Sub-Figura vel Liber VIII
Lam, an extra-terrestrial
Intelligence with whom Crowley
was in astral contact in 1919.
This drawing by Crowley
appeared in an exhibition held
in Greenwich Village, New York,
in the same year
Crowley and the LAM Statement
by Ian Blake
Thus far in my articles on the paranormal I have tried to convey an
impression of pragmatism and common sense, dealing almost
exclusively with the brain, its functions and -- more especially --
its dysfunctions. My aim has always been to explain various types of
phenomena without explaining them away. Magic and the occult have
been mentioned on a number of occasions, but only in passing, as a
side issue, as it were. In the main I have confined myself to
"armchair UFOlogy", leaving the wider implications (magical,
spiritual, etc.) to other, possibly more capable hands.
It is a fact however, that one seldom
gets very far in these areas without coming across occult doctrine
in one form or another, usually updated and translated into "new
age" jargon. In this article I intend to examine some of the more
esoteric aspects of UFOlogy, hopefully laying the ground-work for
UFO research, even of the armchair variety, calls for a high degree
of mental flexibility. One can draw up general rules to assist in
analysis, but it is necessary to keep an open mind at all times, and
be prepared for the exception that cuts across all previous
theories. This is especially true of the contacteé syndrome, which
serves as a crystallization point for all manner of complexes and
repressed desires. My own, albeit limited experience has led me to
the realization that most contacteés are basically no different from
the rest of us. They are in fact perfectly ordinary human beings
suffering from familiar symptoms, particularly those of boredom,
alienation and sheer lack of purpose.
But what of the exceptions to this rule?
What, for instance of the occultist who strives by an effort of will
to establish contact with trans-spatial entities? According to a
recent edition of the OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis) journal Khabs,
"the central concern of magic is communion with discarnate or
It is to this end that much
contemporary occultism is predicated. As long ago as 1918 Aleister
Crowley conducted a series of experiments in what would today be
termed channeling, or "induced contacteeism". (This is of course a
simplification of what actually took place, employed here for the
sake of convenience. ) Since then, several occultists, notably
Michael Bertiaux in the 1960s and a group of OTO initiates in the
1970s, have carried out similar magical workings.
What is more their efforts in many cases
have been crowned with remarkable success - at least if the official
OTO party line is to be believed. This in turn raises serious
implications for the entire field of UFO research. In order to place
these implications in their proper context, it is first of all
necessary to say a few words regarding Aleister Crowley’s
Working, a series of visions and trance-communications received
circa January - March 1918 by the oddly-named Roddie Minor, who was
at that time acting as Crowley’s Scarlet Woman.
It is not my intention in writing this article to provide an
introduction to the wider field of occultism, or to
doctrine per se. For readers who would prefer a clear and reasonably
objective summary of the Amalantrah Working, Crowley’ s own "Magical
Record" is invaluable. So too are Roddie Minor’s own thoughts on the
matter. Readers who do not have access to either of these are best
advised to consult John Symond’s "The Great Beast," which gives a
well-balanced and coherent account of what actually took place.
IN NEW YORK
The facts of the matter are briefly as follows: At the outbreak of
WWI, Crowley set sail from his native England aboard the Lusitania,
bound for the USA. Arriving in high spirits, he took up residence in
an apartment on New York’s bustling West 36th street and there
divided his time more or less equally between acts of sex magic and
the composition of crackpot pro-German propaganda for The
Fatherland. Following an expedite to Vancouver via San Francisco and
New Orleans he returned to New York and moved into furnished rooms
on Central Park West. Roddie Minor, a married woman living apart
from her husband, joined him there circa September/October 1917 and
together they set about exploring the wilder shores of magica
Crowley’s personal record for October 1, 1917 describes Minor as
"big, muscular, (and) sensual." John Symonds adds that she was
"broad-shouldered and pleasant-faced." In addition to these homely
attributes, she also possessed a well-developed clairvoyant faculty.
