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More On The Illuminatus! Trilogy Group Reading and ‘The Honest Book of Truth’

Gorightly's copies of the 1975 edition of
The Illuminatus! Trilogy.
Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
In advance of the Illuminatus! reading that kicked off on Feb 24th over at (why it wasn’t launched on Feb 23rd is beyond me!), I had to do a little rummaging around to track down my Illuminatus! copies, which I’m glad to say I was able to locate amidst all the other quaint and curious volumes of forgotten lore lining my shelves.

Although yellowing and frayed, this almost now forty year old classic—published in the Year of Our Goddess 1975—continues to evoke a sense of wonderment ever since that immortal day back in the summer of ‘84 when I happened upon this “fairy tale for paranoids” during the wee, weird hours while passing by Bart’s Books in Ojai, California—as the spirit of Krishnamurti hovered nearby. (As a sidebar, an early and part-time Discordian named Alan Kishbaugh is now a high ranking muckety-muck with the Krishnamurti Foundation in Ojai. Kishbaugh’s Discordian handle back in the day was “The Earl of Nines,” a title concocted as an effort to combat the chaos unleashed by The Law of Fives.)

Bart's Books, Ojai, California.
As has been the honor system policy at Bart’s all these years, when the store is closed you can still buy books lining the outside shelves and toss money for them through a slot in the door, which explains my reference to “wee, weird hours.” Envision me then, a long haired reprobate, toking on the herb superb as I stumbled upon—in my intoxicated haze—this weirdo cover of the One-Eyed Pyramid with a dolphin swimming over it and such. Which takes us to the present…

So—as I reintroduce myself to Illuminatus! by way of the group reading—I plan to point out the many Discordian references I’ll encounter along the way, the first of which happens immediately in the dedication page to none other than Greg Hill and Kerry Thornley. (And if you don’t know who these dudes are by now, just start poking around here at Historia Discordia and all will be revealed!)

The next Discordian reference occurs on the first page of the opening chapter, an introductory quotation that is lifted directly from some obscure religious (or irreligious) tract called The Honest Book of Truth by an equally obscure character named “Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.”:

The Purple Sage opened his mouth and moved his tongue and so spake to them and he said:

The Earth quakes and the Heavens rattle; the beasts of nature flock together and the nations of men flock apart; volcanoes usher up heat while elsewhere water becomes ice and melts; and then on other days it just rains.

Indeed do many things come to pass.
—Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst, K.S.C.,
“The Book of Predictions.” The Honest Book of Truth

First page of The Honest Book of Truth, March 1969. Courtesy of the Discordian Archives.
Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst, despite the misspelling in Illuminatus! of Khayyam as “Khayaam,” and more commonly seen as just “Lord Omar,” was, of course, Kerry Thornley’s Discordian name—or at least one of them, with the K.S.C. standing for Keeper of the Sacred Chao. As for The Honest Book of Truth, it has been commonly held over the years that no such book actually existed, because all that anyone had ever seen of it were short quotations from either Illuminatus! or the Principia Discordia.

During a conversation with RAW once, I asked him what he thought of Thornley’s writings, and he stated unequivocally that the best thing Kerry had written was The Honest Book of Truth. Of course, sometimes I’d wonder if RAW was pulling my leg about certain things, so I filed this anecdote away in my memory banks for future pondering. Later, after having acquired the Discordian Archives, I one day happened upon a most amazing discovery: none other than The Honest Book of Truth, which is 15 pages in length and includes “The Book of Uterus,” “The Book of Explanations,” “The Book of Predictions,” “The Book of Advice,” “The Book of Gooks,” and “The Gospel According to Fred.”

The Honest Book of Truth will appear in its entirety in the forthcoming book compilation, Historia Discordia: The Origins of the Discordian Society.

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