Ordo Templi Orientis — History of the 'Caliphate'

Ordo Templi Orientis
Mysteria Mystica Maxima
The 'Caliphate'
The Swiss O.T.O.
The Solar Lodge of the O.T.O.

Theodor Reuss, Spencer Lewis, Aleister Crowley, Phyllis Seckler, Karl Germer, Jane Wolfe, Jean Brayton, Grady Louis McMurtry, Oscar Schlag, Marcelo Ramos Motta, John Symonds, Kenneth Grant, Martin Starr, William Breeze, William Heidrick, Hermann Joseph Metzger, Annemarie Aeschbach, Anita Borgert, Olaf Raederer, Ernst Graf, Adalbert Schmid





Abbey of Thelema



History of the 'Caliphate'

Song of the Whitewash:
Mysteria Mystica Maxima

by Peter-R. Koenig



This is a shortened sub-chapter of
Der O.T.O. Phänomen RELOAD.
Background of the birth of this new American O.T.O.: History of the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. — Charles Manson and the Occult.







Lamen




Update late 2009 / early 2011



Eenie, Meenie, Miney, Mo ...



If this article appears to present a somewhat piecemeal study of a phenomenon, it is because of the contradictory and subjective characteristics marked so strongly throughout its sources. Taking a literary-critical approach, in chronological order, at least allows scope for themes to develop and gives documentary sources a chance to speak for themselves. This consistently problematical quality of the theme must be kept in mind if any useful conclusions are to be drawn. Of itself, the O.T.O. phenomenon has never produced any authoritative opinions, except as straightforward judgements after litigation.[1] Hence this article must be viewed as only a few pieces of a larger puzzle and intended as contributions to a fuller picture. Given the absence of source material, one has (for the most part) to forego any drawing of conclusions. However, one can still sketch a partial overview from what little information is available.

This is not an introduction to the O.T.O., but rather a reflection of many puzzle pieces within the context of its U.S. history.[2]



Le Cadavre Exquis


Because Spencer Lewis (1883–1939) (leader of the A.M.O.R.C.) threatened Theodor Reuss (1855–1923) (founder of the O.T.O., in 1906) that A.M.O.R.C.[3] would stop paying its O.T.O. subscriptions if Aleister Crowley remained a member of the O.T.O.; and because Crowley was upset at Reuss granting (on 13th June, 1921[4]) Charles S. Jones[5] the highest U.S. degree (the X°), in the autumn of 1921, Reuss distanced himself from Crowley, turning towards the A.M.O.R.C. and to Arnoldo Krumm-Heller’s Rosicrucian organisation, the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua (F.R.A.). After receiving his honorary diploma from Reuss, Lewis sent a telegram, dated 24th August, 1921, asking “What connection has Crowley with your organization.” To which Reuss replied “Dissolved.” In October, 1921, Reuss informed Lewis that he had cut the O.T.O. connection between Reuss and Crowley, adding that whatever Crowley might happen to do about it in the U.S.A. was now his own business and no longer any concern of the O.T.O.. On 9th November, 1921, Reuss wrote to Crowley: “the ‘O.T.O.’ is not in any way an annex or even in any way connected with the ‘AA’ [Crowley’s Argenteum Astrum, A.·. A.·.] and [...] the Teachings of these Two independent Bodies must rigorously be kept separate and distinct.” To which Crowley replied (on 23rd November, 1921) that it was his “will to be O.H.O. and Frater Superior of the Order and avail myself of your abdication — to proclaim myself as such.” Several days later, on 27th November, 1921, Crowley noted in his diary: “I have proclaimed myself O.H.O. [Outer Head of the Order] Frater Superior of the Order of Oriental Templars.”[6]






From then on, in Rosicrucian circles it was considered that “During the last two years of [Reuss’s] life he was not active in teaching the Crowley doctrines and practices and regained the respect previously ac­corded to him in occult and fraternal circles.”[7] Reuss died in October, 1923. His Will and papers were left in the care of his widow.[8] Heinrich Traenker (1880–1956) (in Germany) informed Jones of Reuss’ death and gave some account of the last years of his organization in Switzerland and Germany, writing that “nearly no more followers of the O.T.O. are left.” Jones, at first, offered to recognize Traenker as the new O.H.O., but Traenker declined.[9] When Jones wrote to Crowley, informing him of Reuss’ death and offerering Crowley recognition as the new leader, Crowley accepted:[10] “I therefore accept the responsibility of this office and proceed to assume its Authority from this moment. As my first act I confirm the respective charters of yourself and [Traenker].”[11]

Reuss continued his own original O.T.O. and removed all thelemic references from the rituals and his Order magazines. Crowley on the other hand ignored Reuss. After Reuss' death in 1923, neither the use of the logo nor the name is unique to any group.

From now on, the O.T.O. was split into parallel competing branches.[12] It is almost impossible to gain a complete picture of the many O.T.O. groups that sprang from Theodor Reuss’s invention.[13]



Charles S. Jones, Achad, Ordo Templi Orientis, O.T.O., Crystal Vision through Crystal Gazing, 1923, Chalice of Ecstasy Parzival, 1923


The Calf is in the Cow, not the Cow in the Calf


On 1st January, 1932, Jones (Achad became IX° and X° of the U.S., through Crowley, who also included him in his Will (dated the same day) as heir to the office of O.H.O.. This Will is the only one in which Crowley made use of the term ‘O.H.O. (Outer Head of the Order).[14] On 9th October, 1933, Crowley named Karl Germer as his “agent.”

By 1933, quite a few Californians were expressing interest in Crowley’s O.T.O., and so, on 14th September, 1934,[15] the Church of Thelema was legally incorporated there for the first time.

In June, 1934, Crowley wrote to a former friend of Traenker, a jeweller called Max R. Schneider (1887–1948), saying: “I advise strongly against starting O.T.O. until I am personally present. This time it has got to be done correctly right.”[16] But, on 21st September, the following year, the second Agapé Lodge[17] was founded by Wilfred Talbot Smith (1885–1957) together with the aforementioned Schneider and Sarah Jane Wolfe (1875–1958), who had known Crowley at his Italian Abbey of Thelema. At the end of 1935, and on Crowley’s behalf, Schneider made a vain attempt to take over Lewis’ A.M.O.R.C. Among others associated with this second Agapé Lodge were Ray Burlingame (1893–1965) and his wife Mildred (1913–1981), Roy Leffingwell (1886–1952) and Friedrich Mellinger, Phyllis Wade (later McMurtry, then Seckler) (1917–2004).[18] From 1938, the membership included John (Jack) Parsons (1914–1952), Helen Parsons-Smith (1910–2003), Gabriel Montenegro (1907–1969)[19] and Louis Culling (1894–1973), amongst others. A correspondence was maintained with Friedrich Lekve (1904–1956) and Krumm-Heller (1879–1947). Crowley, frustrated by the fractiousness within the Californian group, had high hopes for Krumm-Heller[20] and, on 28th December, 1936, suggested he should “take over the work in California.”[21] The attempt did not succeed.

Between 5th May and 18th July, 1941, Germer, was again named by Crowley as his “personal agent and representative in the United States of America” and “All persons in authority under me in connection with the A.·. A.·. and O.T.O. are to recognize him as their chief.”

Crowley declined invitations (from the Smiths, Schneiders and Leffingwells) to settle down in the U.S.A.: by now he was too ill even to hold his own heroin syringe[22] and was living in reduced circumstances, wandering from one dingy boarding-house to another. On 18th July, 1941, Germer was appointed, by Crowley, as successor and Outer Head of the Order, in a document instructing O.T.O. members “to recognize him as their Chief” without limitation to any particular country or jurisdiction. On 26th December, 1941, Germer wrote to Jane Wolfe, saying “I feel lost in the grades, rituals, dignities, offices, rights and what not. Also I dislike the crowd of people who hang around and never get anywhere, who do nothing but talk, jabber, ask questions and would not understand your answers anyway.“

On 14th March, 1942, Crowley wrote to Germer: “I shall appoint you my successor as O.H.O., but on special terms. It is quite clear to me that a complete change in the structure of the Order, and in its methods, is necessary. The Secret is the basis, and you must select the proper people. You can take outsiders; but everyone who has anything to do with us at all must make a formal renunciation of ideas denounced in AL 49–56. Cap III. Then comes the New Social Order, on the lines laid down in the books LII, CI, CLXI and CXCIV (See Equinox III.1. pp 195–246) and same in Eqx. III.2. — this volume is not under my hand at the moment. The broad base of public association is the Gnostic Mass.”[23]

In September 1942, Germer wrote to Jane Wolfe: “I have never, in an outer formality, been initiated either into the A.·. A.·. nor the O.T.O. for that matter.

On December 10th Crowley re-emphasized that Germer was his “agent and attorney,” and that he acknowledged everything to which Germer put his signature.

On 16th February, 1943, Crowley wrote to Wolfe: “it would not be unfair to say that they [Agapé Lodge members] do not seem to be taking the Order seriously [...] there is absolutely no work being done and no attempt to do any work.

In March, 1943, Crowley wrote to Wolfe: “I am enlightened and horrified by what you say about the Californian crowd. What you tell me is truly abominable.Crowley described Wolfe’s letters as “stupid gossip.”[24]

March 15, 1943. Germer sent a letter to all members saying that "the present situation has made it imperative to demand from every single one who claims to membership of the O.T.O. a clarification of his status and a re-affirmation of allegiance."

On 4th May, 1943, Crowley wrote to Wolfe: “I can see nothing but distraction, dispersion and waste, and colossal stupidity [...] It looks to me as if you were wasted out there – the whole crowd of you.



By 1943, the house owned by Jack Parsons and used by the O.T.O. was under FBI surveillance.[25] This was located in a rather wealthy residential area of Pasadena. Parsons attracted potential members by publishing in local newspapers for “bohemians, artists, musicians, atheists, anarchists, or other exotic types need apply for rooms – any mundane soul would unceremoniously rejected.”[26]

Crowley was fed up with Smith and employed a sly tactic to get rid of him. He declared Smith an avatar of a God,[27] and sent him into a Magical Retirement. Nevertheless, Smith stayed in Parsons’ O.T.O. house and so ruined Crowley’s plan.

In the summer of 1943 divorce was in the air. It appears that Helen Parsons-Smith was deliberately kept mostly out of the loop. Seemingly, she was not well-liked due to her connection to Wilfred T. Smith. In fact, she became pregnant by Smith whilst Parsons started a relationship with Smith’s sister-in-law. However, in a diary entry dated 4th August, 1943, Crowley noted “fine lodge cooperation under Jack’s leadership”. Some weeks after Crowley defined Smith a God, he repudiated him. The finances were a “catastrophe.”[28] Germer had named Schneider to the headship but when the latter had died, in April 1948, focus switched to Grady Louis McMurtry, who had entered the scene in 1941 via the Science Fiction Club people around Forrest J. Ackerman; where he met Parsons.



Grady Louis McMurtry (1918–1985) Company Commander for the Normandy invasion U.S. Army Private to Captain Hymenaeus Alpha Ordo Templi Orientis Caliph Caliphate


It Takes Two To Tango


On 13th June, 1941, Grady Louis McMurtry (1918–1985) became a member. In 1943, McMurtry visited Germer in New York whilst on leave in Europe, having already stopped off that year in Scotland on his birthday (October 18th). Shortly afterwards, on 30th October, he travelled to England to meet Crowley (though not his part-time secretary Frederic Mellinger). In 1944 he returned to Great Britain to see Crowley, and also met Kenneth Grant (b. 1924) in London.[29] Crowley pinned down the length of their meetings in his diary: I must not do such ass-acts.”[30] McMurtry had been appointed as a Company Commander for the Normandy invasion (arriving there in June 1944) – he was in charge of transporting 500 lb. bombs![31]

On 22nd August, 1944, Crowley told McMurtry he was “quite the most serious and intelligent of the younger lot. This singles you out to be the proper man to take charge of affairs when the time is right.” On 28th September, 1944, Crowley wrote to McMurtry: “I hope that you will prefer my plan for your career as my Fidus Achates, alter ego, Caliph, & so on.” This intention has no related entry in Crowley’s diary and neither Crowley’s or Germer’s writings contain any recognition of the term ‘Caliphate’, nor any explanation of the meaning of the title ‘Caliph’.[32] McMurtry later claimed “I am Caliph because I am a sol­dier,”[33] alluding to a letter (dated 21st November, 1944) Crowley sent him in Belgium (where he was stationed at the time)[34] and which said: “Frater Saturnus [Germer] is of course the natural Caliph [...]. In any case, it can only be a stop-gap because of his age. I have to look for his successor […]. Your actual life, or ‘blooding’ is the sort of initiation which I regard as the first essential for a Caliph.”[35] In the same letter to McMurtry, Crowley included a note at the very end which acknowledged the “Caliphate is not mine”; Crowley added “everyone can make him — or herself — of Presidential Timber.”

On 10th December, 1944, McMurtry visited Crowley. In his diary, Crowley noted: “H.A. [McMurtry] dashed in!!! Whole bloody day enquiring, instructing, confirming k.t.l. ad nauseam oh so blasted tired. But very happy.” On the 22nd: “Chess & more solid instruction in IX° than I ever gave before to any one!”[36]

On 27th January, Crowley (having now moved to another boarding house) wrote to Louis Wilkinson (who wrote under the name Louis Marlow) about Grant, saying: “I am trying to get him to look after me and my work [...] Brief: a definite gift from the Gods [...] An ideal person to do all the hard work under your direction!”[37]

A memorandum in Crowley’s diary, dated 7th February, 1945, states: “Feb. 7. to Saturnus re financial po­licy of OTO (1) A.C.’s copyrights belong to OTO ... each new book, or set of essays, or what not, is a direct gain to OTO ... to keep him alive & at work, with secret help, must be the first charge on the Funds, whether labelled ‘Publication Fund’ or otherwise. (2) Value of [Kenneth] Grant: If I die or go to U.S.A., there must be a trained man to take care of English OTO (3) We must run OTO as Consti­tution etc. have laid down.” On the same day (7th February, 1945), Crowley wrote to Grant (b. 1924): “after my death you would become invaluable to the OTO, as being able to carry on with everything at the tips of your fingers.”[38]

Crowley, who had been living in relative poverty, was now in regular receipt of money; Germer and Schneider were supporting him to the tune of approximately $200 per month. McMurtry, on the other hand, wasn’t so generous. On 1st December, 1943, Crowley paid him 20% interest on a loan of £50. Crowley was obliged to fend-off McMurtry by appointing him (on 11th April, 1945[39]) a “fully paid-up member of the IX°,” further assigning McMurtry a 25% share in the profits of his book, ‘Magick Without Tears’.[40]

McMurtry was sent to investigate problems in California.[41] He reported on a plan to incorporate the Californian O.T.O. and mentioned his wish to open a lodge of his own, in San Francisco. Germer opined that “A.C. will doubtless write you about your plan to incorporate the O.T.O. — a thing that should have been done before — and your setting up a Lodge in S.F.” Crowley then issued a special authorization to McMurtry, putting him in direct charge of all Californian O.T.O. operations and of reforming the local O.T.O. group, pursuant to his report of 25th January, 1946,[42] but subject to the approval of Germer specifying the authorization was to be used only in an “emergency”.[43] Crowley then expanded McMurtry’s powers beyond California, appointing him (on 11th April, 1946) as his “personal representative in the United States of America, and his authority is to be considered as Ours, subject to the approval, revision, or veto,” of Germer; Crowley signed this missive as O.H.O..[44]

From 1945 onwards, Crowley’s diary entries became almost illegible as his health deteriorates; exacerbated by his chronic drug habit. In May 1946, he underwent complicated and painful dental work and worried about going blind as a result of his many other health problems. He meticulously noted his attacks of diarrhoea, emphysema, and panic. For the sake of his health, Crowley’s doctor advised him to stop smoking, but Crowley was still occasionally capable of some of his old pugnaciousness.[45]

In June 1946, Germer visited Agapé Lodge. McMurtry often drove up to visit the Germers. Eventually Germer’s mental state was often discussed among the other members because within days McMurtry received letters from Germer getting accused of things which McMurtry had thought had been resolved. Due to these letters McMurtry became increasingly disgusted with Sascha Germer’s influence over her husband.

On 01st August, 1946, Germer wrote to McMurtry, saying: “I would like decisions be made and executed in your name.”

On 2nd August, 1946, Karl and his wife (Sascha) visited Agapé Lodge. Eventually, Germer reported back to Crowley, expressing discontent with the meagre process of the lodge and about McMurtry’s special authority” while Roy Leffingwell was still the lodge master. On 14th August, a Special mee­ting took place there, at which the order that every contact with W.T. Smith would lead to immediate expulsion from the O.T.O. was again emphasised. McMurtry’s so-called ‘Caliphate’-letters were also shown around.

On 20th August, 1946, Parsons officially proclaimed his “formal resignation in full from the Ordo Templi Orientis, otherwise known as the O.T.O., to take effect as of this date.”[46] Roy Leffingwell assumed control, although Crowley remained reluctant, he wrote to Germer, saying: “Roy is merely the Master of a Provincial Camp, he seems to be unaware of the exi­stence of such places as England, Canada, Germany, Denmark and so on. England in particular is beginning to look up very brightly.”[47]

On 17th June, 1947, Crowley complained to McMurtry: “It seems a long while since I heard from you. This is a great mistake: I shall tell you why in strict confidence. In the event of my death, Frater Saturnus [Germer] is of course my successor, but after his death the terrible burden of responsibility might very easily fall upon your shoulders.” The crucial words here are ‘might very easily’. The two documents Crowley issued granting authority to McMurtry are, in fact, of strictly limited application. On 15th July, 1947 less than a month after the letter to McMurtry Crowley wrote to Frederic Mellinger in very similar terms, saying: “I am very anxious indeed that you should keep in close touch with me, if only because I think it quite possible that after Frater Saturnus and myself have moved on into the next stage, you may find yourself saddled with the whole responsibility of carrying on the work of the Order.”[48] Worried by Crowley’s ill-health, Germer sailed for Antwerp (on 26th September, 1947), but was not able to set foot on English soil.[49] McMurtry, who could very easily have arranged Crowley’s relocation to America, told Germer that he wasn’t going to do it because his wife was pregnant and his job left him with no time to care for both an ailing Crowley and the mother-to-be.[50]



Crowley’s Legacy


Crowley died an undischarged bankrupt on 01st December, 1947. The Official Receiver appointed to administer his affairs accepted Germer’s claim (on behalf of the O.T.O. as an unincorporated association[51]) to funds of £450, as property held in trust by Crowley for the O.T.O.. His Last Will and Testament (dated 09th June, 1947) made no mention of McMurtry and annulled all previous Wills, though it did name journalist John Symonds (1914–2006) and the novelist Louis Wilkinson (a.k.a. Louis Marlowe, 1881–1966) as Crowley’s literary executors. Karl Germer and the painter Frieda Harris (1877–1962) became responsible for Crowley’s personal belongings, while Germer took charge of the O.T.O..

After Crowley’s death, Germer, Wilkinson and Harris questioned whether the Official Receiver really was the legal inheritor of Crowley’s copyrights in consequence of Crowley’s bankruptcy. A voluminous correspondence dragged on throughout the following years, though all participants were sure the Crown (of whom the Official Receiver was the legal representative) did not in fact possess the copyrights. Wilkinson wrote, on 01st January, 1948: “I am puzzled that the St. Leonard’s solicitors did not inform Mr. Crowley that he could not make his Will with any effect until he was ‘discharged’. He had told them that he was an undischarged bankrupt.” They were worried about Gerald Yorke[52], who might be planning to purchase all Crowley’s remaining manuscripts at public auction[53]. In February 1948, they offered to pay the Official Receiver enough to cancel his debts. At first, the Official Receiver ignored Germer & Co’s offer. But in June 1948, there was a response: The Official Receiver has decided to make no claim to the moneys deposited with Lloyds Bank, Hastings [...]. The Official Receiver waived claim to all personal property of the late Mr. Crowley [...]. The only claim that he did make was on the books and manuscripts [...] for which he accepted £25 from my co-executor Mr. Germer.”[54] So, Germer believed that “I hold the Copyrights for the late Aleister Crowley.”[55]

On 01st March, 1948, Germer informed McMurtry that he was revising the list of candidates for Crowley’s proposed triumvirate to run the O.T.O.: it now consisted of McMurtry, Mellinger, Schneider and Jane Wolfe.[56] On 07th March, that year, Yorke clarified this matter for Germer, stating that only the two Reuss-appointed X°s (Traenker and Jones) had the final word on decisions affecting the O.T.O..



You can’t have your cake and eat it


On 24th September, 1948, Germer wrote to Kenneth Grant, saying: “You would have known that I am not the O.H.O.: I do not know whether I would accept the job if it were pressed on me […] the pledge is connected with being recognised as a possessor of the IX° O.T.O.. It does not instate you or give you a Charter to work an O.T.O. Lodge.” Germer also sent him a IX° certificate.

The probate of Crowley’s will was granted by the Lewes and District Probate Registry (on 24th January, 1949) to Harris and Wilkinson, except for the purposes of property and effects (which included copyrights) in connection with the deceased’s profession as an author.

On 21st March, 1950, Germer wrote to Symonds, saying: “I’m writing to ask you to let me have a clear and definite undertaking about the shipment of the remainder of Crowley’s matter.” And on 16th November wrote, “Two weeks ago the last shipment of Crowley’s stuff arrived in New York, and I am now in possession of it almost three years after the man’s death.”

On 5th March, 1951, Grant (in London) received a Charter for the III° from Germer. This was co-signed by Mellinger. On 25th May, 1951, Germer wrote to Grant, saying: “In the first place, do not refer to me as your superior in the Order. That is only true in an extremely limited sense. What I appear to be in the O.T.O. has been thrust upon me, against my will. I will do what I can; but I shall refuse to make claims that go against my grain. I am strictly speaking the Grand Treasurer General of the O.T.O.. No more, no less!” Further correspondance followed:

On 18th January, 1952, Germer wrote to Grant, saying: “I never went through the O.T.O. grades; I don’t know ritual, or the rituals [...]. I have been the mainstay and provider for the printing of books, etc. etc. during the last 25 years [...]. I cannot see that you need an authorisation, and I notice that you are clear on this point. [...]. I look to England as the leading country: you have culture; you have all the vast thelemic material. Germany would also be a suitable country [...]. The U.S.? Well! This is a spiritual desert [...] consider yourself [...] as on your own. I shall accept the steps you decide to take and shall abide by them. The only condition I should make is to keep me well informed.”

On 03rd May, 1952Germer wrote to Grant, saying: “Nor am I against the O.T.O. system, or the system of Degrees. Only, paradoxically, I have very little interest in it. I wish someone could take the whole work, and the responsibility for the burden which A.C. laid on my incompetent shoulders, off me! [...]. If we want to get the O.T.O. properly going again, we need a competent leader, not only for England but for the world. [...]. I have often thought that you might well be chosen for the job [...]. There is no active Lodge, as such, in the U.S.A. of the O.T.O..”

On 10th April, 1952, McMurtry wrote to Germer, asking: “Does the O.T.O. still exist as an organization?”

On 20th November, 1952, Roy Leffingwell died and Jane Wolfe became his heiress. On 09th August, 1953, Germer wrote to Wolfe, saying: “If I authorize registering of the Order, it would have to be a real Order, in which duties come first; privileges a long way after. What was so objectionable in the handling of Agape Lodge to all serious people who reported to A.C. as also to authorities such as the FBI and the like,[57] was that it was just the opposite [...] none of them is of ‘good standing’, and have no rights or privileges [...]. When Grady came here, he considered himself as a co-owner, behaved in a strange manner to say the least, ordered Sascha away.”[58]

In the summer of 1953, W.T. Smith and Louis Culling decided to legally incorporate the Church of Thelema and proclaim Smith as O.H.O., using Crowley’s will (dated 01st January, 1932) as their justification. Eventually, Germer expelled both of them from the O.T.O.,[59] closing the lodge on 07th September, 1953.[60] All groups that have since operated under this name are new foundations. Germer wrote to Jane Wolfe, saying that “I have deferred notifying the members of the former Agape Lodge that I have dissolved the Lodge altogether: I have come to the conviction that the name smells, politically and otherwise. If at any time it is resurrected, it should be under another name that has no past bad traditions.”[61] McMurtry begged to differ, replying: I considered myself a member of the Order, but there was no organization to report to.”[62] By the mid-1950s, when McMurtry announced he wanted to undertake O.T.O. initiations, Germer was unenthusiastic, he stated: “I consider all that to be the lower magick.” [63]

In the early Fifties, Grant established contact with the Fraternitas Saturni.[64] In 1955, he issued a Manifesto in which he called himself X° and O.H.O., naming Eugen Grosche (1888–1964) of the Fraternitas Saturni (and an old adversary of Germer’s) as an associate.[65] This infuriated Germer, who took “violent exception” to such a reference.[66] Grosche exacerbated matters by publishing a shortened version of Grant’s Manifesto in his own German magazine. This so angered Germer that (on 20th July, 1955) he wrote a “Note of Expulsion,” excommunicating Grant and forbidding Grosche from publishing any Crowley writings.[67] Eventually, a certain Edward Noël Fitzgerald (1908–1958) was appointed as Germer’s “personal representative” in matters concerning the O.T.O. for Great Britain.[68] 1956, 11th January, Germer told Fitzgerald that the only person in England who has the Ninth Degree Paper "Emblems and Mode of Use" was Gerald Yorke and he was ordered “not to show it to Grant.”

The Germers were going through a distinctly rocky patch: there was little or no money coming in and the couple had great difficulty finding a place to stay which would accept their pet dogs. Sascha Germer was very disappointed by the Thelemites, who had degenerated into what she characterised as a “Sexkult” mainly because of “Phylis, [sic] a 22 year old whore.”[69] The 65 year-old Sascha showed her husband only “bitterness, mockery and contempt,”[70] living apart from him until 1957, when Karl finally found them a new house. As a witness, Helen Parsons-Smith later stated in Court that Germer “had quite a phobia about earthquakes and the whole Western United States going into the sea from Nebraska on West.”[71] He complained about his physical troubles and was given a ‘remote diagnosis’ by Gabriel Montenegro. Karl described his situation (to Sascha) as “Everything is dark for me,”seeing death as his only respite.



