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mmontgomery
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28/12/2012 12:28 am  

ANNOUNCING:
PRIEST/ESS
In Advocacy of Queer Gnostic Mass

PRIEST/ESS harkens back to the "mirrors for princes" literary tradition and offers in-depth philosophical, magical, sociological and historical analyses of gender roles in the central ceremony of O.T.O. with an aim toward motivating the reformation of O.T.O. policy to embrace queer celebrations of the Gnostic Mass.

In addition to a series of original essays, PRIEST/ESS includes a robust and suggestive collection of citations from the source material, including the diaries of Aleister Crowley and the writings of Sabazius, current National Grand Master General of U.S.G.L. O.T.O.

First edition of 44 numbered copies. Hardbound in sapphire blue leatherette with gold foil stamp. 70 lb paper. 108 pages. 30 copies were bound with gold ribbon markers, the remainder with red ribbon. Copies were provided to each of the three principal officers of O.T.O. International, many key officers of United States Grand Lodge O.T.O., and every O.T.O. Lodge in the United States. Visit your nearest Lodge or contact U.S.G.L.'s current librarian to read a copy of this limited and unprecedented work.


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 Anonymous
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29/12/2012 11:03 am  

Sounds like a most noble attempt at opening discussion and I am most interested in seeing the resultant debate, hopefully to the betterment of our understanding of the GM, and raising awareness of queer dynamics in the GM and in thelema in general.

Wishing your project well,

Brian/ Frater Docet Umbra
Irish Order of Thelema


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mmontgomery
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29/12/2012 6:33 pm  

More info can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/qgnosticmass?fref=ts


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Los
 Los
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29/12/2012 7:13 pm  

Are there any plans to make this text available online, so as to reach the widest audience possible? Or is this a purely intra-Order discussion for members of the OTO only?

If it's intended for a wider audience -- and if you intend non-OTO-members to take part in the discussion -- would you be able to give us a quick rundown of the argument right here in this thread? I can't imagine a better space for a public discussion of the issues involved, and I think it would be interesting (and possibly useful for OTO members) to see arguments for and against laid out clearly.


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Azidonis
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29/12/2012 8:09 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Are there any plans to make this text available online, so as to reach the widest audience possible? Or is this a purely intra-Order discussion for members of the OTO only?

If it's intended for a wider audience -- and if you intend non-OTO-members to take part in the discussion -- would you be able to give us a quick rundown of the argument right here in this thread? I can't imagine a better space for a public discussion of the issues involved, and I think it would be interesting (and possibly useful for OTO members) to see arguments for and against laid out clearly.

I agree, in that I don't really see the point in advertising a new book, one which we apparently cannot buy, the contents of which we apparently don't know.

It only seems fitting that a discussion of the issue takes place in this thread. Of course, we'll probably have to wait until all 44 copies are sold.


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 Anonymous
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29/12/2012 8:39 pm  
"Los" wrote:
Are there any plans to make this text available online, so as to reach the widest audience possible? Or is this a purely intra-Order discussion for members of the OTO only?

If it's intended for a wider audience -- and if you intend non-OTO-members to take part in the discussion -- would you be able to give us a quick rundown of the argument right here in this thread? I can't imagine a better space for a public discussion of the issues involved, and I think it would be interesting (and possibly useful for OTO members) to see arguments for and against laid out clearly.

Thank you for your interest. At this time, there are no plans to produce a digital version of the book. More information is available on the Facebook page linked to above. As described in the original post, the book was disseminated to various parties, including every active O.T.O Lodge in the U.S., where I hope it will be made available for study. The USGL lending library has also been provided with a copy. I encourage those interested to Like the Facebook page in order to receive updates as things develop over the coming weeks and months.

I am excited to publish Priest/ess after months of preparation and hope, despite the limited number of books released, that people will be able to read it and join the ongoing conversation.


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Azidonis
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29/12/2012 9:05 pm  
"fraternovaeres" wrote:
I encourage those interested to Like the Facebook page in order to receive updates as things develop over the coming weeks and months.

In other words, they don't want the input of these boards, they just want to disseminate information.

Best of luck to you in your endeavors, fraternovaeres. I'm sure some the announcement you have made on this forum is appreciated.

It probably would have made a better News article than a thread inside the "Thelema" forum, which is generally used for discussion of topics though, since it appears you do not plan on actually discussing the topic of the book's contents.


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 Anonymous
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29/12/2012 10:00 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
"fraternovaeres" wrote:
I encourage those interested to Like the Facebook page in order to receive updates as things develop over the coming weeks and months.

In other words, they don't want the input of these boards, they just want to disseminate information.

Best of luck to you in your endeavors, fraternovaeres. I'm sure some the announcement you have made on this forum is appreciated.

It probably would have made a better News article than a thread inside the "Thelema" forum, which is generally used for discussion of topics though, since it appears you do not plan on actually discussing the topic of the book's contents.

I apologize for any confusion. I would love to help foster discussion here about queer Gnostic Mass and its related issues. Hopefully Priest/ess will help do just that.

I did not intend for any announcements to be made here at this stage, since the book was issued for private circulation and, as such, would amount to much ado about nothing for most of the general public. However, with the issuance of this private edition, there was a risk of word spreading prematurely. Since the news was shared here, I wanted to address the questions cropping up.

A trade edition is in preparation, which will be available for purchase.

Thank you again to anyone who has expressed interest in the project. Please do stay tuned. When more information is available, I will arrange for an announcement on LAShTaL.


