynski, Turton, Starr --- not a legal firm but the usual suspects --- can spare some time; they should at least have the access to resources which such a project would require. And we all know what that means, I think.

Since K.G. strikes me as a most unusual and rather intriguing character somewhat neglected and perhaps underestimated by posterity in certain respects, I even contemplated writing one myself once, and even got as far as sketching a few wee paragraphs by way of the introduction & a snazzy title to go with them ("Crowley's Custodian"*)

Suggestively yours
Norma N Joy Conquest
(* "Caretaker" being just too obvious, and pedestrian to boot)


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Michael Staley
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@Jamie

I even contemplated writing one myself once, and even got as far as sketching a few wee paragraphs by way of the introduction & a snazzy title to go with them (“Crowley’s Custodian”)

Why don't you press on with it, Jamie? Doesn't look like anyone else is going to do it.


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Jamie J Barter
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Why don’t you press on with it, Jamie? Doesn’t look like anyone else is going to do it.

Alas, as with most everything else, lack of time and too many demands on it, Mick! If I did I might condense it from a biography down into an essay with some biography in it, but hopefully more rounded in its overall assessment from known (publicly accessible) information in a more compressed form, which is my preference these days. 

Would anyone happen to know if there are records released under the FOI Act etc which throw some circumstantial light on whether the Germers were really under covert surveillance by the secret (and/or not so secret) intelligence services of the time?  As an immigrant Germans with occult connections the Germers were very aware of the possibility of such activity taking place and which coloured their outlook, and this would cast some light on whether they were really being monitored or else having borderline-psychotic paranoid delusions about it happening at the time (Rather like John Lennon did as, I recall --- only in his case he really was being bugged!) I think some of this is at least manifested in KG's correspondence with Marcelo Motta somewhere. It was also referred to in the McMurtry v. Motta court case of the early 80s, where the matter seemed to take second place to the question of Mrs Germer's alleged senility and fitness of mind.)

N Joy


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Tiger
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My gosh Jamie you’re beginning to sound like the people that don’t see the spooks.

I thought you knew the yard
in Scotland
i forget how the saying goes
But something like the only one in the joint that doesn’t know where the drugs and prostitutes are is the one gets a pension paid by people .

Would love to see condensed versions of K.G. , Motta, Yorke, Wolfe, Jones, etc.


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Jamie J Barter
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My gosh Jamie you’re beginning to sound like the people that don’t see the spooks.

Though I didn't say I didn't "see the spooks" did I?  And I did say I accepted the allegations voiced by Lennon, didn't I?  Not unreasonably, I'd just like to see the (extent of the) actual evidence that's all.  The likelihood is fairly high that at least some sort of monitoring was going on, but whether in the '50s the probability of this would have extended to the full electronic surveillance of the Germers' home is another step further away from merely keeping an eye on suspects at a distance.  There's always the chance that there wasn't actually any, or that along with all the other "UnAmerican" pinko suspects to eavesdrop on 'they' didn't have enough resources to spare and never actually got around to doing the Germer's residence after all.  In which case, it would cast light upon the couple's judgement and ability to respond to the true facts of a situation without fantasising (and by extension, KG's ability to assess the particular unique character of any given scenario or person).

The matter is quite black and white therefore: either their home was being actively spied upon by the authorities, or it was not.  But some proper evidence for it, please...

Softly softly catchee the ghoolies,
N Joy


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William Thirteen
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While I don't recall having seen any FoIA releases regarding US intelligence agency surveillance of Germer I would assume that this would be the case. In fact, I vaguely recall his being interviewed by the FBI. He was an enemy alien during the war and despite his imprisonment in Germany & France would have been considered an unsavoury character after the war. I'll have to check my archive.

In the past fifty years more than one Germer biography has been attempted and abandoned. Challenges include German language skills as well as materials scattered across several different archives and nations.


