Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Regardie)
Abbey of Thelema Headquarters, Box 666, Old Greenwich, CT 06870-0666
The Abbey of Thelema is an independently functioning initiatory magical group that provides a point of contact with the Order of the Silver Star (also known as the A. A., Astron Argon (Greek) or Argenteum Astrum (Latin), otherwise known as the Great White Brotherhood. The leader of the abbey, Gregory von Seewald, has in turn been delegated to the Authority of the Triad, which originally was conferred upon George Cecil Jones (D.D.S.), Aleister Crowley (O.M.), and George Stansfeld Jones (O.I.V.I.V.I.O.). The abbey provides for instruction in the A. A. following the magical practices and studies that were perfected by its foremost founder, Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). New members of the order are expected to show their serious intentions by acquiring and reading a number of books in magick and mysticism, including the entire set of The Equinox, the magazine Crowley began in 1909 as the official organ of the A. A. Following an exam on his or her basic knowledge of magick, the student may become a probationer and begin the path of magical training. There are 11 magical grades, or degrees.
The secret, and secret practice (long ago publicly revealed), of the Ordo Templi Orientis (the other magical group Crowley headed) was sex magick. It was taught in stages as members attained the seventh through ninth degrees. However, in the A. A. system as taught by the abbey, the probationer who has reached the zelator grade is invited to begin study in this practice. The sexual, magical practices constitute the essence of a second division of the abbey, namely, the Sovereign Penetralia of the Gnosis, to which those who desire to follow the practice adhere.
A. A. members who have attained a level referred to as zelatores may be invited to membership within the Order of Thelemites (also known as the Order of Thelema), which was conceived in the 1920s by Crowley. Various charters, in the form of constitutions, were conferred upon A. A. members of that era. These constitutions recently have been recognized and the order of Thelemites has emerged from dormancy. The order is not a mystical, magical, or occult order in the ordinary sense of these words. Its purpose is to enable its members to succeed in life by teaching them the correct attitudes toward life and how to avoid wasting time in lines of effort for which they are unsuited.
Because the Abbey of Thelema is a secret order, much of its teachings and practice are not revealed to outsiders. The leader of the abbey, Gregory von Seewald, serves as praemonstrator of the A.A., outer head of the Sovereign Penetralia of the Gnosis, and abbot of Thelema for the Order of Thelemites. The Abbey of Thelema is affiliated with the Holy Order of RaHoorKhuit (H.O.O.R.), the Holy Gnostic Catholic Church (H.G.C.C.), and the Ordem dos Cavaleiros de Thelema (O.C.T.) in Brazil.
The Abbey of Thelema has a second center, in Miami, Florida, the New Flesh Palladium Chapter, which is headed by Robert North.
In 2008 there were fewer than 50 active members reported.
Abbey of Thelema. www.thelemicmagick.com.
Motta, Marcelo Ramos. Calling the Children of the Sun. Trans. Monica Rocha, ed. Gregory von Seewald. Sydney, Australia: Headland Press, 1999.
One Star in Sight. Old Greenwich, CT: Abbey of Thelema, n.d.
Yorke, Gerald J. 666: Sex and the OTO. Intro. Gregory von Seewald. York Beach, ME: Weiser Antiquarian Books, 2005.
For information: [email protected], Minneapolis, MN
The Astrum Sophia (Ordo Astrum Sophiae), founded in 2002, is a new initiatory magical order, but one that continues the Ogdoadic Tradition of the Western Mysteries as exemplified in the Aurum Solis. The Aurum Solis was originally founded in 1897, but became well known in the 1970s through the work of Melita Denning (d. 1997) and Osborne Phillips. The Aurum Solis provided the charter and hence the initiatory lineage for the Astrum Sophia.
The founder of the Astrum Sophia is William Stoltz, who began working with Denning and Phillips in 1980. Stoltz rose quickly in the Aurum Solis and in 1985 became the order’s administrator-general. In 1987 the Aurum Solis became inactive for a period. In 1999, Stoltz resumed his Third Hall work and subsequently received a charter of succession from the Grand Master of the Aurum Solis, empowering him to establish and govern an autonomous Order of the Ogdoadic Tradition. This charter included the authority to administer all degrees, appoint all officers, and to establish or revise all rites.
The Astrum Sophia’s magical teachings, which build on the system presented in Denning and Philip’s five-volume work The Magical Philosophy, are presented to students in three stages. Following a period of probation, a new student will be introduced successively to the Lesser Mysteries in what are termed the First and Second Halls. These two “halls” constitute the Outer Order or the Order Astrum Sophia. Through the Third Hall, the Greater Mysteries are presented in what is termed the Inner Order or Stella Gloriosa. In the Inner Order, through mastery of the teachings and subsequent personal endeavor, an initiate may reach the grade of Adeptus Minor, and beyond.
The Astrum Sophia is guided by its Collegium Cathedrarum, or College of Thrones, consisting of the Grand Master, the Prior, and the Administrator-General. Under it are Commanderies and Citadels. A Commandery is an autonomous structure that, acting within the principles of the Astrum Sophia, is able to administer its own affairs, set its own curriculum, and establish Citadels. A Citadel is a working group established by a Commandery, operating under the authority of that Commandery
A Commandery is empowered to transmit the first two grades of the Order; initiation to the Third Hall requires permission from the College of Thrones. These officers of the Collegium Cathedrarum operate as members of the Grand Commandery of the Winged Serpent.
The Astrum Sophia also has a consultative governing body called the Star Council, consisting of all Masters of Commanderies and all Third Hall initiates.
Membership in the Astrum Sophia is by invitation, usually extended in response to an application. Probationers become members after receiving the First Hall initiation.
Not reported. As of 2008, there are three Commanderies operating in the United States, one each in Minnesota, Washington, and California. There are also two in Europe, one in Belgium and one for Ireland and the United Kingdom.
Ordo Astrum Sophiae. astrumsophia.org/.
Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. The Magical Philosophy. 5 vols. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1974-1981.
5105 N Figueroa, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.) is a western mystery school whose teachings are based on the Holy Qabalah and sacred Tarot. According to B.O.T.A., the Holy Qabalah is the mystical (occult) wisdom teaching of ancient Israel. The great prophets of the Old and New Testaments (including Jesus of Nazareth) were versed in the Qabalah and received their spiritual training therefrom. The Holy Qabalah is based on a diagrammatical and symbolic glyph called the Tree of Life. It is a pictorial-symbolic representation of the One God and man’s relationship to God and creation. The Tarot is a pictorial textbook on ageless wisdom.
B.O.T.A. was founded in 1922 by Dr. Paul Foster Case (1884–1954), one of the American members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, for the study of practical occultism. A recognized world authority on the Tarot and Qabalah, Dr. Case was given the task by the Inner School of reinterpreting the ageless wisdom into terms understandable to the modern western mind.
The primary purpose of B.O.T.A. is to teach and practice the doctrine of the Oneness of God, the brotherhood of man, and the kinship of all life, patterned after the Ageless Wisdom mystery schools of spiritual training as particularly exemplified by the Holy Qabalah. Occult orders such as B.O.T.A. have as their major objective “the promotion of the welfare of humanity.”The great masters of wisdom, from whom flow the inspiration and spiritual impetus of this work, refuse to have anything to do with any order that fails to recognize the primary importance of this great objective, for they devote all their energy and influence to that end. Their conception of the meaning of “the welfare of humanity”is embodied in the following seven-point program:
- Universal Peace;
- Universal Political Freedom;
- Universal Religious Freedom;
- Universal Education;
- Universal Health;
- Universal Prosperity; and
- Universal Spiritual Unfoldment.
According to adherents of B.O.T.A., in order to promote the welfare of humanity, we need first to look to the units of which humanity is composed. Selfish personalities make their unhappy contribution to a selfish social structure. Chaotic thinking and immature emotions affect the mental and emotional levels of all humanity. We do not live unto ourselves alone. To the degree that the aspirant becomes a more effective unit in his personal environment, he brings spiritual powers into action for all humanity and prepares himself to serve life in ever greater measure.
Dedicated work with the Tarot techniques in the B.O.T.A. curriculum has as its aim the transmutation of personality. A transformed personality will bring with it the ability to change its environment, bringing it closer to the heart’s desire. A fulfilled life becomes a positive radiating center, an effective channel through which the higher self can function, and a living example for others. The particular potency of the western mystery training system lies in its use of symbols, a universal language that directly instructs subconsciousness with its pictorial wisdom.
B.O.T.A. is the outer school behind which stands an inner mystery school offering instruction for students who wish to participate in the esoteric work. Qualified students may become members of a pronaos; many are found in the United States and various other countries, and members are referred to as pronaons. After initiation in a pronaos, members may participate in the group ritual work of B.O.T.A.
The external affairs of the order are managed by the board of stewards. The proculator general is the primary link between the outer and inner schools. Prior to 1976, the only groups open to the general membership were in Los Angeles. However, during the next decade approximately 50 study groups and working groups (pronoas) were formed in 19 states. Groups also appeared in Montreal and Toronto, Canada; Great Britain; the Netherlands; New Zealand; Colombia; and Aruba, in the Caribbean.
The B.O.T.A headquarters in France is in Perpignan; the B.O.T.A. headquarters in New Zealand is in Naenae.
B.O.T.A. Builders of the Adytum. www.bota.org, Case, Paul Foster. The Book of Tokens. Los Angeles: B.O.T.A., 1947.
———. The Tarot. Richmond, VA: Macoy, 1947.
———. The True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order. Author, 1928.
Davies, Ann. Inspirational Thoughts on the Tarot. Burbank, CA: Candlelight Press, 1983.
———. This Is the Truth About the Self. Los Angeles: Builders of the Adytum, 1960.
Frazer, Felix J. Parallel Paths to the Unseen Worlds. Los Angeles: Builders of the Adytum, 1967.
PO Box 279, Plainfield, IN 46168
CIRCES International is the American (and English-language) affiliate of the Cercle International de Recherches Culturelles et Spirituelles (International Circle for Cultural and Spiritual Research). The International Circle was founded in 1988 in France as a New Age initiatic association inspired by the Templar tradition of inclusiveness. Integral to the understanding of the organization is the idea that each era is unique in the way the cosmos impacts the inner consciousness of humanity. New eras are defined by astrological ages. The previous age, the Age of Pisces, was keynoted by Jesus’admonition to “love ye one another.”The keynote of the present Aquarian age is the desire for confluence of personal integration. In this age, the path formerly trod primarily by mystics and sages will become common to a large number of the human race.
CIRCES emphasizes two important truths regarding the discovery of a spiritual path that would lead to personal integration. First, each individual must find his/her own path, rather than slavishly attempting to follow a predetermined “true” path. Second, the discovery and treading of one’s path can be greatly enhanced by modern psychological insights. In this light, CIRCES does not present doctrines and dogmas, but a variety of techniques that members are encouraged to use as they awaken to their own personal perspectives of truth.