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Los
 Los
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30/12/2012 8:29 am  
"fraternovaeres" wrote:
I would love to help foster discussion here about queer Gnostic Mass and its related issues. Hopefully Priest/ess will help do just that.

[...]

A trade edition is in preparation, which will be available for purchase.

Well, my question was whether the text would be made available online (for free) or whether the author of the text would be willing to post here in the thread (again, for free) the main points of the argument so that a public discussion could be facilitated.

If the purpose of the text is to effect change in the OTO -- i.e. if its purpose is not to generate income but to reach a wide audience of Thelemites and "win hearts and minds," as it were -- then I would expect its author would want to disseminate its ideas as far and wide as possible. In that case, I would expect the author to be gladly laying out the main points of the argument here and directing interested readers to the text for the finer details of the argument.

Just as a general comment, to get the ball rolling, it has been said that the Gnostic Mass is a symbolic representation of the great "secret" of the OTO...i.e. the IXth degree...and typically the interpretation of the IXth degree is heterosexual and, to some (or a large) degree male-centric and/or phallocentric. I'm not speaking of anything specific here, and I don't intend to divulge any specific information contained in the "secret" papers (you know, the ones that anyone with access to google can go and read right now): I'm just giving an impression of the general gist I've gotten from reading the writings of others on the subject. I've also heard it argued that the primary figure of the Gnostic Mass is the Priest and that the other officers (including the Priestess) are representative of aspects of his being. In other words, the Gnostic Mass can be read as a metaphor for sex magick, with the Priest as the operator.

Given all of that,  I think the upper-degree management of the Order would be unwilling to make any policy changes, probably on the grounds that altering the rules for the performance of the Mass would interfere with the symbolism of the higher degrees. Now, perhaps some people might find that attitude "sexist," but then again, it might be objected, why would such people want to be part of an order whose philosophy includes teachings they find "sexist"?

Overall, it's very hard to say anything, one way or another, without knowing more about the argument. Fortunately, the politics and policies of one particular organization are only tangentially connected to Thelema to begin with, so the issue remains, at best, a matter of curiosity for those inclined.


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Shiva
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30/12/2012 3:28 pm  

Just make sure a copy is sent to the Vatican. Recent news stories indicate that the Poop, er Pope, is interested in stuff like this.


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michaelclarke18
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30/12/2012 6:46 pm  

In other words, they don't want the input of these boards, they just want to disseminate information.

I honestly think that should be:

In other words, they don't want the input of these boards, they just want to sell copies.


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Michael Staley
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30/12/2012 7:01 pm  

Personally, Michael, I doubt that. If the producers of the book were primarily interested in selling the book, it's likely that they would have taken the opportunity to initiate a discussion in order to generate more interest.


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Azidonis
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30/12/2012 7:03 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

In other words, they don't want the input of these boards, they just want to disseminate information.

I honestly think that should be:

In other words, they don't want the input of these boards, they just want to sell copies.

If they were interested in selling copies, wouldn't they make more than 44, and get all the usual players to drop their names in for a spell? You know, instead of "Sabazius, Sabazius, Sabazius", we would see, "Sabazius, Sabazius, Sabazius, with a forward by Lon, Intro by Bill, edited by H.B., etc. ad nauseum"

There are thousands of O.T.O. members. If they were interested in selling copies, they would have made enough for every member, at the least. Instead, they made what, enough for every lodge head? And they will no doubt expect the lodges to hold seminars and such to discuss the information, and so every member at the lodge gets the information from the point of view of one or two "higher ups in the lodge", which due to social media turns into a "popular conception", and then the O.T.O. will hold the "popular conception X", and every time the leaders are questioned, they will say "X is false. We actually think Y".


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michaelclarke18
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30/12/2012 7:49 pm  

If they were interested in selling copies, wouldn't they make more than 44, and get all the usual players to drop their names in for a spell? You know, instead of "Sabazius, Sabazius, Sabazius", we would see, "Sabazius, Sabazius, Sabazius, with a forward by Lon, Intro by Bill, edited by H.B., etc. ad nauseum"

Um.....

A trade edition is in preparation, which will be available for purchase.

*takes another sip of tea*


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Azidonis
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30/12/2012 8:03 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:

If they were interested in selling copies, wouldn't they make more than 44, and get all the usual players to drop their names in for a spell? You know, instead of "Sabazius, Sabazius, Sabazius", we would see, "Sabazius, Sabazius, Sabazius, with a forward by Lon, Intro by Bill, edited by H.B., etc. ad nauseum"

Um.....

A trade edition is in preparation, which will be available for purchase.

*takes another sip of tea*

The question is, whether or not the arguments in the book, whatever they are, are going to become accepted and assimilated by the O.T.O. heads. If they all read the book and disagree, do you think they will pay for mass printing? How broad is their audience? Are they seeking to publicize Thelema as a "queer religion", with the O.T.O. as it's head? How far do you think the rabbit hole really goes, and how far do you think the O.T.O. heads will let it go?

If the arguments in the book do not become an "official stance", and the book doesn't get the "Almighty seal of approval", then the sales certainly won't be as large.


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lashtal
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30/12/2012 8:44 pm  

Thanks, mmontgomery , for letting us know about this publication. I'm not sure why certain members have chosen to leap in with the usual sarcastic anti-OTO nonsense, but I, at least, appreciated your post.

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LAShTAL


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michaelclarke18
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30/12/2012 8:55 pm  

I think part of the problem could be in the assumption that the OTO - whatever that is - has ownership of AC and/or his works. It's best to think beyond all of that. To be honest, the OTO means to me little more that an enthusiasts group; a purpose that they seem to serve rather well, for those that deem such an approach necessary for them.

