Tales of the Authentic Tradition

Thus I have heard

On the island of Malta, Joseph Balsamo presented his relatively minor credentials to the aged Grand Master.

The noble Knights of Malta had long since ceased to be a military organization, and had fallen heir to the esoteric mysticism of the Knights Templar, Sufi Islam and the long Christianized but anciently derived Egyptian religious lore and ceremonies.

The old Grand Master, Gregor de Olmas, read aloud the English Charter of a Master Mason with a heavy accent that bespoke both an Eastern European origin and wide travel over may years.

Finally, the candles flickering, he looked up at Balsamo.

In flawless Italian, he began speaking with no hesitation, holding Balsamo's eye.

"The Knights of Malta, such few of us who remain alive, now have a duty to pass along to the worthy much knowledge. Much knowledge"

He paused, as though reflecting. Balsamo returned the old knight's piercing stare evenly, but his throat was constricting, his heart pounded. His informants had not deceived him. He felt on the edge of Great Discovery.

"The worthy," the Grand Master repeated. He looked about him, then back at his guest. "You, sir, are both a seeker and a scoundrel. Possibly, you are not the best man in the world, but I feel you WILL do something with the knowledge, and time permits us no further waiting. Our time is passing quickly from the world, just as an Aeon is thrashing out an end.

" Revolution is beginning to wrack the Old World, and a new one will not be long in coming. You will play John the Baptist, to my Teacher of Righteousness. Then we will see what fresh fever comes from the skies".

He paused and smiled thinly. Balsamo had not the least idea what the Grand Master meant, and the old man knew it.

"Teacher of Righteousness?" Balsamo shrugged. " I have heard of no such one."

But John the Baptist? Who, then, shall be my Jesus Christ?"

He meant it a jest. The Grand Master responded evenly, "You will see, my young sir. Your Blue Lodges of the lost word have prepared you a bit, perhaps, but I shall send you back to the Continent an Adept, and Egyptian, a Great House. Men and women alike you will gather in secret and teach. A few others have come before, too soon, but seeds of knowledge exist to be awakened and united with. " He smiled at some inner secret.

"My illustrious predecessor spoke with Nathan the Jew of Gaza who followed their would be messiah Tzabbati Tzvi, and I myself have talked to the French Jew Frank, who knows much, indeed.

"In time you will become Grand Copt, reawaken and reform the rites, and prepare the way for the prophet to come. I will name you the Count of Cagliostro, and send you to France. Spread the teachings, to the worthy, restrain your avarice...and stay out of Italy, above all."

Balsamo nodded. He had barely heard the last admonition. Grand Kophta, Count Cagliostro. Men...and women as well. Thus was born the Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry. Thus was the way prepared for the Book and for the Prophet.

In his time, the Grand Kophta died in prison, in Rome. But a torch had been lit, and its light fell upon many,

Thus have I heard. Of the many Lodges spread across Europe by the Grand Kophta (fragment breaks off here)

Thus have I heard. When Nathan of Gaza separated from his master he returned to Europe. The Messiah had taken the fez before the Great Sultan himself, embracing Islam. The Prophet Nathan had a vision on that same day, as he sojourned among his brethren in Vilnius. He saw the messiah as if before him take the fez, and Nathan would have torn his own garments but for the gentle, firm touch of Michael, clad in flat, gray steel plate armor.

Arise and grieve not", whispered the Archangel. "The day is not yet. One soon shall arise, and bring fresh fever from the skies. The Messiah embraces the Crescent. You, I say, shall embrace the Cross. Sooner than the blinking of the eye of God, both cross and crescent shall yield to the Word, which a prophet I shall send shall speak. This I promise you."

Nathan of Gaza was baptized into the Roman Catholic Church on the following Sunday. When he was old and full of years, isolated and condemned by his kinsman, humored by the gentiles, on Sunday, after Mass he returned to his hovel and found that the Baal Shem Tov was at his door.

When the Baal Shem had announced to his entourage he intended to visit the old apostate, the disciples spoke with one voice against this blasphemy, but the master silenced them with a gesture.

"Once, " he told them, "to save the life of a child, I formed a magical circle at his bedside and pronounce the four-fold Name of God. Cherubim circled the house, There was a mighty clap of thunder in the heavens, and the dead child returned to life."

But Master", Dov Baer of Mesritch complained, "to pronounce the Name is to lose your place in paradise! What did you do?" There was sadness and terror in his voice.

"Dov, beloved disciple, the child was alive. What could I do but dance in ecstasy at the power of the Name of God?" The master laughed, and set off to see Nathan of Gaza

The old prophet offered the Baal Shem such amenities as the poverty-stricken can offer, but thewunderrebbe merely sipped a cup of water.

"Nathan, thou prophet of Gaza, " the Baal Shem said, " I have come because I wish to hear from your own lips why you served a false messiah, and took the cross of another such to your bosom, and yet face the end of your days with serenity"

"The Archangel Michael so commanded me. He said the Cross and the Crescent would soon fall beneath the Silver Star."

For a long time the Baal Shem Tov was silent.

"There is a man, a Jew named Frank, who teaches the Caballah of the Flesh. License and debauchery, he says are the joy of God. Some say he is in league with the devil."

"I say he also has spoken with the angels, " Nathan said quietly, and the people of the Aeon to come will someday place him among the saints." The prophet smiled. Silent, peace radiated from his eyes.

