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Best Friends and The Process


by skepticaltheurgist on Mon 22 Aug 2005 09:49 AM EDT | Permanent Link | Cosmos

Recent Entries Pilgrim muse God's dire contest The next 94 years Thelema's Gods - III Thelema's Gods - II

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Subscribe In March 2004, the Rocky Mountain News outed the people running Best Recent Visitors Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, itsdonna - Fri 01 Dec 2006 Utah, as The Process in its latest 04:49 PM EST incarnation. The Cone of Silence had Grand Spook - Fri 01 Dec 2006 been raised, and the Best Friends 02:57 AM EST management felt the need to 'fess up. skepticaltheurgist - Wed 29 Nov A few days later, they added a section to 2006 09:52 PM EST its website, mostly written by Michael andanotherthing - Wed 29 Nov Mountain and giving their own version of 2006 06:08 PM EST the past. This is still (as of August 2005) Donna K - Sun 26 Nov 2006 available at http://www.bestfriends.org/ 04:46 PM EST aboutus/oldhistory/intro.htm.

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Reading it, I had a strange sense of deja vu, from around 1969. In that year, the Sunday Times in England picked up the story of how in the late 1940s L. Ron Hubbard, before starting Dianetics and Scientology, had been involved, magically and financially, with the rocket fuel scientist and noted Thelemite, Jack Parsons. The newspaper had learned how, after some ritual workings to create a magical Moonchild, Hubbard took off with Parsons' girlfriend, a boat they'd all invested in, and a bunch of cash. It was classic Fleet Street muckraking at its salacious best.

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skepticaltheurgist :: Best Friends and The Process

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Scientology's response was a glorious farrago of a letter to the Sunday Times that began: "Hubbard broke up black magic in America..." Ron, it turned out (according to the Church of Scientology, and quoted in Russell Miller's Bare Faced Messiah) had been sent in by the U.S. government to smash up this dangerous ring of occultists with which Parsons was involved. Naturally, he succeeded magnificently. A stolen girlfriend? No, not at all. "Hubbard rescued a girl they were using." In sum, the facts were all covered off. It was only the truth that was missing in action. I recall Michael Mountain (Father Aaron as he was in the 1970s) as a charming man who was often irreverent, and fun to be around. The Best Friends account of the early days shows he still has the ability to charm, even if, as with the C of $ story about Hubbard, the truth and the facts have some distance between them. It might be unfair to critique details almost 40 years after the events happened, but I feel otherwise. When someone publishes 8,000 words of wellspun baloney, a theurgically (and otherwise) skeptical person like myself can't resist teasing it a little.

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The primary fiction is that The Process consisted of a bunch of 1960s countercultural seekers, consensually choosing a bohemian, back-to-nature lifestyle. Noone who left England for the Bahamas in 1966, then went on to the Yucatan and Xtul was arguing about it, but the cultlike nature of the group is carefully erased in Mountain's description. Does

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skepticaltheurgist :: Best Friends and The Process

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anyone recall the alliterative headlines in the British press about "The Mindbenders of Mayfair"? Only me, it seems. But then, back before I joined, I collected all this coverage religiously. And while Robert De Grimston is airily dismissed as "the so-called 'Teacher' of The Process, who had written a number of books and was becoming well known in academic and theological circles," his wife Mary-Ann (see Mary-Ann's photo and Moon Unseen, from June 2005) remains "She Who Must Not Be Named". The Goddess of The Process, its core, is unmentioned in its own published history. And so it goes on. What, us spread Robert's teachings all over Europe and North America? All of us wear the Cross and the Goat of Mendez on our chests or collars? Go out every day and sell those books by the "so-called Teacher"? Musta been some other guys, or some other socalled Teacher. Even when I was in The Process (197072), the legends around Xtul, "The Place of Miracles" were being embroidered. An abandoned salt factory became a Mayan ruin, for example. Away from their civilised backgrounds, but living still in a soup of heightened consciousness, people had let their inner barriers drop and insights, synchronistic happenings and visions came in plenty. The primal presences or psychological realities called the Gods of The Process made themselves felt. Beyond that blanket statement, or something like it, I doubt anyone today could give a fair account of the weeks and months spent at Xtul. The three ex-

