Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon
New York / Dutton, 1971.
First edition, pages 162–163.
New O.T.O. groups in the US
Charles Manson, never a member of one of the many O.T.O. groups, is regularly brought up by the tabloid press in rehashed stories of his alleged brief contact with Georgina Brayton's 1960's 'Solar Lodge of the O.T.O.'
The 'Caliphate' (a new American O.T.O. founded in 1977) has frequently described this earlier O.T.O. lodge 'irregular', but Phyllis Seckler, one of the 'Caliphate's' main protagonists (she was the wife of its founder, Grady L. McMurtry) has admitted that the 'Solar Lodge' was a genuine O.T.O. body. To exaggerate a little, one could say that without Manson the 'Caliphate' would not exist at all. Let's unfold a bit of this particular history.
During Aleister Crowley's lifetime there was only one active O.T.O. lodge in the US — the so-called 'second Agapé lodge' in California. Crowley was never really satisfied with the Agapé group's membership and activities; he called them "fans" and stated in his diary on March 9 1945: "I place the Californian Lodge under INTERDICT." [He added: "Jack's NLT came just in time to stop me doing this".] So to one member of the group, the aforementioned Grady Louis McMurtry, Crowley gave special instructions: in the event of an "emergency" McMurtry was to take over the running of Agapé lodge, subject to the approval of Crowley's heir-apparent in all matters of O.T.O. matters, the German born Karl Germer.|
The trouble was that Germer had a very low opinion of McMurtry, calling him a "Minus", and saying that in his opinion the United States was a "spiritual desert"; Germer closed the Agapé lodge on September 7 1953, and favoured Hermann Joseph Metzger from Switzerland as heir to the O.T.O. At about this time, McMurtry completely lost any interest he might have had in the O.T.O. and this is probably the main reason why O.T.O. activities in the US were continued by others.
Ray and Mildred Burlingame were members of the second Agape Lodge (supposedly for ten years) that was closed in 1953 by Karl Germer. In 1961-62, Georgina (Jean) Brayton (1921-1984) became acquainted with Mildred and later met her husband, Ray. Richard M. Brayton (1911–1989) was a high-school teacher in Civics (Government). 11th or 12th grade. All his students were African-American. His wife Jean and Frater Shiva and Soror Asi founded 'The Solar Lodge of the OTO', or otherwise known as the 'Riverside Lodge of
the OTO' in 1965.
Dick Brayton had little interest in these matters [detail provided by Frater Shiva — see last separate box below]. It was effectively the illegitimate orphan offspring of a dissolved lodge. Neither the Burlingames nor McMurtry (who was later to reappear) had permission to either initiate candidates into the O.T.O., or to found new O.T.O. lodges indeed accoring to the O.T.O.'s statutes, it is expressly forbidden to initiate or install lodges without the express permission of a superior in the Order. Members of the Solar Lodge acquired a dubious reputation when some of them were accused of breaking into the homes of Karl Germer's widow Sascha, Israel Regardie, and Mildred Burlingame to steal O.T.O. documents. When Phyllis Seckler (a former member of the defunct Agapé) came to hear of this, she contacted another ex-Agapéan, Grady L. McMurtry in January 1969. Seckler and McMurtry marry, and become the founding nucleus of the 'Caliphate' [see below]. Years later, Solar Lodge member Robert Duerrenstein denied that any member of the Solar Lodge had been involved in the burglaries of Sascha Germer and the others, his statement was based on the simple reason that Ray Burlingame had told them there wasn't any O.T.O. material worth stealing at their houses. ["Like true friends they only took one of each book, thus leaving Mrs. Burlingame a number of duplicates instead of taking everything.” Grady Louis McMurtry to Ray E. Lindstrom, October 17, 1970.]
Report by a member of the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O.
Date: August 1999, compiled from several emails I am a former member of the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O., in Los Angeles, from September 1967 to February 1968. I was looking for an apartment and ran across one owned by Georgina (Jean) and Richard Brayton, as they had advertised such for rent. They had at least three properties in the USC neighborhood. I only know about the houses and apartment in the USC neighborhood. This was at the beginnning of the time when they were building their empire. Jean encouraged me to attend a meeting, gave me the manifesto of the O.T.O., and a privately-printed copy of the Book of the Law. There were approximately 15-20 members as I recall at the time. I have forgotten most of their names. The house where they lived is no longer there. They seemed very organized, and quite dedicated. Los Angeles at that time was immersed in the same social ferment as San Francisco. Remember the summer of love? I had just come down from Haight-Ashbury. We were all still using LSD and looking for utopian groups. The news was only just beginning to sensationalize and distort what we were doing. But we were easy targets for the more experienced, sinister people who wanted our money, souls, etc. The O.T.O. looked like a cool group of people, at first, because they had all the right words. They were very welcoming, and wanted us to join in with their rituals. They practiced all the rituals you read about in the Equinox. They began initiating more and more people during the months I was involved, because they wanted to increase their numbers. Jean was clearly in charge, but was often absent. But she supervised the dismantling and reassembly of buildings in the desert. Her husband was a teacher at the University. Several of the lodge members were students. Many kinds of drugs were available. One or two of the members were making them. The house had a main temple on the top floor, but members had individual temples in their rooms, some quite elaborate. I left in order to go to Vietnam. This was before the affairs with the newspapers and the stories about Charles Manson. You can imagine the chills I felt in 1969, hearing about Charles Manson's beliefs in race wars, building retreats in the desert, hearing messages in Beatles songs, using drugs, talking about "man is god" and "Do what thou wilt" philosophies. Nevertheless, I did not know about the Solar Lodge scandal until I ran across it in an obscure book in a second hand bookstore in 1988! Now of course with the Internet there is all kinds of information and misinformation. The only thing I have read in the press was the book, The Family, by Ed Sanders. Some of his information seemed about right, but some of it was just plain wrong, I think. There was never a lodge in San Bernardino. They are confused with San Bernardino county, which is where Blythe is.