{Fragment found on a separate parchment}

Thus I have heard. When the Comte de Cagliostro, Grand Kophta of the Egyptian Rite came to Versailles, he stopped en route at Paris to visit the notorious Jewess Frank, daughter of the prophet of license and debauchery. Cagliostro was not disappointed. Though in her middle years by that time, her beauty had not faded, and she proved by Sign, Word, and Grip that she was, indeed, the daughter of the prophet of licentiousness. At Versailles, thus refreshed, the Count was graciously, even grandly received at court. There he encountered the Comte de Saint Germaine, who insisted that women as well as men not only should be admitted to the rite, but that the inner most secret of freemasonry necessitated that this be so.

Cagliostro resolved to do so. "Are you really a thousand years old?" he asked.

"Are you really Count Cagliostro?" St. Germaine winked.

{Fragment from Greece} Thus I have heard. St. Germaine returned to Egypt with Napoleon. It seemed an opportune moment to leave Europe for him, and little had changed in the Valley of the Nile since his last visit. The Grand Kophta had died in a Roman prison, and St. Germaine hastened to Cairo to upraise a successor.

The pyramids and Sphinx, so recently the site of a great battle, were much as they had been when last he had seen them, though the nose of the latter had been vandalized, and much of the facing had been removed from the Great Pyramid.

Samuel Honis was at home when the Count arrived, and he responded immediately to his esoteric request. Together at midnight they climbed and entered the pyramid, and in the Inner Crypt of that Empty Tomb the Comte de St. Germaine initiated Samuel Honis of Cairo into the Sanctuary of the Holy Order. Honis set sail for France. He had promises to keep.

Honis then raised a storm. The Seine boiled and frothed, the sky grew dark, and tiny black frogs with red stripes down their backs fell alive from the heavens. He called upon the Grand Orient the direful judgement of the Lord of the Abyss, and of the Lord of the Coming Aeon (before whom none could stand), a great Crucifix fell at Notre Dame, and a spring welled up at Lourdes.

The Grand Orient expelled the Egyptian Rite on June 14, 1817.

Thus have I heard. Samuel Honis sojourned at Paris for many years. His nephew renewed the Rite and became Grand Hierophant. Thereafter, the True Rite became known as that of Memphis, after the Holy City of Old. The hierophant's name was J.E. Marconis, called "the Negro" by the ignorant and bigoted peasants because of his Egyptian features.

As Marconis, in his time, grew old, he passed the torch of wisdom to John Yarker, the titular and rightful Grand Master of all true freemasons of the ancient and primitive rite. In Paris, Yarker met Pascal Randolph, the American physician recently returned from Asia. Randolph was initiated by a secret priestess among the Ansari Muslim initiates, into the deep teachings, and Yarker was amazed at Randolph's wisdom.. Yarker whispered in the ear of Randolph, and in that instant the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light was reborn. What word he whispered I may not say.

{remaining fragment from the collection}

Thus have I heard. Dr. Carl Kellner spent a night in a Hamburg guesthouse in the Summer of 1890. He dreamed a great dream, of the Arabian paradise, of Horis with large limbs, of peace and of ecstasy. The Archangel Michael, clad in dull gray plate armor, approached the industrialist lost in that peace which surpasseth understanding, and said to Kellner, "thus saith the Lord: In Babylon and in Asia I await you. Our skin is warm and smooth and glowing; our scent beyond description: From our long, flowing hair we unbind the stars of infinite heaven, and at our pleasure we gather them in. Hasten to me, to me, for the Aeon dawns in mere hours.

"Hasten to Asia, to temples of gold and ivory, to India, to worship in my Temples and upon secret altars which I will show unto thee. Come unto me, unto me, for the Aeon Dawns tomorrow, though no man yet knows the hour of its coming. I shall send to you a Prophet who shall utter the mighty Word of the Aeon. He is among you already, and I shall set his path to Cairo. Hasten, for the Prophet of the Crowned and Conquering Child arises to Utter the Word!"

Kellner awoke and exclaimed, "Holiness to the Lord!"

From his eternal catatonic, syphilitic stupor the eyes of Zarathustra opened in his cell, as clear and mild as in the days of his mightiness.

"The word of Sin is restriction." He said, and died at peace, in a state of grace no man then living knew.

{fragment breaks off here}

{fragment picks up here}

Thus have I heard. For three days the Prophet and Scribe wrote down a Book of the Law at Cairo. Afterwards, he rested.

Dr. Kellner had returned from the East and founded an Academy to initiate the brethren into the Holy Secret of the Word. The year following the proclamation of the Word, Dr. Ruess succeeded him as Grand Master. At his death, the Prophet himself became Grand Master for many years. When he, too, had died, a line of Caliphs succeeded the Prophet unto the present day.

Thus have I heard.

"The formula of humanity is the willing acceptance of death; and as love, in the male, is itself of the nature of a voluntary death, and therefore a sacrament, so that he who loves slays himself, therefore he who slays himself that life may live is a lover. Vesquit stretched out his arms in the sign of the cross, the symbol of Him who gives life through his own death, or the instrument of that life and of that death, of the Holy One appointed from the foundation of the world as its redeemer.

"It was as if there had come to him a flash of that most secret Word of all initiated knowledge, so secret and so simple that it may be declared openly in the market place, and no man hear it. At least he realized himself as a silly old man, whose weakness and pliability in the hands of evil men had made him their accomplice. And he saw that death, grasped now, might save him...

"I invoke the return of the current" cried Vesquit aloud; and thus, uniting justice with self sacrifice, he died the death of the righteous."

