Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY)

views updated

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY)

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) grew out of the magical philosophical thought of rock musician Genesis P. Or-ridge, formerly with the band Throbbing Gristle. He wished to explore the possibilities of human potential and saw performance art as a fruitful means for his work. In 1981 he started a new band, Psychic TV, and TOPY. He soon reached the conclusion that humans possessed an infinite potential and were limited only by the restraints imposed upon it. That idea brought him close to one of the major tenets espoused in The Book of the Law, the Thelemic magical text that had been received by Aleister Crowley in 1904, "The word of sin is restriction." Orridge also began to identify what he was doing with magic.

Orridge identified the human problem as the narrowing of choice by society and the movement of most people into a sleep-like state in which they lose awareness of their vast potential. He believes that religion and politics are vast systems that operate to put people to sleep. Temple members are those who have begun to awaken to their potential and are attempting to explore it even as they become more aware. A first step is coming to grips with one's mortality. Members also seek to discover their True Will (a basic concept of Thelemic Magic) and generally accept the basic Thelemic notion, "Do What thou Will shall be the whole of the Law." TOPY has generally prescribed an intuitive approach to life rather than the following of rules, laws, and regulations.

Integral to living intuitively is sexual expression, which should follow one's wants and desires rather than social mores, according to TOPY. Correlatively, sexual magic is the single best tool for raising the energy need for liberation. TOPY has matured into a ritual magic group that espouses all of the traditional teachings of magic, though in a most modern fashion. Unlike traditional magical orders, there is no initiatory grading system, hierarchical organization, or secret rituals. TOPY is organized as a fellowship of equals with various complementary talents and abilities.

Its egalitarian stance and the constant striving of members to expand their individual potential has contributed to TOPY's instability as an organization. On several occasions it has been reported defunct. However, at least in a minimal way, it has survived. The TOPY North American headquarters is at P.O. Box 1212521, Tacoma, WA 98411-1521. It has a website at


Burton, Tina. "Intuitive Magick?": A Study of the Temple ov Psy-chick Youth, 1981-1989. Unpublished paper in the American Religions Collection, Davidson Library, University of CaliforniaSanta Barbara, 1989.

An Introduction to Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Brighton, Sussex, UK: Temple Press Limited, 1989.