Under the influence of hashish and opium she described to Crowley a
series of archetypal visions involving (among others) a king, a
small boy and a wizard who introduced himself as "Amalantrah" - who
delivered exhortations to "find the egg." The reaction of most
people would no doubt be to view these accounts as nothing more than
drug-induced hallucinations having no wider significance, but
Aleister Crowley was no ordinary man. According to Symonds, he,
"made no attempt to interpret this
material in terms of unconsciousness. To him the characters and
incidents of mescal visions were more real than anything reality
or the ego could provide. He would not have been surprised to
meet... Amalantrah strolling up Fifth Avenue. The wizard would
have descended onto the plane of illusion, that is all."
At length, feeling that Amalantrah had
nothing further to impart, Crowley decamped for Europe, leaving
Roddie Minor to her own devices. But the story doesn’t end there. It
would be beyond my competence to provide a complete and faithful
Amalantrah Working and its aftermath. The last word
on the subject will probably never be written. For the purpose of
this article I need only observe that Crowley was not interested in
ideas for their own sake, but in results. The details are unclear,
but it seems that at some stage during the proceedings he underwent
a form of contactee experience involving a large-headed entity now
known to occultists as Lam. (image
Lam, (whose name derives from the Tibetan word for "way" or "path")
later became the subject of a portrait by Crowley, drawn from life
and imbued with a haunting inner quality of its own. The original
was first exhibited in New York in 1919 and has been reproduced
several times since then, most recently in the third issue of "Starfire"
magazine. Although lacking the crude power of Crowley’s more
extravagant canvases and murals, it is nevertheless a remarkable
piece of work.
The subject is depicted in extreme
close-up and appears somehow dwarfish, despite the fact that there
is no indication of scale in the overall composition. The head is
large, smooth and hairless, tapering to a pointed chin. The mouth is
slitlike; the eyes extend part-ways around the sides of the face.
There is no suggestion of clothing beyond what appears to be a cloak
buttoned at the neck, nor does the entity have any ears. In short,
Lam resembles nothing so much as a typical UFO occupant of the
"examiner" type (what Americans would call "greys". )
YE SHALL RECEIVE
Crowley’s portrait of Lam passed into the hands of Kenneth Grant
circa 1945 following an astral working in which he and Crowley were
jointly involved. Grant, who was authorized in the early ’50s to
work the first three grades of the OTO, is now widely perceived as
Crowley’s natural heir and successor. His interest in CETI-type
phenomena is of long-standing duration. In 1955 for instance, he
announced the discovery of a trans-plutonian planet called Isis, and
simultaneously established an order called the New Isis Lodge OTO
for the purpose (among others) of contacting higher intelligences.
A similar situation arose some 30 years
later in the late 1980s, when Grant allegedly received ’ strong
intimations’ to the effect that Crowley’s portrait of Lam "is the
present focus of an extraterrestrial - and perhaps trans-
plutonic-energy which the OTO is required to communicate at this
critical period..." I have no idea as to the nature of these ’
intimations’, besides which, writing about magic is a dubious
enterprise at best, fraught with semantic difficulties. Perhaps the
best option in an article as necessarily as brief as this, is to
quote directly from "The Lam Statement", a text circulated among OTO
initiates with a view to
"regularizing the mode of rapport
and constructing a magical formula for establishing
communication with Lam."
We are told first of all that:
"It has been considered advisable by
the Sovereign Sanctuary to regularize and to examine results
achieved by individual members of the OTO who have established
contact with the magical entity known as Lam. We are therefore
founding an Inner Cult of this dikpala for the purpose of
amassing precise accounts of such contacts...
The portrait of (Lam) which is reproduced in "The Magical
Revival" may be used as the visual focus, and can serve as
the Yantra of the Cult; the name Lam is the Mantra; and the Tantra
is the union with the dikpala by entering the Egg of Spirit
represented by the Head. Entry may be affected by projecting
consciousness through the eyes"...And elsewhere in a section
titled "The Magical Procedure"
The Mode of Entering the Egg may proceed
as follows. Each votary is encouraged to experiment and evolve his
own method from the basic procedure:
1) Sit in silence before
2) Invoke mentally my silent repetition the Name.
