Electoral College: Revolutionary Appointment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love is the law, love under will.

In the Bonds of the Order.

Meet the Ombudsmen

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

What is an ombudsman?

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

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

Why are there two ombudsman? (ombudspeople?) 🙂

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

How can the ombudsman office help me?

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

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

How would I utilize this service?

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the Ombudsman

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

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

Henry Anderson Obituary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love is the law, love under will.

Flamma sanguineque,

T Polyphilus

Leaping Laughter Oasis: Summer of Promulgation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by a member of Leaping Laughter Oasis.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of U.S. Grand Lodge or of O.T.O.

 

 

 

 

 

Khephra Rising Camp

This month’s Local Body Spotlight is on one of our newer local bodies, in the Valley of Boise, ID, Khephra Rising. This article was written by Sr. Sinistra with the Local Bodymaster’s encouragement and permission.

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

As a lone bastion of Thelemic practice in the geographically isolated valley of Boise, Idaho, Khephra Rising Camp beat the odds to come into being. A dedicated contingent of Thelemites worked together to create a study group at first, which grew into the chartered body we have today – with much help from our brothers and sisters around the country. The nearest bodies, in Ogden and Salt Lake City, contributed their time and effort into bringing the first Gnostic Mass and initiations ever to Idaho even before Khephra Rising had any hope of materializing. It was support like this that inspired us to reach ever higher for the golden ring of OTO officialdom.

Because of our unique location, it has been imperative for nearly anyone who wishes to be initiated to travel to other cities. Our members have been willing and eager to do this, and our sister bodies have graciously accommodated us. We owe debts of thanks to the aforementioned N.O.X. and Horus Oases in Utah, as well as Sekhet-Maat Lodge in Portland, and Horizon Lodge in Seattle.

Still maintaining our close ties with bodies who shepherded us, Khephra Rising has taken the reins and performed several Minerval initiations. First Degrees will happen in September. Throughout our short history, we’ve cultivated and maintained friendly, cooperative relations with local Pagan groups, with access to meeting spaces and classes attended by Pagans as well as our own membership. This community bonding has strengthened our visibility and stimulated curiosity in who we are and what we are about. For the last several years, long before Camp status was even dreamt of, our group, then known as Thelema, Love, and Magick represented the Law at the largest Pagan gathering in Idaho. Goddess Fest attracts Pagans, Wiccans, Druids, and more with informational and sales booths, as well as public rituals, music, classes, divination – a great venue for promulgating the Law to those who might be the most amenable to our path.

Our officers have met with other local groups to answer questions about the OTO, and we sponsor public meetings for anyone who wishes to meet and query us. Individually, our members have written and presented classes on such widely diverse topics as astrology, the history of magick, sex magick, the correspondences in 777, chaos magic, the Scarlet Women of Crowley, and an ongoing series of classes reviewing The Book of Lies. A study of Hriliu is beginning; in concert with plans to build and perform the Mass.

The Camp’s most fun event takes place every year on Crowleymas, October 12, when we draw names and have a Thelemic gift exchange and party to celebrate the lesser feast of our Prophet. This has become tradition, and all members anticipate it each year. While we have social get-togethers periodically, the focus of Crowleymas makes it the most meaningful. Great care is put into the selection of gifts for our siblings.

While progress seems slow sometimes, the very fact that our Body Master, Fr. M A B U S, had this vision and inspired all of us to achieve it speaks to the dedication and love each of us has for the Law and the goals of the OTO. The welcoming and fun atmosphere here should serve to not only strengthen our bonds with each other, but to attract new members to our fold.

Love is the law, love under will.

 

Written by Soror Sinistra

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.

Statement from the Supreme Grand Council: Formally Endorsed by the Electoral College

The Supreme Grand Council of United States Grand Lodge made the following statement on 8/20/2017:

It is no secret that Aleister Crowley’s writings include a number of statements that are demeaning to women and to specific racial or ethnic groups. We make no attempt here to justify or explain away those statements. They are what they are, and they are now part of our history as an organization. However, at this time, we find that ideas of the inherent superiority of one sex over the other, or of the inherent superiority or inferiority of specific “races” or ethnicities of humanity, relative to each other, are not supported by the best science, and are contrary to our stated goals of promulgating the Law of Thelema and realizing the age-old vision of the Universal Brotherhood of Man, which includes all Humankind. Therefore, the U.S. Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis hereby formally and unequivocally rejects all such ideas. O.T.O. draws strength from diversity; we welcome the participation and friendship of Thelemites of all sexes, genders, “races,” and ethnic groups, and from all cultures; and we are committed to opposing their unfair treatment, within and without the Order. We further remain committed to opposing ideas and doctrines–whether religious, political, philosophical, or pseudo-scientific–that tend toward the enslavement of the human spirit, which indwells “every man, every woman, and every intermediately-sexed individual.”