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skepticaltheurgist :: Best Friends and The Process

members whom I've interviewed all give varying stories. Mountain's account adds a fresh spin. As the group came to Xtul, he says, they encountered an old man who "just smiled and said, 'Es para vosotros,' ('It is for you.') And he waved good-bye and continued on down the trail." Neat - except, as anyone who's learned Spanish finds out, "vosotros" as a secondperson plural form is today used nowhere in Latin America, only in Spain itself. Later, the same man appeared, Mountain says, as The Process were all pulling out. "'You are leaving,' he said. 'But one day there will be another place for you. It is a beach without an ocean. And the sand is all red. And there are animals. Muchos animales.' "For someone who had never seen red rock canyons and the pink sands that go with them, it was a fair enough description of Angel Canyon, the future home, 20 years later, of Best Friends Animal Society." Not bad. I just can't find anyone who was at Xtul but left the group who remembers a thing about that 'prophecy'. Zip - or rather, nada. Mountain's aim, it seems, and that of the other members who wrote this story, is to make it plain that everything before caring for animals was just prologue, or a youthful exuberance. There was, he notes, a Christian ministry phase of helping other people, as indeed there was - after a Christ-and-Satan phase of that, plus a neo-Jewish one, neither of which is mentioned. Animal welfare was the direction in which things were guided.

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"The animals were beginning to take over! For many of us, they'd always really been our passion. And when a few of us got together one evening at the ranch to talk about what next and where next, we were all feeling that it was time to devote ourselves to that true passion." I can't say this is wholly false. Brits (the remaining core leadership group is mostly British) are famously dotty about dogs and animals generally, and She Who Must Not Be Named always had strong feelings about cruelty to animals. What decent human doesn't? But to claim animal welfare was the central concern in that first crazy decade spent as The Process? Or for The Foundation during much of the second? Back then, the End of the World and redemption therefrom overrode all other ideological messages, even if anti-vivisection was a cause we intermittently embraced. As noted elsewhere on this blog, I had a remarkable experience out of it all, though the group's most austerely headmessing phase was over when I joined. I'm not the only ex-member with mixed but still fond memories of the community, the sense of inner calm and purpose, and the humour we brought to it all. It's impossible to tell today from the teachings available on-line, but The Process could be fun, and very funny. You needed to accept the premise of the joke humanity's utter absurdity - but that done, a lot of things about life came to seem less tragic. Perhaps the absence of such candid detachment about the past is what saddens me here. Best Friends, clearly, is a well-run operation, however much its location
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skepticaltheurgist :: Best Friends and The Process

miles from any cities compromises its mission. It's an honest endeavour even if it does support the aging remnant of a failed cult. We all gotta live, and the BF operation pulls its own weight. The roots of my own main beef date back to a visit four years ago, when I briefly reconnected with some of the people I'd known three decades before. What I found was that it was all just like Mountain's story would later turn out to be. The "P word" was not mentioned at all, and almost nobody would share any personal stories or opinions unless they involved saving or helping animals. Had anyone learned anything spiritually? Well, everyone was much happier now than before. What did people feel it was all about, that wild Gnosticism, that fervent preaching about an End that never came? Well, it had been a long journey for everyone. What wisdom had they all learned? We need to be less cruel to animals. And so on. I drove out of that beautiful Utah canyon frustrated at feeling stonewalled, with my conception of shallowness permanently redefined. I've not been back. Other exProcesseans do visit and maintain friendships, but I couldn't be bothered to go again. Do they, under their neo-Romulan cloaking device, yet have some kind of wisdom, the way we did, or felt we did, 30 years ago? They won't say in Angel Canyon. All who stayed surrendered their personal histories for a distorted collective one. From Scientology, The Process borrowed the idea that all life consists of games,
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played as parts of larger collective games, and all ultimately part of a cosmic Game of the Gods. A personal game might be: I am always ill; or, I will make $15-million in real-estate then find my kids hate me; or I will struggle for human rights. Regardless of the circumstances or activities involved, they're all about gaining knowledge; about experiencing all things that are possible to experience. In visiting Kanab, after an hour, I could almost say "Yes, I remember you" in exactly the same, affect-less manner everyone I met used. I had three different people apologise to me spontaneously for what had been done to me in the past - all of them in a slightly beaten-dog tone, and using the same sequence of words. I'd gone in high anticipation, and without any grievance or hurt to air, but I came away with one. It was all supposed to be about accepting our own reality in its fullness, and thus open to God. The modus operandi today has become a sweet, well-intended deception that seems to have lost what spiritual truth or honesty was once present. Best Friends is, as any exmember can see, not a rejection of the structure of The Process or The Foundation, but a continuation. The sadness I feel is that while the externals have changed, the core game is the same as it ever was: a bunch of people believing they are an Elect of some kind, grouped around an aging avatar, very aware of human motivations yet hopelesly blind about their own. Saving animals is the latest version of this, and a nice one, but at bottom, it's just another game. The animals, I've heard it said, are a major comfort for the dozen or so
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remaining Processeans (most people at Kanab were never involved in the original group). Animals' natural dignity and unaffected joy are easily superior to the human animal's meaner nature. For someone who has spent 40 years tied to a cult, that must be reassuring. Personally, I'm grateful, regardless of whatever regrets and disappointments I've accumulated, that I can tell my own story, and don't have to follow a cultic party line nor distort my own memories to comply with one. I wish the Kanabians were able to do that. Instead, they still feel compelled to diss their former associate, Robert, like Stalinists dumping on Trostky, and to pretend that so many years of their earlier lives were a mere bohemian misadventure. It shows that, rather than seeing and accepting those years clearly, and truly moving on, they are endlessly perpetuating them. Oh well. The dogs and cats, at least, clearly appreciate it. Give 'em that. Keywords: Kanab, history, Friends, Best

