A Word on Controversy and Spiritual Integrity-2014

Controversy and Spiritual Integrity

November 18, 2017. A Facebook friend brought this to my attention this morning. It is a four-year-old letter I wrote to another Facebook correspondent about certain controversial statements made by a dear friend. Brother Nagasiva Yronwode kept to our agreement to post my letter intact. I appreciate his integrity and reproduce our exchange here.

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Nagasiva Yronwode

February 23, 2017


the essay below is a response from Brother Wasserman to the pointed and critical accusations leveled at him due to his defense of Gunther’s lecture quote of Motta’s text from his Liber AL Commentaries. he and i share a continuing fraternal relationship, and so i knew that i could rely upon him to work with me to get a response to the specific questions i could raise. he wished me to add and emphasize that he is NOT speaking as a representative of the A.’.A.’., the OTO, or of James Daniel Gunther. thanks, Brother Wasserman, for your cooperation. 333 {this thread recreated 2/23/17 so as to make Replies possible.}

December 13, 2014 e.v.

Dear Nagasiva

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

You’ve asked me to respond to some questions. I am putting this text into an interview format for clarity. You may share this as you will but please add the caveat that this is one person’s opinion and represents neither A.’.A.’. nor O.T.O. (although I am an aspirant of the first and a member of the second). Further, I am not J. Daniel Gunther’s spokesman or representative, just a lifelong friend and an admirer. (Might be best just to put out the entire 2355-word statement and make your own comments after that.)


NY: “axe grinding” ties in with the notions of “tempest in a teapot”, and the general evaluation is that this lecture (and opinion) by Gunther is being blown out of proportion, made more of than it is due. that i understand. what i don’t yet understand is how the words by Motta and Gunther *are* being interpreted (by Gunther and associates, and by you).

JW: I accept the fact that most European Jews (including many members of my own family whom I was prevented from knowing because of their murder at the hands of the Nazis) were passively resistant, praying to God for deliverance, rather than fleeing or getting weapons and fighting to the death. Gunther and Motta agree they were shown no Mercy and died by the millions. But when they began to fight for themselves (Mercy let be off), they began to establish themselves again as a nation. I believe the horrors were so appalling, Hitler’s mania so completely beyond imagination, that they were frozen in the hopes of divine mercy. Warsaw Ghetto uprising? God Bless them. Schindler’s list? The commie Spielberg left out the fact that the real Schindler gave them guns. The Jews certainly weren’t going to win against the Nazis. I am sad they didn’t take more with them on their way out.

If you read the Bible, as Motta did, you certainly have to acknowledge a great deal of killing by the Jews when they were a more politically powerful warrior culture. The Rabbi whom Motta quoted was wrong to say where there is no Mercy, God is not present. That statement epitomizes an incomplete view of God. The Jews of the Holocaust, and in many parts of the Bible, may have felt utterly deserted by God. But Joshua would have been too busy looking for his sword.

What Gunther was saying, in other words is essentially, “trust in God but tie your camel first.” Or as I like to say, “Do” is the first word of our Law.


NY: Motta seems in his original context, commenting on “Liber Al vel Legis”, to have stated that the Jews of the WWII genocide deserved their plight because they rejected Aleister Crowley as Messiah and did not accept his scripture as their holy book. if you disagree with this interpretation, it would be helpful to find this out.

JW: I disagree so wholeheartedly with Motta that he makes me retch. He and I had many fights about what I considered his anti-Semitism. He said something in the book, which I cut out, about the Lord of the Aeon sinking Israel if it didn’t acknowledge His (ie Ra Hoor Khuit) supremacy. Motta was an angry, frustrated individual, isolated, and very weird. He made another vicious statement about a Jewish man both he and Germer thought was a spy, a friend and customer of Donald Weiser. That too did not make it into the published book. (The person may well have had some kind of intelligence connections. It’s just that Motta was so rude in the way he said it, we removed it altogether.)

