Jamie Barter: Chapter Eleven – The OTO Since 1973

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“There is nothing mysterious [Secret] or Oriental about anything”

  • Mahatma Guru Sri Paramahansa Shivaji [Aleister Crowley]

From Lecture 1 (1)  (1938 e.v.)

(N.B., EDITORIAL NOTE:- The below constitutes the entirety of the penultimate (or pen-penultimate) Chapter to the proposed revised second edition of Francis King’s The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O..  The original title was “The O.T.O. since 1973”, however in view of the fact that a subsequent additional Chapter – “The O.T.O. since 1995” – will include material from when it was completed, it should then be retitled “The O.T.O. from 1973 to 1995”.

For ease of reference here I have transferred all of the footnotes to the end of each paragraph in which they appear <within arrowed brackets like so>, although I apologise that the means of duplication may well not reproduce all of the original features including font size, italics, etc.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:  With thanks for invaluable research assistance and hospitality in particular from Peter König and Gregory von Seewald (d’csd) as the first among several here.)


The “O.T.O.” since 1973

“After the death of Aleister Crowley, the Order which he controlled fragmented, each fragment excommunicating the other, the leaders of each setting themselves up as mini-popes hurling anathemas at one another, squabbling over bits of paper, and empty titles. The only beneficiary seems to have been a certain John Symonds who made money out of the situation, the only sufferer was humanity because the only people who could proclaim the Law of Love, Light, Liberty and Life were wallowing in the luxury of emnity.”

Edward Mudge, The Criss-Crossing of the Aeons (Privately printed, London: 1983), p.22

The closing paragraphs of the last chapter from “Frater Transmutemini”0 also ended Chapter 5 of Francis King’s Introduction to the first edition of 1973.  They hold as true today, and probably for the rest of time, as they did then. It has proved difficult to establish the identity of this goodly brother who wrote such excellent sense, but there are two likely possibilities as to whom he might be. The first is that Frater T. was Gerald Yorke assuming an alias.  The second is that he was Francis King himself all along, choosing to write under a different name. Either way it does not matter overmuch, since the meaning and importance of the message is principally unaffected by the source of its authorship.

0 By Brother ‘I will bring about change’: “My conclusion is that no group can establish any legal claim to be the O.T.O..  Nevertheless, any group which works in the genuine spirit and can make the required contacts with the forces on higher planes that are behind the O.T.O., can regard itself as magically speaking, a section of the genuine O.T.O.

Today many such groups are coming into existence.  The publication of the O.T.O. rituals will aid them in their tasks; for too long these rituals have circulated only in inaccurate versions amongst tiny coteries who imagine they have some right to deflect the magical current that is designed to regenerate our Planet.”>

At the time of the first edition, it was also Frater Transmutemini’s belief (evidenced in the previous chapter) that of the contenders to Follow Germer as the senior officer in charge of the O.T.O., the main four were: Hermann Metzger, Eugen Grosche, Kenneth Grant, and Grady McMurtry. A number of documents have since come to light1which reveal that there were also a couple of other strong players at different times who, though they did not receive so much consideration as the rest, were in retrospect equally worthy of it. These individuals were Frederic Mellinger, who was the co-executor of Karl Germer’s will, and Marcelo Ramos Motta, Germer’s young magickal protégé.

< 1  Most of the pertinent documents are included in this book, and can also be studied (along with some interesting others) in P.R.-König’s illuminating anthology, Materialien zum O.T.O.(A.R.W.Munich: 1994)>

There are also a minimum number of three “pretenders”whose claims are substantially weaker than all of these others. As already discussed, Jean Brayton (b. 1921) was head of the counterfeit “Solar Lodge” of the O.T.Owhose members were alleged to have kept a six-year old boy chained in a box in the desert heat. She knew both the McMurtrys and the Burlingames, but aside from these Order members she was without connections and by herself had no proven authority, although according to the historian P.-R. König, “Seckler and Heidrick admit she was regularly initiated.”  Such claims as she continues to assert to overall Headship from self-imposed exile in Ensinada, Mexico – irrespective of what one may choose to make of her personal suitability for the post – therefore need not be considered any further here. In 1979 another pretender, the Peruvian Rubén Pilares (b. 1948) decided to set up his own version of the O.T.O., calling himself “Grand Master of South America” in the process despite being completely without any conventional line of succession. Such connections as he had lay more with the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua than with the O.T.O., although according to König he was expelled from the former and never actually a member of the latter. As König went on further to remark.

Both the “Caliphate” and Pilares’ organization accept eacother (in view of their lacking historical continuity) as “regular” […] His organization, however, is void of any “regular” succession and consists of only one member – himself.2

2  Taken from Ein Leben für die Roseby P.RKönig (pp. 60-61; author’s translation.)>

Meanwhile the claim of one Geoffrey Basil Smith (b. 1947) of England appears to be based upon nothing more than his chance ownership of a charter of dubious authenticity.  He set forth his case iKnights of the Solar Cross (1983), an opportunist pamphlet written and signed with his own name set immediately above “Baphomet XoGrand Master – Ordo Templi Orientis”, as if annexing this magical motto and title of Aleister Crowley’s as his own.3  The charter he now possesses bogusly proclaims “Do what thou wilt is the law”, a form of thelemic salutation which neither appears in The Book of the Law nor was ever used by Crowley; and it features a debased form of the Elevenfold Cross followed by the style “Baphomet Xo”, = a national head), which differs from Crowley’s more usual signature of either “Baphomet O.H.O.” or “Baphomet XIo.”  It was purportedly issued to Gerald Gardner empowering him to set up an O.T.Ocamp in England only “in the degree Minerval”, and came to be held by the Ripley “Believe It Or Not” organization from whom Mr. Smith appears to have purchased it in 1982. Presumably, had he lived longer and been inclined to bother, even Robert Ripley the well-known showman himself might have been O.T.O. “Grand Master” too, using the same criteria...

< 3  Even as a historical curio, Knights of the Solar Cross is of so little worthwhile value that there is no point in quoting anything from it here.>

The facts of the matter with regard to the other six “candidates” – four of whom were still alive at the time of the first edition – seem to be as followsAs the treasurer to the “Caliphornian” O.T.O. Bill Heidrick (Frater Emt) sagely remarked in his own letter of introduction to prospective enquirers:

[…]The intervening years have not been lacking in claimants to leadership of the Order. The published record stands for itselfWith some diligent investigation, interested parties can learn the details for themselves. [...]4

4  See page XXX.>

Indeed they most certainly can... And to begin our investigation, let us deal first of all with the legacy of the two esotericists who died before 1973:

EugenGrosche‘s group Fraternitas Saturni continued to flourish after his death in 1964.  Although it could not be said to have formed a clear link with the Crowley-O.T.O. tradition, Grosche was interested in sex magick and founder of the first Thelemic order independent of Therion. Gregor A. Gregorius (as Grosche was magically known) was succeeded as leader of the Fraternitas Saturniin turn by Karl Wedler, Guido Walther and Walter Jantschik. The organization itself went through an internal schism in 1980, splitting into the Ordo Saturni under the (continuing) leadership of Dieter Heikaus as well as the main Fraternitas Saturni body whose importance Ordo Saturni now seems to have eclipsed. Although at one stage Grosche might possibly have been viewed as “O.H.O. material”, heads of both FS organizations since his passing have advanced no claims to O.H.O. succession within the O.T.O., and with an ever-widening span of years any validity in this realm by future candidates becomes an increasingly untenable proposition.

Frederic Mellinger (Frater Merlinus1890-1970) acted as Crowley’s last secretary.  Within the six months before passing on to what he regarded as his “greater feast”, Crowley beheld Mellinger very highly as a “beloved” magical son “with a Father’s blessing in full measure”. In the same letter in which he expressed these warm feelings he also registered a favourable opinion of Mellinger as a “quite possible” candidate, when Karl Germer eventually died, to be “saddled with the whole responsibility of carrying on the work of the Order”, qualifying this further by adding:

[…] Please remember this above all things. […] you never know at what moment you may find yourself in a position of supreme responsibility, and you must not shirk it or dodge it.5

 See page XXX.>

This tentative bequest from Crowley came after his provisional and limited – certainly in no way “supreme”! – authorisation given to McMurtry in the so-called “Caliphate”correspondence,6and never again came to be revised in anybody else’s favour.

6  See page XXX.>

Even though Mellinger’s colleague Frederick Lekve (Frater Oz) had been the most active member of the O.T.O. German speaking “kingdom”in the first few years after Crowley died, it was Mellinger who acted as Germer’s proxy for Europe, examining and possibly initiating likely new candidates for the Order. However, during 1951 something seems to have gone askew with Mellinger’s magickal career and Germer confided to Jane Wolfe on April 30th:

[…] I do not know whether you have had occasion to observe in Cefalu, or elsewhere in your living with or close to A.C., a candidate who has taken the plunge into the Abyss (in order to attain to the M.T.). I have. Several times. And I know my own case. We have a very acute case now: it is Frederic.

Listening to him in the last 5 months one was often struck by the airs he liked to take; how high he was; how low others were (including myself.) He often complained that I, for one, did not realise his grade; that in justice A.C. had made a terrible blunder of appointing me of all people as his successor, while it was so obvious who ought to have been the one. When Sascha (he rarely dared mention such things to me) pointed out to him that after all I had been with A.C. for over 22 years, that he had tested me to the very marrow; and that he must have been expected to know what he was doing, while Frederic had only met him two years before his death and then only occasionally for a few days: he brushed this as unimportant aside.

Lately some symptoms became acute. It was then that I woke up to the deeper significance: his former pleasant and affable manners changed; his unsatisfied vanity broke out; he attacked me openly; he intrigued against me (to others) and to me against others. Last week was the culmination: he became literally obsessed by the typical demonic forces who are set to guard the M.T., or rather the Abyss, he became violent and vicious.

The upshot was that I had to discontinue his stay at H.Q […]§ […] F. is definitely insane, and obsessed by the most malignant forces extant. The way he behaved Sunday last (April 27) anything is possible. He may ultimately come out and through with flying colours, though the phase may take several yearsBut just now he is not only dangerous to every member of the Order itself but to the whole G.W.

Nevertheless, Germer must still have held Mellinger in sufficient respect and camaraderie (or the Californian members in sufficient contempt) by December to have left him the joint responsibility, with his own wife Sascha, for executing his last wishes and choosing a successor to take over the affairs of the Order. In O.T.O. terms this was a most irregular and unconstitutional manoeuvre, aside from the fact that Germer only regarded himself as custodian in a caretaker rôle and did not see himself as being the rightful O.H.O. under any circumstances. Yet even though he and Mellinger parted company permanently during the following year after Germer himself (baselessly) accused his executor-to-be of acting as an FBI informant, the will was never changedIn 1956 Mellinger’s presence was noted in Stein “ […] probably to give high grade initiations again”7,but whether these ever actually took place is unknown. As P.-R. König discovered, he gradually came to abandon any significant contact with the Order in favour of the Berlin ADYAR Theosophical Movement whom he worked for from c.1960 onwards until his death at Bad Wiessee, Germany on 29th August, 1970. In his capacity as the co-executor of Germer’s will, Mellinger had remained distinctly unimpressed by what he looked upon as Metzger’s “sham” election of 1963, and thought that particularly on account of his “childish” behaviour, “dictatorial aspirations” and “inflated Ego” Metzger should definitely not become the next O.H.O.8Had he been sufficiently interested in the prospect of succeeding Germer himself, Mellinger could have made a case at least equal in proportion to the other four candidates under discussion. But even if at one time in his life he had felt any inclinations in the matter, it was no longer important to him and for better or worse for posterity he declined to do so.

< 7  As speculated by Herbert Frische, the famous German homeopath, Patriarch of the Thelemic Gnostic Church and leader of the German and Swiss FRA of Arnoldo Krumm-Heller in a letter to Ernst Klettan important German publisher, on 18th July, 1956. (cited by P.-R. König in “Gnosis on Stage” (see Nuit-lsismagazine, Vol. 2 No. 1 (Oxford, 1992), pp.1215). >

< 8  See page XXX.>


Under the leadership of Kenneth G. Grant (Frater Aossicb1924) what was later to be known as the “Typhonian” O.T.O., a successor to his Nu or New Isis Lodge which had met between 1955 and 1962, lay dormant for several years following Germer’s death.  Subsequently – between the publication with John Symonds of Crowley’s Confessions in 1969 and the appearance of his own The Magical Revival in 1972 – Grant declared himself “World Head” and O.H.Oof the O.T.O.  His group then enjoyed a period of unchallenged growth throughout the first half of the 1970s. Three of its British members produced the widely acclaimed Sothis from 1973 to 1978, while in the United States the newsletter Mezla and the briefer bulletin Khabs appeared with varying degrees of regularity during the course of the decadeIn 1977 the publication of Nightside of Eden detailed magical workings with the energies of the Qlipoth and marked the controversial beginning to Grant’s second “Typhonian Trilogy” of magick booksFollowing its appearance, doctrinal differences within the group became increasingly common and there were a number of expulsions and resignationsIn 1978a breakaway Order under the acronym AMOOKOS (the Arcane Magical Order Of the Knights Of Shumbala)9was founded by ex-member and onetime Sothis editor Michael Magee along with Dadaji, the Western Eastern mystic. Later commenting on the wider Thelemic community since the time of Crowley’s death, Magee observed that it

[…] has shown all of the characteristics of factionalismPower anmoney seem to be behind itand of course these values are identical to those prized by the herd-society we all live in. Let us not allow this weed of sectarianism to let us forget our original questsincerity and aimsEach can do a great deal to eradicate it.  The Thelemic plant must not be compromised by such egotistic and base considerations.10

< 9 This group was described as follows: “[…]When Dadaji and I discussed the framework of a new group, we were agreed that it had to be something new, something for the 20th and 21st century, which might have its roots in Indian esoteric settings, but which would flower anywhereWe have organized our group into 3 levelseach phase more complex or advanced than the last. This is based on a tantrik classification into common worship – which includes rituawork and the first stages owork on oneself. Secondly comes the heroic stage, which employs Magick based on sexualityand finally the divine or spiritual stageThis gives us 3 general levels in each of which there are 3 phases of further subdivision. […]Mythically, each of the nine Siddhas or Naths give rise to a particulaesoteric traditionWe of AMOOKOS hold the parampara or transmission of the Adinaths, stemming from the 5th Siddha. Each of the many Nath cults has its own patterns – some, like the followers of Gorakhnath – live in communities. Our own forebearsthe Adinaths, have none of thisThey were all independent and lived and thought their own way. The concept of doing One’s [sic] will is integral to any understanding of the deeper esoteric traditions of Asia. It has a long history, going back several thousand years into the pre-Xtian eraActually, its message is eternal. In Sanskrit this patis called Svecchachara – the path of one’s own will. Zen masters, Tantrik sadhus and other spiritual vagabonds of the past all knew of it, and many lived it. Because it transcends religious dogmas and cutpurse creed, it is a revolutionary message that has always inspired hatred and fear in the minds of those attached to outward piety and other displays. […]” (“Factions, Fictions and Functions”, by Michael Magee in the periodical Nuit-lsis (Oxford, Autumn 1993), p.31, p.25)>

< 10  Idem, p.33>

In 1986 a rekindling of magical interest in the T.O.T.O. was heralded by the appearance of a new magazine Starfire which was and is edited by Michael Staleyone of the Order’s most senior members and Kenneth Grant’s public factotumBy Volume Two within a decade, this hagrown in significance to become the Typhonians‘ “Official Organ of the O.T.O.” In 1990 all of Kenneth Grant‘s earlier works with the exception of Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare were arranged to be included in a comprehensive programme of reissue by the London publishing arm of Skoob Books Ltd under the editorial direction of Christopher Johnson. New titles such as Remembering Aleister Crowley, Hecate’s Fountain and Outer Gateways came to be added, with Beyond The Mauve Zone and The Ninth Arch – the final two instalments of the third trilogy – at present held over.

