Tuesday, August 9, 2011


LJ commenting on the Lambskin ( ch 38 of The Book of Lies) post said...

The Book of Lies is one of AC's more interesting books, but fairly obscure to me.

Cowan--'One who does the work of a mason, but has not been apprenticed to the trade. 2. Hence, One uninitiated in the secrets of Freemasonry 1707. 3. slang. A sneak, eavesdropper.'


I suppose the first line means, 'Get lost, uninitiated!' or something along those lines.

I can't find 'Tyle' but the word 'Tyler' is the outer guard of a masonic lodge, but that may not be relevant.

Thank-you for this valuable research, LJ. It highlights a point previously unknown to me in that poem, but very related to what I've been getting at - that anyone can do the "work" that's been suggested in the past few posts from (to borrow a memorable phrase from William Burroughs and Robert Anton Wilson) 'right where you are sitting now.' Meaning that no special training is required. No particular ideology needs to be subscribed to or believed in. Nothing to buy or sign up for. You don't have to wait until you're ready.

This applies to everything that's been presented here about the technology of bardo readings - what Tibetans call the Power of Liberation by Sound - from doing a formal reading from the American Book of the Dead to singing a song for someone. From reciting the opening page of Finnegans Wake to inspire and invigorate a drum solo recording ( I saw a drummer named Skip Reed do this at a session for The Laughing Dogs - he recited it from memory) to listening to the Bill Laswell/Tony Williams collaboration, ARCANA: Arc of the Testimony with expansively directed attention.

The poem (or qabalistic koan, if you like) Lambskin starts out:

Cowan, skidoo!

My interpretation of Cowan leans more to the first definition LJ provided above: 'One who does the work of a mason but hasn't been apprenticed to the trade. ' The other definitions apply as well because we have multiple meanings here.

Skidoo is the title of chapter 23 from The Book of Lies. The formula there is, Get OUT.

Therefore the first line could read as: "Uninitiated, or beginner, get OUT!

Two meanings, opposite to each other, suggest themselves. The obvious one - a literal warning to be taken seriously, and the one Crowley gives as a magical formula which, on the most basic level, means to transcend your fundamental preconceptions about what is real and what is possible. Or to just simply get out of personality, get out of ego as a precursor for entering the temple. That's all the uninitiated need do to begin. By the way, this is but the tip of the iceberg to this formula/banishing, get out, as further study and practice will certainly reveal.

Tyler ( one who Tyles) has this definition in A.E. Waites', A New Encyclopedia of Freemasonry:

- The Officer in charge on the further side of the Lodge-door. When he and the Officer on the hither side are on active service the Lodge is tyled. He is called Janitor in the Royal Arch and Guard or Sentinel in some other Degrees.

Well, that's as far as I'll go. After all, the back cover of The Book of Lies warns:

THE BOOK OF LIES is a witty, instructive, and admirable collection of paradoxes; however, it is not a philosophical or mystical treatise. Actually, its subtleties exhilarate. Scholars have said it is "stupendously idiotic and amazingly clever." To endeavor to translate it into definite terms Crowley's aphorisms would detract from the value of the book. It is wiser for readers to make their own interpretation.

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