This article remains a work in progress of a picture of the development of the 'Caliphate' in Russia. Many potential sources turned out to be either quiet, vague, reluctant or misleading; so are dates, names and places. Therefore, what follows is a compilation of little more than 13 voices that had been audible - put into a conglomerate more like an overall "feeling" than an accumulation of facts. Particular sources have been strung together, sometimes made visible in the text as often anonymous quotations. |
Many names are abbreviated and faces on the pics are blurred, for reasons explained in the article.
Due to the terrible political situation in Russia, the continuation of this series will be delayed until further notice.
Czeslaw Czynski - Punar BhavaTheodor Reuss, founder of the O.T.O. in 1906 published following two announcements in his magazine "Oriflamme" and in the French equivalent "Mysteria":
Of particular importance is the extension of the influence of Our Order to the Slavic countries of Europe. Through trust deed dated 1 June 1912 Our Order founded a NATIONAL GRAND LODGE OF THE ORIENTAL ORDER OF TEMPLARS FOR THE SLAVIC COUNTRIES. And the formation, on the same date, of a NATIONAL GRAND LODGE OF THE ORIENTAL ORDER OF TEMPLARS FOR GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND by our Order has a spicy smack to all who are familiar with the relevant relations.
By decision of the Sup.'. Cons.'. of the Order of the Martinists and of the Sup.'. Cons.'. of the Universal Gnostic Church, dated 25 April 1913 the Very.'. Ill.'. F.'. Punar Bhava (Dr Czynski Czeslaw, 33.'. 90.'. 96.'. VII.'. Sovereign Delegate General of the O.'. M.'. in Russia, Grand Past Master, Grand General Delegate of the Grand Spanish Rite in Russia, has been appointed LEGAT of the Gnostic Universal Church in Russia, under all Rites Mar.'. and affiliated Initiatic Orders that he is representing.
|... but as in the cases of Rudolf Steiner, Carl Kellner and Franz Hartmann: there is no single piece of evidence to show that Czeslaw Czynski has ever really been a member of any O.T.O. or that there were active O.T.O. groups in Russa at that time. Reuss used his publications mainly in order to boast of how influential his collection of orders was. Most of his announcements were paper only.|
Rafal T. Prinke has written a short account of the few materials that are available on Czynski. Prinke opines that Czynski was very sexually inclined and would not miss the occasion to introduce the sexual teachings of Reuss' O.T.O. (at least in theory) to his members of the Polish Martinist lodges. This was probably the reason why Czynski was expelled from the Martinist Order by Jean Bricaud in 1926. Aleister Crowley's teachings were considered quantité négligeable if known at all – they are never mentioned in the French gnostic magazines. Anyway, Reuss got rid of them and of the Beast in 1921. |
See also: Zbigniew Lagosz: NA OBRZEZACH RELIGII I FILOZOFII CZESLAW CZYNSKI
Evgeny Kr* a.k.a Marsyas of the 'Caliphate' pondered the absence of Crowley and the O.T.O. in Russia: "It's enough to look through the files of pre-Revolutionary esoteric editions [of publications] to see that the most popular things in Russia in those years were the experiences of spiritualists on calling spirits and awkward attempts of theosophists and anthroposophists to mix up orthodoxy and magic. Centuries-old infinite domination by the Christian church in this country doomed Russian ezoteriki (followers of esoteric teachings) to ignorance and provinciality. The situation certainly didn't change even when orthodox-monarchic total-power gave place to Communist dictatorship."
It seems reasonably safe to assume that there was no O.T.O. activity in Russia before the beginning of the 1990s. The complexity of the several Order schemes and their interconnections, juxtapositions and superimpositions, invented by Theodor Reuss and his occult allies, would never find a revival. Instead, the development of the O.T.O. in Russia around 1990 turned out to be a mirror of the country's political and economic situation and so never found neither an accepted niche in society nor a following in large numbers.
Courage Born Out Of DesperationPerestroika led to Glasnost and opened the doors to western goods of all kinds spiritual, economical and financial. Greedy cults sallied forth like locusts to propagate on the new social uncertainty. Russians at the age of 30, though educated under the Soviet regime, wrenched from the spiritual girdle of the Orthodox Church while younger people all the more jumped upon everything that was a release of tradition.
