Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Opening Remarks of 2016 OTO Symposium "Women and the Feminine in Thelema"

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

Sweet sisters and brothers,

I’m Harper Feist, the Deputy Master of Leaping Laughter Lodge here in the Twin Cities and I am hugely honored to be the on-site Chair of this 2016 OTO Womens’ Symposium.  Thank you all for coming!

I have a short statement prepared for this august event and I have three pieces of business to address.  First, there is the matter of THANKS. Then there will be a couple of moments focused on pragmatics.  After that, I want to address the symposium logo and my infatuation with the Statue of Liberty.  The flames on the logo are the hearth fires of the OTO, maintained by the women, ignited by Liberty.

I had a teacher once who said, “If you only practice gratitude, it is enough.” In that vein, I offer thanks in what I hope is chronological order (please raise your hand as I acknowledge you):

Ixel Balamke, the master of LLL, for suggesting this crazy thing in the first place.

Rufus Opus, my partner in all the crimes and the AV dude for the conference.  Also the bourbon expert.  Good guy to know.

Nessa Cohorn, my wonder twin and US Conference Guru, for emails without count, jokes without tasteful boundaries, and that little ritual to make sure everything worked out just right. It probably resulted in someone thinking he was having a hot flash.  You and I have work to do together, you know.

To Magenta, of LLL, who knows the Twin Cities better than anyone else, and who helped my craft the FAQ email.

To our ritual team, Elizabeth, Rufus, Ixel, Hunahpu, Joni and Fr. Barabbas. You will all see later why thanks should profuse and tasty.  Standing with you, we will all be gods.

To Kat, our graceful muse and introducer par excellence.  Thanks for taking an important job, recognized at the last moment.

To Joni, my fellow moderator at the panel discussion.  Thanks for helping me swing that microphone!

To Kelly, our event photographer.  She normally shoots footage of athletic events, so I hope you do not disappoint her.

To Sam, our sound engineer and DJ. He’s seriously doing it.

To Hunahpu:  the chocolate and roses were just right.

To Josh, Kirstine and Andrew, who are ready to do anything.  Over the course of the next couple of years, you’ll know exactly what you signed up for.

To Martin, my runner.  Only time will tell how much exercise you’ll get this weekend!

To the staff of Hotel Minneapolis, who’ve been wonderful to work with and who will be showing us the best time the Twin Cities has to offer this weekend

Thanks to you all!

A brief break into the pragmatic:

The schedule is on-line only, but we’ll have a hard copy of it posted near the door.  If you need help, look for the folks with LLL on the corner of their name tag.  They all have my cell phone number and will run to ground any issue you have.

The presentation room is called Equity and is downstairs.  We’ll be having the ceremony there on Sunday afternoon after lunch.

As I mentioned, the hotel staff is here to make you visit more pleasant than you thought possible, if you need anything, they will gladly direct you at the front desk.  If we LLL folks can help further, please let us know!

So, who among you have a relationship with the Statue of Liberty?

I have loved her since I was a little Thelemite, knee-high to a groundhog….no, I mean a gopher.  This IS Minnesota, after all.  I was five when I decided that the spikes sticking out of her head were much better than a halo, and I was right.

The statue of Liberty was a gift to the United States from France, and was entitled, LIBERTY ENLIGHTING THE WORLD.  She was forged in copper and transported in pieces to New York City.  The build was final and the statue dedicated in 1886. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.

The American poet, Emma Lazarus, wrote a poem during the construction of the base to raise money for the erection of the statue, and it was this poem that firstly brought my attention back to the statue during my preliminary efforts at organization.  I’d like to read it to you:

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

My sisters and brothers, gaze into one another’s fierce and gorgeous eyes.  We are that lightning; we are that flame, we are the chains, broken beneath our feet.

Welcome to the 2016 OTO Women’s Symposium, “Women and the Feminine in the Thelema!”

Love is the law, love under will!

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The authors of Horns of Cerastes are happy to share their insights, opinions, and interests in all matters Thelema. Anything uncited is probably an informed opinion, but there are times when we have been known to just have fun. Do be careful, it might get on you. Also, all comments are moderated.