11 Principles to Craft Your Local Body’s Social Media Strategy

Social media is constantly changing. It seems like every month there’s a new platform trending along with new standards and, of course, new memes. 

The purpose of this post is to empower you to navigate the trends and to make informed decisions about how to engage on social media, no matter what platform you choose. 

Rather than telling you exactly what to say or not say on social media, these 11 principles will help you create your own strategy that will allow the unique gifts of your local community to shine and attract loyal members. 

Principle #1: Start with Why

People aren’t interested in what we do so much as why we do it. 

As O.T.O. initiates and leaders, so much of our attention is focused on producing great Gnostic Masses, initiations, social events, and classes. But we do all these things for a higher purpose: the positive life change that occurs when people attend those Gnostic Masses, undergo those initiations, make positive connections at those events, and learn at those classes. 

It’s what all that great content allows them to go on to do and to be in their own lives that makes people loyal to us. That’s the glue that holds this organization together, and it’s the power that attracts new people to us.

So in everything we say, and in everything we do, we need to consider why we’re doing it. That’s as true of social media as it is of holding a fundraiser, affiliating with a local charity, or even celebrating a Gnostic Mass

Principle #2: Use social media to get people’s attention

The particular kind of positive life change O.T.O. brings to people depends in part upon our ability to get people to attend our events. In order to do that, we need to get their attention. The whole reason we’re on social media in the first place is because that’s where people’s attention is.

Of course you could stand on a street corner and hand out copies of Liber Oz, but that’s not going to be anywhere near as effective as being on social media, simply because the attention of more people is on social media than on any street corner. Social media also offers tools to target attention in certain ways.

The main difficulty we run into getting people’s attention on social media is that we’re competing with other groups and organizations to get their attention. When any of us goes on social media, we spend a lot of time scrolling past content. So an important component of any social media strategy is creating content that will stop a person from scrolling in order to give you their attention.

Principle #3: Repeat = Defeat

I don’t know about you, but I can be lazy when generating social media content. I find a format I like (a certain combination of images and words), and I “stamp off” a few variations on it. 

This is okay to a certain point, but when your content becomes repetitive, people tend to ignore it. How many of your own local body’s social media posts do you immediately recognize and ignore? 

Mix up your style. If your local body has a logo, do not use it on everything. That goes against received wisdom regarding brand recognition. Recognition can also mean something is familiar and safely ignored. 

One common way people break the pattern is to screencap something from one platform (like Twitter) and post it on another platform like Instagram or Facebook. When you see that Twitter format in a FB or IG feed, your brain immediately feels like something is off, so you stop and look.

Another really easy way to stop the scroll is to post pictures of people’s faces. Humans are social creatures. We have neurons in our brains dedicated to facial recognition. Pictures of people’s faces—especially smiling or interacting or expressing an emotion—are more likely to grab a person’s attention than a picture of an object. (USGL policy states you must get the express permission of any individual if you are going to post any recognizable image of them, not in the public domain, on any local body websites or social media pages.)

Principle #4: The 1 in 5 Rule

The main mistake O.T.O. local bodies make on social media is that they tend to use social media primarily for in-person event promotion. They’re trying to use it as a billboard.

The problem is that social media is not a billboard. Billboards are one-way communication. Social media is meant to be used for two-way or multiple-way communication. 

No more than 1 out of every 5 of your posts should be advertisements for in-person events. 4 out of every 5 posts should be content made specifically for social media. 

What we do in person is important and necessary. But think back to principle #1. As important and necessary as our in-person events are, they’re not the ultimate reason we exist. The ultimate reason we exist is to bring a certain kind of positive life change to people. We do that through the gift of the Law. 

In a normal year, we can bring that gift to people on a Sunday evening at Gnostic Mass. But come Monday morning, it’s not as though they stop needing or wanting that gift. 

Thelema isn’t just for Sundays. Thelema is for working through family conflict. Thelema is for important business decisions. Thelema is for tackling life’s frequent frustrations.

Thelema is a total life path. 

The whole reason we do Resh is to remind ourselves four times a day of the Great Work. The whole reason we say Will at every meal is to remind ourselves of the Great Work. 

We need to use social media to bring that spiritual message to people, not just because it’s our duty as O.T.O. to promulgate, but because that spiritual message is one of the most compelling things about us.

Principle #5: Start Meaningful Conversations

There are many ways to do this. 