Que las Rosas Florezcán



First two photos below made by Oscar R. Schlag. Third photo: Motta with beard, 'Oriflamme', Vol. VI, Nº 3, Nashville 1983, p. 510.

Society Ordo Templi Orientis Marcelo Ramos Motta Society Ordo Templi Orientis Marcelo Ramos Motta Society Ordo Templi Orientis Marcelo Ramos Motta


Marcelo Ramos Motta (1931–1987) joined the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua at Rio de Janeiro on 19th August, 1948. Whilst on holiday in Portugal he came across John Symonds’s biography of Crowley, The Great Beast (London 1951), and instantly became a convinced Crowleyite. On the advice of his F.R.A. superior (Ernâni de Paula) he went to Germany (in 1953[72]) and met Parsival Krumm-Heller[73] (1925–2008), who in turn referred him to Karl Germer. In 1956, he visited Germer in Barstow, California, where he was then living (at Ero Shivonen’s house.[74]) Motta, who was now quarrelling with Duval Ernâni de Paula (1907–2005), left the F.R.A..[75] In January 1957, accompanied by Germer and Jane Wolfe, Motta then went to visit Phyllis Seckler.

Between 1956 and 1961, Motta lived under the name Mark Hellington in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he occupied himself in writing around twenty film and TV scripts[76] plus a number of song lyrics.[77] But he confessed to Germer that “I nurse a secret and ridiculous ambition to be A.C.’s successor.”[78]

On 20th September, 1957, Germer wrote to Motta, saying: “O.T.O. — I do not in the least discourage, or disparage that you work to s[t?]ay on this subject, except that at the moment, and for a period of months to come, I would be in no position or mood, or frame of mind, to go deeply into the matter. First, the O.T.O. does not interest me too much; mine is only in the A.A. And, as I must have told you, A.C. wanted me to set up an entirely different system to convey to selected ones the central secret of the Sangraal.”[79] Germer went on to concur with Crowley’s judgement that: “The A.·. A.·. is for personal initiation; O.T.O. is for groups, & not nearly as important.”[80]

On 20th December, 1957, Motta wrote to Germer, saying: “The O.T.O. is no concern of mine.”

On 31st January, 1958, Germer wrote to McMurtry, saying: “Sascha is a very high member of the Order,[81] though all you people are so spiritually blind, or poisoned, that you can’t see this. As far as the Work, now, or in A.C.’s life, goes, she has done more for it, and is doing it, than all other so-called members combined.”

On 12th February, 1958, McMurtry wrote to Germer, saying: “The idea of my starting my own nucleus is some­thing that I find very attractive,” Germer encouraged him to do this in a previous letter. “I have not considered it recently, however, without presuming that such a project would be tied in closely with your work. Now that you have cut me loose from such considerations and cast me out ‘on my own’ in this con­nection, I shall proceed as best I can and as quickly as I can.” And, on 24th February, he wrote to the Burlingames and Jean Shivonen.

On 29th March, 1958, Jane Wolfe died. On 9th November, Jean Shivonen told McMurtry she’d taken a long talk with the Burlingames and that moves were now afoot with the O.T.O.. They wanted to know whether there was anyone operating under the O.T.O. name in California and suggested McMurtry should “incorporate under the title and build up again.”[82]

On 20th March, 1959, Germer wrote to Motta about McMurtry: “Remember that burly knight in Berkeley, as you so beautifully labelled him sometime ago, how much promise has yet been plagued by a silly woman hostile to Thelema and AC and a son. How much should I expect from him and how deep has he sunk, unless he still pulls himself together. It is sure misery.” He also claimed McMurtry was unreliable with money.



Don’t meet troubles halfway


By the mid-1950s McMurtry was plainly intending to assert his independence of Germer’s leadership, thus (from Germer’s perspective) falling from grace. For this reason McMurtry and his allies always questioned Germer’s authority. To this day they, and their successors, never miss an opportunity to cast doubts on Germer’s mental state.

By 1959, McMurtry was holding meetings, behind Germer’s back,[83] at Leffingwell’s house in Lakewood. At least two of these are known to have happened (on 08th and 22nd of August). This small coterie of IX° members were discussing the future of their O.T.O., titled, “Thelema, Inc.” and especially who was going to be O.H.O.. Other IX°s, outside this clique (Frederic Mellinger, Marcelo Ramos Motta, Hermann J. Metzger, and Kenneth Grant), were not invited to attend their deliberations. These meetings might have been not entirely unrelated to the fact that the rival candidates for O.H.O. in America were both dead: Jones died on 24th February, 1950, and Smith, more recently, on 27th April, 1957. The McMurtry cabal seems to have ignored the fact that nothing in any O.T.O. constitution (as issued by Reuss or Crowley) entitled IX°s to vote for the O.H.O.; this was a privilege exclusive to X°s.[84] Nonetheless, several other non-X°s attended these meetings, including the widowed Mrs. Schneider-Shivonen from Barstow, Aleister Ataturk MacAlpine,[85] Helen Parsons-Smith and her boyfriend Gabriel Montenegro. Montenegro spoke against McMurtry as O.H.O., and that was, apparently, the end of that.[86]

On 02nd December, 1959, Germer wrote to McMurtry, saying: “I have and had told you that 666 discussed with me to keep you for a prominent position in the Order. I was only too willing to accept this. What have you done in the last 12 years to justify and earn this position? And instead of a Plus, you’ve been a great Minus.” This was the last letter Germer ever sent to McMurtry. Germer concluded that all the Thelemites in California (except the Burlingames) were undesirable.[87] From then onwards, and purely for motives of revenge, McMurtry’s gang consistently labelled Karl and Sascha Germer as mad.[88]

Montenegro was clearly under the impression that Roy Leffingwell was Crowley’s representative for the U.S.A..[89] But Leffingwell had died on 20th November, 1952.[90] On 27th January, 1960, McMurtry wrote to Montenegro, saying: “I have never made a claim to being the legitimate successor to the Caliphate.” On 21st November, 1960, Montenegro and his mistress (Helen Parsons-Smith[91]) commented to McMurtry on his, “fantastic claims” over the so-called ‘Caliphate letters’, they said: there is nothing in it that could be construed in any way, then or henceforth, as intention of appointment to you, as his [Crowley’s] spiritual and temporal heir as you infer [...] you failed to see the point.” During the lawsuit McMurtry brought against Motta (in 1985 see later chapters), Helen Parsons-Smith stated that Montenegro had phoned her on the same day he died (14th July 1969) and told her he now accepted McMurtry as chief; but her statement would be ruled as legally inadmissible it being hearsay. Nevertheless, the lawyer considered this a “dying declaration.”[92] Mrs. Smith’s acquaintance, Martin P. Starr (see later chapters), maintained that since then she had “forgotten” this court-recorded statement and distanced herself from the ‘Caliphate’.[93] Starr also claimed that Montenegro had a “low opinion of Grady McMurtry and his claims” to headship of the Order.[94]



Hermann Joseph Metzger


The Swiss baker and ex-communist, H.J. Metzger, was an active occultist from the mid-1940s. Together with Friedrich (Frederic) Lekve and Eugen Grosche (of the Fraternitas Saturni), he was largely responsible for the survival of Thelema in Europe immediately after WWII. In possession of a visa for German territories under Allied occupation, Metzger was able to serve as a convenient go-between for several groups. He travelled on behalf of the Order of the Illuminati, meanwhile taking care of Fraternitas Saturni business and visiting the various Thelemites scattered across Europe. He established a new ‘Abbey of Thelema,’ in Switzerland, in the early 1950s and, having bought his own printing-press, started distributing books and magazines at a time when the O.T.O. was almost entirely dormant elsewhere in the world. We must not forget that after Crowley’s death (in 1947) Karl Germer (1885–1962) repeatedly denied in correspondence that he was O.H.O. and recruited no members in the USA; nor did he collect subscriptions or perform initiations. So, by this time, Metzger’s Swiss group might be regarded as the only active O.T.O. in the whole world. Metzger was also able to adduce evidence leading others to believe that his O.T.O. was descended from Reuss, a fact that effectively gave him authority over every offshoot of Crowley’s O.T.O..

Meanwhile, Mellinger made a short trip to the U.S.A.; mainly so as not to lose his American citizenship, but also to assist Germer in putting Crowley’s O.T.O. archive in order. Although Friedrich Lekve was the most active Thelemite in German-speaking Europe, Germer favoured Mellinger, making him responsible for assessing new candidates for Crowley’s O.T.O.. Grant, Lekve and Metzger mostly had to deal with Mellinger. Surviving correspondence between Germer and Grant reveals that Mellinger also gave Germer a great deal of advice on Thelemic matters.

As an IX°, Mellinger needed “no formal Charter” to conduct his initiations, even those raising candidates to the IX° itself or so he had been informed by Germer (on 15th September, 1951): “these remarks refer to Metzger too.” In October 1951, Metzger travelled (with Annemarie Aeschbach) to visit Lekve in Hildesheim (Germany), and later to Hamburg, where Mellinger lived. Metzger saw his visit to Mellinger in the following light: “In October 1951, on the orders of Fra. Saturnus [Germer] the IX° O.T.O. was presented by Fra. Merlinus (Dr. Friedrich Mellinger) to Fra. Paragranus [Metzger] in Hamburg, in the presence of Sor. Chochmah [Annemarie Aeschbach].”[95]

Mitteilungsblatt des Psychosophischen Institutes - Ordo Templi Orientis - Switzerland
On 31st October, Mellinger reported to Germer (in New York) that Metzger was utterly obsessed with getting hold of as much occult and O.T.O. material as possible. Although Metzger liked to keep in the background, Mellinger gave account to Germer that there were hints “that he is looked at as the authority in every respect by his sheep”. Germer feared that both he and Mellinger were making themselves look ridiculous in Metzger’s eyes because “He knows all about Grosche and knows Tränker personally”. A flurry of deliberations between Mellinger and Germer followed, in which they discussed how even someone apparently as clever as Metzger could get embroiled in Thelemic matters without looking ridiculous. But it transpired that Metzger was not so well-informed about Thelema after all since, “it seems he confuses things of which he has no notion [...]. He knows nothing about the A.A. at all.”[96]

Mellinger tried to make himself useful to Metzger, producing a new German translation of the ‘Gnostic Mass’ and supporting him as best he could in other ways. “In one respect, I [Mellinger] told him, do I feel that he could not expect your [Germer’s] authorisation to use the material you might send him”; though Metzger seems to have received this news with splendid and convincing modesty.” On 21st December, 1951, Germer told Metzger that “It will be good when you are finally and deeply convinced that printing Liber Al in the form in which it was dictated will enable you to win a secure place of the first rank.” Metzger finally got around to printing the German version of the ‘Book of the Law’ in September, 1954; Germer “was jubilant about this,”[97] since Crowley had once predicted Germany would be the leading nation in promoting his writings.
Peter Mano - Hermann Joseph Metzger - Strahlende Welt - Beitrag zur Geschichte der Radiäesthesie


Hermann Joseph Metzger - Liber Al vel Legis - Book of the Law - 1954

Furthermore, Germer had come to think towards a correspondant named Williams that “the Zürich group began anew in a proper way in 1924.”[98] One result of this jubilation was that Germer provided Metzger with a sort of carte blanche to further his occult ambitions: “Firstly, you have no need to justify yourself to me. Your work counts,” he told Metzger on 3rd October, 1954. After March 1954, statements like “We, Master Therion’s authorised heir” started appearing in Metzger’s publications; the same books and magazines in which Germer was now publishing his expositions and German translations of Crowley.




Hermann Joseph Metzger - Ordo Templi Orientis publication 1955

Hermann Joseph Metzger - Ordo Templi Orientis publication 1955

Hermann Joseph Metzger - Ordo Templi Orientis publication 1955

Ex Occidente Lux - Ordo Templi Orientise Switzerland - Frederic Friedrich Mellinger - Abbey of Thelema

Hermann Joseph Metzger - Ordo Templi Orientis publication 1956

Hermann Joseph Metzger - Ordo Templi Orientis publication 1958

Hermann Joseph Metzger - Ordo Templi Orientis publication 1959

Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica - Ordo Templi Orientis - Canon Missae - Switzerland - Liber XV - Aleister Crowley

Oriflamme - Swiss Ordo Templi Orientis Switzerland - Hermann Joseph Metzger



Psychosophische Gesellschaft - Ordo Templi Orientis - Illuminaten Orden - Stein / Appenzell - Bücher - Aleister Crowley - Die drei Schulen der Magie - Die Stimme der Stille (H.P. Blavatzky) - Meister Therion



Metzger then contacted all widows of the deceased Thelemic protagonists in Europe, whilst also demanding Frau Lekve hand over the Order property still in her possession.[99] He then travelled to Hamburg, where he succeeded in getting hold of C.H. Petersen’s estate. Metzger’s publishing efforts, as well as his Abbey of Thelema, inspired a hope in Germer that he had found a worthy European successor as described by the later researcher Francis King who considered Metzger as “the man who, as far as I can see, is chosen for a great and growing job.”[100] On 01st May, 1955, Metzger was appointed Custodian of the Areopagus of the World League of Illuminati (Order of Illuminati) and sought to link himself and his groups with what he saw as the original source of the O.T.O..[101] In his view, the O.T.O. under Reuss had split from the Illuminati in 1902. In October, 1957, Metzger first became the Bishop and subsequently (in 1960) the Patriarch of the Gnostic Catholic Church.[102] Metzger’s Abbey often played host to fifty guests at a time, amongst whom were Viennese brethren of the Illuminati Order, and others from South America; mostly Brazilian adherents of the F.R.A..

Mellinger translated one of Crowley’s smaller works (a version of the Taoist classic the ‘Khing Kang King’) into German for Metzger’s publications. He also wrote book reviews. In 1956, Metzger did his compulsory military service as a Swiss citizen and it appears that Mellinger took over as editor-in-chief of Metzger’s press for three months. In European esoteric circles it was well-known that, as Herbert Fritsche described it, “Frederic Mellinger is one of the most distinguished people in Stein [the village neighbouring Metzger’s Abbey of Thelema], fresh in from America, and probably able to furnish us with new high grades.”

On 15th June, 1960, Germer wrote to Metzger, saying: “Personally I can see that foreign travel would hinder me with difficulties in Europe, since I’d be constrained by people’s letters and enquiries, something you know to be a fact, as sole claimant to the crown. You know well enough how we’ve admired you for this.”[103]

In 1961, Germer asked Metzger to send Motta a German version of ‘Liber XV’ (the ‘Gnostic Mass’). Metzger dispatched the translation he’d already published, which differed slightly from the text used in his own group; enclosing with this a circular giving a German version of the Thelemic greeting ‘Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law’ as “Tu was du willst, soll sein das ganze Gesetz.” Germer was incensed: the Swiss: [...] heir du [in capital letters] in a holy text is a blasphemy [...]. They have published also ‘LXV’ and ‘VII’ in my translations, and — ‘horribile dictu’ — changed arbitrarily some vital passages. Since I criticised them, they don’t answer my letters. The Swiss are a strange crowd,” he complained, in a letter to Motta (dated 24th September, 1961.[104]) He went on to request that Motta send a harshly-worded message to Switzerland about “such atrocities against Thelema.”[105] Spurred on by this disharmony, Motta now decided he was really the Great Beast and O.H.O. and, on 17th December, 1961, loftily informed Germer that “Marcelo Ramos Motta, not you, decides what is proper Thelemic business procedure [...]. You are warned, and once warned openly is enough for the wise.” While Germer had written to Motta (on 13th October, 1961): “I can see that you have been tentatively admitted into what I may call the Thelemic chain. It will take long, patient, persistent work to prove yourself. In any case, your work in this phase is in Brazil and nowhere else.” On 23rd December, 1961, Germer replied: “You blithering, miserable idiot [...] you have to be left alone.” On 30th December, 1961, Motta wrote to Germer, saying: “I have felt for a long time that there were some things intrinsically wrong with the OTO. If I live to do any work of promulgation of Thelema, I do not intend publicizing the OTO or the Gnostic Church at all. I shall work exclusively with the A.·. A.·. for initiate work. I want, however, to make quite clear that your behavior in the last two months and your rudeness in the question of the money, especially, have made me banish any personal regard I may have had for you and I ask you to limit our contact solely to the business of A.·. A.·. and the Order of Thelema insofar as AC has worked out material on that.” On 17th January, 1962, Germer informed Motta that the O.T.O. was now “dormant.” On the same day, Motta published Crowley’s ‘Liber Aleph’ in Brazil. On 25th January, 1962, Motta wrote to Germer, saying: “More and more I convince myself that the O.T.O. is a very unreliable in­strument — a sword that was once broken cannot be mended, and must be dissolved, and a new one forged.” In the same letter, Motta mentioned his group in Brazil (see later chapters).

On 31st January, 1962, McMurtry wrote to Jean Shivonen, saying that if Germer died, his wife Sascha had to be stopped from inheriting his O.T.O. archives even suggesting that she should be sued. But then McMurtry lapsed into silence until 1968, when Phyllis Seckler contacted him by letter.[106]

On 10th March, 1962, Germer wrote to Motta, about Metzger, saying: “I do not write them any more,” adding (in another letter to Motta, dated 02nd April): “The Swiss man — after a full year — signed his recent letter ‘The child’ [...] The letter he wrote me is half-crazy.” Whilst Metzger’s unusual way of signing letters annoyed Germer, both Metzger and Germer also found Motta’s signing off as “The Priest of the Princes” irksome. On 14th April, 1962, Germer wrote to Motta, saying: “I had one more letter from the Swiss fellow (to which I shall not reply). But he says something about you. (1) that you accuse them of being in touch with Schlag; [see below] (2) that you sign yourself as ‘Priest of the Princes’ [...]. They say that Choronzon[107] was behind this, and I don’t blame them. Once more: I do not write them, as long as they are crazy themselves.”

Motta believed not only that he was a reincarnation of the Comte de St. Germain (17101784), but also a reborn Edward Bulwer Lytton (18031873), ‘Swami’ Vivekananda (18621902), Zhuang Zi, and the Great Beast 666.[108] The Great Beast (or Crowley) had already claimed that he was a reincarnation of Lao Tse, Cagliostro (17431795), and Eliphas Lévi (18101875).


 

Talk of the devil


On March 29th, 1963, Motta wrote to Metzger, saying: “Schlag’s influence [...] has been inflating your ego. […] Schlag is an ‘Evil Adept’ — which means simply that he is a man who, when doing the 5=6 work, united himself to his Evil Persona, instead of his Holy Guardian Angel, and is now a slave to Choronzon — Dispersion — in the person of an Abramelin demon [...] has the help, furthermore, of the Four Princes, which, at the passing of the old Aeon, assumed leadership, and impersonate the spiritual founders of, the four main religions of the Aeon past: Osirian Christianity, Brahmanism, Buddhism and Islamism. […] The Black Brethren, the Demonic Legions and Choronzon attack and can attack only through the ego. […] It is no coincidence that Schlag is living in Switzerland. I understand you mail your material to him. Another example of your blindness! Can’t you see that this means that you voluntarily link yourselves to him! [...] He has done as much harm to Thelema as he can here in Brazil. […] I understand your father was head of the Swiss secret police, and that you were thus able to gather a very exact file on Schlag’s activities. […] He wants to destroy Thelema, for he thinks himself the re-incarnation of St. Germain — the ‘Master R.’ of the Theosophists. […] Indeed, it was his Evil Persona which appeared, in its astral body, to Franker [sic: he meant Heinrich Traenker] and to Arnold Krumm-Heller, and passed itself for their Guardian Angels. […] Do not think, however, that Schlag, in himself, is important. He is only the dupe and puppet of his Evil Angel — an Abramelin demon.”

For the rest of his life Motta remained utterly convinced that Schlag was his mortal enemy and made constant, if muddled, accusations against him in all his publications. After Motta’s death (26th/27th August, 1987), his followers took up the theme and regularly voiced suspicions that Schlag’s puppets were everywhere.


He that toucheth pitch shall be defiled


On 20th April, 1962, Germer wrote to Motta, saying: “I am prepared to give you a charter for the lodge to work only the first three degrees [...]. Write me soon about these points raised and if we are clear, I will send you charter and whatever documents you need such as the first rituals.” Later, Sascha Germer and Motta would interpret this letter to mean that Motta really had received such a charter.[109]

On 30th May, 1962, Motta wrote to Germer, saying: I have never claimed to represent the O.T.O. at any time [...] I have been so deeply hurt by all this O.T.O. entanglement that I wish to have nothing to do with the order. Your lack of trust has wounded me more than I can possibly say.” Later, in 1985, Motta stated in court that: “had I known sooner that Aleister Crowley had left his copyrights to the O.T.O., I would have shown much more interest in the O.T.O. than I did.”[110]

On 09th June, 1962, Germer wrote to Motta, saying: “If one tried to go into refuting or arguing your recent letters one would run the risk of getting contaminated by the demonic forces that have got hold of you.”

Germer kept up his correspondence with William Wallace Webb,[111] writing to him, on 20th July, 1962, with the words: I have no group or organisation [...]. I am not a guru in the usual sense. I do not teach. I am A.C.’s executor and heir.” Germer’s health was declining: a leg injury delayed an operation on his prostate planned for 23rd July.

On 12th October, 1962, Germer wrote to Motta, suggesting: “You are guided by the Supreme Hierophant.”

Karl Johannes Germer died at Jackson on 25th October, 1962, as a result of botched treatment for his prostate cancer (it has been claimed that he was also suffering from syphilis.) In Germer’s only surving Will (dated 04th December, 1951) all O.T.O. material was left to the “heads of the OTO,” a bequest for which his third wife, Austrian-born Sascha Ernestine André Germer (whom he married on 23rd September, 1942) was responsible, together with Frederic Mellinger.[112] In fact, apart from the holograph manuscript of ‘Liber AL’, Germer had, whilst still alive, already passed everything of any importance on to Gerald Yorke.[113]


When the cat’s away, the mice will play


On the day her husband died, Frau Germer noted in her diary that she had never been a member of the O.T.O.. On 30th October, 1962, five days later and the same day that Karl Germer was cremated (at Sacramento), his widow wrote to Motta, saying: “Our Beloved Master is dead [...]. You are The Follower. Please, take it from me, as he died in my Arms and it was his last Wish! Who the Heir of the Library is, I do not know up to now.” McMurtry subsequently disagreed, publicly saying: “This is impossible [...] because Karl Germer died screaming”, quoting supposed entries from her diary.[114] But McMurtry, who refused to acknowledge the fact that he had completely lost touch with the Germers, twisted the facts. Sascha Germer’s diary in fact says: “He started crying loud! Help me, Help me! I came in and ask the Nurses what happened they say Nothing, they only clean him! I went out again.” Outside, she could still hear her husband’s screams, so went back in: “I tryed [sic] to dry [as] good as Possible his Face tortured in expression What this 4 executioners had done with him, slowly he cal­med down, I had his left hand in both My Hands and suddenly the Heart stood still!” In the end, Sascha Germer blamed both doctors and nurses for not caring for her husband in his final agony: “Why was the Tel[ephone] taken out of his Room, why was I not allowed to see him, — why was he scared to Death whenever I wanted to talk to him.” She suspected medical malpractice and neglect.



Sascha Germer's diary October 25; 1962; Karl Germer; Saturnus



Sascha looked round desperately for help, writing to Motta, saying: “My Cable to You was a Cry for Help to save the Work and the Library and I hoped that You understood as he left everything open. After what happened during his Hospital Stay I am scared to Death that some thing will happen the same Way to destroy his Lifes [sic] Work.” Seeing no alternative, she requested that Motta join her in Sacramento to help look for her husband’s most recent Will; but as Motta did not respond, Sascha contacted Phyllis Seckler instead.

Motta and the Burlingames aside, Seckler was not the only O.T.O. member who knew that Germer was dead. Metzger who was preparing to appoint himself Germer’s successor[115] later published a Manifesto which he circulated globally; it mentioned Germer’s death. If this was akin to his other publications its print-run would have been around 3,500 copies, supposedly distributed in 45 countries and proclaiming Metzger as O.H.O. of the O.T.O. to the world.

On 01st November, that year, Phyllis Seckler, whom it should be recalled was still a member of the closed-down second Agapé Lodge, told Motta that he was quite possibly the heir to Crowley’s library.[116] Seckler later recalled that, “Sascha asked for my help and I gladly drove to the mountains to aid as much as I could. At first she couldn’t find Karl’s will and after 5 visits from me, she finally decided she couldn’t stand me or my opinions and so showed me the door.”[117] Apparently, it was Mrs. Seckler’s offer to take the late Germer’s archive into her own safe keeping (an offer supposedly made on the instructions of “higher intelligences”) which inspired Sascha Germer’s mistrust.[118]

On 05th November, 1962, Lady Frieda Harris (b. 1877), who painted the ‘Thoth’ tarot cards and was named with Wilkinson and Germer in Crowley’s Will as an executor (but only of the physical property from his estate), died at Srinagar in Kashmir.

On 08th November, 1962, Motta finally (and unhelpfully) answered Sascha Germer’s letter with a tirade against Oscar Schlag, demanding to know what Sascha had meant by the phrase “You are the Follower.” Motta tried to absolve himself of all reponsibility: “I have no idea what Karl’s intentions were.” “I am not prepared, I am not anything. It will be many years yet before I am ready to do anything.” In yet another letter (posted to Sascha on the same day), Motta repeated his strong warnings about Schlag (in Switzerland) and even tried to persuade her to keep Karl’s death secret. He concluded by advising her to keep a gun in her house in case of burglary.

On 09th November, 1962, Seckler wrote to Motta stating that Germer’s Will had been found and named Motta as“Mystical Heir” a comment not found in Germer’s 1951 Will. Thus it seems there was indeed a later Will, but this has not survived possibly it was deliberately destroyed[119] as the 1951 Will mentions only Sascha Germer and Friedrich Mellinger.