Whilst I may well agree with all the arguments in the book, I don't think leading a thread on a commodity - and it's acquisition - gives the subject the seriousness that it deserves. I'd be more interested in hearing the arguments.


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Azidonis
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30/12/2012 8:58 pm  
"lashtal" wrote:
sarcastic anti-OTO nonsense

What is "sarcastic anti-OTO nonsense" about questioning the intent of this book?

The book "aim toward motivating the reformation of O.T.O. policy to embrace queer celebrations of the Gnostic Mass," "the central ceremony of its [the O.T.O.'s] public and private celebration," since 1913.

It was also written by Crowley, who is well-noted for being a bi-sexual, who most likely thought of "queer implications" when creating the Mass initially.

The book is not exactly a proposition to change a tiny detail.


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MoogPlayer
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30/12/2012 9:05 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
The question is, whether or not the arguments in the book, whatever they are, are going to become accepted and assimilated by the O.T.O. heads. If they all read the book and disagree, do you think they will pay for mass printing? How broad is their audience? Are they seeking to publicize Thelema as a "queer religion", with the O.T.O. as it's head? How far do you think the rabbit hole really goes, and how far do you think the O.T.O. heads will let it go?

That reads a bit homophobic... According to the author, the intent would be to try and cultivate a more inclusive and accepting environment within the OTO. They are trying to initiate a dialogue, not a hostile take over. It's sounds like a nice goal, but I don't see why they should concern themselves.

Thelema doesn't belong to anyone. Not to the OTO-inc, or EGC, or TO. Not to TOT, of Silver Star, or anyone. All these individual organizations are only interested in promoting their own interpretations of thelema. They don't really care for people who think outside such boxes. These groups can't even get along with each other functionally, or agree on what thelema is. They all place such importance on successions, and teacher to student lines, and formulas, and charters, but it's all BS...

People look to these groups like they represent thelema, or authority, or something.

Why should we care if the OTO ever adopts this stance on the gnostic mass? Their opinion should only matter to people who fall within that circle. If people within that community don't like the type of thelema that OTO practices, than they can make the decision to stay or go, or not to join in the first place.

If the author of the book doesn't agree with OTO's dogma, I'd suggest that they come up with and promote their own magical formula that is in alignment with their own view of the universe... you don't need the OTO's permission. Get the message out there too, and try letting other people know that thelema is not exclusively owned by any one group.

If the arguments in the book do not become an "official stance", and the book doesn't get the "Almighty seal of approval", then the sales certainly won't be as large.

Maybe they came here to create "buzz". Could be that the plan is to let anticipation reach a certain climax, and than release it to all the curious laypeople.


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lashtal
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30/12/2012 9:21 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
"lashtal" wrote:
sarcastic anti-OTO nonsense

What is "sarcastic anti-OTO nonsense" about questioning the intent of this book?

Nothing, of course. What a strange comment! 'Questioning the intent of the book' can't be what I was referring to.

However, there is sarcasm in your comment: 'If the arguments in the book do not become an "official stance", and the book doesn't get the "Almighty seal of approval", then the sales certainly won't be as large.'

Or maybe there isn't sarcasm in your comment?

Whatever... Fill your boots - say what you like.

Owner and Editor
LAShTAL


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Anonymous
 Anonymous
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30/12/2012 9:29 pm  

Well, they're obviously trying to bring in changes to accommodate the sexual preferences of the overlords of that particular organisation.


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Azidonis
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30/12/2012 9:47 pm  
"MoogPlayer" wrote:
"Azidonis" wrote:
The question is, whether or not the arguments in the book, whatever they are, are going to become accepted and assimilated by the O.T.O. heads. If they all read the book and disagree, do you think they will pay for mass printing? How broad is their audience? Are they seeking to publicize Thelema as a "queer religion", with the O.T.O. as it's head? How far do you think the rabbit hole really goes, and how far do you think the O.T.O. heads will let it go?

That reads a bit homophobic... According to the author, the intent would be to try and cultivate a more inclusive and accepting environment within the OTO. They are trying to initiate a dialogue

The aim is to "reform the policy" of the Mass, ie. change the Mass.

There's nothing homophobic about it. I'm simply pointing to the apparent argument of changing the Mass, the central ritual of the O.T.O. since 1913.

"MoogPlayer" wrote:
Why should we care if the OTO ever adopts this stance on the gnostic mass?

It's not going to effect me one bit. It will effect the O.T.O. though, and its members, both current and future.

"lashtal" wrote:
However, there is sarcasm in your comment: 'If the arguments in the book do not become an "official stance", and the book doesn't get the "Almighty seal of approval", then the sales certainly won't be as large.'

"Almighty seal of approval" could be considered sarcastic, or a turn of phrase. However, are the heads of the O.T.O. not the "Almighty heads" of the O.T.O.? Do they not have the final say on what is official for the O.T.O. and what isn't?

"almighty wrote:
almighty

al·might·y
[awl-mahy-tee]
adjective
2. having very great power, influence, etc.: The almighty press condemned him without trial.

What's "anti-OTO" about calling a spade a spade?

If the book does not "become an official stance", meaning the policy of the Mass does not change, and the Mass itself does not change, according to the heads of the O.T.O., then those who would want to pursue such a change of the Mass would become a separate school, would they not?

If the heads of the O.T.O., upon reading the book, decide to change the Mass, thereby declaring the arguments set forth in the book "an official stance" warranting a change in the Mass, that does indeed effect the entire O.T.O., both present and future. It also effects the history of Thelema as a whole.

