Reflections On the Moment

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

I have been struggling with what kind of statement to make since the death murder of George Floyd and the explosion of activism in its wake.  What right do I have to say something as a middle class white woman?  Or as a part of middle management of a small charitable organization?  Yes, I have written poetry, shared posts for awareness, given family funds to causes supporting the protestors and people of color, continue to serve as emergency contact for protesting friends, and had some productive conversations with my fellow privileged suburban housewives about how we can all learn and do more.  But, as President of the Electoral College, what could I say?  So, I didn’t.

We just celebrated Juneteenth, aka Freedom Day. A holiday known as the day African Americans achieved freedom, because the southern states chose to ignore the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 because they were still in rebellion until Lee surrendered in April 1865 and the final proclamation was read in Texas on June 19th, 1865.  Further researches show that freedom did not come that day, but rather the tyranny of slavery turned into monetizing the nascent criminal justice system by renting out Black prisoners to perform menial or dangerous labor, which continued until World War II. I don’t know what I am going to say about the rage and sadness I feel inside, but by all the gods, I am going to say it right now.  So here we go…

I am 15/16ths White American.  I grew up in the Deep South in a city renamed for Andrew Jackson, Florida’s first territorial governor and later our 7th President.  He claimed to be for the common man instead of the wealthy, but like most, he meant the common white man.  Not the African Americans, the Native Americans, or any other people of color, or women of any race. A city named for the president whose legacy is the Indian Relocation era culminating in the Trail of Tears under his successor.  In the seventies and eighties when I was growing up there, racism was overt. The N-word was common. Everyone was judged by their skin color and socioeconomic status.  May your god help you if you were the wrong one in both. Being what I think was lower middle class, raised by a single father who worked three jobs, I was what we used to call poor white trash.  I was still considered above people of color and given preferential treatment.  Even when we were “broker than broke,” I existed in a world of privilege.

My father raised me to love people for who they were and how they treated others, not for our superficial commonalities, but I had little contact with people of color, even at school, as in that time we were two distinct social groups. The Black people I met were old men and women my father knew from one or another of his jobs and they were beautiful, loving people, and they deserved so much better than the life they had, even though they found the joy of it.

I could outline my years of complicity through silence combined with my growing awareness that this could not stand, but I do not want to talk about that.  Just like when women shared their #MeToo moment, we didn’t want to hear from men so we could just for this moment in time focus on the systemic abuses of women, though men had obviously suffered, too. We are all victims of the abuses of the powerful.  That is the way of the world and it cannot continue.

Now, we must set aside our stories to listen to those of our brethren and friends and strangers of color.  If they wish to share their story, it is our responsibility to listen, and to support them in seizing their moment in time.  As the lot of women has begun to improve through finding our allies and using our voices, so too must we now be allies and lend our voices where we may to all people of color, but especially to Black people who are really still not free and equal, as they are beaten down figuratively and literally by the existing structures of American society. 

Meditate magicians, act upon your conscience, educate yourself, offer yourself in service through providing support at the demonstrations (first aid, water, cleaning up after, a safe ride home, bail, etc), donate to causes shown to be getting the money where it needs to go, promulgate the message of people of color, or whatever else you are called to do by the dictates of your soul. But no longer turn a blind eye to the injustice all around us. No longer think that you can’t do anything as only one of many.  

If you are a sibling of color, if it be your will, volunteer for leadership or the U.S.G.L. Diversity Task Force, write for Agape or the EC blog, or reach out to the leadership and tell us how we may help you. We are listening. How we bring true diversity to our Holy Order must be guided by you and your experiences, or it will be guided by a bunch of well-intentioned, slow-moving white folk (no offense to my peers on these teams).

Let 2020 be the year we saw ourselves and each other clearly. The year we set aside our comforts to lift up or defend another star. Siblings of color or those allies fighting injustice in the streets, reach out to us to assist you. Let us move forward together.

#BlackLivesMatter, don’t talk to me about the others right now.

#CryMotherfuckers for the injustices Black people are faced with and die from

#endracism

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,

Hattie Quinn
President
U.S.G.L. Electoral College

Event Announcement: The Scarlet Tent Tour

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

The U.S.G.L. Kaaba Colloquium team would like to invite all female identifying initiates to join us in celebrating the power of female leadership in The Scarlet Tent!