CIRCES is open to all aspirants who are willing to live by the command, “love ye one another”and who are dedicated to the ideals of chivalry, world peace, and the reduction of human suffering. These goals are pursued by way of the practical integration of the spiritual and psychological technologies. Members are encouraged to discover the way they can most effectively express the various spiritual values, including unconditional love, in daily life.
New members of CIRCES are admitted into the Outer Circle and participate in its work on three levels: (1) in a general research council, members pursue studies on a particular subject and attempt to apply results in a practical context; (2) as part of a commission, work of the research councils on related topics is synthesized; (3) in the Academy, which organizes all the work of the Outer Order, the member may pursue research in one of several colleges—the College of Arcane Sciences, the College of Mundane Sciences, or the College of Creative Sciences.
After a three-year probationary period in the Outer Circle, members may also be invited to participate in the Inner Circle, where the traditional teachings of the Templars as understood by the order are presented. Involvement in the Inner Circle begins with the Order of Sovereign Templar Initiates (OSTI). Since all instruction of the Inner Circle is oral, attendance at the monthly gatherings of OSTI units is required of Inner Circle members. New members of the order may attend Inner Circle meetings but are not to participate verbally for the first year, a period of silence. Work in the Inner Circle progresses on a degree basis. There are three degrees in OSTI, which is followed by three degrees in the International Order of Pythagoreans. At the center of the order is the Universal Order of Melchisedech.
CIRCES International was initially headed by the founder, Fr. Raymond Bernard. Bernard passed away in January 2006, but his influence is still very much alive. CIRCES-USA has been completely independent since Bernard granted it full independence in 1992, and is now very much committed to the original version of its founder, which is universal fellowship, or the one human family, thereby, “materializing the spiritual.”
Each country has been organized as a Grand Commandery under the direction of a Grand Commander appointed by the Sovereign Grand Master. Regional divisions within a country are organized into Grand Preceptories headed by a Grand Preceptor. A Grand Preceptor can operate in the absence of the Grand Commander. Local groups are variously designated commanderies or templar research circles.
At this time, May 2008, group reports that it is not in a position to determine with accuracy the number of members in CIRCES International. However, given the fact that CIRCES-USA has recently decided to initiate the integration of the French and Spanish languages into its activities, numbers could change dramatically. Therefore, in the not-too-distance future, CIRCES will be trilingual, and as time goes by, it will integrate other languages in all of the activities. At the moment, CIRCES estimates that membership numbers are in the lowto mid-hundreds.
CIRCES International. Available from http//:www.circesinternational.org
Current address not obtained for this edition.
Clan Invisible is a small magical order that emerged in the larger context of the spread of thelemic magic articulated in The Book of the Law, revealed to Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) in 1904. The Book of the Law is often summarized in the statements, “Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law,”and “Love is the law, Love Under Will.”Along with respect for the Law of Thelema or Will, as revealed in the Liber al vel Legis, the clan promotes fitness of the mind and the body through the philosophies of Taoism and practice of the martial arts. It also practices a technique for gaining access to parallel dimensions utilizing dream walking, past-life regression, alchemy, divination, herbalism, holistic living, mysticism, and astronomy.
Unlike some thelemic groups, the clan does not use a grade structure; however, newer and more advanced aspirants are recognized, and the former will be referred to the latter for assistance in the development process. The clan is administered by the secretet.
Clan Invisible. www.angelfire.com/ut/Invisible.
PO Box 415, Oroville, CA 95965
College Main Campus, 222 N Manhattan Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90004.
The College and Temple of Thelema are two interrelated structures that focus on the thelemic teachings as passed to Phyllis Seckler (Soror Meral), an early American member of the Ordo Temple Orientis and student of the magical system of Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). The College of Thelema was opened in 1973 as a magical and spiritual education program offering instruction in the basic teaching of the western esoteric tradition, especially in the thelemic mode as developed by Crowley. From 1976 to 1996 the college published In the Continuum, a journal featuring important (and rare) writings by Crowley, as well as other magical materials (copies of back issues are still available from the college). All teachers of the college are bound to the precepts and philosophy as revealed in Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law) and Crowley’s work as the prophet of the current Aeon of Horus.
In 1904 Crowley claimed to have received the channeled dictation of The Book of the Law from a praeterhuman intelligence who declared its name to be Aiwass and identified itself as “the minister of Hoor-paar-kraat,”that is, the instrument of the Egyptian God of Silence. The Book of the Law announced the dawning of a new spiritual era for humanity. The primary message of the book is contained in the Greek words thelema (will), or True Will inherent in each person, and in agape (love), referring to the passionate love of the divine as a basis for authentic human love. For thelemites, the Great World is a matter of finding one’s True Will and expressing loving within that context.
The curriculum of the College of Thelema is broken into four consecutive courses dealing with the practical application of psychology, thelemic philosophy, Qabalah, astrology, and magick. Once enrolled, the student has two years to complete the course. The college’s main campus is located in Los Angeles, California, and there are smaller campus branches in San Francisco and in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The Temple of Thelema was established upon the principles and methods of the College of Thelema, of which it is a part. The temple is an initiating order, a modern mystery school that focuses on the systematic teaching and training of its members in the spiritual disciplines of magick and mysticism. The old grade ceremonies of the legendary Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn have been recast to conform to thelemic symbols and principles. A “three ray” model of balanced development (wisdom, love, and power) includes intellectual training, meditation, and magical ritual at every stage of progress. Initiation rituals, other ceremonies, and the ongoing group healing work are also a central aspect of the curriculum. Although the actual content and ritual process taught is reserved for members of the order, a general understanding may be gained from reading Crowley’s readily available magical writings.
Following a pattern set by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the late nineteenth century, the work of the temple is divided into a series of steps based on a Qabalistic diagram called the Tree of Life. In each of these degrees of training, the member is given the opportunity and responsibility to explore himself/herself from a different point of view, climaxing in a stage of synthesis, or integration.
There are marked differences between the Temple of Thelema and the original Golden Dawn order. For example, at the temple, more practical instruction was added in the early degrees that incorporate much of what has been learned in the last century concerning personal transformation, and steps were taken to remove the remnants of the previous era’s sexist assumptions.
Figures not reported. In 2008 there were seven centers of the Temple of Thelema in the United States and one temple in Toronto, Canada.
College and Temple of Thelema. www.thelema.org.
222 N. Manhattan Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90004
Cor Lucis is a new magical order in the Thelemic tradition. It was formed and is headed by Anna-Kria King. Temple Number One is located in Los Angeles and the largest number of members resides in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Those outside this area must be willing to come to Los Angeles for initiation and at least annually for further ritual participation. Membership is by invitation only, though seekers are invited to submit an application.
Cor Lucis operates out of the Golden Dawn and Thelemic magical traditions. It offers members a graded program combining group and private ritual, study, and meditation. Students work with material from the Golden Dawn, the Kaballah, and the Tarot. The Book of the Law, received by Aleister Crowley in 1904, provides the framework for all of the Cor Lucis’s work.
Cor Lucis has attempted to strip the masculine bias from the Western magical tradition and honors both male and female participants. Learning the magical tradition and attaining a degree of self-mastery is seen as analogous to training for an Olympic event. Beginning students are expected to devote at least an hour a day to their own self-improvement and to attend group events every two weeks.
Not reported. There is one center, in Los Angeles.
Cor Lucis. www.corlucis.org/.
For information: Tau Sir Hasirim (Allen Greenfield), [email protected]
The Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis was founded in 2000 by several bishops in the Thelemic Gnostic tradition of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) and active with the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, which is closely tied to the Ordo Templi Orientis. Since its founding, the Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis has been joined by several other Thelemic bishops, who together form the College of Bishops that leads the organization. Tau Aleph, one of the founders who had been a bishop in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, notes that he had concluded that the church’s mass had lost is power in the concern to preserve its form as dictated by Crowley. The need to revise the mass and be open to changes that would bring it to life became a catalyst for the founding of the new church.
All of the bishops of the church have been consecrated in one (or more) of the lineages of apostolic succession that currently exist in the Gnostic and Thelemic community, primarily that passed to the Ordo Templi Orientis by Crowley from Jules-Benoit Doinel or Tau Valentin II (1842-1894). Tau Aleph had been consecrated by Grady McMurtry (d. 1985), who revived the Ordo Templi Orientis in America in the 1970s and led it for many years. Allen Greenfield (b. 1946), whose ecclesiastical name is Tau Sir Hasirim, was consecrated by Most Rev. Michael Paul Bertiaux of the Neo-Pythagorean Church based in Chicago and Tau Silenus of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica and Ordo Templi Orientis. Greenfield sits as a member of the North American College of Gnostic Bishops.
While clearly based in the Thelemic teachings initially articulated by Aleister Crowley, which emphasize the following of one’s own unique will (or destiny) as the best path to supreme realization, the bishops of the Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis have been open to insights drawn from the larger Gnostic tradition as it has emerged through the late twentieth century to the present. The church believes in the continuing evolution of the Gnosis and as such, believes rituals should also change. It encourages the creation of new Gnostic Masses that draw on variant traditions. It also encourages members to create personal rituals that assist them in their individual situation and path to realization.
The church exists to assist people to remember the gnosis (knowledge) they already have but have forgotten. The church is led by its bishops, but they attempt to limit their duties to necessary administrative matters while encouraging the membership to assume active leadership in spiritual matters. The assumption of administrative duties by the bishops frees the priests and priestesses in the church to concentrate on ritual and spiritual matters.
Bishops and worshipping communities of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica are found in Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; San Francisco, California; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis, Missouri; and Moscow, Russia.
Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis. www.egnu.org/wiki/Ecclesia_Gnostica_Universalis.
c/o The Most Rev. Msgr. Robert M. Cokinis, Cathedral of the Four Holy Crown Martyrs, 5215 Randolph St. W, Bellwood, IL 60104
The Eglise Gnostique Catholique Apostolique (the Gnostic Catholic and Apostolic Church) was brought to the United States in 1970 with the appointment of Roger Victor-Herard as the primate of the church for North America, but it has its roots in the gnostic/mystical groups of eighteenth-century Europe. Through the centuries, gnostic Christianity (a form of Christianity considered heretical by the Roman Catholic Church) disappeared from public view. However, in the wake of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, groups such as the Rosicrucians claimed to possess the teachings of the ancient wisdom (i.e., the gnosis). By the end of the eighteenth century (in the relative freedom created by the French Revolution) attempts were made, initially by French Roman Catholic clerics, to reestablish the Gnostic church, and as early as 1800 a Msgr. Mauviel was consecrated as a bishop and established the Johannine Church of Primitive Christians.
