Gerald Yorke to Reuben Swinburne Clymer — Ordo Templi Orientis

Ordo Templi Orientis

Gerald Yorke to Reuben Swinburne Clymer


 COPY     28 Feb. 48.          5 Montagu Square
                                          London W.1.

 Dr. R. Swinburne Clymer

 Dear Sir,

 Aleister Crowley died some months ago and I have been helping his
 literary executor to sort his papers. The executor, John Symonds is
 writing a life of Crowley, and I am trying to see that his references
 to Crowley's G..D.. and O.T.O. connections are accurate. Neither
 Symonds nor I are followers of A.C., though at one time I was a
 neophyte in his A..A.., but than fell out with him.
 My object in writing is twofold, first to get some information from
 your record, second to correct some minor erros in your book The
 Rosicrucian Fraternity in America. In this connection let me say that I
 support you[r] main thesis wholeheartedly, but think that if you ever
 issue a second edition it will be stronger if you incorporate the facts
 which I will give you. Moreover, on general grounds I would like to
 record the facts for Rosicrucian and Masonic records in general.
 Reuss' charter to Crowley as X° O.T.O. has not survived among Crowley's
 papers, but a number of years ago, when it was temporarily in my
 possession, I allowed a friend to photograph it, and it is reproduced
 as an Appendix in vol. 2 of Occult Theocracy by Lady Queensborough,
 privately printed in Paris, no date. The contents of these 2 volumes
 are valueless historically except for the documents reproduced in the
 appendices. Reuss' charter is dated 24 Apr. 1912 and is made out to
 Aleister St. Edward Crowley 33° 90° 95° X°. It makes him National Grand
 Master General for Great Britain and Ireland of Mysteria Mystica Maxima
 (M.M.M.) and is signd "Theodor Reuss 33° 90° 96° X° Fra. Superior and
 Outer Head in Mundo of the Ancient Order of Oriental Templars" etc. In
 the same year Reuss made G.M. Cowie VI° Crowley then called his house
 at Boleskine a Profess house of the Order, and founded a lodge in
 London, while Cowie founded another in Edinburgh. Both lodges were
 closed by the police owing to the German connection with Reuss during
 the 1914 war. No lodge has operated subsequently in England.
 IX° O.T.O. was sexual before A.C. joined the Order. In 7th Sep. 1914 he
 wrote to Cowie (the original is in my possession)
 "I did not know until June 1912 the tremendous importance of the
 knowledge held by the O.T.O., and even when I knew it I did not realise
 it. It has taken me practically 2 years hard work to assimilate the
 instruction then received in three short words. I have not even yet
 done a tithe [?] of what is to be done to conclude a thoroughly
 scientific investigation."
 It was not until after Crowley was given the IX° secret by Reuss that
 he wrote and published Energised Enthusiasm in Equinox I,9 The Ship in
 I,10 and the Gnostic Mass in III,1. By this time he had devised his
 private O.T.O. Seal of a dove descending and his Baphomet cock. He
 enthused Reuss with his Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
 formula, and Reuss accepted it for the O.T.O. Reuss also published a
 garbled version of this Mass in German, as a result of which Bricaud
 quarrelled with him. Reuss in turn asked Crowley to put the extant
 O.T.O. rituals "in proper shape". A.C. writes "I did so. They
 incorporated in nine degrees the whole of Masonic knowledge, as well as
 that of other orders, but I found when I visited America that rituals
 thus prepared as far as degrees one to three were concerned new rituals
 which contained the knowledge but did not imply the symbolism to which
 obligation was taken." These rituals were worked in England, South
 Africa, Australia and U.S.A. They are not being worked anywhere to my
 knowledge at the moment.
 10 May 1921 Reuss as Peregrinus issed a charter to C. Stansfield Jones
 (at that time Fra. Achad in Crowley's A..A..) giving him as Parsival
 X°, and a charter covering the United States of North America. I have
 not actually seen the original, only references to it. This is prior to
 the document given to Lewis of which you reproduce a photograph.
 Crowley then sent Jones his rituals.
 3 Sept. 21 Reuss issued a patent for Denmark to C.W. Hansen-Kadosh, who
 was succeeded by Grunddahl Sjallung (see 2nd edition of Hartmann's
 Who's Who), but did not send him any of Crowley's rituals.
 Crowley only rewrote the first six degrees in ritual form, the others
 being in the form of lections. The IX° in Crowley's series does however
 begin "Merlin by the Graces of God Triune, and by the favour and
 appointing of the Secret Master, called to the service of Mankind, and
