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A Fair and Just Inquisition

Do What Thou Wilt Shall be the Whole of the Law,

As of about a decade ago, something has gone very, very, wrong in the world of Thelema. Somehow, somewhere, many bodies entrusted with the promulgation of the Law of Thelema have dropped the ball.

The evidence abounds; T. Allen Greenfield, Graeb, Cornelius, and many others of far less importance to the organizational administration of the Ordo Templi Orientis of William Breeze have either been pushed out or outright quit for a number of reasons, ranging from dissent to non-compliance to even more troubling reasons. This pales in comparison to the incidents surrounding the Ordo Templi Orientis Prison Outreach Program.

It takes a lot of digging to find this information. Some of it has been aggregated by people like Pete Koenig, who has been deemed as an “Enemy of the Order” by William Breeze. It is policy that those who visit his website (and make that knowledge public) face reprisals simply for viewing that information. While folks like Koenig do actually have a philosophical axe to grind against the Order, legitimate or not, we need not rely on his biased interpretations to find out what’s going on. For those who don’t know about the stories of these people, I can offer a brief synopsis and links:

T. Allen Greenfield was at one point a wandering Bishop of the EGC, later formally recognized by Breeze, and lawyer who received many documents of appreciation from the Order…he was later pushed out for questioning Breeze’s ability to lead, under some strange circumstances…more information can be found here http://tausirhasirim.livejournal.com/48851.html?thread=749523, a link to his livejournal (which contains a quote that lead to the title of this essay) and http://b-oto.org/greenfield/ which is a link to his book in .pdf format, Inquisition in 21st Century America. The book chronicles the events surrounding his expulsion from the Order. The most striking detail about this whole affair is the “Statement of Solidarity”, a document in which Breeze, acting as Outer Head of the Order, demanded that the Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, as well as higher level members of the 9th degree, sign a statement saying that those who sign would not question Breeze’s ability to lead or his decisions. Among the signatures are Lon Milo Duquette, who was one of the individuals considered along with Breeze to replace McMurtry after his death. Greenfield stepped down/was expelled in 2006…one of the more recent rumblings from inside of the Order. It seems that his falling out with the Order very much so followed the cliché “You can’t quit, we’re kicking you out!” scenario.

Graeb is a more interesting story. He was one of the associates of Patrick King, contributing to the new interpretation of the rite of the 11th Degree, as well as a co-founder of the current incarnation of the Ordo Templi Orientis, along with Grady McMurtry. It has come to my attention while writing this that he has passed away as of July 26th of this year, with no comment from the OTO with respect to his integral role in establishing the Order as we know it today. Graeb considered himself to be the acting 11th degree for many years, and after a series of disputes, he was finally expelled -after he had withdrawn a lawsuit against Breeze in order to secure his continued association with the Order – in 2004…an omen of things to come. Information about this seems to have been removed from the internet. Thank goodness I managed to snag the files before they were lost. As such, you can read the response of Graeb to his expulsion in the .zip file attached at the bottom of this post.

The final case of the expulsion of a well known member that I will cover is that of Jerry Cornelius, another of the ‘old guard’ who was around well before he installation of Breeze as OHO. He was pushed out in 2000. This expulsion was based around the publication of an issue of The Red Flame in which he made the assertion that there were multiple lineages of the A.’.A.’….to quote his open epistle:

It has been wisely said that he who hasn’t accumulate enemies, hasn’t truly lived or accomplished much in their lifetime. I wish this wasn’t true but it does seem to be the case. Red Flame No.7, The Magickal Essence of Aleister Crowley, was met with phenomenal reviews worldwide and sold out within a month. The majority of the letters I received said that although they couldn’t agree with some of the material it was refreshing to see new thought in a stagnating Thelemic world. However, there was a tiny bit of negativity thrown my way. You could count all the complaints on one hand with four fingers remaining. It’s easy to tell where the foot stomping, crying and petty whining came from or rather who was the disgruntled. He belonged to one particular lineage of the AA, Marcelo Motta’s and his name is Frater Hymenaeus Beta or rather William Breeze. It seems that I perturbed his reasoning by daring to discuss a certain sensitive issue in an open forum which he wanted concealed or kept secret from everyone. I let the world know that there are other branches of the AA besides his own. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxmis culpa, may the Gods forgive me for this ultimate sin of honesty and Truth. Yes, I made it very clear that just because he can put an ad in the back of an Aleister Crowley book it doesn’t mean that his is the only AA. However, for the record, I never once attacked his or anyone else’s right to exist, as he has repeatedly done in regards to myself and many others. I simply expressed that, contrary to what he would like the world to believe, he is not the only AA.”