One approach I used at my local body was to post a question twice a week. Some questions I asked were:

  • What’s a favorite memory you have from your childhood or adolescence of doing magick?
  • What’s your favorite video game of all time?
  • What are your favorite burger toppings?
  • What’s a familiar passage from our Holy Books you return to in times when you need inspiration?

I would usually put the question on a photo and post it to the Facebook page with the question also in the photo’s caption so those who are visually impaired could also easily access it.

These questions would often provoke dialogue not only among our community members but also between our community members and individuals who had been lurking at the edge. It was a fun way to bring people out of the woodwork.

As you can see from the examples, not all of the questions have an explicit spiritual focus.

This is important. Do we sit around only talking about magick and spirituality when we’re at O.T.O. events? Of course not. We talk about all kinds of stuff that’s important to us.

When I first started coming around to O.T.O. events, that people shared interests in common with me that had nothing at all to do with magick was a huge factor in my decision to initiate and to become a permanent member of the community.

The purpose of these questions is to stimulate dialogue that brings that human dimension to the foreground. You’re showing off one of the most compelling parts of your community. That’s not possible to do if the discussion is focused purely on spirituality (to say nothing if you’re only using social as a billboard).

Principle #6: Promote Spiritual Practice

Don’t just invite people to a Saturday evening ritual. Get them to do magick right where they are.

How much time do we waste scrolling endlessly through social media? How cool would it be to get someone to stop in the middle of that to have a meaningful experience, no matter how small? How beneficial would that be for them, and how much would it strengthen their positive feelings toward you?

There are a lot of different ways to do this. 

  • Right now, for the next minute, do a small, silent ritual to connect with your Holy Guardian Angel.
  • Spend the next 60 seconds reflecting on this passage from the Book of the Law: [insert passage here]
  • Make a calendar and cross off every day you remember to say Will at every meal.
  • Start a 30 day LBRP/Star Ruby/Resh/Will/etc challenge.

There are all sorts of things you can do. Use your imagination.

Principle #7: Tell your local body’s story

Again, our people are our strength. People don’t join O.T.O. so much as they join a local body, a local community of practitioners. 

Bring your people and your story to the forefront.

Instead of posting pictures of an altar from a ritual you did, post behind-the-scenes photos of setting up the ritual, of putting on the makeup, of setting up the lights, etc. Have the person who wrote the ritual do a short write-up on what inspired them to do it.

Instead of posting a picture of your Mass team posing together after the ritual, again, post pictures of people setting up, interacting, laughing, looking at one another (not the camera) and having a good time. 

If you had a successful fundraiser, don’t just post how much money you made. Talk about the work that went into it. Talk about the process that led you to want to do the fundraiser in the first place. 

Celebrate your successes, but celebrate the human dimension of those successes. Show the passion. Show the dedication. That’s powerfully attractive to people, and it makes our spirituality look more compelling.

Principle #8: Go deep, then go wide

Do not try to be active on every social media platform. There’s just no way to keep up, and you’re going to just end up copying content from one platform to another without any sensitivity for the strengths and weaknesses of individual platforms.

Pick one platform, and dedicate yourself to it for at least a year. Craft your strategy. Get a rhythm. Become comfortable with it.

If after a year you think it would benefit your local body—again, per principle #1, be sure to stop and have the conversation about why you’re doing what you do—then branch out into one additional platform.

Around 7 in 10 American adults are on Facebook, so Facebook is an obvious place to start. 

Different platforms attract different demographics. There seem to be a lot more young people on Instagram or TikTok. Depending upon who exactly you’re trying to attract, that could also influence your decisions. 

Principle #9: Go from public to private

If you are in local body leadership and have a meaningful interaction with a person on a public post, consider reaching out to that person privately to make a connection, either via direct message or by friending them.

Relationships are the foundation of what we do. It doesn’t matter how good your rituals or classes are. People aren’t going to want to remain part of a community if they can’t build meaningful relationships. 

If a member of your extended community says something in a public post to indicate they’re going through a hard time, consider reaching out to them. Don’t just wait until someone is initiated and paying local dues before you show concern for them. Put your magnanimity up front.

(Guys, you need to do this with other men, too. Not just women. Otherwise it gets weird.)

Principle #10: Document every win

We’re not doing this for lust of result. We’re doing this to bring attention to our innate gifts as Thelemic communities: to let who we are shine. 

That being said, if a conversation on social media leads to a person attending a first event, document it.

If your question about what topping people prefer on pizza leads to a fun Friday night movie and pizza party, write it down. (In fact tell the story on social media on Monday.)

If your 30 day LBRP challenge leads to someone taking baptism next month, document it.