Aleister Crowley, MOONCHILD

Thus have I heard. The Baal Shem Tov and his disciple, Dov Baer of Mesritch, went down to the banks of the Vistula. As usual, the young Dov Baer had no idea of the Baal Shem's intent, but knew him as always to be the Lord of the Dance, the Master of the Unspeakable Name, the great Magician of the ecstatic Caballism. So, he followed and said nothing.

For over an hour the Baal Shem Tov idly played with a stick in the river, watching the rippling and wake he created by striking the water or submerging the tip of his stick. His disciple watched, avoiding his own reflected image in the water, lest he violated the prohibition against vanity. The Baal Shem noticed and smiled, humming a Niggun.

Despite his efforts, Dov Baer noticed his reflection, and then ANOTHER behind him. Fearing a demon or Cossack or worse, he drew in his breath sharply, but could not bring himself to turn around and look behind him. Most of all, he feared he would see --nothing. "Master, " he whispered, "someone is here I think".

Without turning, the great rebbe Israel Baal Shem Tov said, "So, young Frank, I see that you are punctual," He turned, as did his perplexed disciple.

Dov Baer looked upon a youth with long matted hair and deep, piercing dark eyes. Like a serpent, Dov thought. The youth was dressed as a Chassid, but his Yiddish had a harsh edge, and Dov Baer guessed him to be from Central Europe, probably somewhere in the Empire. He knew who he was looking at. So this is the heretic, the false messiah, Dov thought.

The Baal Shem waved his stick and said a word to the heretic in a language foreign to the disciple. Young Jacob Frank smiled then, and returned a similarly foreign word in response.

The two men, Jacob Frank and Israel Baal Shem Tov, then strolled and talked, following the bank of the Vistula, with the perplexed Dov Baer trailing behind.

Occasionally, the latter would catch a stray word. "Roman" was mentioned, as was "fluid" and "elixir" and "Turkish". "Caballah" and "Zohar" came up more than once; Dov knew the heretic's followers called themselves "Zoharists". After a long time, the young man saluted the Wunder Rebbe, and departed into the dying Sun.

The Baal Shem Tov watched the silhouette recede slowly into the sunset. When it was gone, Dov drew abreast of the Master, who seemed lost in deep thought.

"He did not seem evil, Master. Perhaps the stories of his sinful, wicked ways, of flesh wallowing and heresy are exaggerated. Perhaps only his followers indulge in perversion and apostasy".

"There is no sin in this man," the Baal Shem said flatly. He has a child, a daughter named Emunah or Eva who he says will grow up to be Queen of Whores. He says he is the dead false messiah Tzvi, reborn. He calls himself the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, and if the goyim find THAT out...well, they deal with heresy more harshly than we do. He says all men must go through all religions, and he plans to tell his followers to become Christians as Tzvi told his to become Muslim. He says that sexual lust IS the Caballah, and union with the Almighty impossible without it. It is all true. The orgies, the apostasy. The historians of our people will reduce him to an embarrassed footnote. He says the Zoharists are the forerunners of the New Aeon. He defends all that he does with great learning, not only in Torah but in terms of the ancient magic."

Dov Baer felt the hair at the nape of this neck crawl. "Master, did you say that there was NO SIN in this man?"

"He is beyond sin, Dov. I think he will be forgotten, I thing we will be remembered. I think I know who he is, and what he is."

Thus have I heard. Dov Baer, the Maggid of Mesritch, had gained great fame for his writings on ecstasy after the death of his Master. The scholarly Jews were appalled at his defense of dance and ecstasy in his writings and sermons. The dancing Chassidim were appalled that he wrote more than he danced. The latter was true. As time went on, he danced less and less, but wrote minutely of the virtues of ecstasy. While visiting the Jews in Romania he chanced upon a group of traveling Dervishes.

He admired their courage. Vlad the Impaler had not so long before treated Turks like Jews, and would have staked these holy men, as he had thousands of Turks. But, times had changed and the Christians of Eastern Europe, except perhaps the Serbs, were no longer so threatened by the Islamic Empire. These holy men were more curiosities than threats now.

As the Dervishes danced and whirled like gypsies before a scattered crowd of Romanians and Jews, Dov found himself breaking into dance himself. His disciples, a bit confused, followed suit, a bit uncomfortably. The local peasants watched with near boredom; a gypsy caravan had been through the region only days earlier. It all seemed much the same, Jews, Turks, Gypsies. A few peasants locked their hen houses, just in case.

When the Whirling Dervishes departed, headed towards the Transylvania, the Dervish leader bowed to the Hebrew holy man Dov Baer of Mesritch. "O, Chassid, you would make a most excellent Sufi." He said.

"O Sufi," the Rebbe replied, " you would make a fine Chassid. May ecstasy be your lot through all your life."

That night, the Rebbe dreamed a dream. The Archangel Michael appeared to him, wearing dull, gray plate armor, with a sword of gleaming steel in his right hand. "O Rebbe of Lubovich," the Archangel said sternly, "was that you I saw today, dancing with the heathen priests?"

"Forgive me!" the Rebbe shouted, "The dance was so beautiful, the music so seductive, I could not resist. It was as if they were Chassidim on a holy day, dancing in praise of the Lord of Hosts!" The Rebbe shook in his dream, with fear. The Archangel Michael lowered his sword. "Fear not, Rebbe. I only took note of it, because it has been so long since I have seen you dance. Next, perhaps, you will abandon your books, and dance in your bed with the daughter of the heretic Jacob Frank."