The second part of the whole document (which is quite large) can be read at the following link; I send you directly to the second page for a reason which will become clear as this essay unfolds in it’s entirety. http://www.cornelius93.com/EpistleExpulsion-2.html

This is very troubling. While all three of the aforementioned expulsions were predicated on gripes (legitimate or not) about the way that the Order is ran by it’s current upper management, the two earlier expulsions have a more sinister implication. This can be read about in the Epistle of Achad Osher on his expulsion, but in the interest of painting a full picture of what seems to be going on, I’ll say that the removal of Graeb and Cornelius seems to be based upon the idea of associating with “certain other bodies”. To new initiates, this is explained as not being a member of any other group that uses or claims to use name or structure of the Ordo Templi Orientis, and this is honestly a fair enough request, for it could breed a conflict of interest especially if it came down to brass tax and the question of legal ownership of the Order ever made it to court yet again. What makes this a problematic policy is when it’s coupled with a statement even more vague, that Breeze has now announced that any A.’.A.’. lineage or initiate can be considered legitimate “until proven otherwise”. On the surface, for those that understand the A.’.A.’., this is another fairly reasonable statement – that one who claims A.’.A.’. can be outed as a fraud in word, deed, and quality of instruction. There’s another side to this coin that is not so obvious; that if someone possesses a passphrase (such as the Word of the Equinox) that is not the same as the one that Breeze possesses, that person is not viewed as ‘legitimate’.

Rumors have been abounding for a number of years that it is the intention of Breeze to consolidate and corporatize the system of the A.’.A.’. – a system that Crowley said, in his last will and testament, should be “Free, as in Freedom” to all who gain access to the teachings and writings. This also brings up the problem of lineage as a whole.

To ascertain the scope problem here, it must be understood that when Karl Germer, Crowley’s original successor, died there was no system in place to select the new heads of both the A.’.A.’. and the OTO. In America around this time, Wolfe started to accept students and promulgate the establishment of Thelema through the A.’.A.’. while McMurtry was trying to establish the OTO as a functioning body once again, to which effect both performed quite well. That said, Wolfe’s attainment may well be questionable, in that she never officially passed out of the Probationer grade until near Crowley’s death, at which point Therion claimed that she’d attained higher than Probationer long ago and he simply “forgot to tell” her.

In Brazil, Marcello Ramos Motta was doing the same, only he was trying to assert the presence of both the A.’.A.’. and the OTO. Motta lost the court battle that established McMurtry’s outfit as a legitimate corporate entity. While his claims to the OTO were nullified, to this day it is insisted that his lineage of the A.’.A.’. is completely legitimate within the McMurtry incarnation of the OTO.The problem here is the insistence of “legitimacy” in that when Motta died, those that he appointed as successors stepped down from a role in Thelema or simply did not act (these being Claudia Canuto de Mezes, Ben Stone, and Will Barden). Before all of this, before the court case that established the Caliphate, a young man by the name of James Daniel Gunther applied to the A.’.A.’. and progressed until he was expelled at 4=7. The public reason for this expulsion was a murder plot against Claudia, though to give Gunther the benefit of the doubt (skepticism does not equal dismissal) it could be argued that Gunther surpassed Motta and was pushed out of that branch of the A.’.A.’. because he was asking questions no one could answer with respect to attainment of Knowledge and Conversation of the HGA. Indeed, as far as I’m aware, that’s the opinion of Gunther’s lineage (and thereby Gunther himself).

It would seem, then, that no one lineage can make a direct and unquestionable claim to legitimacy…though that in no way, shape, or form implies that they are not VALID. “Success shall be thy proof.” It is my opinion, and that of many others, that the value of a lineage lies only in it’s instruction, and that it’s not about who gives you the knowledge of A.’.A.’. teachings both public and oral, but what one does with that knowledge that matters.So lineages abound, some more tolerant than others. What does all of this mean with respect to the OTO today and William Breeze? Someone summarizes it quite succinctly elsewhere:

“Breeze was not able to join either the Wolfe or the McMurtry lineage (eventually pretending that Phyllis Seckler was not very well-trained) and having no links to the many other A.A. lineages all over the world, e.g. Arnoldo Krumm-Heller’s (8=3) or Charles W.’s (5=6), Friedrich Mellinger’s, etc. he still had to find another tie, although Liber Causae says that the A.A. knocks but once at one’s door.Harry Smith, born 1923, a friend of Karl Germer (8=3), began A.A. work with Charles Stansfeld Jones (1885-1950, Magister Templi, some say Magus) and Albert Handel around 1950. But as this survivorship of Jones came after Crowley had expelled Jones, some people consider this lineage as invalid. Nevertheless, from 1978 on, William Breeze living partime together with the ‘American Magus’ Smith, admired him as “my guru, friend and guide” (similarly did James Wasserman who never went above Probationer in Motta’s A.A.). After Breeze became head of his ‘Caliphate’ he immediately began bringing people into his A.A.. This was 1985.After Grady McMurtry’s death in 1985, the pertinent A.A. had splintered into ‘at least’ three lineages, run by J. Edward Cornelius, William Heidrick and James T. Gr?eb. Therefore, the ‘Caliphate’ under Breeze became a battleground for Breeze’s new A.A. (sometimes mistaken for Motta’s A.A.) vs. McMurtry’s A.A..Harry Smith died in 1991. Maybe around this time, James Daniel Gunther came forward because he had a Charter by Marcelo Motta (although he had resigned by letter when he was 4=7): On 18 July 1976, Gunther, Wasserman and Richard Gernon had left Motta: Wasserman and Gernon in order to join McMurtry’s ‘Caliphate’. In the back of those books which Breeze published, such as ‘Magick (Liber ABA)’ in late 1994 Breeze’s A.A. officially moved out into the public’s eye. In ‘The Commentaries on The Holy Books’ (1996) one got a first official mention of Martin Starr’s involvement. In a piece entitled ‘Liber Vesta’ (not written by Crowley) they listed on the inside, Frater V as 7=4 which is Gunther. Then Frater VV as 6=5 which is Breeze and Frater SUA as 5=6 or Starr (with his address as Cancellarius).”