In 1991, a now ex-'Caliphate' member experienced a "serious crisis of economics, politics [and] mass consciousness" in the CIS countries. The Commonwealth of Independent States after the USSR fell apart consists of the former Soviet Republics of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. Turkmenistan and Ukraine never fully ratified the agreement, and the three Baltic states, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, opted not to join. The organization exists mostly on paper, as evidenced by the Russian-Georgian war in 2008, which resulted in Georgia leaving the CIS.
"It was the time when in one moment 'totalitarian sects' appeared in large numbers from the West. A lot of these so-called sects used hypnotism and methods of suggestion, and a lot of people sold their flats and gave all their money to these new movements. It was like a latent panic; people were not ready for such variety of different teachings, etc. Since then, sects (that is, the emerging new religions) or cults means something terrible in the Russian culture. The Orthodox Church influenced this situation somewhat."
Other occultists reflect Karl Marx and think that there was no "latent panic. Sects are threats more like _drugs_, and there is a bit of social demand to repress them for very similar reasons."
An opinion from an ex-('Caliphate') O.T.O.-member: "After 1991 many new religious organizations (and branches of foreign organizations) were established in Russia. Many old organizations assumed legal status. I don't think it was "something terrible". And I don't like the term - "totalitarian sect". It isn't a correct scientific or legal term in the contemporary context. Contemporary Russian laws don't contain such a term. A masonic order isn't a religious organization."
Another source, wanting to remain anonymous, feels that "in general, after the fall of the Soviet system, where "scientific" atheism was one of the main parts of the official ideology, people in Russia and in other countries emerged in place of the former Soviet Union and started to look for alternatives to the old Weltanschauung. However, in contrast to other countries of Eastern Europe, like Poland, where the church was in permanent opposition to the communist government through the decades, in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus the church authorities reached a compromise through collaboration. Many people simply didn't trust Orthodox priests and, as a result, became involved in various forms of exotic spirituality, such as Christian (Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses), Neo-Hindu (Hare Krishna), Modernist and Neo-Pagan, like Scientology, Ufology, Satanism, White Brotherhood etc. Sects and cults were growing everywhere from Brest to Vladivostok like mushrooms after a rain."
Someone from the Ukraine thinks that "a huge number of people were crazy about UFOs, the Bermuda triangle, snowmen and so on. I remember those times from when I was a child. All the newspapers wrote about those topics. A lot of people fell down into “spirituality”. But we can talk about “foreign” and “native” sects. Some of them had 10'000 and more members. And here we have to keep the cO.T.O. in mind with only 10-15 members. It’s just a small group of people, not a sect :-)."
Of course, so-called satanist groups were suspected of church burning and vandalism. And paranoid racist gnosticism (of the Miguel Serrano taste) attracted the interest of the secret service police.|
Soon, representatives of the very influental Orthodox Church put the O.T.O. on their "Most known destructive totalitarian sects of Russia"-list.
On this list, among others: Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement, Children of God, Osho communs, the Krishnamurti Center, International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), The Society of Spiritual Culture of Sri Aurobindo, the Scientology Church and other organizations deriving from Hubbards' teachings (fore example Dianetics), Jehovah's Witnesses, the Family (formerly The Children of God), Transcendental Meditation, Falun Gong, Uriella's Fiat Lux, and other New Age movements like Theosophy, Anthroposophy, Roerich's teachings and any "cults" of an astrological, ufological nature, witchcraft, neoshamanism, luciferianism and Satanism.
By then, Bouchet had been expelled from two masonic lodges probably due to his membership in Troisième Voie. |
Members of the 'Caliphate' soon believed that their O.T.O. mainly was a vehicle for Bouchet's political ambitions, as he once was leader of the Comités d'Action Republicaines, and member of Le Troisième Voie with antimasonic and antisemitic currents. After the break-up of the latter in 1991, Bouchet founded the Nouvelle Résistance, an anti-american group internationally linked to the Russian National-Bolshevik Front.
'Caliphate' O.T.O.-members felt abused as Bouchet attracted people interested in Crowley with the name of his "Camp Eliphas LEVI" (the other 'Caliphate' branch was the "Oasis Sous Les Étoiles"). This was sort of a publication agency for his own translations of Crowley's writings (his doctoral thesis was on Aleister Crowley), which did not meet the consent of the other members: Bouchet, who had been a militant in the French far right since the 70's, propagated three separate magazines. For the general public, there was Lutte du Peuple (People's Struggle), a publication which many people qualified as "proto-fascist"; then there was Vouloir (Will) (run by Robert Steuckers in Belgium); however, O.T.O. initiates had access to Thélèma.