A short time later, a second gnostic thrust was initiated by Eugene Vintras (1807–1875), whose gnostic movement ran into trouble with a revived Roman Catholic Church. In 1848 he claimed that in a vision Christ had consecrated him to the papal office and given him a new liturgy. After a brief period outside of France he returned to found, in 1865, the Sanctuary of the Interior of the Carmel of Elie in Lyon.
The Eglise Gnostique Catholique Apostolique, inspired by this growing gnostic milieu, can be traced to 1904 when Julius Houssaye (or Hussay) was consecrated by Paolo Miraglia-Gulotti, an Italian bishop who had been consecrated by Abp. Joseph Rene Vilatte of the American Catholic Church. Houssaye was a gnostic who under his ecclesiastical name Abbe Julio published several occult texts. He passed the leadership of the Gnostic Church to Louis Francois Giraud, whom he consecrated in 1911. Two years later, Giraud consecrated Jean Becaud, who took the ecclesiastical name Tau Jean II and later, as the first patriarch of the church, developed a considerable following in the city of Lyon. In 1918 he consecrated Victor Blanchard (Tau Targilius), who became head of the church in 1934. Blanchard, in part responding to pressures from the rise of Nazism, helped spread the Gnostic Church into Portugal, and on to Brazil. In 1945 Blanchard consecrated Roger Menard (Tau Eon II), who in 1946 consecrated Robert Ambelain (Tau Jean III). Ambelain consecrated Andre Mauer (Tau Andreas), who assumed the role of patriarch of the church.
It was Tau Andreas who named Pedro Freire primate of South America. Then in 1970, Dom Antidio Vargas, a bishop of the Brazilian Catholic Church, consecrated Pedro Freire as patriarch of the Eglise Gnostique Catholique Apostolique. As Mar Petrus-Johannes XIII, he succeeded Tau Andreas. Mar Petrus-Johannes XIII encouraged the spread of the church in the Americas and encouraged Roger Victor-Herard (d. 1989) to initiate work in the United States. In 1970 he named Herard (as Tau Charles) the primate of the North American branch of the church. In 1977 Mar Petrus-Johannes XIII died. The synod decided against naming a new patriarch. At that point the American branch became autocephalous (independent). The church is administered by the presiding bishop, Tau Charles Harmonius II, who has been president of the board of directors since 1984.
The Gnostic Catholic Church perpetuates a gnostic interpretation of Christianity and has instituted a sacramental ministry to that end. In the gnostic view, the world is the end product of successive emanations from God. Humanity is trapped in this material world. Through the gnosis (or secret wisdom), we may receive initiation and a way back to God. Christ, the logos, has been God’s agent in salvation by his bringing the gnosis to us. The church is the custodian of the gnosis.
The church is divided into several dioceses in the United States, and the one in the Midwest (Illinois) serves as its national headquarters.
In 1995 the church reported approximately 3,000 members in the United States and 200 members in Canada.
Athenea Theologica, Bellwood, Illinois.
Journal of the Athenea Theologica.
c/o Jim Bardon, 1344 High St., #1-FBF, Denver, CO 80218
Franz Bardon (d. 1958) was an Austrian teacher of hermetic initiatory magic. His important texts were published in the 1950s in Germany, shortly before his death, and translated into English in the 1970s. Bardon’s three major books included a basic text on hermetic magic, a commentary on the Kabbalah (which he spelled Quabbalah), and a system of spirit evocation. These books found an audience among English-speaking readers, and the foundation was begun in 1986 to propagate Bardon’s teaching, provide a network among students of the books, and offer instruction in his system.
The Franz Bardon News.
Franz Bardon Foundation. geocities.com/franzbardon/
Bardon, Franz. Initiation into Hermetics. Wupperthal, Germany: Deiter Ruggeburg, 1970.
———. Die Praxis der magischen Evokation. Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany: Verlag Hermann Bauer, 1956. Trans. as The Practice of Magical Evocation. Wupperthal, Germany: Deiter Ruggeburg, 1970.
———. Der Schkussel zur wahren Quabbalah. Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany: Verlag Hermann Bauer, 1957. Trans. as The Key to the True Quabbalah. Wupperthal, Germany: Deiter Ruggeburg, 1971.
International Headquarters, Box 5094, Covina, CA 91723
The Fraternitas L.V.X. Occulta, Latin for the Fraternity of the Hidden Light, was founded in Covina, California, in 1982, but traces its lineage to the U.S. section of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (OGD). According to the present leadership of the fraternity, at one point in the early twentieth century the head and three other officers of the OGD reorganized the order as a mystery school and transitional order to assist in bringing in the New Age, or Age of Aquarius. The present heads of the fraternity inherited this tradition, and during the mid-1980s they assumed a more public profile.
The fraternity has three main objectives: to act as a modern-day repository of the ancient wisdom; to train members for selfless service to humanity through application of the ancient wisdom; and to promulgate the ancient wisdom. Teachings are drawn from the writings of Hermes Mercurious Trismegistus, the legendary Egyptian magus, and the Qabalah. Instruction is also given in Tarot, alchemy, astrology, and occult psychology.
The fraternity is organized in three levels. An outer level trains new initiates in the growth into wisdom, love, and power. The second order is composed of those initiates who have developed harmony and balance within themselves and have received illumination, and whose higher self is in control of their lives. The third level consists of the great adepts and masters of the ages who guide the fraternity from the inner realms.
Members work through a curriculum of graded instruction in the occult, as well as instruction in meditation and ritual. Rituals are used to invoke quantum changes in the consciousness (i.e., high magic). Probationers pass through a period of at least three months in which a basic knowledge of the occult must be acquired. They may then apply for full membership. In 2008 the head (steward) of the fraternity was Paul A. Clark.
In 1995 the fraternity reported five temples and members in 17 countries worldwide. The Grand Preceptory of Europe is located in Cambridge, England. The international affiliations are located in the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Japan, Canada, and Australia. There are study groups in Boston, Massachusetts; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; and several cities in California.
The Hidden Light • The Threshold • The Path of Return • The Halls of Thoth • The Book of the Rose.
Fraternity of the Hidden Light. www.lvx.org.
Clark, Paul A. The Book of the Rose. Covina, CA: Fraternity of the Hidden Light, 1985.
For information: [email protected]
The Gnostic Alchemical Church of Typhon-Christ is one of several magical Gnostic groups to arise in the wake of the dissemination of information in the 1980s of the 1976 discovery of what is termed the New Aeon English Qaballa (also spelled Cabala). The New Aeon refers to the period beginning in 1904, when Aleister Crowley (1875–1947), considered the founder of the Thelemic magical tradition, received a work, The Book of the Law, from a preternatural being named Aiwass. Interpreting the book and following its dictates has been integral to Thelemic practice through the years. The book, however, was by no means easily understood and in fact noted that neither Crowley, nor his magical child (Charles S. Jones, 1886–1950) would be able to fully interpret it, but that “one cometh after him [i.e., Jones], whence I say not, who shall discover the Key of it all”(III, 47). Over the years various people had attempted unsuccessfully to decipher it, but in 1976 the independent Thelemite Jim Lees discovered a new interpretive tool that uses the English language in a manner analogous to the Hebrew Kaballah. He and two associates, Jake Stratton-Kent and Carol Smith, subsequently announced his findings to the larger Thelemic community, to a mixed response. Over the succeeding years, Kaaba Publications, headed by Smith, began releasing books expanding on the techniques of the English Qaballa. While most Thelemites rejected Lees’s work, some found it a very valuable tool in understanding The Book of the Law. Among the first groups to utilize the discoveries of the English Qaballa was the Hermetic Alchemical Order of the QBLH.
Founded as knowledge of the English Qaballa grew, the Gnostic Alchemical Church of Typhon-Christ has as its stated goal the spreading of knowledge/wisdom (gnosis) created through the application of the English Qaballa to the Holy Books of Thelema, especially The Book of the Law.
Membership is open to those interested in exploring Thelema, and individual initiations are arranged at astrologically determined times when the Sun is in conjunction with Venus, Mercury, and/or Jupiter.
The founders of the Gnostic Alchemical Church of Typhon-Christ have continued a relationship with Jim Lees and Carol Smith, who serve as editors of The New Equinox: The British Journal of Thelema, through which a variety of articles on Thelema in general and the New Qaballa have been released. The church maintains electronic versions of older issues on its Web site. The church also maintains a relationship with Kiblah Publishing in the United Kingdom, which publishes The New Equinox and has released an edition of The Book of the Law with added materials on the English Qaballa.
The church is a supporting member of the Aleister Crowley Foundation.
Not reported. Members are found in France, England, Canada, and the United States.
Gnostic Alchemical Church of Typhon-Christ. www.geocities.com/Area51/Stargate/7770/.
The Holy Books of Thelema. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1988.
PO Box 1757, Elfers, FL 34680
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is the European-headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.), an organization dedicated to the continued preservation of that body of knowledge known as hermeticism, or the western esoteric tradition. The order is rooted in the hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions that teach and practice the triad of spiritual disciplines known as the Trivium Hermeticum; theurgy (magic), astrology, and alchemy. The theurgy includes Qabalistic, Egyptian, Enochian, and Chaldeaen magic. The order promotes the teachings of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the magical fraternity founded in London in 1888 by William Wynn Westcott (1848–1925), S(amuel). L(iddell). MacGregor Mathers (1854–1918), and R. Woodman.
The founders used certain documents known as the Cipher Manuscripts, which had been encrypted using the Trithemius cipher by Freemason scholar Kenneth MacKenzie (1833–1886). MacKenzie had been initiated as a Rosicrucian in Vienna by the Hungarian count Apponyi in 1850. This provides the link to Golden’s Dawn’s Rosicrucian lineage.
Upon his return to England, MacKenzie founded the esoteric society that later became the Golden Dawn under the original name Fratres Lucis, or Brethren of the Cross of Light. MacKenzie’s temple was number one, the Bristol temple of F. G. Irwin was number two, and the Isis-Urania temple, where the Golden Dawn was founded, became number three.
During a visit to Paris in 1891 MacGregor Mathers reestablished contact with MacKenzie’s continental European adepts, whom he referred to as the “secret chiefs.” MacGregor Mathers founded the Second Order of the Golden Dawn’s projected three-order system, Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, or R.R. et A.C. He eventually moved permanently to Paris to be close to his Rosicrucian teachers.
Following a rebellion of adepts in London in 1903 and a press scandal involving the Golden Dawn name, in 1906 MacGregor Mathers changed the name of the order to the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, keeping the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as its outer order.
According to the order’s Web site, in 2002 Golden Dawn leaders Jean-Pascal Ruggiu and David Griffin met in Paris with representatives of MacKenzie and MacGregor Mathers’s continental European secret chiefs, from whom they received the initiation rituals and curriculum for the Golden Dawn’s projected third and final order. These materials allegedly include the secrets of Hermetic Inner Alchemy, which uses the physical body in a prima materia, first matter. According to the Golden Dawn, this opus magnum, great work, is a system that uses the subtle fires of the body, including love and sexuality, to transmute the physical body into higher and more refined forms of energy. The goal is to project consciousness into a solar body and the moment of death, thus rendering the alchemist consciously immortal.
