I know everyone's seen it for many years now, but every Crowleymas Cath and I get a bang out of the Peanuts special, IT'S THE GREAT BEAST, CHARLIE BROWN!. For those living under a rock -- or just feeling nostalgic -- a quick review....
After the festive "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law," it opens with Linus and Lucy preparing for Mass duties (Lucy fishing for compliments about "Who is the most be-auu-ti-ful Priestess?"), and tension quickly develops as Deacon Linus has trouble with his lines. His real problem, of course, is that he'd rather be in his oratory, waiting -- as he does every year, always without success (and he's so sincere!) -- for the appearance of his HGA. We crosscut to Snoopy's usual fantasy sequence: in this one, he's the pre-World War I Exempt Adept, making his way across the Sahara with his faithful chela Woodstock (more familiarly "Stockybird," though not in the TV version, of course) as he scries the Angelic Aethyrs. There is, to be sure, some real suspense at the Tenth Aethyr: who can forget the look of genuine horror on poor Woodstock's face when Snoopy, inhabited by Choronzon, lets out an "Auuuuugh!" and dives on him, through the defect in his circle?
In the meantime, back at the temple, Lucy's hopping mad: her stupid brother has failed to show up as Deacon -- again! -- because (like always!) he's in that oratory, trying to reach his
-- but of course, it's just the beturbaned Magister Templi, Snoopy; not an extradimensional being at all. Poor Linus!
(I left out another favorite: the scene where Woodstock's bird friends show up to find Snoopy next to a white camel, and faint, thinking it's the magically-transformed Woodstock. But I digress.)
Finally, Sally having abandoned him, Linus wanders alone in the darkness, begging an uncaring cosmos to tell him the true meaning of Crowleymas. A sympathetic Charlie Brown comes along, and in that memorably stirring scene, starts reciting:
"Had! The manifestation of Nuit.
"The unveiling of the company of heaven.
"Every man and every woman is a star."
I'm sorry: all these years, and I still get teary-eyed. :)
Anyway, as the credits roll, a re-energized Linus -- having, as always, totally missed the point -- insists that next time, his HGA really will rise out of the astral to reward his sincerity. Charlie Brown just buries his head in his hands. In the background, Snoopy and Woodstock stroll by, brimming with secret knowledge, as the final "Love is the law, love under will" is supered over the screen.
Darn it, Uncle Al would be so proud. :)
93 93/93 -- AJ
(with apologies to the shade of Charles Schulz)
P.S. Cath (who gets partial bla -- sorry, credit, for this post, wanted me to call it "Holiday Viewing (With Alarm)." Why, do you suppose? :D