3) If response is felt to be positive...enter the Egg
and merge with That which is within, and look out through
the entity’s eyes on what appears now to the votary an alien
4) Seal the Egg, i.e., close the eyes of Lam and
The Remainder of "The Lam Statement"
deals with the practicalities of invocation and banishing in a
ritual context. Some parts of the text are esoteric, having to do
with the Cabala and other such difficult matters (my knowledge of
occultism is largely theoretical; I have very little practical
experience); others are remarkably straightforward. It is difficult
to assess whether the claims made for "LAMeditation" have any basis
in fact. Certain objections inevitably remain open. Nevertheless, we
should be cautious about assuming that it is all pure imagination.
There is a definite residue of data here
that cannot be dismissed out of hand. The real question now facing
us is simply: what exactly happens at times like this? What is the
basis of these extraordinary accounts? Do we, in order to explain
them need to invoke the concept of ’trans- plutonian entities’, or
are we dealing instead with archetypes dredged up from the
collective unconscious? There is pervasive evidence to support both
alternatives. All it takes is a willingness to look at the facts.
Perhaps the most important point arising from "The Lam Statement" is
simply that contactee type experiences can be induced at will. There
are in fact a number of important parallels between "LAMeditation"
and the broader issue of "contacteeism" in general. Consider
Keel once remarked that "in most contacteé events the percipient is
alone...when the UFO contact occurs." This observation might equally
apply to the abductee syndrome. Once again the vast majority of all
cases are uncorroborated by hard evidence.
Independent witness testimony is so rare
as to be virtually unknown. In short, whatever else it may be,
"alien contact" (I am loath to use the phrase without quotes) is
essentially a solitary experience. And so too is LAMeditation. "The
Lam Statement" makes this point in no uncertain terms, warning that
group working is considered inadvisable.
"Each votary should work in
isolation," it stresses, "or only with his or her magical
partner..IX Working is held to be _extremely dangerous_ (sic
emphasis) in this area even if both partners are officially IX."
The precise nature of this danger is not
specified but we are left in no doubt as to its reality.
Nor do the similarities (with the contacteé experience) end there.
In common with most forms of magical procedure, rapport with Lam
requires stern self-discipline and dedication to a higher purpose.
Referring back to "The Lam Statement" we find that "adumbrations of
identity with Lam may be experienced as a strong sense of the
unreality or unfamiliarity of the "objective" universe. There is a
definite parallel here with the curious sense of dissociation
experienced by very many witnesses. In recent years there has been
an increasing acceptance that this sort of thing is not pure
delusion. Jenny Randles for instance, refers to it as the "Oz
Effect". Writing in "The Pennine UFO Mystery" she describes a
typical case in which the witnesses,
"said that they were not afraid:
indeed they were very strangely calm and subdued...isolated in
time and space as if removed from the real world and melded with
the UFO above them; only they and it existed..."
Having personally experienced this odd
sensation on two separate occasions I am reluctant to dismiss it
merely as the subjective reaction of a highly-strung temperament. On
the other hand, however, I am equally reluctant to interpret it as
some form of rapport with extraterrestrial entities. I suspect that
most investigators would share my reluctance. (There is a tendency
nowadays, particularly among UFO researchers here in the U.K., to
dismiss the ETH (Extraterrestrial Hypothesis) as little more than a
form of American cultural imperialism, rather on par with Coca Cola,
McDonald’s, and Ninja Turtles. It is far more likely that we are
dealing here with some form of psychic response, the precise nature
of which is at present a mystery.
In magical terms it is possible to identify Lam with the Dwarf Self,
the Silent Self, Harpocrates, Hadit, and perhaps most significantly,
the Babe In The Egg. Here I quote from Michael Staley’s forward to
"The Lam Statement" in "Starfire" vol. 1 no. 3:
"The Amalantrah is in many ways a
continuation of the Abuldiz Working of several years previous.