Current lines of magickal research undertaken by the T.O.T.O. since 1973 have included: the exploration of “the Tunnels of Set”, described by Grant as a “network of dream cells in the subconscious mind”11an evaluation of the other-worldly Cthulhu mythos conceived by H.PLovecraftan analysis of the reception and meaning of Liber Pennæ Prænumbra, otherwise known as “The Book of Ma’at”by Soror Andahadna (Maggie Ingalls) of Ohio; a similar analysis of the cabbalistic legacy of Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones), again with relation to the future “Æon of Maat”; and reported encounters with extra-terrestrial intellligencies such as LAM, whose “portrait” by Crowley had originally appeared in the “Blue”EquinoxIn addition, the “Typhonian”O.T.O. carry out pioneering work in exploring the magickal system of Austin Osman Spare, notably as it relates to the phenomena of atavistic resurgence, magickal memory, and the sigilisation of desireEven if one responds to the claims of some or all of this catalogue as being ofquestionable usefulness or “art for art’s sake”, as some undoubtedly do, to others still this list remains an impressive curriculum vitae of achievements in progressive magickal technology.

11  Nightside of Eden (Muller, London1977republished by Skoob, London1992)p.51.>

As the head of its New Isis/ Nu-Isis Lodge Kenneth Grant was, according to the material evidence,12unquestionably intended to be given the impression that he was being expelled from the Crowley O.T.O. by Germer in July 1955. This was ostensibly because of his group’s N.I.L. Manifestowhich in effect Germer had earlier more or less given Grant carte blanche to formulate;13but according to the “Typhonian” O.T.O. the real reason was because Germer had been offended by Grant’s collusion with Eugen Grosche to whom he objected strongly on personality grounds.14(The fact that Frater Saturnus might also have objected to “The Master G.’.’”s workings with the saturnine current could have affected his decision too, although just how substantially is not known). Whatever are “the rights and wrongs”of the expulsion itself, however, they pale into insignificance beside the issue of whether or not Germer had the statutory authority to carry out the act anyway. Let us now look at this fairly complex matter step by step from the beginning.

12  See “Letter of Expulsion” on page XXX. Yet even Grant’s rivalMcMurtry wrote in the March 1978 issue of the ©.O.T.ONewsletter that “Any authority given by Karl Germer after December 2, 1948 e.v. is subject to dispute”; and in June the same year that “Germer was not O.H.O. in spirit or fact.”>

< 13  See page XXX for the Manifesto. On 3rd May, 1951 Germer wrote to Grant: “Pending the invention of a new method, I suggest that you give me your own ideas about the practical work […] do not wait for strict rules and regulations to be issued ex cathedra.[…] I affirm againconsider yourself undepresent circumstances as on your ownI shall accept the steps you decide to take and shall abide by themThe only condition I should make ito keep me well-informed.” [My italics.]On 25th May1951 Germer wrote furtherto Grant: “[…] My advice to you is not to be gloomy if your high expectations and your enthusiasm do not seeto fulfilled in a week or a year.  A wheat corn matures in 3 monthsa Yew in 500 years.  Which is better? Start working your Lodgemake mistakesyou cannot learn by any other means.  The disappointments over failures hurt temporarily; the following new births will bring improvements, until you can perfect your method. Wieland, the Smith, according to the German legend, forged a sword, and re-ground it seven times until his sword had become a magicaone§ Don’t hesitate to write to me again on the subjectmay-be we’ll get somewhere. […]” [My italics] >

< 14  See page XXX. In a letter from Germer to Carl-Heinz Petersen dated 17th November1950 he wrote: “[…]  As I was co-founder of “Pansophia” in 1922, I know of course all about the Fraternitas Satumi and the people back of it. Grosche was a sex-maniac, dabbled in hypnosis and drugs – one of the lowest type of occultist I ever met. […] The Fraternitas Saturni had nothing to do with A.C. nor A.C. with them. Should they actually have published material by A.C. it was stolenWhat they did do was to pervert the corollary to “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” which is “Love is the law, love under will” by adding “Mitleidlose Liebe” [Pitiless Love], which completely distorts the real and simple meaning of the original injunction.” >

Firstly, Article IV(4) of the Order Constitution revised by Reuss and Crowley contains the statement that the O.H.O. “shall appoint his or her successor.”15  One fact which nobody assessing the situation seems to doubt is that in 1941 Crowley finally appointed Germer when, in his eyes, Messrs. Smith and Jones had both proved unreliable.  Unfortunately after Crowley’s death Germer proved himself to be highly ambivalent about accepting the responsibilities of high office and was prepared to function (according to his own words before and after his “expulsion”of Grant16only as Grand Treasurer General but not as O.H.O., in an Order from which he felt increasingly alienated as the years went by. Germer then compounded the muddle of his “caretakership” by conspicuously failing of a duly nominated heir: in all traditional circumstances, a most vital necessity in terms of passing on the flame. Even though we do have Sascha Germer’s written testimony that her husband named Motta his “Follower” to her in his dying breaths on his deathbed, she personally favoured Metzger and helped the Swiss to become “O.H.O.”over his last wishes(This rather unexpected development is touched upon in the next section dealing with Metzger.) Also, had Germer himself truly been the O.H.O., Crowley’s own choices in the matter of his possible future successors – Mellinger, McMurtry, Leffingwell, Burlingame, Lekve, Grant or whoever else – would no longer carry any influence and would automatically become negated upon Germer’s own succession, along with the contingent office of Caliph unless otherwise renewed.

15  See page XXX. The 1919 version was a slightly abridged and altered publication of the one issued two years earlier by Reuss.>

< 16  For example, relating to “before”: in the year in which Germer was chosen by Crowley to be his successor (1941), he wrote to Jane Wolfe on 26th December: “[…]As you are aware, 666 has vested quite a lot of authority in me and to tell you the truth, I feel utterly inadequate to the task. I have always disliked the technical part of everything which goes with the Order, though I realise that it is the way that appeals to many people and is possibly their only path to achieve. But it is a fact that I feel lost in the grades, rituals, dignities, offices, rights [sic] and what not. Also I dislike the crowd of people who hang around and never get anywhere, who do nothing but talk, jabber, ask questions and would not understand your answers anyway.” Sixteen years later (and two years “after” his letter to Grant), he confessed to his pupil Marcelo Motta in a letter dated 20th September 1957: “[…] O.T.O. – I do not in the least discourage, or disparage what you want to say on this subject, except that at the moment, and for a period of months to come, I would be in no position or mood, or frame of mind, to go deeply into to the matter. [A position which continued and remained unaltered until his death].  First, the O.T.Odoes not interest me too muchmine is only in the A.’. A.’..  And, as I must have told you, A.C. wanted me to set up an entirely different system to convey to selected ones the central secret of the Sangraal.” [my italics.]>

A further complication relating to the Grant “expulsion” issue occurs where Germer has signed himself off in his letter as Frater Superior.12Standing sumptuously in its state of splendid isolation, the title “Frater Superior” never existed as a stand-alone title in any O.T.O. Constitution.  Empty in its fullness, as a pseudo-office it is also favoured lately by the present “Caliphornian” chief whenever he is not employing the similarly baseless term “Acting O.H.O.” [my italics]The relevant Article (IV, 2) of the 1917/19 Constitution15instead refers to the office of “Frater Superior and Outer Head of the Order”, hereinafter referred to as the O.H.O.” [again my italics]It is important to note here that either “O.H.O.” is the proper style or else the longer title which incorporates Frater Superior, but nowhere does it consist of “Frater Superior” all on its own. Strictly speaking, in terms of legal technicalities Germer’s act of expulsion would not have carried enough weight on its own to have the slightest effect. This is because his also unwitnessed letter was signed with an invalid and non-existent title, one strategically chosen no doubt to convey the flavour of strong disapproval more than a simple “G.T.G.” would have done, buwithout entailing any of the rather bothersome commitment and responsibility Germer might have been obliged to feel had he signed himself properly “Frater Superior and Outer Head of the Order”, or “O.H.O.” for short. In other words, the wily Germer was attempting to have his cake and eat it at the same time.

The matter proceeds to get even more interesting. Irrespective of whether or not Grant at one time viewed Germer as being in charge of the O.T.O. (which he in fact did)Germer’s act of “expulsion” carried with it insufficient sovereignty even soThis is because Germer, since he was acting as merely the Grand Treasurer General and not as O.H.O., would have been wholly incapable of dealing with other members in such a fashion under the terms and conditions of the existing ConstitutionEven Bill Heidrick, writing to Kenneth Grant on 9th September 1985, volunteered on this basis that

What I would most like to see is an annulment of the Germer letter that professedtkick yoout of the O.T.O[My italics.]

On a purely ad hoc basis, a hypothetical scenario might have had Germer, behaving as the O.T.O.’s senior officer and therefore literally the frater superior but not O.H.O., carry out the deed with the full knowledge, agreement and formal approval of at least the majority of the other senior members in the Order at that time. But there is no evidence that this ever happened; indeed, if Germer’s personal animosity towards Grosche lay at the bottom of the matter as Grant has suggested, it is hard to imagine anybody else siding with Germer on this issue whatsoever unless they too “took violent exception” to Grosche and that does not appear to have been the case. In addition, Germer referred to Grant several times in writing as a member of the IXo, and Peter König has drawn attention to a finding in the McMurtry v. Motta court case that no IXocan be expelled from within the Order in which they are part owners of its assets as such, presumably because that degree consists only of members ad vitam “knowing” the secret and swearing an oath as to its proper use.17

17  Letter from P.R.-König to the author dated 8th April, 1996 refers.>

The conclusion to the forerunning train of thought can be summed up as follows.  Taking Germer’s expulsion notice to be constitutionally inadmissableafter his death in 1962 Kenneth Grant would still then be one of the O.T.O.’s most important members.  Since that time, he may legitimately be regarded as de facto, acting national Head (Xo of England with a claim equal in strength and standing to other de facto, acting Xos such as Metzger, Motta and McMurtry to becoming de facto, acting international O.H.OThis is by dint of his geographical seniorityhis recognized IXo, and because of the lack of any other high ranking officially validated initiates coming forward from within the organizationAs Grant is now the last major surviving disciple and Oriental Templar follower of Aleister Crowley, and in view of the extraordinarily convoluted and confused legacy oOrdo Templi Orientis to date, he is considered by some purely on this basis (i.e., by default and process of elimination) to have the strongest case for being Head of the Crowleian Order over all comers.

Set against this is the contrasting view held by some others that Kenneth Grant’s recension of the O.T.O. bears little actual resemblance to any previous incarnation of the Order; and that purely on this basis he cannot be thought of as a serious contender for the office of O.H.O., at least over the heads of other O.T.O. groups which are more “traditionally” structured. This is an objection which the “Typhonian”O.T.Oitself has quite freely acknowledged:

[The O.T.O.] was and is an expression of an informing current, a current which adopts one guise after another, moving on when a particular form has outlived its usefulness. […]Occult groups come and go; unless they are an expression of this informing currentthey wither after a desultory existenceRather than the creation of [Crowley,] Kellneand Reuss, the O.T.Oitherefore a particular phase in the development of the currentone which will moreover move oto another incarnation sooner olater – and the more inflexible the structure of the Order, the sooner will that be. How absurd, then, to view as sacrosanct what is in effect a transient phase of a transient phase… 18

18  See page XXX.>

The fly in the ointment here, though, is that once the notion is readily accepted that this “informing current” or magickal power is able to “move on”from one transient phase to another irrespective of their external material manifestations, a key question spontaneously arises: Why then should the (Typhonian) O.T.O. be so keen to retain the name and masonic identity of what is fast becoming, or has already become, an obsolete organization? Under the circumstances, might it not seem more sensible and practical to call it something slightly different or else quite new – such as (respectively) the Ordo Templi Orientis Typhonis or Nu-Isis Cabalperhaps, or aught similar?

One possible answer to this important question is given in the next chapter [“The O.T.O. – Its Relevance Today”, may be found on another Blog on Lashtal] together with a discussion of the various ramifications leading from it and their likely impact.