On 06th January, 1963, Metzger published his Manifesto, declaring himself O.H.O..[120]

On 25th January, 1963, Motta revealed to Frau Germer that “I am not the ‘Follower’ in the sense of the prophecy in AL. I am merely the ‘Baphomet’, the — hieratic — ‘Priest of Princes’ under 666. [...]. I am the Head of Thelema; I am the Source of Thelemic Policy; I am the Judge and the Reconciler set over you; I am the Vicar of the Christ; I hold the Keys of the Kingdom,” etc. This letter was passed on (via Phyllis Seckler) because Motta believed that letters between Brazil and the U.S. were being spied on, and that Sascha Germer’s [post-]box is watched, so I ask you [Seckler] to deliver it to her personally.”

Sascha Germer assumed responsibilities as executrix of her husband’s estate both his personal effects[121] and those he’d held as head of the O.T.O.. On 15th February, 1963, she drew a cheque (payable to herself) for $621.85 on an account at the Bank of Amador County. She signed the cheque “Karl Germer deceased by Sascha Andre Germer.” Karl Germer had used this account for managing the O.T.O. trust: donations and payments for book sales were paid in, while various expenses (for instance fees due to the U.S. Registrar of Copyrights) were covered by payments drawn on it.

On 26th January, 1963, Sascha began her next letter to Motta with the words: “How silly can one get? [...]. You still have been the lastGreat Joy’ in his [Karl Germer’s] oh so Trying Days [...]. You are the Future of the Work, I did not Believe when Karl said: It takes another 10 Years to make Motta the Heir! But, Spiritually You are his Heir You have to work on in Brazil.”

On 15th February, 1963, Motta assumed (in a letter) that Sascha Germer was an A.·. A.·. initiate and that he was therefore her “hierarchic superior.” He demanded that Sascha must now follow him because “Karl is dead and I’m alive; this is enough to make me a million times better man than he!”

In this conceited mood Motta sent a seven-page missive to Metzger, enumerating the wrongs he had inflicted on Crowley the prophet and accusing him of being allied with Choronzon (which, of course, meant that he was still associating with the frightful Herr Schlag).

On 29th March, 1963, Motta wrote to Metzger, saying: “Although I asked you to stop sending me your literature — which goes as a rule straight into the nearest garbage can — you have continued to bombard me with the evidence of your folly [Metzger’s faux-pas of using du in capital letters in a holy text]. Schlag’s in­fluence [...] has been inflating your ego to the point where you have, [...] become a traitor to the very word you think yourself the carrier of! [...]. If you do not care to acknowledge my authority, I have no intention of imposing it upon you. [...]. If you continue doing this [misquoting Liber AL] you will surely be destroyed [...]. I repeat to you that I am the ‘re-incarnation of St. Germain’.”

Motta later came to interpret Metzger’s failure to reply to this tirade like this: “At least Metzger had the decency to shut up when he realized that I did not accept his claim. And he was the only one who might justifiedly have suspected my legitimacy, for he was the only one who did not know me perso­nally.”[122]


The jury’s still out


On 09th February, 1963, Metzger sent a bilingual summons witnessed by the American Vice-Consul in Zuerich to Sascha Germer, demanding that all Order properties be sent to Switzerland; following this up by sending her a remittance of two hundred dollars to cover postal expenses. In her reply, Sascha pointed out that she had inherited all her husband’s property, but that Mellinger had been named as her co-executor in O.T.O. matters. The trouble was that Frau Germer had lost touch with Mellinger twelve years before; she wrote to her lawyer, Mr. Chisholm, that Metzger would have “to fight for himself.” But, “After long and careful study of all Files and after Experience of 20 years of O.T.O. work I have to say that to the best of my knowledge, he [Metzger] is the only one who has all the Rights to be the next O.H.O.”[123]

Metzger’s communications began to take on a harsher tone: “Whether or not it is a case of simple misunderstandings and possible intrigue, does not interest us in the slightest [...]. We are forced to summons you [...]. We are the only successors [...]. God be with you.” Finally, Frau Germer went through her husband’s documents and came to the conclusion that “Frater Saturnus’ [i.e. Germer’s] Will and Wish was: that Frater Paragranus [i.e. Metzger] takes the Heavy Burden off his shoulders.”

Metzger employed a Californian lawyer to arrange for Sascha Germer to send him the original documents (which Crowley had earlier forwarded to Germer); he also informed Sascha that his status as X° was now a fact, since the pre-conditions the founding of eleven ‘profess-houses’ in an O.T.O. Province had now been fulfilled in Switzerland.[124] The ‘Gnostic Mass’ was celebrated regularly; likewise, seminars and degree workings were undertaken: “2nd and 4th Friday in the month 0[°] Minerval; first Friday in the month1[°]; third Friday in the month 2[°]. In months with a fifth Friday, 3[°] and P.M. The higher degrees are not always worked regularly, excepting the Gnostic Sanctuary which is attended every Sunday in the Abbey of Thelema.”

After Sascha’s lawyer discovered Mellinger’s whereabouts and informed him he was an executor (on 25th September, 1963), Mellinger had sharp words to say of Metzger’s “sham election.” According to Metzger’s former confidants, Mellinger’s aversion to Metzger stemmed solely from Metzger’s many conquests among the fair sex.[125] His opinion, given on 25th September, 1963, was terse and to the point when he told his lawyer that Metzger and Frau Germer had apparently “violated [...] the Will of the deceased.” First, nobody had ever asked him whether he would have voted for Metzger as O.H.O., and second, Metzger’s only authority for his appointment was his excessive egotism.[126] This belief of Mellinger’s was later used by the ‘Caliphate’ as justification for not accepting Metzger as a member of the O.T.O., despite the fact they stated that Mellinger’s judgements about other people has, “been found incorrect and unreliable.”[127]

For the lawyers, the case was clear; any further legal action would be “entirely useless.”[128] Metzger’s lawyer made one final (but futile) foray and meant to Frau Germer that “Your late husband, Karl Johannes Germer, was a great leader of this Order and it would seem a shame for all of his works to lie in someone’s basement.”[129]


Misery loves company


On 07th June, 1963, Motta complained about Frau Germer’s silence (unsurprising in consideration of his previous insults) and ridiculed Metzger’s Manifesto and his O.H.O. ‘election’ when he wrote her that “I haven’t stopped laughing yet.” He went on to heap more abuse on Schlag. On 18th July, Motta again wondered about Sascha Germer’s silence and stressed that he was the true leader of all Thelemites. On 30th August, 1963, he finally asked Frau Germer (who now rarely bothered to answer his often extremely rude letters) who the O.H.O. now was, stating that he’d even accept the “Swiss king”; though he added yet another tirade against Schlag. But it was plain that Motta still wanted to become head of Crowley’s Order of Thelemites.

On 15th December, 1963, Frau Germer wrote to Motta, saying: “Before I definitely send My Petition to the Lawyer and the Courts I want to make sure whether a Charter sent to You on April 20/62 is in Your Hands or not [...]. This letter, written by Saturnus, would give some rights to you as you can be the head of your own lodge in Brazil but please do not mix it up with being the O.H.O. [...]. P.S. [...] it is time, you wake up!” Motta replied (on 24th December) and changed his tune, stating that: “I never got any patent of the O.T.O. How can you possibly think that I would get such an important document and not acknowledge reception of it? Why didn’t Karl mention it in his letters, if it was sent in April of 62? [...]. I was definitely, most definitely not ready in April of last year to direct any kind of O.T.O. work [...] you don’t accept me as O.H.O. All right — I don’t quite accept me as such, either. [...]. Are you the O.H.O.? [...] if there is no O.H.O., I claim the position by right of Initiation. [...]. If this patent you wish to send me is to subject to the Swiss ‘authority’ — I want nothing to do with it [...]. The Swiss is sick. When I asked Karl what I should say if somebody asked a question about the O.T.O., he wrote me to say that the O.T.O. is dor­mant, and will continue so until the Swiss either comes to his senses or goes the way of all fools.”

On 28th December, 1964, Motta wrote to Metzger, saying: “You are NOT the O.H.O. Neither am I!”

In January, 1965, Frau Germer wrote to Motta, saying: “I did not know that You are in direct correspondence with him [Metzger], nor did I know that he as O.H.O. of O.T.O. asked Your Opinion about his Status [...]. Frater Saturnus [Germer] has made him [Metzger] in 1961 the only Follower to the Crown of the Order.” Since the original letter was lost in transit, Motta only found out about it later, during his lawsuit against McMurtry, who produced Sascha’s handwritten copy (which came into his hands in the mid-1980s, from her estate); thus all documentation remained in Frau Germer’s hands. She replied guardedly to questions for guidance, by stating to correspondants seeking for information that “it is the Business of the Holy Guardian Angel and he knows where to guide you.”[130] Stefan A. Hoeller, Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, later revealed that “I had met Mrs Germer [...] and heard her speak rather highly of Metzger.”[131] In the course of the subsequent lawsuit (in the 1980s), McMurtry and his followers tried to portray Sascha Germer’s statements as worthless and maintained that she had become mentally incapacitated.[132] On the other hand, they eagerly talked-up every small hint contained in what both Karl and Sascha Germer had said or written, and which appeared to support their legal axe-grinding: “Sascha made the remark that I had the authority to start a religion of my own,” as Phyllis Seckler reported to McMurtry.[133] It should be noted that Germer always relied heavily on his wife’s judgement; after all, she was in contact with the spirits. Schlag had witnessed her spiritualist inclinations, but was puzzled by the fact that Germer put more value on his wife’s decisions than his own.[134]

On 19th March, 1965, Motta asked Phyllis Seckler whether she knew what had happened to Sascha Germer, because he had received no answer from her since his letter of 15th December, 1963. He also required a copy of Germer’s warrant to open an O.T.O. lodge a document allegedly lost in transit during 1962.

On 01st March, 1966, Kenneth Grant and John Symonds started a correspondence discussing the vexed question of the O.H.O.. On 09th March, 1966, Grant told Symonds that he had “obtained formal admission to the [...] IX° on the 5 October, 1948 [...]. On the 5 March, 1951 I obtained a Charter [...] to found a Lodge in England [...].


Kenneth Grant to John Symonds — 9 March 1966 — Ordo Templi Orientis

In a letter dated 25th May, 1966, Motta warned Sascha Germer to take care over the copyrights and royalties from Crowley’s works, because pirated copies were now in circulation. He acknowledged this resumption of contact with Sascha only in 1968.

On 12th (or 13th) September, 1966, Louis Umfraville Wilkinson, another of Crowley’s executors (and Grant’s superior in the O.T.O.), died at Westcott Barton, in England. On his deathbed he signed over all his rights in the Crowley inheritance to his fellow literary executor John Symonds.[135]

On 02nd May, 1967, Montenegro wrote enthusiastically to Guenther Naber, saying: “Stein is indeed a little bit of heaven.”[136] Walter Englert[137] then informed Montenegro that he was nominated not only as X°, but also to be the O.H.O., through Metzger; this caused Montenegro to reply (on 30th November, 1968) à propos of Metzger: “his attitude and his antics, soon raised within me the questionable, [sic] placing me on the defensive at all times. Furthermore, it was not long before I detected certain serious Thelemic errors in his modus operandi, which I could neither ignore nor accept.” Later he added, on 19th January, 1969: “I believe Paragranus has had a great opportunity to in fact fill the Office of OHO, it would appear that he did not.” According to Helen Parsons-Smith, Montenegro thought that Metzger was using black magic against him, particularly after Montenegro refused to accept Metzger as O.H.O.[138] Twenty years later, William Heidrick told a very different version of this story, suggesting that: “Dr. Montenegro, IIIrd [?] Degree O.T.O., and 32nd Degree Scottish Rite Mason, visited Herr Metzger on behalf [?] of the rest of the Order in the U.S.. Herr Metzger met him at the station with a brass band and escorted him to the Gasthof [...]. Herr Metzger was shouting in German: ‘I am the O.H.O.’ and then he would hit the table.”[139] THELEMA Freie Geistes- und Lebensschule WOCHENPROGRAMM Kultur-; Spiel- und Sportveranstaltungen Gnostisch-katholische Kirche


By 03rd September, 1967, Sascha Germer claimed to have identified Phyllis Seckler’s daughter, Stella, as the perpetrator of a burglary at her house.[140] Actually, members of the Solar Lodge were responsible for the theft of Sascha’s Crowley material. Frau Germer’s accusations were wildly inaccurate: Stella Seckler had been nowhere near Sascha’s house at the time and one person Sascha claimed was involved had died years before the robbery. Poor Sascha lost eighty per cent of her eyesight in consequence of this incident; noxious gas was sprayed in her face during the robbery.[141] She sent Motta a confused letter, running to ten pages, begging him for help. But either Motta never got her letter, or else he ignored it. What is known is that he sent her another letter (which didn’t refer to O.T.O. matters) on 15th August, 1974.

Some of the correspondence between Motta and Sascha Germer must have gone astray. On 07th October, 1968, she wrote to Motta that, except for the letter of yesterday” she hadn’t heard from him since 1966, adding: “I have been asked whether You have a Charter to do so [i.e. to lead a lodge] and I was happy to say: Yes. The Copy of Your Charter was in Your Files in the Library and if it is not stolen, it must be still there.”

On 30th November, 1968, Gabriel Montenegro informed Walter Englert that, whilst he had indeed heard of Motta, he knew of no Thelemic groups in the U.S.A., stating: “As to the original California members, I will state that most of them have died. And those few who remain have either lost interest or live too far apart from each other. Contrary to popular belief, Pasadena[142] was not the sex cult it has been made up to be: on the contrary, it produced at least 7 High Initiates, among whom was Baphomet’s last personal representative for California, the Venerable Frater One, One, One [Roy Leffingwell].” Montenegro obviously didn’t think McMurtry was even worth mentioning.


Short cut across the spirals of evolution


Ray and Mildred Burlingame were members of the second Agape Lodge that was closed in 1953, supposedly for ten years, by Karl Germer. In 1961-62, Georgina (Jean) Brayton (1921-1984) became acquainted with Mildred and later met her husband, Ray.[143] 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 in 1965. [shiva0] Dick Brayton had absolutely no interest in these matters.[144] Phyllis Seckler acknowledged “they were an O.T.O. Lodge.”[145] The Braytons were supposed to be linked with the robberies of Israel Regardie’s (1907–1985) collection of Golden Dawn material (on 18th February, 1969) and Crowleyana, as well as the burglaries of Sascha Germer[146] (on 03rd September, 1967) and Mildred Burlingame (in January and October, 1966).[147] These incidents were the trigger for Phyllis Seckler to resume contact with McMurtry, and for their joint decision to found their version of an O.T.O. in the U.S..[148]

Frater Shiva: "The Braytons had a small, one-bedroom house on 30th street, in which they lived. Jean (without the knowledge of her husband) bought a two-story "mansion" two doors away from their home — it was her intention to rent rooms to students from USC. Shiva (your author) was the first student to arrive and rent. The place was still under refurbishment (it was a mess) and he took the first room that had been cleaned up (Room #4 — 1963 e.v.) - then he helped Jean rebuild the rest of the rooms. Other students came and pretty soon the whole place was rented. The situation remained like this for two years. After the Lodge got underway (subtly in 1964 — but formally in 1965), a third property, with many rooms, was purchased down the street — about 7 lots away. This is the ONLY house that still remains and it is currently (2005 e.v.) owned by … USC … who rents rooms to students therein. There were no "members of religious cults;" there were students, SOME of whom became members of the Lodge. Other students (all) knew of our magickal activities, but they "minded their own business" and no effort was made to convert them for we were consciously abiding by the "attractive principle" — that is, they had to ask first. "Always make them ask!" Eventually, three additional, really big and ornate [but old], houses were purchased on another street. The last one was bought after I left the Order (in '72 e.v.). There was only one bookstore, but it moved around (reincarnated?). First it was across the street from USC, then it moved a few miles north into central L.A., then it moved to Blythe, CA. Rooms were not rented to "members of religious cults," but to students. Some of these (about 50%) joined the Lodge. One could justify the quoted phrase, but it is not what was being done. Around 1967, a franchise (that's like a rental — not a purchase) was engaged by Frater Apollo with Atlantic-Richfield (now "ARCO"), under his own volition. It ran successfully for 2 or 3 years — until the whole Lodge blew up.. A list of 50 initiates is posted at the Mystic-History website. Frater Anubis submitted a list of 75 named initiates to me around 1979-80 — just after he left "The Tong." He should know. He was the Grand Treasurer General and he kept those records — along with the recording of "dues paid" at the average rate of $20 per year, I believe. This was always considered a token payment, indicative of one's continued interest. Other money from members was Never solicited. In the final two years of my seven-year tenure, Work was solicited. Money from the public was Never solicited. Early (the first 5 years) Work and monetary donation were completely voluntary without any encouragement. That fact alone should raise interest. The Braytons were operating at poverty level when they bought that first little house. The amazingly rapid growth into a constant, positive cash flow, with the ability to acquire property really fast — while making it pay for itself, is one of the mysteries that people often cite when referring to Solar Lodge. It has been compared to the crusader-era Templar phenomenon. They ended up in deep doo-doo too! But that is another story, being one of the key elements in the second book, now under construction — if I can ever get back to it while engaged in this essay. There were 75 initiates, formally recorded. There were many, many others who were "guests" in the house (one or another of the 8 houses) for the purpose of visiting while investigating the Law of Thelema. Overall, I would say somewhere around 250. Maybe more. Frater Shem offered open house to about 8 people each evening, once a week, for at least 3 years." [source: [Shiva1]]
Among the guests were some moderately famous people like Jerry Kay, art director on the film ‘Easy Rider’.[149]

A report from a then member of the Solar Lodge stated: “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, [[Shiva2]] because she said that it would only be possi­ble for a limited time to gain new members.

“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 [[Shiva3]], 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 [[Shiva4]]. 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 [[Shiva5]] or about what we knew about the organization. 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.”[150]

Two crimes came to be connected with the Brayton group:

1) Allegations of child abuse surrounding the Solar Lodge, which brought the police into the picture.[151] Eventually, McMurtry was contacted by Detective Sergeant Henry C. Hayes (of the Riverside County Sheriff's Office) and spoke to a newspaper reporter called Arthur Lyons, with whom he shared what little he knew about the rival O.T.O. lodge (including accounts from S.L. members Glenn Hughes and Jerry Kay,[152] plus the newspaper stories of the so-called “Boy in the Box” incident and its subsequent trial).[153] The journalist and musician, Ed Sanders (b. 1939), got hold of this material from Lyons, who was then helping the Riverside County Deputy District Attorney in his investigation.

2) The depredations of Charles Manson’s ‘Family’, which mostly consisted of girls around 20, murdered at least seven people in the summer of 1969, among them the film director Roman Polanski’s wife of barely a year, Sharon Tate (b. 1933).[154]

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[155] 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.[156] 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.[157]

The Braytons sued Sanders in a civil case.[158] 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.[159]

In sequence, the events of this affair were:

  • I) Phyllis Seckler wrote to McMurtry (see next chapter).
  • II) McMurtry came to California.
  • III) McMurtry started suspecting the Braytons because of what Mildred Burlingame told him. IV) The “Boy in the Box” case was linked to the Solar Lodge and further implicated the Braytons.
  • V) McMurtry talked to the press.
  • VI) Sanders got that material from the press.
  • VII) Sanders’s book was published.
  • VIII) The Braytons, as the ‘Velle Transcendental Association’, sued Sanders and others in a separate, civil trial.


Solar Lodge of the O.T.O. Grady L. McMurtry Riverside Lodge of the OTO Grady Louis McMurtry's list of alleged members of the Solar Lodge



Up the creek without a paddle


On 06th December, 1968, Phyllis Seckler wrote a letter informing McMurtry about the two burglaries of Mildred Burlingame’s house (in 1966), wondering whether he was involved.[160] On 29th April, 1969, McMurtry moved from Washington to California[161] and started an unsuccessful cam­paign to recruit former Agapé members to his cause; one of these ex-members, Jean Shivonen, replied to McMurtry (in a letter dated 09th June, 1969): “I’m not interested.” Nonetheless, McMurtry and Seckler formed a group called ‘The Continuum’ and started publishing reprints of Crowley’s writings. It was this group that formed the nucleus of five members which eventually grew to become the ‘Caliphate’ O.T.O., a new O.T.O., founded (in 1977) for the purpose of gaining tax-exempt status as a religious association, and also to benefit from alleged claims on worldwide Crowley copyrights. An intriguing sidelight is cast on these pretensions by Crowley’s Last Will and Testament, which makes no mention of McMurtry at all; naming the Englishmen John Symonds and Louis Wil­kinson as “Literary Executors” to the Crowley estate.

Although Seckler was aware of Germer’s death in 1962, and kept up a sporadic correspondence with McMurtry, it was only in 1969[162] that she actually told him about it.[163] Astonishingly, McMurtry also failed to inform Seckler, although he himself learned of Germer’s death, from Mildred Burlingame, in 1963.[164] At that time, McMurtry told Burlingame that he was too busy to deal with O.T.O. matters and “there is nothing I can do at the moment.”[165]

Meanwhile, in 1969, whilst the Solar Lodge was active, Seckler, McMurtry and Burlingame were fully aware of the competitors, but appear to have spent most of their time rather ineffectually pondering plans for starting an O.T.O. of their own.[166] During these deliberations, Seckler asserted that Jean Brayton, on a ‘need-to-know’ principle of secrecy, did not have to know about Germer’s death.

Afterwards, the fact that McMurtry had not shown the slightest interest in the O.T.O. for a period of six years always left a yawning gap in how he later tried to project himself. Also, during the 1985 court case, McMurtry and Seckler never managed to come up with a convincing reason why they had neglected O.T.O. matters for so long.[167] McMurtry still pretended (at the 1985 trial) that he’d had no contact with anyone from the O.T.O., except Jean Shivonen (in 1962), until Seckler contacted him in 1968.[168] If he really considered Germer’s death such “an important event,”[169] McMurtry’s inactivity and evasiveness are puzzling[170] Also, Helen Parsons-Smith thought Germer’s death was exactly the sort of ‘emergency’ which made McMurtry’s involvement absolutely essential.[171] But nobody showed any surprise that McMurtry didn’t react to this ‘emergency’ for so long. It was only in 1968, half a decade after the rival Solar Lodge appeared, that McMurtry suddenly remembered the words ‘Caliphate’ and ‘Caliph’, as well as Crowley’s two letters (of March and April 1946), which commissioned him to become active in times of ‘emergency.’

Although there was no little love lost between the two, McMurtry and Seckler had now got married in Tijuana, Mexico.[172] In 1969, Helen Parsons-Smith began a vigorous programme of republishing Crowley material.

In his first letter to H.J. Metzger (dated 28th June, 1969,) McMurtry wrote: “As our beloved brother Frater Saturnus (Karl Johannes Germer) died without leaving a proper organizational continuity for our most holy Order, at least on this side of the Atlantic, I am hereby invoking the emergency powers […]. I understand that yours is one of the few duly authorized and chartered Lodges now operating. I am currently establishing a Lodge in Northern California, under my authorization to take charge and to organize the whole work of the Order in California, which may be in operation by the time you receive this. It will be of value to me to hear from you, both as a Brother of the Order and as the head of your Lodge, concerning the question of Grand Lodge and the various officers thereof, including the O.H.O., the Caliphate, and the chartering of new lodges […]. Should we be able to recover the A.C. materials from the criminals who currently hold them, I anticipate an equitable distribution between Yorke, for the Warburg Institute, yourself, and our needs.”

In July 1969, Seckler, McMurtry and Mildred Burlingame started performing O.T.O. initiations working on the assumption they were activating the, “emergency powers” Crowley empowered McMurtry with. Llee Heflin (b. 1939), probably the first person ever initiated by McMurtry, recalls what happened and reports this: “One night in a camp ground on Mount Shasta he ‘happened by chance’ to meet Mildred Burlingame (I think that was her last name). She, like Grady, had been active in the OTO associated with Jack Parsons and [Marjorie] Cameron. She in turn introduced him to Grady and his wife Phyllis. He wanted me out there to meet them. It seemed like a logical next step. So I flew to SF [in 1969]. Having come from the Magickal experiences I had had in London and Italy, I found Grady and Mildred very disappointing. They appeared to me not to be very magickal people in their own right. Had it been me alone I probably would not have gotten involved with them. But C. was more far sighted in that respect than I was and was more willing to deal with the Magickally disadvantaged than was I at that time. So one night in some camp site somewhere, Hymenaeus Alpha [i.e. McMurtry] (wearing a bath towel for a turban) and Soror (whatever) initiated C., me and two others into the OTO. The whole thing seemed pretty farcical to me but I went along with it, going along with C. C. and I were made 9th degree that night.[173] My Magickal partner C. and I did all the work [on the planned publication of the Tarot deck] and then Grady took the credit and the money and ran (so to speak). When I saw what was coming down the pipeline I called [Gerald] Yorke and asked him to renege on his agreement with Grady and turn the job over to C. and me. He said that although he personally would like to do so, he had already made the agreement with Grady and that Grady did have some basis for his claim to be in control of the project and therefore he could not do it. So with that I withdrew from the project myself.”

