And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.
— John 8:32, The Bible, King James Version
Okay, first off, let us establish off the top of the bat that I went to the doctor today, and he both prescribed me a very nice drug and had them take a goodly amount of my blood for testing. Inasmuch as I have my suspicions involving a conspiracy among doctors to take human blood and use it to propagate an ancient clan of vampires who pretended to be gods in ancient Greece, I’m a little nervous, but let me tell you, all sorts of odd ideas are occurring to me right about now…
Like, for instance, World War II and its effect on the human mental landscape. Those of us who are semi-demented will remember the whole flap over the development and utilization of the Atomic Bomb as a device for creating what alchemists, qabbalists and some freaky semi-masonic orders call Primordial Matter, as well as destroying it. (In other words, since atoms are being split by the bomb, it means we have succeeded in fracturing the baseline of reality… effectively punching a hole in what is to allow what is not to become what is not… yet.) Of course, this comes from the decade that saw Aleister Crowley and his closest associates (men like Jack Whiteside Parsons) contacting what could be seen as one of John Keel’s ultraterrestrials in the desert not far from where the bomb would be first ignited in 1943 (and we must not forget how, for decades, Crowley was guided by advice granted him by Aiwass, a spirit or demiurge that he had contacted… did it lure him to the wastes?), and that’s not to mention the Philadelphia Experiment, or Himmler’s berserk quest to recreate the Teutonic Knights via breeding, sex magic, mass necromantic sacrifices of automated precision, and archaeological mummery of the highest order. The time from the rise of the Nazi Party to power till the death of Aleister Crowley is almost an orgy of strange attractions, unbelievable violence and the struggle between the life and death urges of humanity, and it never really ended. Decades of covert war followed, buoyed by the need to react to what had been an incarnation of the unthinkable.
This leads one to speculate: what makes a good magician? How does one manage to direct and assert the will in a way powerful enough to alter reality? Crowley, at least, seemed to think it required a near constant violation of taboo, a transgression of what many would consider proper behavior. Another requirement would seem to be open-mindedness… the ability to consider the unthinkable, to contemplate the unknowable and to take action when others would see no action to take. Therefore, let us consider what just might be the last magical organization founded in the 1940s.
Do what Thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
— Aleister Crowley, Liber AL vel Legis
A characteristic common to all intelligence officers, East and West, is that they have a special open mindedness. For them nothing is impossible just because it is improbable.
— Robert Anton Wilson
They were founded by a man who bucked the odds, who did things his own way, and who succeeded when by all rights he should have failed. He was a cowboy. He assembled under his wing others like himself — bent men, men who did not think the way others did — and set them loose in a world at war to learn a craft that the other nations had honed over centuries. They were not spies in the traditional sense of the word up to that point, although they would become so. They were interested in truth drugs, in occultism, in foiling the Nazis any way they could. They were the OSS(Office of Strategic Services), and they were founded by Wild Bill Donovan. He was a man who loved action, who pushed the boundaries of the possible, and who loved truth so much he was forced out of the Nuremberg trials due to his insistence that he should be the one to prosecute the Nazi war criminals. A suspicious mind might argue that what he really wanted was the chance to depose them, both legally… and otherwise. Like General Reinhard Gehlen, one of his German opposites, he was at least as interested in the Soviets (his putative allies) as he was in the Germans… although there is little evidence that he had anything to do with Gehlen’s arrangement with the US Government by which the Nazi Superspy became the head of an anti-Soviet spyring working for it.
Wild Bill loved truth, helped forge the ideals of the prosecutors at Nuremberg, and was a guiding light to men like Bill Casey and George Bush, men who would become leaders… men who would shape the CIA. And it is the CIA that I believe is the last magical brotherhood of the 20th century. (I know we’re in the 21st… but I’m talking about the years between 1947 and 2000, so I’m in bounds. Unlike them.) The CIA was founded in 1947, the same year that Aleister Crowley died. Now, we know Crowley was an operative for British Intelligence at times (or at least we think we do) and while I don’t think Crowley was directly connected to the CIA, I’m willing to allow for some indirect inspiration. If you look at the CIA’s website, you will find a great many interesting things.
If you are a recent or frequent user of illegal drugs, including marijuana, you need to know that CIA is a drug-free workplace. Drug abuse is one of the common reasons a security clearance is denied to applicants.
The CIA is expressly forbidden to spy on US citizens or operate in the United States… yet it does. The CIA claims that it is antithetical to the organization to allow agents to use drugs or to import them into the United States… but it employed countless psychologists to determine the effect of various drugs (including LSD, THC and sodium pentathol) and other persuasive agents on the human mind. It even went so far as to dose Frank Olson with LSD and possibly either allow him to jump to his death… or perhaps help him along. It hired prostitutes to slip LSD into their clients’ drinks and then watched from behind one-way glass in Operation Midnight Climax. (Scroll down… there’s a lot of ax grinding in the article.)
