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Was Mudd or Crowley right?


belmurru
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Ever since I read this, in Symonds’ biography decades ago, I’ve wondered about the logic behind it.

We all know the story: Norman Mudd had fallen in love with Leah by September 1923; it was becoming annoying. Crowley wrote an oath for Mudd to sign on September 27, 1923, upon the signing of which he was to go on an eight-day retirement to Hammam Lif (Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley (Skinner ed.), pp. 190-193; see also Symonds, King of the Shadow Realm, pp. 348-349 or The Beast 666, pp. 351-352; Kaczynski, Perdurabo (2nd edition), pp. 400-402).

When he returned, presumably on October 6, he had not cured himself of love, but he did have a solution to the problem for Crowley, based on the Book of the Law, III,44 – the Scarlet Woman, Leah at the moment, was commanded to be “loud and adulterous.” Mudd reasoned that, in order for her to be adulterous, she had to be married. And not to Crowley, the Beast, but to Mudd; then she could be literally adulterous with the Beast.

Crowley read the diary kept by Mudd during his retirement, including this proposal, and considered it. It seemed reasonable enough that, according to Symonds, Crowley consulted the gods formally in a ceremony for an answer. No biographer describres it, although Symonds says “heroin was consumed” (one wonders why he even felt the need to mention it).

The ritual is not described, but the answer is: “Restriction! Adultery does not imply marriage, no more than whoredom implies commerce.”  (Symonds, Kaczynski, loc. cit.; Kaczynski clarifies that this response was written by Crowley in Mudd’s diary (note 21, p. 647))

My original feeling about this was that “adultery” does indeed imply marriage; this is what it has always meant in law. I agree with Mudd.

Also, the analogy with whoredom not implying commerce is weak; adultery implies marriage far more than whoredom implies commerce. “Whore” is a generic term for sexual wantonness, as well as having the semantic range to include “prostitution”, which strongly implies commerce. But an “adulteress”, while she may act like a whore or even be a prostitute, still has to be married to be so defined. Otherwise, she is just a whore or prostitute or whatever other term that does not necessarily imply marriage. So while “whoredom” does not necessarily imply commerce, “adultery” requires marriage to have a legal meaning, which is the only meaning it has.

The etymological argument is beside the point, since one adulterates substances; something may be adulterated, but no one says on being offered such a product “I won’t take this adultery!” One may say “I won’t take this adulteration!”

The point is that, while the etymology of “adultery” is “ad+altare”, adultero, primary meaning “adultery”, secondary meaning “falsify, corrupt”, what adultery “corrupts” is the legal bonds of marriage, not the condition of virginity. Two unmarried people do not commit adultery together, they are not "adulterous" together; it seems absurd to try to twist the term to include that general sense of “fornication” or mere "lewdness." It is a very specific word.

So I see Mudd’s point, as Crowley must have.  Can anybody support Crowley’s reasoning – or inspiration as the case may be?


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Azidonis
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"belmurru" wrote:
So I see Mudd’s point, as Crowley must have.  Can anybody support Crowley’s reasoning – or inspiration as the case may be?

Yes.

Crowley: "Hey bro, you are all up on her jock and she's asked you to leave her alone several times but you keep messing with her."
Mudd: "Well, what about Saturday?"
Crowley: "That was for a ritual. You can't mix the planes."
Mudd: "I just can't stop thinking about her."
Crowley: "You need to go cool off man. Go out into the woods for a week or so and meditate, masturbate, or do whatever you have to do, but you need to chill out with her before I kick you out of the house."
Mudd: "Okay."
[Exit Mudd.]


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William Thirteen
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belmurru - a theoretical question:

must it be the woman who is married for the act to be adultery?  If a woman (or a man for that matter) has a 'conjunction' with a partner who is married to someone else, that is obviously adultery and the married partner adulterous. However is the 'counterparty', if unmarried, also adulterous? or merely a party to the adultery?  takes two to tango, donchaknow…


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belmurru
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"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
belmurru - a theoretical question:

must it be the woman who is married for the act to be adultery?  If a woman (or a man for that matter) has a 'conjunction' with a partner who is married to someone else, that is obviously adultery and the married partner adulterous. However is the 'counterparty', if unmarried, also adulterous? or merely a party to the adultery?  takes two to tango, donchaknow…

Of course the gender of the adulterer or adulteress doesn't matter (hence the word "adulterer"). But the issue for Mudd and Crowley was the Scarlet Woman, so it is Leah's marital status that was at the crux of the question.

