The Virtual Valley

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

As of this writing seventy percent of local bodies are in the process of moving into what is known as the Virtual Valley. It is seeing regular use and further support resources are soon to begin rolling out, so an increasing number of members are becoming aware of its existence and are wondering what it is all about. I wanted to take a few minutes to give you all the history and vision of the Virtual Valley.

No one joins the Electoral College without some experience in the operations of a local body. Some of us may have ideas or goals for improvement coming into service. Some of us get the opportunity to realize those goals, some learn that we were woefully clueless before serving five or so years. That certainly happened with me. I came in wanting to support the development of local body leadership and specifically to raise local body standards.

Through my service on the College and the Kaaba Colloquium team, I have had great opportunity to observe our strengths and weakness, mine included, over the last eleven years, and I came to some surprising conclusions. Or at least they surprised me.

To raise standards, we didn’t need to just increase the requirements placed on local bodies and expect them to meet them, placing undue pressure on the members to live up to these aspirations. Instead, we needed to provide better resources and more training, and to focus on the development of a strong leadership core from all the initiates interested in one day serving in this capacity.

The College had two committees tasked with the discussion of developing resources for masters and mentors, but they did not seem to be getting anywhere quickly, so as the President of the College, I rolled them into one committee and solicited members from outside the College to participate. Specifically, I solicited seated and past masters interested in the objective.

We started with what they wished they had or had had when starting in the role and issues the College had seen repeat over the years, and as chair of the committee, I started outlining a plan.  It would take multiple years and would culminate with local bodies moving into the U.S.G.L. Workspace in semiautonomous electronic oases, we call the Virtual Valley.

Six months later the pandemic hit. Just as we were about to solicit volunteers for our traveling resources lists, suddenly no one could travel.  We put that project on hold and started looking at what the local bodies needed right then to maintain their communities. The answer was first to provide the ability to stay connected.

So, we would give them the ability to Meet online for free in the U.S.G.L. Workspace. To do this, they needed oto-usa.org emails. We would buy them for all officers of local bodies. I asked the Assistant Internet Secretary what it would cost the Electoral College to buy up to 4 emails for each local body. Turned out, we had enough emails included in the U.S.G.L. workspace to do it for no additional charge. But, with that email came so much more than a calendar and the ability to host a Meet for up to 250 attendees and we had other goals from the plan that could be met at the same time. Resources local masters needed. Resources that would solve recurring issues.

We started rolling out the Virtual Valleys on a voluntary basis at the end of March 2020 and the initiative was announced in the Spring 2020 issue of Agape. Subsequently, at the EC’s Spring Policy and Procedure meeting, I outlined for the College what the Virtual Valley came with and how it could help by providing:

  • email archives that pass from one office holder to the other with ease
  • calendar for online meetings
  • drive space to place all electronic resources in the hands of the body rather than individual members
  • groups for communication between the local and regional leaders, a public announcement list, member lists, and others by request (with proper security settings prescribed for said lists to protect member contact information from accidental public exposure)
  • training sessions on how to use all of the above.

The College voted to mandate the use of the Virtual Valley, leaving the calendar and electronic meeting software as optional, knowing that several bodies had paid services with which they were happy. This was announced on the internal U.S.G.L. policy update elist in June of 2020.

The Resource Development Committee continues to work on resources we plan to roll out over the coming months, including the aforementioned traveling resource lists. It turns out, however, that the first developed resource released in the Virtual Valley after the initial roll-out was not developed by our team, but instead came from the Diversity Task Force of U.S.G.L. This is quite encouraging, as one of the committees’ goals is to provide easy access to resources from across Grand Lodge to the local body leadership, and we are thrilled to collaborate.

If you have any questions, or to set up your local body, do not hesitate to contact me.

Love is the law, love under will.