Then, as michaelclarke said, they will sell many more books.

It may help put the proposition into perspective to list and consider any other major changes the O.T.O. has made to the system as laid out by Crowley. Anyone have or care to make such a list?


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lashtal
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30/12/2012 10:06 pm  
"Azidonis" wrote:
It may help put the proposition into perspective to list and consider any other major changes the O.T.O. has made to the system as laid out by Crowley. Anyone have or care to make such a list?

That would be interesting but as a new thread, please.

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LAShTAL


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Los
 Los
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31/12/2012 12:08 am  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
the OTO - whatever that is

The organization that goes by that name today. You know, the Ordo Templi Orientis. You've probably heard of them.

"MoogPlayer" wrote:
Why should we care if the OTO ever adopts this stance on the gnostic mass? Their opinion should only matter to people who fall within that circle. If people within that community don't like the type of thelema that OTO practices, than they can make the decision to stay or go, or not to join in the first place.

Absolutely correct. Of course, if members of the organization wish to make intra-Order debates public, then they should expect public questions and critiques, even from non-members (who may, after all, be interested in the debate on purely academic grounds).

Hence, my question as to whether the points of the argument being advanced could be summarized here for the purposes of public conversation.

I mean, I assume the argument is some version of “gender is a cultural construct and a person of any biological sex could take on either gendered role of ‘priest’ or ‘priestess.’” And, of course, I agree with that argument, but I don’t know to what extent it may conflict with OTO symbolism(s) in various degrees, and I’m very doubtful that upper-degree management could be persuaded to make changes, for precisely the reason of potential symbolic conflicts.

"morphon" wrote:
the overlords of that particular organisation.

[SimpsonsReference] I, for one, welcome our IXth degree overlords [/SimpsonsReference]

Seriously, though, the casual OTO-bashing around these parts -- which often rears its head practically the moment that the Order is mentioned -- is cringeworthy. Overlords? C'mon, some of your folks need to get out more often.


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Michael Staley
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31/12/2012 12:30 am  
"Los" wrote:
"morphon" wrote:
the overlords of that particular organisation.

[SimpsonsReference] I, for one, welcome our IXth degree overlords [/SimpsonsReference]

Seriously, though, the casual OTO-bashing around these parts -- which often rears its head practically the moment that the Order is mentioned -- is cringeworthy. Overlords? C'mon, some of your folks need to get out more often.

Firstly, there was no Homer Simpson voice implied so far as I could see, so coming up with some clever quasi-html construct seems more symptomatic of you grappling with what you would have preferred someone to have said, rather than what they did actually say.

Secondly, why is a reference to "the overlords of that particular organisation" to be construed as "OTO-bashing"? You're being hysterical.


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Los
 Los
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31/12/2012 12:39 am  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
Firstly, there was no Homer Simpson voice implied

The quote "I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords," spoken by Kent Brockman on the once-great, now-terrible telvision show The Simpsons, is perhaps the only pop-culture reference that contains the word "overlord." The connection is simply the poster's use of the word, which comes across as rather goofy in this context (when speaking about people who run a club).

Secondly, why is a reference to "the overlords of that particular organisation" to be construed as "OTO-bashing"?

Because the word "overlord" has an incredibly negative (tyrannical) connotation, compared to more neutral words like "leaders" or "management" or even "higher-ups."


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michaelclarke18
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31/12/2012 11:23 am  

The organization that goes by that name today. You know, the Ordo Templi Orientis. You've probably heard of them.

Thank you, but I am well aware of what the OTO is. The point I am making relates to what it currently is, in relation to what AC originally intended; I suspect that they are two totally different things.


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 Anonymous
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31/12/2012 12:47 pm  

Looks like an interesting project and look forward to getting the read of the paperback when its issued.


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Keith418
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31/12/2012 8:10 pm  

I suspect that this book will come to be seen as the most significant contribution on its subject since "The Island Dialogues" by Llee Heflin.


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lashtal
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31/12/2012 8:12 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
I suspect that this book will come to be seen as the most significant contribution on its subject since "The Island Dialogues" by Llee Heflin.

I suspect you're right, Keith, and I look forward to reading it.

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Michael Staley
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31/12/2012 11:08 pm  
"Keith418" wrote:
I suspect that this book will come to be seen as the most significant contribution on its subject since "The Island Dialogues" by Llee Heflin.

Why do you think that, Keith?


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Azidonis
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31/12/2012 11:34 pm  
"MichaelStaley" wrote:
"Keith418" wrote:
I suspect that this book will come to be seen as the most significant contribution on its subject since "The Island Dialogues" by Llee Heflin.

Why do you think that, Keith?

Never heard of the book before, so I went looking for it. Found the following, and inserted it for context:

    The Island Dialogues
    by Llee Heflin (San Francisco: Level Press, 1973)

    a critical review
    by Nathan Bjorge

    The Thelemic movement of the 1970s e.v. produced a number of interestingly representative literary works. Kenneth Grant's enthusiastic first few books, Bill Heidrick's subtle and original Qabalistic writings, and Robert Anton Wilson's witty and weird Cosmic Trigger, are all worthy documents which should be present on the shelves of any Thelemite with a historical consciousness. The same cannot precisely be said of the nevertheless interesting period piece The Island Dialogues, by Llee Heflin.

    Llee Heflin was the founder of the Level Press, a Thelemic publishing house that operated out of San Francisco during the 1970s. At one point associated with Grady McMurtry, he collaborated with the late Caliph on a number of publishing projects. Heflin and Grady eventually broke with one another shortly before Heflin started up his publishing house, which put out The Island Dialogues in 1973 e.v.