Hermann Joseph Metzger (Frater Paragranus alias Peter Mano, 1919-90) continued to lead the Reussian (later to become the Crowleian) “Swiss” O.T.O. for a period of approximately forty years until his death by embolism on 14th July, 1990. Although Metzger was keen to maintain his position as “Outer Head of the Order” to which he was unanimously elected at Stein in January 1963 by the members of his own lodgethe structure of the O.T.O. with which he was involved (and which succeeded him) like Kenneth Grant’s came to bear little resemblance to any preceding orthodoxy. Immediately following his election he retained a lawyer in California in an attempt to convince Sascha Germer of his rights in the matter. She did not appear to take much persuading. Once Germer’s co-executor Frederic Mellinger found out about Metzger’s assumption of the office, an act which had been accomplished without his own prior knowledge, he took a decidedly dim view of the whole affair and wrote to her attorney on 25th September 1963 that she and Metzger “have thereby decidedly violated […] the will of the deceased”; in addition:

Karl Germer had never in his life met at all Herr Metzger. On June 25, 1951he wrote me about M[etzger] having contacted him by letterasked me “to advise that group”and left it entirely to my judgment to give Metzger some instruction possibly leading “that young man” to some advancement in the Order. § Herr Metzger revealed to my mind – unintentionally, of course – wherefrom he derived the courage to claim the high office in the Order by a childish “coup d’état”namely, by printing on the front page of his sham “Manifesto” the following mottos: “To be or not to be, that is the question” and “Hier stehe ich, ich kann nicht anders,”  [Here stand, can do no other] that brave word of Martin Luther. – Thereby he pointed unwittingly to the only authority he has to show for his dictatorial aspirationshis inflated Ego. But Mrs. Germer was duly impressedand slyly nodded her assentignoring the “holy” (as she stated) but apparently uncomfortable Will of her late husband re my role as co-executioner [sic!] 19

< 19  See page XXX.>

Since c.1952 and subsequently throughout the rest of his magical/ masonic career, Metzger seems to have taken as his watchword Crowley’s declaration to Heinrich Tränker that “I wish to obtain control of all existing movements”. He attempted to absorb the various different orders with which he came into contact (of which the O.T.O. was but one, and not held to be the most senior) beneath the large parasol “Mother Order” of his Psychosophische Gesellschaft. This organization was intended as a rememberment of the much older Ordo llluminatorum, or “Order of llluminates”, which was supposedly meant to be descended from the Bavarian Adept Adam Weishaupt.  Behind this scheme of things lay Metzger’s belief that in some earlier golden age the Ordo llluminatorumhad been the glorious protoOrder from which variouorganizations such as the O.T.O. (through Reuss), the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua (through Krumm-Heller), the Gnostic Catholic Church (through Peithmann) and the World League of Illuminati (through Engel) had all depended and, as if they were salmon going back to their source, needed to return. The mission which Metzger and his cohorts chose to accept was to transfethe Order on to the next generation “in all its purity”, and such was their innate sense of destiny that, or so they announced, “even those of the split-off branches – the older Brothers […] have passed this heritage on to us.”20  However, Metzger was unable to integrate the Fraternitas Saturni after 1964 as he would have wished, and was regarded as little more than “an esoterical careerist” by his German senior in O.T.O., Hans Rudolf Hilfiker (Frater Nothung X0, 1882 – 1955).  Hilfiker blocked him from becoming initiated as a “regular” freemason, and by this act of prevention the ambitious young acolyte was effectively disenabled from annexing into the covetous “Mother Order” in his own good time the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite as well, although it did not seem to be his wish to unite every freemasonic order – simply those he saw as being the most important ones.

20  See page XXX.>

Metzger shared Reuss’ idea that “the only genuinely active members of the O.T.O.” were those in the VIIo, VIIIo, IXo and Xo: the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis within which they resided as the “Hermetic Brothers of the Light” (Fraternitas Lucis Hermeticæ), otherwise known as the “Illuminati”Although the VIIIoand IXowere intended to be sex-magickal, Metzger (like Arnoldo Krumm-Heller) indulged in ascetic, as opposed to (Crowleian) libertinistic sex-magick. This involved the practice of karezzathe avoidance of orgasm (see Chapter Eight)Since the VIIowas held to be equivalent to the 33° in the traditional A. A. Scottish Rite, members of this degree and any junior ones were simply looked upon by the Swiss as “lay-brothers”who nodid not require initiatioin a specifically O.T.Ocontext at all; the Order accepted “regular”freemasons and then just equalled their masonic grades according to their interpretation of the 1917 Constitution.

For those members without the pale of the Sovereign Sanctuary (but within the Grade of man of Earth and all of the lower degrees of the Lover) the O.T.Owas disregarded as superfluous and an irrelevancy with which it could be dispensed. And yet despite thisaccording to P.-R. König it is fairly likely that the “Swiss” O.T.O. may have regularly performed the Crowleian I°- III° “Saladin” rituals translated by C.H. Petersen (Frater Fines Transcendam) with Germers permission21 in addition to their weekly Gnostic Mass, whilst being in possession of no higher Reussian initiatory rituals than the I°.  (However, further verification on this subject is still awaited.)  Also the precise nature of the relationship of Metzger’s O.T.Oto Crowley’s vision of the Thelemic Order at any time, and its commitment thereto in the final analysis, remains ambiguous and presently unascertainable.

21  Now published in P.-R. König’s How To make Your Own McOTO [A.R.W., Munich: 1996].>

As P.-R. König was to discover during the course of his own exhaustive research into the subject, “it is impossible to reasonably outline the history of the “Swiss” O.T.O. for this book: itsuffices to say that Metzger collected a lot of ‘important’ titles and organizations which dwelled in onear to the OTO-phenomenon…”22  Although little has been received in the way of a response to general enquiries made to the “Swiss” group for additional informationit is to be hoped that when it appears any book by them on the O.T.O. will contain more useful dataThe following anecdote which appeared in Bill Heidrick’s Thelema Lodge Newsletter is revealing – assuming it has a basis in reality – in its depiction of Metzger’s relations with Californian O.T.O. members over his claim to be Outer Head of the Order:

[…] Some of the members of the dormant Agape Lodge in Californisent Brother Monti off to visiMetzgeiSwitzerland to discover what was going on. [This was reported by König to be in .the spring of 1966.]  Brother Mont(Dr. Gabriel Montenegro) had been brought into O.T.Omembershipat the end of the 1940’sas the last member to be initiated into O.T.Oin the USA during the Germer daysHe was one of the highest ranking Freemasons in Mexico at the time, and had been forwarded up to Agape Lodge by the non-initiating remnant of the old O.T.O.A. formerly led by Dr. Krumm-Heller (Fr. Huiracocha), Head of O.T.O. for Latin America from the Reuss days. The story of Monti’s visit may have gotten a bit embroidered through multiple tellings, but it is odd enough. According to Grady McMurtry, Monti was welcomed by a brass band when he arrived in Stein, Switzerland. All was “hail and well met” until he reached Metzger’s Guest House Rose. Then it came down to the question of the hour: “Will the O.T.O. in California accept Herr Metzger as O.H.O. of O.T.O.?” Monti said “No, but we can discuss other matters.” The welcome scaled rapidly down to bread and cheese, and Monti retired to bed. Awakened by a strange sound in the night, Monti quietly crept out of his room to see what was transpiring. Herr Metzger was alone at a table in the dining room. He was well lubricated with more wine to hand and pounding on the table, shouting: “I am the O.H.O.! I AM the O.H.O.! …” Brother Monti quietly took his leave in the morning. Very little more was heard from Herr Metzger in direct communication between Switzerland and O.T.O. in California after that. …23

22 Theosophical History, Vol. V No. 6 (April 1995) p. 214 and Letter to the author dated 23rd August, 1995 refers.>

23  See Thelema Lodge Newsletter (ed. WHeidrick), February 1993. Nevertheless in spite of this Grady McMurtry reported that his own “ambassador in Europe” Steve Englehart “was very kindly received” by Metzger.  This contradicted the later misinformation put out by Bill Breeze in his obituary for Metzger (The Magical LinkSummer 1990) that “Metzger’s diplomatic relations with [C.O.T.O.] Grand Lodge were few, somewhat strained and long ago. […]”.  Peter König disagrees profoundly with this interpretation of events and claims it is wildly inaccurate: for example, Montenegro would not have acted on any ex-member of Agape Lodge’s behalf in this matter, and Krumm-Heller did not have anything to do with the O.T.O.A. (he was involved with the F.R.A.)>

There exists a certain inconsistency to this account of events – and indeed Metzger’s rushed eagerness to become elected O.H.O. of the Crowleian (as distinct from the ReussianO.T.O. upon Germer’s death – when the final outcome for the “Swiss” Order is merely its relegation to being a relatively minor cog within the larger wheel of the Psychosophische Gesellschaft. Of course this is only one side of the story – the “Caliphate”’s – and we may not know any more useful information until there is a chance to examine (for instance) Metzger’s magical diaries concerning the event in question.  This whole situation was made even more farcical in 1992 by the decision of the “Caliphornian” O.T.O. (one unauthorized order), after waiting for an interval of at least fifteen yearsto posthumously “disentitle” Metzger’s asserted Xo in the “Swiss” O.T.O. (another unauthorizedorder) when it was far too late (because of the unfortunate circumstance of his own death) for the latter to challenge it and so clear himself of any suspicion.24 Any of Metzger’s possible claims were also completely ignored throughout the McMurtry-Motta court proceedings25by the protagonists’ pragmatic mutual agreement in a pre-trial motionand afterwards in court by a sustained conspiracy of silence: apparently a sort of tit-for-tat revenge against Metzger for not including anyone else outside the “Swiss”group in his arrangements fothe 1963 O.H.O. “election”.

24  Idem.  Neither, of course, were Grady McMurtry nor William Breeze ever X0s themselves.>

< 25  See “O.T.O. Wars – Internecine Strife and Abasement in the 80s” (pages XXX-XXX) for a full account of the S.O.T.O. – C.O.T.O. contretemps.>

A faction called “llluminaten-Order E[ingetregener] V[erein]”26 broke away from Metzger’s O.T.Oin 1969.  At the time of writing it continues to be led by Walter Englert as its O.H.O., but although independent standing was ratified by a decision in the German courts in 1974, it would appear that the group is not in possession of either its own Constitution or a Manifesto. In 1972 Metzger took the Ordo llluminatorum Germaniæ to court, also for refusing to recognize his claim to leadership in the OI and since Metzger lost his case he was eligible to pay costs; in this he chose not to react and no further action took place.  However, supplementary details of the nature of this continental in-feuding fall outside the range of this present work.

26 Translated means: “the incorporated society (in a business sense) of the Order of the Illuminati”.

References also cited in Materialien zum O.T.O. by P.-R. König (A.R.W.Munich: 1994) p. 186.>

Francis King detailed his agreeable stay at the Rose Guest House (“Gasthof Rose”)and Thelema Abbey at Stein in a footnote to the previous chapter, but by the mid-Seventies, as a direct result of the publicity of these legal actions, the community had become tainted by association in the German-language press with the various activities of the Manson “Family”, the Brayton “Solar Lodge”, and similar perceived sociopathies connected with drug-abuse, child molestation, murder and satanism; and in those later years it was deemed professionally prudent that any links with “the king of depravity” and “wickedest man in the world” Aleister Crowley were played down. The Beast had become altogether too bad for the business of bed, board and breakfast.

The leadership of Hermann Metzger’s group was taken over after his death by his former lover Frlein Annemarie Ȁschbach, who within the limited framework of the “Swiss”group could be taken to be the first female “O.H.O.” of Ordo Templi Orientis.  As indicatedlittle is known surrounding its current (sex-)magickal policy, if any.  Although in the first edition of The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. Frater Transmutemini drew the conclusion that Herr Metzger had the best claim out of anyone to O.T.Oleadership, since that time several reservations have been expressed concerning his deduction. Peter König, for example, states that Metzger first assumed the Xoin 1963 only because he felt himself to be Europe’s most senior member with “enough Profess-Houses” and suchlike, but has “never seen any actual proof of Metzgers authority at all”17 ;and Marcelo Motta received a letter dated 19th February 1975 from Gerald Yorke, a man who was not sympathetic to his own claim (if anything rather the reverse, and therefore hardly likely to be unnecessarily critical of his (Motta’s) opponent) which declared:

[...] I believe, but have no concrete evidence that Paragranus (Metzger) was chartered Xoby Karl.  But he makes no claim to the copyright in A.C.’s works, which would accrue to him if he were the only surviving national head (i.ea fully chartered Xo). […]

If Metzger cannot definitely be proved to have been a Xo(and still there is insufficient evidence to be found in his favour even now, more than twenty years after Yorke’s remark) then his position cannot be held to be in any way different or special from the other non-Xonational challengers, competing in a beautiful pageant for what John Symonds has elegantly described as “the golden crown of the order”: with Motta, Grant and McMurtry as the sashes representing, respectively, Brazil, Great Britain and the United States of America.


The O.T.Ogroup focussed around Marcelo Ramos Motta (Frater Parzival, Frater Adjuvo, 1931 – 87) did not exist when the first edition of this book came out. Indeed, at that time Motta had made no move at all in this respect, preferring instead to seek out probable claimants to the Headship of the Order to whom he might then declare his allegiance, and also to pursue the A.’. A.’..  Unfortunately for him, none of the O.H.O. candidates he encountered met with the high and exacting standards so necessary for them to gain his approval. As Germer’s A.’. A.’. and to a lesser extent O.T.O. pupilMotta was already well aware of his masters disapproval oHermann Metzger for what he saw as his grave misdemeanour of tampering with the “style of a letter” in The Book of the Law and other “Class A” Holy Books27and was actually “explicitly forbidden” by Germer from contacting him.28So that ruled out MetzgerLikewiseMotta would have been aware of Germers very low opinion of Grady McMurtry and came to eliminate him from the running also, refusing to countenance his suggestion of any ongoing validity to his “letters of authorization”, and castigating him in a final broadside in these terms:

[…] You have not only failed to aid the Order with even the first penny of your purse since it became clear to you that you would not be the chosen Successor of Saturnus Xo, but you have endeavored to hand out the Order’s patrimony to its enemies against their promise to proclaim you what you are not and what you could never be. […]29 

27 See page XXX. Allegations that the name of the “Virgin Mary” was introduced by Metzger in place of “Nuit” were rightly accepted as false in The Magickal Link by McMurtry. However, some other minor alterations to the Holy Books which Crowley wrote between 1904 and 1911 did take placeIn Liber VIIthe word “God” was written in capital letters – “GOTT”In 1961, Germer asked Metzger to send the German version of Liber XV with Commentaries to Motta, which he did enclosing a flyer with the THOU in capital letters (“Do what THOU wilt”). Although publishing an integral version of a completely correct Liber XV, for internal use he issued a version in which the list of Saints was shortenedi.e., all of the names left out! He also omitted the Crowley poem “A Hundred Years Ahead” in Germer’s translation because of the reference to “I am going to temple to worship Crowley”; however Friedrick Lekve (Crowley’s personal representative for Germany) had earlier made the same omission in his published translation and Germer had not then complainedThere were no other alterations in Metzger’s translations apart from when, in 1964 after the death of Germer, he changed the sense of Liber AL Ill: 50 (“Curse them, curse them , curse them”) to read “Away with them, away with them, away with them” in German. [“Weg mit Ihnen. […]” (Das O.T.O.-Phänomen pp.180-2 refers.) [source of above research: P.-R. König.]>

28  “The Equinox” Volume V, No. 4 (S.O.T.O., 1981) pxvDespite this Motta ignored the advice, writing to him on several occasions including 28th December, 1964 when he stated: “You are NOT the O.H.O. Neither am I!”>

< 29  Motta’s letter to McMurtry dated 14th July, 1984See page XXX.>

Oddly enough – possibly because it happened before his own arrival and had therefore become an out-of-date subject by the time he got to know Germer well, or else possibly because after cool reflection the subject was now a cause of some regret and embarrassment to Germer – Motta was unaware of what had happened to the “Typhonian” leader. When he saw Grant’s claim to World Headship of the Order on the dust-jackets ohis books in 1972, at first he believed him to have a caseHe was not conscious of Germer’s “expulsion” letter until 1974, after which – unswervingly loyal as ever to the memory of his late mentor – he gave Grant’s position no further consideration.  Instead he became hostile towards him, stating that both he anJohn Symonds were “liars and thieves”, and accusing them of piracy and robbery.