"O Lord of Hosts! The Frankists do not dance; they revel in the grossness and perversion of the flesh. Debauchery and licentiousness are their life. God forbid I should be caught up in such acts!"

"God does not forbid. And the Frankists do dance. And those who dance with Frank's daughter, Queen Eva, dance with the Queen of Heaven. They shall be anointed, the elect of God, be they Jew or Heathen." The Archangel made a sign with his hand, the same as made by the Baal Shem Tov when he extended his hand to the heretic years ago, by the banks of the River Vistula.

Dov Baer returned to Mesritch, and never danced again. He feared the angels now, more than devils.

{fragment found in the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem, 1963}

Thus have I heard. John Yarker left Dresden with a sinking sensation. In spite of promising young German freemasons like Reuss and Kirmiss, most of the German states outside Bavaria had taken on distinctly sanitized features; such was paying off in huge memberships and no state persecution, but, it seemed to Yarker, the essence of primitive masonry was being completely lost in the process, and he felt less like the Grand Master than a shadow figure on the sidelines. Best to think now, he mused, of creating Masonic academies to preserve the wisdom for more enlightened times. A storm was coming to the continent. He could feel it, though he doubted he would live to see it himself. The German promising ones were of two types. Reuss, Ullmer, Klein and others were the heirs of the great tradition. Others were equally gifted, but caught up in the pan-Germanic nationalism and Prussian militarism and superstitious myths of secret master races, hidden continents and whatnot. In his bones, Yarker felt the latter would not only hold sway over the former, but overwhelm the conservative lodges as well.

He was also distressed by the commercial sellers of titles and correspondence courses in Rosicrucian ideas. One group was busily sticking cipher advertisements in books bound for English speaking countries, aimed at interesting English and American occultists in 'enlightenment by correspondence'. Yarker told one of the brethren to keep an eye one that young lady Spruker or Springer or something, and restrain her if necessary. She seemed bent on selling whatever little of the secrets she knew to the highest bidder.

Back in Paris, Yarker decided to try to see the old magus Constant one more time. He was infirm and generally thought to be in his last years, if not months.

Constant- or Levi, as he styled himself, was, as it happened, having one of his better days. Feebly, he greeted the Grand Master at the door, and ushered him to a plush chair in the parlor.

"Ah, John, So, now you will be alone with the mysteries of Khem, and when I am gone. Egypt and Masonry will become the province of antiquarians and bourgeois magistrates, and magic will be reduced to stage tricks." The old magus coughed into his hand, Yarker looked crestfallen. "I have authority now over all the old Egyptian Rites. I intend to consolidate them, reduce the complexities, charter branches in England and America. The Continent may be finished, but the dream is not."

"Never mind, never mind," Eliphas Levi waved impatiently." I am tired of being a mere magician. A new generation will come soon, with new attitudes and a New Aeonic current to guide them. Instead of being a mere magician, I think I shall try my hand at being a prophet." John Yarker looked at the dying magus, not knowing what to say., "Forgive me, elder brother, but...have you the time?" Eliphas Levi smiled thinly, and Yarker noticed the Templar Baphomet illustration over the old man's shoulder.

"All the time in the world." Levi stated it flatly, allowing no response.

When they parted, Levi waved and assured Yarker he would see him again. John Yarker doubted it.

{fragment discovered among papers in Haiti.}

Thus have I heard. Jacques-Etienne Marconis de Negre had his ups and downs in preservation of the Egyptian Rites of Freemasonry in Europe.

Count Cagliostro, who had introduced the authentic rites had died a martyr under torture by the Holy Inquisition. Jacques- Etienne's great uncle Samuel Honis had come to the continent in 1814 e.v. to purify the rite, and his work with Gabriel- Mathew Marconis, Jacques - Etiennes father, had done much to insure the survival of the ancient secrets. As with the interplay of Templar and Islamic mysticism centuries earlier, the Freemasonry rampant among the Emperor Napoleon's conquering armies and the Eastern mysticism still abroad throughout the ancient land of Khem produced hermetic brotherhoods which refertilzed Europe with the deeper secrets and the Great Secret itself.

Some Mizraim lodges, whoring after the favor of the Grand Orient, were quick to blackball Jacques-Etienne, but with the establishment of the corrected Rite of Memphis a foundation was established. The French State suppressed this in 1841, but the rite was revived after the overthrow of Louis Philippe in 1848

In the meantime, Marconis was busy establishing the Rite in America, Britain, and back in the Egypt of his ancestors.

"de Negra" they had called his father, and the epithet had stuck to the descendent of Khem; the Egyptian, the dark, the Negro.

Like the foul stain of slavery that still hung over America, much of freemasonry still excluded members of the black race. The stigma would haunt Marconis all of his life, as, earlier it had haunted Prince Hall and later would touch the illustrious, thrice-illuminated saint, P.B. Randolph. It was the silent evil lying under all of the charges and persecutions.

Under increasing pressure to absorb the Rite from the Grand Orient, Marconis established a Sovereign Council of the 94th degree of the Ritus Memphis in New York in 1857. It was the year of the Dred Scott decision, handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court on March 6th. Chief Justice Roger B. Taney stated that the Declaration of Independence was never intended to include Negroes.

Marconis became increasingly isolated in his native France, but, on the very eve of the American Civil War, a U.S. Grand Master of note, Harry J. Seymour, was named.