But I think I see what you are getting at. The act could be characterized as "adulterous" even if only one person in pair or group were married, but this is a loose use of the term. Any penalty for adultery - and therefore the explicit characterisation of that particular party as an adulterer or adulteress - would only fall on the married person. Of course the loose sense of the term might be a way out - if Leah has sex with a married man, the sex is "adulterous". But Crowley didn't use that logic. It is the Scarlet Woman who is characterised as adulterous, not her partners, so it is she who must be married.

Whether single or double adultery (umarried with married, or married with married), the problem was for the Scarlet Woman.

But yours is a good solution - the Scarlet Woman would be "adulterous" in the sense that she could be a corrupter of marriage by having sex with married people (including married women, although we can't speak of same-sex marriages at this date of course), without necessarily being married herself. If Crowley had come up with that response instead of what he did, I might not have thought twice about it.


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belmurru
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In other words, Crowley might have interpreted the injunction "Let her be adulterous" to mean that the Scarlet Woman was to be the adulterant of marriage, or married partnerships, not necessarily the technical adulteress in such an act. I would have thought that a clever interpretation, and let Crowley win the argument.


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steve_wilson
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To be clear, the English word "adultery" refers to adulteration of the bloodline, meaning that a woman having sex with someone other than her husband might give birth to a child that eventually inherits her husband's property while not being his child. In societies obsessed with inheritance, such as present day Ireland, this is seen as horrific, and the same was true in Edwardian Britain. By then, though, the term was pretty well synonymous with today's preferred term "promiscuous". I've always assumed that "promiscuous" fitted this verse best. Mudd in general seems to have approached Liber Al with an overly literal, rather than poetic (say) mind-set.

Hope  this helps.


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Tao
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Ultimately, I'd have to say they were both wrong in believing that the Scarlet Woman was an actual flesh-and-blood female rather than an aspect of the Self that must be united with another aspect of the Self (the Beast).

But, if we must take it literally, the book does refer to the Beast and his Bride, not the Beast and his lady-friend that he bangs a lot. So I'd say it was Crowley who should have done the marrying and accepted that Mudd (or some other bloke or bird) had to do the adulterating.


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Anonymous
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"belmurru" wrote:
Ever since I read this, in Symonds’ biography decades ago, I’ve wondered about the logic behind it.

We all know the story: Norman Mudd had fallen in love with Leah by September 1923; it was becoming annoying.

"40 year old virgins" eh? 

Anyway before anyone picks at this shouldn't we establish whether Liber Al has any parts in there which are specifically for the scribe and his then associates and only the scribe and his then associates?  Is the whole of Liber Al composed of symbology directed at the human species?  That's the real issue/question here.  "Scarlet woman"?  Sounds archetypal to me.     

Nevertheless AC and Mudd wanted conclusions and "Adultery does not imply marriage, no more than whoredom implies commerce” is a good point as it's about confronting the Victorian attitude that women were second class citizens in the eyes of suitors or lovers or husbands and of course the church.  How's that for "restriction"?  In other words let the woman have her say on the matter for a change!


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Azidonis
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"david" wrote:
Anyway before anyone picks at this shouldn't we establish whether Liber Al has any parts in there which are specifically for the scribe and his then associates and only the scribe and his then associates? 

Crowley did this himself. See The Equinox of the Gods. Scroll down to part 6, "The Editing of the Book".


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William Thirteen
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as an aside: i assume that at this time laws against adultery were still on the books in England which would make the Scarlet Woman not only sacred but also criminal…


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Anonymous
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"Azidonis" wrote:
"david" wrote:
Anyway before anyone picks at this shouldn't we establish whether Liber Al has any parts in there which are specifically for the scribe and his then associates and only the scribe and his then associates? 