I finished the Index for the book (doing well more than half of it) after the typesetter had a nervous breakdown partially brought on by Motta. I considered indexing the word “Chosen” as a slap in the face against Motta because I was so sick of him criticizing the Jews for calling themselves the “Chosen People” without realizing he was saying the same thing regarding followers of Liber AL.

On the other hand, I did not have to agree with everything he said to call him my Instructor. And what you can’t know is the other stuff that went on between us. The incredible insights he had into the character of a young man on the verge of his (first) Saturn Return. The passion Motta brought to the Great Work, the intensity of his commitment to the Law of Liberty, his unswerving dedication to uphold the highest standards despite his own or our imperfections.


NY: Gunther and you appear to be taking a corrupted version of Motta’s offensive expression and concluding in a more softly offensive manner that the Jews of the WWII genocide deserved their plight because they did not sufficiently act in their own defense. if you believe this to be true it would be helpful to know this.

JW: I told you before that I really dislike the inference here. What I explained is that writers and lecturers use other people’s words to help buttress their points—rather than signal some cosmic level of agreement with every syllable or mark of punctuation ever written by another writer. Certain words or phrases from others have a way of helping to make your point when writing or lecturing. You use these in an artful manner. “Artful” means creative. You therefore remove extraneous parts of their statements that are not relevant to what you are trying to communicate. If you have integrity, you quote the source precisely, as Gunther did, and you use ellipses […] to show where you removed something the other guy said, as Gunther also did. Ask yourself this, my friend: Why did God make ellipses if He intended us to quote every single word of another author’s writing?

I think the other thing you don’t understand is the difficulty Dan and I have had our entire adult lives since the later 1970s because of our experience with Motta. Imagine you are a student, a devotee, and wind up being repeatedly beaten (psychologically), slammed against the wall, made unreasonable demands upon. Then you go into a court battle (Dan didn’t do this) and fight your Teacher. Cause him hurt. Because the same search for Truth that drew you to him and Crowley in the first place now demands you stop him. In Dan’s case, it was more internal in the sense that Motta stripped him of his SOTO status, “busted him” down a few Grades in A.’.A.’. (which as you can imagine is BS), and seized his library. How are young minds supposed to deal with this kind of trauma? And how does one integrate the ambiguity of the entire experience over the course of a lifetime? (I realize this may seem a little warm and fuzzy, but it is honest.)

I had finally undergone enough healing by 2006 that I was able to speak frankly and warmly about him as my Teacher in my preface to the second edition of AC and Magical Diary. I’m sure that something similar was at work in Dan’s mind when he referred a couple of times to Motta as his “Instructor” in the Doctrine of the Messiah lecture. That was probably a big step for him, at least it was for me.

In other words, Brother, what I am explaining to you is that we are and were human beings. This stuff happened to us in our 20s. We are both now in our 60s. We have both spent a lifetime wrestling with Motta and what we went through with him. Analyzing what was his part, what was our part, where we were right, where we were wrong. I wrote a book about it.


NY: *both* of these statements amount to blaming the victim of an atrocity for their plight, and are controversial, because generally they fit in with the opinions and expression of individuals in occult/religious history such as Julius Evola, Carl G. Jung, Annie Besant, Aleister Crowley, and Joseph Campbell, demonstrating a racist hatred of Jews.

JW: Would you please give me a break! I am a Jew! (I know the qliphothic quorum thinks I am a “self-hating Jew.” They can kiss my ass.)

Was Michael Brown a “victim”? I blame him for his behavior in Ferguson. He robbed a grocery, assaulted a diminutive store owner, resisted arrest, punched a cop, tried to grab his gun, and apparently charged him with his 300 pound, 6 foot, four inch bulk. Then Brown was killed. Am I therefore a racist because I blame him for his own death?

I shed not one tear for Khalid Sheikh Muhammad being “a victim” of waterboarding. Kill 3,000 Americans? He’s lucky waterboarding was the worst thing that happened to him. Does that bother you to hear me say? They are cutting off people’s heads and stoning women to death!


NY: additionally, some of us regard bigotry of pretty much any kind as a counter-demonstration against spiritual development. therefore, regardless of apologies by advocates such as Crowleyans for being “people of their time and culture”, we assess their spiritual maturation and the success of their mystical claims in such a framework.