Now that all of this is clear we can go back to statements made by Seckler herself while Cornelius was in the process of being expelled (after she was threatened with a lawsuit to prevent her from using the name or lamen of the A.’.A.’.) in a letter to William Breeze:

“Dear Bill,

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

There is now quite a crisis in the O.T.O. and in my 61 years of membership this seems to be the worst one yet.What has happened to you? You used to believe in religious freedom and now you are acting with religious intolerance and suppression.Crowley wrote that the A*A* and the O.T.O. were two separate Orders. I enclose copies of this letters [These are not included in this epistle. – JEC] and remarks written to clarify matters.These were printed in I.T.C. Vol I, No. 2. You seem to believe that  you should be the head of the A*A* as well as the head of the O.T.O. Why? I am inclined to ask where are your credentials?  The A*A* is guide by V.V.V.V.V. He wrote the tasks for each grade with George Cecil Jones. This is clear in LIBER 61.V.V.V.V.V. is ever the head of the A*A* and there can be no other. He is still at work to guide his Order. He does not necessarily need a physical body to do this. Intelligences on the inner planes can  make use of all sorts of persons. One of their easiest vehicles is a person of unbalanced or insane mind. Why do you think you were the victim of a stalker? Would it not be good policy to heed what ill fortune besets you?You have been showing that you can’t allow any divergence of view from you own. Why can’t you take criticism? Thelemites should be able to express a diversity of opinion without fear of  reprisal. Perhaps if you had two revolutionaries to oppose your every decision and move you would not now be in so precarious a position.The two revolutionaries were specified in Crowley’s original constitution and their function was to strengthen a Supreme and Holy King, causing him to review his character and behaviour so that he could remain well balanced and so that he did not become an ego-maniac. You have not benefited from this provision and it makes one wonder if you have been afraid of criticism and opposition all along.According to all accounts, you behaved in an unfair manner when Jerry Cornelius criticized your behaviour in claiming head of the A*A*. Your actions seem to point to the fact that you wish to bring every A*A* person under your leadership and jurisdiction.Actually he was correct in his views on this matter. Crowley’s instructions are clear enough for each grade of A*A* and presumably any person could accomplish a great deal in the work and studies on their own. The only catch is that when a person claims a grade in the Order, and there is no person in a higher grade to monitor his work and issue a paper upon completion, that his claims are hard to believe.But you expelled Jerry for his opinion and also with some ferocity, for you gave him no chance to defend himself. This was unfair and also goes against O.T.O. procedures. Do what thou wilt means that one gives every other person a right to do what he/she wills without interference. Jerry was not hurting you in any way. He merely had an opinion. Is no opinion valid but your own? Have you forgotten LIBER OZ?”3. Man has the right to think as he will: to speak what he willto write what he will —-” You owe Jerry and apology and full reinstatement in the O.T.O.You even threatened me with a lawsuit because I use the name of A*A* in my work. Do you think you should be the only one to use this name? That is, you and those of whom you approve?I have been a part of V.V.V.V.V.’s A*A* since 1940 when Jane Wolfe inducted me into this Order and gave me a paper for Probationer. In her turn, she was inducted into this Order by Crowley while residing in Cefalu and studying under him.Also, as everyone knows, Karl Germer was an 8°=3* in this Order due to Crowley’s knowledge and word of his true grade.Before that, Karl achieved the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel while in a prison camp in Nazi Germany.When Crowley knew of this attainment, he recognised Karl as 5°=6* of A*A* Germer later recognised my own experience with the H.G.A. and wrote to me and to Jane that I was 5°=6* A*A*  At the present with H.G.A. guidance I have founded a College of Thelema and one of my successors has founded the Temple of  Thelema under the College. We have classes and college work which aids a student to enter the more difficult work laid out in LIBER 185  (to be found in the last section of GEMS FROM THE EQUINOX.)