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skepticaltheurgist :: Obituary - Mary-Ann

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Obituary - Mary-Ann
by skepticaltheurgist on Wed 30 Nov 2005 04:05 PM EST | Permanent Link | Cosmos

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Subscribe Mary-Ann De Peyer died on November 14, Recent Visitors 2005. She had reportedly been in a comatose state for two years prior to her death. itsdonna - Fri 01 Dec 2006 She was best known as Mary-Ann De 04:49 PM EST Grimston, when she was the co-founder and Grand Spook - Fri 01 Dec 2006 the primary driving force behind The Process 02:57 AM EST

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- Church of the Final Judgement. After her husband, Robert De Grimston, was ousted in 1974, and she and Robert divorced, she continued as the effective, though concealed, leader of the group, which for some years was called The Foundation Faith of God.

skepticaltheurgist - Wed 29 Nov 2006 09:52 PM EST andanotherthing - Wed 29 Nov 2006 06:08 PM EST Donna K - Sun 26 Nov 2006 04:46 PM EST

Recent Comments Re: Re: Re: Obituary - Mary-Ann Re: Pilgrim muse Re: The next 94 years Re: Re: Obituary - Mary-Ann Re: Needing the other

During the past two decades, she was known as Mary-Ann De Peyer after her marriage to Gabriel De Peyer, who appears to have taken on the mantle of spiritual direction of the inner group at the Best Friends animal sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. Best Friends is the ultimate successor to The Process (www. bestfriends.org), although most of its staff and supporters have no connection with its earlier forms or original belief system. See other posts in the thread on The Process for more information on her and her life. Keywords: MaryAnn, obituary, Mary, Ann

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skepticaltheurgist :: Obituary - Mary-Ann

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Re: Obituary - Mary-Ann


by Anonymous on Sun 12 Feb 2006 01:03 PM EST | Permanent Link

Re: Obituary - Mary-Ann by "GrandSpookofLowerBohemia" on Sat 11 Feb 2006 07:47 AM EST | IP: 67.5.149.47 Hecate's Obituary: The Undead Do Not Die Hecate lives! Yes, Hecate lives and has sent her legions to collect her hell hounds, as the paper registry of her previous incorporation lay rotting in a dirty lake that once was New Orleans.Yes, senior members of the Process Church have together returned to the world stage to do the work of Hecate.Yes, they have been doing the work of Hecate for many years now. I was able to observe them just after Katrina, as they appeared in Louisiana, so deeply engaged and giddy about their new assignment, that with total indifference they stepped over the supine bodies of humans pleading for assistance and then with the quickness of a fast moving storm, collected all the abandoned and lost animals and disappeared into the darkness of a decimated city. Yes, Hecate lives! LONG LIVE HECATE! Leland Cole "Grand Spook of Lower Bohemia" William S Burroughs 1989 Reply Marjane Satrapi

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Re: Re: Obituary - Mary-Ann


by John on Tue 07 Nov 2006 02:05 PM EST | Permanent Link

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OK. That was an interesting response to the obituary of Mary-Ann... Stepping over the bodies of people? Um, I don't think so... Anyway... Sometimes I hoped that there would be some kind of reconcilliation

