US Grand Lodge Members: Doing Great Work in Mexico
Today’s post is about the work that members of U.S.G.L. are doing to help establish O.T.O. in Mexico.
All names and images are being used with permission.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Marco lived in Mexico until immigrating to the United States when he was a teen. When he joined the Order and beginning his initiatory journey, he knew Mexico was ripe for Thelema but trying to figure out the logistics was hard. And these were early internet days. (No, there was no Facebook!) So he spent time corresponding with people but over time, they fell away.
In August of 2009, he met Gerardo Braham at NOTOCON in Seattle. Br Gerardo was a 1st° initiate, (initiated in Arizona), but was a Mexican national living in Mexico City. He had been looking for Br Marco because he’d heard that Marco had obtained his International Headquarters Initiation Charter for this purpose. Gerardo told Marco that he had a lot of people in Mexico City interested in initiation.
Gerardo and Marco stayed in contact and planed various things. Marco found a sister, Sophia (current New Orleans Bodymaster at Alombrados Oasis) willing to help with initiations. Gerardo limited the number of applications to 12 and on September 20, 2014 Marco conducted 11 Minerval initiations (one last minute cancellation) in Mexico City with Gerardo assisting in those initiations and Sr Sophia providing boundless support. These were almost certainly the first ever OTO initiations on Mexican soil.
In late 2015, Marco returned with Sister Amber from Denver to help with mentoring the new initiates in their quest to start the first ever OTO body in Mexico. Marco felt confident that they were ready and he and others assisted them with their application for Camp status.
On May 20, 2016, the Ordo Templi Orientis Frater Superior, H.B. signed and approved the charter for that first ever OTO body in Mexico, “Campamento Ciudad de Las Piramides” (City of the Pyramids Camp.)
In 2017, Marco returned again with Sister Nena from Las Vegas to provide the nascent Camp with support and counsel. During that visit, the local body expressed interest in holding Minerval and first degree initiations and the Gnostic Mass. In July of that year, they did just that.
After that visit, there was one 1st°, 12 Minerval degrees and one 3rd° (moved to Mexico City from Norway) before this trip. And there were 6 active members, total.
Fast forward to 2018 and Ciudad de las Pirámides indicated they had 18 Minerval applications and four 1st°applications. Marco could not do this alone or even with a small number of helpers. He needed a big team. An effective team! Basically teams of OTO bad asses who could get things done.
“I had a squad of 14 people travel with me. They came from my local body Star Sapphire in Los Angeles, from Khonsu Camp in Las Vegas, Oregon, Florida, New Orleans and North Carolina”, Marco said.
The local body did not have much equipment and United States Grand Lodge brethren brought some equipment and then initiates in Mexico built two Mass temples, one 1st° temple and one Minerval temple to serve the two days of intense ritual.
The Seneshal team put together an amazing Middle Eastern feast for dozens of people.
6 people interested in initiation came from Jalapa, Veracruz (about 4 hours by car) and that group may start a local body soon. Br Marco is actively mentoring them with that project now. Others came from Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Toluca, Mexico City and possibly even more places. Many had been Thelemites for a long time, but it’s very tough for them to travel for initiations. One of our most brilliant and sharpest new Minervals was deported from the USA as a teen, so she could never come return to the USA for initiation or any other reason.
Numerous non-Spanish speaking Brethren memorized initiation officer roles and the mass in Spanish. Some of the rituals used a mix of English and Spanish (the first mass, the Deacon spoke Spanish and the Priest and Priestess spoke in English.) The 2nd mass in that trip, was all Spanish.
Giant thanks to Vahe Yaymayan (New Orleans), Sophia Vera (New Orleans), Ruben Ruiz Marron (probably the first Deacon ever ordained in Mexico and from Mexico City), Nena Cunningham (Las Vegas), Rafael Aguilar (Los Angeles), Bjorn Furuknap, Felipe Bustos (Xalapa, Veracruz), Michael (Los Angeles), Shelley M. (Florida), Deborah Woody (North Carolina), Bill Woody (North Carolina), Abbi Habdas (Las Vegas), Will Habdas (Las Vegas), Vanessa McCulloch (Los Angeles), Gerardo Braham (Mexico City), Soror Miyan (Oregon), and a very special shout out to Marco Rodriguez (Los Angeles) whose vision and work has been the driving force behind this.
There are others whose work was critical to these events who do not wish to be named. But you know who you are and this great work could not have happened without you!