When a student enters the A*A*, we work with strict compliance to the guidelines set out in LIBER 185. No one gets a paper from us for each grade unless they have completed the tasks set forth. If any one of our students is ever challenged, the papers show good, solid work which is overseen and checked by those of  higher grades and by adepts if need be. According to Crowley’s instructions, only Neophytes or those of higher grades may take on a student but if anything goes wrong, there is always help from our adepts. The work is private and secret and should remain thus as that is the way the A*A* is supposed to operate. With us there are no imaginary or false claims as to grades, no lies, no pretense and no frauds in all of this work, whether of C.O.T. or of the A*A* In our studies at all levels we give a background in Psychology and Astrology so that each person can know the self and can guide his work and choices according to his true nature.Agreed, this is a difficult time, but as a IX* O.T.O. I would like to ask; does the O.T.O. intend to sue any publisher in the world who publishes Crowley writings, either in English or in translations?The present suit seems also to very nearly impoverish the O.T.O.Are all such lawsuits in the best interests of the spread of Thelema?The O.T.O. is supposed to aid in the spread of Thelema world wide, but copyright restrictions could work thoroughly against this aim.I am also concerned about this policy of lawsuits, as I think Crowley’s work will not get a wide enough distribution due to publishers being afraid to publish. There is a good deal of merit in Jim Graeb’s work on this matter. I do not see his exploration of other options as a threat to the final settlement of the Naylor, et al lawsuit.A vast majority of lawsuits are settled out of court. By mutual agreement neither Naylor nor O.T.O. is to be affected by this preliminary exploration.But you can’t seem to view this effort in a balanced way and you want Graeb expelled immediately. How do you know how the lawsuit will turn out? What if O.T.O. should lose? Would not Graeb’s suggestions then have been a better course to follow? You don’t even wait to find out if he was right after all.Jim Graeb is also fighting for religious and personal freedom and tolerance supposed to be taught in the higher grades of O.T.O.But you are exhibiting intolerance and suppression of the freedom of  religion of an A*A* person. Graeb is doing the work of a revolutionary and you react with haste and fear. Of what are you afraid? Your behaviour makes many others in O.T.O. wonder who will be expelled next. This leads to a lack of independent action on the part of others who hold high positions. Are you intent on making them rubber stamps of yourself?Yes, you really do need the ideas, the votes and the independent thoughts and work of the IX* O.T.O. and also of the VIII*. They must act so that the O.T.O. does not become a petty dictatorship.In our telephone conversation of May 21, I told you that what you and others did with the A*A* was none of my business and that I hoped for the same courtesy from you. But when you offered to sue me instead because I work with the name of A*A*, I replied that if you interfered with me, I would have to fight. This is part of my fight.

  1. As a IX* of O.T.O., I request you to reinstate Jerry in the O.T.O. with his full degree restored.
  2. As a IX* of O.T.O., I request that you allow Jim Graeb to act as the present revolutionary without fear of retribution.
  3. As an A*A* I request that you do not sue either me or my successors over the use of the name of the AA

If you intend to remedy your present actions with suggestions 1 and 2, please let me know by July 15. As for request No. 3, I request a written statement that you will not sue us over the name of A*A* This signed paper should be in my hands by July 15.Of course you may ignore these requests and say nothing. But in that case, copies of this letter shall have a wider distribution.It is my policy to give a copy of any letter which I write of a serious nature in which I have mentioned a person’s name. Therefore both Jerry and Jim Graeb shall have a copy and I ask that they exert extreme discretion in not showing it or reading from it to anyone else. Since your actions also included the Secretary and Treasurer, a copy goes to Marcus Jungkurth and Bill Heidrick. Finally, a copy of this letter shall go to David Scriven because he is head of the U.S.A.  O.T.O. and should know of anything that goes on.Finally, I have always praised you for your fine work with the publications. Also you have done a great deal of good work with the O.T.O. When you were elected to the headship of O.T.O., we believed in you and we would again like to believe in your intelligence, you spirit of fair play and your tolerance. Dear brother, please reconsider some of you present actions.

Love is the law, love under will

Fraternally with much love,
Phyllis Seckler (Soror Meral)”

 

This is the state of affairs in the order as it stands. It would seem that a war of sorts is brewing between the lineages and the systemic push to get rid of those who associate with non-Gunther lineages of the A.’.A.’. out of the OTO is simply a symptom of a larger problem. Breeze seems to think that he can own something that his predecessor said, very plainly, is devoid of ownership. It is worth noting that the third demand was met; a letter of promise to never sue Seckler or anyone else for using the name A.’.A.’. was delivered to her in the timeframe specified.

This attempt by Breeze is the paragon of “unthelemic” behavior: an attempt to dictate to others which methods of attainment are and are not acceptable in an Order that claims to be mankind’s last universal hope for freedom. This is egotism at it’s highest and borders (if not crosses) the line into the actions of a Black Brother.

These are not the only problems. OTO Prison Ministries have dropped the ball with respect to David Ray Taylor, who was allowed to associate with (and rape) members of the Order, despite being an obvious danger. More can be read about the case here on David Scriven’s blog, http://invisiblebasilica.blogspot.com/2012/08/drw-postscript.html

Yet again, another person has tackled the problem in a more articulate manner than I can; though I will post some of the comments made in this very recent and very lucid analysis of the problems that we’re dealing with as a whole in the OTO:

“Keith418: Thelema usually awakens anxieties that push people to extremes. This is one of the most important reasons why developing self-discipline – through the physical and mental work Crowley prescribes, as well as the note-taking and diary work – is so important. The scandals surrounding the OTO’s “prison ministry” are – I suspect – the result of people feeling an overwhelming need to prove that Thelema is “good” and a force for “goodness.” The problem is that this “goodness” is the “goodness” defined and determined by the liberal left and today’s liberal-left “managerial elites.” It’s not the “goodness” that Crowley taught, which is another kind of “goodness” entirely. People in the Order seem impelled to prove that Thelema isn’t “Satanic” – that it can heal the halt, the weak, and the dumb – and turn hardened sociopaths and murderers around. They have realized that they can’t do this and are reaping the karmic rewards of a very stupid self-protective kind of pseudo-naivete.