Thus finding Metzger, McMurtry and Grant all to be unsuitable, and in the absence of anybody else fit enough to assume the crown and mantle of the Order, as well as to prevent what he increasingly saw as both the bringing of the name of the Order into disrepute and the continuing abuse of the Crowley copyrights, Motta eventually decided to advance his own candidature. This he proclaimed in his 1976 Manifesto,30wherein he called upon all other claimants to step forward and be counted against him.31This decree, suitably imperial in tone, originated in Motta’s version of “The Equinox”Volume V, No. 1. To this he gave the alternative main title The Commentaries of [Liber] AL, for in addition to “edited” highlights of the Master Therion’s own words it contained Marcelo Motta’s own personal running “Commentary” on The Book of the Law which varied from the inspired to the idiotic, but which neither took into account nor made any reference to the matter of “The Comment”, wherein it was stipulated by Crowley that

Those who discuss the contents of this Book are to be shunned by all, as centres of pestilenceAll questions of the Law are to be decided only by appeal to my writings, each for himself.

30  See page XXX.>

31  The reaction of the “Typhonian” O.T.Oto this call appeared in their organ Sothis: “[…] Motta proposes a conference in five years time when the office of O.H.Owill be decided by those daft enough to attendNeedless to say, the election of an O.H.O. will be subject to Motta’s approval.” (Volume II, No.1 [1976]) In retrospect this seems rather harsh, as fafrom being “daft” such a conference would have settled the de jure O.H.Oquestion once and for all. Arguably Motta could even be applauded for having sufficient initiative to try to get this happening.  It is hard to agree that it would automatically be “needless to say” that the election would be subject to Motta’s approval, since apart from anything else he could have been overruled, and the record would still have stood to show if he behaved incorrectly (i.e., unconstitutionally and/ or unethically).>

Whether as a direct result of Motta’s failure to observe this the reader then believes that he proceeded to be “shunned” by the courts, betrayed by his own brethren and regarded as a pestilential influence (certainly, at least, by those people he chose to denigrate within the remainder of his “Equinox” Volume Five); or whether The Book of the Law’s Comment is perhaps generally meant to be taken in a less literal sense and more in the manner of a zen challenge or “ploy” (as suggested by Kenneth Grant on page 123 of Hecate’s Fountain, for example) is a matter of personal choice for her or him to decide.

Initially, Motta appeared to be quite reluctant to state his authority, as he declared during the Weiser court case:

I am not interested in power or titles, and I am much more interested in seeing the O.T.Oon its feet, working harmoniously together, constructively, than in being called the Outer Head of the O.T.OI have avoided calling myself the Outer Head of the O.T.Obecause I know lots of other people aspire to that title, and if one of them could have shown to me that he or she is in a position right now to assume itI would gladly have let them have it. So that’s why I have avoided using the words Outer Head of the Order in relation to myself, because I truly would rather be doing something else. […] I wanted to lead my own life and to work in the A.’. A.’., which is what I wanted from the beginning and which is completely apart from groups. […] I do not enjoy the responsibilities of this position, but they are mine. I truly would rather be doing something else, but I “have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”32

32  “The Oriflamme”Volume VI No. 4 (S.O.T.O.,1986) pp. 400-01.>

Despite these words – which probably a part of him quite genuinely and sincerely believed – Motta lost little time in establishing a tyrannical demeanour quite above and beyond the call of any enlightened autocratic duty.33 For annual dues, he insisted upon five per cent of a member’s gross annual income. Some observers have diagnosed that he displayed many of the symptoms of paranoid megalomania during his actual leadership of S.O.T.O. – though early warning intimations of this can be detected even in his correspondence with Germer from the period when his “supervisor” was still alive.34This was a shame, as in some respects Motta’s early “Society”O.T.Owith its branches in Tennessee, Melbourne, London and Rio de Janeiro had at least as much to offer as the early “Caliphornian” O.T.O.; and alone out of the four various contenders Motta had the surprising grace to prefix his version of the O.T.O. with a qualifier, “Society”, to indicate that pending a proper, official election of an O.H.O. there could be no proper, official O.T.O. Such an election could feasibly have taken place at any time between 1976 (when Motta first proposed the intention to call it) and 1985 (when McMurtry was the first one of the four candidates to pass on), with the year 1981 suggested in which to hold such a potentially explosive gathering.31By an eerie stroke of irony this was also the very same year in which Motta’s legal battles began, raking over very similar ashes.25

< 33 See page XXX.>

< 34 Signs of such aberrations are shown by remarks in his letters to Karl Germer such as “I nurse a secret and ridiculous ambition to be A.C.’s successor” (from a letter dated 20th September, 1956) and “Regardless of what you may think of Marcelo Ramos Motta personally, he is, with the approval of the Secret Chiefs, and of 666 and Aiwassthe Incarnated Beast, the Priest of the Princes, Head of the A.’. A.’. and your Superior. You owe him loyalty and obedience, not to speak of such mundane virtues as courtesy and fair dealing. […]§ […] The King is dead; God save the King! is the appropriate attitude of any loyaThelemite, and any who put their loyalty on the dead King rather than the live one and to be dealt with as such – with the approval and seal of 666 Himself! […] § […] Marcelo Ramos Motta, not you, is the policy-maker; Marcelo Ramos Motta, not you, decides what is proper Thelemic business procedure. [etc] (From a letter dated 17th December, 1961- see page XXX).  Germer’s concise and relatively well-mannered and temperate response was to accuse him of being “a blithering idiot”.>

Unhappily Motta’s rigid interpretation of Thelema as applied to this particular “Order of Antiquity”, together with a certain lack of laisser-faire in his dealings with others, proved to be his undoing. In court action he was rudely hoist with his own petard when as (S.)O.T.O. Head he made the fatal move of challenging the publishing firm of Samuel Weiser over copyrights in the early 1980s. After he lost the case it continued to leave the exoteric legal position of the O.T.O. in limbo, certainly at least within the United States of America, and had the effect of accelerating an unstoppable momentum of events that forced him to defend himself in further court litigation. This time it was brought by the “Caliphornian” O.T.O– as represented by Grady McMurtry, Phyllis Seckler, Helen Parsons Smith and James Wasserman – on their own terms over Motta’s forthright and insulting remarks about themselves and others published in Volume V of “The Equinox”.  On the plaintiffs’ part, this was in direct contravention of the fact that Crowley had specifically forbidden lawsuits between any members of the Order in paragraph #25 of An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join the Order; Enumerating the Duties and Privileges (Liber CI), which made miscreants automatically liable to “pain of immediate expulsion and loss of all privileges, even of those accumulated by past good conduct. […]”  As a result, McMurtry’s office of “Caliph” would have been forfeited and made null and void thereby long before the court in California went to the trouble of apparently confirming it.

Motta lost this second case too, with heavy damages (excluding costs) awarded against him in the sum of $140,000 or $35,000 for each C.O.T.O. plaintiff. The outcome of both trials backfired against him so severely that in the course of the ensuing wipeout in North America, all activities of his “Thelema Publishing Company” were abruptly curtailed.35Distribution of his publications was outlawed in certain states, where it is today virtually impossible to obtain them on open sale (although a direct descendant to Motta’s Volume V of “The Equinox”, Volume VII, has appeared in 1992 under the imprint of his still surviving A.’. A.’. group headed by Ray Eales (Frater KSK)).  Meanwhile S.O.T.O.’s American headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee ceased operations and although not obliterated, internationally the organization became a spent force.  Motta’s English representative Jeremy Charles Ellis died in jail shortly after making an abortive terrorist attempt to firebomb warehouses belonging to the London firm of Routledge Kegan Paul, the publishers of Crowley material passed to them for the purpose by Grant and SymondsHowever two offshoot groups of Motta’s favoured S.O.T.O. members have since managed to establish themselves. In Melbourne, Australia the “Parzival XIFoundation” has existedfor a number of years under the direction of William Barden (Frater Thelema), while back in the U.S.A., H.O.O.R. (the Holy Order ORaHoorKhuit) has taken off as a successful international initiatory body under the collective authority of Ray Eales, David Bersson (Frater Sphinx) and Gregory vonSeewald (Frater .’. 60).

< 35Incidentally it was somewhat disingenuous that C.O.T.OGrand Lodge should have criticised Mottas publishing company in the February 1984 Magickal Link for having obtained his Crowley material from the Humanities Research Center in AustinTexas, when it seems that they got most of their own material from GeraldYorke’s collection at the Warburg Institute.>

Motta really was peculiarly unfortunate in that decision of the second court to favour the “rights” of the C.O.T.O. over those of the S.O.T.O., particularly when a copy of Sascha Germer’s original letter declaring him to be the lawful “Follower” was produced for the court’s inspection.36  Possibly his astrological transits might have been in terrible shape: though on the terrestrial plane his position was advanced neither by a judge who decided to blatantly ignore much of the testimony submitted against McMurtry’s claim nor by the opportunist betrayal of two of Motta’s former close confidants and “brothers”, James Wasserman and Martin Starr) who at different times simply appear to have crossed over to the opposition when they perceived that to be the better option. Starr today publishes the attractive and expensively-retailed products of his “Teitan Press” operation under the indulgence and benediction of Breeze, but then his defection in particular, taking with him a very large number of photocopies of Motta’s personal and Order papers as he did sowas according to Motta the “decisive” factor in the outcome against himSo much so, that afterwards he made it a special point in his last testament to single him out for special opprobrium.37In effect, it turns out that winning in court not only allowed the “Caliphornian” O.T.O. the opportunity to claim victory over the “Society” O.T.O. in what Michael Staley has aptly described as nothing more than a beauty contest, but it also gave them the incentive to insidiously advance the notion to this day that they, and they alone, were and are by legal right the one and only true O.T.O. all over the world. It does not help that after Motta died Starr repented and realized that he had been the rightful heir all along.38

< 36 See the text of Sascha Germer’s letter to Motta dated 30th October, 1962 given on page XXXHer later stated preference would also seem to guarantee this to have been a genuine statement of Germer’s wishes.>

37 The June 1985 Magickal Link has this determinedly straight-faced (but with a disguised smirk to be seen playing around the edges) “Grand Lodge Report” on the trial: “[…]Then we heard from Martin Starr, formerly of S.O.T.O..  Martin was concerned enough to provide us with about a thousand additional documents covering Motta’s operations and including a good deal of correspondence with his own attorneys. […] Martin Starrs evidence was most useful. […]”>

< 38 Letter from Martin Starr to P-RKönig dated 9th March, 1989 refers: “I now believe that Germer did intend to appoint Motta the O.H.Oon his deathbed.”>

Eschewing the option of being hounded by his creditors, in 1986 Motta made a strategic withdrawal and skedaddled to his native Brazil. From there he continued to prolifically produce material for the six large numbers of his “Oriflamme” Volume VI, which managed to appear throughout and after the trialsDespite the ardour of his efforts, he was unable to re-establish ground lost by S.O.T.O. and died of myocardial infarcation and pulmonary oedema at the unexpectedly early age of 56 in August 1987 shortly before being able to make his intended comeback by means of a planned visit to EuropeSince then, the position with regard to successorship within S.O.T.O. appears to have become almost as tangled, and possibly even more farcical, as that to the actual Crowley O.T.O. itself.  The members of a “triumvirate” appointed by Motta’s last wishes (called his “Declaration of Trust”39) – itself a perverse act of complication – soon fell out amongst each other over which direction to pursue. Initially, Claudia Canuto de Menezes decided to leave and so her place on the triumvirate was taken by David Bersson at the invitation of Daniel Ben Stone. Next, William Barden took it upon himself to “expel” Daniel Ben Stone.  Then, new arrival Bersson not only declared himself to be leader of the O.T.Oand “Frater Superior of the Entire World, 8°=3 and the Highest Grade Adept on Earth”, but also decided to “excommunicate” both Barden and Stone while he was about it – the two remaining original members!

39 See page XXX.>

Leaving aside the difficult issue of how exactly a new O.H.Ocould ever be appointed, in view of this continuing clear lack of an “heir” it is hard to credit that the post-Motta Society Ordo Templi Orientis will come up with a single agreed-upon candidate who would then succeed with a claim to Outer Headship in Crowley’s Order.  In hindsight and with the knowledge we now have, it is possible to argue that at its inception in the mid-1970s Motta’s version of the Order, out of all the various competitors, had the strongest orthodox claim to historical legitimacy. This was because Sascha Germer’s letter written five days after the demise of her husband affirmed that he had declared on his deathbed to her and in considerable pain, “You [Motta] are The Follower”36and because Germer’s other co-executor, Frederic Mellinger, never opposed this endorsement so far as anybody is aware, even though he was expressively anti-Metzger.  Also, a letter written by Germer to Motta on 12th October, 1962 (less than a fortnight before he died) included the statement:

You are guided by the Supreme Hierophant (Ra-Hoor-Khuit)

whereas earlier during the spring he had described Metzger to Motta as “half-crazy”.  However, through its own general mismanagement and circumstantial folly S.O.T.O. has effectively “shot its bolt” indefinitely ..if not forever … and in certain respects, which will be discussed further in the next chapter [“The O.T.O. – Its Relevance Today” – q.v.], this remains a pity.