I attended my first O.T.O. event the very same week they published their Gnostic Mass video. Vimeo isn’t really social media, but that was, generally speaking, a success stemming from a compelling online presence. 

Keep track of these things. Double down on what works.

Principle #11: Experiment

Make these principles the driving force of your social media activity for the next year. 

Forget about “likes”. Keep your focus on positive life change. Find ways to document that instead. That’s the real reason we’re here.

O.T.O. local bodies tend to be very small (fewer than 50 people). That can be a huge advantage. It’s much easier to push off in a completely new direction when you’re a small group. It makes it possible to experiment more.

Use that to your advantage. 

As we continue to navigate the greatest communications shift in 500 years, one factor must remain constant: our dedication to our highest purpose. 

The positive life transformation we bring to individuals through our events and through the friendships we form is our most powerful gift. 

My hope is that these principles empower you to use social media in a way which amplifies that gift for a broader audience and helps to sustain strong morale among current members.

Click here or the image below to download a digest version of these principles.

Assisting our Siblings with Addiction Issues

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

We recently had a “design thinking” workshop to better understand the problems in our community due to the pandemic, and to brainstorm solutions. (You can read about the workshop here and here.)

One of the things that some participants noted, was an increase in siblings struggling with addiction issues.

This increase in addiction not limited to Ordo Templi Orientis. Many healthcare professionals are already talking about and researching this aspect of the COOVID-19 pandemic. In June of 2020, alcohol sales rose 27% from March 7 before lockdowns began.

Soror Promethea, head of the U.S.G.L. Psychology Guild will present a workshop to assist local leadership to help members during this challenging time.

Please note, the limit of 16 participants. If there is need, perhaps more sessions can be scheduled in the future.

I would encourage you to ask yourself if you see a need in your community and if “no”, but you’re still interested, ask to be on the waiting list.

Love is the law, love under will.

Assisting our Siblings With Addiction Issues: A Workshop for Local Body Officers, Ordained Clergy, and Chapter Members

Hosted by Soror Promethea

This has been a difficult time for all of us and many people in our community are struggling in various ways.  Nationwide, substance use and related issues are increasing, and it is not surprising to see addiction problems increasingly impacting our Order members.  You may wonder how you, as a local leader, can best reach out to, talk with, and assist those in your community who are struggling with substance use issues.  

Letting someone know you are concerned about their substance use can be a difficult conversation, and it is not always clear how to help.  Soror Promethea is a licensed psychologist with a specialty in substance use and addiction. She currently supervises an outpatient substance use program for a major regional health system.  Her research-based approach to difficult conversations on substance abuse, can help move the bar. Studies show that even one conversation with a trusted person such as a primary care doctor, pastor, or friend can make a difference for someone who is struggling. 

You will learn positive approaches to difficult conversations that you can put into practice with someone you may be concerned about. She will draw from her training in methods for encouraging others toward positive behavior change.  She will also provide a general discussion of substance use issues, discuss common misconceptions, and provide ideas on engaging with resources in your local community. She will discuss ideas for making your local body a friendly place for those who wish to abstain from alcohol and those in early recovery.  You will have time to practice skills discussed and talk about your questions and concerns.

This class will not certify you in any formal method of therapy or counseling or intervention, nor will she provide any professional opinion or advice on particular issues within your local body.  But she will assist you, as a lay person, to have a productive approach to conversations about substance abuse with your local members.

The meeting link will be sent to registrants closer to the date of the workshop.

Date: Saturday, January 9, 2021

Time: (1.5hrs)  beginning at 9am Pacific, 12pm Eastern

Registration is Limited to 16 attendees, first come first served, future iterations are planned

Please email sororpromethea@gmail.com to register and include your civil name, local body affiliation and/or role or role in the Order, and the email you would like the link sent to. 

 

Soror Promethea

President of the Psychology Guild

Asherah Chapter

Song of Freedom Oasis

 

Re-Envisioning the OTO in a pandemic – part 2

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

On Oct 25, 2020 e.v. 12 local leaders gathered together to work to figuring out how to navigate member needs in the midst of a pandemic that is spread by social contact.

Part 1 gave a description of how we structured our conversation and the problems we identified.

As anyone should expect, there are no magical answers within the constraints of current conditions. The real solutions will happen based on advances in medicine (vaccines, treatments, etc.)

The solutions that are easiest to reach for, are those that feed the mind. Classes can be consumed in person or online. Online may even have better reach due to lack of commute time.