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Tiger
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“indeed, Germer was right. The FBI collected 54 pages on him. An unknown informant to the FBI-files on Karl Germer reported that "His conversation is violent Nazi-Propoganda" and that Germer opined "that Hitler is right in believing Germans are the Master Race”.”
http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/germer.htm

“The founder of the later third Agapé Lodge, 'Caliph' Grady Louis McMurtry, wished to disasociate himself from from Germer's leadership of the O.T.O., feeling only loathing for 'Saturnus'. McMurtry was so obsessed by this that even in the 1970s he was still calling Germer's authority into doubt as often as possible in his American "O.T.O. Newsletter". “
http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/book.htm

 (and by extension, KG’s ability to assess the particular unique character of any given scenario or person). “
So what did K.G., Motta and McMurtry have to say about Germer ?


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Jamie J Barter
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The FBI collected 54 pages on him. An unknown informant to the FBI-files on Karl Germer reported that "His conversation is violent Nazi-Propoganda" and that Germer opined "that Hitler is right in believing Germans are the Master Race".

There is no question Germer was regarded as an undesirable by the FBI and others, however it would have been a considerable more expensive enterprise, extensively bugging Germer's home in the 50s as compared to the 70s or later. I am not aware of Germer being "violently" pro-Nazi; indeed he was interred as an undesirable by them and Crowley's own distaste is well recorded (e.g. with Martha Kuntzel), so the matter would hardly have gone unremarked.
The comment from St. Peter's website

"They went so far that even in their own home they [the Germers] didn't speak to each other for fear of being bugged."

seems extreme behaviour by anyone's standards though and although I can remember coming across it elsewhere I would be interested in knowing the precise original source for this. 

There is a letter written in January 1954 by Germer to Carl Heinz Petersen which throws some more light onto this extraordinary affair and revealing a high level of paranoia, whether wholly justified or not:

Since 1942 every one of my telephones is tapped. The house in which we lived in New York was wired. Microphones had been installed in the walls. We left N.Y. but in this house it is the same. (It is, of course, an excellent magical training, in a way.) All activities of mine or my wife's are interfered with, and/or destroyed. Friends, partners, business clients become all sooner or later enemies, or worse, spies or traitors who report to the directing power which pays well, anything one has said or is doing. 3 weeks ago I had an appointment by telephone with a man from Europe. The meeting was in a hotel. Microphones had been installed and the conversation recorded. It had lasted 2 hours on matters of the Order. I got the evidence too late, woke up too late. — Morbid imagination? Only until you yourself become a victim of inexplicable happenings. For that reason I don't mind using our experiences as a lesson to others who are in the Work. What I have not yet found out is how the extremely clever agents succeed in persuading even good friends to become informer. Do not refer to this matter in a letter. Enough that I mention it once.

In the past fifty years more than one Germer biography has been attempted and abandoned. Challenges include German language skills as well as materials scattered across several different archives and nations.

Yes this does seem to be a formidable obstacle.  The [C].O.T.O. records, as ever, would stay within the [C].O.T.O. archive apart from those privileged personnel granted permission to peek --- and of course, if any scholars wish to delve they would have to sign their lives away on the dotted line first (I mean, agree to prominently announce their debt of gratitude and thanks to the "copyright holder", the OTO Inc. & HB for editorial assistance or whatever.)

N Joy


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Peredur
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Greetings all! Long time reader, first time poster.

I was moved to post because I too have recently read Karl Germer’s Selected Letters. Two passages in particular struck me as worth exploring. In a letter to Jane Wolfe, Sept. 15, 1942 (pp. 27-28), Germer writes:

“I have never, in an outer formality, been initiated either into the A.'.A.'., nor into the O.T.O. for that matter. It seemed to make a difference to me years ago; but no longer. You really initiate yourself as you grow, if you do grow; most people become stagnant and accept the rewards (read ‘The Wake World’). You can trace your growth yourself by listening with your inmost ears to the subtle signs that will be given to you. He who knows the Tree of Life and its attributions, will find indications strewn across his path which will correspond to Paths and Sephiroth; or to descriptions in ‘The Wake World’ or other books. It’s like following progress on a map: you know where you are, but that’s really all. There is no reception committee in any outer sense, no diplomas and similar stuff. A.C. has never told me where I am in the A.'.A.'.. Yet I believe to know.”

