Winter 2018 e.v. Electoral Coollege 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.

Electoral College: Revolutionary Appointment

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

The Electoral College possesses one most singular power. Every eleven years, or in the case of a vacancy occurring, they choose two persons from the Ninth Degree, who are charged with the duty of Revolution. It is the business of these persons constantly to criticise and oppose the acts of the Supreme and Most Holy King, whether or no they personally approve of them. Should he exhibit weakness, bodily, mental, or moral, they are empowered to appeal to the O.H.O. to depose him; but they, alone of all the members of the Order, are not eligible to the Succession.

– Liber 194, An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order

The Electoral College has appointed a new Revolutionary at the Fall meeting held on Oct 21, 2017 e.v.

We would like to thank Muops for volunteering for this position.

We would also like to thank EAOA//77 for fulfilling 11 years of service as of July 2017, e.v.

We still have a remaining vacancy for another revolutionary. Members in good standing of the Sovereign Sanctuary of the IX° in the United States (who are not serving as an officer or voting member of any Governing or Administrative Body under the jurisdiction of U.S. Grand Lodge) wishing to volunteer to stand for election to the office of Revolutionary by the Electoral College are encouraged to write the President of the E.C. to volunteer.

Love is the law, love under will.

In the Bonds of the Order.

Meet the Ombudsmen

United States Grand Lodge has two Ombudsman. Many people don’t know much about the office or how the office can help them. This is an interview with our two current Ombudsman to help explain.

What is an ombudsman?

Most large organizations have an ombudsman, someone who is there to serve as a resource when members have questions or concerns. Here’s our job description:

The purpose of the Ombudsman is to serve as an official liaison between the general membership of O.T.O. within the United States and the various governing and administrative bodies of the U.S. Grand Lodge of O.T.O.; and to facilitate communication between members, officers, and governing and administrative bodies, especially towards the resolution of problems.

Why are there two ombudsman? (ombudspeople?) 🙂

We’re both call ombudsman. 🙂 The thinking was that it would be a good idea “to provide individuals whom both male and female members may more comfortably approach with sensitive issues.” The office isn’t split so that fraters and sorors only interact with their own gender, it’s just meant to give members options. We have separate emails and also share a main email, so that members can contact either of us, or both of us at once.

How can the ombudsman office help me?

Mainly, we are here to answer questions and make communication easier and better. Members can call on us for help when they are running into issues and aren’t sure what to do. The office was created back in 2005, and a full definition can be found in Agape VII-1, but to paraphrase, we are here:

  1. To receive and answer requests from members for information regarding which officer, governing body, or administrative body may be contacted to address a specific problem or need.
  2. To receive complaints from members regarding the job performance of local or national O.T.O. officers, or regarding problems associated with local or national O.T.O. policies, and, when other avenues of mediation are unavailable or unsatisfactory, regarding the conduct of other individual members.
  3. To maintain a confidential record of complaints received, actions taken, and how resolution was achieved in each case. Said record shall be accessible to the Executive, and to other governing bodies with the permission of the Executive.
  4. To perform triage regarding complaints received, and to act on said complaints in the most appropriate manner.
    • Respond with clarifying information.
    • Request additional information.
    • Without commencing an intensive investigation.
      • Refer the complainant to the appropriate resource
      • Forward the complaint, with recommendations. Complaints may be forwarded without identifying information.  

How would I utilize this service?

The ombudsman’s office is informal and outside the organizational structure – in O.T.O. that means we aren’t on the Path of Mediation, you can talk to us at any point.  

Contact us about most anything – just send email to one of these addresses:

  • ombudsman-f @ oto-usa.org – Shellay Maughan
  • ombudsman-m @ oto-usa.org – Michael Kolson
  • ombudsman @ oto-usa.org – Shared email

Is there anything else you’d like our members to know about your office?

Our records are confidential, we aren’t going to share the names of the members who talk to us unless they give permission. Also, we aren’t mediators or judges – we are here to help but aren’t going to take sides or decide on the merits of any arguments. For that, we will help identify the best way/level to engage with the path of mediation.