Shades of Dionysus and the Maenads? Is it me, or was the idea of our best and brightest spies insisting on a series of laws and regulations that they violated with impunity just a little… well, transgressive? Engaging in sex rituals (even as observers) and all sorts of mind-altering behavior, it is as if the whole CIA had read Liber AL and The Book of Thelema and decided that they were excellent blueprints on how to run a secret agency. Was this born of OSS’s experiences in World War II? Did Donovan’s boys run into the mechanism of Nazi occultism full-bore, and require some expert British advice? During the Cold War, while the CIA was experimenting with every drug it could get its hands on as well as ways to alter the human consciousness (including playing the subjects own voice back, electrical shock, and sensory or sleep deprivation) the Soviets were gambling on psychotronics. Did it work? Did the CIA need a mystical edge to combat the mental menace of the KGB? Is that why they violated their own strictures by (as an example) steadily increasing doses of LSD that they were secretly giving to black patients at the Lexington Narcotics Hospital? (Note: this is a clear violation of the Nuremberg consent decision so important to Donovan himself.)
Imagine, if you will, how much stress the CIA agent is under, especially in a world where the line between reality and fantasy has cracked. The Primordial Matter has been created and destroyed and then created again (atomic fusion, the opposite of fission, generating one element where there had been two), millions dead at the hands of black suited madmen who believed themselves to be a race of people that didn’t even exist and who aimed telescopes at the sky because they were convinced that we live on the inside of the Earth (and yet, who almost won a war unlike any ever fought before, and were years ahead in many of the sciences… Were they getting help? Who from? How could they believe the universe to be made of solid rock and develop the V2 at the same time?), and then for decades locked in a shadow war with an enemy who commands the same world-destroying power as we do… not to mention Keel’s ultraterrestrials possibly pulling strings everywhere, infiltrating the minds of US citizens… is anyone’s will their own?
Look, if you will, at the case of James Jesus Angleton (yes, the name makes it easier to ponder…), who spent his life looking for moles. He suspected the President of the United States and was convinced there was a mole in the CIA at least as high up as himself. He shredded everything, and spent years hunting for Sasha, his hypothetical Soviet adversary, but never came up with anything. One of his colleagues, George Eastbrooks, meanwhile claimed to have made people exhibit multiple personalities for military intelligence reasons, and a model named Candy Jones claimed to have been one of those people, programmed to act as a CIA agent. Is it possible Angleton had inadvertently made himself one as well? Was Sasha really Angleton all along, able to spy on the man with impunity because he was the man? The extreme paranoia Angleton displayed all his life, combined with the odd sex and drugs carnival that the CIA seems to have been, certainly makes it seem possible. For that matter, Angleton seems to be some sort of chaos magnet… conspiracy swirls around him. He may or may not have founded the P2 conspiracy in Rome, he certainly suspected Tito of being a Soviet agent, he creeped out even other CIA agents and he was eventually fired for illegal activities… from an agency that introduced hundreds of college students to LSD without their knowledge. He transgressed so heavily, his sanity seems to have shattered, yet that didn’t hurt his effectiveness at all.
Do CIA agents spend their time deliberately transgressing against their own laws and regulations because it gives them magical power? Did they deliberately set themselves so that they would have no choice but to do so? Are they, like the Magi of the Persian Empire or the cultists of Cybele, masters at drawing power from altered states of consciousness like the ones brought about by drugs, sexual activity, and sleep deprivation? Their OSS forebears had access to all sorts of interesting occult ideas… like the encrypted “Noon Blue Apples” message of Saunière. For that matter, you can make a link between the strange ideas of Gérard de Sède and the writings of Kenneth Grant… one of Crowley’s disciples, and a man who took a lot of what H. P. Lovecraft said at face value. (I’ve discussed before how Lovecraft connects back to the Order of the Golden Dawn through Machen and Blackwood. Of course, Crowley was a member… so now we’ve gotten the OSS stuck in all of that.)
Law of Paradox: No world view may encompass the whole world. Two models (or “laws”) may conflict with each other and still be true in their proper context. Two people may experience the same event yet perceive entirely different occurrences. Rationality is limited by the intellect, the world is not. The world is not bound by the confines of our world views. The trick is to switch from one model to another as it becomes appropriate.
— Bill Whitcomb, The Magician’s Companion
Nothing is true. Everything is permitted.
— Hassan i Sabbah, according to William S. Burroughs
The truth shall set you free.
— Motto of the Central Intelligence Agency
I opened this ramble with a quote from the Bible, because it is the motto of the Central Intelligence Agency. What, I wonder, do they feel the need to be set free from? Why do they seem to follow the law of Thelema (will) above the strictures they themselves put in place to govern them? Why do they wallow in the very activities they claim to abhor, yet claim to be interested above all else in truth? Perhaps because they know full well that the truth is what someone decides it is. In a world gone mad, the mad are as gods, for they know the rules.
We could range across all the theories… how the CIA killed Kennedy (slaying of the sacred king), how they import cocaine into the US (serving as artificial soma, perhaps, or serving the will of Dionysus, lord of intoxication), how they introduced Kennedy to Mary Pinchot Meyer and thus dosed the President with LSD (preparing him for his role as sacrificial lamb?) and, of course, how the Yale secret society Skull and Bones has so thoroughly influenced both the OSS and the CIA (George Bush, you pop up everywhere) with occult songs and rituals. But we’ll never know the truth, I suspect, and so, I suppose we shall never be set free.
I’m now thinking about J. Edgar Hoover. Was he simply a cross-dresser, or was he attempting to slip under the alchemical barriers by being male and female at once? Was Hoover the rebis? Ah, he was FBI anyway.
Copyright © 2005 by Matthew Rossi.