But spiritual and emotional nourishment are harder to figure out in a socially distanced world. Full sensory experiences are also limited to mostly sound and sight.

Yet, some local bodies are finding ways to navigate within the current constraints. Some are finding ways to thrive. And others are trying to find a path forward.

This article is a collection of ideas, and includes the solutions and ideas generated in our workshop, as well as some things that some bodies are already doing.

In this article, we will share the solutions and ideas we generated.

Nourishing social connections

Social distancing has left many people feeling profoundly alone and isolated. This isn’t limited to our membership, but in an organization built on fraternity, distancing chips away at some of what is at our core.

Webinars and spending time with others on Google Meet, can often feel like a cheap facsimile that barely touches our human needs to connect with like minded others.

Many local bodies are exploring ways to spend outdoor time together in ways that are in accord with health department guidelines.

Some of these things may not seem to be directly related to O.T.O. in a core way, but each of them helps facilitate contact and fraternity.

  1. Outdoor campfire (perhaps with marshmallow roasting)
  2. Camping with social distancing
  3. Check in calls to members (asking if members would like to opt in to such may be helpful for some people but others may prefer to not participate)
  4. Watching a movie together, each in their own homes, but with side chat (press the start button around the same time)
  5. Watching magick oriented youtube videos together with side chat is similar but more focused

Facilitating play

We think of play as being something for children. But the power and pleasure of play can help strengthen a sense of connection and well being. Few things in life are better than sharing laughter.

Some of our local bodies are already doing activities like the following:

  1. Geocaching
  2. Snowball fight
  3. Sledding
  4. Croquet (no shared mallets and easy ability to maintain distance)
  5. Cemetery walk
  6. Scavenger hunt

Inspiring each other

  1. Art exchange (either local with centralized drop off or by mail)

Spiritual nourishment

This one gets closest to some of what is at the core of our existence. And without mass or initiations or even group ritual, it’s deeply impacted.

  1. Local bodies could send Cake of Light by mail or geographically smaller Valleys, may be able to leverage a centralized pickup place
  2. Participants identified a need for new eucharistic rituals that may have resonances with Liber XV: O.T.O. Ecclesiæ Gnosticæ Catholicæ Canon Missæ Perhaps these eucharists could be shared via Google Meet in order to commune together while socially distanced.

Intimate connection

  1. Some local leaders have found that when only 1 person shows up for a class, something unexpectedly positive can happen. That 1:1 conversation can nurture new members or potential members, and provides opportunities for personal conversations in addition to mentoring.

Support

Food insecurity and substance abuse are both up within the United States. Our members are not immune to these nationwide changes.

  1. Golden Thread Oasis is running a food bank where people in need can come and pick up food. (This may become its own blog post if there is interest.)
  2. Dove and Serpent hosts a Pagans in Recovery weekly meeting. You can find it every Friday, posted on the U.S.G.L’s shared calendar hosted by the Education Committee.

Ideas that are beyond individual local bodies

Some of the ideas and asks would require Grand Lodge support. Stay tuned for follow up on these items.

  1. Centralized place to find speakers for Google Meet calls. This is partially fulfilled by the Education Committee’s list of traveling lecturers. In 2020, “travel” could mean hopping on to a meeting with others.
    If you are a member in good standing and want to be added to the list, contact the committee directly.
  2. Crowd sourcing course content. This is central to the Education Committee mission but local leaders may not know enough about the program. Courses that are available are listed here. Contact the Education Secretary if you have ideas you’d like to contribute.
  3. Centralized place for rituals. There is a desire to have a repository that may help inspire people in their practices. Any rituals optimized for a Google Meet call would be especially valuable.
  4. Centralized Discord or Slack channel for all members in good standing.
    (Order wide social media has always been tricky. If you have a proposal, feel free to run it by the Electoral College).

Love is the law, love under will.

Re-envisioning the O.T.O. in a pandemic – part 1

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

The problem

No one joined the Order because we have great classes on Google Meet. Our core services of initiating and celebrating the mass are limited or unavailable. Our core values of fraternity and hospitality are challenged by social distancing.

Our needs for connection, belonging, and purpose don’t disappear simply because we can’t interact in our usual ways.

The doing

12 local leaders came together for a 3-hour workshop. We time-boxed to 3 hours but could have easily used another hour. Nonetheless, the creativity and ideas that came out of the workshop were inspiring, and there may be additional future opportunities.

The process

Design thinking is a process developed at Stanford University’s d.school and uses empathy to help understand needs. Once we have a deep understanding of the problems, it becomes easier to challenge assumptions and find breakthrough solutions.