Meet the Ombudsman

Michael Kolson has been studying Thelema, and the Occult generally for the past 20 years and has been a member of O.T.O. since 1993. He took his Minerval in Buffalo N.Y. at Pyramid Lodge and is currently a member of Horizon Oasis, Seattle WA. In addition to being an ardent Student of our Mysteries generally, he is particularly and currently interested in the work of Crowley’s students, and has been working to publish a series of diaries from early A.’.A.’. and O.T.O. members.

Shellay Maughan is an artist and occultist, studying the Mysteries since the 1970s. She has been a member of O.T.O. since 2000, takig her Minerval at Horizon Lodge in Seattle, WA. She is a past master of Horizon, and continues to serve as priestess and initiator at Horizon and at Vortex Oasis.

Henry Anderson Obituary

While this is not an Electoral College communication, the College extends its condolences to the Anderson family. Br Henry is already greatly missed.

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

Many of you have shared with me the privilege of knowing Henry Anderson of Chicago. Henry was one of the first O.T.O. members I ever met; I’m pretty sure he was present the first time I attended a Kollegium 93 Camp meeting in 1991. He was the co-proprietor of the Chicago Thelemic Temple in support of multiple chartered O.T.O. bodies in Chicago, and he was the third Master of Aum. Ha. Camp, presiding over its growth into the Second City’s first Lodge. He was a diligent, mischievous, creative, and caring man who was a cornerstone of O.T.O. in Chicago, and well-known and loved by brethren across the country.

He was a graphic artist with a canny sense of humor and iconography. His creative impulses found their outlets in multiple businesses, notably the Urban Tea Lounge and Not-for-Prophet Industries. Recently, he was on the verge of a new independent enterprise rooted in his body-piercing career, but that effort was interrupted. 

Henry had a heart attack on September 17th, and did not regain consciousness during his two weeks of hospitalization. This morning he left the weight of incarnation behind to pursue work not known to us. He is survived by his wife CeCe, three children, a grandchild, and an uncountable number of friends, collaborators, and admirers.

A Gofundme account for the benefit of Henry’s family is at https://www.gofundme.com/henry-hank-needs-your-help

I give unimaginable joys on earth: certainty, not faith, while in life, upon death; peace unutterable, rest, ecstasy; nor do I demand aught in sacrifice. (CCXX I:58)

Love is the law, love under will.

Flamma sanguineque,

T Polyphilus

Leaping Laughter Oasis: Summer of Promulgation

This month’s Local Body Spotlight is from the valley of Minneapolis, MN. All names and photos are used with permission.

Late last year, Sister Magenta, a long-time participant in both the local pagan community and at Leaping Laughter Oasis, asked me a simple enough question.

“Harper, what do you think about having a hospitality suite at Paganicon?”

I had to ask her in return, “Magenta, what’s a Paganicon?”

She explained to me that it was a large annual pagan conference held every March at a Double Tree hotel in South Minneapolis. The potential benefits of attending were pretty obvious. The Twin Cities have such a large pagan community that the region is fondly known in some circles as Paganistan. In spite of that, I think that the OTO is not as well-recognized in the community as the resident Satanists. This was a really good opportunity to spread some love and get noticed.

To have a hospitality suite, we had to propose a theme and to rent the space. A couple members got together and donated the funds to do that. 100 LED tealight candles were likewise procured. The rest of the LLO folks donated the hugest hill of snacks that I have ever seen.

When we were asked for a description of a theme for our suite, we wrote a paragraph about a Egyptian-theme hiding place for introverts. We manifested this by strewing the tea lights all over the darkened front room of the suite and played softly eerie ambient music. In the actual bedroom part of the suite, beyond the dimly lit front room, were piles of goodies, spread out on a table with a tarp underneath, because we wanted to leave the carpet clean. Two of our members gave introductory talks to those in attendance (Sisters Magenta and Ixel Balamke).

We put our temple pillars outside the door and deployed the wandering and friendly T-Rex (thanks, Brother Caleb!)

The suite was, by my reckoning, an amazing success. We gave out all the pamphlets that we had in the first two hours. The room was frequently full. The organizers thought it was the most unique suite of the conference, and upon some discussions with them, we were encouraged to propose to perform the Gnostic Mass at the next Paganicon, which will take place in March 2018.

Our presence at the Twin Cities Pride festival in June had a similar origin; only this time, it was Sister Kirstine with the big idea. She had been previously involved with other groups at this enormous festival (400,000 attendees in 2016), and was familiar with the protocols of getting booth space and the legal necessities required for a non-profit group who wasn’t selling anything to be involved. When she suggested that we go to Pride, at least I knew what that was.