    The book is divided into four parts, with vivid, almost cartoonlike illustrations before each section. Part One is a brief autobiography, which reprises the spiritual activities of the author prior to the Fall of '71, when he found himself the sole inhabitant of an island in Washington State.

    The author's descriptions of his religious experiences throughout the book are varied and involve various substances used liberally. The results are often spectacular, intense, and totally useless. A good example is on page 126, where the author narrates his conversation with a rock.

    The central experience, however, is a transcription, in Part Two, of a series of Heflin's conversations with what he believed to be his Holy Guardian Angel. Indeed, who are we to dispute? The extremely uneven literary quality of the book improves somewhat in these sections, and while that is no proof of anything, it is nevertheless quite clear that it was a profound experience for the author.

    The angel's message is pretty much standard New Age fare -- up to a point. When Heflin's angel begins to give its sex magick teachings then things start to get really controversial. Dialogue 1 is a very good invocation of his angel by Heflin:
    "My God My God
    Fill me flood me
    I am all open I am all womb I am you-shaped and expectant a living cup to drink your holy light come. Fill me my God with your sun cock your moon cock your sky cock rock cock lion cock eagle cock angel cock man cock. Fuck me my God until I am a mountain fountain of atomic energy dancing to the music of the star fire choir. When you come I am the heavenly night full of shooting stars I am the rainbow arc of shattered light I am your Shakti you are my God."

    The second dialogue is mostly fluff, but with a few good turns of phrase. For example: "It is not for me to teach you of ecstasy and happiness. Rather it is for you to express these things to me. If you say 'Lord is this ecstasy?' I will always reply 'Is it?' But when you say 'Lord, this is ecstasy!' I will reply 'So be it!'" Dialogue 3 is mush and dialogue 4 is unintelligible mush. The fifth dialogue has some good advice. Dialogue 6 is a well put attack against the dualism of the Osirian paradigm. Dialogue 7 starts out okay, but turns into mush when God starts to lecture on something about "duality". Or something. It involves a teacup, but I'm afraid that God is too incoherent for me to make out what he's trying to say. Maybe he's on LSD? As below so above. Then, in the 8th and final dialogue the Angel suddenly veers into an amazingly contentious exposition on gender issues in Magick. Heflin's God begins by stating that humans must overcome the duality of gender within their psyches, and become androgenous. So far so good, though Heflin sees this as not merely a spiritual state or metaphor. Now comes the tricky bit: to achieve this everyone who is not already in a male body must reincarnate into one and become a homosexual. Why, we might just perhaps ask? Because the female body doesn't have a Phallus, and it essential that the enlightened androgene both be able to sexually penetrate and be penetrated.

    This stunningly ignorant, textbook Phallocentric assertion pretty much downs The Island Dialogues as a useful spiritual text at this point. French philosophy virtually exists to deconstruct second order sexist texts like this one. I need merely direct the interested reader to the works of Luce Ingeray as a good start. I could go on for a few pages more in this vein, but in the interest of space I will allow my educated readers the pleasure of articulating their own critique.

    Part Three of The Island Dialogues is a commentary on Part Two, and is a bit of a mess. Heflin rambles badly, and the ideas are vaporous, confused and badly expressed. I got nothing out of this section.

    Part Four is cast as a "letter to an XI° brother" and is the most interesting part of the book. Heflin here advances a number of fascinatingly unorthodox opinions concerning the sexual theurgy of the OTO. Among the theories presented are the idea of the X° as a sex magick degree, a scheme for mapping the progression of VII° -- XI° to the aeonic procession, and the ideal of scattered eleventh degree communities acting as power centers for the promulgation of the gnosis. This latter idea was of great influence on the ideas of the late Frater Meithras. In my opinion, this important influence alone makes The Island Dialogues worthy of study.

    While I cannot recommend this book as more than a curiosity on its own merits, its causal relationship to other important movements make it more than worth a peek. It is also useful in graphically presenting one of the most difficult issues in the Thelemic religion: that of Authority. It is quite clear that Heflin acknowledges no outside authority or exterior standard in his religious practice. As a result, his illumination is of dubious value to anyone other than himself. It is a great paradox of philosophy that the exterior standard of a religious system or structure of initiation is essential, on some level, to the coherence and success of an individual's spiritual practice. Nevertheless, it is necessary that the power of illumination ultimately be in the hands of that individual. There must be a balance.

    Let us all note that for our own practice, and draw our own conclusions. The Great Work continues.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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01/01/2013 1:13 am  

These island dialogues sound most interesting, even if incoherent, as it is always good to get another perspective. Interesting to hear reference to Frater Meithras/ King who I have heard little enough about, though I have heard he did extensive XI work, and members of the OTO don't seem particularly fond of this name (when I asked). Now the OTO and what they do is their business, but if there is a discussion of Kings work or associated resources I would be most interested. Has his work ever been discussed on the forums here?