|In August 1969 Charles Manson's 'Family' committed their 'notorious' murders while at the same time the Solar Lodge was at the centre of their own scandal. Here's a newspaper-clipping from the 'Washington Post' for October 31 1969:|
Boy Tells Of Chaining By Cultists INDO, Calif, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Anthony Saul Gibbons, 6, sitting on a pillow on the witness stand so he could be seen, tes- tified Wednesday he was burned with matches and imprisoned in a packing crate at a desert com- mune for starting a fire. The small boy was barely audible as he relatd the events that led to his being chained inside the sweltering box for 56 days during the sum- mer on the farm commune operated by a cult called Ordi Templar Orientialis. Eleven members of the commune, including the child's mother, are on trial for felony child abuse. Anthony, now a ward of the court, said his fingers were burned with matches after he started the fire which destroyed a house and injured a group of goats June 20. He testified he was placed in the packing crate with his legs chained and let out only to do his "chores." The boy was questioned repeatedly before he took the oath as Defence Attorney Keith Blazer attempted to establish if the boy knew what a lie was. The boy said he understood that he would be punished if he told a lie. After Anthony testified, the prosecution rested its case.
[From: 'Materialien Zum O.T.O.']
Candace Reos, a former member of the Solar Lodge, was questioned by the
police in 1969. She stated that Brayton practised thought-control on
the Lodge's members; one member, she remembered, was ordered to curb
his sexual desires by cutting his wrists every time he was aroused.
Mrs. Reos told the police that when she herself became pregnant,
Brayton was outraged, and told Reos that she would have to train
herself to hate the unborn child.|
Reos went on that the children of the group's forty-three members were kept apart from their parents, and received special "training" that was given in "very severe tones." She added that "there was a lot of spanking involved, and a lot of being enclosed in dark rooms." The teacher's punishments "left welts", and the Order parents themselves were sometimes ordered to beat their own children.
The FBI files on the Solar Lodge
Parts which have been blacked out by the FBI censors are marked XXX.
It should be noted that Charles Manson is not mentioned anywhere in
these files. |
Facsimile reproductions of these files may be found in my 'Materialien zum O.T.O.'.
Date: 8/15/69 TO: DIRECTOR, FBI ATTN: Identification Division FROM: SAC, LOS ANGELES (88-16511) SUBJECT: GEORGINA R. BRAYTON, aka Jean Brayton — FUGITIVE; RICHARD MONTGOMERY BRAYTON — FUGITIVE; ROBERT ALLEN DUERRSTEIN — FUGITIVE; EDSON FRANK DUNLAP — FUGITIVE; JAMES HERBERT GIBBONS — FUGITIVE UFAP — CHILD ABUSE OO: Los Angeles The following information was furnished 8/14,15/69 by XXX Riverside County Sheriff's Office, and XXX Riverside County District Attorney's Office, Blythe, California. These agencies requested Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) assistance for captioned subjects: This case involves an organization or cult known as O.T.O., which letters stand for Ordo Templi Orientis (Order of the Temple of the Orient or Oriental Templars). It is also known as the "Eye of Horus" and has had book stores under this name. The aims of O.T.O. are the teaching of hermetic science or occult knowledge, the pure and holy magic of light, the secrets of mystic attainment and yoga of all forms. According to cult literature entitled "Manifesto of the O.T.O.", it embodies the whole of the secret knowledge of all Oriental orders and "has existing branches in every civilized country in the world." The O.T.O. maintained book stores in Blythe, California, and at 1918 West Eight Street, Los Angeles, which later moved to 1241 West 30th Street, Los Angeles. These "Eye of Horus" book stores were managed by subject ROBERT ALLEN DUERRSTEIN. A group or commune of the O.T.O. based in Los Angeles, California, at 1241 West 30th Street and 2627 Menlo Street, approximately one and one half to two years ago began building a retreat or commune on 20 acres of land located in a remote desert area, 38 miles north of Blythe, California, on Highway 95. According to tax records, this property is in the name XXX. During the period of construction, the cult members worked in Los Angeles and travelled to this property on weekends. About three to four months ago, a large part of this group moved to this desert commune and several obtained jobs in Blythe. The buildings consisted of a Quonset type building and "houses" made out of "piano boxes" and "A" frames. They maintained livestock such as cows, goats, and horses on this property. The O.T.O. also listed a run-down tavern, motel, store, and station at Vidal, California, approximately two miles from their commune. Among persons moving to this commune were five children, two of which were ANTHONY SAUL GIBBONS, also known as Saul Gibbons, age 6, XXX. Their mother, BEVERLY JUNE GIBBONS, a white female, age 36, and xxx APPROX. father, JAMES HERBERT GIBBONS, an employee of the Los Angeles County Probation Department at Camp David Gonzales, were members of O.T.O. Witnesses state that according to rules of the cult, the parents were not to have direct control over their children and the children would be in effect wards of the O.T.O. [Remark P.R.K.: This sounds like Reuss' concept of a social utopia, somehow tried out by Crowley at his Abbey of Thelema at Cefalú] On 7/26/69, XXX went to the commune to look at some horses which