 

 

Sister Magenta and Brother Martin donated a big blue tent to the effort, we made some vinyl banners (one with a design from Frater IAO131) and t-shirts with the help of Brother Ron Labhart. Sister Kjirsten folded about 700 origami peace cranes to give out as gifts. We carried with us a similar number of business cards. Sister Kirstine purchased a beautiful table cloth and roses, and we hung a foam-core copy of the Stele on the back wall of the tent. We were obnoxiously cheerful and talkative, standing in front of the booth with the cranes and our carefully-crafted elevator speeches (engineered by the booth staff during planning meetings). It was key to our approach that we were both animated and audibly friendly.

We had given out all the cranes and pamphlets early on Sunday morning. We ran out of business cards by 4 PM. I lost track counting the number of people I had spoken with at 180. None of us could talk at all when we were done.

Brother Rufus was an absolute champ at this, but he was outdone by Brother John, who graced us in a fashionable ensemble of Picachu tights and a tutu. He was the person who showed us how to better interact in this situation. “Are you familiar with the OTO?” became “HOW’S YOUR PRIDE?” With his inspiration, we took our booth skills to a whole new level.

We collected dozens of email addresses and have a couple new folks gracing the Oasis as a result. We plan to up our game next year by moving away from the area of religious organizations. We were completely surrounded with Christian booths, most of whom displayed the message “Are you gay? Maybe we’ll put up with you.” Some of those folks were distinctly disturbed by the sign proclaiming our message of sexual freedom. Or maybe it was that scary unicursal hexagram.

Next year, we plan to request to be relocated to the arts section, near the tarot readers. Having more folks to help staff the booth will be a priority, too. Those of us who spent two straight days talking to people needed a week to recuperate, even our more outgoing members.

We had most of the summer to recover and buy a new tent in preparation for Twin Cities Pagan Pride, which took place in early September. Sister Kirstine was again at the organizational helm. PP was only a day long (10-6) at a beautiful park in South Minneapolis (Minnehaha State Park, complete with a waterfall). The weather was picture-perfect and we all (Brothers RO, Yoshi, Caleb and Robin and Sister Kirstine and I) arrived early and got set-up in record time. Actually, they did the work while I was telling two runners I met at Minnehaha Falls about the festival.

The park got increasingly busier until it attendance peaked at about 1 PM. We had our hands full for the rest of the day. Sister Ixel showed up about this time with a huge cooler full of ice and bottled water and snacks for the crew. Brother Scott S. also provided an entire day of much appreciated booth support. We put all we had learned in the two previous events to work during this festival. We brought 500 business cards, 70 tri-fold pamphlets, photos of our Oasis space and a hard copy of our full-to-bursting calendar.

We estimate that we contacted most of the people in the park who were there for the event. Since the park is a very popular tourist destination, there were quite a few folks who were simply confused by what was going on, but we even spoke with a couple of those. Many of the local pagans were amazed by our permanent space and full calendar, but I think the best thing that we demonstrated for them is our basic friendliness and willingness to be questioned about what we think. For these folks, it was more than awesome to have the young folks with us (props to brothers Yoshi and Caleb, aged 14 and 15!).

Compared to Pride, the Pagan Pride show was a breeze. It was easy because it was much smaller, we had the right number of folks helping and the new tent was a major win. We were all out of the park by 6:30, home by 7:00. No extended recovery period was required!

So, what did we get out of all this craziness? We do have a few new folks coming around. We have a renewed solidity to what we believe – there’s nothing like distilling your ideas to a 1 minute elevator speech to clarify things. We seem to have earned ourselves an opportunity to perform the Gnostic Mass at Paganicon next spring, and the Twin Cities pagan community is allegedly already looking forward to our next hospitality suite.

The true wins were internal to LLO and to each of the participants, though. I think we’ve congealed a promulgation team that works well together both at the Oasis and out in the world. Each one of us spent literally hours explaining what we think, do and believe to people we didn’t know, and in so doing, illuminating those things to ourselves. Our Summer of Promulgation has really been a great experience, and we’re planning to expand our efforts next year!

Written by a member of Leaping Laughter Oasis.

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.