About a year and a half later (April 1, 1944; p. 90) he added:

“It seems to me that A.C. has somewhat come away from the point of view of where he stood back in the Cefalu days or before. I know of no case in the last 15 years or so where A.C. has conferred any A.'.A.'. degree to anyone in the formal outward way. I know of no 'pledges,' diplomas or similar written documents issued or signed by prospective members of the A.'.A.'.. I know that this used to be different. Is it because A.C. has realised that the A.'.A.'. is an invisible Order where checks are automatic and on a different plane of bookkeeping and records than here where people demand outer visible diplomas? If so, the change must have taken place before 1925 . . ."

These passages together — written five and three years before the passing of A.C., respectively —, seem to me terribly important both in historical and in initiatic terms, apparently providing a glimpse at the nature of advancement in the order during A.C.’s latter years (his last two decades if K.G. is right) and the status and view of initiation of its highest ranking member at the time of A.C.’s death.

Thoughts?


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Jamie J Barter
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These passages together — written five and three years before the passing of A.C., respectively —, seem to me terribly important both in historical and in initiatic terms, apparently providing a glimpse at the nature of advancement in the order during A.C.’s latter years (his last two decades if K.G. is right) and the status and view of initiation of its highest ranking member at the time of A.C.’s death.

Yes you're quite right here Peredur --- and welcome by the way.

The most cynical view of the matter would be that K.G. clearly knew diddly-squat about the practical aspects of the A.'. A.'. syllabus and even the most routine magical rituals and work, as testified by his own comments over time.  And ditto with the O.T.O. as well, to a degree.  Or the ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelth degrees, anyway.   The fact that Frater Saturnus waggled his moneybags at A C and regularly crossed his palm with silver overrode any lesser considerations such as his eminent suitability for the role, and it was simply a case of geegaws and grand titles for services (cash) rendered.

The most 'initiated' viewpoint of the same matter would be that since A.C. was the Ipsissimus and lived in inscrutable palaces and had motives likewise, who would any mere lesser mortals from beneath the Abyss be to figure out the justification for his actions?  Likewise, if Saturnus was himself really an 8=3 (rather than it being bestowed in a more 'honorific' context such as on the imprimatur of A.'. A.'. publications and its therefore signifying nothing in real terms.) The reality of the situation is as ever somewhere between the two, but exactly where is what I was trying to determine by way of assessing whether Germer's rather extreme paranoia --- not in any way a particularly masterly trait --- was in any way justified and borne out by the actual facts of the situation.

In addition, after c. 1925 the idea that the A.'. A.;. was/ is an "unbroken chain" of links from the Loftiest down to the lowest Probationer no longer held water, while Crowley's O.T.O. at no point ever managed to have initiates incumbent in occupying every degree.  During those last two decades A.C. may have recognised the drastic necessity of a widespread roots-to-branch radical reform of both organizations, but never got around to doing it while he was alive --- whereas K.G. himself grew so disillusioned he even dissolved the last active Crowleyan OTO lodge anywhere in the world --- arguably leading to their original forms now having become ossified in stone.

N Joy


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Tiger
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A.C. has never told me where I am in the A.’.A.’.. Yet I believe to know.”

About a year and a half later (April 1, 1944; p. 90) he added:

" I have had the K.&C. since 1927 (Boston phase). 1931 was my 7=4 period. Then 666 pushed me into the Abyss. I reacted wildly, and smashed everything of A.C.’s plans with tragic results for him. It was “danger and trouble” for him. 1935 brought the Babe of the Abyss, and 1938 A.C. acknowledged me as M.T. — Now here is my incredible blindness: In retrospect I can see all this, now at least. But it was only in 1946 or 1947 that I began to realize what the HGA might mean, or had meant since 1927. I realized that A.C. actually considered me a M.T. until he reminded me in a letter of about 1946 or 1947 that a M.T.ought not to act or think the way I expressed myself’ in letters "

pg 258,259 Karl Germer Selected Letters 1928-1962

Welcome Peredur .