On being the first to be initiated by McMurtry, Heflin said: “Now about what I said about the OTO not existing as an active organization at the time, Grady initiated me and my friends. Absolutely nothing was said by either Grady or Mildred Burlingame about the existence of an active OTO organization. Sure, there were Grady and Mildred, and a few other individuals left over from the old Pasadena/LA days of Agapé Lodge. But to the best of my knowledge they did not themselves constitute an active organization or Lodge. It was my very strong impression from everything that was said during that period, and from the ludicrous nature of the actual initiation ‘ceremony’ (Grady was so nervous he could hardly talk,) that that was quite likely the first time he had ever ‘initiated’ anyone. Afterwards he conferred the IXº on us and that was that. I don’t remember that we really ever talked about the OTO after that. It was my impression that Grady had done nothing about trying to reactivate the organization until that time when he initiated us. And as far as I was concerned we had not formed an active Lodge of the OTO by virtue of that initiation. As far as I was concerned that event was a ‘non-event’. It was a charade, a travesty of a Magickal initiation. There was nothing Magickal about it at all, as far as I was concerned. […]. We were not acting as a manifestation of the OTO. I am fairly certain that this understanding was that of my friends as well. But I cannot say how Grady interpreted the situation. He may indeed have thought of us collectively as his OTO. But if that was the case, that was certainly not how events unfolded. […]. I was aware that Grady was not particularly happy with the situation as it was, i.e. that we ‘youngsters’ were not sitting at his feet, etc. But he had no apparent Magickal ‘fire’ and no apparent Magickal ‘vision’ by means of which to be the ‘leader’. C. and I and the others in our band of ‘hippies’ had experienced too much real Magick already to acquiesce to such a ‘non-leader’ as leader. Grady never once said, ‘I am the Caliph! I am the OHO! We will do things my way!’ We weren’t the OTO. In reality there was no active OTO at that time except maybe in the minds of Grady and Mildred. I could have renounced my initiation, but I could not have resigned from the OTO since there was no organization to resign from.”[174]


Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched


On 05th September, 1969, Crowley’s literary executor (John Symonds) wrote to Gerald Yorke, in support of Grant’s claim to the office of O.H.O.. Grant later asserted that “Crowley was to die [...] and thus made way, eventually, for Aossic [Grant] to supersede Baphomet [Crowley].[175]

McMurtry and Yorke discussed the question of how to handle Metzger. On 12th August, 1969, Yorke wrote to McMurtry, about Metzger, saying: He is trying to claim to be the head of every sort of Order — a common failing and entirely in A.C.’s tradition, for A.C. always claimed more authority in occult orders than in fact he had. For instance he was only O.H.O. of that part of the O.T.O. which accepted the Book of the Law, the German branch for instance never did, and has since died out. If Metzger ignores you, then ignore him. You have credentials of your own. But be careful not to claim to be O.H.O. of the whole O.T.O. order, carry on without making grandiloquent claims and if your work is sound you could become O.H.O. But do not claim it prematurely.”

On 02nd September, 1969, McMurtry drafted a will conferring the leadership, after his death, on Mildred Burlingame.

On 05th September, 1969, Symonds wrote to Yorke, saying that: “Grant is head of the O.T.O. here, there and everywhere [...]. For your information I am a member of the vague organisation, made a member by Crowley himself who put my address on the title-page of olla, which address was for a while the address of the O.T.O.”[176]

On 08th March, 1970, McMurtry wrote to Yorke, saying: “As for the O.H.O. As you have seen from the dust jacket to the confessions, Grant now rivals Metzger in claiming the title. Were I feeling facetious, I would write him and welcome him to the club, except that I do not claim to be the O.H.O. I claim nothing, but by right of A.C.’s express desire that I should occupy the office of succession after Karl’s death, I have assumed the Caliphate, which I doubt A.C. ever had occasion to discuss this with either of them.” “I am Caliph. The succession will pass through me. What Grant, Metzger, etc., claim about OHO is not my concern. Who establishes the Caliphate establishes the continuity of the Order. The position of O.H.O. will be decided at the proper time and in the proper manner.”

On 24th August, 1970, Friedrich Mellinger died in Bavaria. He had passed his books on to Oscar Schlag whilst still alive, but his collection of correspondence with Crowley only came to public knowledge when it was sold at auction by Sotheby’s, during Motta’s court case in 1985.

Regardie suggested to McMurtry that Carl Weschcke’s ‘Llewellyn Books’ might publish the Thoth tarot. Eventually, on 06th October, 1970, McMurtry signed a contract[177] for the publication of Crowley’s ‘Thoth’ tarot designs as a deck of cards. This was to include an additional card bearing McMurtry’s own address as an O.T.O. contact.[178] In a letter to Regardie, McMurtry admitted that “the Message of the Caliph card in every deck sold is a gold mine for us.” In other words, it would be a highly effective way of recruiting new members. McMurtry sent Weschcke a letter saying that he owned the copyrights. Metzger got to hear of this, and eventually a correspondence between Don Hanlon (a friend of Regardie and McMurtry), Metzger, Llewellyn and McMurtry ensued.

On 25th October, 1970, McMurtry sent a letter to Sascha Germer about the burglaries in her home. In this he maintained that Stella Seckler (Phyllis’ daughter) was not involved after all, adding: “I have made this investigation in my official capacity as Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the O.T.O., a post Aleister Crowley appointed me to in 1946, and because in 1946 Aleister Crowley also gave me documents of authorization as his personal representative in the United States of America, and to take charge of the affairs of the O.T.O. in California specifically. I can also show you xerox copies of letters from Aleister Crowley to me, personally, telling me that I was to be the one that follows Karl in being the Caliph of the O.T.O. As you will see, my authorization is an emergency power subject to Karl’s veto while alive, but automatically going into effect so that there would be one to follow after Karl’s death. I am enclosing a xerox of my letters of authorization […]. If you would like to see us, we will be happy to drive up to West Point and I will bring along copies of the letters from A.C. telling me of his plan for me to be his Caliph so there would be someone to follow after Karl.” Sascha Germer did not react to this letter.[179]

On 13th December, 1970, McMurtry wrote to Regardie, saying: “Apparently Hanlon’s letter to Metzger got him off the dime and so now he’s written to me and to Llewellyn. I’ll right [sic] him back that the literary rights were settled by A.C.’s will.” On 21st December, 1970, Regardie wrote to McMurtry with the words: “I got a copy of Metzger’s letter from Llewellyn’s. I wrote them not to worry about this letter so far as you and the Tarot cards were concerned. I had a letter from Metzger too. I’ll get it copied soon and mail it to you. He also sent me a copy of a booklet they issued soon after the death of Germer. Have you seen it? If not let me know and I’ll copy parts of it that are in English.”

On 01st March, 1971, John Symonds made a legal deposition that he was Crowley’s executor, as defined in the latter’s Will. Sole rights to administer Crowley’s estate with regards to everything concerning the latter’s profession, including copyrights, was granted to John Symonds.[180]

On 14th January, 1971, Regardie wrote to McMurtry, admitting he hadn’t “answered Paragranus [i.e. Metzger] yet. Too busy. I may let some little time go by anyway before coming to grips with him. In reality there isn’t much need for me to correspond with him.”[181] At this time neither McMurtry, Seckler or Regardie had reason to doubt the validity of Metzger’s X° for Switzerland. On 16th January, 1971, Seckler wrote to Regardie, on behalf of McMurtry, saying: “we got the booklet about Karl Germer from Metzger so no need to copy same.” Obviously, in his letter (dated 12th November, 1970) Metzger provided McMurtry with his ‘Manifesto’, which contained an announcement of his election to the office of the O.H.O.. This Manifesto was Metzger’s sole publication to include anything “about Karl Germer” in this case, his obituary. So, at this time the McMurtry clique undoubtedly knew all about the election of Metzger as O.H.O..[182]

Seckler was unenthusiastic about possible collaboration between Metzger and McMurtry and meant: “As to the division of the world as you suggested in your last letter — my per­sonal opinion is — we want nothing else. Metzger could hardly begin to understand the American mind.” She was also scathing about Metzger’s character defects, but it seems she would nevertheless have accepted any charter issued by him: “If it had been me I would have rushed to welcome the efforts of the McMurtrys in Calif. and would have extended congrats and a charter [...]. Can you imagine a Swiss giving a charter to a woman?” She sounded slightly piqued at Metzger’s lack of interest, but the Swiss O.T.O., which had become increasingly concerned to appear respectable over the years obviously wasn’t willing to deal with just any American Tom, Dick and Harry and none of the group around McMurtry were exactly pillars of society.[183] So Seckler suggested to Regardie that “McMurtry has to do whatever may be necessary. Anyhow, it is sometimes fun to speculate. But I really see nothing but schism ahead. Crowley’s O.T.O. is really shaky, eh what?”

On 29th January, 1971, McMurtry wrote to Regardie, saying: “Your thoughts re Metzger are also very much appreciated. The rela­tion of the Caliph and the O.H.O. is a constitutional question and will have to be worked out amongst Thelemites over the next 2000 years.”

On 02nd February, 1971, Regardie wrote to McMurtry, saying: “Metzger: I know nothing of constitutional Law. I was merely thin­king in terms of a closed front to the public, with an arbitrary splitting of territories to avoid overt conflict.”

25th August 1971, Motta to Grant, meanwhile: “I am not concerned with the O.T.O. as such [...] I really fail to perceive why I hold the ninth degree at all.” Later in court, Motta stated that he had not meant to express himself thus.[184]

On 13th September, 1971, Motta wrote to Grant, saying: “Remember that I am not a ‘king’ of the O.T.O. [...]. I am not, nor claim to be, the O.H.O. of your Order.”[185] By 08th October, 1971, Motta had acknowledged Grant as O.H.O., assuming that he had a charter to this effect. What he didn’t know was that Grant had been expelled by Germer, in 1955. Motta told his followers that Grant was the O.H.O..[186]

Meanwhile, the Crowley expert, Yorke, thought that “Grady is the first person I know to call himself a Caliph and I cannot recollect A.C. making use of the term.” Yorke (who owned the original paintings of the card’s designs today they are kept at the Warburg Institute in London) also commented on the reissue of Crowley’s ‘Thoth’ tarot deck and meant: “I do not expect it to have any Caliphate nonsense,”[187] though McMurtry had already included his address on the additional ‘Caliph’ card as a contact for his own O.T.O.. Mrs. Smith, former wife of the X° W.T. Smith, was the recipient of this letter from Yorke. Her husband was then head of the ‘Church of Thelema,’ which, again, had been officially incorporated in 1953[188] even though both Crowley and Germer rejected the idea of their O.T.O. being associated, even by implication, with a church.[189]


It’s the early bird that catches the worm


On 28th December, 1971, McMurtry registered a firm called “O.T.O. Inc.” as an “unincorpo­rated non-profit association #2064” at his local court.[190] Despite this, his O.T.O. did not yet exist as an official body, with registered offices and so forth. In fact, McMurtry’s group would not have any Lodge until 1977: his O.T.O was quite simply wherever McMurtry happened to be at the time. There certainly weren’t many other American IX°s in this new O.T.O.; Helen Parsons-Smith, Mildred Burlingame and Jean Shivonen wanted nothing to do with it. However, “once the Order was incorporated, it made Grady the sole ‘trustee’ or custodian, and he could do with it as he pleased.”[191]

On 04th October, 1972, Regardie published an edition of Crowley’s ‘The Vision and the Voice’ with an extensive commentary. Motta said of this that “he [Regardie] stated that he had permission to publish Crowley from Joseph Metzger in Switzerland. Upon being politely requested to present evidence of Mr. Metzger’s ‘permission’, he sulked and went into the kind of Stainless Silence of which ‘maharishis’, ‘paramahamsas’ and other ‘holy masters’ are so fond at such occasions.”[192] Later, Regardie was to claim that “There is a very active branch of both Orders [O.T.O. and A.·. A.·.] in Switzerland under aggressive and wise leadership.”[193] But Regardie refused to countenance Grant’s claim to the office of O.H.O..[194]

While the Solar Lodge might not have believed Sascha Germer retained any worthwhile O.T.O. material, in 1972 McMurtry and Seckler were minded to start legal proceedings against Sascha Germer with the aim of getting hold of her archives. However, some friendly local police cautioned them against this, advising them to wait until after Frau Germer had died.[195]

On 20th March, 1973, McMurtry and Seckler publicly copyrighted Crowley material for the first time in their magazine called ‘In the Continuum’.

On 30th December, 1973, Motta tried to raise Sascha Germer’s spirits and wrote a letter saying: “You still keep Up with the Great Work.”

On 09th July 1974, McMurtry published the following statement: “Our position on the publication of the works of Aleister Crowley [...]. In any case the legal grounds are practically non-existent as A.C. did not bother to copyright much of his mate­rial.”[196]

On the same day, McMurtry dispatched what he labelled as an ‘O.T.O. Form Letter’, which stated: “There is at present no Outer Head of the Order for Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis. The Outer Head of the Order is an international office (see p. 201, ‘The Blue Equinox’) and Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Tem­pli Orientis is not at this time established organizationally to fulfil the requirements of its Constitu­tion in this respect. [...]. At present both Kenneth Grant in England and a Herr Metzger in Switzerland have laid claim to being Outer Head of the Order for the O.T.O. In both cases one can only presume that they are mistaken. [...] Herr Metzger cannot be Outer Head of the Order because his ‘election’ was only by his own Lodge in Switzerland, a purely national body attempting to effect an international decision. Herr Metzger can also assert that he is the head of his own O.T.O.”.

On 15th August, 1974, Motta, in an impatient volte-face, sent a very rude letter to the 84 year old Sascha Germer.[197]

On 19th September, 1974, Motta wrote to James Wasserman, saying: “I am not about to contest anybody’s right to publish Crowley, but I must admit that I am not about to do it only because I feel that legally I don’t have a leg to stand on. What is my legal position as a magical son from the point of view of copyright laws?” Wasserman (b. 1948) discovered Crowley’s writings in 1969. He would eventually become general manager and managing editor of the New York firm of Samuel Weiser Inc., who were then publishing occult books under the direction of Donald Wei­ser. Motta sent Weiser’s his manuscript of ‘The Commentaries to the Book of the Law’, which contained the letter quoted above. Wasserman was enthusiastic[198] and soon came under Motta’s tutelage as a member of the latter’s version of the A.·. A.·.. He did not join Motta’s O.T.O. because Motta thought that his warrant in O.T.O. matters was limited to Brazil alone. At this stage, Motta was unaware of Crowley’s Last Will. He advised Wasserman to hire a lawyer to deal with the Crowley copyrights. On 16th October, 1974, Yorke sent Motta Germer’s 1951 testament and informed him vis-à-vis the office of O.H.O. that: “I know of no one with a better claim than Metzger.” On 23rd October, 1974, Motta wrote to Yorke, saying: “I have never been very interested in the O.T.O. [...]. There is no existing camp of the O.T.O., Mr. Yorke, unless I say so.”

On 16th November, 1974, Sascha Germer told Motta that Crowley had passed responsibility for the O.T.O. over to her and her husband. Meanwhile, Motta was getting nervous, because Grant and Symonds had started to publish Crowley’s writings in England. He was suddenly desperate to find out if Grant and Symonds had paid any royalties to Frau Germer. Although Francis King had, in 1973, published the texts of almost all Crowley’s O.T.O. rituals. Motta himself confessed towards Sascha Germer that he possessed “no O.T.O. rituals, [because Sascha Germer] has refused, years before, to type them and send them to me.” [199]

McMurtry, who was getting short of cash, sold his copyright for the ‘Thoth’ tarot to Llewellyn,[200] for $500 (on 02nd December, 1974).[201] On 12th December, that year, a contract was signed between the publisher Samuel Weiser Inc. and Motta, for the ‘Commentaries of AL’. Then, on 23rd January, 1975, Motta instructed James Wasserman that he was now responsible for the O.T.O., and could make use of its copyrights. But, in the same year, Motta declared that the O.T.O. was “dormant.”[202]

On 07th February, 1975, Motta told Yorke that he considered himself ineligible for the office of O.H.O.. In February, Wasserman paid a 19-day visit to Motta, in Brazil. Motta, still paranoid about spies, plots and his own safety in Brazil, wanted Wasserman to smuggle a gun to him, from the U.S..[203]

On the night of 1st — 2ndApril, 1975, Sascha Germer died (at West Point, California) of “congestive heart failure.” Motta, who plainly had a hugely guilty conscience about not reacting to her ten-page plea for help, started indiscriminately accusing just about everyone in the O.T.O. phenomenon of culpability in Sascha’s death; which he alleged was due to starvation.[204] Her empty house was now broken into three more times. Her death was only noticed a year later (in 1976), by Helen Parsons-Smith, who passed the news on to McMurtry.[205]


The devil’s in the details


Not surprisingly, considering her poor health, confusion and near-blindness, Sascha Germer died intestate. Her estate was administered by one Adolph Gualdoni, appointed by the Superior Court of the State of California in and for the County of Calaveras (in fact Mr. Gualdoni was the coroner at Sascha’s post-mortem). In an order of this court (dated 26th July, 1976) it was stated that in the eyes of the law, one Grady Louis McMurtry was the duly constituted and authorized representative of the O.T.O. and that at the time of her death, Sascha Germer was in possession books, papers, manuscripts, letters and objets d’art belonging to the O.T.O.; items now held in trust by Mr. Gualdoni. On the petition of McMurtry, the court ordered that Gualdoni deliver all the books, papers, manuscripts, letters and objets d’art belonging to the O.T.O. (and in his possession), to McMurtry; him being the duly authorised representative of the O.T.O.. The items being retained by him for the benefit of the O.T.O.. In another order (dated 27th October, 1997[206]) the Superior Court of California, Calaveras County, made a further order correcting a clerical order and amending the 1976 order ‘nunc pro tunc’, with effect from 27th July, 1976. This ordered any and all copyrights to works of Crowley, as held by the estate of Sascha Germer, to be transferred to McMurtry (the duly authorized representative of the O.T.O.) and held by him for the benefit of the Ordo Templi Orientis. The effect of all this legalese was to treat the original (1976) court order as if it had initially been made in the amended terms.[207]

In April of the same year, Phyllis Seckler divorced Grady McMurtry.

On 21st March, 1976, Motta mentioned (in his Portuguese translation of Crowley’s ‘Equinox of the Gods’) McMurtry and Helen Parsons-Smith as “legitimate representatives of OTO” and “co-heirs in the matter of Aleister Crowley’s literary remains.” Him being under the erroneous impression they had an O.T.O. charter.

On 19th April, 1976, Seckler wrote to Motta, saying: “I also own (under a mortgage) this house I sit in and have opened it to certain persons as a profess-house of the O.T.O. You are welcome to stay here a week if you should desire to help me somewhat in the problems which I can not state in this letter — and even if you don’t desire to aid my efforts [...]. If a meeting can be arranged between us, I would appreciate it if you could manage it perhaps in May or June as there are some initiations coming up in the summer which I think you ought to know about.” As to the Germer archive she tought: “If the remains of the library were left to you, then I am glad, as I know it would be then in good hands.”

On 28th April, 1976, Seckler informed Motta of Sascha Germer’s death and raised the possibility of buying up the Germer estate and assets, if Motta cared to come to California “to fight for it.” Seckler was repeating some advice she’d received from the Calavaras County Coroner, Adolf Gualdoni, who was in charge of the Germer property.[208] Seck­ler told Motta: “You seem to be the one most interested in Crowley’s literary remains. You perhaps should have the library but you may have to bid against competitors. As for me, it is not part of my Will to work with it.”

On 11th May, 1976, Motta proposed to Seckler and Smith that the Crowley-Germer archive should be allowed to remain in America and that the O.T.O. should be legally incorporated in the U.S.A. in the same way that he had registered his own ‘Sociedade Ordo Templi Orientis no Brasil’ (on 20th March, that year). He also proposed a joint election between the Brazilian and American groups for an O.H.O..[209] To Wasserman (at Weiser’s), Motta feigned an interest in dividing up any potential Crowley royalties between Seckler and Smith.[210] He told Wasserman (in a letter dated 11th May, 1976) that the archive should to be open to all O.T.O. chiefs including Metzger. He accepted that Seckler & Co. were bona fide O.T.O. members, but would not acknowledge their group as an official O.T.O. body[211] and later denied their IX° status.[212] But in letters of 07th and 10th July, 1976, Motta began to rethink his previous statements and asked Wasserman to seek out a letter of authorisation from Seckler and Smith.

Two days later, on 09th July, McMurtry sought to gain legal custody of Sascha Germer’s estate. James Wasserman misinformed Motta (who was still his Order superior) about the results of this case[213] and, on 18th July,[214]) Wasserman (together with James Daniel Gunther and Richard Gernon) transferred his loyalties to McMurtry,[215] who as “authorized representative of the OTO” finally managed to get his hands on (26th July[216]) what remained of the Germer estate. The same day, Motta severed his A.·. A.·. contact with Wasserman.

By 10th July, 1976, Motta had changed his tune about Metzger. In letters to Wasserman and Gerald Yorke he denied Metzger’s status as X°, a position which he later republished as the so-called ‘2nd O.T.O. Manifesto’. Grant’s camp commented this publicly: “He ‘expels’ poor old harmless Metzger of sausage and wurst fame and gives him notice that if he works well in the next five years, he, Marcelo Motta, might just re-admit him. Motta proposes a conference in five years time when the office of O.H.O. will be deci­ded by those daft enough to attend. Needless to say, the election of an O.H.O. will be subject to Motta’s approval.”[217] Nevertheless, by 1985, Motta believed that “if I were not the Outer Head of the Order, Mr. Metzger would be.”[218]

On 21st July 1976, McMurtry proposed a concordat to Motta: McMurtry was to accept Motta as ‘Præmonstrator’ of the A.·. A.·., while Motta would accept McMurtry as ‘Caliph’ and wrote to Motta: “I propose that you write a letter to me personally [...], stating that you renounce all claim to becoming O.H.O. of the O.T.O., on the basis that you have assumed the grade of XI° O.T.O.[219] Also that you refrain from publishing future manifestos concerning the O.T.O. [...], and one does not speak to nor command the other.”

On 29th July, 1976, Motta wrote to McMurtry, saying: “It’s never been my intention to claim the grade of OHO [...]. I honestly intended to have no OTO jurisdiction in the United States.” He told McMurtry that Crowley’s directive for his heirs to ‘wait a year and a day after his death to elect a successor’ applied to the Order of the Thelemites and not to the O.T.O. something McMurtry definitely didn’t want to hear, because this was the exact same justification he’d used for not accepting Germer as O.H.O.. Motta added: “It is obvious that you hold no Patent from Frater saturnus [Germer] at all. If I am incorrect, please correct me, and I will gladly accept you as a Brother — but certainly not as O.H.O.”. From now on, McMurtry was forced into finding ever more obscure loopholes to explain away Germer’s hostility towards him. In the end, McMurtry settled for rather unpersuasive claims that Germer was mentally ill, maintaining that, anyway, his tenure as O.H.O. had a time-limit: that only after Germer’s death could Crowley’s previous instructions come into effect. Motta commented: “In the A.·. A.·. you are nothing.”


Just look what the cat dragged in


In July and August, 1976, Helen Parsons-Smith, Phyllis Seckler, Lon Milo DuQuette[220] and Kristopher G. D*** resolved to take their errant ‘Caliph’ in hand. K.G.D*** remembered that “We cornered McMurtry and told him that something had to be prepared in the event of his death or incapacitation.[221] He prepared a brief note. If memory serves it began with the usual greeting and then said ‘the criteria of succession being continuity’ (or words to that effect) and appointed those listed and L.M. DuQuette to select a successor in the event of his death or incapacitation.”[222] “One cause of concern was that McMurtry was hypoglycimic [sic] (I do not know the spelling). His excessive insulin was a pro­blem since he did like a drink and he did like sugar. One drink had more effect than five on someone that did not have his problem. A candy bar or even a prepackaged food could contain enough sugar to make him act drunk. As a result we were not always confident of his judgement.”[223]

In September, 1976, Phyllis Seckler decided to hide the Crowley-Germer archive safely away in a place known only to herself (an address on Portola Avenue, in Livermore). Worried about her ex-husband’s drunken antics, she refused point blank to let McMurtry anywhere near the archive. Besides this, she was now getting advice (through a medium) from the deceased Karl and Sascha Germer.[224] McMurtry tried to force Helen Parsons-Smith to give him the keys and wrote to her: “You will within seven working days re­turn to me by mail the authorization for which you, Helen Parsons-Smith could be named a Caliph upon my death.”[225] But, on 11th September, 1976, Phyllis Seckler wrote to her daughter Lisa, saying: “Grady is unfit to care for the original manuscripts of Crowley’s due to the alcoholism and the fact that many strangers visit his house in Berkeley who are in themselves of the crazy, alcohol fringe. There is also a good deal of drugs in this circle.”[226]

Between 1971 and 1977, McMurtry’s O.T.O. in California had no proper headquarters. While there was a post office box number for mail, it was a case of ‘wherever McMurtry happened to be hanging out, that’s where his O.T.O. was’. He claimed that his O.T.O. Grand Lodge had no actual location, just chartered individuals. He also maintained that when Crowley was head of his version of the Order, Germer was the ‘Grand Treasurer’ and McMurtry its ‘Grand Inspector General’.[227] Thus their offices were located wherever those individuals lived.

On 19th April, 1977, the ‘Caliphate’ started operating in the university town of Berkeley, under the name of the Thelema Lodge.[228] It started by initiating eight Minervals (0°), the most important individual among the new intake being one William Emmet Heidrick (b. 9th August, 1948), who hailed from San Anselmo. His progress up the ladder of degrees was somewhat disordered: initiated as a Minerval on 19th April, 1977,[229] as a First on 18th April, 1978 and, five months later (on 25th September, 1978), was raised to a Provisional IXth. He subsequently completed the missing II° on 30th April, 1979, the III°, on 26th May (same year), the IV° on 31st July, 1980, and finally, his V°, on 03rd September, 1983. He would soon admit that the ‘Caliphate’ was not a real continuation of Crowley’s O.T.O., by saying: “If there’d been a direct attempt to continue the Order I think it’d have failed.”[230] In May, 1977, McMurtry issued the first number of his official ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’.

In August, 1977, McMurtry issued what he portentously called a ‘Notice of Nullification’, which stated: “I hereby renounce, destroy, nullify, set aside, dispose of, and cast into oblivion any and all documents, dispositions, dispensations and/or other articles of authorization to elect a Successor to me as Caliph signed by me before this date. This applies especially to one signed by me and dated August 20, 1976 e.v., in which Phyllis E. McMurtry, Helen Parsons Smith, Kristopher Gerard D***, and Lon Milo DuQuette were empowered, upon my death, to elect a Successor to fill the Office of Caliph for Aleister Crowley’s ordo templi orientis. That authorization is hereby set at naught and is as of now null and void. Provision for succession to the Caliphate has been made by me in writing, but none of the above named shall have a vote in the grand council general of Aleister Crowley’s ordo templi orientis when it names that succession.”