Just a curious question. In terms of the book, when it is out in trade, I would be interested to read it. As for some of the sarky comments around the OTO - their order, their business. And by their Order I mean the entire membership - if you're not in, you cant win! (lottery slogan), and you certainly cant complain. If there needs to be a space for queer thelema, it doesnt necessarily have to be within the bounds of the OTO. I am queer, I am a thelemite, and my path has NOT led me to join the OTO, but I would not consider it reasonable to join a private organisation and expect it to change in accordance with my specific vision and dreams. This is not to say I consider the OTO unfriendly to queer dynamics, or that it needs serious revision because, as a non member it is not my place to say, and to be honest, as a non member I dont (and couldn't) presume to know. In the end it is up to those who uphold the Order to reflect on their values and to act accordingly - finding their values reflected in the organization already, seeing it grow in an organic way in line with the membership, or to leave and start new and innovative expressions of Thelema. An Order is obliged to listen to the membership, but not to make all suggested changes and though this document may be a point for discourse and reflection, the suggestion by many that this means the OTO should 'change' (those saying this without seeing the enclosed thesis even) seems to me unfair, particularly since many of these voices seem to be non members.

Sorry, ranting, but I feel my point has been made


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michaelclarke18
(@michaelclarke18)
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01/01/2013 10:43 am  

If there needs to be a space for queer thelema, it doesnt necessarily have to be within the bounds of the OTO.

Well the OTO does have their XI degree, so there must be some kind of space for 'queer thelema', if the degree is to be performed at AC intended it.

Although, I can imagine most OTO members would not be comfortable with the idea, let alone the practical, so AC's original conception would undergo some *modifications*.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
01/01/2013 2:12 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
Well the OTO does have their XI degree, so there must be some kind of space for 'queer thelema', if the degree is to be performed at AC intended it.

IIRC Crowley also records having performed the XI' with women so not necessarily a space for 'queer thelema' if done as 'AC intended it'

Also FWIW i wonder why/if,  people would have a preference for 'queerifying' the gnostic mass, rather than just creating something new?

what would be the intent? what could a specifically 'gay' ritual achieve that would be unique? is it an issue of gay people feeling excluded from the traditional Gnostic Mass? or whats at issue here?

ps. docetumbra - i have a copy of Heflins island dialogues if you want a look , its an odd little book 🙂


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michaelclarke18
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01/01/2013 2:34 pm  

IIRC Crowley also records having performed the XI' with women so not necessarily a space for 'queer thelema' if done as 'AC intended it'

BUT if there is a space for 'queer thelema', then surely that is it?

Also FWIW i wonder why/if,  people would have a preference for 'queerifying' the gnostic mass, rather than just creating something new?

Well, if you buy the book, you might find out....


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
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01/01/2013 6:51 pm  

IIRC Crowley also records having performed the XI' with women so not necessarily a space for 'queer thelema' if done as 'AC intended it'

Even when the XI is performed with a woman, the definition of queer as divergent transcends homosexuality and bisexuality. The term LGBT is now often LGBTQ - the queer being for queer and is a self identity of difference, individuality and divergence. The performance of the XI in the time of Crowley with women was queer, was diverent and was taboo. Now it wouldnt be unusual within a traditional marriage. Values change. But the essential nature of the XI is LHP

The XI was described by Crowley as outside the overall scheme of the Order (OTO) which is obviousily nothing to do with the mass, as the central ritual and the symbolic enactment of IX. The queering of the mass seems to have a different agenda of normalising what was previously 'outside the structure of the order'. 

TO argue that the queering of the GM has anything directly to do with XI and its described place in the Order by Crowley does not add up.

I'll read the book and decide when it is available, but I doubt this book has anything to do with the XI directly


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Shiva
(@shiva)
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01/01/2013 7:48 pm  
"michaelclarke18" wrote:
Well, if you buy the book, you might find out....

The informants have indicated that the book is NOT for sale, but simply has been furnished (for free?) to OTO overlords and lodges. It has been *implied* that a public version will/might-be available at some time in the (unknown) future.

This is another of those threads that are confusing and leaving many poor souls muttering, "WTF?"


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michaelclarke18
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02/01/2013 12:02 pm  

The performance of the XI in the time of Crowley with women was queer, was diverent and was taboo.

Taboo, but not quite as taboo when with a man. I think a lot of people provide this justification when are uncomfortable with XI.


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obscurus
(@obscuruspaintus)
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02/01/2013 8:05 pm  

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

What I can't understand is this, "Copies were provided to each of the three principal officers of O.T.O. International, many key officers of United States Grand Lodge O.T.O., and every O.T.O. Lodge in the United States"? Why? Why should it matter what the OTO thinks or the Roman Catholic Church for that matter? I realize that we are only at the end of year 108 but how will we advance if we keep clinging and feeding off the carcass and structure of the old aeon? It is the community at large which needs to see and read it. The personality driven orders of the past need to be abandoned for the future lies in the individual. If it is the will of like minded beings to celebrate or practice in a certain way, why seek approval of another? There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

Unless as mentioned earlier in this thread that there is another motive?

Love is the law, love under will.


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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02/01/2013 9:02 pm  
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
Unless as mentioned earlier in this thread that there is another motive?

Careful we don't get started on the con again.


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Shiva
(@shiva)
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02/01/2013 9:45 pm  
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
Why? Why should it matter what the *** thinks or the *** for that matter? ... It is the community at large which needs to see and read it. The personality driven orders of the past need to be abandoned for the future lies in the individual.

As long as there are secret societies, or even secrets hidden within open societies (such as governments and collegiate fraternities and neighborhood watch groups), your ideals about the "individual" will remain just that - an ideal.

"azidonis" wrote:
Careful we don't get started on the con again.

How dare you cite carefulness when everything in this thread is perfectly crystal clear?


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michaelclarke18
(@michaelclarke18)
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02/01/2013 9:46 pm  

What I can't understand is this, "Copies were provided to each of the three principal officers of O.T.O. International, many key officers of United States Grand Lodge O.T.O., and every O.T.O. Lodge in the United States"? Why? Why should it matter what the OTO thinks or the Roman Catholic Church for that matter?