What is the Scarlet Tent?

The Scarlet Tent is a limited tour of regional retreats that brings together female identifying members of O.T.O. together to learn, share, celebrate and find the joy in communion with each other. It will be a two day workshop held at a local body near you. 

Events for the weekend will include workshops held by regional Sisters on topics that are predetermined by the local Sisters as topics in need for leadership as women in O.T.O. 

Who Can Attend?

You must be an active current member with O.T.O. to attend. 

Registration for all six of our tour dates are opening TODAY. Our date in Dallas sold out in THREE days, so register now! You are welcome to register for more than one date as long as you actively plan to attend.

Format and Schedule

Each event’s schedule will be as follows:

Friday Evening: Opening reception open to all members locally

Saturday Day: Workshops and open discussions, breakfast and lunch included. 

Saturday Evening: Reception for attendees only

Sunday Day: Workshops and open discussions, breakfast and lunch included. 

Sunday Evening: Reception for attendees only (for most locations)

Tour Schedule and Registration

Registration is $40.00 per person and all monies support the local body in providing meals for the weekend. 

Horizon Lodge, Seattle WA – Oct 26-27, 2019
https://forms.gle/9CyRbQ5GBG5hjdQk8

Alombrados Oasis, New Orleans LA – March 7-8, 2020
https://forms.gle/KZHrAcnUzg26dHm68

Knights Templar Oasis, Salem, MA – Sept 11-13, 2020
https://forms.gle/8fT35dD4Zo5hB3VaA

Blazing Star Oasis, Oakland CA – Mar 5-7, 2021
https://forms.gle/oDjmxK8K9KNVQafT7

Crux Ansata Oasis, Denver CO – Sept 17-19, 2021
https://forms.gle/kGDUGRU54ZuU3G5w5

Black Sun Lodge, Cleveland OH – March 4-6, 2022 – The Revival Tour – Open to all new and previous attendees!
https://forms.gle/ychZ14viqY6P9qAK7

Join us in the celebration of the power and joy of women’s leadership styles, approach and success! We’d love to see our Sisters come out in force, there’s women’s work to be done.

Please send questions regarding registration or the events to: hattie.quinn@oto-usa.org

Love is the law, love under will.

Spring 2019 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 Denver on April 20th:

  1. Passed the Mastership of NOX Oasis (Ogden, UT) from Br. Michael S. to Br.  Christopher G. 
  2. Passed the Mastership of Scarlet Woman Lodge (Austin, TX) from Br. Dr. Grant P. to Soror Musick
  3. Passed the Mastership of Song of Freedom Oasis (Albuquerque, NM) from Soror Promethea to Br. John P. 
  4. Chartered ARARITA Camp ad ARARITA Oasis (San Diego, CA) under Soror AMRITA. 
  5. Closed Eleusis Camp (Knoxville, TN) at the request of the master. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

Membership Incentives

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

In Liber CI:

44. The first and greatest of all privileges of a Brother is to be a Brother; to have accepted the Law, to have become free and independent, to have destroyed all fear, whether of custom, or of faith, or of other men, or of death itself. In other papers the joy and glory of those who have accepted The Book of the Law as the sole rule of life is largely, though never fully, explained; and we will not here recapitulate the same.”

In 2007 U.S.G.L. adopted a strategic plan for implementing our vision and mission along core Thelemic values. One objective was to support existing local body growth. One strategy for achieving this was to “Educate local body officers regarding use of local body membership incentives”. This task was assigned to the Kaaba Committee and for several years, this was offered at Kaaba Colloquium. It was eventually retired as the message seemed to have permeated our culture.

Yet this topic is important enough that we wish to bring attention to it again by posting it as an essay to the Electoral College blog.

Why did we need this? Because there is an ongoing initiative to encourage all members to belong to and support their local bodies. This is not about bringing in new members, who generally accept dues policies and training programs as part of our system, but rather retaining older members as we move in a more organized direction, with the ultimate goal of fulfilling Crowley’s vision for spreading the Law of Thelema, in addition to, or as part of, doing our own wills.

Individual leaders in the Order understand this, but how do we communicate this in such a way as to retain and interest those older members? Prior to the formation of U.S.G.L., most local bodies had no dues structure and once it started to become custom, it took a number of years to roll out. Some local bodies still have trouble collecting dues and some members who have been around for awhile, chafe at the need to pay dues and don’t think we need to leave the living rooms or aspire to greater visibility in society. We must therefore examine what motivates our members to bring them on board.