The spreading fire ignited by John Brown and fueled by an incendiary tyranny did not deter the expansion of the Rite of Memphis, which grew to a great number of members, North and South, in the first year of the war.

Marconis died on November 21 1868. On the previous night, he had dreamed a fevered dream. The Archangel Michael, broadsword gleaming, the Grand Commander of the Host of Heaven clad in dull, gray plate armor, appeared to him. The Archangel radiated a dazzling light almost unbearable to look upon, contrasting with the features of his face, which were obsidian.

The Grand Master looked upon the face of God. "I am Michael de Negra," the archangel said. "and I am your brother, from Britain and America I will send forth bolts of unimaginable energy you shall not live to see. But know that they will sweep away forever the world of slavery and hypocrisy you have known and usher in an Aeon yet unknown."

"O Lord my God," Marconis gasped, "did not slaves build the pyramids of Ancient Khem?" "Never! By Tahuti the Master of Wisdom I swear it. Knowledge build the pyramids, wisdom designed them and only ignorance is slavery, which builds nothing".

"Then," said Marconis, "slavery rules us, for the world is ruled by charlatans, and everywhere I look I see ignorance."

"Not everywhere, O Brother of God. And as for those who be slave to their ignorance, in the new Aeon the slave shall serve. I swear it by the vault of my body. By my sacred heart and tongue."

After Marconis died, the American Grand Master Seymour broke relations with the Grand Orient, and in 1872 e.v. named John Yarker of England Grand Master of the Ancient and Primitive Rite in Great Britain and Ireland. It was Yarker who would arm those on the Continent and In Britain who were destined to usher in the dawn.

{Found in a cave niche near Bathsheba, Barbados, West Indies, 1985 e.v.}

Thus I have heard. At the time of his birth in the year 1700 of the common era, Portugal was still a less than favored place to be a Jew. The Hebrew people, along with the Arabs, had been deported by the crown in 1492. His name was Martinez Paschalis, a hereditary Kohen or priest, and his family found it wise that he travel abroad. In Arabia and Turkistan, he claimed to be a German and soon came to almost believe it. The hereditary priesthood among the Jews had long since lost much of its importance and authority to the rabbinical sect, from the day the Romans razed the Temple of Solomon on Jerusalem, and the forgotten Temple of Leontopolis, both in the 70th year of the vulgar era during the Jewish War.

It was at the remaining Western Wall of the former that Paschalis first encountered Jacob Frank. Several Jews, mostly Chassidim were praying there, and Frank, a thirtyish looking man in Chassidic garb and hairstyle, approached Paschalis who started, having been lost in thought.

"Peace, my hidden brother," Frank said in Ladino, the Sephardic equivalent of Yiddish and unknown in these parts.

"Hidden brother?" Paschalis, regarded him, speaking in the same tongue. " Who are you and what do you mean?"

The dark eyed young man looked up at the Western Wall. "What must it have been like, back then? A great temple, a great city for the Jews, surely., But, still, the poor suffered, ignorance abounded; disease, famine -- all alive then are long dead. Except perhaps, Jesus. Or the 'Wandering Jew' I hear of. Or the Comte de St. Germaine, possibly."

Paschalis looked at the man again. "Who, by God, ARE you? You speak the strangest things I have yet heard in my life, and I have been everywhere!"

Frank laughed. "How was Tibet? Are there Jews on the Moon? I am Jacob Frank, Grand Master of the Zoharists, keeper of the secrets of the Cabbalah and some say the Messiah."

Paschalis hardly knew what to say. "So you are Jacob Frank, eh? Well, you appear not to have horns, as is rumored. Are you now going to whisk me away to some den of iniquity, filled with lush and wicked gentile women and herbs that cause waking dreams? So I have heard is your Way to God. But, my friend Frank, I have been in the seraglios of Araby and the whore-houses of Amsterdam. I am a man of the world, and hard to impress in such ways".

Then: "You are a hereditary Kohen, are you not, my brother? Know then, o man of the world, that my kingdom, as they say, is not of this world, and no Muslim chieftain's seraglio is more than a faint echo of the pleasure of the garden of ecstasy I will show you. I, Jacob Frank, call you , O Martinez Paschalis, Kohen by birth and by blood to form an Order of Kohens based not on birth or breed, but on wisdom, the thirst for wisdom, power, the thirst for power, of force and fire and the future. Come to MY seraglio, O Kohen, and experience the ecstasy of the God to come."

The following year Paschalis founded the Order of Elect Kohens. This was in 1754. His follower, the Marquis de St. Martin, founded the Martinist Order, which continues to do the work in scattered places across the globe to the present day.

Thus have I heard. Many European Freemasons were among Napoleon's army of occupation in Egypt, and, especially those of the lineage of Comte de Cagliostro, they soon found many native Egyptians flocking to their banner.

The Copts and Arabs, Turks and Indians -- for Cairo and Alexandria were then crossroads of the world, where East met West, in and uneasy peace -- were quick to tell their newfound European brethren that the Masonry of Cagliostro did, indeed, represent a survival of the most ancient of Egyptian secrets, preserved in 'purified' form by Egyptian priests converted to Coptic and Gnostic Christianity, and, a bit later to Islam.

They Called themselves the Hermetic Brother hood of Egypt, and similar names, remaining, perforce, a secret society. They had contact with the Knights Templar during the Crusades, they said, and with others down to the Knights of Malta only fifty years earlier.

In 1873 Herr Carl Kellner reached Cairo for the first time. Herr Kellner was one of many westerners of his day to make the ' journey to the East' -- as the Russian Madame Blavatsky, the American physician Pascal Beverly Randolph, Burton, the English adventurer.