were for sale. At this time, they observed a child chained inside of a large shipping crate and thereafter notified the Riverside County Sheriff's Office. Riverside County Sheriff's Deputies proceeded to the commune, where they found SAUL GIBBONS sitting on a mattress in a 6' by 6' box. A heavy metal chain was padlocked to his left leg and the other end of the chain was locked to a large metal plate. The box also contained a No. 10 can partially filled with human waste and swarming with flies. Also, the box contained an uncovered plastic jug with drinking water, a food encrusted plate, and a small washtub filled with dirty water. The stench was nauseating, the flies were swarming, it was hot, and the boy could not recall how long he had been in the box. The recorded temperature in Blythe since 7/1/69 reached 117 degrees with 12 days raching 110 degrees or more. Investigation determined that on 5/20/69 the Quonset hut at the commune, with many of the cult's belongings, burned down. This fire was not reported to authorities. Cult members determined that SAUL GIBBONS set the fire and about three days later, GEORGINA BRAYTON, RICHARD BRAYTON, and ROBERT DUERRSTEIN, as well as other cult members, proceeded to the commune from Los Angeles. XXX former O.T.O. members, stated that GEORGINA BRAYTON is the leader of the group and ROBERT DUERRSTEIN is second in command. The group is strictly disciplined and JEAN BRAYTON finalizes all decisions. Upon arrival at the commune in May, JEAN BRAYTON is alleged to have held lit matches to the hand of SAUL GIBBONS as punishment for burning the Quonset down and for killing two goats which were destroyed by the fire. She allegedly made SAUL bury the goats after which he was "beaten all day" with bamboo sticks by the adult members of the commune while the BRAYTONS and DUERRSTEIN watched. SAUL was then put in an "A" frame building by the "cow pens" and chained to the heavy metal plate. He allegedly stayed in the "A" frame two weeks, during which time he was fed only bread and water. Thereafter, he was transferred to the 6' by 6' wooden box in which he was found on 7/26/69. A week or two after SAUL's original punishment at the commune, a meeting was held at the O.T.O. Temple, 2627 Menlo, Los Angeles. JEAN BRAYTON told those present that as punishment for setting the fire she had burned SAULS's hands with matches, made him dig the grave and bury the carcasses of the two goats. and then chained him in an "A" frame, where he was to sit in Asana, a yogie position. She then said that when it was convenient, she was going to give SAUL LSD and set fire to the structure in which he was chained and give him just enough chain to get out of reach of the fire. She asked if anyone had any objections or better ideas. No one, including SAULS' mother, BEVERLY GIBBONS, who was present at the meeting, had any objections. ROBERT DUERRSTEIN suggested they kill the child, but JEAN BRAYTON said this would not be necessary. BEVERLY GIBBONS allegedly remarked during these conversations that it was "sacrificing one to save many". SAUL GIBBONS, age 6, was apparently chained in the above condition from about 5/23/69 to 7/26/69. The Riverside County Sheriff's Office arrested the following cult members after SAUL was found and they were subsequently booked 8/13/69 on Riverside County Grand Jury indictments charging child abuse. They are currently out on bond: CLIFFORD ALAN REOS, white male, age 21, 5'10", 160 pounds, brown hair, and green eyes; MICHAEL JOHN FOXWORTH, white male, age 20, 6'20", 175 pounds, brown hair, and brown eyes; GARDNER HERBERT REYNOLDS, JR., white male, age 22, 5'11", 180 pounds, brown hair, and hazel eyes; JAMES EDWARD HUNGERFORD, white male, age 22, 6', 175 pounds, brown hair, and blue eyes; VIRGINIA CELESTE MICHEL, white female, age 21, 5'3", 110 pounds, brown hair, and blue eyes; PATRICIA ANN MOSHER, white female, age 26, 5'3", 105 pounds, brown hair, and blue eyes; JACK REVEL NEECE, white male, age 22, 5'8", 140 pounds, brown hair, and blue eyes; JOHN FRANCIS NICHOLSON, white male, age 21, 5'8", 148 pounds, brown hair, and blue eyes; JUIDH LYNN OSTER, nee Angelson, also known as Julie Oster, an employee of the Bank of America; BEVERLY JUNE GIBBONS, white female, date of birth 5/13/33, 5'4", 105 pounds, brown hair, and brown eyes; JEFFERY FLYNN As previously stated, the above listed persons have been charged with felony child abuse and are currently out on bond. On 7/28/69, XXX Riverside County District Attorney Investigator, interviewed XXX who were all together at Blythe, California. He also talked that date by phone with XXX. Warrants were not outstanding for these persons at this time and they were not arrested. All of these people disappeared thereafter and their whereabouts are currently unknown. XXX Vidal, California, advised the Riverside County Sheriff's Office 8/4/69 that XXX disappeared after the above arrests and that she had seen a letter from RICHARD BRAYTON to XXX , which was postmarked in Arizona, city unknown. While JULIE OSTER was in the Blythe jail, conversation was overheard between JULIE and O.T.O. friend in which JULIE said that if "she (JEAN BRAYTON) couldn't come back in the stat, someone else would have to administer the business enterprises at Vidal". Also, that the BRAYTONS "weren't safe in the United States". On 8/13/69, the Riverside County Grand Jury returned a true bill charging 19 members of the O.T.O., including all five captioned subjects, with violation Section 273(a), California Penal Code, Child Abuse, a felony. This case was discussed with Assistant U.S. Attorney DAVID P. CURNOW, Los