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skepticaltheurgist :: Obituary - Mary-Ann

between MA and everyone... Thanks for the posts... John / Albany Reply

Re: Re: Re: Obituary - MaryAnn


by Grand Spook on Fri 01 Dec 2006 01:38 AM EST | Profile | Permanent Link

Grand Spook Replies Dear John of Albany, I think you have forgotten something. The writer Alan W. Watts once said ,that the human brain has a device known as the "forgetery"- a device so powerful that it can reconstruct memory, or even fully eliminate it. So then, let us both remember the way things really were. 'If we are part of humanity, identified with humanity, in sympathy with humanity, we are doomed. If we attempt to save humanity from its doom, we shall fail, because humanity has chosen its doom and has shown its unwillingness to reverse its choice. Our only valid course of action is to detach from humanity, climb out of the quagmire of its lies, its hypocrisy, its blind desire for its own destruction, find our own truth and create our own destiny."Robert De Grimston So John of Albany, 'step over human bodies' indeed! That is exactly what happened and why not, for the way things were remain the way things are. Humanity is the devil! LONG LIVE HECATE & HER ANIMALS Reply

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skepticaltheurgist :: The Process' Satan

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The Process' Satan


Recent Entries Pilgrim muse God's dire contest The next 94 years Thelema's Gods - III Thelema's Gods - II
by skepticaltheurgist on Mon 30 Jan 2006 09:13 AM EST | Permanent Link | Cosmos

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Satan, The Process taught, was the receiver Subscribe of transcendent souls and corrupted bodies. Recent Visitors He represented the extremes: the desire to rise above all flesh, all mental strife, and itsdonna - Fri 01 Dec 2006 04:49 PM EST become a free soul, a pure spirit, a master of space and time; or to sink down into an oblivion of drugs, alcohol, or downright madness to escape the pain of living in a bewildering, chaotic and often loveless world. It was the special insight of The Process to identify Satan as the Love of God. Not the healing, accepting love of the Processean Christ, but a pure love that transcended all human need, fear or resistance. At least, that was the theory as far as the Upper End of Satan was concerned. My own firm belief is that The Process never came to terms with its Satan. Its failure in this regard is, I suspect, the reason it has attracted such ferociously negative publicity as a 'Satanic' group. What it could not accept, despite its articulate protests to the contrary, it had thrown back in its face. The Gods of The Process emerged primarily at Xtul, the Yucatan site where the group's theology arose from its existing postScientology gnosticism in 1966. Jehovah, the Old Testament God of Battles, came in quite Grand Spook - Fri 01 Dec 2006 02:57 AM EST skepticaltheurgist - Wed 29 Nov 2006 09:52 PM EST andanotherthing - Wed 29 Nov 2006 06:08 PM EST Donna K - Sun 26 Nov 2006 04:46 PM EST

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soon, reflecting in part the demanding harshness of the back-to-nature lifestyle. Jehovah's complement Lucifer followed, perhaps reflecting the tropical lushness of the place, as well as a reaction to the hungry struggle to survive in Xtul. Hurricane Inez, mosquitoes, lousy diet and the exaggeration of personal psychological dilemmas in the spiritually charged atmosphere of the group

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mind, all conspired to underline the presence of Jehovah, and thus the necessity for Lucifer's balance of. Satan was a difficult kettle of fire. The group didn't even admit to his existence publicly until a year later. This was, I suspect, not so much that it was trying to conceal him, as that it didn't have a handle on what its Satan was about. The Process had begun as Compulsions Analysis, an alternative psychotherapy offered to early 1960s London, at a time when huge social change was brewing. This was largely the pre-psychedelic, pre-Sgt. Pepper, pre-hippie era, but the forces that broke out later in the Summer of Love were gathering. Other leaders might have steered The Process onto a more mystical road, but Mary-Ann was not a contemplative, and Robert was an architect, a man to whom structures were a way of life. They stayed with a psychotherapeutic model for years, and thus maintained a bias towards the mind and ideas. In Processean theology, Jehovah is the half of the mind, both cosmically and in each of us, that carries images of the soul. He demands sacrifice, work, struggle, persistence. Lucifer is the opposite, and encompasses all the mind 's images of the body. He requires beauty, liberation, sensual fulfilment. The urges each of these two represent are not actual spirituality or physicality, not transcendence or gross

