Summer 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 (or near) Minneapolis on August 11th:
1. Serpent Flame Camp was chartered in the valley of Hartford, MI.
2. Passed the Mastership of Pyramid Lodge from Br. August L.. to Brother Serge.
3. Passed the Mastership of Thelesis Oasis from Br. David L. to Br. Aaron J.
4. Rechartered Aum Ha Lodge as Chalice of Heaven Lodge under Sr. Vivian M.
5. Rechartered Serpent & Lion Camp as Serpent & Lion Oasis under Br. Jason Norris.
6. Rechartered Heru Behutet Oasis as Behutet Camp under Sr. Isha M.
Love is the law, love under will.
In the Bonds of the Order,
Hattie Quinn
President
U.S.G.L. Electoral College

On Electoral College Proceedings

This blog may periodically publish thought pieces from past and present Electors. This piece is from a current Elector who is the President Emeritus of the U.S.G.L. Electoral College, writing on the why the Order has secrecy in governmental meetings.

Serving on the Electoral College comes with certain challenges. One of the foremost on the outside is the secrecy that the College operates under. This secrecy is absolutely vital in order for us to preserve confidentiality when we are deliberating upon sensitive topics. Would you want your dirty laundry aired before everyone for an OTO issue? Probably not.

Anyone of the V° and up can attend meetings of the College. However, the College reserves the right to clear the room for an executive session if the topic at hand is particularly sensitive. We take your privacy very seriously, and we expect the same of those who attend the meetings. Breaking that seal would make our work impossible. There is a good reason why OTO governance is not transparent despite profane corporate trends to the contrary.

That’s of small comfort to the Man of Earth Triad. Nobody wants to hear “trust us” with no further information forthcoming. That’s especially true in a society that is rife with scandals. I would like to share a perspective on the work of the College.

I attended meetings of the College for years before offering my service. I was deeply impressed with the attention, care, and thoughtfulness that went into even the most minor decisions. The moment that made me decide to offer service to the College was an extended debate about particular wording of an announcement in Agape. They wanted to ensure precision of language so that the routine announcement would be perceived correctly both immediately and in the historical record. The amount of thought and passion in that discussion deeply impressed me. The person next to me was bored to tears, but I was inspired. If the Electors put that much thought into a routine announcement you can imagine how much goes into larger decisions.

I hear similar sentiments consistently from new members of the Lovers Triad who attend meetings of the College for the first time. When it comes down to it we’re all on the same team striving for similar ends. I sincerely hope that all members of the Man of Earth Triad stick with it and advance to the natural stopping place of the V°. I look forward to the day you will be able to attend a meeting of the College to see the care put into our deliberations for yourself.

David Hill
President Emeritus

Conflict Management – Brotherhood Unity Delicacy and Strength

This piece is written by a current Deputy Master in the Valley of Atlanta and is about his local body’s approach to conflict management incorporating Thelemic principles and referencing Crowley’s thoughts on conflict.

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

Over the course of the last year much attention has been given to various aspects and levels of conflict in our Order. One positive result of this has been a renewed focus among our leaders and members on our devotion to Pax Templi, the Path of Mediation, and other policies and core values that can help us to manage and even resolve conflict when it arises. And of course, conflict does arise in every local body of the Order from time to time, including our own.

As a large, active, and diverse group here in the Valley of Atlanta, these issues can prove challenging, but we know our fraternal and philosophical values are up to the challenge. It is in that spirit that I have composed this document as a small but necessary step toward better communicating, embracing, and embodying those values. We hope that our efforts will help those in other Valleys to do the same.

Love is the Law, Love under Will.

Frater Volantis

 

Brotherhood, Unity, Delicacy, and Strength

 

By Fr. Volantis

 

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

“Lo, while in The Book of the Law is much of Love, there is no word of Sentimentality. Hate itself is almost like Love! ‘As brothers fight ye!” (Liber AL III:59) All the manly races of the world understand this. The Love of Liber Legis is always bold, virile, even orgiastic. There is delicacy, but it is the delicacy of strength” (“Liber II: The Message of the Master Therion”).