Those of you who have attended Treating Workers Well at Kaaba Colloquium know that we discuss one method to examine our membership’s motivations for service, defining three types of workers in our Order: lovers, barterers, and special interests.

Lovers will join the body because they are called to our Order, believe in its goals and trust the leadership, or simply because they take their oaths seriously. For some of us, it was enough that Frater Sabazius X° asked us to join our local bodies and pay dues. For other lovers, the success of the Order is enough.

Special interests can be enticed pretty easily by giving them permission to do the work they are called to in exchange for their name on the membership roll.

Barterers are another story and here we must be careful to treat them well and make them welcome, but not to encourage a value based relationship.

Three Main Types of O.T.O. Membership

  • Lay Affiliation for non initiates who have an interest in the E.G.C. and the work of the local body and want to support that work. Often pays a lesser fee in a dues structure.
  • Initiate Affiliation for those who live over 100 miles away who wish to support the work you are doing. If there is a local body in their area, hopefully they are belong to it.
    Minervals may fall into this affiliate category, since they are not full members of the Order until their Lustration and often pay less in dues.
  • Full Membership for those who wish to take an active and often vocal role in the running of the local body. This level should include all local initiates of the first degree or above. Members pay full fee in a dues structure, outside of hardship considerations.

Incentivizing O.T.O. Membership

We did an informal poll of 20 masters and past masters of highly developed Oases and Lodges, and they, like we, worried that incentivizing membership can lead to value based activity.

Membership should not be contingent on prizes and takeaways, this encourages members to ask “what am i getting for my money? Do I pay $500 (or more) per year to get a couple newsletters and admission to classes for free or an email with the body’s name in it?”

This is the wrong way to think about things. This comparison will always be unfavorable because the true benefits of membership are extrinsic to these incentives.

Do people pay $200 to PBS for a tote bag? No, they pay so they can support the mission of the Public Broadcasting Corporation and hear NPR every morning on the way to work. We pay dues to support the mission to help individuals to discover their true nature in a free society. The member’s question should never be “what do I get for my money”, but instead, “how can I help?”

However, there are certain benefits of belonging to a local body that can be emphaized by officers and which can be divided into two categories:

3 Tangibles and 8 Intangibles of O.T.O. Membership

Tangibles

  1. Access to and ability to participate in our Mysteries, such as the Initiations and Gnostic Masses (and certificates that mark these milestones)
  2. Member Discounts on event attendance and initiations such as at some local bodies where most events are free to members and special events. Or, for dues paying members, waiving the G.T.G. approved 20% add on to local initiation fees (due to the expense of doing them in your region)
  3. Access to the resources of the local body: having a temple, private temple use, library access, etc., also classes, lectures, workshops, seminars, and special events.

Intangibles

  1. Membership – This is extremely important all by itself. To be an accepted member of a group of people you have chosen is something that nearly all humans desire at some level. It is built into our psyches. One of the theories that attempts to explain the high rate of anger and depression in modern society cites the now common lack of a sense of community and membership.
  2.  Fulfilling the request of Grand Master Sabazius
  3. A voice in the community and the ability to help guide the direction of the local body.
  4. Fraternity – A support group of like-minded individuals at various places on the same initiatory path you are, who have experienced or are experiencing the same ordeals you are.
  5. The growth and transformative process catalyzed by our initiations.
  6. Hospitality- that warm, welcoming feeling of being at home, in the place where you belong. This is so important for new guests and members that we give a talk at Kaaba on this in the developing body track.
  7. Responsibility – what is the reward for great work? More work. Membership grants the right to serve in leadership or administrative roles, if qualified and so called.
  8. Recognition and appreciation for their work, whether it be a one-time task or an officer celebrating three years in their office, we all crave recognition for our work, even if that is not why we do the work.

The greatest incentive for membership is providing all comers with the best possible O.T.O. experience and fostering the pursuit of their individual will, while showing them that the furthering of the Order is essential to bringing about the freedom to pursue this to the greatest number of people.

Do you want to be a free man or woman standing in a herd of sheep or standing in the fellowship of other free men and women?

Love is the law, love under will.