Hype?


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
03/01/2013 12:11 am  

Michael Clarke wrote:

The performance of the XI in the time of Crowley with women was queer, was divergent and was taboo.

Taboo, but not quite as taboo when with a man. I think a lot of people provide this justification when are uncomfortable with XI.

How is this a justification, and what do you think it justifies?
It is not a justification, it was a fact of the time Crowley lived in, and his awareness and breaking of sexual taboos is extensively documented in his biography and diaries. I hear a lot about these uncomfortable 'people' and 'lots of people' (all without name) who are uncomfortable with the idea of XI and its relationship to homosexuality. Is this perhaps a stumbling block for you personally, that you feel the need to claim the infamous 'they' have issues with it. In relation to the divergent, and queer aspects of XI, no better example is to be found than in Atu XVI (which Crowley explicitly links with XI) and in the explicit statement of Crowley that XI was outside the structure of the OTO (Daath, Universe B). This makes it different divergent and queer. David Patton is correct when he states that Crowley identified his XI work with women as being such. Anyway arguing for arguing's sake. Speculation on XI (as much as one could from without) belongs to a forum in itself.
I guess I'm just arguing against the evil 'they' and in other such conspiracy theories (including the 'they' of the OTO).

In wider esoterica dealing with sexuality there are two movements, one that creates exclusive queer mysteries (Minoan brotherhood, XI (sort of) etc) and the reconciling stream. Discussing XI here goes in the opposite direction to creating inclusive space that is implied by this title. If indeed the intention of posting this announcement for Priest/ess was to create hype, it has done an admirable job!!

But yes, the first law of thelema is mind your own business so i will go back to doing that and read this infamous book that started this thread when and if its ever generally released.


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Palamedes
(@palamedes)
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03/01/2013 4:41 am  
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
Why should it matter what the OTO thinks or the Roman Catholic Church for that matter?

How about: because this is a website dedicated to the legacy of Aleister Crowley who was the head of the O.T.O. for the last 25 years of his life, who wrote a number of important texts for and about this Order, and who considered it kind of essential as an ark for preserving the magical tradition, in particular his own Thelema. And when people talk sarcastically about "the almighty seal of approval," when referring to the O.T.O. authorities, how about if we recall that Crowley himself took seriously that particular seal and considered his authority within the Order as something significant and meaningful? And how about if we recall, when people complain that O.T.O. monopolizes Crowley's writings, that this was HIS intention and that he DID leave copyrights to the O.T.O.? And if this is not your cup of tea, that's wonderful, bravo to you, but just please keep in mind that you are criticizing the Crowley legacy on the Crowley website. It is just plainly rude to refer to the O.T.O. as the "O.T.O. Inc" as if to express some righteous indignation at the state of affairs which, by all means, would be perfectly within Crowley's own intentions. It is simply inconceivable that there exists such animosity towards Crowley's own Order on the site dedicated to his legacy! Sad and ridiculous!   


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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03/01/2013 6:43 am  
"Palamedes" wrote:
"obscuruspaintus" wrote:
Why should it matter what the OTO thinks or the Roman Catholic Church for that matter?

How about: because this is a website dedicated to the legacy of Aleister Crowley who was the head of the O.T.O. for the last 25 years of his life, who wrote a number of important texts for and about this Order, and who considered it kind of essential as an ark for preserving the magical tradition, in particular his own Thelema. And when people talk sarcastically about "the almighty seal of approval," when referring to the O.T.O. authorities, how about if we recall that Crowley himself took seriously that particular seal and considered his authority within the Order as something significant and meaningful?

The "O.T.O. authorities" are indeed "the almighty" where O.T.O. matters are concerned. If you honestly think they have not, or will not, change a thing Crowley ever wrote about the O.T.O., by right of their "authority", you are only kidding yourself.

In fact, the very book this thread is about aims to change the O.T.O.'s central rite, for example.

"Palamedes" wrote:
And how about if we recall, when people complain that O.T.O. monopolizes Crowley's writings, that this was HIS intention and that he DID leave copyrights to the O.T.O.?

The copyright debate is sort of "taboo" on the site.

"We don't talk about the copyright issue on this here site."
"We don't talk about the what?"
"Exactly."

"Palamedes" wrote:
And if this is not your cup of tea, that's wonderful, bravo to you,

This is the proverbial, "You are free to think and say what you will, but...," routine.

"Palamedes" wrote:
but just please keep in mind that you are criticizing the Crowley legacy on the Crowley website.

Egads! Heaven forbid people raise questions about Crowley's legacy on the Crowley legacy website!

"Palamedes" wrote:
It is just plainly rude to refer to the O.T.O. as the "O.T.O. Inc"

in·cor·po·rat·ed  (n-kôrp-rtd)
adj.
1. United into one body; combined.
2. Formed into or organized and maintained as a legal corporation.

Is the O.T.O. not "united into one body"? Are there not many "bodies" of O.T.O. scattered throughout the world in Camps, Oases, Lodges, etc. united under one "U.S. Grand Lodge"? Do not all of those bodies unite and combine under one banner, O.T.O.?

Are they a legal corporation?

"An incorporated entity is a separate legal entity that has been incorporated through a legislative or registration process established through legislation. Incorporated entities have legal rights and liabilities that are distinct from its shareholders, and may conduct business for either profit-seeking business or not for profit purposes."

Last I heard they were even "tax exempt" here in the U.S. (feel free to correct this one).