JW: I am more than happy to accept the fact that you are free to make your own judgments any way you choose. However, you are not entitled to your own facts. Gunther is not an anti-Semite. Neither am I. If you don’t like what either of us says, reject us and find other teachers and companions who are more like-minded. I am concerned about lies. I am fully willing to stand revealed in Truth. So is Dan.

I never asked you to accept Crowley either. I accept Crowley. I don’t like his racist statements, his anti-Semitic, statements, his anti-women statements, or his anti-American statements. I weigh all the things I don’t like about him against all the things I do. For example, I told my daughter that if she ever hears a religion stating, “let each pursue his Will as a strong man that rejoiceth in his way, as the course of a Star that blazeth for ever among the joyous company of Heaven,” she is probably in the right place.

If I were taking the qliphotic quorum approach, I might be pounding my keyboard about Crowley not having said “a strong man or woman.” But I will dutifully get over myself and go forth on. If you don’t think society and language change over time, I suggest you become an editor and watch the pronoun disagreements with the modern use of 1) “Anyone can take their” as opposed to 2) “Anyone can take his,” or the “gender-friendly” 3) “Anyone can take his or her.” The second two are correct. The first is repugnant to anyone who speaks English. Craven cowards and tyrants of political correctness are banning and censoring Mark Twain’s writings from the 1880s because of his use of the term “Nigger” rather than (I guess) “African American.” It’s time we of the West regrow our spines.


NY: ignoring for the moment this latter consideration, might you say something about the interpretation which you have of Motta’s original text, and, subsequently, Gunther’s words (presumably you have insight into his original meaning), and what, precisely, you think is being blown out of proportion? thank you for your time. 333

JW: I believe I have addressed these points herein. What is being blown out of proportion is people calling this spiritual, good man a racist. It is a Lie. With that said, I am not as concerned as Gunther is with the Messiah idea. Motta was too. To Mega Therion, V.V.V.V.V., prophet of the lovely Star, Logos of the Aeon—if a person has any intellectual honesty, these are complex conceptions. Maybe some Facebook adepts out there are so cosmically elevated they comprehend such ideas easily (ho! ho! ho!). I prefer a more simplistic approach. I accept the Book of the Law as the sole rule and guide of my life. If I don’t understand something in the Book of the Law, I seek to educate myself so that I may understand it. I begin with the interpretation that Liber AL is True.

When writing my Temple of Solomon book, I understood exactly why the Jews needed Jesus. The Jewish Law had become corrupted, encrusted with guilt and depression. If you read Genesis and then the Prophets, you won’t believe it is the same book. (Keith/Jones will now start hopping up and down in front of their CPUs about how I don’t understand biblical exegesis. Exegete this, boys.) What I mean is simply that Jeremiah would be on anti-depressants if he were around today. When Jesus came along he reformed the Law. His apostles later screwed it up with their over-thinking and superstitious conceptualizing. I think the Jews lost the opportunity to chill out a bit with Jesus. He may well have been the Anointed One (Messiah) sent by God to help reform Judaism. Whether Hitler would have come along or not if they had is something I am not qualified to answer.

I appreciate the chance to have a respectful and thoughtful conversation with you. I hope that you will at least accept what I say about Dan’s character. He has been much maligned of late and it is troubling enough that I am taking the time to respond to your concerns over the slanders you have heard from people whom I believe are simply seeking to be divisive and who are indulging their hostility and envy.

Having taken the time to answer this, Naga, I think this will be my last word on the subject. I have written a lot about this issue in the last ten days or so. My previous comments are widely available on Facebook. I do have other tasks before me and will now turn my full attention to them. Thank you again for acting like a gentleman.

Love is the law, love under will.

James Wasserman

Nagasiva continues:

in comments to this essay, please be appreciative of the effort that our brother has put into addressing radically opposed criticism, try to focus on substance, and avoid crude calumny (expect it’ll be deleted along with any substance; Facebook doesn’t make moderating very easy, sorry to say). thank you. 333