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physicality per se, but the ideas, the conception, of each. Until the end of 1969, the presence and character of Jehovah were predominant. The Process was severe in image, dignified in an almost sinister way, and altogether projected a darkly charismatic austerity around itself. It refused the idea of compromise, even though its official and private perspectives shifted constantly. Jehovah's dominance though, was tacit. Nobody admitted Jehovah was in charge until a 'Game change' was sensed at the end of 1969 when a bunch of people, mostly young Americans, suddenly joined the group in London. The Process worked in response to signs, or at least Mary-Ann's interpretation of events-as-signs, and from then until the whole thing collapsed in spring 1974, Lucifer was the officially dominant God. And so the group expanded, striving to grow far more than it could. We did all kinds of social work, we all smiled a lot, and we burned through quite a bit of cash as well as burning out more than a few of our members, myself included. Satan's Game was officially scheduled to start later, around 1977. Revisionists say he came in early and was the force behind the 1974 Schism, but that is, I'd argue, a way of putting a theological face on a down and dirty slug-fest between the two divorcing founders. The truth is, The Process never did accept Satan, because it couldn't. Its basic paradigm was of the mind and its structures. The Processean Satan, by nature, was too volatile to be contained within Mary-Ann's need for a tight organisation, or Robert's visionary theorising. In BI 19, Robert laid out the basic scheme of
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The Process' theology. It derived in part from mediumistics, the system of working with levels within ourselves, each of which had a specific identity and character. These identities coincided (Robert and Mary-Ann insisted) with a fourfold format corresponding to a soul, a Jehovah-mind personality, a Lucifer-mind personality and the mundane consciousness, which was identified as the physical, outer self. There were also other entities within us, but these were the primary elements. Satan, in BI 19, was the God of the primal spark of being, which Robert (contrary to other thinkers and writers, like St. John of the Cross) called the soul. On both the macro-level and the personal level, this soul created a body so that it could play a Game; or at least have something with which to hold a dialogue. Both the body and the soul were viewed as being different 'ends' of Satan. The problem was, the soul is perpetually antagonistic to the body. The soul wants purity and at the least a clear view of the Ultimate, while the body wants to eat, drink and party. The soul in fact wants to get rid of the body, as the body wants to be rid of the soul. In the context of the times, a Jim Morrison or a Jimi Hendrix or a Janis Joplin overdosing was doing something Satanic: but was it a soul trying to ditch its limiting body, or a body trying to lose its restrictive soul? Or both at once? Anyway, to buffer this primal antagonism, the being comprising this sublime Satansoul and profane Satan-body created an interface, the mind. One half contained the urges and imagery of the soul (Jehovah), the other the urges and imagery of the body (Lucifer). The Process had a selection of ways to
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address this mental universe and the dichotomies it produced. But it had almost no purely spiritual techniques beyond simple meditation on a set theme, the mediumistics exercises mentioned above and a lot of work done with various forms of telepathy and psychic empathising. It had little in the way or ritual and ceremony, nor any formal forms of invocation and evocation. Interaction with life moment-by-moment was seen as enough of a spiritual methodology, rather in a Zen or Chasidic fashion, and this worked to a certain extent. Our going out onto the street with magazines every day was our main and ongoing encounter with God, where we learned about who we were from the encounters we had, good and bad, and discovered how to communicate our particular spiritual light to those open to listen and receive it. But that still left us with a conceptual or mental spiritual vision. We had our intense moments, our occasionally vibrant contact with each other and outsiders, and we had a vision of what we hoped would come to pass. But there was no method available to break through a certain ceiling of thought and ideation to a mystical perspective. In fact, Mary-Ann feared such experiences in her followers because they could lead them away from dependence on her and the Processean cultic structure. And our Christ-in-waiting, Robert, couldn't be outflanked by anyone having visionary ecstasies or realisations of Oneness beyond his own idealised explanations. So, while we preached the Unity of Christ and Satan ad nauseam (at least, I was personally near nausea towards the end), we simply weren't at a point where the reality of those two Beings, let alone their Unity, could
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be grasped. We came close at times, but mystical illumination is not a game of near misses. Combine that, as noted above, with Mary-Ann's trepidation around independent spiritual growth in others, and the problem becomes clear. We couldn't have a fully realised Christ, and we weren't about to explore the significance of a realised Satan. That would have involved too much personal experimentation and an increase in private freedoms. For a tight little cult, it would been collective suicide, whatever protests we uttered to the contrary. Few outsiders saw the problem, since our overall performance was pretty cool. But increasingly, our growing number of critics, who were tired of being pestered on the streets, began picking at our weak spot. When Ed Sanders (see post Ed Sanders) decided we had influenced Charles Manson and his followers, he created a lie that still seems plausible to people today. Our Satan was not redeemed and united with our Christ, but latent and indigestible within the cult that professed to have the lowdown on the Great Lord S. The irony was that, not only did we have nothing to do with Charlie and his murderous mayhem, but that despite a few tentative moves towards addressing the Lower-End Satanic side of sex behind closed doors, The Process was unable to express or release Satan to any significant degree. Or, to put it in specifically Processean terms, we couldn't realise the Upper End of Satan, and remained without the fulfilling power of Love. We were a would-be psychotherapeutic organisation, and as such essentially bound within our JehovahLucifer mindset, even if we were talking about Christ and Satan. Like other people with an apparently nice, rounded view of the universe, we were in fact stuck inside an