Kellner had been initiated into European freemasonry in the Humanitos Lodge in Neuhausl, Austria the year before, and at 24 he was eager for greater knowledge.

In Cairo he met for the first time with another, quite mysterious young man, then going by the name of Aia Aziz. In fact, this youth was the son of the last leader of the Zoharist sect, Rabbi Bimstein of Warsaw, Poland. When Herr Kellner met Aziz he had just been named Grand Master of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, a hybrid body with elements of freemasonry, ancient Egyptian religion and Ansari Islamic Tantrism.

"Herr Kellner, I would like you to meet Dr. Randolph from America, my finest student." Aziz said in the Cairo Lodge of the H.B.L. " The good Doctor will be taking our ideas back with him to the New World, shortly."

Kellner and Randolph discussed Masonic ideas for some hours. "The Masonic format has its merits," said Randolph, "but the underlying secrets may be communicated in any number of ways. Initiation is one. Education is more in keeping with my background. I have, I confess, minimal taste for ritual."

Kellner started to agree, when Aia Aziz interrupted. "You gentlemen sound like Madame Blavatsky. I can only say, you may find the open exposition of the inner secrets not only difficult for most of your hearers to understand, but dangerous to you if they, indeed, DO understand!"

Randolph smiled, "Perhaps so, Grand Master." He turned to the young Kellner. "Would you care to partake of the inner mysteries, my friend? Then, perhaps, you can judge for yourself how they best may be communicated. There is, in Alexandria, a woman of the Levant, and Ansari Muslim Holy Woman. She is young and beautiful, and has been trained in the dark forbidden knowledge. She is, in fact, a Gate to God."

Carl Kellner was aware that he was blushing. A man of his times, Randolph's inflection and Aia Aziz's reputation left little doubt of the direction that this adventure was taking.

"I have always wanted to go to Alexandria, that ancient center of learning!" Kellner told Aziz and Randolph. What he learned convinced him that initiation was the only way to convey this light properly. It would be twenty years before he and Thoedor Reuss would begin to put together the ritual of Egyptian Rite Freemasonry, chartered to Reuss by John Yarker, and the inner secret of the H.B. L. he had been initiated into on one long, rapturous and forbidden night in Alexandria, in the halcyon days of his youth.

{extracted from the H.B.L. documents in Alexandria}

Thus did I hear. Rabbi Bimstein seemed ill at ease. Louis had become used to his father's self-assured mannerisms, there in Warsaw in his own Court, among his own disciples and members of the community, but he had seen these other gestures as well, usually in the public streets, among the gentiles, especially around gentile officials. Now that he was leaving Warsaw, perhaps forever, bound for Cairo, the elder Bimstein seemed unusually fretful

This, Louis mused, was like on the long-ago journey with his father, when he was ten, to Frankfurt, to see the great translator of Kabbalah, Franz Molitor. Throughout the journey the confident, usually joyous Rabbi Bimstein had drummed his fingers, waved his hands about and shrugged his shoulders, muttering to himself. "are you alright father?" the boy asked repeatedly. The Rabbi would pat his back, and reassure him with some kind word, but soon returned to his muttering and shrugging. What kind of fierce being, what dybbuk, what golem were they going to visit, Louis wondered? And why?

Franz Joseph Molitor was, by then, an old and frail man. While his eyes glowed with some inner light, his very frailty seemed to negate all of the boy's fears, yet his father continued to behave in that anxious manner, even as the old man ushered them into his home, offering refreshments and words of welcome. Familiar welcome. It was not the first time the two men had met.

Louis tried to focus on the animated conversation between his father and the old man. They spoke in German, which was a bit difficult for Louis to follow then, but the essence of it was as clear as such converse could be to a gifted ten year old.

"So," Rabbi Bimstein, was saying, " just as my father brought me to you and to old Hirschfeld when I was a boy, I have brought my son to you. Bring him into the hidden life, as you then brought me."

The old man was quiet, lost in thought for a moment. He put his hands to his eyes, as if they hurt, and said, "The longer Baron Frank is gone from us, the more distant are my memories. You know old Hirschfeld knew the Baron himself, and his nephew, von Schoenfeld, as he called himself, was Hirschfeld's teacher. He was known among our people as Mosheh Dobruschka, and he lived not far from here in Offenbach. He was the eldest son of Reb Schoenfeld Dobruschka, who was very close to the Baron. His first cousin, I think he was, and a High Initiate of the hidden Zohar."

The Rabbi tugged at his sidelocks. "The younger one, the one called 'von Schoenfeld' -- wasn't he executed in Paris during The Terror?" The boy sensed his father's fear, but the old man smiled slightly.

"Yes, indeed. The Baron's daughter, Queen Eva, had established a salon in Paris, which survived well into this century." He looked slightly warily at the boy, considering his words. " He was -- how shall I say? -- one of Queen Eva Frank's inner initiates. He had a salon of his own, teaching the hidden truths through the Brotherhood of Asia. Yes, he was executed, as a Jacobin or some such thing, and they say he said something odd from the scaffold before they took off his head."

He paused, but the Rabbi said nothing, and the boy was now merely interested in the story. Martyrs, wars, princes and such were the stuff of history as he had learned it, and he found it exciting, rather than frightening. His father thought him an unusual child. He was.

Getting no response save raised eyebrows, the old man went on, "He said a strange thing, for a Zoharist. He said the Prophet was coming."