As originally designed by its founders, the Golden Dawn was to be an hermetic society dedicated to the philosophical, spiritual, and psychic evolution of humanity. It was supposed to be a school and a repository of knowledge concerning the principles of occult science and the various elements of western philosophy and magic. Symbolism used within the H.O.G.D. came from a variety of religious sources, and people from very diverse esoteric religious paths found themselves at home with the Golden Dawn.
The order owns the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn trademark in the European Union and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn International trademark in Canada. In the United States, they operate by legal agreement adopted by the U.S. District Court as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega. They also own the R.R. et A.C. trademark of their second order, Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis and the Alpha et Omega trademark of their three-order superstructure founded by MacGregor Mathers in 1906, Ordo Rosae Crucis, Alpha et Omega.
In 2008, 4,215 members were reported.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. www.hermeticgoldendawn.org; www.golden-dawn.com.
Howe, Elllic. The Magicians of the Golden Dawn. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1972.
King, Francis. Ritual Magic in England: 1887 to the Present Day. London: New English Library, 1972.
Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn. 4 vols. Chicago: Aries Press, 1937–1940.
———. What You Should Know about the Golden Dawn. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press, 1983.
Wescott, Wynn. History of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia. n.d.
270 N Canon Dr., Ste. 1302, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, is the U.S. jurisdiction of the European-headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in the United Kingdom in 1888. The order has been credited with constructing a brilliant synthesis of mythical and magical material from varied sources of the western magical tradition. When the order was discontinued early in the twentieth century, its work was carried on by organizations founded by several of its members, and most of its materials have been published. A most important event was the publication of its main rituals by Israel Regardie (1907–1985).
In the early 1980s Regardie was considered by many in the occult world as the last contact point with the era of the Golden Dawn and Aleister Crowley (1875– 1947). Regardie and his student, Cris Monnastre, resurrected the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R. R. et A. C.). In 1982, under Regardie’s guidance, Monnastre founded the Osiris Khenti Amenti Temple in Los Angeles, California. Over the succeeding years, other temples were opened.
In 1988 Monnastre retired from the Golden Dawn, leaving the Golden Dawn adept David Griffin as his successor. In 1999 Griffin merged the order with the European-headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, forming a triad of chiefs with Ukrainian nobleman Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko and the reigning imperator of S. L. MacGregor Mathers Ahathoor Temple Number 7 in Paris, Golden Dawn adept Jean Pascal Ruggiu.
The Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis operates temples of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn around the world. The United Confederation of Independent and Autonomous Temples, officially known as the Confederatio Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis (C. F. R. C.), consists of temples from around the world, descending with initiatic and/or chartered lineage and affiliation from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, as reinstituted by Regardie and Monnastre. Within the confederation, it is believed, are reunited initiatic and/or chartered lineages deriving from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, and the several groups formed from them early in the twentieth century, specifically the Stella Matutina, the Ordo Rosae Crucis, Alpha et Omega (Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega), the Holy Order of the Golden Dawn (deriving from A. E. Waite), and the Order of the Sacred Word.
The order offers ritual initiation as well as instruction in the Rosicrucian system of ceremonial magic. It is claimed that this system facilitates personal as well as spiritual development through a systematic program of ritual initiation and the spiritual disciplines of ceremonial magic (a powerful tool for self-realization and transformation).
The order distinguishes itself from several other groups claiming roots in the Golden Dawn that engage in what the order views as dubious practices, in particular “initiation by proxy”or “astral initiation.”All initiations marking the progress of the student are performed while the student is physically in the presence of the initiator, during which time, it is believed, the actual transmission of magical energies occurs.
The European-headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn operates in the United States by a legal agreement adopted by the U.S. District Court as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega.
In 2008 2,130 members were reported.
In 1982 Cris Monnastre was given a number of Israel Regardie’s personal magical accoutrements, among which were Regardie’s Elemental Weapons, a complete Rosicrucian chess set, and a Rose Cross that he had inherited from Elsa Barker (an important historical link in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega between Mathers’Ahathor Mother Temple, No. 7, in Paris and the temples of the A. O. in the United States). She has donated these items to the R. R. et A. C.
Golden Dawn F.A.Q. www.golden-dawn.info.
Regardie, Israel. The Golden Dawn. 4 vols. Chicago: Aries Press, 1937–1940.
———. The Middle Pillar. Chicago: Aries Press, 1938.
———. My Rosicrucian Adventure. [1936.] St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1971.
———. What You Should Know about the Golden Dawn. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press, 1983.
4035 E Guasti Rd., Ste. 306, Ontario, CA 91761
The Hermetic Order of the Morning Star International Golden Dawn–Canada is the Canadian jurisdiction of the European-headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888. It is a worldwide fraternity dedicated to the “great work,”the higher development of spiritual growth through the magical way of life. The order believes that magic is a powerful system of inner growth and spiritual development. As a mystery school, it is designed to take the student step-by-step to the door of adepthood. The adept in the making learns the “secrets”of listening and hearing to what is thought of as one’s inner voice of light, often called the “higher genius”or “holy guardian angel.”
The order owns the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn International trademark in Canada. They also own the Canadian R.R. et A.C. trademark of their Second Order, Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis, and the Canadian Alpha et Omega trademark of their three-order superstructure founded by S. L. MacGregor Mathers in 1906, Order Rosae Crucis, Alpha et Omega.
Students are taught through a series of graded lessons from the starting point of neophyte. Each grade has a series of lessons, more than 175 of which constitute the lessons for the outer order (neophyte to philosophus). Students receive the lesson for their grade, and they work at their own speed. The student is tested on each grade before being passed into the next grade. The movement from grade to grade is marked with an initiation ceremony held in the Temple of Isis Mighty Mother in southern California, or if a person cannot come to the temple, initiations may take place through what is termed an “astral initiation.”
The actual teachings of the order are given to members only, but they flow from the now generally well documented teachings of the western mystery tradition found in the material produced by and written about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Almost all of the rituals and teaching materials of the lesser and outer schools originally produced for the Golden Dawn early in the twentieth century have been published, and during the 1980s several groups appeared that directly draw upon these materials. Lessons of the Morning Star include the study of mystical Christianity, Qabalah, Egyptian mysteries, philosophy, Tarot, Greek mysteries, alchemy, astrology, astral travel, clairvoyance, and ritual magic.
V.H. Frater T.D.L., the imperator, and V.H. Soror T.F., prae monstratrix, were the leaders of the order in 2008.
The order has established the Golden Dawn Forum, an email list with free discussion on subjects including Tarot, Qabalah, hermetics, healing, and initiation. A Western Mysteries Form was created as an Internet mailing list for serious discussion of hermetics, ritual, and alchemy. Sincere students are encouraged to join.
In 2008, 926 members were reported in Canada.
Sword of Wisdom.
Golden Dawn Research Center. Golden-Dawn.org.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. www.golden-dawn.ca.
Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn. www.esotericgoldendawn.com.
Box 24691, Tampa, FL 33623
The Holy Order of RaHoorKhuit (H.O.O.R), conceived in 1978 and founded in 1991, is an outer order of Thelema established to fulfill and teach the concepts and principles of the method of theurgy (magic) known as Thelema. The teachings of Thelema (from the Greek word for “will”) derive from Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law), a small volume dictated to the eminent magical theorist and practitioner Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) by a praeterhuman intelligence known as Aiwass in 1904. The teachings of Thelema are generally summarized in several of the statements from Liber Al: “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law”and “Love is the law, Love under will.”
In essence, Thelema teaches that every human being is a complete, unique, and divine entity (a star). Each person has a unique purpose (destiny), which is the law. Each person’s function is to follow one’s destiny. Love serves as the agent, under the regency of will, that binds all things in their course. Thelemites see the law of Thelema as a law of freedom casting off the authority of priests and demanding that individuals learn to listen internally, by which method the will is discerned. The individual is thus empowered to decide upon the course of his or her own life—associations, movements, living arrangements, and so on. “Do what thou wilt…”does not mean “do anything you want”; rather, it suggests that having discovered one’s destiny or purpose, that becomes the sole guide for action in the world. H.O.O.R. also teaches a method of theurgy that facilitates the discovery of the will and provides guidance for dealing with all aspects of life on planet earth.
The order was headed by Ray Eales (b. 1958), who took the lead in its formation. H.O.O.R. is organized in temples and lodges, and membership is open to men and women. Progress is through grades attained by study, accomplishment, and initiation. The lodges serve as instruments of fellowship, education, and the encouragement of society in the adoption of thelemic principles. The order is closely associated with the Abbey of Thelema, headed by Gregory von Seewald.
The order is administered by a council of generals chosen by the overseer, who holds the position for life. The overseer and the council of generals remain anonymous according to the order’s constitution. In 2008 the overseer was identified as “Frater 939.”
As of 1997 there were more than 100 members of H.O.O.R.
Holy Order of RaHoorKhuit. www.hoor.org.
Preliminary Thoughts on H.O.O.R. Old Greenwich, CT: Holy Order of RaHoorKhuit, 1994.
Box 1554, Chicago, IL 60690-1554
The Monastery of the Seven Rays is the organizational umbrella given to the various magical activities focused in the person of Michael Bertiaux (b. 1935), a noted Chicago occultist-magician. Bertiaux is the inheritor of the French Martinist tradition, which he received through his magical training in Haiti and by his ordination and consecration as bishop of the Neo-Pythagorean Church.
Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743–1803) was a Roman Catholic raised in France. As a soldier, he met Martines de Pasqually, a disciple of Emanuel Swedenborg and Rosicrucianism. De Pasqually founded an occult order, the Order of the Elect Cohens, which Saint-Martin joined in 1768. After de Pasqually’s death in 1774, Saint-Martin became the focus of a group of occultists. He began to write books (published posthumously), and a movement, the history of which is still known only in fragments, was born.
By the end of the eighteenth century, a branch of the Martinist Order had been established in Haiti. This group continued to function after Haiti gained its independence. It tended to blend with vodou. In the 1890s there was a revival movement in the Martinist Order, emphasizing a purist strain of Gnostic philosophy. In the years between the world wars the Gnostic Church was established in Leogane, Haiti, and was brought to the United States after World War II. In general, the Gnostic philosophy emphasizes a secret knowledge that humans can attain and denies the divinity of Christ.
The Monastery of the Seven Rays, which became widely known through its advertisements in Fate Magazine in the 1970s, is a magical order drawing upon modern Thelemic magick (derived from the writings of Aleister Crowley), vodou, and the nineteenth-century French Gnostic occult tradition. Bertiaux wrote the lessons, which teach a basic magical system and lead the student into the higher levels of magical working.
