Knights Templar Oasis Presents Liber Oz Fest

This month’s Local Body Spotlight is inspired by Pan and Liber Oz as Knight’s Templar Oasis prepares to resurrect a long standing tradition that’s been dormant for nearly a decade.

The festival was manifested to give Thelemites the opportunity to celebrate and explore their Freedom and Will and this year will start with initiating candidates into our Holy Order, followed by rituals, panel discussions, performance art, and speakers.

Thrill with lissome lust of the light,
O man! My man!
Come careering out of the night
Of Pan! Io Pan!
Io Pan! Io Pan! Come over the sea
From Sicily and from Arcady!
Roaming as Bacchus, with fauns and pards
And nymphs and satyrs for thy guards,
On a milk-white ass, come over the sea
To me, to me

from Hymn to Pan by Aleister Crowley

About 18 years ago, Knights Templar Oasis created an event to celebrate Liber Oz. The Secretary of the Oasis, Robert, was inspired to create the festival because of his devotion to Pan and to Liber Oz. He had been invoking Pan for many years and was a fan and perpetrator of all things wild and debauched! They had an Oasis camping trip earlier that year and “sacrificed” some juicy steaks to the gods. Another Oasis member had contact with a witchy couple that had a woodland property and offered it for a weekend of ritual including the central ritual which was an invocation to Pan.

Over the years, the festival started to regularly include the Gnostic Mass and a Minerval initiation.

Early Liber Oz Fests included events like:

  • Come as your favorite deity costume contest and cocktail party
  • Rite of Mercury
  • Fire circle
  • Puppet show

The last time Liber Oz Fest was celebrated was about 9 years ago, but this year, our Sister, Jen Prestage, along with other members of Knights Templar Oasis, decided to resurrect it.

This year’s celebration will take place at a very special artistic venue and retreat, The Star and Snake.

“the law of the strong: this is our law and the joy of the world.” – AL. II. 21

This year, Minerval degree initiations will take place on Friday evening, in keeping with tradition. Initiations are tyled to initiates and those seeking initiation.

This year’s guest speakers include Lon Milo Duquette (author of more than 16 books, EGC ArchBishop, and talented musician), Richard Kaczynski (author Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley), Colin Campbell (author of Thelema: An Introduction to the Life, Work, and Philosophy of Aleister Crowley among other books), Natan Alexander (artist and initiate and visionary behind the magnificent Star and Snake venue), jean-Michel Cholette (a talented artist who has exhibited alongside H.R. Giger), Halo Ray (wedding the intellect with the body, to create art as an exercise in embodied, intimate communication), N.D.N.S.N. (an Autistic Thelemite who focuses their work on creating a more Thelemic society through disability justice), Mary Widow (an actress, singer and burlesque performerwho has decades of training in musical theatre and dance), and Frater xvarnah-Asterior (an attorney in Connecticut, and an avid reader in both the philosophy of law), and more that are TBA.

Chapters of U.S.G.L.

Disclaimer: This post is about Chapters in U.S.G.L. Other Grand Lodges and IHQ may work differently.

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

In this degree the Most Wise Sovereign of each chapter will appoint a committee of four persons, two men and two women, to arrange for all social gatherings, banquets, dances, the performance of plays, and similar pleasures. They will also endeavour to promote harmony among the Brethren in all possible ways, and to compose any disputes by tact and friendliness without formal appeal being made to any more authoritative tribunal. – Liber 194

The Electoral College has no authority over Chapters of Rose Croix (as is explained in Liber 194.) But every member of the U.S. Electoral College has a vested interest in making sure that our membership understands the functions of a Chapter within U.S.G.L.

Q: What is a Chapter?

A:  A Chapter is committed to maintaining the social welfare of the order and providing membership services within its local area (Valley) as appropriate to the degree.

They are also charged with nominating people to the Vth°.

Q: Who can belong to a Chapter?