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Jamie J Barter
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Hmmm... the evidence is growing in terms of whether K.G. was an 8=3 himself or not. Now maybe someone else will come up with something suggesting he wasn't to counteract this. 

Perhaps Germer was one of those unconventional 8=3s such as Los advances that the Universe, as the overriding "Order of Things" is continually putting out all the time  albeit his neglecting to do the actual work of the intermediate Grades as set down in the A.'. A.'. literature (OSIS etc) to which he belonged and was a senior memeber.

1931 was my 7=4 period. Then 666 pushed me into the Abyss.
I can't see the justification for this,  what would have been gained.  Also A.C. had had his unrewarding earlier experience with C. S. Jones when he was similarly meant to have filled the vacated position 'above the Abyss'... Apart from questions of whether it would have been in accordance with his True Will to do so.

For historical purposes it's a shame that A.C. didn't do any of those nice, parchment jobs with seals on them etc attesting to Germer's experience --- what was it they're called now?  Charters, that's it.  He didn't do one for him officiating in the O.T.O. either as Supreme and Holy King, or O.H.O.-in-waiting.  Or anything.  So in terms of attestable documentation, we are lacking.

Or to look at the matter in another way: Charters, schmarters
N Joy 


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Peredur
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Thank you Jamie and Tiger for the hearty welcome.

Thanks also, Tiger, for the supplementary passage about K.G.’s personal sense of his advancement. I’d read it but hadn’t actually stopped to think of the chronology. It certainly gives the lie to his attaining the K&C while in solitary confinement in ‘35. Like Jamie, I also find troubling that A.C. “pushed” him into the Abyss, as he claimed and wonder what this might have meant practically since K.G. was derisive toward Jones, Mudd, Smith, and Leah Hirsig precisely for failing along these lines — i.e. “forcing” attainment for one reason or another — already in 1928 and continued to discuss this throughout the correspondence (Selected Letters, passim, but see e.g. pp. 7, 30, 95).

This bit about “I didn’t know I was x till 666 told me,” is a recurring one. For example, we know that when Jane Wolfe asked him whether she could receive a student A.C. told her she’d been 1=10 for years — “Good lord!” I think he said — but apparently had forgotten to tell her. So I don’t know if, as Jamie writes, “after c. 1925 the idea that the A.’. A.’. was/is an ‘unbroken chain’ of links from the Loftiest down to the lowest Probationer no longer held water,” though it’s not difficult to believe that this was indeed the situation. But it is clear that K.G. thought pretty late in the game that since at least 1925 there had been no formal receptions or initiations (as I interpret his “‘pledges,’ diplomas, or similar written documents issued or signed by prospective members”) whatsoever, and that this was not an error of omission on A.C.’s part, but was by design. You initiated yourself and figured out where you stood — or waited till A.C. broke it to you years later, with a “Didn’t you know?”


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Jamie J Barter
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But it is clear that K.G. thought pretty late in the game that since at least 1925 there had been no formal receptions or initiations (as I interpret his “‘pledges,’ diplomas, or similar written documents issued or signed by prospective members”) whatsoever, and that this was not an error of omission on A.C.’s part, but was by design. You initiated yourself and figured out where you stood — or waited till A.C. broke it to you years later, with a “Didn’t you know?”

There were also written A.'.A.'. examinations for (some of) the Grades as well, at least as late as the mid-40s as attested to by Kenneth Grant in his Remembering Aleister Crowley.  But yes, this aspect of transmission from 'superior' to 'inferior' seems to have tailed off along with the 'Pledge forms' and been replaced by self-initiation (Liber Pyramidos etc?) towards the end of Crowley's life as well.