But no-one took McMurtry’s attempt to wriggle off the hook seriously as K.G.D*** wrote to the present writer: “It did not matter, since at the time Phyllis had raised the question of his competence. If he had been incompe­tent, his nullifying paper would have been invalid. If he were competent, then we did not need to take action. Also other events were in motion to create local lodges.”[231]

 

The best is yet to come



On 12th October, 1977, Thelema Lodge declared itself to be a Grand Lodge[232] when McMurtry signed a document stating: “Let all Thelemites know that I, Hymenæus Alpha, 777 IX° O.T.O., 9°=2, Caliph of the Ordo Templi Orientis of Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, 666, do hereby Charter Thelema Lodge as Grand Lodge of O.T.O..”[233]
Grand Lodge Grady Louis McMurtry (1918–1985) Thelemites Hymenaeus Alpha, 777 IX° O.T.O., 9=2, Caliph of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Aleister Crowley, Baphomet, 666, Charter Thelema Lodge as Grand Lodge


Several new so-called pro­visional IX°s were quickly manufactured to bolster McMurtry’s claim,[234] namely James Graeb, Lon Milo DuQuette, Michael Ripple, McMurtry’s new girlfriend Sharon Morton, and soon, Heidrick too.[235] Helen Parsons-Smith kept aloof, as Heidrick remembered: “We offered her a position on the governing board of the incorporated O.T.O. and, after some months of consideration and vision, she declined to accept it. Helen has stated that she believes the way we are going about this is wrong.”[236] The other former members of Agapé Lodge, which was dissolved in 1953, refused to be linked to this upstart ‘Grand Lodge’.

In December, 1977, in his publication called ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’, McMurtry declared that so far as Metzger was concerned “The Caliphate recognizes his standing as Rex Summus Sanctissimus [X°] in Switzerland,”[237] a statement which invalidated McMurtry’s (and his successor’s) later claims to be O.H.O.; the O.H.O. had to be elected unanimously by all X°s.

In December 1977, a local newspaper reported that “McMurtry decided to declare himself OHO.”[238]

In 1978, McMurtry announced in his ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ that he had apparently commissioned one Steve Englehart to be his “ambassador” to Metzger’s O.T.O. at Stein, in Switzerland. Englehart was supposedly given a warm welcome at first, but when the ambassador finally got down to discussing the question of the O.H.O.’s office, this merely served to make Metzger angry. It took quite a few years for any result to come of this, but, in 1992, Metzger was posthumously deprived of “the X° and the office of O.H.O.” by William Breeze (McMurtry’s successor).[239] Steve Englehart recalled events a bit differently, he said: “I was the first guy to join the OTO in April 1977, and was already planning to travel through Europe starting in June of that year. At the time, the Swiss OTO was somewhat dismissive of Grady McMurtry’s credentials, so Grady asked me to deliver a message of conciliation when I was in the neighborhood. My trip spent June in Scotland, July in England, August in Scandinavia, and arrived in the Germanies (there being two at the time) in September. I then wrote to the Gasthof Rose — in Ger­man, since it was twenty years fresher in my mind — asking if I could come by. They agreed that I could, I did, and delivered the message (again, in functional German). They were not particularly impressed with it, but they were friendly enough to me. I spent the night, attended a gnostic mass the next day, and left. So instead of ‘travelling through Europe on behalf of the OTO in the 80s,’ I made one call as a go-between in 1977. After I returned to California in late 1978, I grew apart from the OTO, though I still regard my time with them as both seminal and pleasant.”[240]

Upon Motta’s behalf, one Michael G. Kaplan registered the Society Ordo Templi Orientis’ as a legal umbrella for the O.T.O. in Nashville, on 03rd February, 1978. Acts of payment for this Society Ordo Templi Orientis had been processed via a ‘Troll Publishing Company’.[241] On 16th May, 1978, Motta nominated a certain Jeremy Charles Ellis as representative of the true O.T.O. in London, issuing him with orders to stop the Crowleyan publications of Grant and Symonds. Ellis would take his commission all too literally and, in 1982, tried to set fire to the offices of the publishers Routledge & Kegan Paul in and attempt to burn Grant’s books.[242] On 21st December, 1978, Motta’s O.T.O. received tax-exempt status in Brazil.

On 20th March, 1978, the ‘Caliphate’ was officially registered as an association in California,[243] while McMurtry arrogated both the X° and office of O.H.O. to himself.[244] By now, Phyllis Seckler was openly expressing serious doubts about her ex-husband (the ‘Caliph’) and his preposterous behaviour. She tried to persuade his followers that Crowley alone “and what he wrote is your leader, and your guru.”[245] On 20th March, 1979, precisely one year after the ‘Caliphate’ was registered, Seckler expelled McMurtry from Jane Wolfe’s branch of the A.·. A.·.. As a quid pro quo, she expected to be expelled from the ‘Caliphate’ and predicted: “Probably they will soon state I am not a member of O.T.O.!”[246] And indeed, Heidrick (who’d only been a member since 1977), had already sent out a notice, dated 22nd April, 1979, saying that all members of the O.T.O. who wished to remain in good standing had to establish their condition of membership.[247] He threatened to throw Phyllis (a member since 1939) out of the order[248] if she refused to swear an Oath to the ‘Caliph’ with a ritual using salt and bread (based on the Minerval ceremony).[249] Heidrick argued that Seckler and the other IX°s from the old Agapé Lodge had been unable to keep Crowley’s O.T.O. alive, saying: “Your standards are not too high; they are out of date,” threatening that if she refused to swear an Oath to the ‘Caliph’ then, de facto, she was no longer a member.[250] Seckler had detected “three black magicians [...] on the Supreme Council of the O.T.O.. These are: Grady, Sharon [Morton, McMurtry’s current girlfriend][251] and you [Heidrick].[252] Henceforth, she stopped using the surname McMurtry[253] and became Phyllis Seckler once again. She also criticized the misogynist tendencies and practices she’d found within the O.T.O..[254] But after Heidrick issued his ultimatum[255] he hedged his bets, offering her a sop in the form of lodge of her own. Phyllis had second thoughts, changed her attitude and accepted the allegiance-ritual.[256] Seckler noted that “Af­ter that, the Caliph cried, put his arms around me, and apologized for his attitudes of the past.”[257]

One result of this outbreak of peace was that McMurtry partially gained access to Sascha Germer’s archive. From this he picked out slices of the Germer-Motta correspondence[258] and is said to have shown Motta’s letters to visitors on four occasions.[259] The letters made salacious reading, speaking with embarrassing frankness about Motta’s sexual hang-ups, revealing that: “I do believe frankly that sexual pleasure may and perhaps should be experienced with both sexes, and not only with sexes, in the human being, but also with animals. [...]. If I only had a bigger penis.”[260] Earlier, Seckler had expressed enthusiasm about the letter, claiming: “this could be a lovely weapon”[261] for Motta’s eventual exposure. Despite having been offered the return of these letters, on 01st December, 1977, Motta had declined.[262] This affair came to Motta’s ears via Helen Parsons-Smith and, since he had never been allowed access to the Crowley-Germer archive (although he had the right to it as one of the accepted though unmentioned “heads of the order” in Germer’s will), his indignation against the ‘Caliphate’ only grew.[263] Especially so when he became aware of the animosity between McMurtry and Seckler, Motta decided that “I did not con­sider that that was the kind of association that I would desire.”[264] His anger grew so much that (according to later court transcripts) he came to believe he had the magical power of killing people at a distance. He claimed as much to James Wasserman, saying that he had remotely assassinated Donald Weiser’s brother, and issued further ‘metaphysical death threats’ if his wishes were disobeyed.[265]


Blowing one’s own trumpet


On 26th March, 1979, McMurtry registered his group as a business, in California, under ‘#C0914362.’ “On May 17th, 1982 e.v., the O.T.O. became officially a Federal tax-exempt institution,” as was proudly announced in the O.T.O. member’s quarterly ‘The Magickal Link’.[266] In May, 1979, McMurtry let it be known that he was now “acting O.H.O.,”[267] but he did little with his new status; his health ruined from years of heavy drinking and drug abuse. At this distance in time it is difficult to establish many details, since his followers have built up a wall of silence around their guru’s habits,[268] though a ‘Doc’ Stanley (McMurtry’s part-time landlord) reported the regular use of “nose candy,” and was regularly woken up by loud screams during the night. He wrote a letter complaining to his tenant that “you lack adequate income to maintain any kind of an independent living situation. Short money and food stamps don’t cut the mustard most places, and you are unwilling to make an appli­cation for SSI on psychiatric grounds, and your temple will not support you either [...]. I believe that you are sufficiently disturbed at this point of time, and have a sufficient psychiatric history, to get what is called presumptive eligibility, and not have to go through the long process of appeal, delay etc.”[269] Phyllis Seckler was more precise when she informed a correspondant: “Physical problems, yes, due to the alcoholism, kidneys, haemorrhoids, heat, high blood pressure. Mental troubles, yes.”[270] “Latest news is that it was rudely brought home to Grady that it was either his bottle or lose the O.T.O. He chose to give up the bottle.”[271] She also mentioned his use of L.S.D., saying: “It was a highly secret fact of the time, kicked around among the few of us who made up the then infant Caliphate O.T.O.[...] G.’s mind had already been partly upset by a Dr.’s prescription in Washington D.C. of an am­phetamine to keep G. awake on the job.”


That’s the way the cookie crumbles


The Crowley-Germer archives were depleted on several occasions. Firstly, through two burglaries at Mildred Burlingame’s house in 1966; she suspected her student Jean Brayton was behind it. Secondly, through a burglary committed at Sascha Germer’s house in 1967; Sascha was convinced that she had recognised Phyllis Seckler’s daughter Stella’s palm-prints during this break-in,[272] but in fact, members of the Solar Lodge were responsible for the theft.[273] Thirdly, in 1967, a quantity of Crowleyan and Golden Dawn material was stolen during a burglary at Israel Regardie’s residence. The fourth loss occurred during Phyllis Seckler’s custody of the archive, in 1976: having thrown McMurtry out of her home in 1974, apparently because she was having to pay all the bills while he lived off her earnings (not to mention the drug problems and his affair with another woman), with Wasserman’s help Phyllis sold off a number of duplicate documents.[274] At this time the archive consisted of “over 30 bulky containers” costing $500 a year to keep in storage. She refused to let McMurtry anywhere near the archive,[275] even after Heidrick started threatening he’d employ a lawyer to force the release of the material.[276] The fifth depletion occurred in 1979, due to theft from Seckler’s secret hideaway in Livermore, for which only she and Helen Parsons-Smith possessed keys.[277]

The greater part of this collection is still missing today.[278] Phyllis Seckler blamed Heidrick for the depredations while she had charge of it, declaring:[279] We must leave no stone unturned to find the culprit!”[280] McMurtry, of course, blamed Seckler.[281] Helen Parsons-Smith did not react to Seckler’s letters and answer-machine messages about the thefts from the collection. In court, in 1985, all sides withdrew their accusations.

There are only the most contradictory and unreliable reports as to where this stolen material might be now and, given the absence of hard evidence, all speculation is pointless. Phyllis Seckler is alleged to have possessed some 1,200 pages of Agapé Lodge correspondence, dating from the 1940s up to 1969 (when McMurtry re-emerged). She did manage to keep hold of her post-1969 correspondence, which included everything about how and why the O.T.O. might be re-established, as well as the early days of what became the ‘Caliphate’. This was why, after McMurtry died, the ‘Caliphate’ O.T.O. never got its hands on this (often compromising) material.


By their fruits shall ye know them


If Motta chose his students according to strict criteria, McMurtry accepted anyone into his group. Yet neither of them had a warrant or charter to conduct initiations (an absolute necessecity according to Crowley’s III° initiation rituals); an oath even had to be taken to this effect.[282] Phyllis Seckler commented of McMurtry that, “he goes on giving out false and phony certificates and grades [...] this is not the real O.T.O.”[283] “Bill [Heidrick] is the power behind the throne and manipulates Grady.”[284] She roundly disqualified her ex-husband from all his pretensions to the X°, stating that: “He is alcoholic and a slave to that and to other things”[285] continuing with “G. has foully betrayed A.C.’s trust in some ways and have said so, openly.”[286] Seckler admitted that several different O.T.O. versions existed alongside each other. In this she differed from her new superior Heidrick, and McMurtry, who reiterated ad nauseam that there was but one O.T.O., namely his own. Phyllis labelled the new order as simply a “Cali­phate branch of O.T.O.”.[287] Nor did Motta find any favour in her eyes and she opined: “But here is a madman claiming O.T.O. (Karl [Ger­mer] never gave him permission to even conduct any beginning O.T.O. or put on any rituals, or whatever).”[288] This was her usual opinion whenever Motta’s name was mentioned; for instance, in correspondence with the present writer: “I have a respect for your efforts but to quote Motta might make you a laughing stock by those who know.”[289]

Neither Motta nor McMurtry possessed copies of the actual rituals of the Crowleyan O.T.O. prior to their (1973) publication, by Francis King.[290] After this, Motta composed his own rituals;[291] being convinced that the occult effectiveness of rituals was compromised if they became common knowledge. He opined: “If they are published, the Order cannot initiate.”[292] Those who subsequently joined his O.T.O. were required to provide a nude photograph of themselves (not to mention their fingerprints and footprints).[293] In July, 1980, Motta emigrated to the U.S.A., settling in Nashville, Tennessee. He then started a campaign of attacks on the members of every O.T.O. other than his ‘own brand,’ extending this to all the other aspirants to the office of O.H.O.. In 1981, these attacks reached a climax with the publication of his ‘Equinox’ Volume 4, also known as ‘Sex and Religion’, which led McMurtry and others to file a suit for defamation against him, in California. Prior to this, Motta’s efforts to gain recognition had already impelled him to take Samuel Weiser the publishers to court[294] in an effort to claim a percentage of the royalties from the Crowley books they were selling.[295] The legal case (heard in Maine) dragged on from 07th December, 1981, to 21st January, 1985.

Marcelo Ramos Motta Aleister Crowley Equinox Volume V No. 4. Sex and Religion, Bagh-i-Muattar, Paris Working, Wake World, Diary — V No. 3 Chinese Texts, Yi Jing, Dao De Jing — V No. 2 Marcelo Ramos Motta — Oriflamme — Equinox — Commentaries of Liber AL vel Legis


The last laugh’s always on the loser


First Circuit Court of Maine. Motta versus Samuel Weiser, Civ. No. 81-0459-P, Cite as 598 F. Supp. 941.6.12.1984. The court’s interim opinion stated that: “Anyone who [was] engaged in correspondence with Crowley or Germer regarding the OTO could not be prevented from starting his own group under the OTO banner.” The O.T.O. was “nothing more than an idea in the mind of AC [... and] Germer [...]. Crowley was the OHO of the OTO by self-designation.” “The abstract idea of an OTO persists, available to be appropriated by anyone so inclined, but no single group of persons having exclusive right to use the OTO name appears from this record to exist.”

Six months later, in Motta versus Weiser, No 85-1050., Cite as 768 F.2d 481. June 4 1985, the final judgement was: “The district court found, however, that the membership and structure of OTO is too indefinite and amorphous, so that its members lack the capacity to own property as tenants in common, thereby precluding appellants’ standing to enforce the Crowley copyrights.”[296] And, “the OTO is not a legal ‘person’ capable of owing property as an entity or through its individual members.”[297]

So, Motta lost against Weiser. The court held that he was only Germer’s representative, whose powers were limited in extent and duration, and not his heir. As for McMurtry the court stated: “McMurtry does not claim to be OHO, but he is the de facto leader of a group in California devotees of Crowley who consider themselves the legitimate OTO.” The court did not feel competent to rule definitively on the matter, as Kenneth Grant and H.J. Metzger should to be taken into account; the court only stated that this was McMurtry’s opinion of his own group. The lawyers hinted at the possibility that McMurtry could easily have suppressed documents issued by Crowley and which may name further heirs.[298] This was alleged to be the case in the lawsuit McMurtry was about to bring against Motta.[299] One witness, Martin Starr, remembered that “there was a pre-trial motion (that both parties agreed to) to the effect that Metzger[300] was never a member of the O.T.O.”.[301]

As mentioned above, the ‘Caliphate’ had already reacted to Motta’s accusations by bringing its own case against him, on 13th May 1985.[302] Charges were also pressed for copyright infringement and unfair competition. This action was brought against Motta by a whole line-up of opponents and not just McMurtry, but Helen Parsons-Smith, Phyllis Seckler, James Wassermann and William Heidrick. Regardie was also a plaintiff, but died before the trial began. Two more of Motta’s opponents were William Breeze and Kenneth Anger, but neither appeared in court; Breeze and Wassermann withdrew their cases before the trial started. Heidrick, by the way, was the only one who lost his case.[303] Oscar Schlag was retrospectively sorry not to have heard of the allegations against Motta, otherwise he would have filed suit as well.[304]

In court, during 1985, Heidrick maintained that Crowley’s letters to McMurtry conferred worldwide authority on him, saying: “There may be an injunction saying ‘you must not go beyond these statements.’ And there is no such in Grady’s papers.”[305] Germer’s authority had already been thrown into doubt the year after he took against McMurtry. So McMurtry published: “Any authority given by Karl Germer [...] is subject to dispute,”[306] also because Germer allegedly usurped the leadership of Crowley’s O.T.O. without asking others. During the court case, questions arose as to whether “only the immediate predecessor, namely Germer [not Crowley], can appoint” the next O.H.O..[307] This should be compared with Yorke’s considered opinion that any Reussian O.T.O. carried more authority than a Crowleyan O.T.O..[308]

McMurtry believed that Germer was only a de facto O.H.O. and not a de jure O.H.O. (expressions that McMurtry applied for the first time to the office of O.H.O. and which had never been used before in that context); therefore all instructions by Germer had a time limit. But not Crowley’s: thus, after Germer’s death, all Germer’s instructions automatically became invalid, and Crowley’s earlier instructions were re-activated.[309] This, in McMurtry’s eyes, also applied to Germer’s initiations: a Germer IX° was not equal to a Crowley IX°. So, if Motta had got his IX° from Germer, this degree automatically vanished on Germer’s death.[310] But if one were to follow McMurtry’s logic the elephant in the living-room for the present-day ‘Caliphate’ what would happen after McMurtry’s death?

The ‘Caliphate’ camp alluded to the use of the word “emergency” in one of the ‘Caliphate Letters’ linked with the possibility of the O.T.O.’s, “demise; though without taking into account that no European or South American O.T.O. had ever been in a ‘state of emergency’ since they began. Hardly any attention was paid to Metzger. Martin P. Starr, who was one of the witnesses, believed that this might have been due to an underhand deal cooked up between Motta and McMurtry outside the court, to the effect that Metzger had never really joined the O.T.O. after all.[311] Hence the court never heard testimony, nor saw certain documents, that would undoubtedly have had a considerable effect on the case.

At least the trial forced the participating parties into some intensive research on the history of their orders.[312] For example, the ‘Caliphate’ only learned in 1985 of the O.T.O. Constitution drawn up by Theodor Reuss in 1917.[313] The Gnostic Catholic Church subsidiary of the ‘Caliphate’ was set up as a fail-safe strategy in case Motta won the lawsuits.[314] Motta, on the other hand, cautioned his entire membership in the U.S.A. (all five of them?)[315] to resign from the S.O.T.O. (Society Ordo Templi Orientis), since there was a chance that whoever lost the case might be jointly liable for the legal costs.[316]

Motta was caught in a web of contradictions, together with his sanctimonious manner a mixture of defiance and indignation earning himself little sympathy from the judge. A witness of the trial remembered that Motta “was very cold and silent during the proceedings, the entire time he was in court, he sat there facing the wall so as not to even look at the McMurtry group or the judge. Judges being hu­man, this cold-fish attitude of Motta’s probably contributed to the overwhelming judgement against him. not to mention Motta being the sole member of his OTO and an alien, whereas the Caliphate had organization, (citizenship) and substantial membership (at least on paper).”[317] The self-assessment contained in McMurtry’s case held that “There are probably 4,000 on the entire planet that have any awareness of the ‘Book of the Law’ and the 10 more serious are facing each other in this courtroom.”[318]

Motta was irrefutably caught out in perjury; having lied in his testimony and later confessing to his lawyer in writing of having done so. Martin Starr having obtained a copy of this letter, then gave it to the ‘Caliphate’. Motta was then confronted in court with his own written admission of lying. Thus destroying what little remaining credibility he had and, ultimately, bringing about his own defeat.[319]

Motta: I might lie under oath if there is something that conflicts with my religious obligation, but otherwise no.

Lawyer: Well, would that include some of the testimony today?

M: No.

L: Well, doesn’t it agree with your religious convictions?

M: I was forced in Maine to admit that I am the Outer Head of the Order because I was brought to that position by the anachronisms of your clients and the dishonesty of Mr. Donald Wei­ser, otherwise I would not have done it.

L: My question is about lying under oath.

M: Yes.

L: How do you know —

M: I would not lie under oath for personal profit.

L: But you would lie for religious beliefs?

M: For the OTO, yes, I would.

L: How can this Court decide today when you are lying and when you are not lying?

M: That is up to the court to decide.[320]

[…]

Lawyer: Oh, if you’re not under oath you can lie?

M: Everybody does. Some people even under oath more than once.

L: Well, how many other statements of yours are true or false?[321]


Ninth Circuit Court of California. C-83-5434-C AL, July 10, 1985. The court stated that McMurtry, “now owns, holds all right and title to, has used, does now use, and has the right to use: The name ‘Ordo Templi Orientis [...]’ all writings and publications by Crowley.” The court’s judgement granted the ‘Caliphate’ what was in effect partial ownership of the O.T.O. copyrights within the Ninth Court Circuit’s jurisdiction and declared it to be the O.T.O. in the U.S.. The claims are only legally valid in the territory covered by the Ninth Circuit, which include: California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Hawaii, Guam and the North Marianas Islands.

Motta was to pay $140,000 in fines. From this moment on, the court’s decision became part of the required reading for all 0°s in the ‘Caliphate’.[322] Michael Aquino from the Temple of Set, who had been invited by the ‘Caliphate’ to observe the trial[323] reported that “While sitting in the courtroom watching Judge Legge preside sternly over the Motta-Berkley-slug-out, I couldn’t help wondering if he had any idea he was ruling on which group had legal claim to anal sex [XI°] as the supreme religious sacrament in the United States,”[324]


The pot calling the kettle black


Martin Patrick Starr played a vital rôle in these court cases. Born in 1959, Starr become a member of Motta’s O.T.O. on 12th October, 1976, taking the occult motto ‘Meithras’ (not to be confused with Patrick King, who was the only XI° ever initiated by McMurtry.)[325] He was initiated under the auspices of Richard Ger­non and rose to ‘Director’[326] (and III°) of a mid-West O.T.O. branch on 01st November 1976.[327] During the trial of the ‘Caliphate’ vs. Motta (and after Motta lost his case against Samuel Weiser, on 06th December, 1984), on 25th January, 1985, Starr changed sides and threw in his lot with McMurtry.[328] Starr felt this sudden change was justified because Motta had supposedly “lost his objectivity.” Indeed, it was mostly thanks to Starr’s depositions as chief witness that the ‘Caliphate’ won its case in 1985. Never having risen above Neophyte (1°=10) in Motta’s A.·. A.·., Starr was also eventually expelled from Motta’s O.T.O.. After the court decision that ruled in favour of McMurtry in the Ninth Circuit of Appeals and where Starr had testified in McMurtry’s favour, his idea of who should be the O.H.O. were now quite clear: Metzger had by far the best claim, “certainly over McMurtry,”[329] though he added, “I now believe that Germer did intend to appoint Motta the O.H.O. on his deathbed.”[330] Not one word of this did he mention in court. After the trial he also stated of the ‘Caliphate’, that they had distorted and falsified the facts to serve their purposes.


To go from rags to riches

Grady Louis McMurtry — Ordo Templi Orientis — Caliphate



Summary of the court decisions so far: 

1) Maine 1984. Against the ‘Caliphate’: The court heard that Crowley transferred the copyrights of his writings (in his last Will) to the O.T.O., and concerned itself with the question whether the ‘Caliphate’ could be the legal successor to the O.T.O.. The court concluded that the ‘Caliphate’ could not be a legal successor, because there never was an O.T.O. which existed as a body, in other words as a legal entity: “There is no evidence that the OTO was ever incorporated during the lifetime of either Crowley or Germer.” Therefore the ‘Caliphate’ can only be regarded as a re-establishment of an order which had called itself the O.T.O.. There is no legal succession, because, as mentioned above, there never was an O.T.O. with, “legal status to own property,”nor a body of that name which could have possessed rights and assets. Therefore the ‘Caliphate’ did not acquire such rights and assets as a successor of an O.T.O. body.[331]

2) California 1985. In favour of the ‘Caliphate’: The court in California came to the opposite conclusion, finding that the ‘Caliphate’ was a legal successor; therefore the name, trademarks and copyrights could be taken over. In fact, this decision is basically wrong regarding the copyrights: Crowley died bankrupt; if the copyrights belonged to the bankrupt’s estate, then they belonged to neither Crowley nor the O.T.O.. The moment someone is made bankrupt under English law, the official receiver alone benefits from the bankrupt’s rights. One of the subsequent “Findings of Fact,” (p. 5, paragraph 15) states “Plaintiff McMurtry is the acting OHO of OTO in the United States.” The O.H.O. being an international office, the phrase “acting OHO of OTO in the United States” would effectively limit McMurtry’s jurisdiction to the United States. Arguments against the international character of this designation failed on appeal.

James Graeb, a lawyer by profession and also a controversial protagonist in the history of the ‘Caliphate’, stated of the court decisions in the two Circuits: “Different circuits, different facts, different parties. There is no binding decision.”[332] Since there is no mutual jurisdiction between the First and Ninth Circuits, the court of last appeal would have to be the U.S. Supreme Court itself; though perhaps, unsurprisingly, this august body has made hardly any statements that could be relevant to this case.

On 19th July, 1985, William Heidrick wrote to John Symonds, saying: “Please note [...] that our organization has been adjudged to own the unassigned copyrights of Aleister Crowley [...] we need to proceed to regularize our relationship with each other.”