A: Every member of the Vth° or higher may belong to one or more Chapters. Membership is usually, but not always based on geography but may also be based on other factors. You may hear the term “received into Chapter”, which indicates the Chapter that performed the Vth° initiation. Any member of the appropriate degree, may petition a Chapter for affiliation.

Q: Tell me about Chapter leadership?

A: There are three principal officers responsible for the day to day business of the Chapter: The Manager, the Secretary, and the Treasurer. A Chapter Manager may be fulfilled by either the Most Wise Sovereign (MWS) or the High Priestess (HP). The MWS and HP must be of at least the VIth° within U.S.G.L. They may also appoint additional assistants.

The Committee of Four may be involved in creating social events as well as composing disputes by providing mediation services.

 

 

Q: How can I get invited to the Vth°?

A: If you are an initiate of the Minerval degree, some information is in the Minerval Guide that should have been given to you after your initiation. If you’ve not received this guide, contact your initiator or local bodymaster.

Q: How can I find out about Chapter events?

A: Note that not all Chapters have events for MOE members. A small number of Chapters have websites and Facebook pages. These groups may not all be public and this list may not be complete:

Additional Chapter contacts may be found here.

Chapters of Mediation may be found here.

For more information, see:
Liber CXCIV: An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order

Love is the law, love under will.

 

Spring 2018 e.v. Electoral College Meeting Actions

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The Electoral College took the following actions in Los Angeles on April 28th:
1. Rechartered Subtlety or Force Camp as Song of Freedom Oasis under Soror Promethea
2. Passed the Mastership of 718 Camp from Br. Michael Rogers to Soror Gimel.
3. Passed the Mastership of Bubastis Oasis from Sr. Angela Landrith to Br. Tony G.
4. Passed the Mastership of Obeah and Wanga Camp from Br. Edward E. to Sr. Rebecca P.
5. Passed the Mastership of Mithras Oasis from Br. Robert (Brett) Sherry to Br. Mychael J. Scribner
6. Passed the Mastership of Vortex Oasis from Sr. Diana to Sr. Egypt Rose
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours fraternally,
Hattie Quinn
President
U.S.G.L. Electoral College

From the Electoral College Past President

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

It has been an honor to serve as President of the Electoral College for the past four years. I was very young in my term on the College when I was asked to serve as President, and I would like to share that story. I had driven all morning in pouring rain and difficult traffic from Austin to Dallas so that I could serve as Priest in a gnostic mass wedding for two dear friends at
Bubastis. I arrived frazzled and late. Of course, I had to slide into ritual mode and begin the wedding with very little on site preparation. The wedding went well, and I got to see my dear friends marry in front of the assembled brethren. When the ritual was completed, my predecessor spoke to me privately and offered me the chair of President. At the time I thought
that he was joking. I was still new to the College and had just been getting my feet underneath myself as an Elector. Serving as President was a much larger job than I could see myself in at the time. I jokingly told him to get me a job description and walked off (that’s not a bad idea when offered any job in OTO!)

After the next regular meeting of the College, the President approached me again with a job description. I was astonished that he took me seriously, and I quickly and soberly realized that his offer was legitimate. I told him to give me a bit of time to consider it, and I spent several weeks meditating on what it would mean to serve as President. In many ways, the job of President is a life term on the College. Even after the President’s 11 year term is completed
on the College, he or she remains on the discussion list to offer institutional memory “from the shades” to the College. It is also a very visible executive position within the most visible governing body of Grand Lodge.

My experiences serving as President were humbling. I endeavored to direct debate within the College fairly and to make hard decisions for what the College and myself believe was the healthiest direction for the Order’s future. The lesson that “Government is Service, and nothing else” was repeatedly driven home. There is no place for ego in the office of the
President of the College. Frankly, my fellow Electors would mirror that directly to me when my ego began to get in the way, and for that I am humbly and eternally grateful. My years as President of the College have been profoundly transformative, and I am eternally appreciative
for the difficult challenges that the office provided me with as I was able to develop my character by leaps and bounds.