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skepticaltheurgist :: The Process' Satan

angular box we'd created. Christ, of course, was the Unifier in the Processean system, and as such the necessary means of bringing the two ends of Satan back together. But Christ in The Process was also problematic. The Gods were seen as distinct, but they were best known through those whose Godpatterns they informed. People were born with their patterns - there was no conscious choice, or philosophically based decision involved, despite some writers' statements to the contrary. All of us came into the world with dominant attributes from either Satan or Christ (the 'ex-mind' parts of our pattern) and from either Jehovah or Lucifer (the mind-based parts). Our Christians were seen as unifiers, but also, among a group of other characteristics, felt weak, with a sense of hollowness inside. The Christian tended to lean on the intellect, the emotion-starved 'martyred body of Christ'. The very need to balance and to unify, to be a conciliator, often disarmed the Christian when faced with the generally greater emotional effects of the Satanist. The situation was not viewed as hopeless - its resolution in the Unity of Christ and Satan was our core assertion to the world - but while this Unity was taken as being present on both a very fundamental level and more or less within The Process itself, it was acknowledged to be lacking from 'the world'. The same problem, then, was present with Christ as with Satan. We had a psychologically based praxis that just couldn't stretch far enough to embrace its own theory. We were perpetually in a feedback loop, waiting for the intrusion of grace to trigger the final ending of the human nightmare and the New Beginning. Except even grace was a suspect notion, because we were a structured cult that could
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skepticaltheurgist :: The Process' Satan

only accept such things passing from the leadership through to the masses. A Catholic perspective, for example, where saints are seen as holier than most bishops or Popes, was not possible. So, eventually, it all blew up. Satan, the power of separation, succeeded in the wrong way, and The Process splintered into MaryAnn's core group, which became initially The Foundation and, finally the leadership of Best Friends; and a number of Processean revival groups that never did more than talk, quote Robert, and hold very occasional ceremonies. I would also include in the splintering a bunch of misconceptions about the entire business that won 't ever go away, because The Process was not just its membership and our beliefs, but the effects we created and finally disowned. There was, in The Processean Satan, a drive, a sense of transcendence. When we became Acolytes, the first step in belonging, we were given an exercise in spiritual contact wherein it was explained to us that Satan drew out fear as Christ drew out guilt. We should thus confess our sins to Christ, and our fears to Satan. I personally found this exercise, simple as it was, one of the most affecting experiences The Process offered me, and the Satanic portion was what did this. For a few minutes each time, I stepped beyond my own fear. At the end of the channelled Processean text Satan on War, Satan says: I am the epitome of both death and life. I am the body in the depths of dark depravity, and I am the soul in the heights of sublime spiritual ecstasy. The legions of the damned are of Me, as is the great company of archangels. And when the bonds of matter hold Me no more, then shall I and My people, My Army, My legions, all
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skepticaltheurgist :: The Process' Satan

My followers, rise from the depths of the blackness of the Pit and transcend the stars. I am the body and the soul of man. Whilst the Fiend of the body is enslaved by the fearful mind, the soul is imprisoned. Only when the Fiend is released can the soul be free. I still find this provocative even today, despite Satan's very English choice of words like 'whilst', and an occasional clunking cliche. (The whole text can be found at URLURLURLURL) Yet The Process understood that this perspective was only one part of the truth, one aspect of the possibilities, and that a supernal balance was necessary. What it failed to understand, I think, was that the fear and mistrust it inspired in so many people was a direct reflection of its own repressed doubt of its ability to direct or contain that Fiend. It simply never found the means to voyage to the Star of its own vision. ***************************** The concept of the Unity of Christ and Satan was, in the end, just that - a concept. Yet it is essentially familiar territory to many gnostics, tantrics, Qabalists, Dzogchen practitioners and others. For myself, looking at it all nearly four decades later, I'm still seeking the inner - and outer - reconciliation that would be the realisation of that Unity. Thelema was something that put me off for a very long time, because it seemed too Satanic, in the specifically Processean sense of the term. And some Thelemites I've met confirm that impression. "I have crushed an Universe; and nought remains," says RaHoor-Khuit in verse 72 of Chapter III of the Book of the Law. I've met Thelemites who find that expression exhilarating enough on