You don’t know how wrong you are about the “exclusive” part of the today’s Order. This is a group that has thrown away all of Crowley’s arguments on quantity vs. quality. They want as many people as they can get and they view the kind of “exclusive” point of view you are describing with nothing but utter abhorrence. We can see where this vehemence has landed them.

Is there a cultural contradiction here? The highest values devalue themselves. Egalitarianism – for some the highest value – opens the door to rapists. Democracy – for some the highest value – ushers in the tyrant. Compassion – for some the highest value – entails the embraces of the murderer. The Order’s fundamental contradiction is that it has rejected Crowley for mainstream values; but it will not admit this or come to terms with what this decision really means. Rather than seeking to make society conform to Thelema, it attempts to make Thelema conform to society.”

 

This seems to be exactly the case; my peers and I have discussed at great length that Thelema is not Catholicism, and that it is NOT, in any way, shape, or form, especially considering the content of our Holy Book, Liber AL vel Legis, obligated to ‘forgive and forget’ or embrace those who do not meet the high standard of Thelema – indeed it is one of the reasons the OTO seems to be barely functioning (though to be fair, it IS functioning); we are being strong-armed into a broad public appeal when in reality Thelema is, for the most part, a transgressive and antinomian answer to mainstream religious systems and mystical methods of attainment. Attempting to remove these elements from Thelema only serves to delude the current leadership of the OTO into a feeling that their system as packaged has a broad based appeal, which it INHERENTLY does not possess. Keith418 continues:

“I think you’re missing a basic problem. Quakers cannot be expected to run a government system designed for administrating a Roman Catholic diocese effectively. The managerial rules and tools won’t “work” for them because the hierarchy involved clashes with their values. Likewise OTO members who are, at best, ambivalent, and who, at worst, bitterly opposed to Crowley’s political ideals (and the metaphysics that determine those values) can’t run a managerial system he designed either. The basic conflict here is that people who are not fully committed to his model are seeking to run it. How could this possibly work?

The turnover in the Order is tremendous. It may not “purge” regularly, but people “purge” themselves regularly by quitting or drifting away. This also serves to provide the leaders with convenient scapegoats (“That person is no longer with us”) and it destroys any far-reaching institutional memory that might serve as a needed corrective.

My working theory is that the slow diffusion of Crowley’s actual writings played a part in this and still does. Without a wide understanding of his work, many people believe they can make it all up themselves as they go along. By the time they realize they can’t… it’s too late. Either they get trapped in a state of denial or they quit. A number of former “big names” in the Order came to the conclusion that they really did not, and could not ever truly accept Thelema – so they left. The OTO doesn’t want to talk about this, no matter how prominent these people once were.

People in the OTO came from a ’60s-’70s counter culture background – or from a broader culture influenced by that culture and its shared values. If “do what thou wilt” equals “do your own thing” and “your thing” happens to be an unquestioning belief in egalitarianism and democracy, then doesn’t Thelema endorse your values just as they are? The tougher option – to recognize, interrogate, and trace the origins of your highest moral values – requires a lot more work.

We still see many versions of this. People feel free to talk about what Thelema means without even paying the slightest attention to what Crowley actually thought, wrote, or taught. The leadership is stuck, however, because not only do they know – at least on some level – that they are not in synch with his ideas, but that their own values and ideas aren’t enough to carry them forward. The irony is that the best leaders the OTO has, as a friend noted, are the ones with the courage to do what they think is right. The problems is that what they think is right is determined solely by left-liberal middle class morality and anxieties.”

 

The full interview can be read at http://skepoet.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/interview-with-keith418-on-thelema-and-still-birth-of-contradiction/

I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is a current of both ethical and academic laziness in the OTO; case in point being the statement that they are not a “teaching Order” (another implication pointing to the attempted consolidation of the A.’.A.’. lineages). The above sentiment illustrates a twofold problem in the OTO and Thelema as a whole – those who are frightened by the true intentions and teachings of Thelema drift away while those who hold these precepts dear also drift away when it becomes readily apparent that those who are stewards of these codes (the OTO) have no intention of keeping them.

So, then, we Thelemites are at a crossroads. How to discern the correct path, at the moment, is beyond me. This problem is too large and systemic for a single initiate to tackle unsupported, inside or outside of any Order. Bringing complaints to higher ups does nothing – they’re the problem. Who polices those who police the Order? Who watches the watchmen? No one, apparently. Of course, the various Thelemite Orders are not Democracies, but those installed in offices of power must meet the standard otherwise they’re doing more than profaning themselves and their Orders; they’re profaning their offices which they’ve sworn to uphold.

What happens if these systemic problems erode the OTO until it collapses? Certainly something will rise in it’s wake, but how much faith can those who go through this hypothetical collapse have in what comes after the OTO? Worse yet, will the OTO simply fade away? Given the actions and personality of Breeze, it is highly unlikely that the OTO will go gently into that good night.