"Which prophet?" Rabbi Bimstein asked. This was news to him. Zoharists - the Frankists - had had their prophets and messiahs, Reubeni, Zevi, Nathan of Gaza, Frank himself. They had come and they had gone. Their influence was felt in the Brothers of Light and Brothers of Asia and in the remnant of Queen Eva's circle, but what was left was a remnant of an arcane past with no seeming future. What prophet was coming? "He didn't say." The old man laughed, "but he said in a hundred years a prophet was coming, to announce the Aeon."

"Well, that would be another....thirty, forty years." The Rabbi said, looking at his son. "Maybe young Louis Maximillian will live to see this prophet of aeons." The old man rose. "Then let it be with the proper Wisdom." He seemed suddenly taller, less bent, stronger.

He led them to a chamber below ground, surprisingly dry, illuminated by seven torches, encircling a blazing star with the letter "F" in its center, a sign known to all followers of Jacob Frank. With his father's hands reassuringly upon his shoulders, the old man opened an old leather-bound book, and read to the boy thusly: " Young brother, dost thou promise to observe duly the statutes of the Orders of Knights and Brothers of Light, and never try to diminish or change them, and in accordance with these laws to leave to each one his rights and never forsake them?"

Louis swollowed heavily, but he said, "I promise." The old man took up a golden cup filled with a white sticky liquid, and annointed the head of the boy in the shape of two parts of a tree, divided as into a cross. "God elects you as a chief among the elect," he said, and annointed the boy's hands and heart, saying, "David said to the Philistine, thou dost threaten me with thy sword, thy spear and shield, but I draw near to thee in the Name of the Lord, the God of Israel whom thou hast defied." The old man put a cap upon the boy's head, and a robe over his coat. The boy hardly noticed that the old man had switched from German to Hebrew. He held the book open, and his father Rabbi Bimstein read, also in the Hebrew tongue, " From remote times, my son and Brother of Light, there have been certain persons, united in mysterious and indissoluble bonds, who have endeavored by uniting their power to probe the occult forces of Being and to prove them. Such societies have gone under many and varied names. They have hidden their science, studies and mysteries in hieroglyphics which none could understand except their Disciples; they acted thus with great prudence, in order to increase the sanctity and make them less common, and in truth it would be dangerous to the world to make known powers which the welfare of the world requires should be kept secret. These various societies were seated at this or that place according to their leaders, but their center was always in Asia. Each member takes, in his turn, a mystic name. Now, young anointed brother, by what name shall you be known among us?"

Louis Maximillian Bimstein thought for a moment. All that he had learned of names of history and languages in his father's court went through his mind. This was important.

" Can I be called 'Max Theon'?" the boy asked.

The two learned adults looked each other in the eyes. "Max Theon?" his father asked. "What does it mean?"

"It means Great God, Rabbi" the old man said, with seeming approval.

Thus have I heard. The Prophet was accompanied by what must have seemed a motley crew, indeed. Gardner cut an adequate enough image, to be sure; cheap suit, his hatless mop of graying hair blowing in the Dover wind, but the three that followed, all members of that Rosicrucian theatrical company, Crowley presumed, annoyed him. "Tinkers," he sighed; "I am reduced to Tinkers, Gypsies and and rag-tag Travellers." He coughed and tugged on his pipe, turning smartly off of York into New Street. Ah, there it was.

"No, no, my dear Sir," Gerald Gardner entreated, " they are, I tell you, quite, quite earnest. They've read all of Margaret Murray's works, and Leland, and -" "O, bosh!" Crowley interrupted. " Popular drivel. If it weren't for the current situation, I'd never be caught dead with this rabble. Ah! Here's the house!" Crowley stopped in front of a rather nondescript relatively modern building. Looking it up and down, he seemed momentarily satisfied. Then the old woman, bringing up the rear, began it again. "Now? Is it now I'm to be sacrificed to the Old Gods?" It was the 14th time since they'd arrived in Dover she'd said it. Crowley had counted. He coughed again, rolling his eyes. "Gods indeed!" he said.

The "current situation" was indeed grave. Grave for England, grave for humanity. The year was 1940. In May the Nazis had taken Calais, and the Prophet's friend in the Admiralty had asked him to drop by. This had become no mean trick; Aleister Crowley was nearly 65, addicted to heroin to ease the pain of his increasingly virulent and frequent asthma attacks, a memento of his grand days of climbing in the High Himalayas. His personal finances were near desperate. Hitler had cracked down on his asssociates on the continent, and seemed to be sweeping away all of Europe. The back of the British and French forces had been broken, and it appeared that Dunkirk would fall, cutting off their last reasonable line of retreat . "Magick gone mad," Crowley had said to his friend. "It was one of my associates who put them onto the symbolism of the swastika, and its inate power, back in the '20s, at a meeting of the Thule Group. Hitler himself was there, as was Hess and their bloody sorcerer Karl Haushofer." Now they were all in the S.S. and the Ahnenerbe. And Germany was on the move. The gentleman from the Admiralty nodded. He had heard enough of this from Crowley and from Fuller and others, as far back as the First War, that, if he did not believe, neither did he disbelieve.

"Well then," he asked Crowley straight out," what would you suggest?" Crowley was silent for a moment. "If Hitler were to stop now, today, and not enter Dunkirk, could we evacuate our troops across the Channel?"