I am not sure of what the procedure would have been, in the post-Crowleyan aftermath, if a zelator (say) had a problem with their neophyte which they couldn't handle themselves.  Was it meant to have got referred up to the chain until eventually there'd be a master who could (which would negate the business about one not knowing well any of the other members)?  For example, a neophyte who felt they were being demonically obsessed and it was driving them towards suicide.  If they did actually commit suicide, there'd be an immense hoo-hah in the media and possibly the courts over culpability and exactly how 'qualified' (psychiatrically speaking) the zelator would have been to give whatever counsel they offered (I am speaking from personal experience of something similar back in the 80s, although I was not directly involved myself).

N Joy


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wellreadwellbred
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Jamie J Barter (October 19, 2017 at 8:12 pm Reply #101865): "The most cynical view of the matter would be that [...] The most ‘initiated’ viewpoint of the same matter would be that [...] The reality of the situation is as ever somewhere between the two, [...] (source: Karl Germer --- https://www.lashtal.com/forums/topic/karl-germer/page/2/) ."

"Thirty-eight fallacies are discussed in the book. Among them are: [...] No. 9. false compromise/middle ground (source: https://sites.google.com/site/philosophyphilosophizing/metaphil10original --- META-PHILOSOPHY or chapter10 of the series Original-creative thinking philosophers)".

"Argument to moderation (Latin: argumentum ad temperantiam)—also known as [argument from] middle ground, false compromise, gray fallacy, false middle point fallacy, equidistance fallacy and the golden mean fallacy[...]—is an informal fallacy which asserts that the truth must be found as a compromise between two opposite positions ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_to_moderation --- Argument to moderation)."


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Tiger
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If you survive prison your pretty strong


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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Interested by your posts on here, Tiger, this morning I ordered a copy of Germer's Selected Letters, so will soon have the material to continue this thread.

I am at present preparing the first of several volumes of Selected Letters by Kenneth Grant. The initial volume includes letters from the 1940s up to the end of the 1960s, and will include Grant's letters to Germer from 1948 to 1955.


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Tiger
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Wow good looking forward !


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Jamie J Barter
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@wellreadwellbred :

[...] “Thirty-eight fallacies are discussed in the book. Among them are: […] No. 9. false compromise/middle ground [...] an informal fallacy which asserts that the truth must be found as a compromise between two opposite positions

Perhaps indeed so; but I wasn't arguing from, or intending to make a case out for, "the reality of the situation" being a middle-ground compromise that was somewhere between the two [positions]".  I was instead suggesting that the two outlooks, cynical and believer (for want of a better shorthand for them) represented more the extreme ends of the spectrum rather than their being polar opposites and the 'truth' could be anywhere between them, not necessarily half-way along (wherever that would be. In fact, I specifically remarked that I was wondering [and enquiring] just where the reality would lie given it would not be at the mid-point.) And I was rather hoping that somebody might provide some telling information or comment concerning K.G.'s apparent rampantly high levels of paranoia (with or without corroborative evidence from an FBI FOI).

It seems a rather strange thing to devote a whole post to, well --- do you have an axe to grind about the suggestion of there being a would-be compromise here, which I wasn't (certainly consciously) making?  Also, if you're saying you disagree with my actual point --- that "the reality of the situation" was somewhere in the spectrum between the suggestion that Crowley's interest in Germer was more than anything else to do with wanting him to "pour his gold" over him and that he reeled him in with promises of magical baubles back in return, & that .A.C. knew exactly what he was doing in championing Germer over everybody else although the motivation remains inscrutable and obscure to everyone else less magically advanced ---  I would be interested to see your alternative take on this.

Germer's apparent lack of knowledge about really quite basic magical matters, history and practical know-how seems rather extraordinary considering his elevated position (or in view of his position to which he was elevated by A.C.)  We have very little to go on as to whether he was really a Master or little better than a 1=10.  Reciting the Holy Books in prison may demonstrate a far better than average memory, but what else?  Taken in isolation, it certainly doesn't indicate adepthood or anything approaching it, but this is the main 'qualification' which is always advanced on his behalf and for his justification in his following A.C. in leading the A.'. A.'. (and to a lesser extent the O.T.O.)