On 9th September, 1985, Heidrick wrote to Kenneth Grant, saying: “you should seek the advice of a legal counsel... we are not the only ones who can use [the Ninth Circuit Court’s copyright decision] [...]. The appeal [...] is almost entirely limited to the US Supreme Court [which had made no Copyright decisions in this case] [...]. I have to try to reach an agreement with you about the various matters related to O.T.O. property [...]. Without resting on your claim [O.H.O.], Mr. Symonds would have no defense against a legal action by us. […]. On to proposals: [...] What I would most like to see is an annulment of the Germer expulsion letter that professed to kick you out of the O.T.O. [with the proviso that he submitted to the ‘Caliph’. Heidrick’s use of the word ‘professed’ leaves little doubt that he himself thought Germer’s expulsion of Grant worthless]. Unfortunately, many letters and a court decision affirm that Germer became the O.H.O. [...]. Xth Degrees could not be kicked out [...]. I don’t think we would be willing to recognize that your alternate O.T.O. was the direct continuation of the O.T.O. of Crowley [...]. All we want out of Symonds is his signature on a document accepting our claim being the O.T.O.”.

On 10th September, 1985, Heidrick wrote to Symonds, saying: [Gerald] Yorke understood that you had finished entirely your duties as literary executor [...]. Germer then had reason to believe that your duties in the estate had ended, including in regard to the Copyrights [...]. Regarding Mr. Grant and the copyrights, IXth Degree, expulsion, and Karl Germer’s actual status as Head of O.T.O. (O.H.O.). This is not relevant to the central issue of the rights and properties vested in this Ordo Templi Orientis.” Heidrick went on to argue that Metzger could not have been an O.H.O. from the start, since he had never sought to defend copyrights legally.

On 4th July, 1987, Motta lost in the North California Court of Appeals, which filed a ‘Memorandum’ affirming the 1985 decision, holding “that ample secular evidence supports the district court’s findings that plaintiff OTO is, and SOTO is not, the continuation of the original OTO, and its finings that McMurtry is, and Motta is not, the OHO.” So, “the case is effectively settled unless further appeal is made to the U.S. Su­preme Court,” since the U.S. Supreme Court, “declined to hear” Motta’s appeal.[333]


The end justifies the means: the provisional’ IX°s


When McMurtry started the ‘Caliphate’, there were only two full IX°s to support him and neither received their degrees directly from Crowley. Indeed, these (Helen Parsons-Smith and Phyllis Seckler) first had to ask for recognition of membership in McMurtry’s new O.T.O..

McMurtry’s friend, James Graeb, commented: “In Crowley’s time the IX° was ‘synthetic’ as it says in the ‘Blue Equinox’. What that means is that any, that’s right any ‘full’ IX° could establish an entire OTO, since the ‘full’ powers of the IX° include the ability to initiate into all grades and degrees of OTO, without external charter.[334] Khalifa [i.e. Caliph] Grady L. McMurtry knew that (that was his power — that and his Khalifa papers), and he therefore took the precaution to call all of his IX° that he made ‘provisional’ IX°, rather than full IX°, with the proviso that they would become full IX° upon Grady’s death (hence their ability to select a new Caliph — they were after Grady’s death now each ‘full’ IX° that is full ‘successors’ — get it?). Well, the new Caliph had to deal with this problem and so he eliminated most of the ‘full’ IX° from Crowley or Grady’s time by having them swear loyalty under a ritual guise. Only a few didn’t do that, and those few are still trouble to HB [Breeze] today. All the IX° created by HB are not ‘full’ in the old sense, and the distinction is not recognized as valid, in fact, there is not­hing written by Crowley to indicate that there is a distinction between full IX° anyway.”[335] In remi­niscing about his wartime exploits McMurtry wrote, “The IXth Degree promotions are in the nature of Battle Field Promotions.” These ‘promotions’ were not necessarily a part of the magical training regarding the IX°’s sexual secret, but much more for purely political reasons:[336] creating Provisional Ninths helped to establish an inner core of IX° members to show the public and especially the courts that the ‘Caliphate’ was more than just McMurtry.

The Provisional Ninths were James Graeb, Lon DuQuette, Andrea Lacedonia, Lola DeWolfe (a.k.a. Kaye D. Lewis), James Eshelman,[337] James Wasserman,[338] Sharon Morton,[339] Michael and Michelle Ripple.[340] Kristopher D*, also a provisional IX° since 1978, left the ‘Caliphate’ on 23rd February, 1981.[341]

McMurtry died on 12th July, 1985, without having heard about the court’s decision of 10th July. In Motta’s camp this occurrence was interpreted as meaning that he “was struck down by the Secret Chiefs for his foolish presumption.”[342] Within the ‘Caliphate’ itself, McMurtry was promptly included in their ‘Litany of Saints’ in the Gnostic Mass.[343]

James T. Graeb was the only local ‘Caliphate’ upper degree member whom McMurtry could trust with legal matters.[344] McMurtry’s Last Will and Testament, dated 26th June, 1985, reads in part:

 FOURTH: I give the following property to the following groups and people:

“1. To the Ordo Templi Orientis (herein called ‘Order’), located in Emeryville, California, I give my entire library, containing both academic and metaphysical books, all my paintings, all those items which directly or indirectly involve or concern the Order and/or ist members or Aleister Crowley, my silver ring with the hawk on it, and the metal box kept under my bed in the bedroom of my cur­rent residence; [...]

“3. I leave the rest and residue of my estate to James Graeb so that he may fairly dispose of it among those friends of mine, including James Graeb, who may be interested in any position of it. [...]

“EIGHTH: It is my desire that the Order’s Supreme Council elect the successor Caliph for the Ordo Templi Orientis.”

Eventually, section 4.3 of McMurtry’s Last Will and Testament was considered, by Graeb and Helen Parsons-Smith, to have the effect that Graeb was a temporary X° heading the Provisional Ninths in the election process. It is noteworthy that McMurtry’s Last Will does not make use of the expression O.H.O. of the O.T.O.” McMurtry did not claim to be a full or de jure O.H.O. but rather a de facto O.H.O.. He did not believe being a ‘Caliph’ automatically made him O.H.O., but rather an ‘emergency acting O.H.O.’. The court (in 1985) knew full well that O.H.O. was an international office when it specified that McMurtry was O.H.O. “for the United States.”

Several of the electing provisional IX°s had been explicitly forbidden to become active in the election of a ‘Caliph’: On 6 August, 1977, McMurtry had issued a ‘Note of Nullification’ to “announce, destroy, nullify, set aside, dispose of, and cast into oblivion any and all documents, dispositions, dispensations and/or other articles of authorization to elect a Successor to me as Caliph signed by me before this date.” McMurtry specifically named Seckler, Smith, K.G.D*** and Lon Milo DuQuette.[345] This ‘Nullification’ was never afterwards nullified. Seckler and Smith, although the only ‘fully activated’ IX°s, were considered ‘outsiders’ and would not be ‘officially recognized’ until the 1980s (as mentioned before, they had to ask for recognition of membership in the ‘Caliphate’ which definitely makes this organisation a new O.T.O. version) and then brought back into the fold for the court case against Motta in 1985.


We know that we are not in a position to elect an O.H.O.


The 1917 Reuss ‘Constitution’ mandates that the O.H.O. appoint his or her successor and makes specific provisions for members of an appointed, but otherwise vaguely-defined ‘Cabinet’, to administer the affairs of the O.T.O.[346] until a successor takes possession of the office. But has nothing to say about a failure to appoint by an outgoing O.H.O.. Crowley did make such a provision in his 1913 ‘Constitution’ for his own branch of the O.T.O. called ‘Mysteria Mystica Maxima’, which specified that the office of national chief executive of the British unincorporated association appoint his or her successor, but added that “In default of such appointment the Executive shall appoint a successor.”[347] In the absence of any parallel provision for the international order, it appears to have been understood that those individuals who held the O.H.O.’s delegated executive authority should decide the question amongst themselves.[348]

Special Ninth Degree ‘Caliphate‘ Election Held September 2021, 1985.

The election took place in a Holiday Inn conference room, in Concord. Present were: Seckler, Smith,[349] Lon Milo DuQuette, Michael and Michelle Ripple, Wasserman, Heidrick, Graeb, Morton, Andrea Lacedonia Bacuzzi, DeWolfe. Candidates were Heidrick, Eshelman and William Breeze. Waiting in another room: Anthony Ianotti, Eshelman, Breeze. Also present: McMurtry’s ashes (in an urn). Most of the participants were Provisio­nal IX°s until the moment McMurtry died. In fact, most had only reached the IV°, no ‘full Temple’ initiations having ever taken place into the VI° before 1985. Although they had blamed Karl Germer for not having waited a year and a day (according to misunderstood excerpts taken out of context by Gerald Yorke and Israel Regardie from ‘The Constitution of the Order of the Thelemites’) before ‘ruling’ over the leftovers of Crowley’s O.T.O., they elected their new ‘Caliph’ just two months after McMurtry’s death. This was William Breeze who was to turn the ‘Caliphate’ into ‘O.T.O. Inc.’ or ‘O.T.O. International’.[350]

William Gary Breeze (born 12th August, 1955,) had studied music in New England and became a computer designer, founding his own firm in the early 1980s. On 20th June, 1981, he became McMurtry’s “personal envoy [...] International Coordinator [...] opening diplomatic relations with such branches of O.T.O. as exist abroad,” acting “as the Caliph’s perso­nal representative [...] for the Dominion of Canada.”[351] He took his Minerval in August, 1978, in Canada; I° on 5th April, 1979; II° on 1st November, 1980; III° on 8th July, 1981; Fourth & Perfect Illuminatus on 19th January, 1985. He jumped to full Ninth upon his election, on 21st September, 1985. In 1985 he co-founded ‘Mystic Fire Video’, which he left (in 1993), to concentrate solely on O.T.O. concerns.


Before you can say knife


Ultimately, the blueprint for claiming O.T.O. headship was established by Crowley, a self-proclaimed (in 1921) O.H.O.. McMurtry followed suit (around 1978) as did Grant (in 1955). Breeze did exactly the same thing as Metzger in Switzerland: both were ‘elected’ by their own group. Metzger’s elevation (in 1963) to O.H.O. (elected by five people) was no different to that of Breeze (elected in 1985 by eleven members).[352] The main distinction between these O.T.O. variations-on-a-theme is that the Swiss O.T.O. had been active since the 1940s, while the ‘Caliphate’ was a new invention and the Typhonian O.T.O. re-structured its system completely.[353]

From that day to this the ‘Caliphate’ has tried to position itself as the O.T.O.. Breeze, with only ‘experimental’ experience in leading lodges, would soon rise to calling himself “Director of Rights and Permissions.”[354]


Free things always hurt


The ‘Caliphate’ bought all possibly existing copyrights (so far as subsisting) from the Official Receiver (i.e. the English Crown) in 1991, for £3,000. In a letter dated 21st August, 1995, the Official Receiver confirmed that the assignment of 28th March, 1991, was intended to cover all the works of Crowley, including his illustrations and designs. An English court confirmed (in 2000) that this O.T.O. (i.e. the ‘Caliphate’) had bought all copyrights (so far as subsisting).[355] This decision and the acquisition of the copyrights has nothing to do with the question of whether the ‘Caliphate’ is the legitimate O.T.O. successor, or whether any O.T.O. body existed at all in a legal sense.[356] Anybody with his dog Rex could actually have bought the copyrights (so far as subsisting): the acquisition was the crucial part of the business. But this is the basis of the prevailing ‘Caliphate’ orthodoxy: according the court in L.A. they are the successors of the O.T.O., and therefore they are the legal owners of the Crowley copyrights. Even if any other legal authority should come to a different conclusion from the court in L.A, they are in any case copyright owners, because they acquired the copyrights from the Official Receiver in England. However, it is highly doubtful if it would suffice the ‘Caliphate’ to wave a photocopy of an English court’s judgment under the nose of anyone they think is trying to infringe on their self-assumed ‘rights’. As long as an alleged copyright infringer does not sign an unrestricted commitment to liability for damages, according to the legal opinion of the District Court in Berlin,[357] the ‘Caliphate’ is forced to fully disclose their acquisition of the Crowley copyrights in each and every case.

In 2000, Breeze threatened to sue Phyllis Seckler over A.·. A.·. matters. On 22nd June, 2000, she countered with a vitriolic letter containing accusations that he was “acting with religious intolerance and suppression.” Eventually Breeze signed an affidavit (dated 12th July, 2000) that he would not “contest in a court of law the use of the name or lamen of the August Fraternity A.·. A.·..” However, during his (1985) election as ‘Caliph’, Breeze made the statement that “I really don’t feel that a Caliph, with extreme exceptions, is necessarily true to his oath.”


Let sleeping dogs lie


In England, on 31st January, 2003, the ‘Caliphate’ applied (under the Trade Marks Act of 1994) for registration of a series of four trade marks which, for administrative purposes, were split into two sets of two trade marks apiece.[358] On 26th January, 2004, Starfire Publishing Limited[359] filed a notice of opposition to the application, arguing that “O.T.O.” (etc.) ought to be a generic term. On 06th August, 2007, the Hearing Officer stated he had “no intention of making a finding on the legitimacy or otherwise of the parties in this case. It is clear that there are a number of groups who follow the beliefs of Thelema or Thelemic Law that use the title Ordo Templi Orientis […]. The marks in suit therefore do not, and cannot, act as a trade mark denoting the goods or services of a single entity.” On 03rd October, 2007, Breeze gave notice of appeal. On 06th June, 2008, the Appeal Officer ruled that the ‘Caliphate’s’ registrations of the name and the lamen could proceed normally in the U.K., so overturning the previous decision in favour of Starfire Publishing. The decision being made on technical points of law and not evidence, nor was it a ruling on the validity of historical legitimacy.[360] This finding draws a distinction between the ‘Caliphate’ and the “society that called itself Ordo Templi Orientis in the early 20th Century.” The body earlier known as Typhonian O.T.O. then assumed the name Typhonian Order not far away from being called Oriental Typhonian Order.


Motta’s legacy


Brazil before 1985

Euclydes Lacerda de Almeida was one of Motta’s earliest disciples (from 1961) but when there was a coup in Brazil in 1964, during which the military established a dictatorship in the country, Motta was a cadet at the Military Academy in Rio de Janeiro and all occult activity had to cease. Lacerda only managed to get back in touch with Motta in 1969, and the two eventually set up a small O.T.O. group called the ‘Sociedade Novo Aeon’ founded in 1974, and legally incorporated as an association on 5th September, 1975. Lacerda was raised to the office of X° of the O.T.O. in Brazil, on 03rd November, 1974, but shortly afterwards Motta suspended him from the O.T.O. for five years. During Lacerda’s brief reign as X°, Motta had started another O.T.O. group called F.A.A.O.T.O. (‘Fundação A.·. A.·. e O.T.O.’) together with Oséas Saturnino de Almeida, at São Paulo, in 1975.[361] On 19th May 1978, Kenneth Grant of the English Typhonian O.T.O. chartered Lacerda with the VII° of that group and, on 03rd July, 1989, furnished him with a Typhonian IX° (which was actually a confirmation of the IX° Lacerda had received from Motta on 25th March, 1974).[362] In 1979, the F.A.A.O.T.O. died with Saturnino de Almeida, and eventually Motta founded yet another group, called the ‘Nuit Lodge of the O.T.O.’ Motta’s ‘Sociedade Ordo Templi Orientis no Brasil’ was a legally incorporated association, and also registered the O.T.O. lamen as a trade-mark in Brazil in 1976.[363]

Brazil after 1985

As a Brazilian citizen, Motta’s visa renewal was denied and, in September 1985, he had to move back to Brazil from the U.S.. On the night of 26th — 27th August, 1987, Motta died of “myocardial infarction and pulmonary oedema”[364] before he could begin a planned journey to Europe.[365] He was buried at Petropolis, which is in hilly country near Rio de Janeiro. His bones were inter­red in an ossuary beneath a Roman Catholic chapel in the cemetery there.[366] His Last Will and Te­stament (dated 15th October, 1984), named William Robert Barden, Claudia Canuto de Menezes and Daniel Ben Stone (an attorney who had paid for all of Motta’s lawsuits) as his heirs, with responsibility for continuing his version of the O.T.O. and to unanimously elect his successor or ‘Follower’. He also declared that Martin Starr was never to be trusted again.

marcelo ramos motta last will and testament
marcelo ramos motta last will and testament

Motta’s death caused a number of schisms. On 21st December, 1987, de Menezes parted company from both Barden and Stone.[367] Another former follower of Motta, one David L. Bersson (room-mate of Menezes), unilaterally proclaimed himself to be the “Frater Superior of the Entire World”[368] of the S.O.T.O. and 8°=3 “the Highest Grade Adept on Earth.” Bersson had signed his first ‘Oath and Task’ in Motta’s A.·. A.·. on 14th January, 1974, and his first S.O.T.O. ‘Letter Patent’ on 12th September, 1977. In 1981, he was personally trained by Richard William Gernon Jr. (1949–1989)[369] and earlier (in 1977) by J.D. Gunther (now Breeze’s A.·. A.·. superior), although expelled by Motta[370] on 25th November, 1978).

Bersson expelled Barden,[371] Stone, and also William Heidrick![372] Stone was accused of having dug up Motta’s corpse and eventually with having cremated it.[373] On the other hand, Stone had kept hold of Motta’s archive without consulting Canuto or Barden, and left a handwritten note (dated 17th September, 1978) in Motta’s empty house, which was found a day later by a surprised and infuriated Barden. Barden, in turn, expelled Stone (on 28th February, 1988) for his refusal to furnish details of Motta’s bank accounts. Bardon then established the ‘Foundation Parzival XI°’ in Australia for raising funds to produce publications by and for those associated with both the S.O.T.O. and the A.·. A.·..[374] This annoyed the local ‘Caliphate’ membership no end and they immediately sought to persecute Barden with the help of an attorney but nothing came of it. It is said that Barden died in early 2004.

Meanwhile, an American Motta disciple called Ray Eales (b. 1953, in Texas) was concentrating his efforts on Motta’s A.·. A.·. (now active as H.O.O.R. group in the U.S.).[375]

It is remarkable just how many of the leading figures in the ‘Caliphate’ rescension of the O.T.O. were once pupils of Motta. Even today, Motta’s original X° appointee Euclydes Lacerda[376] is viewed as the “Senior Brother in the A.·. A.·.” by many ‘Caliphate’ adherents. Lacerda became a 0° of the ‘Caliphate’ on 17th December, 1995. But after 11th September, 1996, Lacerda severed his links with every O.T.O. group (including the Typhonian O.T.O.), since he considered the O.T.O. per se to be redundant. He is now the leader of his own ‘Thelemic Knight Templar Order,’ which uses Motta’s rituals.[377] Euclydes died on 24th June 2010. Today, there is no longer any Brazilian Typhonian O.T.O..


Metzger’s legacy


Probably as a result of the court cases against Walter Englert and the publication of Ed Sanders’s book ‘The Family’, in 1972, a virulent campaign against the “bastardised monastery of Appenzell” began in the German-speaking tabloid press, led by journalist and author Horst Knaut. It is hardly surprising that the tabloid press’ flushing the Stein community out of its previous obscurity had a huge effect on both the management and residents of the Gasthof Rose. Regular guests stayed away whilst new and unfamiliar ones turned up purely out of prurient curiosity, these making what were remembered as “unflattering remarks.” In the evenings, people would creep up to the buildings at the Gasthof and peer in through the windows and doors to see what the inhabitants might be up to inside. In Stein, the villagers still remember how one day a young local farm-hand, rather the worse for drink, had mounted a genuine cavalry charge against the Abbey of Thelema, armed with a pitchfork. As a result of all this unwanted attention, Metzger and his girlfriend Anita Borgert sued Knaut for libel; the court even went so far as to conduct a “search of the accused, Knaut’s, dwelling and workplace.” The journalist was found guilty, but only in the matter of one sentence in an article dated 20th February, 1975, which spoke of a “holy sex-Mass [...] which was merely a prelude to blasphemous sex-orgies and Black Masses which took place later.” Metzger and Borgert lost on seven out of eight counts, but Knaut still had to pay the combined legal costs, as well as compensation. As a result of this, and the completion of some extravagant renovations at the Abbey of Thelema, Annemarie Aeschbach’s savings were running short. The public works printing and publishing, a film club, a mail-order business, and the hotel-cum-health resort had already been discontinued. Interviewed in local church and parish magazines, the Abbey’s inmates distanced themselves from “that most deranged of insane names — Crowley.” They were at great pains to emphasise that they no longer acknowledged him in their letters to the editors of directories and reference works. As the Abbey had unwisely ignored some bye-laws relating to land useage, the local Federal Council made compulsory purchases of parts of the property (in 1978 and 1979). Very few seminars or lectures were being held by then, and by 1980 they had ceased altogether; this was when Frau Borgert left Stein. The Restaurant Rose and other buildings in the grounds were leased out during the following year to, the World Wildlife Fund. After 1981, an ‘East Swiss Agricultural Centre,’ with a yearly turnover of 200,000 Swiss francs, and a cultural programme very much like the Abbey’s original public events, were inaugurated by the WWF. Then, the ‘Tages-Anzeiger’ newspaper in Zuerich reported (on 22nd September, 1989) that the proprietress of the Gasthof Rose (still Fraeulein Aeschbach) had cancelled the World Wildlife Fund’s lease, as she wished to “take over the property for her own use.” Once more there were sufficient members available, able to bear the costs of the former Restaurant Rose.

Metzger died on 14th July, 1990, of a pulmonary embolism “after lengthy sufferings and great misfortunes.” He left a power vacuum out of which emerged two concurring camps within the Swiss O.T.O.. One was led by Markus Kumer, who made an unsuccessful bid to open the group to the public again with a “Society for Humanitarian Research” (doubtless adapting it to the prevailing ‘New Age’ zeitgeist). The opposing group was led by a teacher called Olaf Raederer; both Raederer and Kumer were then resident in Austria. But Annemarie Aeschbach, who had supported the Swiss O.T.O. financially since the early 1950s, rose to the occasion and assumed leadership for the time being, since Metzger had named his successor neither verbally nor in his Will.[378] She transferred (with two removal lorries) all her household furniture and goods from Zuerich to Stein. The printing presses were dismantled and the “Aeschbach-Stiftung” was founded on 21st November, 1995.

In 1999, Breeze sent a letter for Fraeulein Aeschbach to sign, which acknowledged him as O.H.O.. Of course, Fraeulein Aeschbach had no intention of signing such a document and a month or so later she rewrote the letter, removing all mentions of the O.H.O., but agreeing not to pursue any copyright claims:

 

“The Psychosophische Gesellschaft is a registered association in accordance with SZGB, Art. 60ff. It was founded by Hermann Jos. Metzger in 1945.

“From the Bylaws § 2/ II Purpose:

“As a second purpose, the Psychosophische Gesellschaft, in accordance with the object of an upholding association, has taken on the talk to facilitate and maintain:

“a) The existence of the Ordo Illuminati, the World Federation of Illuminati.

“b) The tradition of the Gnostic Catholic Church

“c) Research Groups, Research Projects about initiatory currents which are related to the traditions named under a) and b) as, e.g., the ‘Ordo Templi Orientis’, the ‘Rosicrucians’, etc.

“Since 1954 we have published — on behalf of Karl Joh. Germer — works by Aleister Crowley in German under the Copyright ‘Genossenschaft Psychosophia’ and ‘Verlag Psychosophische Gesellschaft’, actually in the succession of ‘Thelema’ publishing house, Leipzig, Martha Kuentzel etc.

The OTO registered in California[379] led by Grady McMurtry, today led by William Breeze had published works by Aleister Crowley in beautiful and original presentation during the last years. They have thus proven that they are both willing and able to deliver the literary work by Aleister Crowley in a worthy fashion.

“In order the simplify the handling of the copyrights, in order to leave them centrally in one hand, and being convinced that the OTO will fulfil its task diligently, we non-contentiously abandon any demand for the copyrights with respect to the works by Aleister Crowley on behalf of the OTO California[380] currently led by William Breeze.”

Fraeulein Aeschbach duly signed the revised version on 08th April, 1999. She died in April 2008.

The Gnostic Catholic Church’s Crowleyan Masses are performed, without a break, as usual, on alternate Sundays. The museum and library remain active, as do Order operations. The finances have been merged with those of the Aeschbach-Stiftung,[381] which is overseen by the cantonal authorities and run by a Foundation Committee, headed by Ernst Graf and Adalbert Schmid: The latter looks after the library[382] and the estate business. Besides being the new president of the Psychosophische Gesellschaft, Graf is also its vice-president. A financial cushion results from the sale of the Haus Schedlern, where Fraeulein Aeschbach used to live; this also overcame any financial hurdles that might have thwarted the Society’s successful continuation. New members were also taken on.