"Palamedes" wrote:
as if to express some righteous indignation at the state of affairs which, by all means, would be perfectly within Crowley's own intentions.

Its amusing how this site can have elongated threads from Malkuth to Kether and everything in-between, but as soon as anyone dares such the subject of the O.T.O., people get their pants in a wad, hairs stand on end, threads get locked, and so forth.

No one cares about righteous indignation. If word choices scare you, especially when they are upheld by their definitions (not necessarily by "popular consensus" definitions), then perhaps you are already looking for controversy. (See your, "You are free to think and say what you will, but...," statement, for example.)

As to "Crowley's intentions", I don't think anyone has said that what the (c)O.T.O. is doing is against "Crowley's intentions". In fact, many of the XI* discussions evolving in this very thread appear aimed towards a debate concerning "Crowley's intentions" in the matter relevant to this thread.

"Palamedes" wrote:
It is simply inconceivable that there exists such animosity towards Crowley's own Order on the site dedicated to his legacy! Sad and ridiculous!   

I can't speak for anyone else, but there is no animosity from me to anywhere. In fact, every single time I have met, or interacted with any O.T.O. member physically, I have had quite a wonderful time. That I choose not to join the O.T.O. is a personal decision.

That said, I think that creating and upholding the "O.T.O. taboo" here on this site and elsewhere, would probably piss Crowley off more for "anti-taboo-sake", than it would to actually have an open discussion/argument about the subject.


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 Anonymous
Joined: 51 years ago
Posts: 0
03/01/2013 7:00 am  
"Palamedes" wrote:
It is just plainly rude to refer to the O.T.O. as the "O.T.O. Inc"

It is most certainly not "rude" to refer the O.T.O. as "O.T.O. Inc."  It was incorporated under the laws of the State of California on March 26, 1979.  Therefore, "O.T.O. Inc." is, simply, an accurate description, albeit one you obviously don't like. ::)


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Keith418
(@keith418)
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Posts: 127
03/01/2013 5:35 pm  

I knew Pat King back in the late 1980s when he lived in San Francisco. I saw quite a bit of him then and he had nothing but the highest praise for Heflin's book. At one point, I believe, Pat owned the original cover art to the book.


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Los
 Los
(@los)
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Posts: 2195
03/01/2013 5:39 pm  
"Palamedes" wrote:
How about: because this is a website dedicated to the legacy of Aleister Crowley who was the head of the O.T.O. for the last 25 years of his life

Well, you’re absolutely right that insofar as Crowley headed the OTO, developments within the Order – including any intra-Order debates its members see fit to bring up in public – “matter” in terms of the focus of this website, Crowley’s legacy.

However, obscuruspaintus’ question as to why their opinion would “matter” was asked, I think, from the perspective of why it would matter to the average individual Thelemite, who might not be an OTO member. There are, after all, a great number of Thelemites (probably most of them, but it’s impossible to say for sure) who aren’t members of OTO.

As interesting as the question of a “queer mass” might be from a purely academic perspective, the OTO’s official opinion doesn’t really mean much personally to someone who’s not a member (other than as, say, something that might encourage or discourage someone from joining). Nothing’s stopping anyone else from holding queer masses until the cows come home. Sure, they won’t be “official OTO Gnostic Masses, performed under the auspices of EGC” but someone who’s not an OTO member wouldn’t have any reason to care about what label to put on it.

I still find it curious that the thread is entirely devoid of any arguments in favor of a queer mass in the OTO. As I said, I’d be interested in hearing them and also hearing how they square with the (heterosexual) IXth degree.

"N.O.X." wrote:
It is most certainly not "rude" to refer the O.T.O. as "O.T.O. Inc."

It’s an issue of context and intent. Or, if you prefer, it’s an issue of connotation versus denotation.

Sure, if we go by the strict denotation, it’s true that the OTO is legally incorporated, and it’s true that OTO leaders have a great deal of authority within the group, and a “great deal of authority” technically corresponds to a dictionary definition of the word “almighty.”

But words have connotations, too. “Almighty” connotes unlimited power commonly associated with gods. “Overlords” connotes tyrannical, unfair, iron-fisted rulers. “Incorporated,” especially when abbreviated as “Inc.,” connotes a business in the money-making sense. These are terms that, by their connotation, are intended to mock the OTO.

It’s extremely, extremely disingenuous to use these connotations to make fun of the OTO and then turn around and go, “Who, me?” when you’re called on it. “But…but…what I said is technically true according to the strict dictionary definition…” It's rather pathetic.

Just to be clear, I have no problem with someone making fun of the OTO -- although I do think much of the criticism aimed at the OTO is wackaloo -- but I do have a problem with people hiding behind dictionary definitions. Talk about veiling in virtuous words....


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Azidonis
(@azidonis)
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Posts: 2964
03/01/2013 7:50 pm  
"Los" wrote:
But words have connotations, too. “Almighty” connotes unlimited power commonly associated with gods. “Overlords” connotes tyrannical, unfair, iron-fisted rulers. “Incorporated,” especially when abbreviated as “Inc.,” connotes a business in the money-making sense.

Within the O.T.O., the heads do have somewhat unlimited power, and run their show by a creed that states, "There is no god but man," therefore giving them "god-like authority", in some respects, over the O.T.O.

So if the O.T.O. is run by men and women that assume themselves to be "gods", and use that "god-like authority" to govern the workings of their organization, tyrannical or otherwise, charge dues and fees to the members while promising them "spiritual initiations", all the while publishing Crowley's books for the masses, and using that same publishing effort to get out some of their own words (which are of course as gospel), then what really would you call them?


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