@michaelstaley :

I am at present preparing the first of several volumes of Selected Letters by Kenneth Grant. The initial volume includes letters from the 1940s up to the end of the 1960s, and will include Grant’s letters to Germer from 1948 to 1955. 
                                                         
Is there the intention to also include the responses of Germer in the correspondence chain between the two?  It's always useful to have the other letters where possible in these anthologies, and this would be especially so in the case of Germer himself.  If there are the usual copyright hassles maybe the [C.]O.T.O. could be assuaged by the usual fulsome acknowledgements; surely they wouldn't be seeking to turn the screws financially in the case of such a worthwhile project? However if so, perhaps the force of public opinion might sway their outlook...

N Joy         


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Michael Staley
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MANIO - it's all in the egg
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@Jamie

Is there the intention to also include the responses of Germer in the correspondence chain between the two?

In this series, no, because it will consist only of letters by Kenneth Grant. However, the full Grant-Germer correspondence will be published separately.


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Peredur
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I am at present preparing the first of several volumes of Selected Letters by Kenneth Grant . . . the full Grant-Germer correspondence will be published separately.

Michael, I'm very much looking forward to both publications. You will find that in Germer's Selected Letters there are is also correspondence from several others -- Jane Wolfe and Phyllis Seckler, mainly -- including some of the (in-)famous Germer-Motta letters.

To Jaime's point: On a letter to Jane Wolfe dated Dec. 9, 1950, Germer requests that Wolfe send him a copy of (what is essentially) Liber Collegii Sancti as he intends to receive a Probationer from Ireland. He adds:

I have never taken any students. Nor were any formal Forms or pledges exchanged between myself and A.C. He had travelled a long way since building up his conception of the workings of the A.'.A.'. grades or degrees . . . My man wants to start work on Dec. 21 and wants my acquiescence. All formal work is rather abhorrent to me.

This again shows what used to be called privative and culpable ignorance on his part, that is lack of knowledge one of his standing within the Order is reasonably expected to have and which could be remedied by means of a little application.


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Jamie J Barter
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However, the full Grant-Germer correspondence will be published separately.

Yes, these two publications is a good prospect - and they surely can't overlap that much. And it will be great to see the Achad & Yorke correspondence out as well.

@Peredur :

This again shows what used to be called privative and culpable ignorance on his part, that is lack of knowledge one of his standing within the Order is reasonably expected to have and which could be remedied by means of a little application.

Yes, you'd ordinarily think so wouldn't you?  But as Karl stated above: "All formal work is abhorrent to me".  Karl didn't like, and what Karl didn't like, Karl weren't going to do.  And of course being the Grand Treasurer General, alias Mr Moneybags, his individual stance on the matter carried a certain --- weight, and Frater Saturnus seems to have been able to "buy" & been given an extraordinary amount of latitude and free access-all-area passes by the Master Therion.   On such evidence, it seems like the rarefied world of the inner workings of the Sovereign Sanctuary is really not that much dissimilar to our own.

A.C. may well have travelled that long and winding road "since building up his conception of the workings of the A.'. A.'. grades or degrees."  This is certainly true, given that the A.'. A.'. was first set up in 1907 and its grades and degrees largely modelled on the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn twenty years prior to that.  But in view of Germer's comments and the general disassociative atmosphere created by his distance from the nitty-gritty it's hard to know how exactly to interpret this sentence.  Taken literally, it's a straightforward observation of fact, that time's arrow moves onward.  But did, as can be implied from it, A.C. vouchsafe to Germer his closest confidante his disillusionment with the current structure of the order, or at least his deep dissatisfaction with it and a desire for widescale reform? 