Adopted unanimously, An. Viii Sol in Leo, Luna in Leo; 20 August, 2017 e.v.

Formally ratified and endorsed by the Executive and National Grand Master General, same date.

Please note this was unanimously endorsed by the Electoral College, 22 August, 2017 e.v.

Summer 2017 e.v. Electoral College Meeting Actions

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

The US Grand Lodge Electoral College, at its Summer 2017 e.v. meeting, held on August 11th, 2017 e.v. at NOTOCON, took the following actions concerning duties in its charge:

Local Body Closures

None.

Change of Body Status

None.

Change of Body Masters

  • Jason S. was confirmed as Master of Serpent and Lion Camp (Tampa Bay,FL) effective August 11, 2017 e.v.
  • Noah O. was confirmed as Master of Horizon Lodge (Seattle, WA) effective August 11, 2017 e.v.
  • Holly S. was confirmed as master of Horus Oasis (Salt Lake City, UT)
 effective August 11, 2017 e.v.
  • Mastership of Abrahadabra Oasis (Portland, ME) was passed from 
Colin C. to Cheri G. effective August 11, 2017 e.v.
  • Mastership of Sekhet-Maat Lodge (Portland, OR) was passed from
 Clay F. to Elizabeth M. effective August 11, 2017 e.v.
    The College wishes to express its appreciation to the past and present Masters of each of these Bodies. We wish each of them the best in their new offices and endeavors.
Love is the law, love under will.

In the Bonds of the Order,

David Hill
President, Electoral College, USGL

The Question of Retention – Thelema RVA

July’s Local Body Spotlight is not about or from a local body. It is from a Camp-in-Formation (CiF) Organizer who has a CiF that uses the name Thelema RVA in the Richmond, Virginia area.

Sr Capella writes about how they retain people in their region.

 

The Question of Retention – Thelema RVA, July 2017

What works in one group might work in another group. Therefore, feel free to use what works for you and discard what you feel does not.

  • Retention seems to be a formula equal to the number of people we reach x a factor of willingness x a factor of ability.

We review who we have not retained in order to understand what we need to do differently. So we looked at feedback from those who have departed or become inactive. We found the following:

  • About 50% of people who did not continue to come around were “Not Free” (e.g. not able to come due to distance, relocation, schedule, family, relocation, family/dependent intervention, car trouble or busy with school/work/family or a personal ordeal)
  • The rest were a combination of the following (mostly Not Willing):
  1. Trouble Working in Groups (as a result of mental health issues and/or personal prejudices)
  2. False Expectations (they did not find what they were looking for either due to a misunderstanding of Thelema or Crowley, or assuming an “anything goes” environment, assuming someone other than themselves is responsible for their learning or progress or assuming magick does not work because they did something once and it failed.)

Improving Retention

Expectation Setting

  • OTO Grand Lodge FAQ – reviewed with all joiners. Reviewing this singular document up-front has nearly eliminated misunderstandings.
  • Thelema RVA House Rules – reviewed with all joiners. Since implementation, there has been a much lower instance of behavioral issues.
  • Education Committee’s Classes on “Thelema Basics” and “Thelema Ethics” taught to all newcomers as one of their first classes.   This has been another key to reduce misunderstandings.
  • Crowley info added to our website.   This has helped with untangling individuals from misinformation they have received elsewhere. Hoping this will also help members manage any issues with misinformed intervening family members.
  • “Ticket System” employed whereby joiners are given a menu of classes on color-coded Tickets to choose from. In so doing, the approach became one of Self-Direction. Note: Members can also choose from non-Ticket items if the topic is appropriate.
  • Have Members take turns running the business meeting thereby deciding what goes on the calendar for the upcoming month. This is another approach to Self-Direction.
  • Do some Daily Ritual at every meeting. (Will, LBRP, Resh…) When folks say that the magick does not work, I say “are you doing your daily rituals?”…the issue here is with the proficiency of magician, not with the magick.

To correct Trouble Working In Groups (Much Improved)

  • The House Rules (6 Items) found in our Program Guide clarify acceptable behavior as well as outline the corrective action options employed in cases of an infraction.
  • Participation Guide clarifies schedule flexibility which may be needed as folks work through people-issues.
  • Keep a flow of communication open in order to receive the sage wisdom of others: Kaaba info, Mentor, other body masters, etc..   Problem-solve.
  • The Education Committee’s Class on “Thelema Ethics” class has helped tremendously in this area.
  • Keeping an open dialogue with members and ask them what is bothering them and ask them if they think the issue is themselves or the other person. Encouraging a little healthy introspection is always good.
  • Personal Alchemy classes help with driving the focus towards introspection / internal locus of control.