We used a modified version of “classic” design thinking, with the following steps.

Step 1. Empathize – design thinking has its foundations in empathy. People paired off and interviewed each other. Interviewers were encouraged to be curious and ask, “why” as much as a child would. Interviewers dig for stories and emotional content.

Step 2. Define – needs are uncovered in step 1. This steps starts driving towards solutions by:

  • questioning assumptions
  • asking how to amplify whatever good is currently happening
  • asking how to remove or decrease the bad
  • identify unexpected resources
  • create analogies from identified needs or contexts

Step 3. Ideate – in this step, participants work to identify solutions. We use sketching as it frees up parts of the mind that are not as available when using words.

Step 4. Testing – design thinking is a flexible process and due to time constraints, we tested by sharing with the entire group.

Themes

We had some high level themes for identified issues.

  • leadership burnout
  • physical and mental health challenges due directly and indirectly to the pandemic
  • struggles with engagement and turnout for webinars
  • social needs are hard to fulfil
  • spiritual needs are mostly absent from current services

This article will focus on identified problems. A follow up article will share the solutions that the group found.

Burnout.

Local leadership is stressed, lacking sustenance, and is at risk of burnout.

Each of us stays in the Order for different reasons. What sustains and nurtures us are questions we each need to answer for ourselves. But when the entire infrastructure of an organization is pulled apart, whatever fed any individual member, may not exist anymore.

On a plane, we are told to put our own oxygen mask on, even before helping our children.

It is impossible to feed others when you are starving.

Physical and mental health issues are impacting our membership.

This issue is not limited to our Siblings.

Alcohol sales and consumption have sharply spiked in the US as a whole. Membership is not immune to this broader impact on the country. Lack of social interaction and exercise are also contributing to additional health issues.

Keeping people engaged is hard. Social needs are not well fulfilled.

This isn’t a shocker. People are using video calls for work and many don’t want to also use it to socialize. Sitting in a room with people is not as draining as sharing a screen.

Differences in online vs face-to-face meetings:

  • Online meetings are focused on everyone’s face.
  • There is no eye contact. It’s hard to tell if a person is listening.
  • With your face is the main focus, people can feel like they’re being watched and become hyper aware of how they look. Your brain is distracted by how you are appearing to others. Are you smiling enough? It’s exhausting.

Being socially connected with others is not the same as being on a video call together. And many people are burned out on virtual meetings. People that were enjoying online classes may not be showing up for them anymore.

Spiritual needs are not well met.

Magical practices can be solo or in a group. Many people find that the social aspects of the Order keep them more accountable in their solo practices too. Curiously, solo practices have also suffered in the pandemic due to lessened social bonds.

Surprising insights

The group surfaced a few points that provided deep food for thought.

Sensory inputs are constrained. We meet on Google Meet and we have sound and sight. But when we see each other in person, we also have touch, smell, and taste.

Are there ways to bring more sensory modalities into our interactions with each other? (This is one of many points we will look at in part 2.)

People need to play. While this isn’t a core part of what we usually think of as O.T.O., play facilitates social connection and makes us feel good.

Play is relaxing and makes us feel good.

In part 2, we will explore some ways to facilitate play in a safe, socially distanced way.

Part 2 is coming soon and will be a list of ideas that came out of the workshop.

Love is the law, love under will.

Local Body Events and Practices: Pandemic Edition

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

I wanted to share some things on my radar from various local bodies.

Gnostic Mass – Pandemic style

Gnostic Mass Liber XVWe have one local body that can celebrate the mass and then share it via video, most local bodies don’t have enough people co-located together to do that. But local bodies are still focusing on our central rite.

Blazing Star Oasis  normally had mass celebrations on Sunday evenings. They are currently facilitating EGC related discussion. At a recent session, they discussed Crowley’s comments on the portions of Liber AL from which the Priestess’ speech from behind the veil is taken.
They are also looking at ways to incorporate group meditations or guided visualizations into various aspects of the Gnostic Mass.
Thelesis Oasis is doing “Dramatic Readings of Liber XV” and broadcast via a Zoom group.
They have a Priestess and Priest working together at home while a Deacon works from Thelesis’ stand alone space in Philadelphia as he lives a few blocks away!
To make their dramatic reading more visually interesting they have pulled together Mass equipment from around the house. Funny the things you’ll find around occultists’ homes!
They’re doing these every two weeks, on Saturdays at 1PM EDST. The next one will be Saturday May 9.
(Note from the editor: have you seen any of the youtube videos with symphonies playing alone at home, but together? I love seeing this applied to our Gnostic Mass. Very creative!)