Angeles, by SA XXX on 8/14/69. He authorized prosecution of all five captioned subjects for violation Title 18, Section 1073, U.S. Code, UFAP — Child Abuse. He recommended $25,000 bond for each subject. On 8/15/69, complaints were filed by SA XXX before U.S. Commissioner JOHN MORGAN, Riverside, California, and warrants were issued. Fugitive Form Letters submitted. GEORGINA R. BRAYTON is a white female; born 12/29/21, possibly in England; 5'5", 135 pounds; brown hair dyed red; green eyes; California driver's licence F553407; and Social Security Number XXXX. She allegedly has claimed to be the reincarnation of Sir ALEISTER CROWLEY, who wrote "Book of Lies" published in London in 1913. CROWLEY, since deceased, was an alleged leader of O.T.O. RICHARD MONTGOMERY BRAYTON is a white male; born 1911 in Ohio; 5'10"; 165 pounds; black hair, graying; brown eyes; Social Security Number XXX, California driver's licence B240125, and Criminal Identification and Investigation (CII) Number XXX. He was arrested for burglary by the Los Angeles Police Department 9/28/68, their number XXX. BRAYTON is alleged to have become addicted to percodan. ROBERT ALLEN DUERRSTEIN is a white male; born 9/23/39; 6'3"; 160 pounds; brown hair; blue eyes; California driver's license F819421; and with address 1241 West 30th Street, Los Angeles. EDSON FRANK DUNLAP is a white male; born 10/10/30; 6'2", 180 pounds; brown hair; hazel eyes; address 1241 West 30th Street, Los Angeles; and California driver's license F324970. DUNLAP, a dentist and graduist of University of Southern California (USC) Dental School, is reportedly a high cult member and has worked for XXX has a bank account at the Bank of America, 1255 Sartori Avenue, Torrance. JAMES HERBERT GIBBONS is a white male; born 8/22/32 in California: 6'1"; 160 pounds; brown hair; Social Security Number XXX and was employed by the Los Angeles County Probation Department. He also has degrees in theology and made application to teach at the Palos Verdes Junior College, Blythe, California. The Riverside County Sheriff's Office also has felony warrants for charging child abuse in connection with this matter for DENNIS CASTINEREZ, also known as Paul Masters, Steve Quilly, a white male, 25 years of age, 5'7", muscular build, dark hair, and tan complexion. CASTINEREZ allegedly may be avoiding the draft. They also have felony warrants to B. APPORX. Lorna FLYNN, a white female, and GEORGE CHRISTIAN SCOTT, a white male. The Riverside County Sheriff's Office to date has not located these persons. UFAP process is not outstanding for CASTINEREZ, LORNA FLYNN, or GEORGE SCOTT at this time. XXX The O.T.O. leases and operates the Richfield Service Station at 3401 South Flower, Los Angeles, which is run by cult member XXX. Other cult members work at the station. XXX
Comment by a former member of the Solar Lodge — see above
Robert Allen Duerrstein, "Bob" as I knew him, was in the dentistry department at USC, and got us all kinds of drugs. Edson dunlap, aka "Big Ed", I knew little about, except that I think he had a lot of power in the organization. He was a former race car driver. James Gibbons "Spud" as we knew him, was a friendly man, a good soul, so I thought. I cannot imagine that he would subject his child to this thing. It troubles me to learn the identity of the parents whose child was the "boy in the box". Of all the people I knew in the group, I would have guessed them to be least likely to do such a thing. But I also understand how such a thing could happen. The "Order" promised a "short cut across the spirals of evolution to true enlightenment." Many of the people involved at that time had experimented with mind-altering drugs. Remember, this was in the time of Haight Ashbury and Timothy Leary and a rediscovery of Asian philosophy. I myself had just come from Haight Ashbury to Los Angeles in the summer of 1967, when I was introduced to the Solar Lodge. Many of us had tried LSD, and after a while, realized that it only took us a little way. We wanted to know if there was more, and the Solar Lodge promised us that there was. They used mind-altering drugs to help the process, but they were not the first. Certain branches of yoga use "arshti", which is a practice of giving drugs to acolytes to help them open up their perception. In addition, they were a kind of communal group, also very attractive at that time. I saw this when I first met them. They were renting apartments in South Central Los Angeles, and I rented from them, and eventually took the oath of the Minerval Degree from them. There appeared to be about 15-20 members then. Many lived in the same house with Jean and Dick. Some were students at the nearby University of Southern California. The core group members appeared to be a bit older, from mid 20's to 40's. Most new members were younger. The atmosphere at that time was enthusiastic, mystical, and a bit unsettling, because of the feeling that many things were not being revealed to newcomers. But this also attracted people to become more involved, in order to find out more. Jean began the practice of putting on "profane parties" in order to attract newcomers, because she said that it would only be possible for a limited time to gain new members. [see Frater Shiva in a separate box] They held ceremonies, including initiations in the third floor of one of the houses they owned. They taught yoga, Kabbala, and various forms of divination, such as Tarot reading. They also had an extensive collection of books, some of which appeared to be very old. They were also building a retreat in the Mojave Desert. They called it the "ark", because it was where