These are not the only problems facing the OTO and the A.’.A.’. – but these are the most public and apparent. If when speaking to an initiate of either, he has no story of some kind of problem similar to or as equally egregious as the above, then they’re either willfully ignorant or have not been associated long enough for these problems to become manifest. While the Order carries on an unjust and unfair inquisition, it is up to those members who cannot ethically allow those abuses to carry out an inquisition of a just and fair nature, outing those “leaders” of the OTO who are actively contributing to the problems facing the Thelemic community instead of fixing them in a pragmatic and sensible manner.No matter how one chooses to view these problems, or upon who to lay the blame for all of this, two things remain undeniably true – that drastic change needs to occur if the OTO (and the A.’.A.’. for that matter) are to survive this period of turmoil, and that

Love is the Law,
Love Under Will

~Frater Kynokephalos

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9 Comments

  1. Victor

    There are things about Greenfield that aren’t being exposed. I tried warning the OTO about him but got the boot in 2000. Gave the Order the middle finger and never looked back. But needless to say, Greenfield’s expulsion isn’t what he says it is, and it’s not what the Order says it is in public.

    • admin

      Now I’m curious to learn more. Any chance you’d be willing to share more?

    • Victor is an internet troll who has said ghastly and defamatory things about me in every forum he can find, most of it untrue, an all of it based on two misconceptions on his part. When I was in the corporate OTO I played by the rules. When I was Lodge Master of Eulis Lodge No. 10, OTO, Inc. I hosted a group of IV/PI Degree initiations performed by David Scriven. The initiations took all night, and we went to breakfast at the Dunk’n’Dine afterwards. One of the new initiates was Victor Cypert. At that time it was quite customary to give the KEW initiation at the same time. But, in this case, Scriven pulled aside four of the newly-made ‘princes’ and said we were going to a different location (Syntaxiss Camp) to perform KEWs. I realized this was leaving out Cypert and one or two others just initiated, but it was Mr. Scriven’s call, so I obeyed (obedience is a big deal in the corporate OTO IMHO). We went, we did, Cypert figured out he had been left out, and apparently thought it was my doing. The other incident was when, as a chartered initiator in Alabama, Cypert would go over to a West Georgia OTO Camp which had no initiator to do their initiations. Apparently, Cypert thought or claimed that this made him the ‘de facto superior’ to the Camp Master, John Nance, now a wheel in what’s left of cOTO. Nance felt put upon by Cypert, complained to me. I called Cypert and told him to cease and desist. I also reported it to the Grand Lodge; as I alluded, I was a team player. I had a similar run-in with James Wasserman at the end of my Lodge tenure, went over his head to Breeze over what seemed to me a scam he was running to remove a camp master in Atlanta, and Breeze stopped it, and to this day Wasserman seems to hate my guts. The only ‘hidden agenda’ I have is I talk minimally about the corporate OTO. I have long since moved on. I told Scriven I was stepping down from all my positions (which included a dues free status) long before I did. When I published my ‘Statement on ther OTO’ I knew it likely they would try to kick me out. It took them a year and a half, including yet another rather shabby ‘fair and just’ inquisition. I resisted only to make a point, which succeeded I think in that the very ‘accusations’ that got me suspended became part of the cOTO structure thereafter. Having sat on Graeb’s inquisition myself, and seeing the kangaroo-court nature of that (which I fully played my role in – I was a team player) I played it out to the end in order to undermine this institution, and apparently I succeeded. For the record, I don’t think the corporation is the successor to the original OTO. I don’t think there is one. There are recreations, but the chain was broken long since. Doesn’t matter; it was a bit of an uneasy melding of the secrets of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light and the structure of the Rites of Memphis and Misraim.

      • Victor

        Ha! Allen has a funny memory and elects to recall things as he sees fit.

        Needless to say he omitted the part about Nance’s Camp engaging in experiments with drugs and hypnosis that left a member in a delusional state that later turned into a psychotic break with reality, a drug-dealing abusive member of the Electoral College of OTO he helped promote, and the truth of his own dispute with Bill Breeze when the so-called “OHO” discovered the promised apostolic succession Allen offered wasn’t Allen’s to give and effectively rendered the consecration null and void.

        There’s a lot more to Allen’s sad little story, but I think the slow demise of so-called “Congregational Illuminism” speaks for itself.

        Allen Greenfield failed to master the ancient formula of the alchemists, but did achieve its inverse: Every golden thing he touches turns to lead or shit.

        • My first Gnostic Mass at Eulis Lodge was when Bill Padgett was stepping down as Master. Bill was serving as Priest for that ritual and Allen as deacon–the only role he ever took because it allowed us of a script and Allen could never operate without a script.

          When that mass happened, the number of people in the basement temple used totaled over 30. These were members of Padgett’s Eulis Lodge.

          When Allen took over, that number shrank to under 10. Eulis Lodge under Allen often required outside help to perform even the simplest of Man of Earth initiations; Allen had the V* but when took over, all of the IV & PI members left.

          Also, as for KEW, I was to be offered it that day but Allen had taken all my money by SELLING ME REGALIA HE WAS SUPPOSED TO GIVE NEW IV/PI MEMBERS AS PART OF THEIR INITIATION. The dues and fees Allen collected went somewhere–probably his pocket as he never worked a real job in the time I knew him. Scriven actually pointedly asked me, “Won’t you come with us?” when the party was leaving for Syntaxis–I knew what was about to happen and I told him I didn’t have the initiation fee after buying the (very crummy) apron and sash needed for IV. Allen quickly pulled David aside and they had a conversation out of earshot then I left.