I would like to look at Crowley’s commentary as we discuss infighting in our community and how we manage conflict.

“Fight like gentlemen, without malice, because fighting is the best game in the world, and love the second best! Don’t slander your enemy, as the newspapers would have you do; just kill him, and then bury him with honour. Don’t keep crying ‘Foul’ like a fifth-rate pugilist. Don’t boast! Don’t squeal! If you’re down, get up and hit him again! Fights of that sort make fast friends.” (New Commentary III:59, The Law Is For All)

Crowley goes on to further suggest that the “brothers“ fighting is an internal conflict: an Elder Brother, the silent self, that slays the immature Younger Brother, the conscious self. The Elder arises incorruptible after the internal conflict.

Now let us look at the proceeding verse, Liber AL III:58 – “But the keen and the proud, the royal and the lofty; ye are brothers!” Our camaraderie within Thelema, is with these: the keen; the proud, the royal; the lofty. Do we see our fellows as noble, and do we treat them with respect? When we are done sparring, are we ready to fight alongside our noble kin towards our shared goals?

Just as a student of the martial arts may spar with their teacher, without malice, without rancor; so too must brothers fight, leaving aside hatred, we choose instead to be mindful of the bonds that are forged as we learn and grow with one another.

We live in a world where on every side is cried “peace!” But it is not so. Were the adepts to sit, and relinquish vigilance, the world would fall utterly to pieces. Consider that even Jesus, the Prince of Peace, ran through the temple with a scourge, beating the money changers. What those advocating peace really desire is a life of security. If security is to be more than an illusion, we must each individually find it. Who better to spar and train with than our loved ones while we seek to hone that which will give us security?

So we have fought with our brothers, delighted in the exchange, and allowed it to come to a conclusion, how do we continue on with our brethren after a fight? As Thelemites we embrace the reality that conflict will happen, but as OTO members we most move forward as brothers fighting toward a common goal. We may fight, but then we must find harmony with our siblings if we are to spread the message of Thelema.

Here are some suggestions to manage conflict and to find resolution:

Recognize that others have their own perspectives. Assumptions about what other people already know, think, or intend can fuel resentments and build conflicts. Many people argue simply because they want to feel heard. Simply being a good, active listener can be enough to inspire trust and resolve with your fellows

See Opportunities in Conflict. Some people seek to avoid conflict or attempt to use it to prove dominance. Neither of these are productive but if we can lean into the conflict, there are opportunities to find resolution allowing all parties to grow, develop and learn. If we have tended to avoid conflict, the underlying topics and details are likely things that will grow into a snarling bramble in the dark. Let us shine a light rather than withdrawing from them, and grow!

Build the Temple!  Help to build a culture that encourages giving and receiving feedback. Ask your brethren for their frequent feedback. Allow unpleasant truths to trickle through gradually, and foster a sense of camaraderie and understanding within our organization while we deal with them. More than in any other place, we have a control over what our community will become.

Manage your own anxiety. As scary as conflicts may be to us, if our fears or anxiety overtakes us, we will not be effective in reaching towards our True Wills. It is not that we as individuals shouldn’t allow ourselves to feel our emotions, but it is important to find a way to manage them so that there is maximum ability for everyone to feel some openness in expressing their concerns without overwrought feelings shutting things down. Most importantly: Breathe!

Understand that a particular issue is always a part of a larger emotional system operating in our community. Rarely is a conflict only about a particular issue or person, as much as it may seem like that at the time. Find some help in uncovering the deeper concerns at play without scapegoating or furthering rumor about a particular person or engaging in the fantasy that you can easily solve a systemic issue, but….

Be open to solutions. Understanding and communication are all very well and good, but do not help much if you don’t have a solution for the underlying problem, whatever that problem may be. Conflict often happens because no one can come up with a workable solution, so resolving the conflict depends on creating a solution. If you cannot reach a solution, turn to others for help.

Above all, ask for help! Contact your local leaders, ask for information and familiarize yourself with the Path of Mediation, and contact the Ombudspersons when an issue starts to be too much!

Love is the Law, Love under Will.

 

 

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.