we would all go when rioting began again in Los Angeles. (Remember, the Watts riots had happened two years before.) They built this desert temple near Blythe, CA from Quonset huts dismantled from old warehouses in southeast Los Angeles. The temple was in the shape of a pyramid [see Frater Shiva in a separate box], because of the power in that shape, because the location was roughly at the same latitude as Cairo, and for various other reasons. This apparently was the building that was burned, although I am only guessing. As one spent more time with the group, and advanced in the grades, more was revealed, and more demands were made. To paraphrase a passage from the Bible, "on the tongue, it was sweet, but in the belly it became bitter." But we were also instructed from the very beginning that part of the test of our worthiness would be our willingness to follow instructions that seemed unusual. Because we had to subdue the ego, which was very tricky, and would find any way it could to preserve itself. At the time I was involved, there was no illegal activity that I was aware of, other than the use of drugs and some petty theft of statues from neighbors' property [see Frater Shiva in a separate box]. Most of people's energy was devoted to the practices we were assigned. Sometimes a few of us would spend long hours into the night talking philosophy, but we were discouraged from talking about our practices or about what we knew about the organization [see Frater Shiva in a separate box]. This was a time when we questioned all values: our president had been assassinated a few years previously, our religions had become irrelevant, we were against the war in Vietnam, an many of the terrible things we had been told about drugs we felt were untrue. So we were throwing out the old ideas and reinventing ourselves. The Solar Lodge beliefs appeared to have answers to our dissatisfaction with traditional values, and they made us feel special, superior. But after a few months, I began to find the group a bit boring and narrow-minded, particularly in their views about Black people. Their racism was one area where they were out of touch with the mood of the times. But the racism was very subtle, and there was not preaching about white supremacy or aryanism [see Frater Shiva in a separate box] . Most of what I have read about the group varies from sounding fairly true to being wildly inaccurate. I doubt very much that Jean Brayton was a CIA operative, as was Cinque and other members of the SLA. She certainly was not a daughter of an Air Force Officer, as some say! She actually had a slight English accent and enjoyed making marmalade and tea. Maybe she was channeling Crowley! She never in my presence claimed to be Crowley's reincarnation, however. She did have many opinions about world events, but on close examination, her understanding of those events was shallow, incomplete. She chose to pay attention to what reinforced her somewhat apocalyptic views. This became tiresome to me eventually. She would, from time to time, say things that had a curious ring of truth. I remember in particular her saying that in order to truly change, one had to cut ties from old acquaintances. She once pronounced the family "public enemy number one", because it kept individuals from cutting the bonds of conformity. She loved to find greater truths in everyday observations, and many of the members extended this to looking for hidden meanings, notably in song lyrics, especially Beatles lyrics. All of what I have read about the group completely ignores the aspect of human aspiration that the group harnessed. The group members were not devils. They were ordinary people who were seeking. Since that time, we have seen many other examples of what can happen when ordinary seekers fall under the spell of a charismatic leader. Some can do much good, and some, such as the followers of Jim Jones, can do much ill. We would do well to spend some time not simply vilifying these people, but trying to understand what in human nature is attracted like the moth to the flame. The Solar Lodge followed the OTO motto that "Man is God". But I would modify that to add that it is true insofar as any human can understand a supreme being. Therefore, the "men" of the OTO are gods. And not all gods are great, or benign. It was this hubrid, I think, that led to the unfortunate decision to put a child in a box. This is what happened to the Braytons and their Solar Lodge. What happened to me? I was forced to leave because of Vietnam. I joined a much more powerful and deadly cult, the U.S. Army. * * * I am fearful of having my name associated with the group, and being contacted by any of the old members of the group. I'll tell you a story: In 1972 I revisted the meeting house to see if any of the people I had known were still there. the windows of the house were papered over so that no one could see in. Finally, a person who I recognized answered the door. He was extremely guarded, and looked as though he had aged considerably in the 4 years since I had seen him (he couldn't have been over 25) He asked me if I had heard the news about the group (I hadn't. I knew nothing of the associations with Manson) Then, fixing me with a very sinister scowl, he told me never to return unless I was rejoining the group. "This is not a bullshit organization", he said. The more I am finding out about this group, the more I realize I did not know very much about them. and I would imagine that some of the former members are still around. And right now here in the States is a bit of fear about what crazy person might be loose with a gun!