Out of all of the groups under discussion in the period since 1973, it is the “Caliphornian” or “Caliphate” O.T.O., led by claimant Grady Louis McMurtry (Frater Hymenæus Alpha 777, 1918 – 85) from 1977 until his death which has been the most proactive in pursuing a high public profile.  John Symonds has written that it was Lieutenant McMurtry whom Aleister Crowley drily referred to as the army officer displaying “such a distasteful face” when he prepared himself for his wartime daily syringe of prescription heroin for his asthma; so much so that the old man was driven next door to his bathroom and there played a most wicked prank, afterwards reporting:

I left the bedroom door open, and from behind the bathroom door bent down to the keyhole and began to squeal like a stuck pig. When I came out I found that my poor friend had almosfainted with horror.40

<40The King of the Shadow Realm by John Symonds (Duckworth: London, 1989), p.576>

Leaving tales of McMurtry’s wartime derring-do and heroism aside, “special activities” with which he was engaged in relation to Crowley’s Order may be viewed in a sinister or Machiavellian light (by those inclined to do so) in connection with a confession which posthumously appeared in the July 1986 edition of C.O.T.O.’s newsletter The Magical Link:

I’ve had a career as a management analyst with the federal governmenand the state government in which I would learn how to take organizations apart and put them back together again.

Crowley’s tolerance of McMurtry’s temperament was particularly remarkable in view of the usury carried out whereby he provided Crowley with loans at 25% interest, and by a similar stratagem got his hands on 25% of the net royalties for Magick Without Tears.  And yet the main reason that McMurtry came to be made Crowley’s provisional representative and “Caliph” in California in the first place was through circumstantial coincidence more than merit. As a result of Allied army manoeuvres during 1943, the young lieutenant found himself in just the right place and at the right time to encounter Crowley at a critical juncture when, apart from Wilfred T. Smith and his mainly A.’. A.’. contact Jane Wolfe, he was unfamiliar with any of the personnel of a volatile Agape Lodge at first hand.  Since the tenor of these times was uncertain and McMurtry appeared to be outwardly capable and not otherwise insane, Crowley made him his envoy for Agape Lodge. The matter was as simple as thatit could equally well have been Jack Parsons or Roy Leffingwell or Ray Burlingame who qualified at that time, had either one of them managed to get across the great stretch of water to England before McMurtry did.

During the 1950s, Germer became increasingly suspicious of McMurtry’s behaviour.  With good reason: according to McMurtry’s own later testimony, he had attempted to become the leader of a conspiracy to unite the survivors of Agape Lodge against Germer in order to express a general unhappiness with his (non-)policy regarding initiation procedure, whereby Germer was not prepared to continue to use the old Crowleian rituals since he regarded them as “lower magick”.  (The reason for this appears to be not because he did not believe in the efficacy of the rituals of his former master per seso much as he considered the Agape Lodge at the time to be an imperfect and unworthy vehicle to act as a continuation of the O.T.O.). Whether Germer actually knew oMcMurtry’s disloyal mutiny in person or not, it was certainly the case that in general McMurtry’s practices were so much disliked by his senior officer – despised would not be too strong a word – that the last known communication he received from Germer was a terse letter written less than three years before he died in which he fumed:

“[…] I have and had told you that 666 discussed with me to keep you for a prominent position in the Order. I was only too willing to accept thisWhat have you done in the last twelve years to justify and earn this position? Instead of a Plus you have been a great MINUSOthers have at one time or another helped the Work financially and otherwise. Your “help” consisted of sponging on the Order, and, very probably did other damage. […]” 41

41 See page XXX. It was peculiar, to say the least, that the August 1984 edition of The Magickal Link saw fit to declare (without producing any corroborative evidence) the misinformation that “Germer did review, and did agree with each direct use of these later mandates [in the “Caliphate” correspondence from Crowley] by GradyIn a letter from late 1959 e.v., Fr. Saturnus assigned Grady the right to “form a nucleus”under report to him.”>

It has quite rightly been suggested that this letter may not even have been the final one which Saturnus sent to Hymenæus AlphaQuite possibly, another letter could have been written at some later date as a follow-up, purporting to expel him for the crime of being like Brother Grant, in bad standing with Brother Germer. If this happened to be the case it is equally probable that being the canny political animal that he apparently was, McMurtry would by no means have wanted this to become public knowledge and so would have not only destroyed the original letter but also taken pains to remove any copy or incriminating evidence relating to it from the Crowley-Germer archives (assuming it had not already been removed or destroyed) at the earliest available opportunityIt is not without significance that during the McMurtry-Motta legal action the court established that McMurtry was suspected of being involved with the robberies of the archive at one time, the same as he was also at one time on fairly friendly terms with Jean Brayton, the mastermind behind the initial burglary; although in strict fairness his direct complicity in the matter has yet to be firmly established one way or the other.

Ten years after Germer’s death, McMurtry contemplated the idea of suing Germer’s widow.to gain official custody of the remainder of the valuable archive but heeded “expert” (police) advice to wait until she diedFollowing her death by what appears to have been starvation and malnutrition, in the course of which no O.T.O. members compassionately came forward to aid her plight, in court McMurtry then proceeded to dismiss her earlier sanction of Metzger’s claim to be O.H.O., strongly insinuating that she herself had been senile, therefore mentally ill and incapable of rationally using her faculties.

In The Magickal Link for January 1983, McMurtry quoted from one of the “Caliphate” letters in which Crowley had written to him:

1965 e.v. should be a critical period in the development of the Child Horus!”And we all know whacame down in 1965 e .v.Acid Rock. The Haight Experiment. Those of you who went thru [sic] it have some foggy ideaThose of you who are still around much more soFor it was not just a life-style that changed, but a radical new approach to human engineeringA whole new pattern, a different way of looking at things. A way so different we had forgotten it is as old as Mankind. The use of psychedelics for Sacramental purposes.  There were some heavy Magick trips went down in the Haight. There is still that solid circle of yew around a redwood log ampitheater in the Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park. […]

All well and good. But where would McMurtry himself have been from 1961 to 1969, for almost the whole duration of that “critical” decade? Why to be sure, far from being in “The Haight”, or even in the state of California, according to the “Caliphornian”’s version of “The Equinox” III.10, page 96) he was thousands of miles away in Washington D.C., teaching “Political Science at George Washington University while working as a Management Analyst for the Government.”  Very Acid Rock!

After learning of Germer’s death, McMurtry tried to kick-start the Order after returning to California around 1969 when, using what he viewed as the “Emergency” authorization given to him from over a quarter of a century earlier, he brought out the Lady Frieda Harris “Thoth” Tarot deck. He then proceeded to shamefully relinquish the rights to this in the O.T.O.‘s name which was not even his to sign away, Lady Harris herself having previously remarked that:

I don’t much care if [Crowley] wants the copyright [to the Thoth Tarot] but I do care if it gets into the hands of the religious body he mis-conducts in California, and that is what he imagines is his duty to do. They are a collection of exotic idiots… [My italics – JB]

The “thirty pieces of silver” McMurtry got paid for it – around five hundred dollars in real money, a mere pittance compared with the hundreds of thousands of dollars the deck has since generated – was apparently soon frittered away on selfish and idle pleasures – and indeed nothing of any lasting note came from the Caliph’s first effort which sank rapidly without trace. Apart from an obscure informal group called “The Continuum” based around McMurtry and his then spouse Phyllis (known before and afterwards as Phyllis Seckler), no further organized activity took place for another seven years. According to the “Grand Lodge Report” of The Magickal Link dated July 1984, Sascha Germer during this time appeared to have realised her predicament and worst nightmares as that of an old lady being terrorised and surrounded by vultures waiting for the feast: she

became very hard to reach. She was elderly and in very poor health. For reasons that have to do with isolation, the honor of racial and political persecution and just plain old fashioned gossip, Shasha [sic] had decided that every Thelemite in 300 miles was out to get herShe simply could not protect the material.  She had tried to recognize Metzger as the one to come after Germer, but had been legally stopped in her attempt to disclose the Order’s property in that direction by Mellinger. [...] Later [in 1975] she passed away.

Following its earlier false starts California’s provincial Agape Lodge was “re-founded” (and named “Thelema” Lodge this time around) during the occasion of a solar total eclipse on Crowley’s birthday, 12th October, 1977.  For a Thelemic order whose own name and number were deliberatelyintended to honour The Sun,42this was hardly an auspiclous1or well-chosen moment – or so one would have thought. With Sol/ Ra functioning at less than full Strength, ForceFire and Light, it was if anythingmore like a silly (if done unintentionally) and disrespectful insult.

< 42 The solar-phallic symbolism of the letters represents the erect male genitalia with testicles, shaft and foreskin, in contrast with the female vagina as depicted by the vesica piscis of the O.T.O. lamen.  Also, the Hebrew letters for O, T and O (Ayin, Tau and Ayin; or 130, 406 and 130 spelled out in full) added up together form the number of The Sun – 666.  (This “secret meaning” was not conveyed by initiation but solely by cabbalistic deduction on the part of the author.)>

The “Caliphornian” O.T.O. started modestly – if that is the right word – with eight members.  Apart from the McMurtrys, they included the “Caliphornian”’s now long-standing treasurer William ( Bill) E. Heidrick, whom according to Phyllis Seckler by 1979 “is the power behind the throne and manipulates Grady” – presumably on account of the politician’s increasing frailness due to ill-health. This seemingly opportunistic newcomer, when it came to the question of belonging to magical groups, was later to aver that

If the OTO were to change that drastically [by abandoning its initiation rituals, etc], there would be nothing left but the name. Even the bloody name is part of our Masonic heritage. Yes, we could offer to change into something else; but what’s one more pack or innovativeiconoclastic neo-pagans? Fine as far as it goes, but it ain’t the OTO. I don’t mean to leave this House and go live in a ditch! 43

43 From a letter from William E. Heidrick to Gerald Suster dated 10th June, 1992 and reprinted with the latter’s kind permission.>

This is eloquently put.  However, just why it was that everything else apart from the C.O.T.Oshould have an insubstantial, ditch-like quality, and just what was so special and solid and magnificent about his own particular “House” was never revealedIt is (for example) quite patently absurd for the “Caliphornian”O.T.O. to boasof having a long-running “uninterrupted” legitimacy when it is a short-term motley collection of internally self-governing groups known as “camps”, “oases”,44and the occasional lodge. These are literally linked together by just the Link newsletter and, whenever it is considered time by them to call and collect, the personal administrations of the “Caliph” and Mr. Heidrick themselves. The much-vaunted, actual overall “continuity” of the C.O.T.O. in real terms has lasted for rather less than twenty years!  [N.B., it should be borne in mind that this particular segment was written in 1995 e.v. – JB]

44 Formerly called “Chapters”; McMurtry’s successor [William Breeze] reputedly changed the name because he didn’t feel comfortable with the “hell’s angels” connotations.  The Magickal Link for March 1983 reported that “Back in ’77 e.v, when the present administration of the Order began to take form, we only thought of Lodges. Then Chapters and study groups came along. Finally we reached the present point of Lodges, Chapters and Camps.  The camps [or “Encampments”] were the creation of Br. [James] Graeb, the first G[rand] S[ecretary] G[eneral] of the Thelema-Lodge based form of the OrderIt was a fine idea, and has allowed a form of growth not otherwise possible to the plan of the Order.”>

This reactivated, initially low-key, third Agape Lodge has since mushroomed exponentially along quantitative rather than qualitative lines to become the “Caliphate” O.T.O., and most recently “Ordo Templi Orientis International, Inc.” (sic!). In June 1979 McMurtry’s ex-, Phyllis Seckler, had cause to remark to the sociacommentator G.M. Kelly upon the

[…] various liars, alcoholics, thieves and what not now cluttering up the O.T...

§ ..I keep wondering when this mess will be cleaned up-as I can not do it aloneOr do we have to wait until the signs of incompetence and bungling are even stronger? [...]

§ … It would have been better, I think, to let the O.T.Ogrow VERYslowly and train people to be of higher Grades truly, instead of thrusting this stuff on them which they have no idea how to live up to. […]The slow growth was my idea but Bill [Heidrick] seems to think rapid growth aids his own power and Grady likewise. [ …]

McMurtry also claimed the grade of 9= 2 or Magus in the A.’. A.’., and whose “Word” was “OTO”, which was treated with considerable scepticism by almost everyone in the magickal community except his most devoted acolytes, including Phyllis Seckler (whose opinion on the matter can be gauged from her comments regarding the addition of “Saints” to the Collects of the Gnostic Mass in Footnote 45 infra, q.v.)

In October 1984, a full seven year cycle after the C.O.T.O. began and just nine months before McMurtry’s own death, the head of the Twin Star Encampment a [minor [C].O.T.O. body, smaller than an Oasis or Lodge] in Massachusetts, U.S.A., had this to say in The Magickal Link about the effects of the Caliph’s marvellous system of “management analysis” and organizational legacy:

In the Introduction to the Book of the law we are taught that political systems are falling into extinction and how the new Aeon of Horus will developYet throughout our Order we have spoiled children who keep playing politicsThese brats vie for power and prestige in our Order by political manipulations, lying, and basic back-stabbing.

§ Ias Campmaster of the Twin Star, am not the only Brother bothered by all this political B.S. I’ve had contact with Brothers and Sisters in other states [at this time (C.)O.T.O. was hardly an international corporation – JB] who have grown tired oit. Someone has to stand up against this flood of political garbage….