Various Forms of “Not Free” (Work-In-Progress)

  • The Personal Alchemy classes are what helped me through my ordeals, and may help others bounce back from a hit in their life (in the category of relationship, job, health issues, etc.). (As per the Book of the Law the ordeals are unwritten and the gross must pass through fire).
  • Referring individuals to OTO Bodies or Thelema Groups near them is a Distance Option.
  • OTO US GL correspondence@ email is another Distance Option.
  • By Appointment Option for Saturday 1:1 classes if they cannot make Monday night class.
  • OFF-SITE SELF-ORGANIZE & SELF-FACILITATE OPTION is available for folks who want to step up and teach a class or facilitate a discussion, activity or social on dates & times other than the Monday night class.
  • The Participation Guide has helped folks understand they can come and go as they please and show on a weekly basis, monthly basis or drop-in basis. They can also pursue the OTO degrees on an annual basis, which is ideal for some folks who are just too busy with their lives to commit to much else.

Written by Sr Capella

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.

Golden Thread Camp: Unconference & Sagittarrium Art Show

This month’s Local Body Spotlight features Golden Thread Camp in the Valley of Pittsburgh, PA.

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

Golden Thread is composed of three pillars.  One pillar is our M.·.M.·.M.·. program: performing and facilitating initiations into the Man of Earth degrees of Ordo Templi Orientis.  Another pillar is our EGC program: performing and facilitating the rituals and services of Ecclesia Gnostic Catholica.  The third pillar, our Middle Pillar, is our unique identity: the place where spreading the law of Thelema, practicing the Gnostic Mass, and offering initiations intersects with the unique culture of our geographic region and the needs of the individuals who form our community.  It is nothing short of our group identity.  And a strong identity is necessary for growth, stability, and the continued success of our ventures.  

The most important thing that we can do to support our Third Pillar is to empower our members to share their passions: whether that be leading a Yoga or meditation group, holding a class or roundtable on their favorite topic, sharing their favorite movie during our occult movie night, or having the opportunity to talk about their favorite book or graphic novel in our book club. We are a developing community, so many individuals have not have had the opportunity to share their unique ideas in a supportive environment.  The response to this approach has been powerful.  Our schedule is full of high-quality events led by people enthusiastic for the opportunity to share their unique knowledge, experience, and perspective.  This is one of my favorite parts of participating in a local body – watching members engage with their passions.  

We host two large annual events that highlight this dedication to individual creativity:  The Thelemic Unconference and The Sagittarrium Art Show.  

The Thelemic Unconference

The Thelemic Unconference is a unique event.  Unlike the typical conference where a set schedule is planned weeks or months in advance, the classes are developed at the beginning of the day by the participants themselves.  Attendees are encouraged to share their passion and knowledge on all Thelemic and Magick-based topics, using different teaching methods including roundtable discussions, hands on workshops, practice sessions, etc.  Classes or groups can range anywhere from five minutes to several hours. Attendees can also request a class or discussion on any topic. The format is liberating.  Think of it as an event full of only the conversations that happen between the classes at NOTOCON.  We just hosted our second annual Unconference and already have the third planned out.  The Thelemic Unconference is the result of the hard work and grace of Kashmira, who also serves as our Event Coordinator.  

Sagittarrium Art Show

Next, we are beginning to gear up for this fall’s Sagittarrium Art Show.  Last year we hosted this event in our previous Temple – a 400 square-foot storefront. (We have since moved to our current 2400 square foot Temple.)  We could not have anticipated the turnout.  For the duration of the event, our Temple was packed full of members, friends, and interested Pittsburghers.  We raised over a $1000 in profits for the Camp from selling prints and original pieces.  The show provided an artistic platform for members to show their work, offered inspiration the attendees, and also served to raised our profile.  It showed that Golden Thread had a part to play in the local art community.  We have expanded the scope of this year’s show to include performance such as dance, live music, poetry, and whatever else our artists dream up.  The Sagittarrium Art Show is brought to life by the dedication and passion of Courtney, who also serves as our Camp Secretary.  

Unique events such as these allow us to promulgate to the various cultural cliques in our geographic region.  A necessary step in order to establish a strong and lasting presence in the area.  

More details on these events are available on our website: goldenthread-oto.org.  Also check out our recent blog post “The Three Pillars of Golden Thread Camp” for more of our unique events in addition to an overview of our “Three Pillar” philosophy.  

Love is the law, love under will.

Terry M.

Master, Golden Thread Camp

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.

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.