Comment by Frater Shiva, another former member of the Solar Lodge
Ray and Mildred Burlingame, plus Mr. Basham, initiated Jean Brayton into the Minerval degree and the first degree on Tuesday evening, October 30, 1962. After her ceremonies, Milton Basham (and, it is said, his wife also) received the Second degree. Jean's husband, Richard (Dick) Brayton, never received any form of teaching or initiation from the Burlingames. Somewhere, at intervals of a few months, between the date of this initiation (Oct 1962) and July 1965, Ray Burlingame initiated Jean Brayton into the V° and the IX°, supplying her with (carbon-copy-style) copies of all the papers and initiation rites pertaining to all the grades, until the stack of papers was nine layers deep. The final document, Emblems and Modes of Use, was hand copied by Jean Brayton with pen and paper from a hand-written document that Ray had set before her after her brief ceremony. In case anyone wonders … there was no sexual activity involved. Then he stood over her and watched as she transcribed the "codex" into her own possession. I (Shiva) was present during many of the meetings described in the time period cited above. I was never present at an "initiation," but I stood solitary guard in the outer temple as the higher grades were being transmitted in another room. The radiating energy (which "leaked through the veil") had a peculiarly subjective "radioactive" quality. No drugs were ever used — Frater Aquarius warned of their dangers and was firmly set against them. I have repeated what she described to me about certain activities that took place behind that "veil," and it is the same rays and activities that she used when she transmitted this same information to me, and to several others (in the V°), and to a few of us in the higher numbers. This entire series of transmission of degrees is sometimes hotly debated, and it is not recognized by the current OTO, incorporated. I have publicly acknowledged their position and here is … why? 1. The generally accepted rule for authorizing initiation is a written note (charter) from The Grand Master Baphomet (for beginners, see III° oath). Setting aside any considerations of the fact that there was no Grand Master in any form in those days, I must admit — We had no written charter, neither from any Grand Master nor from Frater Aquarius (Ray). 2. Instead of a charter, the entire operation revolved around a certain IX° talisman that I have openly described elsewhere. After Ray had given Jean her final papers, he said, "By the way, you'll need this …" as he passed her the powerhouse that had come to him from Aleister Crowley via Jane Wolfe. This was not an OTO emblem — it was what we might call a "Thelemic Emblem," placed on top of a graded stack of OTO initiation documents. This does not constitute generally accepted authority to initiate into the OTO or to use the initials OTO®. 3. Since the engine that ran our daily lives was the A.·. A.·. curriculum, and the commonly used name for our society was "Solar Lodge," I am content with that title, historically speaking, for it carries its own distinct vibration. 4. In respect of our relation to any external body or corporation, our organizational structure and operation would fall under the title, Clandestine. Frater Shiva, Email dated 16 March 2011.
|It seems that the accused parties came before a judge in December 1971.|
In January 1972, Jean Brayton's periodical 'Midnight Press'
published a "Special 'COMICS' Issue", from which it was plain that the
Solar Lodge was now calling itself the "Velle Transcendental
Research Association, Inc." In this issue of the magazine (Vol. 1
Nº 4), mention was made of the first trial as a "farce", and
that a higher court than the Indio Superior Court would be bound to
accept the group's evidence of "the existence of the psychological
report which confirms that [the boy in the box] Anthony
[Saul Gibbons] was not harmed emotionally or physically."
The magazine also complained about the numerous delays to the group's
defence caused by recalcitrant attorneys, claiming that they were the
victims of perjury "confidential material" had been
witheld from them, and that they had not been provided with court
transcripts. It also adduced the "fact" that the six-year old Anthony
Saul Gibbons had emerged from the box on July 26 1969 "in good
health as confirmed by a doctor's examination."|
Jean Brayton gave her own opinion of the local justice system: "The Riverside Railroad Injustice System supports judges and prosecutors who are neighbours, who belong to an in-group clique of socialites, who golf together, who evaluate trial action according to political pressure, who exchange functions of the judicial system indiscriminately, who ignore welfare and probation recommendations to inflict jail terms in their warehouses of perversion, who have professional witnesses and intimidated witnesses perjure themselves in order to unjustly malign those who endeavor to bring true freedom and love into the hearts of all mankind."
The members of the Velle Transcendental Research Association, Inc. called themselves "Velleans", and the group claimed that it was a "True, Universal Brotherhood" which paid homage to Freemasonry. The Velleans said that they had magically invoked the Egyptian god Tahuti (otherwise called Thoth) to call forth a tribunal before "Horus! Lord of the Aeon!!" where "The Grand Inquisitor [i.e. the judge] and Prosecutor" were compelled to "Swear that we will never again hinder our [illegible] man in his search for true freedom and understanding. We also swear to strive ever stronger in our search for truth and knowledge of our true selves!"
Rumour has it that Jean Brayton escaped to Ensenada in Argentina, just prior to being arrested. Some say she's dead by now.
The birth of the "Caliphate" as a consequence of Charles Manson's involvement with the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. ?
In January 1969 Phyllis Seckler told Grady McMurtry about what had been happening in California. On 29 April 1969, McMurtry moved from Washington to California, and started an unsuccessful campaign to recruit former Agapé members to his cause. In a letter dated June 9 1969, one of these ex-members called Jean Shivonen replied to McMurtry: "I'm not interested." Nonetheless, McMurtry and his wife Phyllis
formed a group callled "the Continuum" and started publishing reprints of Crowley's writings. It was this Continuum group with a nucleus of five members that was eventually to become the 'Caliphate' O.T.O.: a new O.T.O. founded in 1977 for the purpose of getting tax-exempt status as a religious association, and to benefit from an alleged claim on Crowley copyrights worldwide.|
An intriguing sidelight is cast on these pretentions by Crowley's Last Will and Testament, which makes no mention of McMurtry at all, naming the Englishman John Symonds as "Literary Executor" to the Crowley estate.
While the Solar Lodge may not have believed that Sascha Germer had any worthwhile O.T.O. material, McMurtry certainly toyed with the idea of filing a legal claim to force her to hand her archives over to him. However, the local police cautioned him against this. On March 20 1973 McMurtry and Seckler publicly copyrighted Crowley material for the first time.
When it was revealed in the tabloid press that Manson might have been an occasional visitor to Jean Brayton's O.T.O., McMurtry promptly informed on Brayton to the FBI, almost certainly to avoid his own affairs being investigated too closely. He also furnished journalists with information about Brayton and the Solar Lodge; in return for this favour, Ed Sanders made no mention of McMurtry in the first edition of his book on the Manson affair "The Family". More recent editions of "The Family" also exclude any mention of the O.T.O. as well.
