Why I left the OTO

97
274

The golden spiral staircase at the AGO, photo by Ian MuttooBy 2010 I’d been a practicing magician for some 15 years. I’d explored Paganism, Satanism, chaos magick, ceremonial magick, various forms of divination, and so on. I underwent the Abramelin ritual and was underwhelmed by the results. I felt I’d gotten as far as I could on my own, and I wanted to meet with people who were dealing with the same challenges I was. People I could talk to face-to-face, and share coffee with. I wanted to really feel like part of a community — an offline community. Much as I loved the online communities I’d found (the zee-list, chaoskaos, alt.magick.*, Irreality, etc.), I need to find people I could see. People I could learn from.

Whatever else I think of Aleister Crowley, I believe he was an exceptional magician, and many of his books remain the best ever written on practical magick. The Ordo Templi Orientis, the order he entrusted his legacy to, seemed a likely choice. I got in contact with my local lodge, and, after some months, finally met with representatives from that lodge at a pub. They seemed like good folk, and, after a few more months, I was in.1

I attended lectures on tarot,2 kabbalah, the so-called Western Esoteric Tradition, and Thelemic theory. The instructors were knowledgeable, funny and kind. Great people, really. I was happy to pay dues, and glad to feel like I was joining a community of people with similar, if not perfectly aligned, interests.

Months later I underwent my Minerval initiation. I diligently avoided reading up on it prior to, and the experience was appropriately spooky. We had a feast, some wine, and a chat about the wonderful things in store for the new initiates.

Our classes became more focused on Thelemic magical theory as the OTO sees it. The Gnostic Mass was presented as the OTO’s central rite — understand its symbolism was key to unlocking the secrets of magick itself. And this is where I began to run into problems.

Ok, I know Crowley often went on misogynist rants, and was unapologetically sexist, but we’re in the 21st century now — long out of the backward Edwardian ideals that informed these perspectives, surely? Well, maybe not, it turns out. Ok, so the OTO hasn’t inducted a new female saint in a while. And sure, most of the literature remains written by men. But there’s been some progression. At least female initiates are no longer called “Man and Brother,” right?3

It’s no secret4 that in the Gnostic Mass, this central rite, involves a (fully dressed) priest, a (usually naked) woman on the altar, a simulation of hetero sex initiated by the priest, and a simulation of fellatio performed by the priestess. There’s a lot more involved — more people, more symbolism, magick words, all that great stuff — but these two roles are fixed. A woman may never serve as the priest, and a man may never lay upon the altar. When I asked about that, the instructor burst out laughing, “What, with some dude’s dong on the altar?” He was amused and horrified in equal parts.

I should stress that I don’t hold this lodge at fault, nor, necessarily, its members. They’re passing along the tradition as it’s given to them. Ok, they weren’t challenging it — true — but they didn’t invent it. They made it clear that any deviations in the performance of the Gnostic Mass meant it was no longer an OTO rite. This was it. I could learn to accept it, or leave.

Over the next few months, further explorations of these mysteries revealed equally rigid views on the (few) roles permitted to women, and they were almost always passive. If you didn’t identify as a Scarlet Woman, a Whore of Babalon, there wasn’t much room for you in the temple. I found this incredibly frustrating. It made no sense biologically, and even less sense magically. Questions about gender fluidity, intersex, trans* and other non-cis-, non-binary, non-hetero identified people were met with incomprehension. Try as I might, I couldn’t reconcile the official OTO stance on gender essentialism and the restrictive boundaries it policed with reality. So, I left.

I sent a formal email outlining why I felt the OTO wasn’t the right place for me, which wasn’t met with a response. About a year later I received a letter from HQ welcoming me  as a Minerval, which I disregarded.

I guess I shouldn’t haven been surprised. Crowley repeatedly describes Thelema as a solar-phallic cult, and The Book of the Law doesn’t have much going on for its goddess — the primary figures are all designated as male, but, still, I expected more. I had hoped with the progress that’s been made over the past 40 years with LGBTQ* rights that there’d be some reflection of that in the order. With the progress feminism has made, and still struggles with, I though there’d be more consideration for diversity. I expected the religion (or philosophy or whatever you want to call it) would have evolved over the past hundred years. But it hasn’t. Magick might be about change, but Thelema’s imagery and understanding of its central mysteries remain in stasis.

That was four years ago. From what I can see, nothing has changed. The OTO remains uncompromising on the roles permitted to women, and all but silent on other (non-dude) designations.

Meanwhile, I’m still looking for community.

Image credit: Ian Muttoo

Footnotes:

  1. Or, you know, kind of in. On the way to being in. []
  2. By this point I’d actually taught classes on tarot myself, but it was interesting to hear from an “official” OTO perspective. []
  3. Though there are those in the order who begrudge even this small concession. Google it. []
  4. The Gnostic Mass has its own entry on Wikipedia. []

97 COMMENTS

  1. Heya,

    I’m not overly sure why a lot of what you said seems like a bad thing. The whole groups polarity thing (positive/negative, light/dark, giving/receiving) is spelled out in the Gnostic Mass. A man would not sit on the altar because the Priestess becomes Nuit and is thus the ultimate receptive force in the universe. The priest becomes Hadit and thus the ultimate spark/giver whatever. Together they become the universe in miniature. This is symbolized by a penis/vagina, yoni/lingam, spear/chalice etc etc.

    It simply does not make sense in the course of the ritual to change them.

    Besides that, “The Book of the Law doesn’t have much going on for its goddess — the primary figures are all designated as male, but, still, I expected more.” I can’t say you’re more wrong. The first person to speak is Nuit. All rituals and love are done unto her. The priestess becomes her. Babylon, the other goddess, is seen as the pathway back to re-union with the whole. Both Goddesses are absolutely and utterly essential, beloved and powerful.

    Besides that you have the male dieties Hadit and Ra-Hoor-Khuit/Harpocrates. It’s really rather balanced.

    Anyway, your choice is your own but seeing that you did not even make it to the rank of Minerval (the very first rank) prior to leaving shows, to me at least, that you did not really do any research and that’s a shame. Just please don’t misrepresent.

    • You don’t seem to have read this very closely, or understood the reason I wrote it, and perhaps that’s a failing of mine. That said, I’ve explained my position, and you haven’t offered anything to counter it, except that you feel it suits your limitations. But biology isn’t that cut and dry, and in my experience, neither is magick.

      What is it you feel I’m misrepresenting?

  2. This is a great essay and one of my criticisms of it as well. There are some people who have compared the Caliphate practice to Shaivite Tantra and the Typhonian to Shakti in that it is much more female centric and based on Females being the active principal.

    Haviung just completed a book on Sex Sorcery, this is all very fresh in my head.

  3. Hi all,

    I think it’s very sad you had such a poor experience with the OTO. As a female member, and Secretary to a local Body, I can say for definite this would not have been the case on my watch.
    Crowley’s writing was a product of its time – he had inherited wealth and didn’t need to work, for the larger part of his life women didn’t even have the vote. In that respect, his inclusion of women in any way is commendable, and would at the time have been a departure indeed from the status quo, and thereby challenging social norms.
    As far as 21st century OTO goes – and I can only speak for my own experience and not the Order’s official stance – as members we have discussed at length the issues faced by LGBT members with regard to the Gnostic Mass, and quite simply are agreed that any such member should be allowed to perform a role in Mass which best befits the gender with which they identify primarily. This is about energy, polarity, receptivity, drive towards that goal. So a gay guy who identifies with female qualities more than male in his psyche would be welcome to priestess at Gnostic Mass with us. And so on.
    When people get so fixated on the sex business, they forget utterly that energy and magick transcend gender, and in actual fact it’s the flow of energy from Hadit to be at one with Nuit that we illustrate in Mass. In this case it’s represented by masculine and feminine, because it was written at a time when that was how it would be seen symbolically. It’s symbolic, that’s the point – but any group of people is allowed to choose its boundaries and definitions, so I think it’s OK for the OTO to choose to retain masculine and feminine, to keep Crowley’s work intact.
    It’s a matter for the individual if they wish to approach an organisation, knowing that’s the choice that has been made, and that’s how the rituals are run. Rituals that make many happy are not likely to be changed to please one or two. But it’s sad that the people involved did not enter into fair dialogue and at least try to be more welcoming and inclusive towards you. That is the main 21st century issue, and in my view, that behaviour was not acceptable. I hope you have better success with other groups you try to join, good luck!