The Neo-Pythagorean Gnostic Church is the ecclesiastical structure which, along with six other fraternal and psychically oriented structures with which it is interlocked, focus the Martinist occult/mystical tradition in North America. The tradition began in France, was brought to Haiti, and from there came to the United States in the mid-1950s. Bertiaux was consecrated by Bishop Hector Francois Jean-Maine, a Haitian who had received orders from the Spanish Albigensian Church which in turn had orders from the French Gnostics. The famous French occultists Joseph-Antoine Boullan (1824–1893) and Eugene Vintras (1807–1875) are included in the lineage.
The Neo-Pythagorean Gnostic Church is a ritual theurgic body in which the Eucharist is the center of initiation. Through it, the invocation of angels and planetary spirits is made, and spirit communication often takes place during the mass. Purity of ritual is emphasized, and no tallow (i.e., nothing that carries the suffering of animals) is used in the candles. All members of the clergy are clairvoyant and often have visions during mass. Also, during worship a mystical language is intuitively (i.e., clairvoyantly) perceived and mystically spoken.
A Gnostic hierarchical system is headed by the Absolute, similar to the Kabbalist Ein Soph. The Absolute emanates a Trinity, which in turn is the source of Lucifer and Sophia, the basic male/female polarity. Lucifer is the morning star, inferior to Christ but not to be confused with Satan. Sophia is paid homage in the cult of the Virgin, the archetypical divine being. She is often revered as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Satanism and black magick are strongly opposed.
The church is subject to a supreme heliophant (in 1984, Dr. Hector Francois Jean Maine, residing in Madrid). The American jurisdiction is under Bishop Pierre-Antoine Saint-Charles of Boston, who has direct authority over all Haitian American members. Michael Bertiaux in Chicago presides over the Caucasian American members and Bishop Marc Lully of Chicago heads overseas development in South America and the West Indies. In 1979 Bertiaux exchanged consecrations with Bishop Forest Barber of the Catholic Apostolic Church in America.
Associated with the church are the Ancient Order of Oriental Templars, the Arithmosophical Society, Zotheria, and the Esoteric Traditions Research Society. The Ancient Order of Oriental Templars is a lodge with credentials derived from the preCrowleyite Ordo Templi Orientis in Germany. It teaches a 16-degree system of magick. The Arithmosophical Society concentrates on Saint-Martin’s philosophy of numbers. Numbers form a key to Saint-Martin’s system of magical correspondences and tie Saint-Martin to Pythagoras. Both Zotheria and the Esoteric Traditions Research Society are outer courts of the various esoteric structures.
Esoteric Ontology Newsletter.
Baca, Docteur Bacalou [Michael Bertiaux]. Lucky Hoodoo. Chicago: Absolute Science Institute, 1977.
Bertiaux, Michael. Cosmic Meditation. Edmonds, WA: Holmes Publishing Group, 2007.
———. The Voudon Gnostic Workbook. Exp. ed. Weirs Beach, ME: Weiser Books, 2007.
Grant, Kenneth. Cults of the Shadow. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1976.
McIntosh, Christopher. Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1974.
PO Box 1219, Corpus Christi, TX 78403-1219
The Order of Napunsakas in the West (O.N.) was founded in 1996 as a special interest group associated with the Servants of the Star and the Snake. It was inspired by the writings of the late Alain Danielou (1907–1994), the author of The Gods of India: Hindu Polytheism (1985), Shiva and Dionysus, and While the Gods Play. The Hindu word napunska designates some 16 categories of nonheterosexual gender variant types mentioned in the Sanskrit dictionary of V. S. Apte. Members of the O.N. seek to reestablish the natural, divine order found in pre-Aryan Shaivism, but the emphasis is on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered tantra. The outer order is open to all napunskas; affiliates are considered as associate members. An inner order, the Cultus Skanda-Karttikeya (C.S.-K.), is open to gay males only, and only upon formal, in-person diksha, or initiation. The focus of the C.S.-K. is on gay tantra, with special emphasis on the sadhana (worship, or more properly, adoration) of the Hindu deity Skanda, the patron of gays, in His many forms (Kumara, Marugan, etc.).
The current head of the O.N./C.S.-K. is Sahajananda Skanda-Das.
Zibaq. Available from Abrasax Publications, Box 1219, Corpus Christi, TX 78403-1219.
Danielou, Alain. The Gods of India: Hindu Polytheism. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions, 1985.
Center for Inner Initiative, attn: WS, PO Box 937, Littleton, CO 80160-0937
The Order of the Lily and the Eagle is a Western initiatic school working in the ancient lines of Judeo-Christian and Egyptian thought to the Hellenic mystery schools of Orpheus, Pythagoras, and Socrates. It also combines its teaching of St. Martin, alchemy, the Kaballah, contemporary science, and psychology.
The order’s teachings deal with the transformation and liberation of personality. It guides those who seek to know themselves, so that their lives can be used to aid the well-being of others. The order, by means of enlightened advice, helps its members create their own understanding through experience, reasoning, meditation, and introspection.
Order of the Eagle and the Lily. www.innerinitiative.org/history.php.
EON: The Path of Initiation: A Collection of Works from the Order of the Lily and the Eagle. Littleton, CO: Center for Inner Initiative, 1995. 240 pp.
1636 N Wilcox Ave., Ste. 418, Los Angeles, CA 90028
The Order of the Thelemic Golden Dawn was founded in 1990 as the Thelemic Temple and Order of the Golden Dawn in Los Angeles by David Cherubim, its frater superior chief. It is a magical/religious/scientific order devoted to the teachings of Aleister Crowley and exists to assist in the initiation of persons into the magical life of Thelema. Thelema (or will) was the basic concept of Crowley’s magical system. The order offers seven grades of initiation from neophyte to ipsissimus, each level representing one of the seven chakras of the human body in the Indian tantric system, one of the seven planets of traditional astrology, and one of the seven metals of alchemy.
The order has attempted to interpret Crowley’s Book of the Law (1904), the basis of his proclamation of the new Aeon of Horus in which his followers now consider we are living. Regarding ritual, the order believes that the injunction “rituals shall be half-known and half-concealed”means that initiation rituals should be developed in response to the nature of each initiate. Thus each initiation of a member becomes a unique event.
The members of the order together constitute a religious body of free warriors who are seeking to extend the dominion of the Law of Thelema; that is, they are attempting to establish on earth the principles of The Book of the Law. The methods for accomplishing this task are occult research, practical mysticism, ceremonial magick, and tantric alchemy. The order also offers members a system of self-initiation based upon the Qabalah (Kabbalah) and the Tarot.
The order has been created in an environment in which the great majority of Crowley’s writings (including the rituals of the Ordo Temple Orientis, which he headed) have been published and are readily available. It is assumed that members have or will gain a solid background in Crowley’s thought.
In 1997 the group reported that there were 200 members in the United States, 20 in Canada, and 100 in Brazil. There were temples for initiation in the United States and Brazil.
Cherubim, David. “Magick and the Way of the Empty Hand.”Thelemic Golden Dawn, 1994. www.totse.com/en/religion/the_occult/163734.html.
Cherubim, David. “The History of the Thelemic Golden Dawn.”Thelemic Golden Dawn, 2001. www.totse.com/en/religion/the_occult/163733.html.
PO Box 511, Chula Vista, CA 91912
The Order of Thelema is a Thelemic magick group that rejected the attempt by various branches of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) to establish their authority by reference to a line of succession from Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). It was structured as a Crowleyan study group. There is no system of rituals except those ideas that members interpret from Crowley’s revelatory bible, Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law), each according to his own will. The group believes that Crowley still operates close to this plane of existence as a present and active force and that it is possible for him to reach the order by psychic means. The written words of Crowley are the only source of Thelemic Law. Strong support is given the perspective of The Book of the Law. Headquarters of the Order of Thelema are in Chula Vista, California. The word Thelema means “will.”
Order of Thelema. www.orderofthelema.com.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum (OAI) is a British-based thelemicist order aligned to the Maatian magical “current.” It grew out of the proclamation of the magical Aeon of Ma (or Maat) proclaimed in 1948 by Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones). Maat is the ancient Egyptian goddess of Truth and Justice. The order looks toward a planetary manifestation of the presence of Maat, whose coming has been heralded by three twentieth-century trends: the great liberation movements leading to the recognition of human rights; the attempts to balance male-dominated Western magic; and the nonelitist androgynous approach to magic practiced by Maatian groups. In recognition of their acceptance of feminist liberation concerns and the nonsexist nature of their magical workings, members of the OAI have dropped the use of common designations of male and female members as frater and soror in favor of the single designation persona.
The OAI began in England in 1979 in the informal workings of three Thelemic magicians (two women and one man). In 1980 they made a formal alignment to the Aeon of Maat and thus the OAI came into existence. At the end of the year, the three original members separated. One went to Fez, Morocco, and the following year, one came to Chicago, where the first members of the OAI were received.
The order has developed as a very loose confederation of otherwise independent magicians pursuing their own magical experiments in alignment to the Maatian Aeon. Periodically, members will gather for group rituals. New initiates are received after their successful performance of Liber Samekh He, a revised version of Liber Samekh, a Thelemic ritual designed to promote conversation with one’s Holy Guardian Angel (higher self). The order is nonhierarchical. Leadership can be exercised by any member and teaching is a matter of sharing the results of individual ritual workings with the larger membership. All members have access to all materials possessed by the order.
In 1985 members of the order, reported to number less than 100, could be found in England, the Chicago metropolitan area, and California.
Liber ANDANA. Chicago: Ordo Adeptorum, 1983.
Persona PVAD MASURUS 1043. Liber Samekh He. Chicago: Stellium Press, 1981.
Skia, Persona. O.A.I. Manifesto: Origin, History, Organization. Kenilworth, IL: Ordo Adeptorum Invisiblum, 1982.
1203 W Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago, IL 60660
Ordo Aurum Solis, Gold of the Sun, is a magical and initiatory order founded in England in 1897 by George Stanton and Charles Kingold that claims descent from the Ogdoadic Tradition of the Western Mystery Tradition. Ordo Aurum Solis is a private and independent esoteric society rooted in neo-Platonist theurgy tradition. It is not affiliated to any other esoteric, religious, or political associations.
Like the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the Ordo Aurum Solis teaches a system of high magick, that is, a disciplined approach to self-transformation. Its system, much of which has been published in the five-volume set The Magical Philosophy by Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips, centers upon the myth of the sacred king (i.e., the magician) who chooses of his own free will the path of sacrifice, but subsequently rises again and passes into the light of attainment.
Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips are the pen names of Vivian Barcynski and Leon R. Barcynski, who until recently served as administrator general and grand master, respectively, of the order. Both had encountered the order while living in England and participated in its reconstitution in 1971. They brought the order to the United States in 1978 when they moved to St. Paul, Minnesota. Under their pen names they authored numerous books on various occult topics. Phillips founded in 1997 the first French-language Masonic publication on the Internet, La Parole Circule (Spread the Word), and in 2008 he continued to publish it. It comprises a dissemination of materials pertinent to all degrees. The publication is sent to more than 1,500 subscribers worldwide. There are an estimated 3,000 readers worldwide.
The order is directed by a grand master. The Star Council is composed of eight officers. The location where members meet is called a house. Each state or country has one mother house. There are houses located in the United States, Brazil, Canada, Congo, Spain, France, Greece, and the Netherlands.
The official seal of the order is an eight-pointed star that includes an interlacing design. There is an octagon within the interlacing design and an equal armed cross in the center.
In 1957 three members of the Ordo Aurum Solis founded the Order of the Sacred Word for special studies and practices of the Holy Gnosis. This order was governed by the council of three members until 1959. After then, the initiates in charge were Earnest Page (1959–1966) and Leon Barcynski (1966–1971).
Membership in the order is by invitation only, though inquiries are invited. The order has three degrees preceded by pronaso, a probationary period that can last several months. The first degree is neophytos, or neophyte. The formal title is apprentice of the great world. The second degree is servitor, or server, and the formal title is servitor of the secret flame. The third degree is adeptos minor, or adept, and the formal title is priest of the gnosis.
The position of grand master has been held by George Stanton (1897–1914), Morris Greenberg (1914–1938), Charles Roughlett-Boch (1938–1952), Michael B. Foy (1952–1975), Thomas Maughan (1975–1976), Vivian Godfrey (1976–1987), Carl Weschcke (1987–1988), Vivian Godfrey (1988–1997), Leon Barcynski (1997–2003), and Jean-Louis de Biasi (2003–).
In 2008 it was reported there was affiliated work in 30 countries.
Ordo Aurum Solis. www.aurumsolis.net.
Kabbalistic Order of the Rose+Cross. www.okrc.org.
De Biasi, Jean-Louis. Planetary Harmonizations. Calgary, Canada: Academia Platonica Publications, 2006.
Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. The Magical Philosophy. 5 vols. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1974–1981.
———. The Magick of Sex. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1982.
———. The Magick of the Tarot. St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1983.
PO Box 40094, Pasadena, CA
The Church of the Hermetic Sciences, PO Box 403, Silverado CA 92676.
The Ordo Templi Astarte (Order of the Temple of Astarte, or OTA), which also operates under the name Church of Hermetic Sciences, is a ritual magick group begun in 1970 to practice Kabbalistic magick in the Western tradition. Based upon Jungian psychology, the OTA defines magick as a “system of ritual hypnotic induction (conjuration) that calls upon archetypal forms from the unconscious (evocation) and allows them to be visualized (manifestation) whereupon they can be used for numerous purposes ranging from the frankly psychotherapeutic to the more abstract system research and development.”
The OTA traces its history to Aleister Crowley through Louis Culling, who claimed to have had a charter from Crowley for an autonomous lodge. This charter was given after Culling left C. F. Russell, who was deviating from Crowley’s teachings. Culling turned over the charter to the OTA leadership before his death. The group also claims to possess the “secret rituals of the Ordo Templi Orientis in Crowley’s original holographs.”Though operating with a Thelemic charter, the OTA does not consider itself fully Thelemic. In describing the order, founder Carroll R. Runyon Jr. has noted, “We operate a Collegium ad Spiritum Sanctum of the O.T.O. in our Philosophus Grade as a research and study program. In its own context, it is Thelemic; but we do not initiate or operate ceremonially under a Thelemic aegis. We have great respect for the works of Aleister Crowley, but we consider him a Master of the Art in much the same way that Sufis consider Jesus a Great Prophet—without calling themselves Christians.”The OTA is centered in a lodge in Pasadena headed by Runyon, also known as Frater Thabion.
The Seventh Ray.
Ordo Templi Astarte. www.templeofastarte.com.
Christensen, Cheryl JoAnne. “Magical Epistemic Communities: The Construction of Specialized Social Realities in Bunyoro, Uganda and Los Angeles, California.”Ph.D. diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1975.
Ellwood, Robert S., Jr. Mysticism and Religion. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1980.
PO Box 1219, Corpus Christi, TX 78403-1219
The Ordo Templi Baphe-Metis (OTB) was founded in January 1985. It is a Thelemic fraternal order “chartered” by fiat in Aleister Crowley’s (1875–1947) Khabs am Pekht, though the OTB is in no way connected to any of the branches of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) either in America or Europe. In common with other Thelemic organizations, members of the OTB must accept as a Holy Book Liber Al vel Legis (The Book of the Law), given to the prophet Ankh-f-n-Khonsu (Crowley) by Aiwaz, his holy Guardian Angel, in Cairo in 1904. Additionally, Knights of the Order (which may be of either sex) promulgate the Law of Thelema, together with the Thelemic Bill of Rights, Liber 77 (Liber Oz). Grand Master Ekagratanath trance-channeled the order’s own Holy Book, Liber Ba Neb Tet (Book of Baphomet), available, with commentary, to members only. Members of the order practice ritual and ceremonial magick. A study manual, The Way of the Warrior-Magus, is given to members.
The order has operated the Invisible College, a home-study course in ritual and ceremonial magick, alchemy, divination, and Hermeticism. The OTB is closely related to the American Gnostic Church, with which it has shared an overlapping leadership and published a periodical, Abrasax.
Abrasax • The Philosopher’s Stone.
JAF Box 7666, New York, NY 10116
The Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), which had become disorganized following the death of Karl Germer (Frater Saturnus, 1885–1962), who had succeeded Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) as outer head of the order, was reborn in 1969 when Grady McMurtry (Hymenaeus Alpha, 1918–1985) asserted his authority as head of the OTO. McMurtry had been given two letters in 1946 from Crowley granting him authority to reform the order and act as Crowley’s representative in the United States subject to the approval of Germer. Though these letters were originally intended to apply to the situation of the lodge in Pasadena, California, which Crowley had specifically asked McMurtry to investigate, they literally gave McMurtry broad emergency powers. After Crowley’s death in 1947 the authorization was used with the Germer’s cooperation and was never withdrawn. Germer’s death in 1962 left McMurtry as the only person with power to act. McMurty further held that he was carrying out Crowley’s wishes; that Crowley had anticipated Germer’s succession problems; and that he had openly discussed them with McMurtry.
McMurtry had been initiated into the Agape Lodge of the OTO in Pasadena in the early 1940s and, during World War II while stationed in England, was the only American OTO member to be with Crowley. He rejected the claims of Kenneth Grant, the British leader of another OTO group, noting that Grant had been expelled from the order in 1955. (Grant later dropped some of his claims to OTO leadership.) McMurtry also rejected the claims of Hermann Metzger, head of a Swiss-based OTO organization, on the grounds of his “spurious”election by his own Swiss group, with no international representation.
During the 16 years of McMurtry’s leadership, the OTO grew into a substantial body with chapters and lodges across the United States and Canada and ten countries overseas. Full membership in the OTO requires physical participation in the ceremonies of initiation and the payment of subscription costs and dues. A correspondence-only associate membership is available.
On July 14, 1984, the supervisor general of the Society OTO expelled McMurtry from the order for violating various duties that were detailed in the Constitution of the OTO, and he was replaced.
Integral to the OTO is the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (Gnostic Catholic Church). As part of his magical work, Crowley had been consecrated a bishop in the French Gnostic lineage of Jules Doinel (1842–1903) and he, in turn, passed that lineage to others in the order. Hymenaeus Beta, in addition to holding a consecration in the Antiochean succession of Abp. Joseph Rene Vilatte (1854–1929), was consecrated in the Doinel line. He is designated as patriarch of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Integral to the work of the OTO lodges is the regular performance of the Gnostic Mass composed by Crowley, and priests, priestesses, and bishops have corresponding rank in the OTO.
In 2008 the OTO reported 44 lodges and camps in the United States. Additional lodges and camps were to be found in 14 countries around the world.
The Magical Link • The Oriflamme.
During the 1980s the legitimacy of the OTO as led by McMurtry and his successor was challenged in court by Marcelo Ramos Motta, head of the Society Ordo Templi Orientis in America. In federal court rulings in 1985 and 1988, McMurtry was found to be the outer head of the order of the OTO.
U.S. Grand Lodge, Ordo Templi Orientis. www.oto-usa.org.
DuQuette, Lon Milo. The Magick of Aleister Crowley: A Handbook of Rituals of Thelema. San Francisco: Weiser Books, 2003. 261 pp.
Heidrick, Bill. Magick and Qabalah. Berkeley, CA: Ordo Templi Orientis, 1980.
The Holy Books of Thelema. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1988.
Hymenaeus Beta, ed. The Equinox 3, no. 10. New York: Thelema Publications, 1986.
O.T.O. System Outline. San Francisco, CA: Stellar Visions, 1981.
4 Favour Ct., Stafford, VA 22554
The Sacred Keltic Church of America is a Neopagan group that worships the deities of the ancient Celtic lands, popularly referred to as the Norse gods. The church was founded as the American Church of Teutonic Life in 1992 in Carthage, New York. It is headed by Senior Lord High Priest Eugene D. Kyle, who is also the president of the National Council of Elders.
In 1998 the church reported 135 members and seven clergy in the United States. They also had five clergy members in the military, stationed overseas.
Sacred Keltic Church of America.
c/o Fran Keegan, PO Box 6563, Syracuse, NY 13217-6563
International Headquarters: PO Box 215, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, UK, JE2 3RD
Servants of the Light (SOL) is a contemporary Western Mystery school founded in 1965 by William E. Butler. Butler had begun his esoteric training in Dion Fortune’s Fraternity of Inner Light, which in turn had developed from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (founded in the 1880s). He received further training from the psychic Robert King, who later served as director of studies for the Servants of the Light until his death in 1978. Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki succeeded King in 1978 and became head of the school following Butler’s death.
The purpose of the SOL is to assist in spreading esoteric knowledge in an ethical manner to all who want to receive it. It has a loose structure that allows for a great degree of independence and free thinking among the students. The SOL teaches through correspondence, and each student is assigned a personal tutor to assist him or her. The First Degree Course consists of 50 lessons of one month each. Each lesson includes written teachings, exercises, and meditations. Students keep a journal that is periodically sent in for assessment.
Lesson material is centered upon the Western esoteric tradition, and the early lessons include discussions of Kabbalah (and the related Tarot) as a basic system leading to numerous other topics. The SOL also claims direct psychic contact with the Inner Planes where the true directors, members of the Inner Hierarchy, of the school are believed to reside.