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skepticaltheurgist :: The Process' Satan

the most superficial terms that they make no effort to look deeper into its significances. There is another verse in the same chapter, verse 35, that speaks of "The half of the word Heru-ra-ha, called Hoor-paar-kraat and RaHoor-Khut." Like much of the Book, this is a highly concise expression, in this case of a spiritual formula that contains both a receptive (Hoor-paar-kraat) and dynamic (Ra-Hoor-Khut) aspect to the "visible object of worship" mentioned in verse 22. Robert and Mary-Ann doubtless read the Book of the Law at some point. Robert especially looked into all sorts of spiritual material; though I seriously doubt he understood much of this text. He spoke a lot about significance and symbols, but I wonder how much he truly grasped of spiritual symbolism and its many levels. It would be a gross over-simplification to say that the Book of the Law is 'about' the same notion as the Unity of Christ and Satan. It is a compendium of wisdom that, in my view, goes far beyond what The Process could or did say and teach. But I believe that The Process was, quite unconsciously, one of very many efforts that have attempted to realise what the Book announced: a new Aeon that is based around a liberating spiritual awakening, and a remaking of the world we have known. The Process blew it, of course. Thelema began as just such a cult, built around the person of Aleister Crowley, but it has grown into something far healthier - a movement which inevitably develops its own checks and balances. By its own lights, it is essentially compelled to assist every questor in his or her Grail-quest, and there are clearly Thelemites around who have attained to realisations about which The Process could only fantasise.
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skepticaltheurgist :: The Process' Satan

But I remain grateful that I did spend those few years in or around the mind-world of Jehovah+Lucifer; and that I was granted a few hints of the realm that Christ+Satan might offer. I respect those who find that whole set-up bizarre or merely inept, for I sometimes agree; but I believe that if we are going to take a sorrowful mis-step, as I did, it might as well be a big enough one to be truly educational. "Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains." (Book of the Law, II, v. 9). Keywords: Satan, Process, Lucifer, Jehovah, Christ

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The Process was an ephemeral fringe movement that, largely because of a couple of seedy authors conspiratorial speculations about Charles Manson and his group, has had a second life as an internet punchbag. It was started using a bunch of practices derived from Scientology, along with concepts of Alfred Adler taken from his theories on the inferiority complex. Over time, it absorbed inputs from various gnosticisms and schools of enlightenment, to create a system that was rich in explication and psychological insight, and rather poor, I feel, in realised spirituality. Old-timers tell me Adlers ideas were very prominent in the early days. I accept this, while finding far more of Scientologys approach in its worldview than that of Adlers variant form of Freuds thinking. Both groups though, had, as a key assumption, the notion that by illuminating the knots in the mind, a form of illumination could be achieved. The Process spoke rather vaguely of detachment from the mind as its goal for the individual, and avoided the heavily stratified systems of grading Hubbard preferred for Scientology. It also better accepted that we have ups and downs, and no stable state of mind is lasting. Over time, it developed its mythos of universal existence being a laboratory or theatre for a cosmic Game being played between its four Gods. This compares with Hubbards space opera featuring Xenu the evil cosmic mastermind traumatising us all in a volcano and through nuclear explosions.

RECENT VISITORS itsdonna - Fri 01 Feb 2008 10:02 PM EST skepticaltheurgist - Fri 01 Feb 2008 09:10 PM EST UncleBobbysGodSquad - Thu 31 Jan 2008 01:41 PM EST Adam - Mon 03 Sep 2007 01:55 PM EDT andanotherthing - Mon 30 Jul 2007 10:03 AM EDT

This blog seeks to examine the various kinds of changes happening in our world as the 'Thelemic current,' the immense change initiated in 1904, gradually transforms human consciousness, individually and collectively.

