Ebony loved to tell stories! A favorite story of his concerned
the subject of reality manipulation and Egyptology. There was a Greek
student who went around town visiting temples to learn about the ancient
At the temple of Isis he asked "Who created the universe?
The priestess explained that Isis had created the universe. The
student was notably disturbed by this answer. "But across the street at
the temple of Amon they told me that Amon created the universe."
The priestess explained "But across the street Amon did create the universe. Here in the temple of Isis, Isis created the universe."
Ebony knew hieroglyphs and seemed to think many times in Egyptian
terms. He identified with Anubis, or Anpu, the jackal headed Egyptian
God of death and magick. It is Anpu who weighs the heart when a person dies.
The test is whether or not the heart weighs more than a feather. Ebony has
stated before that any priest of Anubis can instinctively detect the lies
that a person tells. Isn't this the same as our saying of "seeing into
Thelema speaks much of being a King and conquering fear. In a related
way he would speak of the making of a pharoah. At a critical point when
making a pharoah he would be left alone with a fearsome
poisonous snake. The snake would stare at him and assess the prey. If
the would-be pharoah showed the slightest bit of fear the snake would
lunge and kill him. If the pharoah utterly believed in his invulnerability
would instead lunge and wrap herself around the pharoah's head and become
the pharoah's crown.
Ebony would quote Crowley as saying "I'm the first Thelemite and
therefore the worst Thelemite." Ebony, as a Thelemite, sought to love who
he would where he would, but his traditional Texan (i.e. conservative,
monogamous, God fearing, right wing) upbringing tried to teach him something
Ebony had many amusing stories about being a kid near a military
base during the Vietnam War. Once a soldier became outraged by the
marijuana cigarette young Ebony wore on his ear.
"Is that a marijuana cigarette, boy??"
"Yes it is." This confrontation turned into a full out argument.
"Don't you know that marijuana shit is poison, boy???"
Since this man was obviously a tobacco smoker, Ebony made him a
challenge. Since the marijuana was poison, he would gladly eat his marijuana
cigarette if the soldier would eat his tobacco.
In this kind of macho game in Texas there is no backing down and so
they both ate their cigarettes. Of course Ebony was fine but the soldier,
despite trying hard, turned a nasty color and vomited.
Ebony also at one point trained under a severe Korean martial artist.
Texas was easy for him. The teacher was extremely talented and was used to far more
strict discipline than the local Texans. He insisted that his students
have no caffeine, drugs, or alcohol. Ebony once told a story about escaping
to a fast food restaurant in a nearby town just to have a soda. They were
only there a few minutes when the teacher came out of the restroom and
caught Ebony red handed!
This Korean master would teach students skills
such as tumbling and rolling on hardwood floors topped with only hard
canvas. One day they were learning how to throw each other on this
hardwood floor. The instructor would make such reprimands as "See how this
ankle is all twisted and painful? That is a bad fall! You must learn to fall
They practiced on the second floor of a building. One day they were
all learning hip throws. The martial artists would charge one another and
learn to divert the charge and throw each other. One student managed to
actually throw teacher successfully. The throw was so successful that
teacher was thrown right out the window. The instructor fell
to the ground physically unhurt but emotionally in rage. He ran upstairs
to his students.
"There will be no instruction when teacher is angry.
A Texan friend of Ebony's, Erin, once called Ebony one of the
first hippies. Maybe the simple truth was that Texas wasn't ready for him.
Whatever the reason may be, Ebony moved to San Francisco in the 60's.
Of course things weren't all easy once he moved to San Francisco. Ebony
told me stories of being homeless in the Northbeach district of San Francisco.
If he was attacked at night he had to hope he could disable his opponent quickly
and run for it before his asthma caught up with him. Maybe these early years
of meager living helped Ebony to appreciate the "under dog" in any situation.
In later years I remember him being in positions of power and yet always
identifying with the downtrodden. Ebony taught me that this relates to Anubis,
and the principle of "cutting some slack" or showing mercy.
In the 70's Ebony, along with the help of his friend Harold, designed
their own computer system. This was in the ancient era of computers which
many readers might have a hard time relating to. The idea of having an
affordable 300 baud modem was unheard of. Back then, they used to use HUGE
floppy disks to store data. Ebony used such a huge floppy disk on his altar for
the pantacle, symbolising the earth element.
He worked under the guidelines of Thelema, but his systems were definitely
his own. He is best known for his work relating Hebrew qaballa to time-space
magick. His unique mystical and magickal time magick was called
"Tesseract Magick." Tesseract magick destroys the current universe and
allows the magician to shift to a new universe, a new paradigm, a new
reality. It can be disorientingly effective.
Apparently Ebony had gone through many deaths, through many universes,
through many changes, before I had met him. Even creating the Tesseract
Magick was a feat in itself, because the attributions of letters to
geometrical points wasn't clear at first. Ebony consistently had glass
exploding around him as a nasty side effect to having the wrong attributions.
Glass can shatter around a person only so many times before s/he figures it
is more than mere coincidence.