The gentleman balked, despite himself. "Now, why on God's Green Earth would the little paper hanger do that?" Crowley smiled slightly. "You didn't call upon me, surely, for conventional wisdom. You've got that from others, I fancy. A lot of it. What if?"

The gentleman from the Admiralty was quiet for a long moment. "We could evacuate. Carry on the fight."

"Right." said the Prophet. The next day, Hitler ordered a pause in the advance.

It was in July that a note came again from the same illustrious personage. Wearily, Crowley undertook a late evening visit once again. It was then that he heard what many suspected but few in England knew. It was then that "Operation Sea Lion" was laid bare for him. If things went well for the Luftwaffe, the Germans would invade Britain in force on the 15th of September. It seemed a near certainty. "Shall I join up, at my age?" the Prophet asked. The Gentleman from the Admiralty took it as a bad joke. Then he saw Crowley's hardened expression.

"This is the house old boy. An old Roman home, house of a sorcerer, from the days when Dover was the Roman Dubris, the end of the Watling Road. They'll dig the place out one day, I'd warrant, but that's not why we're here. The Wolf is coming, and I wanted to draw Power from this place." The old woman volunteered her life again, but this time the Prophet was already focused and in motion. "Now, shut that old fool up with her nonsense, and we're off for the Cliffs!"

Hess told the driver to speed up. It was a good road, between Lille and Calais, despite the recent fighting, and the oracle had been specific, or so General Haushofer had told him. "I don't know why we need to be there. We never know quite the why of these things, do we? But the Führer turn-around in May was no fluke, and we've spent our lives knowing that winning a war isn't all about planes and guns and ships. We need top be there, or the Bolt will roll back on us!" Hess gave a fleeting thought to the consequences of their mad trek through the newly captured French seacoast, but he feared Haushofer more than Hitler, when all was said and done. He was the magician. He was the maker of kings. If the General had told him - anything; to fly to Scotland and make peace- anything he would do it. The Deputy Führer would be afraid not to.

In Calais, the drove to the docks. Hess told the driver to kill the engine, and the lights. On a small peer, he followed Haushofer to the very edge, facing the Channel. The General looked out, intently, towards Dover. Hess followed his gaze, though it was night, and he knew they could see nothing. "What are we doing here?" he asked, unsure of himself. "Casting the Great Swastika, the Beginning of the Manifest Universe."

Hess knew better than to ask what on Earth that might mean.

Gerald Gardner led the way, lean and hardened from his years as a colonial officer. He was followed by the Rosicrucian Theatre people, who were silent but alert. The Prophet would have been bringing up the rear, a modest humiliation even in his condition, but for the old woman who still seemed intent upon being sacrificed "to the Old Horned One" as she put it, or some such rot. Crowley ignored her as much as he could, glancing behind only momentarily at the eldritch medieval castle and the darkened city of Dover. He wheezed and coughed almost continuously, but doggedly walked on, to the Cliffs. They all reached the edge, and, as if in agreement, spread out silently along the crest.

The Prophet gradually caught his breath, gazing out across the Channel. On a clear day you could see Calais. But it was wartime, and night, and their was a mist. Even the old woman was silent. It was the night of August 12th, 1940.

"You know," Crowley said presently, " the year I was born a man first swam the Channel." Gardner waited, but for minutes he said nothing else. Finally, he broke the silence again. "They're over there, you know. Right now. " "Pray who is 'over there' ?" Gardner asked. The thought had passed through his head at the invisible "Roman House" in New Street that old Crowley had gone a bit crackers, and now he idly drifted in this direction again. But, he dismissed it quickly. This was, after all, the Magus of the Aeon of Horus, and Gerald Gardner was his man, in very truth.

"Who?" Crowley finally replied. "I'm not certain. Monsters from the Unconscious, maybe my own. Certainly Haushofer. You know, Hitler will bomb London tomorrow. I can feel it. But as for Sea Lion, we'll see."

The others, Gardner included, were clueless and silent. Aleister Crowley drew deep, deep and deeper still in his breath and thrust forward his right hand, his index and forefingers raised in a V. He then closed his fingers, extending his thumb. Somewhere, thunder cracked. The sky was clear. Perhaps, Gardner thought, it's the sound of a distant air raid. Or perhaps the old man was going to make rain for them, though he had no idea what this had to do with the Nazis, or sea lions, or whatever this was about.

Across the English Channel, General Karl Haushofer clutched at his eyes, and screamed, falling to the ground. Hess leaned over him quickly, and his driver ran up to help, Luger drawn. They looked around. Noise, like distant thunder, from the Channel. They helped the General to the car, and headed quickly out of Calais. Hess could see that Haushofer was uninjured, and, apparently, not unwell. He seemed dazed, shocked.

"Did you hear that, Hess?" he asked. "What? Thunder? Perhaps the Luftwaffe has raided Dover, or..." His voice trailed off.

"Crowley." Haushofer said. "Typhon and the Phallus. He has taken back the Swastika. There will be no invasion." Hess wondered if the old magus was slipping. He couldn't know about Operation Sea Lion, nor that it would come on the 17th of September. Tomorrow they would bomb London. Then England would fall, and Russia, soon enough.

Operation Sea Lion was cancelled September 17th, 1940 by Adolph Hitler, following the failure of the Luftwaffe to win control of the skies in the Battle of Britain. While air raids continued to the end of the War in Europe, the air battle is generally ceded by historians to the British as of October 31st, 1940, All Hallows Eve.

[Portions of "Tales of Thelema" were previously published in the limited circulation journal Pylon, 1991-92 e.v.]

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