Serving as President of the College is in many ways acting as the tip of a spear. The College works as a unified body, and the President has to give the good and the bad news to people including appointing body masters in emergency situations and suspending or removing charters of local bodies. That has an emotional cost. That cost takes the form of weeks of nightly phone calls trying to put out metaphorical fires at local bodies across the country. After four years, I am pleased to set down those particular working tools.

In the end, I am very happy to pass on the chair to my very capable successor who is the first woman to serve as President in the United States! Notably, UK Grand Lodge also appointed a woman to serve as President of their Electoral College. I am very pleased at the increase of strong women in leadership positions in the Order, and I fully expect Hattie to do an even
better job at directing the Work of the College than I did. No pressure,  Hattie! I will always be there to dispense support and encouragement “from the shades,” and the College will have to put up with me until my full term expires in the Fall of 2021. As always, I am profoundly grateful and humbled by this opportunity to serve our Holy Order.

Love is the law, love under Will

In the Bonds of the Order,
Ministerio Caritas aka David Hill
President Emeritus
Electoral College, USGL

 

Winter 2018 e.v. Electoral College Meeting Actions

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

At the Winter meeting of the Electoral College, we took the following actions related to Lodges, Oases, and Camps:

1. Horus Oasis has been rechartered as Horus Camp at the request of the Master.
2. Mastership of ARARITA Camp has passed from Br. Sacha M. to Sr. Katherine Amrita.
3. Mastership of Blazing Star Oasis has passed from Br. Benjamin S. to Br. Neil P.
4. Mastership of Knights Templar Oasis has passed from Br. Joseph S. to Sr. Jennifer P.

Love is the law, love under will.

In the Bonds of the Order,

Hattie Quinn
President

U.S.G.L. Electoral College

Local Body Survey

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The Electoral College of the United States Grand Lodge would like to invite anybody who has attended any event at an O.T.O. Lodge, Oasis, or Camp in the past year to share any feedback regarding their experiences via a short web survey. The responses to this survey are anonymous and will not be made public, nor will they be shared directly with the master of the body. Rather the responses will be collated and the over-all themes relayed to the master.
The survey is at:
This is a public survey, so feel free to share with anybody that you think would be interested in filling it out.
You are always welcome to contact the E.C. directly for any reason within our purview by emailing the secretary at electoral_college@oto-usa.org or by emailing any elector individually, our emails are on the contact page: http://ec.oto-usa.org/electors.html. The purpose of this survey, however, is to open a more casual line of communication to the E.C. so that we can have a better understanding of the overall feeling of how things are going at the body and what sorts of things that general attendees like or dislike. To this end, please fill out this survey even if you think everything is going great at the body (in fact especially so!)
The deadline for filling out this survey will midnight on February 1st, at that time it will go offline.
Thank you in advance for your participation.
Love is the law, love under will.

Kwanzaa at Black Sun Lodge

This is our second Local Body Spotlight on Black Sun Lodge and our second LBS on diversity initiatives within the Order. It was written by a member of the Lodge and is timely for the season as Kwanzaa starts tomorrow, December 26.

Kwanzaa is a celebration in the U.S. and in other areas impacted by the African diaspora. It is in part, about rebalancing human dignity with local and global communities.

The concept of “Pillar of Community” was coined at Black Sun Lodge, originating with their local body master and is also aligned with Agape in Action.

I had given the project of a Kwanzaa Ritual a lot of thought before and afterwards. It was actually disheartening to realize, while researching, that the celebration is in a sharp decline amongst African-American communities overall, with the exception of a few major cities. In some of my online communities of African-American Pagans, I would find one or two enthusiastic persons who felt inspired to pick the tradition back up as well. As a whole, however, people have forgotten how hard previous generations fought to see equality finally catch up in the latter half of last century. As if none of the hard-fought liberties could ever go away.