Earlier, Sanders reported that at least five separate sources informed him that Manson was involved with the Solar Temple Lodge, both at the Lodge's desert ranch, and at one of their houses in L.A., located near the USC campus. Sander's also claimed that a house owned by Brayton at 1251 West Thirtieth Street in Los Angeles was supposedly frequented by Manson. [In fact, it was Manson ‘Family’ member Tex Watson, not Charles Manson.]
"The Brayton group.
the FBI and the Riverside County Sheriff's Office.
|Exploitation of this and other correspondences in the essay on the History of the 'Caliphate'|
Two crimes came to be connected with the Brayton group:
Although the Solar Lodge was active in the same area that Manson (b. 1935) was staying, the F.B.I. files dealing with the lodge mention neither Manson nor anyone from the ‘Family.’ Nonetheless, the cultic characteristics of the Manson murders plus allegations about the Solar Lodge’s own cult crimes led the authorities and media to suspect links. In 1971 Sanders’s book ‘The Family’ was published. In this he claimed at least five separate sources informed him that Charles Manson was involved with the Solar Temple Lodge; both at the Lodge’s desert ranch and also at one of their houses in L.A., located near the U.S.C. campus. Also, Sanders asserted that a house owned by the Braytons (1251 West Thirtieth Street, Los Angeles) was supposedly frequented by Manson.
The Braytons sued Sanders in a civil case. Glenn Hughes testified at the hearing that McMurtry had given him information about the Braytons and the Solar Lodge. The case concluded with a settlement and the Braytons withdrawing their complaint. While Sanders didn’t actually mention McMurtry in the first edition of his book, all subsequent editions of ‘The Family’ omit all mention of the O.T.O., after the ‘Caliphate’ threatened to sue.
In sequence, the events of this affair were:
Brayton's large Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. existed well before the small 'Caliphate' did and McMurtry would now need some way to dispose of this unwanted rival and proclaim himself as the self-styled head of the O.T.O. with worldwide supremacy, all the while flying in the face of the historical facts. He therefore founded a new Agapé Lodge, called it a 'Grand Lodge' in 1977 with an implied superior status, and set about silencing or activating other O.T.O. lodges or memberships according to their willingness to accept his claimed supremacy. Thus, he described Brayton's group as "irregular", stating that the Burlingame's original powers to initiate had been invalid — yet at the same time conveniently accepting the "powers" of those other former members of the defunct 1950's Agapé Lodge who supported his claims — people like his own wife Phyllis Seckler, and Helen P. Smith. Not only were the Burlingame's powers denied, but also those of key figures like Kenneth Grant, Marcelo Ramos Motta, and H.J. Metzger, who undoubtedly had some prior claims and seniority in the O.T.O. A carefully orchestrated propaganda campaign of disinformation did the rest of the work in upholding McMurtry's fairy-tale.
The fact is that either both Brayton's Solar Lodge and the 'Caliphate' are 'regular' O.T.O. offshoots — orphan satellite offspring of a defunct O.T.O. group dissolved in 1953 — or neither are anything of the sort. Since McMurtry's time, some of the more discriminating 'Caliphate' authorities have acknowledged the existence of this uncomfortable dilemma, and now admit that the Burlingames performed limited O.T.O. activities to get themselves off the hook — though they don't specify just what these activities were.
'Caliphate' and Solar Lodge: Irregular?
K = Koenig S = David Scriven, Xth of the "Caliphate", email correspondence in late 1996 K: I also would like to see any such paper [= charter to initiate] for individuals like Seckler, H.P. Smith and the Burlingames (who, according to Heidrick, did initiations in the late 1960s) (Heidrick to firstname.lastname@example.org). If you can't show such paper I would like to hear your explanation why any initiations done by above mentioned individuals should be "real" initiations? (the "emergency" argument does not count because it does not mention/assert "initiations"!)--- S: By McMurtry's recognition of them. K: Therefore, the Solar Lodge is a "real" OTO lodge or is McMurtry's recognition haphazard or selective? K:---Heidrick told that some members of the Solar Lodge now are members of the "Caliphate". (Heidrick to email@example.com, 9 Oct 1994) Is that true? If yes: Since when? And why? I thought that members with a criminal history are excluded ... S: I am aware of the initiation of the son of a former Solar Lodge member. We also have members who were once members of the "Order of Thelema," a later successor organization to the Solar Lodge. I do not believe we have any members who were members of the original Solar Lodge who would have been involved in the Germer/Regardie/Burlingame thefts or the "boy in the box" scandal. People with criminal histories are not _necessarily_ excluded from membership. The nature of the crime, the age of the individual when the crime was committed, and the individual's behavior during and after civil punishment are taken into consideration. Brayton's initiation occurred before McMurtry's implementation of the Caliphate, which was, according to my current reckoning, in 1969; or according to your reckoning, in 1977. K: In other words: there is uncertainty as to why Mildred B's initiation of the Brayton woman should have been not valid because Mildred had no charter to do initiations — while McMurtry's initiations should have been valid although he never had such charter. S: This is a good point, but I believe I have answered it above. K: But M.Burlingame's initiation of Brayton is not denied! S: She did perform the initiation, but we do not recognize its validity, because it was performed in 1963 or 1964; both after Karl Germer's death and before McMurtry's activation of the Caliphate. McMurtry could have recognized it retroactively, but he did not do so.