Bouchet had received a Memphis-Misraim Charter from Manuel Cabrera Lamparter of O.T.O.A. and Arnoldo Krumm-Heller's F.R.A. fame on June 24th 1991, which was apparently intended to "fuck the Caliphate" in copyright matters. Consequently Bouchet (Frater Marcion) now proclaimed the National French Grand Lodge to be of the Arnoldo Krumm-Hellerian O.T.O., disregarding the fact that his Charter from Lamparter was wholly inadequate for this purpose, as it conferred no O.T.O. titles. |
So, Bouchet was not head, that is X°, of a 'Caliphate' branch in France, but head of another O.T.O.version. As in Italy, when the O.T.O is mentioned in France, rarely is the 'Caliphate' meant, but usually rather the associations that Bouchet created. Bouchet publicly claims himself to be the “Xe de l'Ordre du temple d'Orient, évêque gnostique et hiérophante de l'Etoile d'argent” [X° of the O.T.O., Gnostic Bishop and Hierophant of the A.·. A.·.].
"It is absolutely necessary to expel him publicly from the O.T.O. […] BOUCHET's O.T.O. is of 'Krumm/Heller' filiation" reported 'Caliphate' members to their superior William Breeze ('Caliph' of the 'Caliphate') at the end of 1991: "the life of the French O.T.O. depends on this". A "frenzied rivalry" was feared in the american 'Caliphate' HQ and Bouchet was expelled from the cO.T.O. in 1992 without having passed beyond the First Degree.
Bouchet reacted disinterestedly, since he thought that the 'Caliphate' "for over 10 years is in the hands of successive leaders more concerned to satisfy their egos (and also their purse [...]) than building an Order Thélèmite [...]. The meanness, the incoherence and inaction have led us [...] to sever all structural relationships with it."
BackgroundThe Slaves Shall Serve. Hanns Heinz Ewers - Lanz von Liebenfels - Karl Germer - Arnoldo Krumm-Heller - Martha Kuentzel - Friedrich Lekve - Hermann Joseph Metzger - Christian Bouchet - Paolo Fogagnolo - James Wasserman.
July 2008, photo taken from
A Video of Bouchet in Russia:
Surely, Bouchet did not actively and consciously contribute to the initiation of the 'Caliphate' in Russia. He was in Russia at that time for political reasons, and it was only in one interview in obscure Russian right winged media where he was named as a leader of the French O.T.O.. But maybe this proved enough to arise general interest for the O.T.O. among the few occultists in Russia.
In 1996, Bouchet was expelled from Nouvelle Résistance and most of the militants joined the National-European Communitarian Party.
Later, the French artist and 'Caliphate' protagonist Philippe Pissier "came to Russia in September 2000 for my exhibition in Novossibirsk, Siberia. I met some OTO people in Moscow at the end of my trip, when I returned to France. I just said Bouchet was expelled." Recently, Pissier caused a scandal in the French press.
Neither the spurious Krumm-Heller-O.T.O., nor the Swiss O.T.O., nor Kenneth Grant's O.T.O. ever were able to put a foot on russian soil – still less Marcelo Ramos Motta's S.O.T.O. or Michael Paul Bertiaux's O.T.O.A., although Russian occultists seem to be very interested in Grant's Typhonian teachings – more about that later. Let's first have a look at how the 'Caliphate' O.T.O. came to Russia.
The Simple StoryIn a nutshell: An Occultist from St Peterburg got in contact with the 'Caliphate' in 1996-97 and was initiated in Sweden in 1998. He created a site (at http://thelema.da.ru). Other occultists from Moscow were initiated in England in 1999 - while the person from St Peterburg departed in 2004. In spring 2000 the Supreme Council of the Order (of the 'Caliphate') issued the Charter for the foundation of the first Russian branch of the cO. T. O.: Pan Asylum (http://oto.ru). A lot of translations were made. But then strong doubts as to the true intentions of the leaders arose and many members left. It was considered that the local leaders wanted to lead the branch as their own private club. Schisms followed - bodies were closed.
These are some details of the ongoings
Overwiev: Spicy Smack In Russia.
proofread so far by Stephen L***
Translations into the russian language (Kenneth Grant, Theodor Reuss, ...)
My intent is to mirror puzzle pieces of the O.T.O.-phenomenon.
If you have annotations, corrections, suggestions or complaints
do not hesitate to contact me: mail
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