    • Thanks for your response, Krissy. It’s great to see someone actually engaging with the issues, and it’s wonderful that you’re able to do so as a representative of the order.

      I should be clear, I didn’t have a bad experience — the people at my local lodge were wonderful — my difficulty was with the system itself, and the way it’s been coded. Frankly, the gender essentialism doesn’t make any sense.

      I feel I should also mention that women magicians weren’t exactly new in Crowley’s time. There were numerous prominent women on the scene, such as Maud Gonne, Moina Bergson Mathers, Annie Horniman, Florence Farr, Helena Blavatsky, Pamela Colman Smith, Ida Craddock, Maria de Naglowska, and so on. I don’t see much of a departure in his inclusion of women in the OTO. It’s certainly not progressive, at least, not any more so than what was already going on in the Golden Dawn and co-masonry. The defined gender roles are a step back, if anything.

      Again, thanks for your comments, but I still see a problem with the gender essentialism you’re describing here. What if a member is intersex? Genderqueer? Agender? What if they don’t fit this rigid party line, as so many don’t? This polarity doesn’t make sense on a biological level, never mind a magical one and I don’t understand the reason it’s clung to so desperately. It’s beyond outdated — you’ve already described several ill-fitting scenarios where the OTO is forcing the issue.

      People become fixated on “the sex business” because it’s fundamental to the order and its understanding of magick and the way it’s taught. I don’t see how one can escape that within the confines of the system? If the symbols are no longer deemed effective — culturally, biologically, psychically — why continue with them?

      • I guess… because we choose to.

        And everyone has the right to choose.

        I choose this because it suits me. Others who don’t find it suits, don’t join. But actually that’s OK.

        If it’s more deep than that, I’m afraid you’ll have to consult the Electoral College as I’m only a second degree, and my debate tactics are sadly lacking. I must reiterate, I cannot speak for the official stance of the order on this.

        It’s a fact that no-one can please all the people all the time, I’m sure any organisation faces issues of one sort or another, and ultimately they just have to say “sorry but no”. It sounds like that’s how it panned out in this case.

        Maybe it’s time to start a group yourself?

        xx

        • I guess I just don’t find that a very satisfying answer. I wonder how long that will suffice for those already in the order, and those considering joining.

          Thanks, but I don’t have the temperament to start a group myself, and I think there are quite enough out there already. Spiral Nature has been a place for dialogue for nearly 14 years, and being the editor of this site is about the extent of my organizational ambitions.

          • So, you can’t find a group that mirrors your views.. But a friendly suggestion to start your own group you shutter at? You would like an established group to change their working system so you can feel better about partaking in the rituals? The world needs more leaders just saying

    • But what about those of us who do not “identify primarily” as either male or female? all your discussions leave us out.

      The fact that you think it would take “a gay guy” to identify with the role of priestess indicates that you have very outdated and inaccurate ideas about gender and sexual orientation.

      If the OTO’s goal was “to keep Crowley’s work intact”, the gender policy would not exist, as in his own magical work Crowley considered gender roles to be very fluid and mere costume.

    • “So a gay guy who identifies with female qualities more than male in his psyche would be welcome to priestess at Gnostic Mass with us”

      As far as I know, doing this as an EGC Mass under the auspices of the OTO is a good way to get your local body shut down if Grand Lodge finds out. Unless the policy has changed very recently, which I doubt, if you allow this you are in violation of your charter.

      For the record, I think this *should* be allowed, but last time I checked OTO does not.

      • Thanks for your comment! That was my understanding as well, and it was presented to me as something that came from higher up the chain. That confirmation helps.

  4. Hi Krissy and “Psyche”,

    I greet you with 94 and not 93 because, for me, it’s the one step further that needs to be taken regarding precisely this issue.
    It is not a common behavior for an O.T.O. body to discuss gender issues and to accept the gender variations during an official representation of the Mass, but I am SUPER glad that at least one place grabs it by the balls to do it like this.
    I feel the same way about the Order, though I joined back in 1998 and have gone a longer way than you. It is said that the ways are open to the women in the same way they are to men, but I haven’t seen a proposition for a OHO as a woman, for example, and I feel not only that the central ritual doesn’t represent the gender variations (understanding that you don’t need gender essentialism to make an astral/magickal baby) as it denies it. What I find is more of the same, people refusing the new aeon ideas strongly, a boys club and either you accept this as a woman or you don’t. I found limitation also. I haven’t found much space for discussing important stuff like: rape culture, gender essentialism, new aeon structures, sexual harassment. And the structure is extremely patriarchal. It feels like people are blind to it. I don’t think the O.T.O. is attractive to gender queers… Now Crowley… I guess he could have been a feminist in the way that he believed women should have the same rights. But in his personal relationships he practiced the opposite of what he preached, which is a model followed to this day and other guys find it very amusing, apparently (during the stories of how he treated his women I always heard guys laughs). “Just a cup” is not something I want to be. As a child of the new Aeon, I want to be WHOLE, both. It’s the mixture of the two and, therefor, everything — or nothing. This is where I think the O.T.O. fails Thelema and Thelema fails the 2014 world. I am writing an essay in Portuguese about this, but I need more sources. I would be glad if any of you would keep private contact with me.

    Kisses Kisses,

    Alex.

    • Thanks, Alex! 94, cute, I like it!

      A number of people have contacted me off-site about this, and from what I’ve been hearing, what you’re saying is pretty common, and has lead quite a few women (and men — and others) away from the order. It’s unfortunate.

      Before I left, a friend suggested staying and seeing what could be done from within, but it felt fundamentally flawed, and that didn’t sit right with me. I’m curious what enticed you to stay? Or maybe that’s better said elsewhere? I’ll drop you a line.

  5. 93 – The roles are fixed for public celebrations of the Mass. In private masses, can and have switched. I’ve seen it a few times. We have quite a few LGBTQI members (and allies thereof), yet we still strictly adhere, for public masses, to the roles as designated as that is our Tradition, for various reasons. Its unfortunate you had a bad experience but one camp/oasis/lodge does not the OTO make.

  6. […] My friend Psyche discusses the issues around gender essentialism in their time with the OTO, and why… As many people know, I recently was part of a panel on queer and gender queer magick, so I’ve found Psyche’s experience with the OTO interesting and relatable to a lot of my issues around rigid binaries. It’s not without hope though, a few commenters said that not all OTO bodies hold to rigid physical sex and gender prescriptions with the roles in ritual, and allow people to move between them based on what the identify with or feel at that time, which is great to read. […]

  7. I completely understand why you left OTO. I am a 1st degree member at the lodge in Philadelphia and I have reservations about OTO also. The problem with the OTO is that they have gotten away from Crowley’s original vision of the OTO being a meeting place for magicians. The current leaders of the OTO have tied themselves to the EGC and tried to make a new Gnostic religion or OTO church. I told a bishop from Baltimore if he wanted to be a bishop why didn’t he stay in the christian church. We have a new lodge master in Philly and we are trying to get back to the original vision of a meeting place and trying to cut down on the Mass rituals. Crowley only wrote the Mass ritual for german OTO lodges, he did not intend to make it the centerpiece of the OTO. As far as I know, I heard from another member who researched the origins of the Mass that Crowley never even did a Mass Ritual himself. At the Philly lodge we are now doing teaching Magick and ritual work for newcomers and anyone else who wants to learn.
    93
    Bob

    • 93 – Your post is riddled with inaccuracies which I will put down to incomplete scholarship rather than malice.