The likelihood is that the pair of them's lack of getting acquainted with it (the "nitty gritty")more represented a feeling of a waste of time on their part, and furthermore that only he and A.C. were sufficiently aware of the true nature of things and the fact that they saw the needs for this reform to happen when nobody else apparently did.  Germer was incapable of bringing about any such needed overhaul on his own or directing others to do so on his behalf, and found himself instead presiding over the edifices of two orders which he would have seen as becoming fast ossified in stone, as I earlier suggested.

N Joy


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Tiger
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i think he said somewhere all letters should have gone up to the top - A.C.
and they weren’t passed on . I think he was interested in collecting letters .
and creating Head Quarters
he seemed to think that was what everybody in the order should be doing but they were all busy chasing grades

that's what i seemed to get out of that subject but i know little about that aspect of things


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Shiva
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Saturnus: All formal work is rather abhorrent to me.

Well, diddly-do and the don'ts. No wonder things have ended up with a bit of confusion. The Informal A.'.A.'. allows for unlimited, upward attainment ... without doing any work? Oh, I see. It's done informally: when, where and how you desire.


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Tiger
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The Introductory says

“On the surface, this would appear to support the common impression that he didn’t prioritize ritual work, initiation, or the O.T.O. management tasks that fell to him, and that he simply let things fall apart. Yet underneath his annoyance and questionable managerial strategies we glimpse his real concern for the long-term viability of Thelema, even at the short term expense of individual initiates or Agape Lodge itself. “

first page

“It seems to me that A.C. has somewhat come away from the point of view where he stood back in the Cefalu days or before. I know of no case in the last 15 years or so where A.C. has conferred any A∴A∴ degree to anyone in the formal outward way…..

I know this used to be different. Is it because A.C. has realized that the A∴A∴ is an invisible Order where checks automatic and on a different plane of bookkeeping and records than here where people demand outer visible diplomas ? If so the change must have taken place in 1925 because I recall the case of Traenker who had the IX OTO and when A.C. turned up signing himself as 9=2 he insisted on being told just what degree he held in the A∴A∴ system. A.C. never satisfied his desire .”

pg 90


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Jamie J Barter
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In the "Introductory" it says:

On the surface, this would appear to support the common impression that he didn’t prioritize ritual work, initiation, or the O.T.O. management tasks that fell to him, and that he simply let things fall apart. Yet underneath his annoyance and questionable managerial strategies we glimpse his real concern for the long-term viability of Thelema, even at the short term expense of individual initiates or Agape Lodge itself.

This is all very well and may indeed be the case, but there is a distinct difference between the long-term "viability of Thelema" and the short-term existence of individual Lodges or Orders.  There is not really any comparison to be made.   K.G. could quite easily be committed to the former while not caring a jot for the latter.  And which I'm sure was the case.

Further epistolatory evidence:

From 1941, the year when Germer was chosen by Crowley to be his successor (and six years after Crowley was declared an undischarged bankrupt reliant solely upon O.T.O. funds and donations, also funnelled directly through to his coffers by the agency of its Treasurer) he wrote to Jane Wolfe on 26th December:

“[…]As you are aware, 666 has vested quite a lot of authority in me and to tell you the truth, I feel utterly inadequate to the task. I have always disliked the technical part of everything which goes with the Order, though I realise that it is the way that appeals to many people and is possibly their only path to achieve. But it is a fact that I feel lost in the grades, rituals, dignities, offices, rights [sic] and what not.

And from K.G. to Marcelo Motta in a letter dated 20th September 1957, discussing the O.T.O.:

I do not in the least discourage, or disparage what you want to say on this subject, except that at the moment, and for a period of months to come, I would be in no position or mood, or frame of mind, to go deeply into to the matter. [A position which continued and remained unaltered until his death].  First, the O.T.O. does not interest me too much: mine is only in the A.’. A.’..  And, as I must have told you, A.C. wanted me to set up an entirely different system to convey to selected ones the central secret of the Sangraal. [my emphasis.]

I also seem to remember reading somewhere that he never even performed the Pentagram either? Which if so, might possibly explain a lot.

N Joy


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