Throughout his term as “Caliph” McMurtry was inordinately fond of treating the front page of The Magickal Link as his personal mouthpiece, filling out two to three pages in each issue with a written-up version of his notion of a presidential “fireside chat”.  Interspersed with homespun magical and philosophical homilies, nostalgic reminiscences of long-gone meetings, and military anecdotes and escapades were passages of fairly incomprehensible ramblings contrasted with occasional shafts of luminosity that indicated the one-time promise which Crowley must have seen. These set pieces were often written in an unusual, surprisingly immature telegrammatic English style complete with (or more accurately, complete w/) “individualistic” spellingMeanwhile his published poetry, adored by acolytes, has been summarily dismissed by more than one others as being, for the most part, “crap”. McMurtry also used the pages of the Linkto broadcast bogus “honours” to O.T.Opersonnel in a tawdry effort to bewitch and bedazzle the credulous.  Here he aped the trinkets and titles dangled by Scientologists before the eyes of their own lowly members.  As McMurtry indeed found himself straddled with the honorific title of “Caliph”, “privileged” initiates all of a sudden might find themselves being bestowed with a hollow dignity thus becoming a “Knight Templar Castellan Warden of the Temple”, “Knight Templar Castellan Scribe of the Temple”, “Knight of Baphomet”, or “Knight Templar Castellan Order of Cerberus”: grand-sounding but ultimately meaningless awards given out and dispensed like canine choc-drops for otherwise routinely ‘well-done’ type of acts such as showing initiative or ‘excellence of office’.

In his later years McMurtry was seen by Phyllis Seckler to be a “slave” to alcohol “and other things”, and when for health reasons he was forced to give up alcohol other communicants at Gnostic Masses which he attended found themselves obliged to give up also, whether they wanted to do so or not. This unexpected ‘ordeal’ which they were forced to undergo – the institution of the novel if pleasure-denying “grape juice communion” – was a blatant affront to the spirit of DionysusIt was also a negation of the context of celebration, not only of the Mass itself but also the exhortations of The Book of the Law to “drink sweet wines and wines that foam” and to “take wine ..and be drunk thereof!”

Gradually McMurtry became increasingly unwell, developed a congestive heart condition, and died on 12th July 1985 E.V., just hours before word of the C.O.T.O.’s victory in the California court was able to reach him: a sign which was soon construed by Motta’s supporters to constitute but a pyrrhic victory for the Caliph and to represent theSecret Chiefs’ disfavour at his “foolish presumption”.  There is something ludicrouslbathetic and unintentionally hilarious about the Caliph’s deathbed speech: reported to have gnomically stated “I think my path is more the Sufi path”, he was naturally enough asked what, in his opinion, the Sufi path was. “don’t know,” came back the reply to this; McMurtry’s (famous) last words. Since his departure, Grady’s disciples have indulged in a certain amount of ridiculous beatification – a practice which might usefully be labelled “the debased cult of McMurtryanity” – characterized by the addition of his name to the ©.O.T.O./ E.G.C. Gnostic Mass “Collect of Saints”,45 the institution of McMurtry’s birthday (18th October) as “Gradymas”, and a tacky general whitewashing of the man’s rather-less-than-glorious overall track record of which this chapter has so far attempted to redress the balance.

45 On this subject, Phyllis Seckler, McMurtry’s widow and as Soror Meral, ongoing Mistress of the C.O.T.O.’s 418 Lodge, had this to say in The Magical Link dated January III.xvi [1987 E.V.]: “The list of Saints in the Gnostic Catholic Mass (Liber XV) mentions those men or Gods who attained knowledge and illumination at least beyond the sphere of TipherethThe great majority of them were classified as Exempt Adepts or Masters of the Temple. They became known either as leaders of new religions when as Magus they uttered a word applicable to the state of attainment to be achieved in the particular place and timeor as gods as the mists of antiquity made mysterious their origins and even their worksOthers invented a system of thought which bolstered the word and work of the prevailing aeon, often appearing some five or six hundred years later than the Magus. […] without exception, these saints were all persons of very high attainment indeed. […] Why, then, considering the spiritual attainment of these saintsshould the persons responsible for a rightly performed ritual of the Gnostic Catholic Mass add other names when none of those newer persons can be said to have added to the body of knowledge through great illumination so that all of mankind is benefitted in the struggle towards Light? Those newer names are of persons who were only adherents to the Law of Thelema, thus men of earthThey are names of those who were simply drawn to the work of the Master Therion and who could more or less try to apply the knowledge in The Book of the Law. (Mostly less as not enough is known by us today). There are thousands of such persons who have similar attitudes and who will add to the general spread of Thelema all over the worldBut this does not make them saints for none of them have provided a system of their own which would bolster The Book of the Law and aid humanity’s progress to the Light. Indeed, many of those new names added are of persons who magically never left the sphere of Malkuth. Perhaps we have had enough of the ignorance of persons who add unwarranted names to the list of saints in the Gnostic Catholic Mass?”>

Although McMurtry did not actively appoint him (or even desire for his appointment) he was nevertheless succeeded after his death by William Breeze, a Canadian video entrepreneur by profession who was then, as Frater Homo Homini Deus, a IVo member of the [C.]O.T.O.’s man of Earth “Triad”. This was very much a third-best solution – arrived at by an unconstitutional assembly of “Caliphornian” IXo46 only after Bill Heidrick, effectively Grady’s deputy as C.O.T.O. Grand Treasurer-General, found it impossible to gather enough support for his own candidacy. Many of Heidrick’s opponents instead favoured his main Californian rival Lon Milo “Daddy” DuQuette, which effectively resulted in a stand-off between the two until Helen Parsons Smith (the widow of the disfavoured ex-Agape Lodgemaster) and Phyllis Seckler (the widow of the deceased McMurtry) proposed Breeze as a compromise candidate who would hopefully unite both wings. This he has since managed to do by the simple expedient of stroking each rival’s feathers in noopposing their pet publishing projects, thereby generating a simmering and unsteady peace within the Order.

< 46 Despite the fact that Grady McMurtry seems to have imagined further instructions to Aleister Crowleys Last Will and Testament (i.e., “Had [Germer] followed the instructions in the private codicil … and called the convocation of IXos, he would have been de jura [sic] Outer Head of the Order and beyond challenge.” – The O.T.O. Newsletter No. 4, p.3), this “private codicil”does not appear to have any basis in reality(And even if it did, such a document would have completely ignored the existence and greater rights of Reussian Xos still living: Hermann Tränker, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller, Hans Hilfiker, Wilfred Smith, and Charles Stansfeld Jones.) An earlier edition of The O.T.O. Newsletter (No. 2) – also discussed details of the matter and stated that Crowley “instructed Karl that ‘a year and a day’ following his death he was to summon a IXo convocation [my italics – JB], but surprisingly the Newsletter contained no reproduction of such an important documentespecially in view of the fact that other photocopies of far less significant “Caliphate”letters from Crowley to McMurtry appeared in the same issueEqually of relevance the December 1984 issue of The Magickal Link reproduced a quite different “codicil” from Crowley, charging members of the Order to ensure the welfare of his son Aleister Ataturk after his death. Heidrick contradicted McMurtrys own opinion on the procedure of succession in the September 1985 issue where he wrote that “When the O.T.Owas incorporated forty years after Crowley ordered it done, the IXth Degree elective process became established. […] In [McMurtry’s] last will and testament, the past Caliph simply gave approval to the elective process.” Meanwhile it had been stated bHeidrick in his capacity as “acting Caliph”in the July issue immediately after McMurtry’s death that “Our Corporate Articles and Bylaws prescribe what is to be done for succession – vote of IXo.Grady [i.e., not Crowley – JB] approved and signed these legally binding documents over five years ago. § [...] If no election has taken place a fixed number of days (about three months) from the Greater Feast of a reigning Caliph, any IXo may expressly call such an electionIf that fails, any IXohas permission to sue in the California courts to force an election. [sic!]. § […] These plans […] have been made with the full force of Magickal and Civil Law. Grady will not have to worry about this anymore – his expressed wishes have been made as solid as can be.” Yet as solid as they might have been, not any of McMurtry’s wishes was to have William Breeze as his duly appointed successor...>

From the evidence Breeze would appear to enjoy collecting initiations, name-dropping,47 and dipping his fingers into as many different varieties of magical (or pseudo-magical) pie as possible: among other things he was at some point a member of Michael Bertiaux’ Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua and the independent “Gnostic Catholic Church”, as well as being closely involved in “93 Publishing” with Peter Macfarlane and other members of the Montreal “Typhonian” O.T.O.. For good measure, according to Motta48Breeze was even at one time even a Probationer in his own A.’. A.’. organization, whilst distance alone seems to have prevented him from signing up with Metzger in Stein!

47 Several instances of this may be perused within C.O.T.O.‘s various publications and The Magical Link.  Obituaries are particularly clear examples of where he manages to make himself as well as his subject look good.  Referring to Harry Smith (Fall 1991 e.v.), he remarked: “[…] Smith declared that ‘my movies armade by God; I am just the medium for them.’ Before I knew that Harry had said this, I had reached much the same conclusion. […] In 1986 EV I consecrated Smith a bishop in the O.T.O./ E.G.C., in which he took a real pride. […] He taught what he liked, with special emphasis on epistemology (we had once planned to launch a Journal of Comparative Epistemology). […] Harry was my guru, friend and guide. […]” Concerning Marjorie Cameron (ex- magickal partner and “Scarlet Woman” of Jack Parsons whose death Breeze seemed to have prematurely announced eighteen months too early on the first page of The Magical Link Vol. 7 No. 4), in Spring 1995 he wrote: “I met Cameron in 1983 and came to know and love her. We collaborated on book projects, played music (she was a harpist) and talked a lot about life, love and sexual metaphysics (in which she had an honorary degree). In many ways she was the girlfriend I’ve always wished I had.” (Vol. 9 No.1)>

48  “The Equinox” Volume V No(S.O.T.O., 1981) pxiii.>

After being elected to be the new “Caliph”, Breeze expressed the wish in the October 1985 Link to be looked up to as a figure of deep mystery who would be keeping his civilian identity hidden at all times except to those in the highest degrees – in other words, the ten C.O.T.O. IXo49 who elected him and the bare handful of others already elevated by McMurtry into what he termed the VIo, VIIo and VIIIo:

Of necessity, the first Constitutional tradition to be implemented was my secrecy as the newly-elected Caliph, Xo and Acting O.H.O.. If this was not effected immediately, it would await the next succession and therefore become the very last Constitutional measure to be adopted. [?!]  Additionally, the traditional secrecy of the personal identities of higher-degree initiates has been implemented. Frankly, it would be hypocrisy on my part for these Constitutional measures to be applied to my Sisters and Brothers if I personally disregarded them as Caliph. If you want to meet me personallystick around for VIo.

49 These ten IXo(Grady McMurtry was the eleventh) can with a reasonable degree of certainty based on internal evidence within early Magickal Links, be taken to be: Phyllis SecklerHelen Parsons Smith, William Heidrick, Lon DuQuetteJames GraebAntony Iannotti, Kaye D.Lewis (a.k.a. Lola de Wolfe), Andrea Bacuzzi, Richard Gernon and James Wasserman – the last two transferring across from Motta and being duly rewarded for their treachery/ pains in the new hierarchyAccording to Bill Heidrick in the May 1987 issue of The Magical Link, “Because of the role of IXos from the McMurtry years in electing the present Caliph, the original IXos who participated in that election have the power to remove and replace this acting O.H.O. by unanimous action.” Of these original IXos, Richard Gernon unfortunately died in 1989 of a heroin overdose and there are now reputedly a totaof sixteen IXos within the “Caliphate” (This number remains open to substantiation).> 

At least his readers were spared an exclamation mark to the conclusion of that last sentence, but were these words intended to be construed as carrotCertainly no other Head of any “O.T.O.”, or even of TheO.T.O., ever went to such lengths before to disguise his mundane personality, nor attempted to justify the act in so critically out-of-touch and pompously gauche a fashion.50 If people thought McMurtry was being lazy and/or lacking in originality and ideas by expecting Aleister Crowley to choose his magical name for him (Hymenæus Alpha), then Breeze stands doubly guilty of laziness and lacking imagination by electing to call himself “Hymenæus Beta”. Like McMurtry himself, he seems to have been unaware that on this occasion in particular, the imp Crowley was “taking the piss”.46This ridiculous peeping out with a used-goods magical name from behind the threshold of his own Sanctuary’s protective “umbrella” was widely regarded by brethren at the time as having either sinister overtones or verging upon the preposterously absurd.

50 A good appraisal of this perplexing development is discussed by G.M. Kelly in his Newaeon Newsletter (Vol. IV, Nos6) dated November 1985 and January 1986 (see page XXX: where is also a good analysis of the cabbala involved with the “Hyenæii” in numbers 777 and 778.) Shortly afterwards, Breeze’s plan to remain anonymous backfired somewhat (as was bound to happen inevitably, sooner or later) and during a visit to London to delve into the Warburg Institute for the purposes of acquiring information, he chose to meet some “Caliphate” personnelThe first question that the new “Caliph” asked a sister he had never before met was notas might have been expected, “how are you?” or “what’s your name?” but instead a more imperious “And what degree are you?” Having been informed by the lady in question that she was but a lowly Minerval he then completely lost interest in having anyfurther discussion with her, and switched his would-be “regal” attention elsewhere!  The suster in question’s verdict on this afterwards was amusing, understandable and commendable: “I just wanted to throw him out of the nearest window!” [Postscript, 2014: Since she is now deceased, I can reveal her identity to have been Michaela Antonina Duncan aka Soror Astolabe, later to become the second wife of the late Gerald Suster and who only outlived him by a few short months.]>

Despite his wish to be regarded as an impartial editor and his scornful dismissal of other interpreters’ employment of (to use his own words) “pseudo-historical propaganda generated by overly-selective use of facts”, Breeze himself has been guilty of providing misinformation (whether deliberately or not is open to conjecture) in his stewardship of The Magical Link: after becoming the new “Caliph” he frequently tried to give the impression that Crowley’s “Intimation” (Liber CXCIV, which the C.O.T.O. enthusiastically adopted) meant the same thing as the O.T.O. Constitution, which it does not: they were (are) two quite separate documents. He also falsely declared in the Winter 1990 edition (Vol. III No. 4, p. 28) that Sascha Germer “accepted Mellinger’s [round denunciation] of Metzger”: she did not, but carried on supporting Metzger’s position as the new O.H.O. until she died, with all of her efforts to dispose of the responsibility of the Library in that direction legally hampered by Mellinger. To quote a more correct account from an old July 1984 Magical Linkshe became “too old to continue the probate” and “too alienated from anyone in the Order who could help her locally”. Therefore, “she simply gave up.” Elsewhere, we find that in his history-piece concerning the establishment of the O.T.O. in North America (given in the Fall 1993 issue: Vol. VII No. 3p.1) Breeze tries to give to those unaware of the C.O.T.O.‘s history an impression of a spurious longevity by stating that “W.T. Smith’s establishment of the Agape Lodge in Southern California ensured the O.T.O.’s survival, as its modern form owes its existence to members initiated there.”