      “The problem with the OTO is that they have gotten away from Crowley’s original vision of the OTO being a meeting place for magicians.”

      This was never Crowley’s vision for the OTO. There are plentiful quotations from him about it, let alone the founding documents in the Blue Equinox, and it is clear that (a) he wanted the Gnostic Mass to be the rite of a new religion as part of the new church EGC and (b) he wanted OTO to be a fraternal organization to spread Thelema in the world.

      “The current leaders of the OTO have tied themselves to the EGC and tried to make a new Gnostic religion or OTO church.”

      No, that was Crowley. There are plentiful quotations where he essentially says the Mass is intended for this purpose, and the EGC is simply the ecclesiastical arm of OTO which administers this rite.

      “I told a bishop from Baltimore if he wanted to be a bishop why didn’t he stay in the christian church.”

      That shows you have a really poor understanding of what being a Bishop means and that you are hung up on words rather than what they mean.

      “Crowley only wrote the Mass ritual for german OTO lodges, he did not intend to make it the centerpiece of the OTO.”

      That is entirely false. He said very clearly it was the central rite of OTO of its public and private celebration. He is unequivocal about it and I dare say you havent bothered to even do your own research if you believe what you are saying.

      “As far as I know, I heard from another member who researched the origins of the Mass that Crowley never even did a Mass Ritual himself.”

      That is correct, although he did portions of it at the Abbey of Cefalu and encouraged Agape Lodge in America very strongly to perform the Mass regularly. You should stop listening to what you hear from others and simply look these things up – you can start with OTO’s website which documents this history very clearly, let alone things like ‘The Unknown God’ which details Crowley’s involvement with trying to get the Mass regular at Agape Lodge.

      “At the Philly lodge we are now doing teaching Magick and ritual work for newcomers and anyone else who wants to learn.”

      That’s nice, but it is not the OTO’s main function according to its mission statement now nor its founding documents such as Liber LII, Liber CI, Liber 194, etc. It is the promulgation of the Law. Do yourself a favor and do your own research.

      • If read enough Crowley, you can find quotes to argue and support pretty much any position. He wrote a lot, and he wasn’t always consistent, but thanks for clarifying these points.

        That said, I don’t know that getting caught up in trivia is necessarily helpful, and it rather gets away from the central arguments of the essay.

        What are your thoughts on the gender binary and the polarities as described by the OTO? In your experience, do you find this is an accurate representation of human sexuality in magical practice? Do you think it makes sense that it remain the same, given our evolving understanding of gender identity and sexuality?

        • 93 – I only wanted to correct the many errors in his posting – apologies if it is too far off topic.

          Gender binaries/polarities are basically a magical thing that represents the polarities within oneself. Magically, this is portrayed by male and female – at least in the Gnostic Mass. It is equivalent to looking at an alchemical diagram of male/king and female/queen – the symbolism of that would be lost or different if otherwise depicted. The Mass is not a statement on how one should approach or understand gender or sexuality. Further, as you probably know, the Mass can be celebrated privately (still officially) with the gender roles switched, or whatever else.

          There are plenty of non-cis-gendered males in OTO, I know a quite a few of them, and it is accepting of them. Its doctrine is Do what thou wilt which means people should find and express who they really are. That’s really what it comes down to.

    • Thanks for your response, Bob!

      The OTO can be a great teaching vehicle, but it seems to best serve cis-gendered men. Which is fine, I suppose, but it’s going to continue to alienate those who fall outside those parameters.

    • It isn’t the centerpiece of the OTO, it is just the public ritual. I guess you didn’t get further enough or people didn’t think you were advanced enough to invite you to the private rituals

  8. In all earnesty, why do you expect someone else to adjust their group to your twisted expectations? If you want an order/ fraternity to be more accepting of a certain group, regardless of what it is, you should be rallying that group (in this case non-normatively-gender-identifying individuals), instead of hissing about how oppressive the order is.

    The point being, you seem to expect women to be handed higher degree/ influential spots just because they’re women. And that doesn’t work. Everything has to be earned, and that is the reality we live in. If you don’t like this, too bad, deal with it; there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

    • From what you’ve written, I’m going to assume that you’ve skimmed the essay rather than read it with attention.

      The order does accept women and non-binary identified people as members, but it doesn’t permit them equal representation or status, as you can see from the comments of other order members above. Every man and woman may be a star, but not in the Gnostic Mass, and not as taught by the OTO in magical theory and practice. That’s just the way it is, and they’re not interested in changing that. Ok then. I’m pointing to it as the specific reason I left the OTO. There are other reasons people leave — that was mine.

      I don’t expect women or other gender categories to be awarded higher degrees or influential spots based on gender (where’d you get that??), but I do expect them to be treated as equals with cis-gendered straight men within the order. That doesn’t seem like much of a stretch, does it?

  9. I really haven’t seen many people challenging the gender-roles question you’ve asked them in regards to your original post or replies… Which is kinda worrying me because I am transgender F-T-M and I am very interested in becoming a member of the OTO but I am pre-transitioned, and am worried about how I’ll be treated — if I even get accepted at all. It makes me really sad, because I too would love a community to join, especially one centered around Crowley’s teachings, and yet… Much is left to be desired, it seems.

    I’m not trashing any OTO groups or anything like that, I’m just very concerned. I’m not an object of sexual pleasure or deviant fantasies, I’m just me and I love magick. It’s a tough call for me right now.

    • Unfortunately I don’t have any answers on that, and it seems I’ve scared off anyone else who might comment further. Best of luck to you though!

  10. Is not ‘Nuit’ a female goddess, and the the central one in Thelema, at that? Hardly fair to criticize Thelema for “not having much going on for its goddess”…

    • I think we’re talking about two different things here: Thelema and the OTO, one can be a practicing Thelemite without belonging to the OTO.

      That said, Nuit has a pretty specific role, whereas the numerous male gods named inevitably have more expanded and individualistic roles.

      Nuit is an abstraction, an erotic figure, a mother and a provider. Her entire being is reflected in how she serves or reflects others. Hardly subversive stuff. Very old aeon, really.

  11. While Thelema is pretty much accepts any sexual practice including bestiality “The Pennsylvanian and his Pig”, even rape is excused in some cases “Rome was founded there upon” and murder of unfaithful partners in the potential case of “particularly violent Wills”. The only stimulation being that the sexual act be “Unto Nuit”. (Which basically seems to mean that the act is so overwhelming that self is dissolved to a high degree and unity with the transcendent is achieved.

    However, at this does not mean that Thelema should actively support bestiality, rape, or murder through it’s institutions. The same is true of what you call “Non-cis gender”. The order may accept that these things happen as part of the cosmos, but OTO was not organized to be some sort of “Progressive” platform to normalize and promote these sorts of deviations from the norm.

    In fact OTO was organized according to blue equinox around very conservative principles and Feudalism. With initiated Priest-kings, Warrior knights and private communities, men of Earth similar to serfs. Promoting the high class, not the “progressive values” that support degenerate, drug addiction, and radical equality of the common low class mob.

  12. Seems like you have run into a common system in this world. A system that is flawed because the men who design them don’t take into account the individual as they are. A religious bureaucracy that functions as a hierarchy must alienate the individual to conform to its doctrine. Fortunately, there is the ability to not conform, to resist these legalistic institutions. The greatest example: Jesus. Don’t follow the Pharisees, don’t submit yourself to a religion, follow him who came to abolish them and created for mankind the ability to resist the powers, (through genuine love for the “other”).

  13. I found this article because I’m someone that people would label as a “transsexual woman”. I’ve been having difficulty reconciling a few things, but regardless of what I have going on internally, the order has shown no problem with me eventually taking on the Priestess role if it is my Will to do so.