Crowley did this himself. See The Equinox of the Gods. Scroll down to part 6, "The Editing of the Book".

Thanks Azidonis and good point William.


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steve_wilson
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"WilliamThirteen" wrote:
as an aside: i assume that at this time laws against adultery were still on the books in England which would make the Scarlet Woman not only sacred but also criminal…

Adultery was not a criminal offence at that time or earlier, it was only a factor in divorce proceedings.


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Shiva
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"In the traditional English common law, adultery was a felony. Although the legal definition of adultery differs in nearly every legal system, the common theme is sexual relations outside of marriage, in one form or another."

"In common-law countries, adultery was also known as criminal conversation. This became the name of the civil tort arising from adultery, being based upon compensation for the other spouse's injury Criminal conversation was usually referred to by lawyers as crim. con., and was abolished in England in 1857, and the Republic of Ireland in 1976."

"In England, the last execution for adultery is believed to have taken place in 1654, when a woman named Susan Bounty was hanged."

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adultery


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Anonymous
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"steve_wilson" wrote:
, the term was pretty well synonymous with today's preferred term "promiscuous". I've always assumed that "promiscuous" fitted this verse best. Mudd in general seems to have approached Liber Al with an overly literal, rather than poetic (say) mind-set.

Hope  this helps.

Yeah I agree with that "loud an adulterous" seems to be an urging to rebel against the then social order. Our perception is cleansed moreso as we have the benefit of decades of hindsight including the passing of the ordeal of the 1960's revolution.

In the OP we have belmurru asserting that Mudd's "love(?)" for the woman was causing problems;

"belmurru" wrote:
Ever since I read this, in Symonds’ biography decades ago, I’ve wondered about the logic behind it.

We all know the story: Norman Mudd had fallen in love with Leah by September 1923; it was becoming annoying. ?

"Becoming annoying"?  Presumably the 40 year old virgin was becoming a lovesick fool (he wanted the woman for himself?) and it was annoying Crowley or was it distracting Mudd from his own GW or both?  On this theme Crowley says some interesting things about promiscuity, sexual ownership and sexual misery (Mudd's "annoying" lovesickness? ) in Chapter 49 of The Confessions;   


With regard again to personal jealousy and ill-regulated passion, is it too much to say that nine tenths of the social misery not due to poverty arises from these hallucinations? The Book of the Law sweeps them out of existence. "There shall be no property in human flesh." Nobody has a right to say what anyone else shall or shall not do with his or her body. Establish this principle of absolute respect for others and the whole nightmare of sex is dispelled. Blackmail and prostitution automatically lose their raison d'être. The corrupting influence of hypocrisy breaks like a rotten reed. The sweating of "female labour cheapened by prostitution" (as Bernard Shaw says) becomes impossible. I have written at considerable length in recent years on the ethical, as well as on the cosmographical problems solved by the Law of Thelema. I need not go into them more deeply in this place . But the subsequent events of my life will furnish constant illustration of how every time I violated the Law, as I sometimes did with what I was ass enough to call the noblest motives, I got myself into a mess --- and failed to benefit those on whose behalf I had chosen to make a fool of myself.


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jamie barter
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Can it be possible that A.C. might have had some unresolved neuroses/ (mundane) ‘possession’ issues there? 😮 ?

He did say somewhere “There shall be no property in human flesh”, though I can’t quite pin the quote down offhand, although I think it related to Cefalu & 'his' women there…

Or maybe he just didn’t feel like “going in sloppy seconds” with Leah after Norman Mudd as it were, if you’ll excuse the vernacular (we can at least be sure it would have been an unconventional ‘honeymoon’, had it ever happened…)

There are also some implications of “O man! refuse not thy wife, if she will” (Liber AL I:41) to consider (not least, can the wife’s Will in effect in some way “trump” the man’s, all other factors being equal?!  Maybe more of a problem in pre-Viagra days!?)