I found it ironic, given at the time what was about to be in store for our nation, and what we are going through right now and for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless, I saw an opportunity to celebrate Kwanzaa’s 50th Anniversary and integrate it into my own practices. I shared my idea with members of Black Sun Lodge, and they encouraged me to share this as a public ritual.

The core of the celebration, for me, served as a reminder to live by our doctrines and the oaths I have taken, both within the Order and within myself, and that words can only go so far without action and commitment. Those of us who attended readily agreed that we should hold a Kwanzaa ritual every year. This provides an opportunity for guests and members to experience and appreciate diverse, cultural beliefs that are in alignment with our own tenets on θηλεμα and Αγαπε.

Inspired by Maulana Karenga’s Pan-African holiday and by Black Sun’s pillar of Community, I reviewed the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa and adjusted them with our Thelemic values in mind:

Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. One Family, One Community, One Nation, One Race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define and name ourselves, as individuals and as a community, as well as to create and speak for ourselves, individually and as a community.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and support our brothers and sisters as we solve our own Mysteries, and find solutions together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together, while inspiring other magical communities to do the same.

Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to exhault our Divinity within each and every one of us.

Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our individual and unified struggles.

Written by a member of Black Sun Lodge.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U.S. Grand Lodge or of O.T.O.

 

 

Electoral College: Tenure Limit Policy

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

At the recent Fall 2017 meeting of the Electoral College, a resolution was passed that provides for limits on the length of time any given person can hold the position of master of a local body.

The base tenure limit is 4 years, starting on the date of the E.C. meeting at which the master was appointed or confirmed.

By the submission deadline for the fourth anniversary of that E.C. meeting, that master must have either turned in an application for change of mastership or a tenure limit extension application.  For example, a master appointed at the Fall 2016 meeting must turn in an application by the submission deadline for the Fall 2020 meeting.

Tenure limit extensions, when approved, will add one additional year to the tenure. These will be readily approved for most reasons.

All current masters will receive their tenure expiration date information soon. Masters who were appointed or confirmed three or more years prior to the next Winter meeting on 1/6/2018 will have the following Winter meeting in January 2019 as their tenure limit date.

The goal of this policy is to encourage regular turnover of mastership, which can be indicative of, and conducive to, good body health. If masters are given an expectation of a tenure limit, our hope is that they will be more likely to turn over the mastership instead of holding onto it even if they are feeling burnt out. It also helps prevent a body from becoming too reliant on the mastership of any individual, promoting delegation of responsibility to offices that can persist beyond the tenure of any master.

However, turning over of mastership just for the sake of doing so is not always beneficial to the body, especially in developing or low population areas. If there are reasons that the mastership can not be passed on, it is good for the E.C. to be aware of them.

It should also be noted that this is not an establishment of a term for body masters, thus the use of “tenure limit” instead of “term.” A master does not need to fulfil 4 years; rather that is the maximum amount of time that they can be in the role without providing an explanation of why they cannot hand it off to another person. Masters who wish to allow someone else into the office sooner are more than welcome to do so.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the E.C. Tenure Limit Secretary at Mike.Estell at oto-usa.org

Love is the law, love under will.

 

All are Welcome: Sign, Sign, Everywhere a Sign

In the next few months, the Electoral College Blog will be posting a series on diversity initiatives.

Black Sun Lodge has been a thought leader in this regard, and they are this month’s Local Body Spotlight.

A month or so ago, a Facebook post caught my attention because it had a sign which read:

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

“Every man and every woman is a star.” – Liber AL vel Legis, 1:3

“We are all free, all independent, all shining gloriously, each one a radiant world.” – “Liber DCCCXXXVII: The Law of Liberty”, from Equinox III(1)

In accordance with the words of our Prophet, Aleister Crowley, Black Sun does not discriminate against anyone based on their race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identification, or any other petty bias the world may decide to conjure up. ALL person who walk through these doors will be welcomed with the same warmth of welcome that we accord to our brothers and sisters, without exception. We also expect that you will treat all those within with respect and kindness and without bias.

