Why they became member of the O.T.O.  30  too many similarities with the Catholic church
    From: XXX Date: March 1997 To: koenig @ cyberlink.ch Dear Peter, And in reference to your inquiry about my own experiences with the OTO, I'm afraid they are fairly limited. I lived on the West Coast for several years. I have always been interested in magick, mostly on a personal, individual level. I do not consider myself a "joiner," although I have been initiated into several magickal orders merely to establish a link through which to procure literature and information. The first of these (when I was about 18 years old) was the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, headed by a woman named Laura Jennings. They were mostly a study group that had received considerable tutelage from Regardie, and they did some fairly traditional G.D. rituals and initiations. The most rewarding aspect of my involvement with that group was that it brought me in contact with several fascinating people such as the writer Robert Anton Wilson, who was living with Ms. Jennings at the time. Thus I was able to hang out with him fairly often outside the Golden Dawn activities, having dinner and talking, and from him I learned more about the humor and constructive trickery of magickal perspective than from the formal teachings of any order, per se. I was also able to participate in several "magickal" reality games organized by Wilson, in which Erisian/Discordian plots were dramatized in a freestyle, role-playing capacity. Great fun! But I digress... The next order I came in contact with was — you guessed it — the Caliphate OTO in Los Angeles, in which Jim Eshelman was the predominant figure at the time. That was just before Grady died, so I arrived on that scene just in time to meet ol' Hymenaeus Alpha (during a visit to Berkely) and to experience all the furor and hubbub surrounding the OTO after McMurtry's "Great Feast." I did not, however, take initiations after 0* and 1*, because I really don't ascribe to the Cult of Crowleanity — and although I do not think that the OTO is exactly that, many of the younger, more zealous members do a pretty fair job of making it seem so most of the time. I did have the opportunity to meet several of the people (very briefly) mentioned in your writing, including Breeze, Secklar, Heidrick, etc. Following that, I went through a period of disillusion with magickal orders altogether and limited my association with the Caliphate OTO to the occasional Gnostic Mass from then on. This was mainly due to my frustration and disgust with political infighting and the neurotic "personalities" that attend any organized group of human beings, but especially, it seems, when the main focus is metaphysical. Somewhere in there I also joined the New Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn, a Thelemic group started by ex-OTO member and Regardie student David Cherubim (David Wall). They were nice, easy-going people but I didn't stay involved with them for very long. I have since heard that Cherubim claims to have received some Book of the Law-type transmission from a praeterhuman intelligence (like Aiwaz, perhaps?) which purports to charter an even newer Aeon than the Aeon of Horus! Imagine that... My main interest thereafter has been Chaos Magick, primarily because of its pragmatic, freestyle approach and its inherent incompliance with hierarchy. I became an early member of the first U.S. temple of the Illuminates of Thanateros (IOT) when I met Peter Carroll during one of his visits to California, and he initiated me into the first two degrees of that order (even though degrees in the IOT mean relatively little and no one pays any attention to them whatsoever). The Pact, as it is called, was the closest thing I could find to what I was looking for in a magickal order, and I enjoyed working with them for several years. In my opinion, they attract the liveliest variety of magicians in recent years, along with groups like T.O.P.Y. and a few other very individual, shamanic-style groups. But as with most group efforts, I eventually grew bored of working with "personalities" (the Pact grew considerably, and soon involved several zealous, fanatical members who rubbed me the wrong way in their tendencies to play the "my wand's bigger than your wand" game, a syndrome peculiar to left-hand path magicians, I believe). Now I live in N*** and still practice magick in my own private, iconoclastic way. It seems to be my true "Will" to get what I can from groups and then move on. My chief complaint with groups like the OTO is that it takes too fucking long to get any useful information out of them, and that they're run by unnecessarily secretive, egotistical leaders who like to classify information (that most perceptive people find out on their own anyway) so that they (the leaders) are sure to remain in charge, holding the keys, pulling the strings, etc. There are too many similarities with the Catholic church, and I think that sort of structure is manipulative, exhausted and obsolete. Even so, all the crazy dramas that have come out of the Golden Dawn, the FS, the OTO, etc., do make for a good, juicy and entertaining read. It'll all paint history a bit more colorfully, I'm sure. And that's about it. Wish I could be more help in your studies, but I'm afraid I really don't possess any arcane information you don't already have. Nevertheless, it's good talking to you and thanks again for the info. All "orders" subject to the murky nature of metaphysics meted out by ordinary humans can stand to benefit (whether they like it or not) from an objective eye. Good luck in the future. E-mail me with anything you think I might enjoy, if you have the time.
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