Ebony was a student of qaballa and his every magickal name of his
totalled to 137: ANPU, BELIMN, NEIBO, ZION. He also had unique qaballistic
viewpoints. While many qaballists might count an English "X" as a Hebrew
Tzaddi (90), Ebony had an alternate approach of counting the X as a roman
numeral X (10).
Before lighting up marijuana Ebony would like to refer to it as 2:22
time. One would say "It's 2:22 time! Two twenty two to you!"
The correct response would be "two twenty two to you too!"
2:22 is the verse of Liber AL that goes " ...To worship me take wine and
strange drugs... " Usually Ebony would quote the whole verse before lighting
up. He had other cute linguistic habits too, such as saying "Sounds reknowned"
or "cool as a rule" to agree with a person.
Another idea I heard from Ebony is taking a couple's sexual fluids from
sex magick and annointing a joint with them. The fluids could be used to
moisten the glue of the paper, rather than saliva.
When I met Ebony in the early 90's he worked at Ancient Ways, an occult
store in Oakland. He held classes on ceremonial magick and Egyptian magick.
After classes he would invite students over to his house (a few blocks away)
for an after class party. His generosity towards groups mostly composed of
strangers was amazing. I think he trusted in his ability to read people's
hearts and intentions.
He was very open with what knowledge he had. Although he was a member
of a secretive pseudo-masonic group, the OTO, he was willing to tell you what
secrets he could. It was fine to give out the secrets of an OTO degree you've
never been initiated into. Therefore Ebony could talk all he wanted to about
the "secrets" of the VIII degree (autoerotic) and IX degree (heterosexual).
He would make cute comments like "Be sure to ask me all about the secrets of
the VII degree before I get initiated into it!" (just a paraphrase)
Sometimes these classes might turn into Tesseract Magick experiments if
the crowd and timing was right. The usual format would be to call upon a few
Egyptian deities, launch into a new universe, then party in the new universe
in the company of the deities. I remember few horror stories associated with
this magick, which shows that through the years Ebony learned to teach and use
his time magick without blowing up his students.
Once again, the humor and slang of magick was there. Instead of being
solemn or morbid about doing time magick, Ebony would cheerfully say "It's T
Time!" Of course this is funny on many levels, like most good qaballistic
humor. T (tau) is
the final letter of the tesseract working. And of course who doesn't enjoy
a good tea time?
Ebony would share his thoughts about learning magick in his youth.
As a concentration
exercise, he visualized a door with an averse pentagram on it. He would
concentrate on visualizing the door opening.
I was laying by myself in my room some months later. I had been working
with some very intense magickal energies earlier that day. As I started to
drift off to sleep suddenly the door of my room slammed open with explosive force!
I somehow kept a clear head despite this strange event. I reached up to my
barely open window and felt for a breeze to explain for the door suddenly
opening. The wind was still. I never could come up with any non-occult
reason why the door slammed open at that particular instant.
On deeper thought, I realized that some months earlier I had heard Ebony
tell me about learning magick by concentrating on the image of an open door.
I approached Ebony later and told him about this experience of mine. It seemed
that he was the only one who might not only believe me but have some insight.
His insight was that once you open a door it isn't easy to close it, or
something to that effect.
Ebony also spoke of doing magick to create a modern version of the old
OTO he had read about in Crowley's writings. It should be little suprise
that Ebony did find the OTO in San Francisco when he lived there. He
helped the order thrive for many years. This is why I think that we all
live in Ebony's universe to one degree or another. Who could say if the
modern OTO would be the same if Ebony never existed?
Although I do think very highly of Ebony I have no delusions about
him being a "guru" of any sort. Thelema relies too heavily on will to have
any blind followers. Besides, Ebony could be sarcastic to the point of
abuse at times. In his favor, I will say that he didn't lash out at anyone
harder than they lashed out themselves. In other words, Ebony had a sense
of justice and of what was appropriate versus inappropriate force. In
Qaballistic terms, this relates to the MOON (ATU XVIII), which
corresponds with Anubis. Ebony would strike out at others, but only as
a reflection of other person involved.
"When you're driving while on LSD it's okay to hallucinate too many cars,
just not too few." - paraphrase of a quote by Grady
To illustrate this point, I remember one night when Ebony and myself
were by ourselves in his apartment in an altered state of consciousness.
Some tension built
up between his personality and my own. He was extremely sensitive to the
smallest bit of emotional force which he would counter with the perfect
amount of opposing force. Finally it escalated to the point where he told
"Did you know I could take your eye out with one finger? I could do it so
quickly you wouldn't have time to react."
Somehow I responded without flinching "Oh really? Then I guess you'd
have to call up my girlfriend and tell her that I won't be coming home
because I've gone to Sacramento."
Ebony seemed to think this was amusing. It wasn't until a few seconds
later that I realized I had made a joke. Ebony understood double meanings
and multi-layered concepts like any good qaballist does. Sacramento is a
city nearby. Sacrament is a religious offering. Another layer of meaning
to this story is that because I reacted without fear the serpent didn't
strike & slay me, but instead crowned me. There were always
multi-layered-meanings going on around Ebony.