    My understanding of the Mass and Thelema and the Book of the Law is constantly changing as it unfolds to me in a fractal way. Wile I still have difficulty finding a place, I can say that there is at least one wonderful homosexual man who I respect a great deal in my local body who has advanced in degrees much further than I probably will in my own lifetime. Personally, as far as my sexuality goes anyway, I don’t really see a problem. I am open to engaging in sexuality with all kinds of body types regardless of their genitals and regardless of who I do it with, I am most comfortable and feel the most congruent in the bottom or submissive position.

    I will admit firstly and foremostly that I am only a 1st degree so far and my understanding of the Mass is limited. That said, it seems to me that the mass is primarily about being the symbolic process of creating life in the sexually dimorphic human process. Frankly, it doesn’t matter what I feel and what energy I have within myself. I cannot participate in the process of creating life if the other half of the equation is not there (regardless of how much I wish that I, myself, could be the bearer of children). It’s not the reality in which we collectively experience and persist in. The Mass can give me the opportunity to adopt the role of the spiritual feminine and the sacred position that that entails even if I cannot fulfill that role in the material world.

    Feminism does not change this reality. The energy of the homosexual act enhances the energy of the masculine and the feminine, but it does not create life in Malkuth (as it were). However, within a homosexual exchange, the energy *can* create a proverbial “Moonchild” as the energies that create it are present. This subject matter is of great interest to me and while I haven’t exactly come to a satisfactory conclusion, I’m not yet ready, myself, to abandon Thelema because of an ideology that only exists because technological advances have allowed more freedom to explore the possibilities of gender roles on a more savage level.

  14. This shows a misunderstanding by the lodge/oasis/camp you were working with. Men can indeed be priestesses if they identify with that role and gender; however, once you have chosen a role you must stick with it. There is no switching around the roles.

    Also, one must truly understand the mass to understand why the roles are fixed. It’s not some sexist rant; it’s nature. I’m sorry you had a bad experience with the OTO, but perhaps that was just a misunderstanding of the interpretations of the order by the body master.

    We perform a rite of the Two Lords at our temple (and are in the processes of writing one for women I even hear) which included two men in the ritual. Sure its not official EGC but we’re still OTO performing the ritual. There is room to play around, but not with official rituals. Kinda like there are ways you can play around with a recipe but it will never taste as expected (or as planned by the original chef) if you play with it too much. Sometimes it ends up being something totally different.

  15. I’d not be surprised if the OTO were proven sexist. Crowley, it’s former head, was a huge misogynist and wife beater/emotional abuser (five of his mistresses ended up dead or in an asylum).

    I also have some anecdotal (possible) evidence about OTO and misogyny:

    A friend who is in the OTO told me it’s “like the Freemasons,” who are, without question, misogynistic (they go further than the OTO and don’t even allow women in!) This same friend collects torture porn in which women’s breasts are hooked up to milking machines, and uses words like “tits,” “chick,” and “p#ssy.”

    He describes one of his exes as having “mental problems” (but declined to give me details when I asked) and said another one was “jealous any time I looked at another woman.” Most men who call their wives or girlfriends insane or jealous are misogynistic and abusive. In fact, I once read him an account of a man who abused his wife and he at first seemed to excuse it by saying “maybe the guy had Alzheimers” (the man threw a plate at the wall because his wife got him the wrong color, and didn’t allow her to make eye contact with or talk to his male friends- yep, Alzheimers. #sarcasm )

    This same friend once said “some women attract to abusers,” which can be a common belief even among non-misogynists, but considering what else about him, I have my doubts.

    This man gaslighted me several times, told me I was “making a big deal out of” what he said, when I simply asked him to clarify, acted like a baby when I asked him why he didn’t telephone me when he promised to (I stayed home waiting for the call and wasted productive time because of that).

    However, his official beliefs seem to be very feminist and he can often be very loving and nurturing, so I am a little confused. (Is this the famous Thelemic “double mind” I’m hearing about? :D :D )

    I have also gotten near-harassed, though not overtly in a gender-based way when I commented on an article posted by a male Thelemite, an article about how the OTO ripped him off and lied to him.

    Here is the link (your article was mentioned in the comments):

    http://lvxnox.com/oto-account

  16. My bad. There was a shyteload of gender related comments in the comments I was talking about. I must have blocked it from memory, sheesh. He calls Psyche “cute” in one comment, condescending to her when she wasn’t even being rude or negative towards him.

    He said he wasn’t a misogynist, but claimed that women abuse their husbands more than men abuse their wives (!!) and also used the phrase “gold digger” about women. Yep. He’s not affiliated with the OTO because of the corruption, but he obviously embodies the ideals, including a hint of “survival of the fittest” and generic nasty and victim blaming attitude with more than a dash of callousness.

    Anyway, about my friend above- and I don’t know if you heard this one when you were in the OTO, Psyche- he said “I’m 60% logic, 40% emotion.” Many people who view logic and emotions as opposites, and many people who view emotion as inferior, also associate women with emotions and consider emotions inferior. I know. Weird.

    Just wanted to say I loved your article and it made me think twice about joining the OTO. Please check out “A Personal Account of Sexual Harassment” on the blog Fools That Men Adore

    https://foolsthatmenadore.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/oto-sexual-harassment/

    which is a really good site in general!:

    https://foolsthatmenadore.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/the-myth-of-the-manipulated-man/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=2258&relatedposts_position=1

    https://foolsthatmenadore.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/misogyny-in-crowleys-writings-and-the-occult/?relatedposts_hit=1&relatedposts_origin=724&relatedposts_position=2

    https://foolsthatmenadore.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/emotions-are-important-too/

  17. 93’s

    Sounds like you are in the process of building your own community, which is a much better approach than joining an organization with the same intent. When I was a member of OTO I advanced up to the II* and was expelled during a mental breakdown that resulted from my involvement with said ‘community’.

    Since then I have decided to start over from scratch. I joined the OTO for the wrong reasons – I was running away from myself. Sometimes the promise of instant acceptance and purpose is tempting, especially if you already have a history of being a social outcast.

    While I acquired a lot of technical information and source literature – the real, only and lasting value of the Order – I found the OTO’s fraternal side to be a rather hollow sham.

    Most of the people I knew in the Order were caught up trying to convince themselves that they made the right choice. The theory of cognitive dissonance calls this an ‘effort justification paradigm,’ and it is a very effective way of controlling people.

    It goes without saying that those who more naturally conform to dominant group/traditional preferences have a better experience than those who don’t. This is nothing more than an accident of circumstance. The fact that I prefer mint ice cream over chocolate has no bearing on the deeper and systemic problems that plague OTO/Thelemic culture.

    Many of the apologists on this thread talk about conforming to the organization/religion as a prerequisite for involvement. I think this is an accurate statement, but its implications should be seriously questioned. I found the legal and religious structure of the OTO to be anathema to my II* obligations, for example.

    Unfortunately, I did not have the self respect at the time to leave the OTO like you did. I tired to make it work and ‘held out’ to the bitter end. The result was a complete disaster.

    Today I have a real family and a real social circle. It may be small but its me and its genuine, not a made to order situation from someone else’s menu of pretense.

    – — –

    As far as the Gnostic Mass goes, I see no reason to assign ‘fixed’ roles to members. That makes about as much sense (and is about as dubious) as the practice of arranged marriage. The roles ARE as costumes and should be completely fluid. All else is a curse, restriction. etc.

    Let the same guy wear priests’ robes one day and a priestess’s garb the next. “Energy”, “polarity” and other New-Age superstitions have no place in a serious discussion either. Try a physics or chemistry class to discuss these ideas.

    I also suspect that Crowley had a grander vision for the OTO than the one currently expressed by his followers*. He never missed an opportunity to express his disgust for ‘tedious’ social engineers and ‘utopia-mongers’.

    Thanks for the article!

    –D

    *: Riding on a Great Man’s coattails is never a good formula to live by.