In 1998 the SOL reported 2,600 members in 23 countries. In 2008 the SOL Web site reported 6,000 students in 23 countries.
Servants of the Light (SOL). www.servantsofthelight.org.
Ashcroft-Nowicki, Dolores. First Steps in Ritual. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK: Aquarian Press, 1982. 96 pp.
———. The Shining Paths: An Experimental Journey through the Tree of Life.
Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK: Aquarian Press, 1983. 240 pp.
Butler, William E. Apprenticed to Magic and Magic of the Qabalah. Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, UK: Aquarian Press, 1990.
———. Magic: Its Ritual, Power and Purpose. London: Aquarian Press, 1952. 76 pp.
———. The Magician: His Training and Work. London: Aquarian Press, 1959. 176 pp.
Current address not obtained for this edition.
The Servants of the Star and the Snake (SSS) is a federation of ceremonial magicians, shamans, witches, neopagans, sorcerers, and tantrikas founded in the spring of 1994 for the purpose of networking and mutual respect. A Tantric-Thelemic organization, it has no degree system, no grades, no official reading list, no attainments, no hierarchy, no pope, no head, no soteriology, no holy books, no gurus, and no formal initiation. All of these accoutrements are regarded by the SSS as “Old Aeon”and more appropriate for Masonic orders or religious sects. The SSS evolved from the remnants of the Ordo Templi Baphe-metis (OTB). It is based upon the teachings of the cofounder of AMOOKOS (the Arcane Magical Order of the Knights of Shambhala), Shri Gurudev Mahendranath (“Dadaji,” 1911–1991) and Alain Danielou (1907–1994) but retains the Thelemic character of the OTB. The federation is overseen by an administrater-general, a revolving office currently held by Bhaganatha AOM. Associated with the SSS is the Order of Napunsakas in the West.
Servants of the Star and the Snake. www.wild.net.au/sss/.
The Umbrazonule. groups.yahoo.com/group/umbrazonule/.
Freeman, Harvey. Everything That Is …. Is Within: An Introduction to Dadaji. Center Family Press, 1974.
c/o David Bersson, PO Box 59326, Pittsburgh, PA 15210
Among those who made claim to the lineage of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) following the death of Karl Germer (1885–1962), who had succeeded Aleister Crowley (1875–1947) as outer head of the order, was Marcelo Ramos Motta (1931–1987), a Brazilian member of the OTO. He claimed that Germer, on his deathbed, had appointed him outer head of the order. In the years following Germer’s death he completed his initiatic work and assumed the magical status needed to become the leader. In 1975, through the Society of the Ordo Templi Orientis (SOTO), as his branch was known, he issued the first of four massive volumes of the Equinox, each issue of which contained his own writings along with those by Crowley and others. These were seen as a revival of the semiannual publication issued originally by Crowley (1909–1913). Other publications followed.
The SOTO immediately ran into a conflict with the Ordo Templi Orientis over the copyright to the writings of Aleister Crowley that had been left to the OTO in Crowley’s will. The SOTO claimed to be that organization, and writers and organizations not associated with the SOTO who wrote about or published Crowley’s writings were denounced in various issues of the Equinox. The tension between the OTO, SOTO, and Samuel Weiser (the publisher of the first issue of the new Equinox) led to several lawsuits. In 1985 a libel suit filed against Motta and the SOTO by Grady McMurtry (caliph of the OTO) and others, concerning remarks made in the Equinox, resulted in the awarding of all copyrights and trademarks to the OTO and turned back all claims by Motta to be the outer head of the order of the Ordo Templi Orientis. It is the belief of its members that the SOTO is the true OTO and to reject Motta is to reject Crowley.
Motta died two years later in 1987, and at the time of his death left responsibility for the SOTO in the hands of three people—Daniel Ben Stone, Claudia Canuto de Menezes, and William Barden. They, however, failed to follow through on selecting new leadership. At the higher levels the order ceased to operate. Following the withdrawal of de Menezes and Stone, and the death of Barden, Frater Sphinx (aka David Bersson) contacted another senior member, Frater KSK, and initiated correspondence concerning the future of the order. After reaching a consensus, Frater Sphinx assumed control of what was left of the order and began the process of reorganization and rebuilding. In 2007 Bersson published a revised Constitution and OTO Manifesto. According to the constitution, the purposes of the order are to promulgate The Book of the Law and promote the philosophy and the works of Edward Alexander Crowley (aka Aleister Crowley).
The order’s curriculum includes the writings of Aleister Crowley and Marcelo Motta.
Not reported. The size and extent of the order, as is the identity of its national and international leadership, is a matter of internal secrecy
Society Ordo Templi Orientis. www.castletower.org/society.html.
Motta, Marcelo. Letter to a Brazilian Mason. Nashville, TN: Troll Publishing Company, 1980.
———. Manifesto. Nashville, TN: Society Ordo Templi Orientis in America, 1978.
———. The Political Aims of the O. T. O. Nashville, TN: Ordo Templi Orientis in America, 1980.
———. Thelemic Political Morality. Nashville, TN: Society Ordo Templi Orientis in America, 1978.
PO Box 3816, Santa Cruz, CA 95063-3816
The Temple of the Holy Grail (THG) is an initiatory mystery school for individuals wishing to undertake private advanced esoteric training in order to anonymously serve human and planetary evolution. Training is offered by invitation to people already ordained or otherwise advanced in recognized groups, or to individuals who, having prepared themselves apart from organizations, manifest a devotion to the spiritual unfoldment of humanity and of the planet.
The THG teaches that the Grail mysteries existed in western Europe long before the advent of Christianity as the “Graded Path of Initiation,”comparable to the Lam Rim of Tibetan Buddhism. The mysteries evolved into an esoteric Christian school through the work of the legendary Graalmeister Treverizent in the ninth century and were later associated with chivalric orders, and the alchemical and Gnostic schools.
According to THG history, in the late 1800s a secret English Templar order in possession of an ancient Jewish terra-cotta cup believed to be the true Eucharistic vessel of the Last Supper, now encased in gold, with two ancient silver auxiliary “grails,”prepared to do the sacred Grail Rites that had been done once each century by the order and its predecessors in the year 88 (the mystical Christian Kabbalistic number). The purpose of the rite was to reempower a channel for Divine Blessing upon the planet for the coming century and protect humanity from being overwhelmed by dark forces. The abbot of the order was an elderly man with great concern that the Grail chalices would be stolen by people who wished to use them for magical purposes.
The chalices were secretly transported to London, where the centennial rite (a theurgical Eucharist) was performed, but in spite of all precautions, all three chalices were stolen and used for black magical purposes. After the chalices were retrieved from the thieves, the gold of the True Chalice was melted down, and the pottery cup smashed into the earth. One of the auxiliary chalices turned up at an antiquities auction in Antioch and was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum in New York; it is now exhibited as the “Chalice of Antioch”with legends of it having been the Holy Grail. The third chalice was never found.
In the 1980s, after two decades of spiritual training and progress, the unnamed person destined to become the Grailmaster of the THG, who knew nothing of these events, responded to interior guidance to construct a new chalice through white magical and theurgical preparations that required several years to complete. In August 1988 he was inspired to travel, without any knowledge of the final destination, over 1,000 miles to a sacred site in Canada, where he used the chalice for a theurgical Eucharist to bless the planet and humanity. While returning home, he heard an interior voice naming him the “Grailmaster,”a term unfamiliar to him. He then received teachings telepathically in lucid dreams from a Tibetan lama, which eventually became the First Empowerment of the First Order of THG. Shortly after this he discovered a written account of the Grail Blessing that had been done in 1888. He then began to understand what had been occurring: he had been instrumental in preparing a new vessel for the 1988 centennial Grail Blessing and the blessing had then occurred as scheduled.
Soon after these events, he was contacted by Bp. George Boyer (d. 2008) of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis in London, who transmitted to the Grailmaster all of the charters, titles, and authorities necessary to preserve the esoteric European lineages deriving from the Grail traditions under the auspices of the Temple of the Holy Grail. Bishop Boyer also underwent the new initiations and contributed to the teachings that the Grailmaster began to bring forth in the 1990s.
THG writings state that part of the temple’s authority resides in the apostolic authority of its leadership. Drawing on the community of independent bishops, all 18 historical apostolic and 22 European esoteric lineages flow by live transmission into temple orders. Additionally, the Grailmaster and temple are Keepers of the True Grail, which is the Divine Royal Blood (San Greal in Christian esoteric tradition, often confused with the Grail chalice itself). The THG believes that the Grail is the normally invisible and intangible divine sacrificial energy that nurtures evolutionary unfoldment in the physical universe and among beings developing in this level of existence. The power sanctifies matter. It is the philosopher’s stone that transforms the lower into the higher, expands contracted heart-consciousness, and mediates inspiration, guidance, selfless service, and divine love.
In the Liturgy of the Chalice, the essences of the Holy Grail are poured out as a potent blessing and nurture for the spiritual evolution of all beings in all worlds. Members of the order proceed through the mysteries it perpetuates in an ordered sequence.
Temple of the Holy Grail. www.hometemple.org/THG.htm.
Box 3582-E, Lacey, WA 98509
Temple of the Vampire emerged in the late 1980s, paralleling elements of the Western Esoteric magical tradition and utilizing a vampiric metaphor. It practices what it terms the religion of Vampirism. Like many magical groups, its members tend self-consciously toward an elitism, and see themselves as above the mass of humanity by seeking authentic power, wealth, and worldly enjoyment as well as physical immortality. Members are described as Vampires. They believe that Vampires, people like themselves, created the world’s religions to keep humankind docile and civilized.
Demythologized, the Vampiric perspective is a rational religion, but one that acknowledges the hidden natural laws that are referenced in order to work magic. Magic is real and the Vampire honors the results it produces. The religion is also focused on this life, and the active pursuit of physical immortality, both through the current scientific advances in medicine and bioengineering, as well as by pursuing the traditional teachings of the Vampire religion. The temple motto is “Test Everything. Believe Nothing”; the religion is based not on faith but on validated personal experience.
The Vampire pictures two realities. The Daylight self is a true skeptic who renounces superstition while maintaining an open mind to validated evidence. The Nightside self practices magic using techniques revealed to advanced members. The practice of magic can lead to appropriation of the powers traditionally associated with the vampire (hypnotic control, shapeshifting, and even physical immortality). It also leads to contact with the Undead Gods (the advanced members of the religion) and allows for the attainment of the transhuman condition.
The essential teachings of the temple are summarized in The Vampire Bible. Membership begins with the purchase of authorized copies of The Vampire Bible and acceptance of its basic perspective. Purchase of The Vampire Bible and a written agreement to not engage in criminal activity allows one to be registered as a lifetime member. However, to become a subscribing active member is to commit to achieving measurable success in wealth acquisition and survival techniques, as well as to progress through the various levels of experience of the Vampiric existence.