As must be apparent by now, the O.T.Odid not “survive” from there at all, and was arguably undergoing rigor mortis even by the time Smith himself died in 1957Although mentioning that “O.T.O. rituals, titles and procedures would later change”,it was by no means made sufficiently clear in Breeze’s summary that most of the initiations given in the pre-1947 period (and all of those given in the pre-1935 period by Charles Stansfeld Jones and others) were not Crowleian at all but Reussian, and therefore completely different (and other than historically, of extremely marginal relevance) to any organization calling itself the Crowley O.T.O..  In touting Martin Starrs edition of Crowley’s “Bagh-i-Muattur” in The Magical Link for Spring 1991, Breeze declared that it was supposedly “long virtually unavailable except in the poor quality Morton Press (UK) reprint from the 1970s” – conveniently forgetting, or maybe deliberately omitting to mention, the high quality Motta Thelema Publications (US) reprinting from the early 1980s.

Arch-conservative in his outlook, Hymenæus “Beta” has succeeded in being even more backwardslooking in orienting the Order of Oriental Templars than his predecessor Hymenæus “Alpha”Since his “election”, he has been anxious to establish the C.O.T.Ointernationally on a corporate basis by turning it into a (superficially) classybig business style operation with the aid of an aggressive publishing policy and even more aggressive and expensive lawyers, well-paid for out of the shekels obtained from the “Caliphornian”’s foolishly loyal and idealistic but honestly deluded and mostly hard-up membership(An amusing image springs to mind, fanciful no doubt but not altogether divorced from realityof the “Caliphate”operations centre as a warroom; a large map of the world on its wall on which little flags, emblazoned with the vesica piscis lamen, are pinned to represent every base camp in their plan for O.T.Oworld domination.) How relevant all of this might be in relation to the genuine propagation of Thelema is something elsebut at least 93% of the “Caliphornian”’s membership cannot really wish to see their hard come by money continually squandered in lining the pockets of already wealthy U.Scorporate attorneys. Neither can they consider it an agreeable option to have the C.O.T.O. “top table” gallivant around the world free on “Order business” all expenses paid,51reportedly drawing an actual salary, nor indeed purchase the latest I.T. equipment, gadgets and video games for their own personal as well as “Order” use.52

51 The following advertisement appeared in The Magickal Link for April 1985 (Vol. V No4, p.8) under the caption NEW VISITOR PROGRAM: “[…] A number of active and senior members of the California OTO [sic!] are interested in visiting outlying bodies of the Order, if their travel expenses will be paid by the host body. If you would like to have a guest, start saving up the air fare and write me a letter including the dates during which you could receive a visitor, any special interests of your members, and a phone number if possible…” It was particularly disagreeable for impoverished members of the Order to find they were subsidising visitors who were comparatively wealthy, however, as U.Kmembers discovered on the occasion of a ‘state visit’ by the Swiss European C.O.T.OGrand Lodge IXo representative, Andrea Bacuzzi..>

< 52  Word on the ground is that U.S. members especially are getting fed-up with “Grand Lodge”H.Qbeing moved around to suit the new “Caliph”’s domestic arrangements wherever he happens to be – New York; North Carolina; Austin, Texas; or EuropeAs Bill Heidrick peevishly pointed out in The Magickal Link for October 1985, “Grand Lodge is still Thelema Lodge in Berkeley, with an alternative address for mail in New York onlyH.Q. also cannot be changed except by IXth Degree vote and by Supreme Council vote (Amendment).” Another milder dissatisfaction with Breeze’s tenure is that although at the beginning he made a point of providing his members with the Word of the Equinox chosen with Grady’s (Crowley’s) Ankh-af-na-khonsu seal ring, this practice (of whatever actual value), was soon discontinued.>

There exists such a thing as magnanimity in victory; however the C.O.T.O. did not appear to know the meaning of it when Breeze & Cotook the first available opportunity to “dish it” to the S.O.T.O. and Motta by rushing out, with indecent haste, “Caliphornian” versions of The Equinox (1986) and The Oriflamme (1989)as he inelegantly admitted in January 1986’s Magical Link,

I guess it [the C.O.T.O. Oriflamme]will look a lolike Marcelo MottaOriflamme in size, but it will be obvious that it’s ours because iwill be well-designed and edited…

“Miaow!” Having left their scent and exhausted their inventionthe death of Motta and the subsequent break-up of the S.O.T.O. evaporated any inspiration or motivation to produce follow-up instalments to these, and no plans for publishing another “Equinox”, nor any concrete proposals relating to the next appearance of the “Oriflamme” have since appeared. [N.B. There have in fact been two more ersatz Equinoxes and one more Oriflamme to date – basically entire reprints of previously published (albeit maybe hard to find) Crowley material. – JB, 2014].  Seemingly bereft of any interesting ideas on practical magick in person, Breeze’s preference is instead to gaze reverentially and remotely back into the dim and distant past and to reintroduce the revised Constitution of 1917/19 as closely as possible – irrespective of the fact that it never worked eighty years ago, and that there is undeniable evidence that even Crowley himself regarded it to be an anachronism in his later yearsGiven the fact that this same Constitution finds such strong favour among the “Caliphornians”its Article XI strikes a paradoxical note with the reader, able no doubt to find no small irony in the declaration that:

Any person of full age (male or female) who hasigned the preliminary pledge-form and has been approved by the O.H.O. may become a member of the O.T.O.15[My italics]

Accordingly, there are absolutely no new members of the O.T.O. since 1947 because there has not been an O.H.Osince at least 1947 and Baphomet, Aleister Crowley.

Yet for all of the C.O.T.O.’s professed desire to want to replicate the Crowley-improved Reussian Constitution of yesteryear, the organization itself does not seem averse to tinkering with the terms and conditions of its structure whenever it suits their purposes to do so.  The main engine of this sleight-of-hand adjustment has been the low-profile introduction of “By-Laws” in 1987, barely two years after Breeze’s successionThe implementation of the statutes of these By-Laws, written in turgid pseudo-legalese rather than straightforward plain English,53shows contemptuous disregard for and totally ignores the further requirement of this same hallowed Constitution that

XIV.2No By-Laws shall become operative until approved by the O.H.O.

< 53An example of this style can be seen in “Resolution 456” by the C.O.T.O. Supreme Grand Council, which it was recommended should be “prominently posted” at all O.T.O. CampsOases and Lodges; also, “[…] a clear notice to inform casualvisitors would be appropriate.” Resolution Number 456 stated that: “Confirmed sales or solicitation for sales of illegal substances at place and time (including time to arrive and depart on the occasion of meeting) of O.T.Ois grounds for expulsion; and, in the event of complicity by officers of the O.T.O. body, automatically closes the bodyIn addition, sales of illicit substances or solicitation for sales at a place used solely by O.T.O., regardless of the time of meetings, or by any person so acting as to convey either expressly or otherwise the impression that such sales or solicitation for sales is in any way part of official O.T.Oactivity, shall also fall under the strictures and remedies of expulsion and closure as may be appropriate to the actual status of the person or officer of the official body involved.” (The Magickal Link, Volume 4 No. 3, Fall 1990, p.3)>

In enacting these By-Laws, the C.O.T.O. by their pragmatism have also chosen to ignore other Articles from this same Constitution and from many associated “Blue” Equinox O.T.O. documents so otherwise revered as the be-all and end-all of the way forward.54 A few such clauses include the following, that:

all freemasons are allowed to affiliate as “lay-brethren” to the Order (Article XI3);

certain long-standing members may reside for six months in a “Home” (i.e., a Profess-House) of the Order (Article XVIII);

the Treasurer and members of the Senate are compelled to take a vow of poverty (An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order [Liber CXCIV] Para34);

members have the right to the hospitality of any Lodge Master for up to a period of three days in any one place55(O.T.O.: Concerning the Law of Thelema [Liber CLXI])and

children of “deceased and incapacitated members” (to use Hymenæus Beta’s phrase) are to be adopted by a Lodge Master or else the Supreme Holy King/ Grand Master of the Order (An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join the Order; Enumerating the Duties and Privileges [Liber CI] points #14 and #55).

54 See Part One, where these may be inspected in full.>

55 In the name of a little harmless amusement, C.O.T.O. initiates in particular might try turning up on the doorsteps of their Lodge masters on spec, demanding their statutory rights to free lodgings and food. Destitute and homeless brethren could conceivably manage to survive indefinitely by making an ongoing and continuous circuit of a selection of Lodge Masters, one after the other.>

Conspicuous by their absence are the obligations of VIIos to invest or transfer any real property (An Intimation … [Liber CXCIV] Para. 32), and for the highest degrees (especially the IXos) to vest their material assets – i.e., “all realisable property” into the O.T.O., becoming in return “part-proprietors” of the “Estates and Goods” of the Order (The Manifesto of the O.T.O.[Liber LII] point #13G).  In particular, every brother and sister is also expected to bestow someif not all, of their goods to the Order in their Last Will and Testament56(An Open Letter ... [Liber CI] Point #33). Howeverbefore anybody can first proceed to the lofty heights of the Sovereign Sanctuary (VIIoand higher), she or he must have “induced one hundred and eleven persons to join the Order”(An Intimation ...[Liber CXCIV] Para. 17).  The Treasurer General of the Order is empowered to advance to members, without interest, a loan up to the total value of all fees and subscriptions already paid, while if the brother or sister so desire the entire amount of the fees and subscriptions which have already been paid during their lifetime will be handed over to their heirs and legates” (An Open Letter ...[Liber CI] Point #64)This means that when members are moribund, they have the power to leave the total amount that they have paid into the Treasury of the O.T.O. to whom they will (O.T.O.Concerning the Law of Thelema [Liber CLXI]). These are extraordinarily adventurous and far-reaching policies though possibly in realistic terms hopelessly impractical, yet even though Germer extended financial aid up to the amount of dues paid to Grady McMurtry when the latter was completing his graduate studies at the University of California in the 1950s(never repaid)57, enactment now of almost any othe foregoing would be quite self-destructive for the whole ethos and culture of the “Caliphornian” O.T.O. as presently constructed.

56 Grady McMurtry, certainly for one, did not leave all of his assets to the Order. Hardly surprising behaviour for somebody who had squandered Thoth Tarot asset away as “beer money” and whose main interest in the O.T.O. was according to its senior officer at the time, “sponging on the Order.”>

57 “The Equinox” Volume Ill No10 (C.O.T.O., 1986) p. 195.> 

The C.O.T.O.‘s suppressive style of government has succeeded in eradicating what Liber CXCIV identified as “the seeds of revolution, by which alone progress can be effected.” (My italics.) It has managed to compound the foolishness of its original presumption with a totalitarian unwillingness to tolerate differing points-of-view on the matter of the O.T.O. other than its own. Insteadit prefers to neutralize any opposition or competition within its hierarchy by disempowerment: not such a difficult task, since hierarchies automatically encourage its “less” V.I.Pmembers to feel powerless anywayMeanwhile outside of the organization, threatened or actual recourse to harassment by legal representatives is carried out whenever thought necessary.  In essence, the C.O.T.O. in their calculating cynicism are as corrupt mentally as they are bankrupt magically. [And as Richard T. Cole has since put it in essence: it is not enough that the C.O.T.O. has to win – everybody else must lose.]

Despite earnest-sounding protestations coming from the “Caliphornian” O.T.O. Frater Superior William Breeze in The Magical Linkfor Winter 1990 [Vol III, No. 4, pp25-30]that

From my earliest magical training I was taught that apostolic succession, like all other grades and titleswas ultimately hollow. […] What mattered was the “afflatus,” the presence of the Holy Spirit in the properly-prepared gnostic initiate …

it seems that far from “afflatus”, it was “inflatus” which became present, at least so far as the cult of his particular personage in the Gnostic Catholic Church [Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica] was concernedAs Msgr. [Monseigneur] Tau Silenus, the “Holy Father” or “Patriarch” of the Churchand alleged true descendant of the Mathew and Villate apostolic successions, he has been at pains to establish these credentials or else has others such as the “Right Rev. [name temporarily withheld – JB] D.D.”presenting his credentials for him. In order to hedge his bets either way and to provide additional insurance for his catholic ambitions, however, the Holy Father declared in addition that “rather than relying on ‘apostolic succession’” the E.G.C. in the O.T.O. would rely for its basis on the succession of the office of “Frater Superior,” which post-Crowleian office Breeze as Hymenæus Betaalso holds. Furthermore, his magical philosophy bore a remarkable resemblance to Peter J. Carroll’s “Chaos”magical approach of “fakit ’til you make it” when he added, immediately following the preceding passage,

[…] the belief that you were something could become a surrogate for the training and aspiration necessary to actually become something.

In other words, merely believing oneself to be a Bishop or an Ipsissimus (à la Carroll) might preclude the need to do any of the work necessary to reach such an exalted state of being.

The nebulous Gnostic Catholic Church is, and was, a shadowy, ill-defined body which never had an executive, pontiff-style leader before Tau Silenus – Father William – assumed the rôle, and within it, Crowley himself was only ever another “wandering bishop”, if that. Nor have the Church’s connections with the O.T.O. ever been clearly ratified, with the issue as obscure in Crowley’s day as it was previously in Reuss’s. In Thelemic terms, Crowley saw its main – in reality, its sole – purpose of existence as being loosely responsible for the performance of its only rite: the “Gnostic Mass” (Liber XV), which he composed especially for the purpose in 1913, and which was described in Confessions as:

[…] the central ceremony of its [the O.T.O.’spublic and private celebrations, corresponding to the Mass of the

Roman Catholic Church. […]

The Gnostic Mass today (with its concomitant revisions duly authorised by the current Patriarch), although a moving and beautiful pageant when performed well with joy and beauty, is of limited usefulness as a device of transubstantiation, with the length of the service and elaborate preparations necessary for its ceremonial tending to work against the benefits received, which are no different in quality (and certainly no better) than those gained through other simulated or real sex-magickal acts, or through an individual‘s raising of kundalini or their yogic practice of, say, pranayamaMoreover, the enactment of the rite tends to favour those who consciously or unconsciously indulge themselves in drawing the pomp and circumstance out of a drama to the discomfiture of their audience, in preference to those who simply want to get to the heart of the ceremonialas directly as possible; so much so that if just one of the officers – the Deacon, for example – proves to be amateurish and inept, then she or he willmanage to ruin the whole atmosphere and the magick for everybody. Nor in the plague-conscious ‘Nineties can anyone aparfrom the “cook” ever be entirely sure that the natural ingredients in the communal Cakes oLight have been properly prepared to the minimum satisfactory standards of hygiene health and safety one would hope to expect.