  18. I Vehemently Disagree with “Psych” and ANYBODY Who takes Her Side or, Sympathizes with Her! As She Herself Said, She didn’t even make it to the First Degree! So, She OBVIOUSLY didn’t Study Well Enough because the Higher Degrees of the O.T.O. Teaches Homosexual and Auto-Erotic Rites and Practices Symbolically in its’ Higher Degrees just as it Teaches Heterosexual Rites and Practices in its’ Lower Degrees,-Hence Her Ignorance and Lack of the Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom! “Psych” didn’t give My/Our Order a Chance and Judged the Order Upon Ignorance of What was Yet to come. All of the Knowledge of the Order is not just Handed to You at the Beginning While Studying for Her First Degree, the Knowledge is Earned and Progression though the Grades is Given (Along with the Knowledge) Upon Merit and Merit it Accomplished through Study. If You don’t “stick to it” and Study (in Her Case, Leave) You don’t Learn the Understanding that goes along with the Knowledge of a Persons’ Progression through the Degrees. In Other Words and in My Opinion (which is Based on 25 Years of These Studies), She does NOT HAVE the Right to an Opinion to the Potential of My/Our Organization!,-She QUIT and therefore is not Qualified to Speak on Behalf of My/Our Organization! It Despises Me on How She (as Others) Mis-Quote and make Reference to Crowleys’ Work. It’s NOT about the Sociology of the Society in Which Crowley Lived in Eledgedly being the Influence Upon His Writings or, not! It’s about that,-if You Believe that Crowley IS the (at Least the First) Prophet of the New AEon-, than His Teachings are Infallible! Period! If You don’t Believe that and if You don’t like What is Upheld as Traditional in the O.T.O. Then, that Order is NOT for YOU! Don’t try to Change a Religions’ Corner Stone of Their Religious Beliefs and Grounding, just Leave as She did! A Religious Belief is Supposed to be a Fixed Theogony not Subjective to Change just because of Legal Statutes! ALL of the O.T.O.s’, the E.G.C.s’ and the A.A.s’ Beliefs and Practices are Public in One or, More Source so, NOBODY has an Excuse for Joining Any or, all of Those Orders and Then, Think They have the Right to Bitch about it Later and try to Change the Beliefs to Accommodate Their Own Beliefs!,-whether Religiously and/or, based on What They Feel is Their Legal Right. Period! Anybody Who is Interested in all/any of Those 3 Crowley Associated Organizations has PLENTY at Their Disposal Publicly to Educate Themselves Prior to Joining and to Decide Prior if These Organizations are Something that They should Join because They Agree with that Organizations’ Teachings/Doctrine. If You DO Agree, Join. If You don’t Agree,-in One or, More ways-, than DON’T Join. There is no Excuse for not Knowing What These Organizations are about. If You Disagree with it Later Then, Leave!,-just like ANYBODY would do if They don’t Agree Anymore with the Religious Beliefs They are/were being Taught! Don’t try to Change the Church of My/Our Religious Beliefs!,-They are Considered Permanently Cemented by Our Prophet and Infallible. Period! I Agree that the LGBT Subject may be a matter of a Grey Area in the O.T.O. and E.G.C. but, THAT is THEIR Tradition! Period! I Believe that Liber ALs’ Statement (I:3) FROM THE GODDESS (i.e., Feminine and Passive! Made the FIRST Priority to Speak the First Chapter and made just as Equally Important throughout the Remaining 2 Chapters!) of “Every Man and Every Woman is a Star” can also be Interpreted as Including A Persons’ Sexual AlIgnment,-if You are Correctly Progressing through the Degrees of the O.T.O. (and,-ESPECIALLY!-,the A.A.) You WILL Discover Your True Will as Taught by Your Holy Garden Angel and it IS a Guarantee that You WILL Discover if Your Sexual Alignment IS Part of Your True Will! The Bottom Line is if You don’t like it, go Home,-just Leave and Leave US Alone to Our Own Devices of Beliefs. We are not Discriminating!,-We are Saying this is What We are! To put that Statement in a Negative Sounding Perspective because of Societys’ Laws and Expectations of Equality in Every Matter, “if You don’t like Our ‘Discrimination’, don’t Join”. Simple. My Father always Says, “It is as it is” and that Holds for a Persons Right to Believe as They Choose to about a THEIR Religious Beliefs! If You don’t Believe as I do, don’t go trying to Impose Your Beliefs,-Both, Religiously and Legally-, on Me and I will Give You the Same Respect! Don’t try and Defile My Religious Beliefs of Your Religious and under the Guise of You Legal Rights under Law and I’ll give You that Same Respect. The Whole Premise of Those 3 Organizations is based the Same Religious Belief of Thelema, Liber AL vel Legis and Their Promotion of Searching. If You are Searching for a Religious Belief and find Mine/Ours fits Your Desire of Learning, all You have to do is take the Initiative and Choose to Ask for it. Otherwise, move on and keep Searching,-I will not Think any Worse of You. Just don’t try to Change My Convictions and Choice of What Religious Beliefs I Chose. It’s all about Choices to Initiate (Hence, an “Initiate”) Change.

    • Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

      Frater Quixote,

      Change is the Foundation of the Great Work. Thus I suggest – in a friendly fashion of course! – a fundamental overhaul in your grammar, for magick is ultimately about one’s use of words. In particular analyze my own II* magickal name: Ameth*. Fools Hang Virgins. In other-words, lay off the caps, if it be thine will.

      Do you perform your banishings with an air horn and a megaphone as well (in staccato, alternating, of course)? Have you summoned an Intelligence of Mars, courtesy of your neighbors, yet?

      Of course proceed, as Klingsor did, and enjoy the results**.

      The easy way out is to read Letter A of Magick Without Tears. Pay particular attention to Crowley’s commentary regarding O.T.O. involvement. Or continue crying about assaults upon thine holy Order of Archons.

      Love is the law, love under will.

      Fraternally,

      Frater Sancho

      – — —– — –

      *: Interested readers may refer to Ali Sloper and the Forty Liars, an essay on truth. Also brush up on the Master’s ‘Little Essays’ – always towards and never stopping at – truth.
      **: Hold thine head up! Play the man, O Brother, the Great Horror awaits! [paraphrased from the sightings and sounds reported in Eq.IV]

        • Hey, are people still doing ‘The Great Work’ on the internet these days?

          Quite the Fascination, no? As is my peculiar grammar….

          Foundation in Change…YSVD

          But if I do an ‘overhaul’, as you demand (whoever just left that comment that showed up in my email), then won’t I have to change it again?

          Or perhaps you could just do your own ‘Great Work’ and keep your nose out of mine?

          Its all online of course. The Great Work. And incorporated.

          Piss off piss ants. I have better things to do than waste my energy on the internet.

          Go away (again). I have work to do.

          –Aleister Crowley Reincarnated!

          666

        • If I had known that The Work all takes place online (or at OTO council meetings) then I’d have approached it all in a different light too.

          I mean, who needs magick when you have messageboards and Faceboook rumors, right?

          -Diego the botched III*

        • <3 (sorry – I had a rough night last night, Sr. V. went wandering around the city again after I did Liber Samekh in front of her – can't seem to resist the vanity or exhibitionism).

          I read my own post and thought that was a smart assed reply from you (Actual Laughter).

          So, here:

          <3

          And with that I really am departing these stagnant mezzanines of my own mind. Apologies for disrupting the comments here as well. This topic is a sore spot for many. Shame on the managers and directors who have run such a wonderful organization (the OTO) into the ground, making it little better than the Mormon Church.

          –The Perpetual Lamentations of a Dying Brother

  19. Perhaps if you would have actually worked the lower degrees instead of getting stuck on a public ritual, you might have found what you were looking for. Gender roles are just that: roles that we play… You weren’t ready for the knowledge. You sound like a typical, whiny post-feminist brat infatuated with post modern thought, convinced that you’re “opinion” really matters. DO AS YOU WILL is the whole of the Law. “But what about gay rights? You should change a powerfully written time honored and purposeful ritual, simply because I think so.” Lol, I left too, but for different reasoning, and after a few years of actual study. If I had a dollar for every wet behind the ears pup who thought they knew better… minerval (lol really? That’s as far as you were able to progress before giving up? How embarrassing, whatever your excuse…)

    • Frater Tzaddi,

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

      I received your nasty letter in my inbox this morning and figured I would reply while evacuating my bowels.