In both of these Workings the symbolism of the egg featured
prominently. One of the earlier versions of the Amalantrah
Working ended with the sentence, "It’s all in the egg." During
the final surviving version of this Working, in reference to a
question about the egg, Crowley was told: "Thou art to go this
There is a certain danger in
constructing theories based on intuitive or inspired source
material. At this point I may be allowing my knowledge of UFOlogy to
influence my interpretation of the Lam text: (Inevitably some of my
assertions may seem to cross the line into pure fantasy; I can only
ask the reader to bear with me) I can’t help seeing in Roddie
Minor’s channeled references to "the egg" a parallel with various
issues relating to UFO research in general.
Eggshaped UFOs are of course, by no means uncommon. There are dozens
of examples on file. The famous Soccoro, New Mexico case (April 24,
1964) springs readily to mind. So too do the Salem, Massachusetts
(July 16, 1952), Saigon, Vietnam (April 17, 1967), Levelland, Texas
(November 3, 1967); and White Sands, New Mexico (also November 3,
1967) sightings. Space and brevity preclude going into these cases
at length. Besides which, it would be to little purpose - a tenuous
connection at best. Far more significant are those cases where the
witness seemingly enters what psychologists would term an "altered
State of consciousness".
Testimonies abound in this respect. For
"The room is whitish," abductee
Stephen Kilburn recalled under hypnosis in 1978; "it’s curved on
the inside... I don’t think there are any angles in the room.
Everything is kind of milky or misty or something. it doesn’t
shine, but everything has that metallic glow to it."
Accounts like this are by no means
uncommon, and it is unlikely that all are pure fabrication. But what
is the alternative? We seem to be dealing here with something very
similar to the process of LAMeditation which, it will be recalled,
entails "entering the egg and merging with that which is within."
This recognition is important, for it leads us once again to the
suspicion that the abduction syndrome may have something in common
with what is traditionally called "magic".
Before we allow ourselves to be convinced however, it is worth
taking into account John Rimmer’s observation that the witness in
this case, "one of a number investigated by Budd Hopkins, had no
conscious memory of an abduction before the investigation." The
phrase I have underlined is important, not least because the Lam
procedure also involves a form of hypnosis, albeit self-administered
and -regulated. Rimmer adds that,
"the UFO abduction as a distinct
phenomenon exists as a result of the process of hypnotic
And again: "...to a very great
extent the evidence for alien abductions stands or falls on the
reliability of memories recalled through regression, and the
techniques of hypnosis themselves."
(Budd Hopkins and others do report
that many abduction events are recalled without the aid of
hypnosis-but bear with Mr. Blake here-ed.)
STEP INTO MY
These comments obviously go to the very heart of the matter. In real
terms most accounts gained under hypnosis are so vague and imprecise
as to be virtually worthless. The sensible reaction to them must
inevitably be that they contain a certain amount of "confabulated"
material, expressing the repressed desires of the unconscious mind.
Hilary Evans seems to be referring to something of this sort in
"Visions * Apparitions * Alien Visitors" when he asks,
"Are we to suppose that,
subconsciously, all the witnesses... were unconsciously seeking
their encounter? And in that case do we have to suppose that
every UFO percipient is also responding to some subconscious
I suspect so - at least as a broad
percept. I suspect furthermore, just as the vampires of eighteenth
century Hungary were unable to cross a threshold uninvited, so the
UFO entities of contemporary folklore are bound by a similar
constraint. Having given the matter careful consideration, I am
forced reluctantly to conclude that they too are unable to cross the
threshold of human experience without first being "invited" in some
In writing this article I have experienced none of the satisfaction
from seeing a range of facts fall neatly into place. At the end of
it all, I am left feeling just as bewildered as ever. In order to
assess "The Lam Statement" fully, it is necessary to consider the
possibility that there may indeed be such a thing as genuine alien
contact. Is it conceivable that some students of Thelema have indeed
established contact with non-human entities? I believe that it is. I
am not however, convinced that these entities are necessarily
There is a certain amount of evidence
(internal consistency, cross-correspondences) to support such a
contention, but the matter by its very nature cannot be proved
scientifically. No matter. More than anything else, "The Lam
Statement" testifies to the power of the unconscious mind.
Translated out of occult terminology into the language of
conventional psychology, we can see that it describes a process of
self-exploration leading to a greater realization of inner
potential. Perhaps this is the best way to view it.
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