Verlag Psychosophische Gesellschaft — Ordo Templi Orientis — Illuminati




Endnotes




[1] Occultism often is located in a Golden Ghetto where the relationship of its market share is in inverse ratio to its legitimate acceptance in the field of cultural criticism. Occultism becomes seemingly meritorious as soon as authorities on matters related to the occult enter the august salons of the cultural élite, be it e.g. the field of avant-garde music, desperately adored academia or even only the realm of mainstream movies. Today the American Ordo Templi Orientis is a business whose main activities are esoteric merchandising and ‘lifestyle seminars’, dignifying its self-help workshops and rôle-playing events as ‘initiations.’ It is neither actively creative nor socially relevant. It fails to qualify as a cult or sect or a so-called New Emerging Religion, since it had or has members who are practising Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or of other mainstream religions — according to statements made under oath by William Breeze. Instead, to an outsider coming across it for the first time, the O.T.O. rather resembles an association of small Harry Potter reading-circles who dress like rejects from a ‘Renaissance Fayre’, or retired heavy-metal music fans — all in search of a naked high priestess. There is academic opinion that public adherence to this group improves the member's positive self-image especially when the public's reaction is problematic. (See Claudia Kowalchyk: A study of two ‘deviant’ religious groups: The Assemblies of God and the Ordo Templi Orientis, NY 1994). — It is most likely why a cadre of partisan and self-appointed ‘scholars’ have recently shown such interest in dragging Crowleyism willy-nilly into academia where it is now bred in vitro as produce for the publisher's supermarket, or disembowelled asexually at so-called international congresses, where it's given a first-class burial; the cadaver shivers until people are sure that itll dance again. Such ‘scholars’ are often as not members of one or more O.T.O. groups (though they rarely disclose the fact), or have joined the ‘Clear Crowley’s Name Campaign’, a crusade aimed at portraying the anti-Semitic ‘Great Beast’ as a significant historical figure in politics, art and literature, as well as one of Fascism’s earliest victims [!]. The essay by the same title was written by Grady McMurtry in the 1940s and asked for example for the “Exposing [of] the editors and journalists who vilified Crowley and their distortions of the truth.” Therefore it will be difficult to break down this cartel of prefabricated settings. In other disciplines such as sociology or psychology and anthropology, there always are the conflicting schools of thought, pluralism. Scientists in the realm of the occult, however serve more a science church than true science.
[2] The O.T.O. was founded before 1912. The earliest occurence took place not only in its 1906-Statutes, also the Theodor Reuss-letter to Rudolf Steiner, dated June 15 1907 bears the expression Order of Oriental Templars and in November 1911 the O.T.O. was mentioned for the first time in the French occult journal ‘Initiation’ — so the most O.T.O.-groups missed their opportunity to celebrate a 100th Anniversary. H.J. Metzger’s group solved it otherwise: they declared the O.T.O. to be founded on Harry J. Seymour's Cerneau charter (a 33° rite) of 21 July 1862.
[3] Being forced into producing tangible proof of affiliation and authenticity, there was early correspondence between Spencer Lewis and Aleister Crowley, including a document written between 23rd June and 22nd July 1918 which was signed three times by Crowley and three times by his magical son, Charles Stansfeld Jones: “We should be prepared to co-operate with you […]. We strongly recommend that it should not be in any way thrown open to persons without previous training, but that only members of the VIIth Degree of the O.T.O. and of some very high Degree of your own Order should be eligible.” However this document never arrived in Lewis’s hands and remained in Crowley’s collection until 1938, when it was then given with other manuscripts to his solicitors as supposed settlement of his debts to the firm after his bankruptcy.
[4] The 1914 ‘Manifesto of the M.M.M.’ states that “the Authority of the O.H.O. in all English speaking countries is delegated by charter” to Crowley. The text specifies that it was “ad vitam.”
[5] Charles Stansfeld Jones was born 1886 in London; in 1914 he became a member of the O.T.O. in Vancouver. As early as 23rd December, 1914 Crowley had advised Jones to “establish a regular cult.” He died in 1950.
[6] As Crowley admitted in a letter of 1924 to Heinrich Traenker, Reuss never chose him as his successor.
[7] Reuben S. .i.Clymer: ; ‘Rosicrucian Fraternity in America’, Quakertown 1935, Vol. II, p. 560.
[8] Germer and Krumm-Heller visited Frau Reuss in September 1930: “Last week Krumm Heller & I called on Mrs Reuss & her sister. They remember you [Crowley] well. They live in great destitution on 100 marks a month. All the records are still in their possession. Many people have called asking for these, all describing themselves the only ones entitled to receive them. Among them Tranker was the first [...]. Something would certainly have to be paid. K.H. thinks of 300 or 500 Marks. The question is to get the money. They would probably prefer to turn the things over to K.H. as they know him personally and he has a real charter,” Germer to Crowley, September 1930, and Germer to C.H. Petersen, 6.1.54.
[9] Traenker never thought highly of Reuss and only after Reuss’s death did he consider the O.T.O. a suitable addition to his collection of Orders. After Reuss died he visited his widow in a vain attempt to buy the remains of his papers, etc. The documents were eventually purchased by the Swiss Hans Rudolf Hilfiker (see later endnotes). But Traenker did get to see Reuss’s files and discovered that there was no appointed successor to the office of O.H.O..
[10] Crowley was in no uncertainty about himself when he penned in his diary on May 30, 1923: “it would be well worth while for the greatest University in the world to spend the next million years in studying the most stupid and superficial things I have to say.” One day before that he informed his journal that “I’m certainly not an anarchist, for the family is the smallest and so vilest unit of government; nor a Socialist, for the State is the largest and so the least human unit. I suppose then, that — with Ethyl as without — I want a Patriarchal-Feudal system run by initiated Kings.” And in a similar mood he wrote to Traenker in December 1924 that “I wish to obtain control of all existing movements.” Traenker’s reaction: “To control all existing movements is a matter, with which I would scarcely want to have anything to do with, [sic] to Jones, 16.4.25, translated by Max Schneider. In a letter from Jones to Gerald Yorke dated 15th March 1948, “It was [Traenker] and myself together who established A.C. as O.H.O..” Eventually, Traenker distanced himself from Thelema as evidenced in a letter to Max Schneider dated 21.6.25, where he stated: “I absolutely do not want to have anything to do with it” and declared himself to be the O.H.O.. Others withdrew their vote as well. Norman Mudd to Martha Kuentzel: “I can no longer subscribe my witness to its truth, and must withdraw my signature,” 24.2.26. Lea Hirsig said the same on 18.8.27. Kuentzel (1857–1942) wrote for the journal ‘Theosophische Kultur’, produced by the ‘Theosophische Kultur-Verlag’, the successor to Traenker’s ‘Theosophische Zentralbuchhandlung’. She had made Crowley’s acquaintance at Traenker’s house in 1925. Crowley’s pregnant mistress, the Swiss Leah Hirsig (1883–1951) stayed with her in Leipzig, where Kuentzel translated the first three volumes of Crowley’s autobiography, the ‘Confessions’, into German. In 1926 she went to see Crowley, who had travelled from Germany to Tunis.
[11] Crowley to Jones, March 1925, quoted in Jones to Traenker, 18.3.25.
[12] Reuss died without naming a successor. Most probably, he intended as his heir the businessman Hans Rudolf Hilfiker (1882–1955), who was Grand Master of the ‘Libertas et Fraternitas’ lodge, founded in 1917 in Zuerich.
[13] Neither the use of the letters nor of the full name is unique to any group. Since the founding of the O.T.O. in 1906, many groups have appropriated the name, its abbreviations and acronyms, and imbued them with meanings and symbolisms to their own taste. A very few of them can lay some claim to stem from the original, i.e. first O.T.O. In all Ordo Templi Orientis versions, the line of succession is vitally important, as it is believed that the leader is the repository of the Order’s magical power, and also has a claim on various copyrights and royalties, especially of Crowley’s work.
[14] “This arrangement was provisional and revocable, and has long been since been revoked,” Crowley some 10 years later, no date, ‘Position of Wilfred T. Smith’.
[15] Phyllis .i.Seckle;r: ‘In the Continuum’ [‘ITC’] III;4, Oroville 1983, 34; FBI file on Jack .i.Parsons;, No 65-59589. Martin Starr gives the April 19th, 1934: ‘The Unknown God’, Chicago 2003, p. 200.
[16] Crowley himself was never present at Agapé Lodge. Indeed, he dismissed the Californian group as being merely “fans.” Kenneth .i.Grant;: ‘Remembering Aleister Crowley’, London 1991, p. 21. Martin Starr, ‘The Unknown God’, p. 225: “In practice, Crowley treated the sole O.T.O. lodge under his direction as his personal fundraising agency and he never returned any money to the Agape Lodge treasury.”
[17] The first Agapé Lodge was in Canada, led by .i.Jones ;under a warrant from Reuss.
[18] She had her status as IX° confirmed by Karl Germer in 1960; she was Jane Wolfe’s student in the A.·. A.·.. ‘ITC’ II;2, California 1978, p. 8.
[19] It is said that Gabriel Montenegro y Vargas led the Mexican F.R.A.. He considered Krumm-Heller as Acting Grand Master of the O.T.O. for all Latin America (also as O.T.O. Grand Master for German-speaking countries) and therefore only reluctantly accepted initiations into Crowley’s O.T.O. (2nd Agapé Lodge) in 1948.
[20] Krumm-Heller was a convinced anti-American Hitlerite. He published fascist blather in his own order’s magazines, proof that he mixed politics with religion. Krumm-Heller was keen to give his children a Nazi education, so in 1937 Cuauthemoc Krumm-Heller was sent to NAPOLA, an elite academy which trained the future leaders of the Reich. He admired Mussolini and Kemal Ataturk and worked with Ernst Issberner-Haldane (1866–1966) on the esoteric idea of ‘Plasmogeny’ and the origins of life. Issberner-Haldane, a member of Lanz von Liebenfels’ Ordo Novi Templi (O.N.T.) was published by the same firm as Eugen Grosche of the Fraternitas Saturni. With a Mexican flag flying alongside a swastika in front of their house (which was also promoted as an Argenteum Astrum temple), the Krumm-Hellers survived WWII in apparent safety, though his library was confiscated by the Nazis in 1942. Other German occultists also lost their libraries to the Nazis: Traenker, who considered himself head of many organizations, including the O.T.O. after Reuss’s death in 1923; and Julius Meyer (1877–1953) of Reuss’s ‘Illuminaten-Orden’ (later more about this organisation). While staying at a clinic in Marburg due to a heart condition, Krumm-Heller tried to maintain contact with his many lodges and colleagues (he corresponded with the 2nd Agapé O.T.O. lodge in California). On 19 May 1949, Krumm-Heller died at Marburg in total isolation from his groups. He left confusion not only over a successor, but also as to which organization that successor was to lead.
[21] “I would travel a thousand miles to talk with a man of Dr Krumm Heller's ability [...] Dr Krumm Heller is a Mason of the same rank as myself, and has done far more for the Cause than ever I have.” Crowley to Henry Birven, 30.4.30.
[22] Diary entry of Crowley, 9.5.41: “Dropped another needle.”
[23] Diary entry 13.3.42: “all my property is now in O.T.O.” — despite the fact that he’d been bankrupt since 1st February 1935. Bankruptcy meant royalties were not paid directly to him but to “O.T.O. c/o Chiswick Press.” Diary entry from the same day: “Sa­turnus [i.e. Germer] residuary legatee & my successor as O.H.O. Instructions to him how to act as such (1) Form nucleus of IX° (2) Social Order Eqx. III 1 & 2 (3) Gnostic Mass. How to chose his own successor.”
[24] Diary entry 13.2.43.
[25] FBI-file about .i.Parsons;, No 65-59589. There were investigations whether Parsons might have taken home secret documents of his work as employee of the Hughes Aircraft Company in Culver City. To no avail. The FBI found no evidence for alleged spy activity. The O.T.O. was called a “religious cult” and “believed to advocate sexual perversion.”
[26] Alva Rogers, who in 1945 was guest in Parsons’ home; in ‘darkhouse’, in ‘Lighthouse’ 5th Februar 1962.
[27] “is not a man at all; he is the Incarnation of some God,” Diary entry of Crowley 4.6.43.
[28] Diary entry 27.9.43.
[29] “A definite gift from the Gods,” Crowley to Wilkinson, 27.1.1945. McMurtry to Jack Parsons, 10 February 1945: “Have you heard of Kenneth [Grant ]? He is a real find — or rather he found A.C. He is an English kid about, I’d say, 20 to 22 years old — he has been discharged from the English army for not being adaptable to becoming a soldier [...]. He has been working on Crowley’s work, entirely unbeknownst to A.C., for several years [...]. If the kid pans out as well intui­tively as well as he has technically, or perhaps I should say theoretically, we will really have some­thing.”“Re IX°: During my stay with Crowley (1944–5) I wrote, at his suggestion, various papers, one of which happened to be an essay on sexual magick. He was very impressed by it and admitted me to the IX° on the strength of it. In 1946, David Curwen (IX°), on Crowley’s instructions, completed my initiation into IX°. A year after Crowley’s death, Germer insisted on regularising the situation and issued me with a Pledge Form for IX°. This was countersigned by Gerald Yorke on 5th October, 1948.” Kenneth Grant to William Heidrick, 1st November 1985, billheidrick.com/tlc1992/tlc0992.htm
[30] Diary entry 27.11.43.
[31] .i.McMurtry';s ‘O.T.O.-Newsletter’ I;4, Berkeley 1978, 18.
[32] Admitted by McMurtry in court: McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, 37.
[33] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ II; 2/6, Berkeley 1978, p. 4.
[34] Diary entry of that day: “switched to long chit to HA [Hymenaeus Al­pha, i.e. McMurtry] re IX° & Caliphate.”
[35] Other accounts attest McMurtry’s martial inclinations: “Grady once told me of a battle in which he killed 100,000 Chinese soldiers,” ‘Ecclesia Gnostica’ I;4, CA 1985.
[36] According to McMurtry he got his IX° over a game of chess. Jerry Cornelius, in In The Name of the Beast Volume One 1918–1962’, Berkeley 2005, 52.
[37] .i.Grant;, Remembering, 16.
[38] When Grant signed one letter to Crowley as Frater OTO and Crowley wrote back on 3 April 46: “You even have the nerve to sign yourself ‘Frater O.T.O.’ [...] If you were a Brother of O.T.O. the Treasurer would have much to say to you, but as you are not, you save all that money.”
[39] In the 1970’s under McMurtry there were no “fully-paid-up” IX°s because it was no longer “fiscally sound,” according to a letter from Heidrick to Seckler, 24.7.79.
[40] This idea had already cropped up on 30th March 1944, as noted in Crowley’s diary, where he noted: “He accepts my offer of share 50-letter book.”
[41] “You don’t seem to have understood that W.T. Smith is definitely excluded from the Order. His influence is still making trouble over there; a whole lot of different people keep on writing to me about one thing and the other. I have not time to deal with their non­sense and am saying so. I would rather break up the whole Group than allow things to go on as they are going. Every month or so there is some new project, or the finding of some valuable person, or the kicking of him out a fortnight later, and they expect me to waste my time on dealing with them, and their silly infantile squalling [...] I am having to dismiss all these idiots. I am going to issue an Encyclical in the next week or two forbidding them to pester me with their silly troubles,” 30th October 45, Crowley to Mellinger.
[42] In a meeting with members of Agapé Lodge “I brought up the question of our legal status before the law in collecting money for Lodge work. In the discussion that followed it was brought out that (1) Jack had suggested to you that the O.T.O. be incorporated, (2) you had told him not to bother you with details but to do as he saw fit, (3) according to Liber CI, 42, members of the IX° share the whole property of the Order. Therefore it was decided to proceed without delay to incorporate the O.T.O. in California. Under this plan O.T.O. Inc. would be the central organization in California with power to grant charters to chapters throughout the state. Thus Jack [Parsons] would have Agape Lodge in Pasadena, I could have Thelema Lodge in San Francisco, and Max [Schneider] could have a chapter in Beverly Hills if he so desired. When and if Karl decides to incorporate O.T.O. on a national scale then the O.T.O. in California would merely become an affiliate of the National Lodge. Once incorporated we can obtain copywrite [sic] protection throughout the United States for the Symbols of the Order and for your books.”
[43] 22 March 1946, Crowley to McMurtry: “This is to authorize [McMurtry] to take charge of the whole work of the Order in California to reform the Organisation in pursuance to his report of Jan 25, 46 EV. subject to the approval of [Germer]. This authorization is to be used only in emergency.” Germer to McMurtry, 24.5.46: “I want you to be fully informed, as 666 holds you in charge of the Californian activities, with any steps you decide to be taken with my approval. Let us cooperate fully.” 19 June 46, Crowley to Germer: “My original appointment of you as my Viceroy and Plenipotentiary covers everything even apart from you, Frater H.A. [Hymenaeus Alpha a.k.a McMurtry] has an authority which enables him to supersede Frater 210 [Parsons] whenever he pleases. The only limitation on his power in California is that any decision which he takes is subject to revision or veto by yourself.”
[44] “I shall enclose with this letter the authorisation which you require. I think it is best to leave as much in your hands as possible, as you are more or less on the spot and appear to be full of youth and energy as ever. I will write the document required with my own fair hand,” Crowley to McMurtry, 10th April 1946.
[45] “Found libel on p. 24 of ‘The Unquiet Grave’ Shall I sue?” Diary entry 26 July 1946.
[46] Parsons (b. 2.10.1914) died on June 17th 1952.
[47] Crowley to Germer, 30.6.47.
[48] “Frederic might have had the leadership of O.T.O. after Germer,” Phyllis .i.Seckler to the present writer, ; to the present author, ,10.6.87.
[49] Kenneth .i.Grant;, ‘Remembering Aleister Crowley’, London 1991, p. 20.
[50] .i.Motta’;s ‘Oriflamme’ VI; 3, p. 467; .i.McMurtry; to Crowley, letter of 12.5.46, confirmed in a letter from Germer to McMurtry, 24.5.46.
[51] In American law, an unincorporated association is not considered to be a legal entity separate from its members. It is an aggregation of individuals and cannot historically own or transfer property, nor can it sue or be sued in its own name. Members of an unincorporated association can be held jointly and severally liable for the liabilities of the group. Unincorporated associations are governed by the laws of the place where their central control is exercised, or the place with which they have their most real connection. It is interesting to note that in the ‘Conclusions of Law’ from the 1984 case of Motta vs. Weiser in Maine we find: “The OTO is not proven to be an unincorporated association having legal status to own property. Therefore, Plaintiffs cannot derive ownership of the [Crowley] copyrights from the OTO.”
[52] Gerald Yorke (1901–1983) was born into a rich family of country landowners, sought his calling between forced to go fox-hunting, and found it in occultism. He became a friend of Crowley's in 1927 on and amassed the largest collection of Crowleyana in the world (now preserved at the Warburg Institute in London). His biography can be found in Bradford Verter: ‘Dark Star Rising: The Emergence of Modern Occultism, 1800–1950’, Princeton 1997.
[53] Germer to Harris, 7.1.48.
[54] Wilkinson to Mr. Beckett, 18.1.50. Also Wilkinson to Germer, 21.1.50.
[55] Germer to the Library of Congress, 5th January 1957.
[56] June 6th 1947, Crowley to Germer: “You are the only successor of whom I have ever thought, and went on to propose a triumvirate consisting of Mellinger, McMurtry and Roy Leffingwell to assist him, “but ultimately the choice of what to do is yours.” Leffingwell said that he would put his farm in southern California, which had the Thelemic name of Rancho RoyAL, at the O.T.O.s disposal; but when it turned out that he really didnt own any land at all, it merely served to incur Crowleys and Germers displeasure.
[57] The feeling they were being spied on, to which both Germer and Motta often referred, was not wholly unjustified. The FBI was indeed keeping an eye on them and other Thelemites: the FBI archives contain files on Crowley (27 pages), Karl Germer (54 pages), Grady Louis McMurtry (132 pages), and John Whiteside Parsons (146 pages). Motta’s files remain sealed, supposedly because of data-protection rules.
[58] Germer and his wife Sascha had moved to West Point in California, while McMurtry returned from fighting in the Korean War (1950–1953) to study political science at the University of California, afterwards settling down in Sacramento.
[59] The Church of Thelema continued uninterrupted under Helen Smith's ægis, ‘ITC’ Vol. V;1, p. 43.
[60] On 15.11.43 Crowley had already suggested to Germer: “I think the Lodge should be officially dissolved, and that new pledges should be exacted from any one who wants to continue with the Work.”
[61] Germer to Jane Wolfe, 7th October 1953.
[62] McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, 71.
[63] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ I;2, 1977 and court transcript of .i.McMurtry; versus .i.Motta;, p. 200. Source: Germer to .i.McMurtry;, 26.2.58.
[64] In 1926, after Crowley had visited Traenker and Germer in Germany, the secretary of Traenker’s Pansophia, Eugen Grosche, broke away from its inner circle and founded the ‘Fraternitas Saturni’ [FS] supposedly with sixty ex-O.T.O. members. The FS thus became the second Order founded upon the Law of Thelema, the first being Crowley's own version of the O.T.O.. Traenker’s own O.T.O., which made only slight references to Thelema, became almost entirely inactive. Thus, at that time Reuss’s remaining O.T.O. at Monte Verità and its branch in Zuerich were the only active O.T.Os in the world. During his exile in the 1930s, Grosche stayed several times with Reuss’s group in Switzerland. In 1950 he was approached by the Swiss Hermann Joseph Metzger (1919–1990) who had been initiated into the O.T.O. by Alice Sprengel (1871–1947) in 1943.
[65] Germer met Grosche in 1925, and considered him to be a very low occultist. “He was a sex-maniac, dabbled in hypnosis and drugs.” Germer to .i.Petersen;, 17.11.1950. Although paying for the printing of his magazines, Germer thought little of Grosche’s writings.
[66] Letter to the present writer, dated August 11, 1987.
[67] “I formally expel you from membership in the Ordo Templi Orien­tis.” In another letter dated 8 June 1955 Germer informed Grant that “you are not a full member of the O.T.O.” and criticized Grant’s rejection of the financial provisions in the O.T.O. constitution, adding that “it is for that reason that I have not been able to issue to you a full charter to constitute a branch of the O.T.O. in England.” Germer ordered Grant to “eliminate any reference to O.T.O.” in his ‘New Isis Manifesto’. On 14 June 1955 Grant replied “I am not going to alter anything in my Manifesto” and added “you had better proceed issuing your encyclicals, decrees, mandates, or whatever the name for these things may be. But I warn you that I no longer believe in your sovereignty and you will have to strike hard to stifle New Isis Lodge or to knock me off the throne of the British Branch of the O.T.O.” To recapitulate, in 1954 the New Isis Lodge was inaugurated as an Order in its own right, although it did not become operational until 1955 when Grant claimed the O.H.O.. In 1962 the New Isis Lodge was absorbed into the ‘Typhonian O.T.O.’.
[68] Although Fitzgerald was a friend of John Symonds, Charles Richard Cammell, Gerald Yorke, Frieda Harris, J. F. C. Fuller, Kenneth Grant, Yorke wrote to Germer about him, 3.1.48: “I also find that A.C. gave IX to a certain Fitzgerald. He does not howe­ver know what it is about.”In 1966, John Frederick Charles Fuller (1878–1966) proclaimed in the foreword to the catalogue of his library that “the A.·. A.·. never existed outside Crowley’s imagination [...] He created several of these ghostly orders, such as L.I.L., ‘The Lamp of Illimitable Light,’ [see Crowley’s ‘Collected Works’ Vol. II, p. 28] and O.T.O., ‘The Order of Oriental Templars.’ He loved to play with them, and when broken [...] found them convenient instruments wherewith to extract gold from the pockets of his more affluent followers.” It should be remembered that Fuller had coined the term ‘Crowleyanity’ in his admiration for Crowley’s poetry in his 1907 book ‘The Star in the West’, which was a verbose eulogy of Crowley’s artistic talents. Fuller had come into contact with Crowley in 1905; having left the army for health reasons in April 1906, he joined Crowley’s A.·. A.·., then helping to edit the A.·. A.·.’s journal ‘The Equinox’, which also became the O.T.O.’s organ in 1912. It was Fuller who introduced Crowley to Victor Neuburg (1883–1940). But in 1911 Fuller accused Crowley of cowardice and disloyalty over a legal case, and broke away from him. He resumed his military career, which led to his becoming a Major-General, and even on one occasion to a meeting with Hitler. (More on Fuller in John Symonds op. cit., Francis King op. cit., and James Webb, ‘the occult establishment’, p. 220).
John Frederick Charles Fuller Crowleyanity Star in the West, Yoga, The Secret Wisdom of the Qabalah Argenteum Astrum Equinox
[69] Sascha to Karl Germer, no date.
[70] Karl to Sascha Germer, 5.1.57.
[71] Helen P. Smith in McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 330.
[72] Motta in McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, p. 671.
[73] Parsival Krumm-Heller’s approach, trying to lead the F.R.A. groups while altering his late father’s work in Germany, threw the different branches of the F.R.A. into considerable confusion. Most F.R.A. groups did not acknowledge his leadership. While Arnoldo Krumm-Heller had encouraged a union between the F.R.A. and Reuben Swinburne Clymer’s ‘Rosicrucian Fraternity’ in America, Parsival cut ties with Clymer.
[74] Motta: ‘Sex and Religion’, i.e. ‘Equinox’ V;4, Nashville 1981, p. 27. Motta lived in Germer’s house for one week; McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, p. 676. He claimed to have been initiated into the IX° by Germer at this time. His official testimony, however, only mentioned his acceptance into the A.·. A.·., Motta vs. Weiser, 1.3.84, p. 54. But “I have seen the evidence of Motta’s IXth initiation,” Martin Starr to Marcelo Santos, 16 May 1999.
[75] Motta: ‘Chamando os filhos do Sol’, Rio 1962.
[76] “My originals were systematically refused. And I was given adaptations of works of the last century,” Motta in McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, p. 712. This is why he was compelled to make his living as an English teacher.
[77] Motta: “Raul dos Santos Seixas: Brasilian pop singer and composer. Was for a time a Probationer under Marcelo Motta. Tried to use Crowley for personal success, aping the Beatles. By his own request, wrote se­veral songs with Motta as his lyricist. Tried to rob the lyricist and bowdlerized several of his lyrics, bowing to official government censorship. Cut contact with,” ‘Equinox’ V;4, p. xv. Two pop songs by Santos Seixas (died 1989), were purportedly written by Motta: ‘Eu Sou Egoísta’ and ‘Peixuxa (O amiguinho dos Peixes)’. Seixas had supposedly sang a version of Crowley’s ‘Liber OZ’ during his live shows. After he had been expelled by Motta, Seixas came under the tutelage of Claudia Canuto de Menezes and founded a ‘Sociedade Alternativa.’