      I ask you this question: who are you to mandate what Soror’s will is, what mine is, or even what pet dogma we are all supposed to swallow? Since when was the Great Work about pleasing an abusive lout who lords over those he feels are inferior and is vexed to no end by ‘whiny post-feminist brat[s] infatuated with post modern thought, convinced that [their] “opinion[s]” really matter”?

      I think the opinions of women matter. Do you hold a similar opinion towards racial groups who don’t speak English as their primary language?

      Well, a few years study has brought you far out of the muck, dear aspirant. Perhaps you should wipe your feet before entering the palace, no?

      What’s more embarrassing? Your fanatic response and your bigotry or her raising questions and sharing her experience in the interest of a better understanding?

      Love is the law, love under will

      Fraternally,

      Little Sunshine (and Tzaddi is NOT the Star)

      • PS: This may seem off topic, but Fr. Tzaddi raised an interesting point about furthering the tradition/field. While I am in favor of keeping the Gnostic Mass and Initiation scripts as they are, I also don’t see any problem with changing them around or borrowing parts of them to experiment with new rituals/practices/concepts that better reflect the present day.

        To make an analogy, ‘The Star’ trump depicts in a sense how living truth degenerates into implacable dogma – Truth with a capitol T. This is shown in the card as the ‘star stuff’ descends from above eventually crystalizes into solid, static forms. Those who take issue with this interpretation can reflect upon the Book of Thoth for themselves.

        But all these examples are, in my view, superficial to where the most meaningful innovation occurs – at the core of the Magickal world, the Tree of Life itself.

        Though I am reluctant to suggest this, I must if I am to stay connected to the cosmos and on the Path, for I am convinced that Magick is once again in dire straits. A Revival is sorely needed, or at least a re-alignment away from the path of organized, exoteric religion.

        Unfortunately, the OTO, being the Unsinkable Order, insists on its current trajectory. That’s why I no longer am angry about my explulsion (which I take full responsibility for).

        But what if we brought the ‘forbidden’ and ‘hidden’ fruits of the Tree to light, along with their resulting modifications to the paths? What if we allowed the Tree of Life evolve as all living phenomena do?

        Or should we just keep it in a locked glass as proof of our accomplishment to a world that neither knows nor cares?


        Fr. AMTh II* (apostate), Horizon Oasis, Ordo Templi Orientis USA.

        • PPS: Electronic media is the absolute worst vehicle from which to attack the Kingdom of Heaven. The glaring typos and word arrangements errors scream from behind an iron curtain of restriction – No Edit Button!

          May Athena pardon us all. ;-)

  20. You all don’t understand the duality of mass. Even if you are completely sexually assigned to be a women you can not reproduce as a women. Really you would leave a group because they wouldn’t let you wear the dress and get naked once a week? The order is for the strong, not whiny PC people. I do not think anyone would have sponsored you anyway I know lots of people of all sexual persuasions in the order.

    “We have nothing with the outcast and the unfit: let them die in their misery. For they feel not. Compassion is the vice of kings: stamp down the wretched & the weak: this is the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world. ”

    Whiny politically correct people need not apply. Did you read the central tenants of Thelma?

    You are like a man who goes to a prostitute and then whines she didn’t love him.

    • ^The type of man who whines because only a prostitute will service him.

      Again, bigots and fanatics like the above are probably doing more to alienate prospective members than anything the author of this article points out. The more I see where the OTO’s membership is the more I see how my expulsion was a good thing. I was not progressing while in that milieu. Since being forcibly removed (I probably am a physical danger to people like ‘Thelmite” and “Gene Hughes” – still, cowardly males rarely confront people in person, they prefer the emotional security and anonymity of cyberspace. And prostitutes).

      Okay, enough of this. Thanks folks for continuing to shed some light onto this.

      Any so-called ‘Magickal Order’ that ranks people’s level of ‘advacement’ like some kind of contest or fashion show….perhaps the OTO should change its name to Hogwort’s Academy at this point?

      This is a fruitless way for me to spend my time though. Responding to sexist creeps who invariably refer to themselves by quoting an often misunderstood passage of Liber AL.

      Have fun with the other ‘slaves of because’, thou weak and wretched ‘Thelemite’.

      93’s.

      • PS: I’ve been through this sort of mindset and struggle myself. I was the same way when I was an active member – probably why few people outside the Order wanted much to do with me during that time of my life.

        But I have moved beyond it and have learned from it. Its unfortunate to see so many hateful people in the OTO who subscribe to the kind of backward thinking that I thought I was escaping by joining.

  21. I feel saddened that you were met with such a lack of understanding… it has not been my experience that ” A woman may never serve as the priest, and a man may never lay upon the altar.” I am aware of members that were very uncomfortable with the thought of a man taking on the priestess role or vice versa. Personally, I have been a priestess for years and have never identified as Scarlet Woman or a Whore of Babalon. I resonate with Nuit and that is what I feel when I am on the altar. I am currently studying the priest role, with a male member studying to priestess with me. I have written permission to do so from the order. I have found the OTO to be open of this. I’m also incredibly surprised that you felt the female role was lacking in the Book of the Law. To me chapter one shines brightly and I take most of my spiritual inspiration from the concept of Nuit. In many systems feminine energy is passive, male active. This is a symbolic “Yin” to “Yang” and has more to do with polarities than actual gender in my opinion. I see this quality in a lot of other Eastern religions as well as in the type of yoga that I teach (Yin Yoga). There are also gender neutral roles, such as Deacon and I love the play of balances that I have experienced during mass and my initiations. I would say give the OTO another chance, but it sounds like the group near you is not a good fit and they are not at open about alternative gender which really is a shame. I commend you on writing a letter though as I believe having your voice heard is incredibly important. The fact that you got a “welcome” letter a year later likely feels offensive to you, but what I see when I hear such a thing is that the people who volunteer their time are totally backlogged. I wouldn’t take offence as I am pretty sure it is not personal or having to do with what you wrote but more to do with people having too much to do with not enough time to do it. I hope that wherever your magickal journey takes you, that you find acceptance and a community that you feel supported by. 93.

  22. This is a terrible write up.. Reeks of lies and manipulation. You don’t deserve to progress in anything fraternal or magical. You’re sole purpose is to worry about acceptance of the LBGTQ MOVEMENT???yea this I isnt you!!!!please at for away. Mind is too small…

    • You know, people can say whatever they want on here or elsewhere.

      But, let me ask the ‘Initiates’ this:

      How does it feel to be part of a brainwashing cult that protects pedophiles and uses the legal system to silence people?

      Idiots. Wake up.

    • You know, people can say whatever they want on here or elsewhere.

      But, let me ask the ‘Initiates’ this:

      How does it feel to be part of a brainwashing cult that protects pedophiles and uses the legal system to silence people?

      Idiots. Wake up. Try deprogramming instead of repeating the same thing and expecting different results.

  23. Diego, could you clarify your question? You seem to be implying that O.T.O. protects pedophiles. That’s a serious accusation. Do you have soruces, preferably linkable, to back it up?

    • http://wildhunt.org/2006/11/thelemites-fight-pedophillia-charges.html

      That’s one of several. In addition, my previous ‘mentor’, an SGIG no less, originally glommed onto me in the context of sexual interest. I was in my early 20s at the time and had the ‘desperate deer in the headlights’ syndrome. Long story. I won’t go into it but if you were from my valley you would have no doubts as to who I refer.

      Needless to say, I am no longer affiliated with the OTO, Thelema or Crowley’s cult of personality. My mental state and life overall has greatly improved since this break with a fundamentalist cult religion (no different in practice from Scientology). Nonetheless, my experience with the OTO will remain a permanent scar in my life history. I do not believe that I am ‘better off’ for being taken in, but I did loose my naïve perspective about predatory organizations like the OTO (and the way they twist genuine mystical traditions and magickal work around).