Fraternally yours,

Hattie Quinn

 

 

Announcing the Diversity Task Force’s Educational Modules

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

The U.S.G.L. Diversity Task Force has released the first six educational modules (MoMods) that focus on racial diversity and inclusion. The module descriptions are listed on the U.S.G.L. Education Committee’s Diversity page. The monthly modules were created by a subgroup of the Task Force known as the MoMod team and were guided by the U.S.G.L. Values Statements, in particular:

“We advocate the principles of Scientific Religion and Universal Brotherhood, and oppose tyranny, superstition, and oppression.” — U.S.G.L. Values Statement #4

“We believe that a membership free from unfair discrimination is essential to accomplishing our Mission, and reject doctrines that promote bigotry, prejudice, and intolerance.” – U.S.G.L. Values Statement #6 

The MoMods were designed to be a tool for local leadership to provide space to have hard discussions, increase awareness of underserved populations, and challenge participants to self-reflect on the module topic as it relates to Thelema. The modules also provide room for those who wish to complete them alone, but in either case, it is the team’s desire to give each individual the knowledge and confidence to talk about these topics whether it is with other siblings or in other parts of their lives. 

The MoMods were birthed and fueled with the idea that our physical spaces and online events should be welcoming. They must be free of ignorance and the bias that discourages many members of underserved populations. If individuals want to embrace Thelema, take initiation, attend Liber XV, participate in classes or ritual events, then race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability should not be the limiting factor. The Law must truly be for all! 

Love is the law, love under will. 

 

Meet the U.S.G.L. Education Committee

This guest post is from Br Scott, the Education Committee Secretary.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The mission of the U.S. Grand Lodge Education Committee is to research, discuss, and recommend instructional materials and classes for local bodies. But what, exactly do we do?
First, let’s start with our course materials. One of our services is the production of high-quality course outlines which should make it easy for anyone interested to lead a discussion/presentation/lecture on a variety of topics.
Current offerings include a discussion on the Eight Limbs of Yoga, Exegesis in Theory and Practice, a discussion of Liber Resh, an introduction to O.T.O., and a discussion on Little Essays Towards Truth. We have several modules which are presently in the development/approval stages, and for the most current list of our offerings you can always check our courses page at:  https://edu.oto-usa.org/courses/
On this page you’ll also find our bank of fonts as well as a host of other offerings including a spreadsheet for tracking local dues, an image pack for Liber Resh, flashcards for memorizing Hebrew and correspondences, and a selection of useful bibliographies from Don Karr on Cabala, Solomonic Magick, the Zohar, etc.
Please note that while the font banks and bibliographies are available to everyone, the courses and other specific materials are only available to local masters and organizers who can email the secretary of the committee at:  education@oto-usa.org
A more recent function of the committee is the organization and scheduling of online presentations, both public and private. We’ve hosted a number of these presentations which have been recorded and uploaded to U.S. Grand Lodge’s Youtube channel, which you can find here.
These presentations are announced via local leadership channels and are also posted on our news page, which you can follow here:  https://edu.oto-usa.org/news/
We’re always looking for new presenters, so if this is something that you’d like to discuss then feel free to email us at education@oto-usa.org
We also maintain a calendar of local body public events, where you can always find an online event to check out on nearly any given day. It’s a great way to meet people from all over, and an even greater way to learn about some pretty amazing topics. Study groups, book clubs, social gatherings, Hermetic practice workshops, Pagans in recovery, Qabalah… I could go on and on or you could just go check it out for yourself at:  https://edu.oto-usa.org/usgl-local-body-public-events/
Finally, the committee maintains a database of traveling presenters who (once the current pandemic is over) have indicated that they are willing to travel to local bodies and lecture on various topics. Different presenters have different requirements and offerings, so take a look at the list and see if there’s something that you’re especially interested in or someone whom you’d really like to bring to your local body!
If you have any questions about the committee, who we are, what we’re doing, or how you could get involved then please feel free to reach out directly to us. Thanks!
Love is the law, love under will.
In the Bonds of the Order,
SCTT PLLR
Secretary, U.S.G.L. Education Committee

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.

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.

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

 

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.