          This was all confirmed by Dan DeLage, the member of EC whom Allen helped promote. For the record, DeLage had a criminal rap sheet for drug abuse and domestic violence that Allen knew about and yet still helped him onto the EC. In an ironic twist of fate, it would be DeLage who later led the crusade to oust Allen and Crow. Allen deserved what he got, but John Crow was largely innocent of the charges leveled–we don’t much care for each other, John and I, but he didn’t deserve to be caught in Allen’s wake as that bloated ship of bad intentions finally sank.

          Syntaxis Lodge managed to initiate over 200 people (a full 10% growth in US OTO membership in one city alone) into the Minerval degree from the Atlanta area in a single year. During Allen’s tenure as Master of Eulis Lodge, few initiations happened and fewer people stuck around–this made Allen look very bad with Grand Lodge and Allen became jealous and trumped up charges against the Lodge Master of Syntaxis.

          Allen also speaks of being a “doctor” yet his “doctorate” is a novelty one obtained from the Universal Life Church–anyone can get such a diploma for a mere $100. He doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree let alone a doctorate. He has no PhD nor any other doctorate from a regionally accredited university in the United States. If he did, he could teach and wouldn’t need to beg money through crowd funding sites.

          What infuriated me most about Allen’s take on OTO was the gaslighting. Playing “I never said that” or “You heard that wrong” was a common game. It was his hallmark, his modus operandi and the reason so many solid members of Eulis left the lodge after Allen became master.

          Allen had no qualms using others. He brought the Master of Syntaxis back into Order-wide good report in order to promote him (the guy had been on bad report because of his violent temper which was still problematic when he was master of Syntaxis–a feature that should’ve had him removed but would’ve damned Allen in the eyes of the new Grand Master Dave Scriven as Allen’s judgment wasn’t sound.) When Allen discovered he couldn’t control Syntaxis from afar, he filed bogus charges to have the man removed. Jim Wasserman saw the truth and rejected Allen’s narrative.

          Allen has a very selective memory and is ALWAYS the victim in his own story. I admit I handled the Nance affair poorly, but I was fed up with the human experimentation and disregard for the wills of others happening to people who were clearly vulnerable. Nance’s members were calling me in the middle of the night at various points to ask what to do about the things they were seeing, hearing, feeling, and otherwise experiencing; they knew they couldn’t go to Allen because they knew Allen simply didn’t care about their problems. In the end, I had to perform a healing ritual for the young man who had a psychotic break–this after I left OTO–because that individual requested it and knew nobody in Allen’s circle could do it. I don’t know where he is now but hope he is doing better; he swore off ceremonial magic which is a good idea.

          Allen’s “congregational illuminism” movement is also fraught with problems. I’ve been contacted by former “bishops” from that group seeking guidance in dealing with Allen and I always tell them, “Just get away from him. It’s all you can do.” Most of them take that advice; they just needed confirmation that their assessment of Allen as a quack and gaslighter confirmed.

          • I think Victor Cypert suffers from Tourett Syndrome –https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Tourette-Syndrome-Fact-Sheet#3231_6 and his compulsive, often irrational or -dishonest – comments on me decades after the events in question would be grounds for defamation suit if I were so inclined. (I am not. I am still mindful of his illness which I understand is not under control.) I will make a few corrections, though there is enough here (and elsewhere) that is incorrect and defamatory that I’ll only mention a few points.

            Elsewhere he has stated that I charge for “membership” in the Free Illuminist Movement. First, no one ‘owns’ free illuminism, nor can run it. Second, no one has ever been charged for any services rendered or Work performed in free illuminism by me or to my knowledge. Obviously, he thinks of free illuminism as a membership organization. While I suppose you could say that people who adhere to free illuminism (no bosses, no dogma, no dues or fees) could be described – loosely – as “members” — in fact free illuminism is a movement, not in any sense an organization like cOTO or AMORC (for instance). It has no corporate existence. He says it is fraught with problems. Not to my knowledge. He says it is declining. In fact, thousands of persons, more all the time Work in free illuminist bodies all over the world. I can’t imagine anyone ‘seeking guidance’ on episcopal matters from Victor, but if there are people I have empowered who feel let down, I’m sure at least one or two would have said so either to me or in a public forum, and – while I can’t say everyone I have ever dealt with in this manner is happy with the results, I have never once heard from anyone so empowered to burn up my email or otherwise complain. I think the ” quack and gaslighter ” is, ipso facto, the person dreaming up this anonymous ‘alienation’.

            He tells you “I admit I handled the Nance affair poorly, but I was fed up with the human experimentation and disregard for the wills of others happening to people who were clearly vulnerable. Nance’s members were calling me in the middle of the night at various points to ask what to do about the things they were seeing, hearing, feeling, and otherwise experiencing; they knew they couldn’t go to Allen because they knew Allen simply didn’t care about their problems…”

            The point is, while a member of the Corporate OTO, I played by the rules. By said rules, Victor was a guest of that Camp, not an Inspector General. Nor has he ever been such. I was. I think he is correct about the body Mr. Nance headed (as was the Lodge Mr. Delage headed) was abusive re drugs, but that is, I’m afraid, a rather common problem in cOTO locals. What I did or did not do was not Victor’s concern, and that is what I told him. What I did or did not do regarding problems with other bodies in the region are, frankly, none of his business.