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The Processean view, while simplistic and often over-rationalised, still strikes me as psychologically more viable than Hubbards Flash Gordon-esque fantasies. Books such as Russell Millers biography Bare-Faced Messiah or Jon Atacks rather better A Piece of Blue Sky have kept alive the story of how Jack Parsons, Aleister Crowleys scientist-follower in California, worked briefly with Hubbard on a Thelemic magical enterprise in the 1940s. Both books, tediously, perpetuate the idea that Crowley was a black magician (why, precisely?) who saw himself as the AntiChrist, rather than recognising his perspective was fundamentally postChristian. Similarly, the name Babalon, a spelling deriving from Crowleys work with the Enochian magical system, is muddled with the Babylon of Revelations. Atack even says Babalon is the same thing as the Beast, presumably having misinterpreted the Thelemic formula, Babalon and the Beast conjoined. Whatever. The workings took place, and while Hubbard left with some of Parsons cash as well as his girlfriend, he also took with him a much enhanced understanding of magical and hermetic philosophy. Although he later protested Scientology has affinities with eastern religions, it is at odds with these in key ways. For example, it rejects what Hubbard called join nirvana, seeing Buddhist and Yogic forms of enlightenment as sinkings into unconsciousness. We are Scientologists, he wrote in April 1963. We won't fall into the abyss. And we won't join Nirvana. We have meters and a map. We know the rules and the way. The reference to the abyss is also intriguing, since crossing (not falling into) the Abyss is a key stage in Qabalistic practice, akin to attaining enlightenment. Dualistic thinking fundamentally changes in someone reaching that point. From hermeticism, Hubbard adapted the four classical elements into matter (earth) energy (fire), space (air) and time (water), the four forming the acronym MEST, a

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term used to describe material existence. Perhaps more important, he took the concept of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, whereby everyday or material consciousness is stilled and vastly expanded by emerging spiritual awareness, and equated it to a state he called Clear. The subsequent grades of Operating Thetan, of which eight are formally marketed in Scientology, parallel the notion of the sub-grades of adeptship and the supernal grades in the hermetic systems. Traditional gnostic systems see souls as having been enticed or tempted, or simply falling into, material existence. Thelema is less pessimistic, regarding existence rather as an ecstatic plunge into the world of form. The 24th verse of Chapter Two of its primary text, the Book of the Law, says: Behold! these be grave mysteries; for there are also of my friends who be hermits. Now think not to find them in the forest or on the mountain; but in beds of purple, caressed by magnificent beasts of women with large limbs, and fire and light in their eyes, and masses of flaming hair about them; there shall ye find them. But both Scientology and The Process viewed our initial participation in incarnate existence as a deliberate choice, a searching for a huge game to play. Significantly, given the two groups need to control their members, neither organisation opted for mystical ecstasy as its summum bonum preferring a more world-focused perspective. The Process saw humanitys game as winding down towards a catastrophic climax, while Scientology sees us as caught in a mesh of implanted or acquired lies from which we must struggle to rescue ourselves. What the two cults took in common was an attitude of focused determination. Where Crowley spoke of energised enthusiasm, Hubbard insisted on the virtues of certainty as a condition of mind; The Process adopted a Scientology usage, intention, as in telling someone out raising cash on the street, Put some

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intention into it. All three derive, by direct or devious routes, from the Thelemic concept of True Will, the essential vitality and raison detre that operates in and through each of us. Thus, if you watch a Scientology spokesperson on TV, you will see an attitude of crisp affirmation. Tom Cruise, for example, never expresses doubt; being in a condition of doubt is a serious failing in Scientology. Similarly, in The Process, we learned not to be affected by challenges or hostile questioning, seeing this as a means of channeling our positive message. We also used the Scientology expression, Dont become the effect of someone, so that we didnt go into agreement with a critic such as a born-again Christian (or a Scientologist) we met while out selling literature. Though, while we would have denied it fiercely, we were not being true to ourselves, but to a collective attitude and collective consciousness. While I have nostalgic moments about The Process, increasingly I see it as less than wonderful, even if it never did the harm Scientology has. The Anonymous online attacks this past weekend were a protest against Scientologys penchant for stifling all its critics, where The Process adopted the principle of resist not evil toward its own foes. But I have to acknowledge that both movements tried to embody the quest for self-realisation and expression of the individual True Will. Where the postulant to a Thelemic order goes through a process of magically triggered experiences that slowly tease out various personality traits for inspection, people in Scientology and in The Process were put through a form of psychotherapy to accomplish the same end. While for many years I accepted the mainstream view of Aleister Crowley as dysfunctionality incarnate, I finally realised that in The Process Id encountered an ember of the torch he lit. Despite its tendency to enmesh itself in its

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own verbalisations, and ignore serious spiritual questing, The Process did rectify some of the wrong turns the Thelemic impulse took in Hubbards slippery hands. It was unconsciously recognising my old affiliation in Thelema that led me past my own reluctance to engage Crowley, and recognise his maddening but inescapable genius. Whatever the failings of these two bastard children of his lifes work, Im not the only person who has found them to indicate, at least, a source of water from a far purer spring. Posted to: Main Page

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