As a measure of its effectiveness, Crowley seems to have neither performed in nor attended a full Gnostic Mass at any time since his Abbey of Thelema at Cefalù in the early 1920s – if then. Quite possibly he found other more effective ways of employing his time. This notwithstanding, Breeze has solemnly declared (in the same long Link piece referred to earlier) that “Iam totally committed to making the Gnostic Catholic Church a fit vehicle for the religious expression of Thelema.” (In a non-absolutist universe, and in the aftermath of Waco, Jonestown, etc., one is of course automatically suspicious of anyone – but especially a religious leader – who formally declares him or herself to be “totally”anything: totalitarianism being the bane and reversal of civilization, relativity and Thelema itself.) To this end, Breeze then speedily suppressed the free speech of the late Rusty Sporer’s “heretical” Gnostic Catholic Church quarterly fanzine (gnamed the Gnostic Gnewsfor politely daring to have the effrontery to suggest that E.G.C. members might wish to engage in practices outside the direction of the O.T.O. – by which was meant, gnaturally, the “Caliphornian”O.T.O. under Hymenæus Beta; as the Gnews’ penultimate edition for Summer 1989 (Vol. 1, No. 3) boldly declared:

[…] for the most part the Bishop(s) who form(s) a local church must make the decisions about how it will be administered. Some Bishops may do best by running their own organizations, while other Bishops (especially in areas of high concentration) may do best by forming a local “synod” to manage church affairs.  Whatever best fits your situation should be achievable under the liberal statutes of the O.T.O.’s Bylaws.  [!] In any event such local organizations must be in accord with the Church’s spirit of religious freedom; no Bishop or group of Bishops can ever claim “jurisdiction” over all the Gnostic Catholics within their territory.

§ It seems clear to me that our current Patriarch is adopting an ecclesiastical role of primus inter pares rather than that of “infallible” pope, which means that the day-to-day growth and continuation of the Order’s branch of Gnostic Catholicism is more than ever the responsibility of each Bishop who is a living transmitter of this particular lineage. [… My italics]

This was either a masterpiece of understated subversion and insurrection or else an astonishingly wide-eyed and innocent hope that self-determination would rule the day.  Either way, Rusty must   clearly have somehow gotten wind of a strong stench of disapproval in the air because, on the front page of the next (and terminal) edition of Gnostic Gnews for Autumn 1989 (which must have been almost completed when he added it) the following balm was hastily administered under the bold and underlined heading of “DISCLAIMER”:


The contents of the articles found in this work are those of the writer and do not necessarily express the official opinion or the policy of Ordo Templi Orientis. These opinions are exactly that: OPINIONS. [sic]

§ The staff is not responsible for any possible conflicts between the opinions found in differing articles.

§ We welcome any comments.

But even this palliative was too late to save the doomed Church organ from the waxing wroth of “Father William” Breeze, an “ecclesiastical” figure apparently much in the mould of Old Jehovah and who, like that demiurge himself, far from seeking to encourage any independent thinking or liberty of expression, preferred instead to stamp {out} events with the mark of his own personality. By papal edict – or rather, O.T.O. By-Law – never again could anyone just “wander off” and become made a Bishop without Father William’s own personal say-so. Never again could anybody in the E.G.C. congregation, anywhere, become ordained a Bishop without first becoming one of the chosen few VIIosin the “Caliphornian” O.T.O.; nor be a Priest or Priestess who was not otherwise a Fourth Degree in that august assembly.  Prometheus, Breeze certainly was not. His word, like the word of God, was final; and in The Magical Link for Winter 1990, like Jehovah with much wailing & gnashing of teeth and peevish righteous indignation (and arguably with a certain measure of transference also), he smote thus with vengeance most terrible against the wayward children of his flock:

I have lost patience with a few recent manifestations of the EGC, for which I am doubtless responsible. Some are absurd and thus easily identifiable, e .g. egocentric personality-cults that go on endlessly about the importance of their apostolic successions and dress up as Roman Catholic prelates. Otherhave grave consequences for others, such as the thoughtless consecration of bishops without training or preparation by either partyand without the knowledge of the Frater Superior [of the C.O.T.O.]. I cannot recognize such consecrations, as they harm [sic] the bishop, the candidate, and the Order generally by interfering with OTO organizational work. This trend has been fueled by OTO’s sponsorship of a newsletter exclusively devoted to EGC studies, the Gnostic Gnews, which in spite of itself came to create a growing consciousness of the EGC as something apart from OTO, the very opposite of what was intended…

Speaking from my own personal experience, the edifice of the E.G.C. today is of negligible value and has, as Breeze himself correctly touched upon, manifested itself in the main as would-be prelates sanctimoniously swanning around in their vestments and regalia in the belief that they are holier-than-thou. If Thelemites wish to perform the Mass, it is not necessary for them to await ex cathedradispensation from on high or to have a regulatory body’s authorisation in order to do so – far less that of a would-be almighty and all-powerful “Church”co-existent with and under the direct control of the political “State” of the Caliphornian O.T.O.It is not expedient to go into what appears to be an unnecessary and irrelevant sideline any more deeply, other than to remark that while the E.G.C.’s many disadvantages are clearly apparent, no useful advantage whatsoever appears to be served by it apart from that of being a social club for the congregation – but then that function is already amply catered for by the quasi/ would-be masonic (Caliphornian) O.T.O…

Notwithstanding unnecessarily lengthy, weighted towards the “Caliphornian” O.T.O./ A.’. A.’. and atimes pedantic “prolegomena” from Breeze/ Hymenæus Beta, the C.O.T.O. has produced through donations, “royalties”, and the help of members’ funds on the whole scholastically competent and occasionally aesthetically satisfying editions of Crowley’s work.58 It has also transcribed key Thelemic texts onto information technology which have the associated additional advantages of index-linking and cross-referencing through a data base.  This achievement is probably the “Caliphornian”’s strongest suit, along with the research which is of necessity involved with it – and in my opinion is the only valid reason for this “O.T.O.” to exist.  (Some people may also count what has more or less ended up as a large series of social clubs “doing” magick of varying quality: but where the magick fails to outweigh the socialisation aspects, as it generally does, I do not.) There is just one proviso involved here: that in this rôle the C.O.T.O. does other Thelemites – and those not necessarily “Caliphornian” members – a genuine act of service by making these researches widely available at zero or reasonable cost, and without interfering with the rights of others to do similarly. (In one sense this means abandoning any claims whatsoever to the Crowley copyrights, which after all in the final reckoning are religio-philosophical writings meant to be appreciated and enjoyed by everybody in the public domain who has the ability to do so – for just as “The Law” is for all, so too by extension are all the words of its Prophet, whether they be written on subway walls, in tenement halls, or on beautiful paper made by hand.) If by doing this the C.O.T.O. succeed in establishing for themselves a reputation for excellence, then people will naturally gravitate towards their products as a matter of course; if on the other hand they are inferior, these same people will go elsewhere for their Thelemic materials and must be allowed to have the freedom and the opportunity of so doing.

58 However G.M. Kelly was unusually perceptive when he wrote that:

“It seems obvious to me that [Breeze’s] real and perhaps only interest is to publish Crowley’s works and by so doing ride Crowley’s coattails to gratify his petty ego. We may all, to some small degree, benefit from this by acquiring Crowleyana, but in point of fact Breeze and the Caliphate gang RESTRICTS more information than they make available, and of course, while Breeze and company are making this small amount of material available they are forever, or at least for many decades to come, further tarnishing the memory of Aleister Crowley and the reputation of Thelema, thwarting the natural and healthy growth of a philosophy so badly needed in the world today. The trade off is not acceptable….

§ … The foundation [of the “Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o.”] is rotten and so it cannot support the hopes and dreams that many sincere but misguided students put into it. § Nothing has changed in all these years.  It is as rotten as ever. Bill Breeze cannot make it all betterIn fact, it is quite obvious that the Caliphate gang and Thelema are only important to him as vehicles for his ego. Aleister Crowley is the Tree of Knowledge and individuals such as Breeze and his gang are merely the parasitic growths that attach themselves to the mighty, suck them dry and grow fat on the efforts of another ….” (Encyclical Letter, dated Independence Day 1996 E.V.)>

The C.O.T.O. has also produced so far (just the) one original and innovative instructional paper for initiates, “Liber MCLI” by Jim Graeb, one of the McMurtry IXoofficers – “being the requirements of Minerval to III° in study and work in O.T.O. as it has manifested under the Caliph”As the then-C.O.T.O. Secretary Lola de Wolfe remarked in The Magickal Link dated January 1983: “[…] It is not possible for those of us at [C.O.T.O.] Grand Lodge to know all the people who are being initiated to higher degrees are in fact qualified [My italics]- i.e., that they have memorized the rituals and know the work as outlined in Liber MCLI…”For the Minerval (0°) Study Programme, the paper outlined the following practices and studies that the Order required for the Minerval term. A formal examination was required in these matters though a perfect score was not considered necessary – would that it were, since compared with some of Crowley’s similar set A.’. A.’. tasks the test was not too arduous at all! – before advancement to the Io was given.  During the course of his or her “probation”, the Minerval had to:

1.  Study THE BOOK OF THE LAW.  Memorization of the first Chapter is suggested. This may be done a verse a day, with review at intervals – thats often the easy way.

2.  Keep a daily journal or Magical Diary.

3.  Practice LIBER RESH daily.

4.  Become proficient in the Lesser Pentagram Banishing Ritual – twice daily use is wise.

5.  Do “Will” at the beginning of the main meal of the day.


7.  Keep in touch!

This was followed by a seven point I° Study Program which outlined the practices and studies which were required, with the same kind of examination as a pre-condition of advancement as the previous time:

1.  Continue and elaborate the practices and studies of the Minerval Program. All are important.

2.  Select and become proficient in aleast one of the following: LIBER XXV, LIBER XLIV, LIBER V or LIBER DCCC (Liber Samekh).

3.  Begin or continue a particular study in one of the followingQabalahDivination, Yoga, Astral Workings or a like discipline.

4.  Perform some work that will endure beyond your own physical lifetimewrite and be publishedspeak in public, produce a work of art, have and nurture a child or perform some similar work that will pass beyond your own mind, and beyond the minds of your immediate associates.

5.  Perform some ,work for the benefit of your Brothers and Sisters in the Orderprovide time and work in organization, correspond with isolated initiates, share your insights, volunteer for specific needed tasks within your abilities or perform some other service needed by the Order.

6.  Join with fellow initiates in a Chapter, Lodge, or other group of the Order.

7.  Analyze your magical diary from some definite point of view; e.g. endeavour to determine the point at which virtue becomes vice, as: sympathy degenerating into pity, advice into meddling, temperance into apathyexcellence into illusion, gentleness into shallowness and like mattersRecord your findings in your diary with both theoretical views and actual examples from your daily life.

Following a similar structure, the II° also had to carry out the Study Program for that degree satisfactorily before she or he was permitted to advance to the III°:

1.  Continue with the Minerval and First Degree programsAll are important.

2.  Learn and become proficient in the following:

A. Liber Reguli.

B. Perform in at least one group ritual.

C. Create and perform an original ritual.

D. Maintain a diary record of ritual workings.

3.  Memorize the following columns from Liber 777I, IIIllVII, XIV, XV, XVI, LIV, L VCLXXIX, and at least two others of your choice.

4.  Learn and become familiar with some part of the tradition or history othe O.T.O. and the signsgrips and words of the 0° through II°.

5.  Begin a general study of all of these fieldsspecializing in one in greater depth:



C. Qabalah.

D. Tarot.

E. Yoga.

F. Another field of study approved by your Initiator.

(A recommended reading list will be provided). [Never provided –J.B.]

6.  Take responsibility for some task that directly benefits our Order. With the III° the candidate should possess an ability to function as part of the Order in official capacities.

7.   Meditate on your heart Chakra.

The final Study Program, given for the III°, broke the mould. Initiates were told to:

Prepare your own program, AFTER you have received the Third Degree. The program must have seven pointsmust include the previous programs in point one and must end with poin7Meditate on your third eye.

Model your plan on the earlier cirricula [sic] and submit it to your initiator and the Grand Lodge of O.T.O..

After your program has been approved, proceed.

The leadership of the C.O.T.O. saw fit to withdraw the recommendations of “Liber MCLI” several years ago with the result that iis no longer in general practice as an effective means of “quality control”This was an unfortunate move to the detrimenof the overall calibre of its membership, and lacking in any sense behind it. Although every man and woman of full age and good report has an indefeasible right to the first three degrees, there would have been a benefit in implementing these tasks for those that wished to do so (given that Crowley observed that mastery of neither Yoga nor Magick were taught in the Order “for some very strange reason”, and that all “’training”is of a “Masonic”type59)with perhaps an appropriate distinction being to have had 0° – III° initiations “on demand” or “cum laude/ with honours”As an alternative, the Magical Link for June 1986 proposed that

[…] Considerable work is in process, targeted for completion bthe end of the year [!], for providing more extensive and detailed training in the Man [sic] of Earth degrees.

< 59 From the letter headed “Morality (2)” in Magick Without Tears.  However, in Spring 1992 it was announced in The Magical Linkthat study guides “for degrees from 0° through to K.R.E. [IVo]have been prepared by the [C.O.T.O.] Grand Secretary General” which would be revised and reissued periodicallyAt time of writing none of these had been made available to initiates in Europe.>

Needless to say (in the U.K., at any rate) close on ten years later this “more extensive and detailed training” has still to materialize. Irrespective of its O.T.Odegree-oriented type structure, “Liber MCLI” is nevertheless not without its use and value aa first guide or primer for approaching and working with Liber ALMagick in Theory and Practic%