            “Allen had no qualms using others. He brought the Master of Syntaxis back into Order-wide good report in order to promote him (the guy had been on bad report because of his violent temper which was still problematic when he was master of Syntaxis–a feature that should’ve had him removed but would’ve damned Allen in the eyes of the new Grand Master Dave Scriven as Allen’s judgment wasn’t sound.) When Allen discovered he couldn’t control Syntaxis from afar, he filed bogus charges to have the man removed. Jim Wasserman saw the truth and rejected Allen’s narrative.”

            None of this is true, except that I gave after he pleaded with me for a second chance the member in question the second chance, after informing both Scriven and Breeze in person of my concerns where the guy was coming from. When it became obvious to me he was running a violent, drug-saturated body, with Mr. Crow I sent a formal report to Scriven (my job) and shortly afterwards he was removed from office.

            What Wasserman was upset about was that he and his future wife were telling this guy that they were ‘representing Grand Lodge’ and coming to visit him in good faith, while telling me they were actually coming to gather dirt. I thought this a serious breach of trust, and went to Breeze simply asking that the matter be reviewed by someone neutral. Breeze reigned Wasserman in (I gather) and Breeze followed my advice.

            A lot of personal misinformation; during the time I knew Cypert I was employed as a high-end telemarketing manager, then in the art supply business (as Branch Manager of a very large art supply firm) then spent five years working the graveyard shift on an incall advice service. For the latter, I felt it was legally appropriate that I get ‘spiritual counseling credentials’ and that must be the doctorate he is going on about. Long before I met Victor or anyone in cOTO I had attended GA State U (BA), and later the U of AZ (MA, Ph.D.) I have never worked in the area of expertise in question (Comparative Religion) and, like a lot of people of my generation, regard the whole process as a “sin of youth”.

            The membership of Eulis Lodge did indeed drop…before I even offered to serve as interim lodge master, as the previous lodge master, Bil, had built up the membership to 50, then let it slide after a long, slow process of disillusionment with the OTO. We all waited years for Bil to spring back, but he never did. I volunteered, and Bill Breeze told me, years later, that I had “saved the OTO in Atlanta”. May be, but today I’d look at that in a different way. If Bil got disillusioned early, I got disillusioned a lot later.

            As for taking Victor’s money for “free regalia” I’m sure we offered regalia to the new initiates, but no one was required to take it, and no one has ever accused me of stealing from the OTO, even my sharpest critics. If Victor couldn’t afford something he shouldn’t have bought it. I have been a free illuminist for ten years now, and I charge nothing for anything to do with the Work. I do know that it was Scriven who was in charge of those long-ago initiations, not me. Even at the time, I thought it shabby that – having been together all night – he’d pick up only some of the IV/PI new initiates and leave others sitting there. But that’s the OTO, not me. If you can justly accuse me of anything, its spending twenty years in service to a cultic corporate entity.

            The bottom line is, Victor is impeached as a fair witness to anything I have done said or been, because he hates my guts. That isn’t gaslighting; it is the simple truth.

  2. Frater Gaia

    Implicit in this analysis is an assumption that the fate of the OTO is in some degree, apparently a large degree, crucial to the fate of Thelema as a social/philosophical/spiritual movement. I question this assumption. If Thelemites dedicate themselves to building effective institutions, without being distracted by the travails of institutions that, formerly headed by Crowley or not, are ineffective in spreading the Law, then all will go aright. A critique of the current OTO is fine, but in itself does absolutely nothing to promulgate Thelema.

    • admin

      The O.T.O. is intrinsically reliant on Thelema, as it doesn’t have another leg to stand on.

      If Thelemites existed beyond the fantasies of ne’er-do-wells, I’d agree.

      But in the real world, Thelema is pretty much irrelevant.

  3. Frater Scudo Fidei

    Something to add to the conversation that hasn’t been spoken about. Keith 418’s assessment of the prison ministry is uninformed, and pure opinion on his part. He simply knows nothing about it, what its objectives were and its stated goals.

    There are many incarcerated individuals who fancy themselves Thelemites and have begun to use Thelema, and in particular Liber OZ in order to defend their crimes, which were often atrocious. Murder, rape and other atrocities could be in their mind, be justified by the application of Thelema.

    So a prison ministry was worked out for the reason of divorcing these individuals of these ideas. Did not want to be in any way connected to the actions of these individuals via their interpretation of the law of Thelema.

    That was it. That was the entire mission. The prison ministry, was not meant to recruit from within the prison, as Keith418 likes to tell everyone. He often confuses his opinion with the truth of the matter. He likes to publicly abused people that disagree, and so he has built up a small following of lemmings that perpetuate his so-called truth.

    Did someone drop the ball with regards to the murderer and rapist named David Taylor? Absolutely. Was it the fault of the prison ministry? Absolutely not as he was told he could never be a member of the OTO by the prison ministry itself. The events that occurred after his release are a matter of record involving a local body master having advocated for a lifelong criminal. I hear he is now Grand Lodge officer.

    longer a member of the OTO so I have no pony in this race. But if the history of Thelema is going to be written in blogs such as these, then accuracy is very important.

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