New Isis Lodge
New Isis Lodge
An original lodge of the British OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis) organization. The New Isis Lodge was established by Kenneth Grant in 1955, during the period of turmoil that hit the organization following the death of the outer head of the order, Aleister Crowley, in 1947. During Crowley's last years, aided by the chaos of World War II, the order virtually ceased to exist in Europe. Crowley passed his job to Karl Germer, then living in the United States. Germer operated as a caretaker for the order, but was more interested in seeing to the publication of Crowley's manuscripts than in aiding the revival of the organization after its decimation by the Nazis. Germer had himself spent several years in a concentration camp prior to escaping to England and then the United States.
In 1951 Germer granted a charter to Kenneth Grant, a young magician who had known Crowley during the last years of his life. Originally Grant was limited to performing only the first three of the order's eleven degrees, but he had access to copies of all of the secret material. In 1955, Grant formally organized the New Isis Lodge of the OTO. The "New" was a pun on "Nu," or "Nuit," a term borrowed from Egyptian mythology that symbolized absolute consciousness. It was associated with the Crowley concept of the Scarlet Woman, whose formula was "love under will." "New-Isis" or "Nu-Isis" therefore symbolized the heavenly and earthly goddess. Grant also began to work all eleven degrees of the order.
Accompanying the organization of the lodge, Grant issued a manifesto announcing the discovery of a new planet in this solar system beyond Pluto, a planet unknown to astronomy, which he named Isis. Quickly after receiving the manifesto and news of Grant's actions, Germer expelled Grant from the OTO. Grant ignored the expulsion and continued to build his organization. He had no competition in the United Kingdom until the 1970s.
Grant had access to Crowley's library, which was eventually deposited at an academic library in London, and as his organization grew he began to write books both on the Crowley legacy and on his own peculiar revisions of it. He gained considerable status in the larger magical community in 1969 as the co-editor of Crowley's autobiographical Confessions.
Grant, while working the OTO rituals, offered a new variation that had grown out of his own magical experiments with what was termed the shadowside or backside of the Kabalistic system, work which resembled Satanism to many magicians. Since Grant's death, the work of the British OTO has continued independently of the larger OTO movement, one branch of which is headquartered in Germany and one in the United States.
Grant, Kenneth. Cults of the Shadow. London: Frederick Muller, 1975.
——. Nightside of Eden. London: Frederick Muller, 1977.
——. Outside the Circles of Time. London: Frederick Muller, 1980.
King, Francis. The Rites of Modern Occult Magic. New York: Macmillan, 1970.