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666: BEYOND HETERONORMATIVITY AND GENDER BINARISM

Equally it is better for the androgyne, the urning*, or their feminine counterparts to endure blackmailers private and public, the terrors of police persecution, the disgust, contempt and loathing of the vulgar, and the self-torture of suspecting the peculiarity to be a symptom of a degenerate nature, than to wrong the soul by damning it to the hell of abstinence, or by defiling it with the abhorred embraces of antipathetic arms. Every star must calculate its own orbit. All is Will, and yet all is Necessity. To swerve is ultimately impossible; to seek to swerve is to suffer. The Beast 666 ordains by His authority that every man, and every woman, and every intermediately-sexed individual, shall be absolutely free to interpret and communicate Self by means of any sexual practices soever, whether direct or indirect, rational or symbolic, physiologically, legally, ethically, or religiously approved or no, provided only that all parties to any act are fully aware of all the implications and responsibilities thereof, and heartily agree thereto." Aleister Crowley, commentary on Liber AL I:51.

* In 1864-65, Karl Heinrich Ulrichs used the term urningthum to represent male homosexuality. Several other terms were added to include women and bisexuals, along with four different types of gay man.

As I am a cisgender male who mostly goes by masculine pronouns, I am not qualified to speak on behalf of cisgender women or any transgender individuals. However, on the Kinsey Scale I am most definitely a 6 (5 if Im drunk); many of my interests and traits (between a quarter and a third, approximately) fall into the modern social categories as being distinctly feminine.As a teen, my main musical preference was hard rock and heavy metal, so I let my hair grow down past my shoulders. I was catcalled by men in passing vehicles several times a week, for over five years. When I moved to San Francisco (my mothers birthplace) at the age of 19, I was often mistaken for a ciswoman. It probably didnt help that even at this age I was only 55tall. Lesbian woman constantly hit on me until I spoke, and for weeks, the drag queens around Polk kept insisting that should do drag. Now, I cant say that because of this experience, I know what it's like to be a woman. I CANT. But I learned firsthand what it was like to be negatively TREATED like a woman in public, through harassment and objectification. And even in relationships, there were several men, both out and closeted, who were trying to sexually feminize me. Even the gay community was too heteronormative for my tastes, and I was seriously disappointed with roles such as top and bottom, butch and femme. Ironically, my friends constantly told me I came off like a butch dyke.

I first heard about Crowley at 15, when I decided to turn away from Christianity and embrace witchcraft. At this time, I was already aware of my own attraction to my male schoolmates (since I was in 8th grade). Reading about his bisexuality in Colin Wilsons The Occult gave him (and his Do what thou wilt) an edge over all the other occult personalities that I soon discovered. That Winter, I read the Book of the Law for the first time. And from the very introduction, such words likewise caught my attention: Observe for yourselves the decay of the sense of sin, the growth of innocence and irresponsibility, the strange modifications of the reproductive instinct with a tendency to become bisexual or epicene.

But without going into further details about my own personal life experiences, let us take a closer look into the sexuality and gender self-expression of the Beast 666. It is widely known that Crowley had several male lovers throughout his life:

1) Jerome Pollitt, a professional stage female impersonator, about whom he wrote, I lived with Pollitt as his wife for some six months and he made a poet out of me.2) Victor Neuburg, a poet who soon became one of Crowleys greatest students for a short time, who went on to become Dylan Thomasmentor. 3) Walter Gray, an African-American Jazz musician he met in New York City. 4) Walter Duranty, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. 5) Shabdomar, a Morrocan described as love at first sight. He is Energy incarnate

There were many other men who werent identified, men he usually met in bathhouses. At one point, C. F. Russell [Frater Genesthai] consented to sodomize Crowley in a three-way with Leah Hirsig, but wrote in his diary, I couldn't get a bone-on.Later, Crowley wrote: Now Ill shave and make up my face like the lowest kind of whore and rub on perfume and go after Genesthai

like a drunken two-bit prick-pit in old New Orleans.But this only made Crowley seem more repulsive to Russell.