Nevertheless, Phyllis Seckler openly admitted: "They were an O.T.O. Lodge".
(Phyllis Seckler: 'In The Continuum' Vol. II;2, p. 12.)|
In 1971, Richard Brayton acknowledged McMurtry as 'Caliph' and suggested they unite their forces. [See scan below.] McMurtry refused.
After the "boy in the box" scandal McMurtry tried to put as much distance between himself and the Solar Lodge as possible in the FBI's eyes! It begs to the question: does 'Caliphate'–recognition of an initiation rest upon moral grounds, i.e., can it be retracted later if the 'Caliphate' doesn't like / approve the initiate? Another double standard is operating in the emails from David Scriven: according to S's own criteria, Burlingame was actually entitled to be performing limited OTO activities alongside McMurtry, Seckler and Smith. Otherwise the 'Caliphate' would simply have been McMurtry by himself holding it in trust, just as Motta could have been said to have done with Motta's SOTO. ]
And the Swiss O.T.O. ?
In 1971, with the newspaper clip from the 'Washington Post', "Boy Tells Of Chaining By Cultists", for October 31 1969 (see above) Hermann Joseph Metzger from the Swiss O.T.O. travelled to the American Embassy in Berne which reported to the Director of the FBI: "He stated that he was afraid that these people were giving his organization a bad name in the U.S., and he wished to emphasize that they had nothing to do with his society."
Charles Manson and the O.T.O. ?
Before Charles Manson (b. 1935) possibly visited the 'parties' open to outsiders held at Solar Lodge meetings, he already had a rather chequered occult history. He is supposed to have first become interested in Scientology while he was incarcerated at the McNeil Island Penitentiary in Washington (Scientology has prison recruiting programmes). There it is said that Manson received about 150 hours of Scientology counselling. After his release from prison, he went to Los Angeles, where it is claimed that he attended several Scientology events where Hollywood stars were guests, including possibly the dedication ceremony for Scientology's first 'Celebrity Center'. Manson was undoubtedly eager to meet celebrities to further his musical ambitions and find someone to produce his guitar-playing. It is known that he contacted one of the Beach Boys, and Doris Day's son Terry Melcher.|
There are hints that not long after this he may also have had links with 'The Process', a Satanic-oriented group which had originally broken away from Scientology. Scientology itself had early connections with Crowley's O.T.O. via L. Ron Hubbard's association with Jack Parsons.
The most famous guest at Brayton's parties may well have been Manson.
But there is NO definite evidence whether Charles Manson really ever visited the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. Although Manson's group also used drugs and sex in order to achieve more than simple carnal satisfaction considering he regarded sex as a religion, there is no proof whether he or his followers were ever interested in Aleister Crowley or his work.
The scandals surrounding the Solar Lodge happened at the same time as the Manson 'Family' was committing the murders of Sharon Tate and her friends — seven people in all — in August 1969; and both sets of events took place within a few miles of each other. This and the similar occult backgrounds of Manson and Brayton made the tabloid press leap to the conclusion that there must be a direct connection between the Manson murders, and the O.T.O.'s 'boy in the box' scandal — a highly tenuous connection, to say the least.
But there is one more dependable, if unusual link between the characteristics of the 'Family and Brayton's Solar Lodge, and other O.T.O. groups. One member of Manson's 'Family' called Robert (or Bobby) "Cupid" Beausoleil once lived rent-free together with the celebrated underground film-maker and occultist Kenneth Anger although he did not share his interest for magic. Before he became embroiled in the Manson affair, Beausoleil had acted the rôle of Lucifer in Anger's film 'Lucifer Rising'. While imprisoned as a result of the murders, Beausoleil occupied his time in composing a musical score for the film. Kenneth Anger was also instrumental in founding Anton LaVey's 'Church of Satan' — and allegedly LaVey played the rôle of Satan in Roman Polanski's film 'Rosemary's Baby' (which is in fact not true). Sharon Tate, one of the Manson murder-victims was Polanski's wife.
|Today, Kenneth Anger is a close friend of William Breeze, the 'Caliph' or leader of the 'Caliphate', the new O.T.O. group that was founded largely as a result of the Solar Lodge and Manson affairs. Anger is a member of the 'Caliphate' IX° and as a member of the VIII°-Aeropagus has a say in this Order's fate.|
Read also about the Solar Lodge:
This is an outline from the German/English "Der O.T.O. Phänomen
RELOAD" (2011) and from the English "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick" (1999). |
© Peter-Robert Koenig. Translated and adapted by Mark Parry-Maddocks.
Regarding Crowley's antidemocratic, racist and mysanthropic writings, followers point out: "The reason [...] aspects of Thelema are omitted [in public discussion] indicates the actual problem with presenting Thelema as a religion and attempting to get Thelema sanctioned by the government or approved by the public: Thelema is ultimately in contrast to and transgressive of normative society. Thelema rejects the morals and values of normative society and acts to transgress and violate these norms. From the inclusion of intoxicants in ritual, to the positive view of sexuality, which frequently is seen as promoting promiscuity, to the pro–authoritarian and Nietzschian aspects of Thelema, normative society has much to reject in Thelema and conversely, Thelema encourages its adherents to reject most aspects of normative society.". See The Templar's Reich.
More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan — Jünger, Jäger und Justiz