 exalted among ye as the Outer Head of the Order, unto Baphomet, Summus
 Rex Sanctissimus X° O.T.O. of Ireland Ionae and all the Britains ...".
 The key degree does therefore remain as written by Reuss but
 presumably translated (and possibly altered) by Crowley from the
 German.
 Before leaving the subject of Crowley, he was never expelled from
 U.S.A. or refused admission to England. He was expelled from Sicily by
 Mussolini, and the French refused on one occasion to renew his permit
 de sejour — I possess the original document. He was never technically
 expelled from France. He was never in difficulties or trouble with the
 English Home Office. He did, however, die an undischarged bankrupt.
 Now as to H. Spencer Lewis and his family. Crowley was unaware until
 your publication of the document issued by Reuss and published by you.
 He was surprised to find that one of the seals on this document was a
 copy of his private seal. He never met Lewis or corresponded with him.
 Lewis was not a disciple of even acquaintance. He did, however, as you
 point out, plagiarise some of Crowley's work in his lectures.
 On Reuss' death Jones (Parzival) as the Grand Master of the O.T.O. for
 the United States of North America, and the Grand Master for Germany
 (whose name and motto I do not know) met and concurred in proclaiming
 Crowley (Baphomet) as O.H.O. Crowley did not therefore succeed
 automatically as the only surviving X° as you state.
 Now for Tranker [Traenker] (Recnartus) and his Pansophia. From paper in
 my possession Recnartus was acting as some sort of agent for Crowley in
 Germany in July 1925. In 1924 Karl Germer, who was associated with
 A.C., finance the first numbers of Pansophia, and supplied German
 translations of the Crowley material which was used. Germer's
 association with Tranker went back to 1922. In 1926 A.C. stayed with
 the Trankers and as a result of this stay and the financial
 transactions with Germer he broke off all connection with Tranker,
 writing (a copy is in my possession)
 "I went to Germany at the Summer Solstice of 1926 at the urgent
 invitation of Tranker, who had somehow obtained credentials serious
 enough in their appearance to demand immediate investigation. I found
 this man ignorant even of the language of magic and mysicism ... I
 found further that in his dealings with other people he was mean
 unscrupulous and dishonest ... His conduct was so outrageous that it
 was necessary to make a formal complaint to the police ... He has now
 taken a list of some orders which I represent from a published volume
 of mine and proclaims himself to be the Grand Master ... He cannot
 produce a single document of any kind in support of these absurd
 claims. I publicly challenge him for example to give me any of the
 signs of Recognition in the O.T.O. or Hermetic Society of the G..D.."
 From the above I think you will agree that there was no direct relation
 between Crowley and Lewis, though the latter certainly obtained by
 bluff his document from Reuss in the latter's old age. The sexual basis
 of the O.T.O. also antedates Crowley, but in his own words "the secret
 as at that time expressed by the Order was in a very crude and
 unscientific form and there was no explanation of the conditions which
 had to be brought about to get it to work. I spend many years of work
 finding out what those conditions were". He then rewrote the rituals
 and all the lections with the exception of the last for IX°,
 incorporating into many of them symbology and ethics from his highly
 questionable Book of the Law.
 I have written the above partly in the interest of historical accuracy
 amongst Rosicrucian and Masonic circles, and partly in the hopes of
 containing the following information 
  1. Could you possibly have typed out and sent to me those parts of the 1906 Constitution of the O.T.O. which you do not reproduce in your facsimile reproduction Nos. 55 to 55[illegible] in volume 2 of your Rosicrucian Fraternity.
  2. Can you give me any indication of the history prior to Kellner's founding of the O.T.O. of the sexual side incorporated in IX°. I can find no trace of it in the Scottish nor Memphis and Mizraim Rites of Masonry, nor in the Soc. Ros. in Anglia, nor in the Hermetic Society of the G..D.. ... Does this strain come in through Reuss' Illuminati with their presumable connection with Weishaupt, or through oriental theories brought in by Franz Hartmann through his connection with madame Blavatsky ? Yours sincerely G.J. Yorke.
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Facsimile reproduction of the original of this document in: P.R. Koenig: Materialien zum O.T.O.
Gerald Yorke to Karl Germer
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