US Grand Lodge Members: Doing Great Work in Mexico

Today’s post is about the work that members of U.S.G.L. are doing to help establish O.T.O. in Mexico.

All names and images are being used with permission.

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

Marco lived in Mexico until immigrating to the United States when he was a  teen. When he joined the Order and beginning his initiatory journey, he knew Mexico was ripe for Thelema but trying to figure out the logistics was hard. And these were early internet days. (No, there was no Facebook!) So he spent time corresponding with people but over time, they fell away.

In August of 2009, he met Gerardo Braham at NOTOCON in Seattle. Br Gerardo was a 1st° initiate, (initiated in Arizona), but was a Mexican national living in Mexico City. He had been looking for Br Marco because he’d heard that Marco had obtained his International Headquarters Initiation Charter for this purpose. Gerardo told Marco that he had a lot of people in Mexico City interested in initiation.

Gerardo and Marco stayed in contact and planed various things. Marco found a sister, Sophia (current New Orleans Bodymaster at Alombrados Oasis) willing to help with initiations. Gerardo limited the number of applications to 12 and on September 20, 2014 Marco conducted 11 Minerval initiations (one last minute cancellation) in Mexico City with Gerardo assisting in those initiations and Sr Sophia providing boundless support. These were almost certainly the first ever OTO initiations on Mexican soil.

In late 2015, Marco  returned with Sister Amber from Denver to help with mentoring the new initiates in their quest to start the first ever OTO body in Mexico. Marco felt confident that they were ready and he and others  assisted them with their application for Camp status.

On May 20, 2016, the Ordo Templi Orientis Frater Superior, H.B. signed and approved the charter for that first ever OTO body in Mexico, “Campamento Ciudad de Las Piramides” (City of the Pyramids Camp.)

In 2017, Marco returned again with Sister Nena from Las Vegas to provide the nascent Camp with support and counsel. During that visit, the local body expressed interest in holding Minerval and first degree initiations and the Gnostic Mass.  In July of that year, they did just that.

After that visit, there was one 1st°, 12 Minerval degrees and one 3rd° (moved to Mexico City from Norway) before this trip. And there were 6 active members, total.

Fast forward to 2018 and Ciudad de las Pirámides indicated they had 18 Minerval applications and four 1st°applications. Marco could not do this alone or even with a small number of helpers. He needed a big team. An effective team! Basically teams of OTO bad asses who could get things done.

“I had a squad of 14 people travel with me. They came from my local body Star Sapphire in Los Angeles, from Khonsu Camp in Las Vegas, Oregon, Florida, New Orleans and North Carolina”, Marco said.

The local body did not have much equipment and United States Grand Lodge brethren brought some equipment and then initiates in Mexico built two Mass temples, one 1st° temple and one Minerval temple to serve the two days of intense ritual.

The Seneshal team put together an amazing Middle Eastern feast for dozens of people.

6 people interested in initiation came from Jalapa, Veracruz (about 4 hours by car) and that group may start a local body soon. Br Marco is actively mentoring them with that project now. Others came from Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Toluca, Mexico City and possibly even more places. Many had been Thelemites for a long time, but it’s very tough for them to travel for initiations. One of our most brilliant and sharpest new Minervals was deported from the USA as a teen, so she could never come return to the USA for initiation or any other reason.

Numerous non-Spanish speaking Brethren memorized initiation officer roles and the mass in Spanish. Some of the rituals used a mix of English and Spanish (the first mass, the Deacon spoke Spanish and the Priest and Priestess spoke in English.) The 2nd mass in that trip, was all Spanish.

Giant thanks to Vahe Yaymayan (New Orleans), Sophia Vera (New Orleans), Ruben Ruiz Marron (probably the first Deacon ever ordained in Mexico and from Mexico City), Nena Cunningham (Las Vegas), Rafael Aguilar (Los Angeles), Bjorn Furuknap, Felipe Bustos (Xalapa, Veracruz), Michael (Los Angeles), Shelley M. (Florida), Deborah Woody (North Carolina), Bill Woody (North Carolina), Abbi Habdas (Las Vegas), Will Habdas (Las Vegas), Vanessa McCulloch (Los Angeles), Gerardo Braham (Mexico City), Soror Miyan (Oregon), and a very special shout out to Marco Rodriguez (Los Angeles) whose vision and work has been the driving force behind this.

There are others whose work was critical to these events who do not wish to be named. But you know who you are and this great work could not have happened without you!

 

 

Winter 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 online on January 26th:

  1. Passed the Mastership of Dove & Serpent Oasis (Atlanta, GA) from Sr. Rebekah S. to Br.  Bobby C. 
  2. Passed the Mastership of Lapis Lazuli Oasis (Phoenix, AZ) from Br. Scott P. to Soror Prunikos 
  3. Passed the Mastership of Star of Babalon Camp (Raleigh, NC) from Soror Crystal Lal to Frater Temujin
  4. Passed the Mastership of Tahuti Lodge (New York City, NY) from Soror Alecto to Soror Constance
  5. Extended the tenure limits of the masters of Anabasis Camp, Azul Nox Oasis, Black Sun Lodge, Hidden Spring Oasis, NOXULUXON Camp, Roar of Rapture Camp, Sekhet Bast Ra Oasis, Song of Freedom Oasis, and Star Sapphire Lodge for a period of one year. 

Love is the law, love under will. 

In the Bonds of the Order, HTT QNN

President, U.S. Electoral College

Fall 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 New Orleans on October 20th:
1. Passed the Mastership of Coph Nia Lodge from Sr. Kate J. to Sr. Darla S.
2. Rechartered Azul Nox Camp as Azul Nox Oasis under Fr. Sin Rabe.
3. Closed Lifted Lance Camp at the request of the Master.
4. Confirmed Nena Cunningham as Master of Khonsu Camp.
5. Passed the Mastership of Horizon Lodge from Br. Noah O. to Br. Kellen B.

 

Love is the law, love under will.

In the Bonds of the Order,
Hattie Quinn
President
U.S.G.L. Electoral College

New Egroup: Sister2Sister

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

It is with much excitement and pride that we announce the U.S.G.L. sanctioned mentoring group Sister2Sister.  Historically, women were not given a chance to enter into formal, professional mentorships in our culture. However, we have been informally supporting, mentoring, and educating each other in our lives since the beginning of time.

In the Order our family is far-flung and busy at the work, but we recognize the need to foster the growth and development of our female membership, and the need for intimate one-on-one relationships with similarly minded peers and role models.

To that end, Sr. Eliza McBryde (Kaaba) and Sr. Hattie Quinn (Electoral College) have come together to provide a venue and mechanism to enable the formation of these relationships, especially for female-identifying members of the Man of Earth.  These sisters who would like to engage in a mentor relationship should contact Sister Hattie at hattie.quinn@oto-usa.org.  Please use Sister2Sister as the subject line.

Love is the law, love under will.

Upcoming Electoral College Meetings

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

The upcoming meetings of the Electoral College follow:

  • October 20th, 2018 e.v. – New Orleans, LA
  • January 27th, 2018 e.v. – online only
  • April 20th, 2019 e.v. – Denver, CO

Learn more about hosting an Electoral College meeting at your local body

Love is the law, love under will.

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.