If it is not your Will to welcome ALL and to return the warm welcome that awaits you inside with courtesy, you are welcome to find your enlightenment elsewhere. Prejudice and ignorance have no place within these walls.

Love is the law, love under will.

Respectfully,

The Officers of Black Sun

This month’s Local Body Spotlight is an interview with Sr Lori Lent, Deputy Master of Black Sun Lodge.

Q: When did Black Sun decide to put up the sign?

A: Black Sun has always been interested in diversity, we just weren’t really sure how to do the outreach part.  So we batted around a lot of ideas, but there wasn’t a lot of forward momentum until after Sabazius gave his keynote at the 2015 NOTOCON in Austin.  He talked about our responsibilities to others as Thelemites, and it resonated with us in a big way.  We got a copy of the transcript and read it again as a body (for those who were unable to attend NOTOCON), and afterward we did a brainstorm session together to find ways to put our ideas into action.  We’ve been working on putting implementing these plans for two years now.

In Chapter 73 of Magick Without Tears, we find Crowley himself explaining how racism and classism are both rooted in fear, and how they bring out the worst in people. — Excerpt from NOTOCON X keynote speech

Q: What is the history of the sign? Who created it? When was it put up?

A: The sign was my first act toward fostering a culture of inclusiveness.  I was trying to find a way to announce to everyone at every event that this is what we do here, and this was my solution.  I didn’t really talk to Br Andrew, our body master, about it before I wrote it. I just presented it to him and said: “Can we put this up somewhere?  Maybe on the front door?”

He was really excited about it, and he was happy to let me put it up.  It went up in late 2015, and it’s graced our door ever since.  I love it, because it not only announces to everyone who walks through our door that they are welcome, but it also reminds all of us to do our best to be inclusive, to respect and welcome everyone, regardless of who they are or where they come from.  It’s been very effective on both fronts, I think.

Q: Do newcomers comment on it? If yes, what do they say?

A: I don’t know that any newcomers have commented on it, but it has generated a lot of conversation among our membership and in our region.  People here are proud of it, and several local bodies around us have adopted similar ideas.  If it gives just one person that last little incentive they needed to come through the door and stick around, then it’s served it’s purpose.

Q: Have you ever had any push back on it?

A: Actually, we have, though it wasn’t on the local level.  When I first posted the sign, I put a picture of it up on Facebook, and it was shared out by several people, so it got around.  The reaction for the most part was very positive, but there were several people on FB who were asking why we needed a sign, why we felt the need to advertise such a thing, what had happened to make such a sign necessary, and one person even implied we put it up because we secretly wanted to discriminate against people, and it was a case of “protesting too much.”  I remember feeling shocked at the reaction, because I thought what Thelemite can argue the fact that every man and every woman is a star?  It just boggled my mind.

Q: Have you seen any impact on diversity representation because of the sign?

A: We have definitely seen more diversity locally in the last year or so than we have had in the 7 years I’ve been affiliated, but that could be due to  many different factors.  We have several members who are very dedicated to bringing Thelema to a more diverse audience.  We currently have a minority pagan support group that meets quarterly, and an LGBT pagan support group that meets monthly at the LGBT Center here in Cleveland.  We printed postcards with the events for the quarter on them, and we distributed them in every neighborhood in the Cleveland area, which represents a lot of diversity.  We are presenting a Kwanzaa ritual at the end of December. We have a community altar set up in our Lodge with deities and items from nearly every religion in the world represented. We had an Ifa priestess come in and do orisha readings for people. Our local body has also done presentations on everything from African religion to gender and the importance of using preferred pronouns.  We are dedicated to the ideas put forth in our sign, and our efforts and our space and our calendar all reflect that dedication.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U.S. Grand Lodge or of O.T.O.