      In any case, I would recommend you do your own research and start asking yourself the difficult questions about *why* you are devoting your life to just another religion from just another prophet. Should we expect anything different from the Catholic Church’s successor?

      I’ve since moved on and am in the process of reclaiming my own life and practice – as it was before I got derailed by the OTO. This topic is something you should pursue on your own, with a sense of skepticism about the religious corporation in question.

      Hope that helps.

      –DS

    • PS: If its any consolation to my former OTO mafia affiliates, I’ve recently turned over a new leaf. Poetry suits my expression and is relatively immune from legal persecution (I think, still?)

      I’ll mark my exit with a bit of prose. Forgive me if its a bit clumsy. I’m just a retarded, drug addled kid who was never fit to be a *real* mason anyway. And I beat up women and eat people. Supposedly.

      The Horny Elephant:

      Jack went up the big beanstalk
      Into the giant’s castle he went!
      Many delights, o mindful one.

      Blowing bubbles is a two man chore.

      93’s!

  24. The reason you all find frustrations with the OTO is because it’s evil. Oh sure, you think you’ll get to learn all this secret knowledge and participate in cool rituals with sex!! Guess what?? There’s no secret at the end of the rabbit hole that brings you enlightenment…there’s nothing but hell at the end of your journeys.

    Sure it’s all fun now. But hell is not fun.

    There’s only one answer. The Way. The Truth. The Light. Jesus.

    • Yeah but Jesus is evil too. What’s your point?

      Actually, lets back up. What do you mean by ‘evil’?

  25. If you underwent the Abramelin and was underwhelmed I wold say that you either did not perform it correctly, or at the end did not allow yourself to be open enough to accept/experience them.

  26. “The Book of the Law doesn’t have much going on for its goddesses.”

    Forgot to quote you on that. But that pretty much solidifies your stupidity.

    • But since She is None, technically, She has Nothing going for you.

      How does it feel to be stupid 365 days out of the year?

      BOING!

      Frantically,

      666

    • But since She is None, She, technically, has Nothing going for Her.

      No Circumference. No Point. For these are all none. See what I mean, jelly bean?

      And how does it feel to be stupid 365 days out of the year?

      BOING!

      Frantically,

      666

  27. No let the girl go before I give ya an astral knuckle sammich, Biatch!

    What would Mithra do?

    *poof*

    Huh?

  28. Brown Cow.

    !?’MA’ABRA’HAD’ABRA’AT’!?

    And end of all electronic debasement of the Soul.

    666

  29. If Aleister Crowley reincarnated,made a sincere effort to communicate with all these various occult groups- O.T.O.;Church Of Satan; Temple Of Set Or whomever,he’d probably be thwarted ! These groups would even be his mortal enemies,and I would advise to avoid them all.

    • Thankfully ‘Aleister Crowley’ shall never be reincarnated except for in his writing and in the egos of those foolish enough to assume they are better at being another man than he was.

      Where do people come up with these gross, lazy and profane interpretations of allegory and symbolism? It never ceases to amaze the world.

      666

    • Thankfully ‘Aleister Crowley’ shall never be reincarnated except for in his writing and in the egos of those foolish enough to assume they are better at being another man than he was.

      Where do people come up with these gross, lazy and profane interpretations of allegory and symbolism? It never ceases to amaze the world.

      93’s

      666

  30. PS: I’m just a mentally ill druggie burnout who lives in mom’s basement – like Donald Tyson, translator of ‘Three Books’ – an invaluable resource and rich source of lore. I thank him for his work.

    But this above stereotype is pretty common in the so called ‘elite’ secret society called the OTO. Why people even care what I say is a Deeper Mystery indeed…

    666*

    *: A solar invocation! Oh! That’s what he’s doing….(maybe if I did the practices myself…)
    -Ed. (Editor – abbreviated)

    And they call me the crazy one.

  31. Marky Mark,

    Do what thou wilt, love is the law.

    And I was just about to get settled into my next installment of Frank Underwood in House of Cards (trademarked!)

    I take it you are an ex member of the said organizations you are denouncing? If not, mind your own business and shut up – unless you are content with the old adage of ‘the kettle calling the pot black’.

    In fact, someone so daft as to think I’m a ‘reincarnation of Aleister Crowley’ is not worth any further dialogue. Enjoy the breeze as your asinine assumptions flap for all to see. We neither know nor care for the profane and the outcast! Begone, mocker!

    But enough about the ‘John Bull’ fads. My main concern is the lack of honesty involved and the complete disregard for all aesthetic taste. I mean, how can someone call for a ‘positive public image’ when their behavior belies all they supposedly represent, good or ill?

    See the REAL History of the Thelemites (or EQ V:V – Motta be pressed wine and cakes of fruit!) for more details, along with some very important A.’.A.’. instructions and examples of amateur attempts therein.

    Live on Facebook!

    “Diego Christopher, of the 4 = 7 Philosophus Grade of the G.’.D.’. ” supposedly has a following in Eastasia and the Philippines.

    There is no law beyond love.

    Fraternally,

    666

    “Little Nemesis”

  32. Oh no! See people – I’ve been driven crazy by the OTO morlocks and by my own marijuana use!!!

    TO THE PUBLIC: Steer clear unless u want to end up like me! Or, even worse, like the rest of these losers….and I thought chess club was pathetic…

    <3 U ALL!

    And will no longer be replying or posting.

    666

  33. one thing i think you must consider is that the sight of a nude man is far more shocking for many people both male and female than the other way around. i worked as an entertainer in an interactive performance troop once, only the women were allowed to actually touch the audience i recall, the rest of us only speak or gesture. i think these things have weight in the public performance of the gnostic mass.

  34. Quite the interesting discussion here. The original author doesn’t seem to reply anymore, but anyway..

    After reading I don’t really know what to think. I agree with the posters here who argue that the gender roles (in the public performances) are just symbols, and should remain intact if their coded meaning is to survive. And, in fact, part of the meaning is ironically in conflict with your own conclusions: to transcend all duality is the goal. The very presence of gender elements in these rites already shows that there is an element of imperfection present, but isn’t this always going to be the case on the material sphere?

    However, I àm rather appalled by the “What, with some dude’s dong on the altar?” response, and I think it’s not given its proper weight in the discussion here. We can all argue that on “deeper levels of the order” this sexual stuff doesn’t matter anymore, but this was an actual instructor of the O.T.O. acting horrified at the suggestion of seeing a naked man embodying a female principle, which in itself shows that we shouldn’t just assume authoritative O.T.O. figures to live up to the ideals we are now using to defend the Mass against the experience of the original author. If an actual instructor is displaying the most transparent bias in terms of sexual normativity, then how can we accuse the author of not having been initiated deeply enough?

    Anyway, I mostly take issue with the claims about the sexual biases inherent in Crowley’s own writing. I was quite surprised to see that you argue against the valuable contributions he has made in terms of sexual tolerance. He was literally the only occultist of his time to suggest that homosexual tendencies weren’t proof of a lack of psychic balance or whatever. Important authors like Dion Fortune and Israel Regardie openly display homophobia, and most other authors hope homosexuals will stay away from them by not mentioning the matter at all. I think if there’s any occult material that can inspire individuals who feel like sexual outcasts, it’s Crowley’s..

    On the other hand, I think Crowley’s material might be unwelcome for self-proclaimed feminists and the like, because he, more than any author I’ve come across, stresses above all that all forms of duality must be transcended, and that sexuality must be cut loose from mere physical desire and/or satisfaction. The body and mind are nothing but vehicles for the spirit, so any discussion at all about gender would probably bore him to pieces, and I can’t exactly disagree with him. All this focus on physical manifestations of sexuality actually runs against the main dynamic of his system, but of course I agree that the instructor’s hilarious response to, indeed, the argument that the physical manifestation of sexuality shouldn’t matter, is a pure manifestation of someone not understanding the system he’s promoting.