Other News

Thelesis Oasis is holding online events including a recent lecture by Frater Lux Ad Mundi, “The Structure of the OTO” which reviewed the Constitution of the OTO and compare the written document with what modern day members actually experience. No secrets were discussed of course, but there were still plenty of surprises.
All of their events are being recorded and released through their YouTube channel and to their patrons on Patreon.
Blazing Star Oasis is currently hosting online events three times a week.   They have been pleasantly surprised by the number of attendees at events, and their generous donations and contributions.  It has been encouraging to see how many people have been able to make it out to these events.   Under normal circumstances BSO holds classes every Tuesday evening.  They’ve now transferred that schedule online.  Currently they are running a Book of Lies reading and discussion group and also an extended series on ancient and modern forms of Gnosticism.  They’ve also started up a Friday night study group on Carl Jung’s Red Book, which has been quite popular.
Star Sapphire Lodge has developed an affiliate membership program but they’re calling it a Class Pass. I only knew that term from yoga type classes but the term seems to resonate better than “affiliate membership”.
As they started planning out an online schedule in response to the pandemic, they initially only thought about how to keep the local body connected. But they had an uptick in email subscriptions and received an inquiry from a non-initiate that sparked a bigger idea. The email inquiry was from someone wanting to pay dues and wanting to get plugged into the community even if it couldn’t be face-to-face yet.
That was the impetus for the Class Pass. Subscribing to it for $22/month gets you access to up to 2 events/week!
If you want a Class Pass, you can sign up here:
https://starsapphire-oto.org/membership/
Since launching on April 8, they have 11 subscriptions who are mostly non-initiates.
Star Sapphires use of technology will be featured in an upcoming post.

Local Events (that we can all attend these days!)

Blazing Star Oasis calendar
Thelesis Oasis calendar
Star Sapphire calendar
Love is the law, love under will.

Liber XV in a Pandemic

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

The Gnostic Mass is the central public rite of Ordo Templi Orientis. In normal times it is regularly celebrated at most local bodies in the United States.

In a pandemic, some local bodies have found new ways to connect with this central rite.

At Horizon Lodge, 4 initiates live together and are also ordained clergy so they were able to celebrate the mass and live stream it.
Here’s a fun time lapsed video of them turning their living room into a Gnostic Mass temple. They had to get creative with some of it since Horizon Lodge has free standing temple space where mass is usually celebrated!
We were able to do mass in our living room because we have four ordained clergy living in the same house, which is enough people for a barebones mass team and a cameraman. It was important to us to not break the physical distancing rules not only for our own sakes but also because of the message it would send if he had other people present – we wanted to encourage people to stay safe at home.
We borrowed some mass equipment from the lodge (tealights, large stele, etc.) but a lot of it we either already owned or MacGuyver’d out of things we had lying around. Our tomb is some black cloth draped over a couple banner poles and a broom handle tied to the curtain rod. The shrine veil is a bed curtain and its rod on some banner poles tied to the wall. The altar is a piano bench, and the super altar is a piano. It’s been pretty fun.
It’s kinda difficult to tell exactly how many people have watched it, and it kinda depends on how you define that, but for each of the two publicized ones we’ve done so far we’ve had 65 to 70 people online the entire time. I don’t know if those people were present for the entire ritual. I presume that’s just viewers at any given time.
We did not have children or congregants. Since we stuck to only the four people in our house we had a priest, priestess, deacon and camera operator.
We mostly don’t notice the camera when we’re actually celebrating, with the possible exception of during the various circumambulations when you have to walk by it a few times. We did practice cheating out a little bit so that people could hear more clearly and get a better view of what’s happening. Given the limitations of our space and our ad hoc temple if we hadn’t done this a lot of the second half would have just been the priest’s back. You wouldn’t have been able to see the priestess because she was sitting on the piano bench.
The only things I’d add to that is that we’ve been really humbled by people’s response to this and humbled by all the support we’ve received, and also that doing mass online is far more nerve wracking than doing mass for an in person congregation – it feels very much like we’re doing mass for everyone, and since it’s recorded any of our mistakes will be there forever! Also, we’re all really happy that we haven’t had to turn any of them into requiems. Good job staying healthy everyone!
You can watch the mass here

Stay tuned for more news on what local bodies are doing during this very weird time we’re in!

Stay up to date with Horizon Lodge events by following them on Facebook.

Love is the law, love under will.

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.