Adult members may join cabals, local groups of temple members. Cabals are now located internationally throughout the world. Past conclaves have been held in Washington, D.C., London, and Australia.
In 2008 the Temple reported cabals in all 50 states and approximately 40 countries, including most of the countries of Europe. In addition there were cabals in Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia, Japan, China, and Canada.
Lifeforce: The International Vampire Connection to CABAL.
Temple of the Vampire. www.vampiretemple.com/.
PO Box 163138, Sacramento, CA 95816
The Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) is a loosely organized magical group that originated in 1981 out of the philosophical musings of musician Genesis P. Orridge. The beginning was marked by Orridge leaving a band, Throbbing Gristle, to start the temple as well as a new musical group, Psychic TV. He wished to explore the nature of human limitations, conditioning, and potential and saw performance art as a tool for his investigation. He soon concluded that he was doing magic. Early on, he reached the conclusion that humans possess an endless potential. He came to resent any constraints on this potential, a belief that echoed what Aleister Crowley maintained in Book of the Law:“The word of sin is restriction.”
As TOPY developed, it ascribed the chief problem of society to the extreme narrowing of human choice down to a few freedoms and the sleep state in which most people exist, unaware of their vast potential. In this sleep state, society reaches a crisis as more and more increasingly zombie-like individuals are required to produce less. Religion and politics are the primary forces putting people to sleep. Temple membership consists of people who are awake to their possibilities and are constantly fighting constraints even as they realize their potentials.
The first realization in the wakening process is the individual’s acceptance of mortality and a coming to terms with physical transience. The acceptance of mortality liberates. Also, temple members expect to come into a relationship with their True Will (in the Thelemic sense of “Do what thou wilt”) and act in accordance with it. As Crowley expressed it, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”From such an approach to life, an intuitive way of acting, acting according to what one believes rather than from any public moral code, emerges.
Essential to developing such an approach is attention to one’s sexuality. Rather than conforming to accepted public sexual norms, one should express sexuality according to one’s own belief. Since sex is the basic and universal motivator of human action, it is the most appropriate tool for initially claiming self-control.
A logical extension of its belief about the power of sex, the Temple asserts that ritual sex magick is the best means of liberating the energy needed to progress. As one grows and transforms within the continuously changing environment, magical activity allows for constant adaptation. As one discovers and moves toward realizing one’s True Will, ritual magick allows its actualization. Ritual magick pushes the individual to test his or her own limitations and often moves him or her outside accepted behavioral patterns. Ritual magick includes the mastering of altered states of consciousness that in and of themselves produce a new view of reality.
TOPY is unusual in the magical community in that it is not organized in a hierarchical fashion. Members are regarded as equals whose varying skills and interests complement each other. They are united in a visionary psychick alliance. TOPY also rejects the idea of secret rituals (a belief that grew out of, and was made possible by, the publication during the last generation of all of the secret Crowleyan magical rituals). While the rituals used and created by individual TOPY members vary considerably, the working of sigil magick, a practice especially associated with the late Austin Spare, is by far the most common practice. Sigils are symbolic representations of a magical goal that are created by writing out a sentence articulating one’s goal and then reducing that sentence to a simple symbol. The symbol/sigil is then energized by an act of magick during which the sigil is anointed with a set of body fluids (spittle, blood, and sexual secretions) and the attachment of body hair. A basic belief of the Temple is that the visualization of a goal and the magick applied to that goal causes its realization.
Not reported. There are several centers of activity in the United States.
The Temple ov Psychick Youth. www.ain23.com/topy.net/.
Burton, Tina. “‘Intuitive Magick?’: A Study of the Temple ov Psychic Youth, 1981–1989.”Unpublished paper in the American Religions Collection, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1989.
An Introduction to the Temple ov Psychick Youth. Brighton, UK: Temple Press Limited, 1989.
c/o Sanctuary of the Golden Flower, PO Box 8052, Portland, OR 97280
The Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria is the religious arm of the Order of Thelemic Knights (O.T.K.), a fraternal order in the Thelemic tradition of Aleister Crowley (1875–1947). The O.T.K. was founded in 1999 by Gerald del Campo, who serves as both the primate of the Thelemic Gnostic Church and head of the Order of Thelemic Knights.
The Church advocates the Thelemic magick espoused and taught by Aleister Crowley and separates itself from the popular Christian Gnosticisms that emerged in the late twentieth century. It posits in their stead the Thelemic interpretation of the individual’s spiritual nature. The church teaches that spiritual insights are to be found in all the world’s scriptures when properly interpreted, but that institutional religion tends to have a distorting effect on understanding.
By Gnosticism, we do not mean the Christian revival that has become so popular today, but a true Gnostic interpretation of one’s spiritual nature as informed by the tenets of Thelema. We posit that all sacred texts yield profound insights, and that much of the messages in these texts are lost when distorted by institutionalized religions. Our interpretation of religion is quite simple:
The church does not concentrate on building a relation to God (an unknowable reality) or the afterlife, rather it emphasizes assisting members to live to the fullest in the present as they follow their True Will or destiny, which they feel will lead to positive social change.
The Church is led by its patriarch, under whom there are bishops, priests, and deacons. As a New Aeon church, the Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria freely admits women to all levels of the priesthood. The church opposes any legislation that would ban gay marriage. It holds that for adults, how sexuality is lived out is a matter of personal choice, including the choice of celibacy.
The Thelemic Gospel Church of Alexandria is a member of the North American College of Gnostic Bishops. Gerald del Campo serves as the College’s secretary.
Thelemic Gnostic Church of Alexandria. www.thelemicknights.org/.
c/o New Falcon Publications, 1755-A Purina Way, Sparks, NV 89431
The Thelemic Order and Temple of the Golden Dawn was established in 1989 by Christopher S. Hyatt and David Cherubim. In the early 1980s Hyatt, a student of the famous magician Israel Regardie (1907–1985) and founder of Falcon Press, conceived the idea of a new magical order inspired by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The Golden Dawn, the original ceremonial magic organization founded in 1880 in England, had become the fountainhead of modern magical teachings. Regardie made many of the teachings of the order available to the general public in 1937–40 when he published The Golden Dawn, a multivolume reprint of the basic documents and rituals. Regardie also wrote a number of books that have become standard reading for anyone doing ceremonial magick. Falcon Press was also responsible for reprinting many of Regardie’s books in the 1970s and early 1980s. David Cherubim, a ceremonial magician, met Hyatt shortly after Regardie’s death in 1985. The first initiations for the order were made in March 1990. Since that time, initiation ceremonies have been held each equinox and solstice.
While inspired by the older Golden Dawn, the new order differs in several important aspects. The older Golden Dawn, for example, had a distinctly Christian cast. The new order is Thelemic. It accepts the revelation of the “new aeon” that began in 1904 with the giving of The Book of the Law to Aleister Crowley by the entity Aiwass. The new aeon is named for Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, and is designated the Crowned and Conquering Church.
The Law of Thelema (or Will) as enunciated inThe Book of the Law asserts the right of every person to be the god that they are rather than follow false gods and their outmoded commandments. There are no gods but man. Each individual has a duty to discover his or her true purpose in life, and to create and assert that purpose. The order initiates members into the truth of their godhood and supplies them with means (ceremonial magick, tantra, astrology, yoga, tarot, and the Qabalah) of realizing their true will. The goal of the order is to create a new race of free men and women who will in turn build a new civilization based upon the Law of Thelema.
Membership is limited to people over 18 years of age. The order has a correspondence course for members unable to attend lectures in either Phoenix or Los Angeles. Falcon Press publishes the writings of Hyatt, Regardie, and others in basic agreement with the Thelemic teachings. Associated with the order is the Israel Regardie Foundation in Los Angeles, originally established by Regardie’s student Laura Jennings.
In 1993 the order reported approximately 200 members.
Crowley, Aleister, Lon Milo DuQuette, and Christopher S. Hyatt. Enochian World of Aleister Crowley: Enochian Sex Magick. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press, 1991. 162 pp.
DuQuette, Lon Milo, and Christopher S. Hyatt. Aleister Crowley’s Illustrated Goetia: Sexual Evocation. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press, 1992. 222 pp.
Hyatt, Christopher, ed. An Interview with Israel Regardie: His Final Thoughts and Views. Phoenix, AZ: Falcon Press, 1985. 144 pp.
New Golden Dawn: Flying Roll. Parts 1–15. Phoenix, AZ: Thelemic Order and Temple of the Golden Dawn, 1990–1991.
c/o Starfire Publishing, BCM Starfire, London, England WC1N 3XX
Kenneth Grant (b. 1924) emerged in the 1970s as the self-proclaimed leader of the British branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO). He had coedited The Confessions of Aleister Crowley (1969), late head of the order, and had even earlier (in the 1950s) under the direction and charter of Crowley’s successor, Karl Germer, established the New Isis Lodge in London. However, Germer’s charter had given Grant the charter to work only the first three degrees. Grant began to work all eleven, writing his own materials where they were unavailable. Germer expelled him from the OTO. However, when Germer died, and with the OTO almost extinct, there were few who could challenge Grant’s leadership. In 1973 he published Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God, the first of six substantive books that began to explore the Qliphoth, the so-called backside of the Kabbalah, the mystical Tree of Life. His concentration on the magick of this shadowy realm of the consciousness gave his brand of magick a unique quality but also led other magicians, even Thelemites, to accuse him of tampering with black magick.
Except for the concentration on the Qliphoth in the experimental areas of magick, Grant’s order follows much traditional OTO tradition and practice, the secret material of the order having become public during the 1970s through the access given to the Crowley papers deposited at the Warburg Institute in London. Like the other Thelemic groups, the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis has as its aim the establishment of the Law of Thelema. It does not undertake the training of novices and accepts for membership only those who have submitted a record of nine months’ magical practice. They must also publish or disseminate Liber LXXVII, a brief statement by Crowley of some major Thelemic principles.
Organizationally, this branch of the OTO has dropped the quasi-Masonic structures typical of most magical groups, and its ten degrees are no longer conferred in secret, elaborate rituals. There is no set course to study. Advancement beyond the third degree is subject to the invitation of the governing body. Each applicant is aided to discover the great work that is her or his own true will.
The Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis came to the United States through individuals who contacted Grant after reading his several books. It grew and spread in the mid-1970s. For several years a periodical, Mezla, appeared. However, in the early 1980s, Soror Tanith (J. R. Ayers), head of the order in North America, resigned, and no successor was named.
Not reported. In 2008 there were no known lodges in the United States, and fewer than 100 members of the OTO branch headed by Kenneth Grant were thought to live here.
Grant, Kenneth. Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God. New York: Samuel Weiser, 1974.
———. Nightside of Eden. London: Frederick Muller, 1977.
———. Outside the Circles of Time. London: Frederick Muller, 1980.