    On the other hand, I think that to respond to such iodicy by placing an even bigger spotlight on physical manifestations of sexuality, and to force spiritual advancement systems to “respect” it (what’s there to respect from a standpoint of magic, exactly?), is equal to admitting not to be really interested in sacrificing the physical for the spiritual at all. If anything, systems should be more clear about how sexuality does NOT matter instead of giving in to all this faux “inclusive” claptrap that, in the context of magic, can only serve to attract people who are looking to express their individuality in a way that is just incompatible with at least Crowley’s message from the start! True individuality is beyond duality. Whatever genitals you find down there is then automatically absolutely irrelevant. While I agree that it would be nice if this element was more present in public presentations of magical practice, I find your suggestion (correct me if I’m wrong) of explicit inclusivity equally problematic for that reason: the personally experienced individuality is one to be destroyed.

    I will go as far as saying that to identify insistently as straight, bi, gay, transgender, and even male or female to a degree that transcends mere convenience (and Crowley is again 100% consistent when it comes to treating all intellectual ideas as inherently worthless as vehicles to accuracy anyway – convenience is the only measure!) already shows a mindset incompatible with his magical system, ironically because Crowley wants to leave those limited conceptions behind. Wouldn’t that make him more of a feminist than most “feminists”?

  35. 93 – I am a Priestess of a local body and have been part of O.T.O. for 5 years. Your post is full of inaccuracies and it seems you have failed to look deeply into the Gnostic Mass, yet insist that we change it to suit your fancy, and that we are not progressive or gender egalitarian if we don’t.

    You have projected sexist motives and beliefs onto O.T.O. members which do not exist. You have confused the role of the Priestess in the Gnostic Mass (which symbolizes a very specific alchemical formula) to the role of women in the O.T.O. You have assumed the receptive role is not equal to the active role; it is.

    There are no gender roles for women nor men in O.T.O. We are Thelemites and believe “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” and “The soul is beyond male and female as it is beyond life and death.” – A.C.

    Women in O.T.O. are fierce; we are leaders, 9th degrees, bishops, Body Masters, initiators and more. There are no restrictions on the roles we can take – only that we are Priestesses and not Priests (if we choose to join E.G.C.). The roles have equal status in E.G.C. The roles are represented equally in the Gnostic Mass.

    If you are interested in learning more about the Mass, there are some great books you can check out. “Mystery of Mystery” is one of my favorites. Until then, I can hardly warrant criticisms based in utter ignorance with a fair response.

    93 93/93

    Kate

  36. Psyche,

    We all want a sense of community. I have learned that ego is often at the steering wheel of these ‘communities’. Let us not forget for one moment that the OTO is a cult. Plain and simple. All such organizations will ultimately be driven by earthly pleasures under the guile of ‘enlightenment’/’spiritual evolution’. I dont want to make a blanket statement here, because im sure that there are some communities that have the Truth at heart, but I feel this is the case with the OTO.

    I just wanted to opine and express my gratitude for your views in this article. We all want to be apart of the tribe; especially us mystics. Few and far between are we and together we must come.

    Love is the law. Love under will. Let us create our own qabalah with a strong foundation of Love and there will be no disease.

  37. I Psyche,
    Thank you very much for your testimony about the OTO, I would you like to ask you if you know any server platform where I can report ( or maybe a FB group ) an abuse from the OTO lodge I lived the past spring 2016.

    Thanks again.

    Soror M’Aura

  38. This is the very reason I see out elderly folks for instruction. The newer, hipper, confused generations always weaken , if not destroy the tradition. It should be easy to see why the “Real” groups stay underground.

  39. Interesting post and interesting comments following. I wanted to point out that Helena Blavatsky was not in your list of Crowley’s contemporaries.
    I know that most of these old orders are either dead and or have been superseded by more fruitful , powerful orders. After all, Crowley himself brought new life and changes to existing orders of his time as well as creating many of his own through methods we all know well. So it would be fitting for change to occur today as it always has. After all, it was through change that gave rise to it’s very existence. That said, i also know from experience, that when these orders are born , that is when they are their more powerful and most fruitful , eventually ending through running their course. The world is changing all the time and one must not only change with it at lesser but initiate such changes. We must influence each change directly through Magic and the art. If we stand still, we die.

  40. Regardless what you think of heterosexuality and the use of its symbolism in the Mass and in magick in general, one thing remains: the fact of the matter is that only heterosexual union results in sexual reproduction and thus continuation of the species. Lesbian sex won’t produce a child. Gay anal sex won’t produce a child. This is the basis for its utility in magickal symbolism — bringing together and uniting two opposing forces, one active, one receptive, both necessary to the task, to produce something new that wasn’t there before. All magick is the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with will so ALL of it involves this essential process. Success is thy proof — conception in the biological world is unmistakable proof of sexual union which cannot be gainsayed; reification of a situation or production of a circumstance or phenomenon that was not there before is unmistakable proof of an effective magickal operation.

    This does not mean there is no place in Thelema or OTO for LGBTQ folks. Ch. 1 of Liber AL vel Legis makes it abundantly clear it is our right to “take our fill and will of love, when we will, where we will and with whom we will” (paraphrasing) yet “always unto Me” (unto Nuit, which is basically a simple way of suggesting the dedicated magickian should be living his or her life in such a way that all actions, interactions, pursuits, etc. have a higher, spiritual or magickal “virtue” involved and purpose therein. That nothing is done for stupid reasons or as passing whims but that all serves the fulfilling of the law which is do what thou wilt. The initiated understanding (or hell even just the educated one) about this phrase and concept is that we are to pursue our true wills (which is similar to other terms like calling, purpose, destiny, etc.) and not to allow ourselves to be derailed or distracted from this. Life’s too short to waste rummaging in the weeds when you can be cultivating grapes, so to speak.

    The heterosexual symbolism of magick and of the Mass is not a matter of your personal sexual attraction. I get the feeling were you to have chosen Catholicism you would be kvetching because the priests were men and women could “only” be nuns. Your dilemma is no more exceptional than that of a failure to recognize all matters of being part of something greater than yourself involve sacrifice, whether it is child-bearing, fraternity membership, or successful business partnering. It might surprise you to know far more of us have left the OTO over the wreckage and restriction “special snowflakes” like yourself whining about these things have brought INTO the Order — ruining it for the rest of us — than have ever departed on the grounds you specify. There are LGBTQ people in the Order who have simply said “Fine, well, we are going to do a gender-bending Mass and so what if it’s ‘not official OTO rite’. We’re still doing one.” And so they did, in their own separate time from the official Mass at their Lodge. Many others do their own magickal rites amongst themselves as well, incorporating elements of II:22, BDSM, or whatever else they find charges them up in a sacred space, in addition to traditional Lodge work. That has always been an option. Unfortunately it hasn’t stopped leftist loons from trying to take over the Order and insisting it had to be a safe space for cultural marxist horseshit.

    But oh well, you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate … we’re both out of OTO now and both happier for it, for different reasons. Maybe someday we can share a drink and I can tell you what it’s like to have had a lifelong archetypal identification with “Babalon” and be DISCOURAGED from pursuing that in OTO space rather than encouraged. Sounds to me like you could use some alt perspective. 93 93/93

  41. Dear Psyche,

    I’m a little saddened to see obviously intelligent people STILL upholding the idea that Crowley was a magician (in the true sense of the word), and defining their concept of ‘magic’ by the stuff that he wrote. I’m obviously in the presence of Crowleyites here, so I’ll refrain from saying anything more inflammatory than that.

    My purpose for writing is this: if you’re still searching for legitimate magical training, I’d encourage you to explore this site:
    http://www.occult-mysteries.org/

    Especially relevant to the present discussion is this page:
    http://www.occult-mysteries.org/jungle.html

    Kind regards,

    Agrippa

Comments are closed.