But this only made Crowley seem more repulsive to Russell. Two photos of Jerome Pollitt On

Two photos of Jerome Pollitt

On the subject of gender, in Chapter 2 of The Confessions of Aleister Crowley, he describes himself as such:

While his masculinity is above the normal, both physiologically and as witnessed by his powerful growth of beard, he has certain well-marked feminine characteristics. Not only are his limbs as slight and graceful as a girls but his breasts are developed to quite abnormal degree. There is thus a sort of hermaphroditism in his physical structure; and

this is naturally expressed in his mind

from the standpoint of a complete human being; certain phenomena will always be unintelligible to men as such, others, to women as such. He, by being both at once, has been able to formulate a view of existence which combines the positive and the negative,

He has been able to philosophize about nature

the active and the passive, in a single identical equation. Finally, intensely as the savage male passion to create has inflamed him, it has been modified by the gentleness and conservatism of womanhood.

These sentiments are also to be found in his comment on Liber LXV, chapter V, verse 44: The male must have completed himself and become androgyne; the female, and become gynander. This incompleteness imprisons the soul. To think I am not woman, but manor vice versa, is to limit one’s self, to set a bar to one’s motion.”

Crowley took the name Baphomet as his magical motto in the O.T.O.; to him, Baphomet was the Androgyne who is the hieroglyph of arcane perfectionand the Hermaphrodite fully grown.Levi refers to the androgyne of Khunrath in his description of Baphomet, as well as Ardhanari, the composite form of Shiva and Parvati. Crowleys Ritual of the Star Ruby was modeled after Baphomet, and in this ritual the Cross Qabalistic uses the phrase Ω ΦΑΛΛΕ. Although it is generally translated as O Phallus,” the total Qabalistic value of Ω ΦΑΛΛΕ is 1366. ΚΤΕIΣ, the Vulva, is 535 and ΦΑΛΛOΣ, the Phallus, is 831. 535 + 831 = 1366.

535 and ΦΑΛΛOΣ, the Phallus, is 831. 535 + 831 = 1366. Going outside the limits
535 and ΦΑΛΛOΣ, the Phallus, is 831. 535 + 831 = 1366. Going outside the limits

Going outside the limits of Crowleys writings regarding the Law of Thelema, we currently face a dilemma in prevailing attitudes of gender essentialism. From the sexual division of labor to reinforcing gender stereotypes on children through a system of reward and punishment, there is a violent resistance to acknowledge that traditional roles are social constructs. Even the name of science is being recruited to uphold outdated modes of masculinity and femininity. In 2000, Simon Baron-Cohen had Jennifer Connellan do a ridiculous test on newborn babies to prove

that male brains are NATURALLY different than female brains, merely by showing each baby the following two photos. The one on the left is supposed to appeal to the alleged social qualities of femininity, while the one on the right is supposed to appeal to the alleged mechanical qualities of masculinity.

appeal to the alleged mechanical qualities of masculinity. The results showed that 40% of the boys

The results showed that 40% of the boys (LESS THAN HALF) were the gender stereotypes they were expecting, even though 1 out of 4 boys turned out to be female-brained, and the remaining 35% could not be bothered one way or another. (The girls were 36% stereotypical, 17% male-brained, while the rest surpassed boys in the independent behavior category with 47%.) And yet, whenever issues of gender are addressed, the majority will use this very test this very poorly conducted test is being hailed as proof that girls are girls and men are men. Yet, by this very test that is being offered to prove gender essentialism, 25% of XY humans would logically be transwomen, and 17% XX humans transmen. And also by this logic, if we go by averages, then 2 out of 5 individuals would basically be non-binary, if society would allow them to be. [It should here be noted that gender and sexuality are not necessarily the same; so even if the above test was the slightest bit accurate in its example of gender/sex determination, it would say even less about the sexuality of each baby once they reached puberty and their individual development on to adulthood. There is a huge percentage of transmen who prefer cismen and likewise with transwomen with ciswomen.]

As we progress in this Aeon of Horus (regardless of whether one accepts Aeonic Succession or not), the less we allow authoritarian governments and societies to control our self-expression, the more we should expect to see genderfluid and non-binary individuals to defy heterosexist norms out in the open. And as Thelemites, we should welcome this progression toward liberation from the slave-god shackles of the Osirian age patriarchy. Of course, it should be obvious that this is not to say that that there is anything wrong with being heterosexual or cisgender.