"Azidonis" wrote:
"belmurru" wrote:
So I see Mudd’s point, as Crowley must have.  Can anybody support Crowley’s reasoning – or inspiration as the case may be?

Yes.

Crowley: "Hey bro, you are all up on her jock and she's asked you to leave her alone several times but you keep messing with her."
Mudd: "Well, what about Saturday?"
Crowley: "That was for a ritual. You can't mix the planes."
Mudd: "I just can't stop thinking about her."
Crowley: "You need to go cool off man. Go out into the woods for a week or so and meditate, masturbate, or do whatever you have to do, but you need to chill out with her before I kick you out of the house."
Mudd: "Okay."
[Exit Mudd.]

🙂
Norma N Joy Conquest


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Shiva
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"jamie barter" wrote:
He did say somewhere “There shall be no property in human flesh”, though I can’t quite pin the quote down offhand, although I think it related to Cefalu & 'his' women there…

It was written in Liber Aleph (long before Cefalu) as instruction to Achad as to the nature and extent of civil law (that Achad was expected to enforce 😀 :

"33 DE NECESSITATE COMMUNI
... And this Standard shall be based upon a large Interpretation of Facts biological, physiological, and the like.

34  DE LIBERTATE CORPORIS
There shall be no Property in Human Flesh. Every Man and every Woman hath Right Indefeasable to give the Body for the Enjoyment of any other. The Exercise of this Right shall not be punished either by Law or by Custom; there shall be no Penalty either by Loss or Curtailment of Liberty, of Rights, of Wealth, or of Social Esteem; but this Freedom shall be respected of all, seeing that it is the Right of the Bodily Will. For this same Reason thou shalt cause full Restriction and Punishment of any who may seek to limit that Freedom for the sake of his own Profit, or Desire, or Ideal. Every Man and every Woman has full right either to grant or to deny the Body, as the Will speaketh within. This being made Custom, the Evils of Love, which are many, extending to the Disturbance not only of Body but of Mind, and that in obscure Paths, shall little by little disappear from the Face of His unspeakable Glory.

35  DE LIBERTATE MENTIS
There shall be no Property in Human Thought. Let each think as he will concerning the Universe; but let none seek to impose that Thought upon another by any Threat of Penalty in this World or any other World."

Unfortunately (for Achad, Mudd, and Humanity), there is a built-in, possessive quality in people and animals. The entire fauna kingdom thrives on males butting heads and killing each other over female possession, and men wage duels nd wars over damsels. Likewise, women have been known to execute "cat-fights" over a desired man. Even amongst the gay quarter, fights and homocides have been known to flare up in respect of "partners."

"There shall be no property in human flesh" is a great idea in terms of human slavery, and if one party wishes to leave a union, or just to fool around, then it's a fine goal. But, enforcing the freedom of adultery within a society/world that is genetically driven toward possession is going to be a hard road ... No wonder Achad finally came to "not measure up."

Note: This map shows where the world’s 30 million slaves live. There are 60,000 in the U.S.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/10/17/this-map-shows-where-the-worlds-30-million-slaves-live-there-are-60000-in-the-u-s/

"We think of slavery as a practice of the past, an image from Roman colonies or 18th-century American plantations, but the practice of enslaving human beings as property still exists. There are 29.8 million people living as slaves right now, according to a comprehensive new report  issued by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation."

- Washington Post 2014


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jamie barter
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I also don’t think Liber AL in this context refers to the legal distinctions and properties in marriage, etc, etc.  And as steve appears to suggest, the ‘adulterous’ nature of the Scarlet Woman might mean prepared to accept adulterations – i.e., all types of the human genetic mix received in the ‘cup’ of Babalon – accepting the fornications of all according to Her Sacred Office (not to mention Orifice.) 

And “loud”?  Maybe that means she should be a bit – ahem, vocal in terms of showing her enthusiasm rather than supinely laying back and thinking of England, as it were?  It used to be called “doing a Meg Ryan” (“- I’ll have whatever she’s having”). 

Then RHK will fill her with joy and her cup will runneth over…
N Joy


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