[78] 20.9.56, Motta to Germer.
[79] “O.T.O.: You must have realised that my heart and soul are not very deeply in this. A.C. knew this. He suggested to me that after his death I may either drop this form or system of working, or devise my own entirely independent method,” Germer to C.H. .i.Petersen;, 6.1.54.
[80] Crowley to .i.Grant;, 18.12.1944. Cited in .i.Grant, ‘;Remembering Aleister Crowley’, p. 7. Other lineages: Harry Smith, Gerald Yorke, C.F. Russell, Kenneth Grant, H.J. Metzger, Charles Waldemar, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller (who, as a 8°=3, took Giuseppe Cagliostro Cambareri), Francis Regardie.
[81] A later handwritten note by Sascha Germer appeared to say “I am no member of the OTO.” This is one of the reasons why her judgment as to who was her husband’s heir was disregarded by the American membership.
[82] Jerry Cornelius: ‘In The Name of the Beast’ Volume One 1918–1962, Berkeley 2005, p. 177.
[83] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’, Berkeley 1977, I;2, p. 5.
[84] ‘Blue Equinox’, Detroit 1919, p. 244.
[85] Crowley’s son Randall Gair MacAlpine (1937–2002), who was Jean Shivonen’s boyfriend.
[86] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’, I;2, p. 5.
[87] The Burlingames would later become instrumental in starting the Solar Lodge, the first O.T.O. lodge in the US since Germer closed Agapé in 1953.
[88] Many of McMurtry’s supporters are still gullible enough to swallow this ‘diagnosis’ that Germer was mentally ill, despite never actually having met Germer, nor being able to read or speak German. On the other hand, they seem happy to accept that McMurtry was a drug-addicted alcoholic with suicidal tendencies, who had begun to talk to his “voices in the head”; likewise that he was “bordering on paranoid fits” and could no longer distinguish between dreams and reality, and that he regularly twisted the “truth to benefit himself in order to achieve his intended goals.” Cornelius: ‘In The Name Of The Beast’ Volume Two 1962–1985, Berkeley 2005, pp. 31, 66, 94, 96, 108. Jane Wolfe, despite her constant history of confinement in mental asylums, is nevertheless considered a saint in the ‘Liturgy’ of the ‘Caliphate’ O.T.O.’s Gnostic Mass.
[89] .i.Montenegro; to Walter .i.Englert;, 30.11.68.
[90] Later, Montenegro was appointed 33°, IX°, and O.T.O. Supreme Sovereign for both North and South America by H.J. Metzger in 1966. Referring to the business of being named as Grandmaster of the O.T.O. by Metzger, Paul R. Audehm (who was one of the witnesses) remembered that “‘Monty’ was so drunk, he obviously didn’t have the faintest idea what was going on.” Letter of 8.7.88.
[91] “I agree with Brother Monty fully,” 23.11.60. Later, Smith changed her opinion and supported McMurtry. In 1985 she also voted for his successor, William Breeze.
[92] Statement of Smith, McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 363.
[93] .i.Starr;, letter to the present author, 7.6.88.
[94] .i.Starr;, letter of 17.2.88.
[95] Metzger: ‘Summarischer Bericht an Sor. Sascha [Germer] betr. O.T.O. und Abtei Thelema’, Spring 1963.
[96] Germer to Mellinger, letter of 25.9.51.
[97] .i.Seckler;, 'ITC' V;2, Oroville 1992, p. 42.
[98] Germer to Williams, 24.6.58.
[99] Frau Lekve gave the copyrights of her husband’s writings to the publisher A.R.W. which resulted in P.R. Koenig: ‘Das Beste von Friedrich Lekve’, Munich 1997.
[100] Francis .i.King;, ‘The Secret Rituals of the OTO’, London 1973, p. 32.
[101] On 14.11.1963 Metzger became President and stated that the O.T.O. under Reuss separated from the Illuminati Order in 1902. Metzger wanted to re-incorporate everything in due course. Metzger devised his own individual grade-system: I°–II°: Outer Order, Gnostic Catholic Church. III°–V°: Blue or Craft Masonry. VI°–VIII°: Red or Royal Arch Masonry. F.R.A. and Illuminati degree. X°–XII°: Mystical Masonry, O.T.O. and Illuminati degree. XIII°: Patriarchate, Areopagus, Illuminatus.
[102] The French Gnostic Churches, which also suffered from countless schisms, began in 1890 and supposedly ran along the usual ecclesiastical lines of apostolic succession. But neither Reuss nor Crowley ever received a valid apostolic succession.
[103] During the disputes about the heirship after her husband’s death in October 1962, Sascha Germer quoted this passage in the letter to her lawyer and added: “The things to be dealt with were the heirship which is the sole measure for the future of the work. Frater Saturnus’ [Germer] Will and Wish was: that Frater Paragranus [Metzger] takes the Heavy Burden off his shoulders,” Sascha Germer to her lawyer and to Friedrich/Frederic Mellinger, no date.
[104] Similarly, .i.Motta; in his ‘Commentaries of AL’, New York 1975, p. 270.
[105] Had Metzger really “altered a holy text”? A detailed comparison between the ‘Holy Books of Thelema’ in their original English and Metzger’s translations, yields (apart from the additional chapter Metzger inserted in his German version of ‘Magick in Theory and Practice’) only this: Metzger translated “God” in ‘Liber VII’ in capitals as “GOTT” (capital letters). The foreword to Karl Germer’s translation of ‘Liber LXV’ stated that “The ideas inspiring the editing of this work have been examined meanwhile, so that the main points in the translation, notes, etc., have been corrected”, and hinted that Crowley’s commentaries on the text had become confused. The poem ‘A Hundred Years Hence’, with the line “I am going to temple to worship Crowley” was missing in Metzger’s publication. Lekve’s 1949 version of ‘Liber LXV’ which Metzger took on, with its altered commentary and the same omissions, silently ignored Germer. The capital-lettered “DU” in “Tu was DU willst” first appeared in the first issue of the ‘Oriflamme’ on March 20th 1961, and vanished after the winter/new year ‘Oriflamme’ for 1963–64. The explanation for the blasphemous “DU” translation was: “Capital letters are used to render the unusual English Thou. That is to say, it does not mean ‘Do what you will’ [words in English], but ‘Do what thou wilt.’ [words in English] Alterations to a Crowley text are to be found in the unpublished ‘Gnostic Mass, original version, as celebrated by the Brothers and Sisters of the OTO at the ABBEY OF THELEMA in Stein.’ The long litany of saints in the published version is abbreviated to: “We honour the memory of the Son of God +, the Wise + and Prophets +, the holy Bards + and Martyrs, that they may vouchsafe the Light of the Gnosis to us, our heirs and successors.” Crowley’s essay in Nº XXXV of the ‘English Review’, dated August 1922 was included by him in his ‘Confessions’ as Chapter 72 with certain alterations regarding the O.T.O.. Metzger reprinted the original version from the ‘English Review’. Of all the bodies that counted themselves part of the O.T.O., Reuss’s 1914 publication of Crowley’s MMM-Manifesto, Crowley’s version of 1919, and Metzger’s 1957 version do not agree between themselves; though in Golden Dawn matters only Reuss and Metzger agree. In Metzger’s published edition of Crowley’s exposition of Yogic formulæ “Gnana Yoga, Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga”, the various A.·. A.·. ‘imprimaturs’ and the signature of Crowley’s colleague Leila Waddell (‘L. Bathurst’) from the original are missing. It is interesting to examine how C.H. Petersen and H.J. Metzger rendered their German translations of ‘The Book of the Law’: Liber AL ch.III v.50: “curse them! curse them! curse them!” Petersen: “Fluch ihnen! Fluch! Fluch!” (which is accurate enough). Metzger: “Weg mit ihnen! Weg mit ihnen! Weg mit ihnen!” (which approximates to “Away with them!”) Liber AL ch.III v.55: “Let Mary inviolate be torn upon wheels: [...] Petersen: “unbefleckte Maria auf dem Rade gebrochen” (“unblemished Mary broken on wheels,” again faithful to the original). Metzger: “auf dem Rade gedreht” (“turned on wheels”).
[106] Germer’s death in 1962 met with McMurtry’s stolid indifference although he had known about it since 1963.
[107] Motta and Germer believed Oscar Schlag to be the evil Choronzon (a chief devil of sorts, in the Thelemic hierarchy): the gematria of ‘Schlag’ numerically equals 333, the same numerological value of ‘Choronzon’.
[108] Motta’s ‘Oriflamme’ Vol. VI;5, Rio 1987, p. 100. Also to Germer on 17.12.61.
[109] Sascha Germer’s letter dated 15th December 1963 would only have added to this confusion.
[110] McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, 689. In his own copy of the court transcript Motta noted: “Laughter from the Californian group.” The judge warned the participants: “Ladies and gentlemen, you are here as spectators only. You are not to interrupt in any way or make any response to any of the testi­mony.”
[111] William Wallace Webb was born on 11th May 1919 in Seattle, Washington. On 7th April 1941 he entered the Marines, and served as forward artillery observer, taking part in operations in the Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, and elsewhere. Five years after he left the Marines, his mystical life began in 1950, earning a living as both an astrologer and artist. He founded the ‘Philosophic Gnostic Hermetic Society’, at Joshua Tree in 1963, and an offshoot of the Choronzon Club (although independent from C.F. Russell, Crowley’s lover who had founded the CC in the late 1920s). Webb had previously founded the ‘QBL Alchemist Church’, and also headed his own ‘Ordo Argenteum Astrum’.
[112] Germer had two sisters, Elisabeth and Margarete, and four brothers, Otto, Wilhelm, Gustav and Alfred.
[113] Court transcript .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, 538. McMurtry was in error; Yorke had sent the original manuscript of Liber AL to Germer in 1948.
[114] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ II;1, 1978, p. 5, and court transcript .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, p. 541.
[115] “We, Grand Secretary General of the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Ordo Templi Orientis, hereby give due Notice to all Sovereign Sanctuaries and Bodies in friendship with the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Ordo Templi Orientis and to all Members of the said Rite, that the lamented Most Illustrious Frater Superior of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Frater Saturnus (Karl Johannes Germer) Outer Head of Order, departed this earthly life and was called to the Grand East on Oct. 25th, 1962, E.V., and that a convocation of Prince Patriarch Grand Conservators of the said Rite on Jan. 6th, 1963, E.V. held in the Abbey Thelema, Stein/App., unanimously elected the Very Illustrious + H. Josephus M., Fra. Paragranus [i.e. Metzger], Grand Master X° of the Ordo Templi Orientis, Sovereign Grand Master General of Ordo Illuminatorum, Sovereign Grand Master General of Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua, and Sovereign Patriarch of Ecclesiae Gnosticae Catholicae henceforth to be Sovereign Grand Master General, Outer Head of Order of the Ordo Templi Orientis.”
[116] “I wrote that, but I was entirely mistaken,” Seckler in McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 294.
[117] .i.Seckler;, letter of 10.6.87.
[118] Seckler, ‘ITC’ II;2, p. 9.
[119] “There is reason to believe that he made a second will which may have read otherwise, but if Mrs. Germer found it, she refused to communicate that information,” McMurtry to Sergeant Henry C. Hayes, May 21, 1971.
[120] Harnisch, Naber, Scheidegger, ‘Romanus’ and ‘Elieser’ are listed as having elected Metzger as O.H.O.. The minutes of their convocation were plagiarised word-for-word from Reuss’s ‘Oriflamme’ of July 1913, and Crowley's ‘Equinox’ (Volume I;10 of September 1913, p. xxv). The record of the election was accompanied by an affidavit confirming the vote, signed by the Notary-Public of Zuerich Altstadt, and a certification of Metzger’s standing as a “reputable and law-abiding citizen”; and thus his election as O.H.O. was thoroughly officially attested.
[121] Several suits and coats, garden tools, a 1954 Buick, and two typewriters.
[122] .i.Motta; to Robert E. Mittel, 12.7.1984. Mittel was .i.Motta’;s lawyer for Motta vs. .i.Weiser; Inc.
[123] Sascha Germer to Chisholm, letter of 20.3.63: “I have no Personal Interest in Mr. Metzger.”
[124] In regard to the office of X°, the Swiss O.T.O. considered Crowley’s Liber CXCIV of 1919 to be effective when there were 11 Profess Houses in a country. In the absence of such, the ‘Caliphate’ considered that every IX° was to be a Profess House; see Seckler to McMurtry, letter dated 1 June 1983.
[125] Markus .i.Kumer (a member of Metzger’s inner circle);, conversation on 16.9.91. Possibly after Mellinger failed to find a successful place in the growing theatrical worlds of Berlin and Munich, as a cultured, educated, and previously energetic man he simply seems to have got bored with the Thelemites. Germer complained at Mellinger’s overbearing manner towards the semi-literate members of the 2nd Agapé Lodge. Not surprisingly, Mellinger who was used to moving in very cultured circles, was easily bored, even by Germer who admittedly did “not read books” (letter to Mellinger 8 July 1951). Likewise Crowley to Henri Birven: “I am very ignorant of all that concerns lite­rature. I have read exceedingly little,” 13.12.29.
[126] Mellinger to Chisholm, letter of 25.9.1963.
[127] Max Schneider’s diary for 8.7.1943, quoted in ‘The Thelema Lodge Newsletter’, August 1992. Crowley to Germer: “I rather doubt Frederic’s judgement,” 29.11.44 and “I must say that I don’t think much of Frederick’s judgement,” 24.1.45.
[128] Chisholm to Mellinger, letter of 1.11.63.
[129] Rickless to Sascha Germer, letter of 13.1.1964.
[130] Letter to W.W. Webb in July 1966.
[131] Letter of February 22nd 1988. Louis T. Culling [...] showed me several letters, written by Mr. Germer,” which set Metzger up as the heir to the O.T.O.. I saw them with my own eyes.” Hoeller is author of ‘The Gnostic Jung and the Seven Sermons of Death’, London 1982. He wrote a Statement ‘Concerning the Thelemite or Crowleyan Gnostic Churches’ where he concluded that “one Mass no church doth make.”
[132] Court transcript of McMurtry vs. Motta, pp. 406, 542.
[133] Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, p. 14.
[134] Motta and his lawyer said the same, Motta vs. Weiser, 1.3.84, p. 59.
[135] After being harassed with legal threats by the ‘Caliphate’ for several years, Symonds transferred his rights to Anthony Naylor (b. 1949) on 5th April 1998. On 20th September 1999, Naylor transferred his rights to his firm Mandrake Press Ltd.
[136] The country doctor Naber soon changed his mind and wrote to Montenegro on 29.10.68: “In those ten years I had got no real progress out of the Order; and most of the Bros. who I know were similarly disappointed. But any open criticism of this sort met with the reprimand that we were not doing our duties well enough in accord with the solemn oath we had taken [...]. It is known that many others quietly withdrew from the O[rder]; the reason for this certainly has something to do with P[aragranus]’s ‘initiated’ behaviour in public, and how his teachings and sayings contrasted with his defects as a spiritual leader, as well as his lack of sincerity and his secretiveness. ‘Do what thou wilt’ only had a theoretical meaning there, since having an original thought was treated as treason, or else mocked. Consequently one parroted what his lordship said — or stayed silent. Practicalities or spiritual matters were hardly ever mentioned; the usual conversations were average bar-room stuff.”
[137] Englert was influential in the history of the Fraternitas Saturni, the Swiss O.T.O. and his own Order of Illuminati in Germany. In 1968 he legally incorporated an O.T.O. in Germany, still active today.
[138] .i.Starr;, 17.2.88.
[139] .i.Heidrick;, letter of 18.11.87; also in ‘Thelema Lodge O.T.O. Newsletter’, February 1993.
[140] Letter to .i.Motta; on 7.10.68 (which must have been sent later, according to the post scriptum dated 3rd December) again to Motta on 16.11.74, and Seckler in ‘ITC’ II;2, p. 10. Also McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 210. Neither Stella Seckler nor her sister Lisa Doyle were at all interested in Thelema, while Phyllis Seckler’s son Paul Stuart was but only for a short time; Seckler in McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 262 .
[141] Had Sascha Germer not accused her daughter, Phyllis Seckler might “have never known about Germer’s death. Not would she have written to Grady [McMurtry] and thereby initiated the birth of the ‘Caliphate’. Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, p. 30.
[142] Where the second Agapé Lodge was in 1942.
[143] Seckler, ‘ITC’ Vol. II;2, p. 11; ‘Thelema Lodge Newsletter’, July 1992. Heidrick even talked about an initiation in a letter to James M. Martin of 8.5.87.
[shiva0] Frater Shiva: "It was also at this time of the first initiations [1965] that I conceived and suggested the name 'Solar Lodge.' The term, 'Solar,' was selected due to its derivation from the Sun (Sol), around which everything else in our 'solar system' revolves. It was intended that there would eventually be additional Lodges that would 'revolve' around this central Solar Lodge. Capricornus [Jean Brayton] liked it and the appellation was immediately adopted." — Frater Shiva: "Inside Solar Lodge — Outside the Law", York Beach 2007, 31.
[144] Frater Shiva: "Liber Disclosum No Number BEING AN ANAL-LYSIS OF MATERIAL PUBLICKLY POSTED BY MR. KOENIG (SWITZERLAND) THAT REFERS TO Solar Lodge R.I.P." 14th March 2011. Ray and Mildred Burlingame, assisted by another Agapé Lodge member, Milton S. Basham, had initiated the Braytons into the V° and the IX° in 1963. Whether this lodge is deemed ‘authorised’ or not, it was the first lodge of the O.T.O. in the USA operative since the closure of Agapé Lodge in 1953, and preceded the founding of the ‘Caliphate’ in 1977. "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 ways 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 16th March 2011.
[Shiva1] Frater Shiva, Liber Disclosum.
[145] Seckler, ‘ITC’ Vol. II;2, p. 12. In 1971, Richard Brayton acknowledged McMurtry as ‘Caliph’ and suggested they unite their forces. McMurtry refused.
[146] However, a member of the Solar Lodge called Robert Duerrstein informed Motta that there couldn’t have been anything worth stealing in Sascha Germer's house, since he’d been assured by Ray Burlingame that there were no documents there. Motta’s ‘Oriflamme’ Vol. VI;5, Rio de Janeiro 1987, p. 222; also Jean Brayton to Mildred Burlingame, letter of 23.12.69. Duerrstein was mentioned in the FBI files on the Solar Lodge.
[147] “Like true friends they only took one of each book, thus leaving Mrs. Burlingame a number of duplicates instead of taking everything.” McMurtry to Ray E. Lindstrom, October 17, 1970.
[148] As such, the Burlingames became the primary figures responsible for the manufacture of the ‘Caliphate’ under Seckler and McMurtry.
[Shiva2] "Only one such party was ever held. It was Night on the Nile. It was the grand opening of the newly-restored "Grand Lodge" on Menlo Avenue. It was not to attract newcomers. It was an invitation-only event wherein the close friends and family members of any member was invited. It was hardly expected that any of these people would want to join. The main objective of this "party" was to serve notice on meddlesome friends and family members that had been, overtly or covertly, attempting to dissuade a member away from his/her beliefs and/or associations. I wrote the script for the play ("The Succession of Aeons") and I also put the vodka in the punch bowl. As I was doing so, Frater Shem, under his own direction and free will, poured a big slug of LSD into the same punch bowl. The results were, to say the least, interesting. All of this was contained within a circle and the ceremony (play) include The Invocation of Thoth, which is always considered a big hit. Some of the more interesting results happened after any given "guest" left the circle." Shiva, Liber Disclosum.
[Shiva3] "There was no temple at Solar Ranch. There were simply two Quonset huts, some minor out-buildings, and one small travel-trailer. One Quonset was a combined bunkhouse, living room, kitchen .. and yes, ceremonies were performed there. One of them resulting in the UFO story that has not yet been revealed. A thoughtform of a pyramidal temple was certainly in place. But first, the four cornerstones had to be erected. The Quonset complex was only the first cornerstone — the other three never had time to be started. This Quonset complex was indeed the structure that burned, taking with it the vast majority of the archives. This whole destruction would probably have been avoided if the guru had merely hastened to the words that she heard when she meditated upon the next step: "Capricornus [Jean Brayton] withdrew alone several hundred feet into the desert and sat down in meditation. She sought the meaning of the disaster and in response a loud, internal, booming voice said unto her, “The Gates of Initiation are closed! Send everyone away!“ Instead, she said to herself, “I will never send anyone away!“ She then returned to the group and proclaimed, “This is a big problem, but I have decided we will rebuild!“ Note: She did not reveal her internal message to me (or anyone else) until six months later! This is the critical juncture where it all started to unravel." — Inside Solar Lodge — Outside the Law ©2007 [York Beach 2007]. Note: I am choosing not to dispute anon's "bitter" description as he moved on up through the grades; this probably was his experience. Many initiates go through this. However, since he/she was apparently affiliated before the playing of the Atu XVI card (the blasted tower), it might be noted that, at that time, all labor was strictly voluntary. No money was sought. Free, high-quality food was always offered. The "following of unusual instructions" meant performing The Tasks of the Grades as written in their currently-held A.·. A.·. Paper. There was no personal, dictatorship operating. Everybody followed the same curriculum. If one showed up for work, then one had to do what the team leader said. "Put this toilet on that second flatbed trailer over there!" "Jack the car up higher so I can get this engine installed." "Call every rental agency in the phone book and see if they have a water pump we can use to empty this flooded basement." — Just like what happens when you go to work in the outer world. Any bitterness was his/her own, because the rest of us (most of us) were on a roll, generally enjoying every moment of it — except when those moments of personal crisis arose. And that, being handled, it was time to get back to work." Shiva, Liber Disclosum.
[Shiva4] "I have seen this quote before. Amusing, isn't it? The neighbors didn't have any statues. They had, essentially, nothing. This was an University area that was on the fringe of the ghetto. Frater Shiva himself (that's me) bought and delivered the various statues that adorned the properties. They came from curio shops on Hollywood Blvd. The neighbors did actually steal a large yellow Buddha statue from us. It was the same one that a certain member who disappeared (from his family and former associates) was cited as "being buried under." Rest easy, for this "murdered" member is one of the eight who still exists (circa 2005 e.v.) within the hidden core group of survivors." Shiva, Liber Disclosum.
[Shiva5] "This is absolutely correct. It was a strict A.·. A.·. curriculum within a group that practiced group rites on a regular schedule (weekly). Any discussion of personal practices was supposedly limited to one's "link" (guide) or one's student (downline). Of course, people find it hard to keep their mouths shut and there were frequent reminders about this. Oh Lord! It's like Ashramic discipline — I feel bitter!" Shiva, Liber Disclosum.
[149] “A Mr. Jerry Kay […] has told us that it was within a week or two after that date [the robbery of Sascha Germer at September 3, 1967] that the Baytons dragged a trunk or box of material […] into […] both [their] library and temple […] and exhibited, among other things certain ceremonial robes that, from the description, appear to be the Golden Dawn robes of Aleister Crowley.” McMurtry to Lindstrom, October 17, 1970.
[150] August 1999, compiled from several emails.
Frater Shiva: "This racism theme is one that keeps coming up. If there was any racism, it must have been in the lower grade levels — where, it should be noted, it probably did exist — just like it exists within almost everyone on this planet - maybe that's why it was "subtle." I was on the council that approved the initiation of a black person. He asked, he did the work, he got admitted. Our operational phrase was "Refuse none." Our neighbors were almost exclusively "people of color." We were invited into their homes on numerous occasions where we were offered tea, coffee and cookies while we discussed our ancestries, various economic distresses and assorted neighborhood problems. "It's those kids down at 1201 who are stealing all the bicycles;" (we discovered a "bicycle shop" in their garage and spoke to their parents). They visited our homes when they had something to impart. All things considered, I think our "racial adjustment" was far more harmonious than most societies were at that time, and even as they are today. I might add that a certain mistrust was present and discussed at all levels: of certain young, black men (never women), unknown to us, in a group of three or more. They could be easily identified by their dress and their bearing. We lived on the edge of the racial abyss. These emissaries of the gangs that lurked just out of our range of sight and influence were decidedly dangerous people. The influence of hard drugs was present in their eyes and they were never friendly. If this is "subtle racism," well, I doubt it. It is 'common sense'." Frater Shiva, Liber Disclosum.
[151] On June 10, 1969, a young boy who was living at the Solar Lodge set fire to his bedroom; the fire got out of hand and allegedly all of Aleister Crowley's written diaries […] had been destroyed in the fire” (McMurtry to Lindstrom, May 12, 1971, to Lt. Thomas Grammer, May 13, 1971 and to Henry C. Hayes, May 14, 1971). (no loss, [Germer] sent [Yorke] copies of everything before he died,” McMurtry, Notes on the Brayton Case, 13 June, 1973). He was punished by being locked in a box out at the lodge’s desert ranch. Police and FBI were called in and scandal in the yellow press ensued, resulting in the Braytons going on the run for eighteen months. Charges against Richard Brayton were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence, while Jean Brayton pleaded no contest to one count of felony child abuse, placed on three years probation and fined $500.
[152] List of members of the Brayton group culled from newspapers and personal knowledge by McMurtry, n.d.
[153] http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/manson.htm. Several occultists have written about these events: Jerry Cornelius in ‘Myths of the Solar Lodge Revisited’ (1977) at http://www.parareligion.ch/rf/rf4.htm. Martin Starr in ‘Chaos from Order: Cohesion and Conflict in the Post-Crowley Occult Continuum’, in ‘The Pomegranate’ 8.1, 2006. Frater Shiva in ‘Inside Solar Lodge Outside the Law’, York Beach 2007.
[154] Vincent Bugliosi: ‘Helter Skelter’, New York,1988, p. 45.
[155] FBI file Nº 88-484755.
[156] In 1969 the ‘Washington Post’ ran a headline “Boy Tells of Chaining by Cultists”. Metzger took this newspaper clipping 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.”
[157] It was Manson ‘Family’ member Tex Watson, not Charles Manson.
[158] Velle Transcendental Research Association, Inc. vs. Sanders, 518 F. Supp. 512.
[159] There is one unusual link between the ‘Family’ and other O.T.O. groups. One member of Manson’s ‘Family’ called Robert Beausoleil lived for a time with film-maker Kenneth Anger. Before he became embroiled in the Manson affair, Beausoleil had acted the rôle of Lucifer in Anger's film ‘Lucifer Rising’ in 1966. He killed Gary Hinman in 1969. While imprisoned as a result of the murder, Beausoleil occupied his time in composing a musical score for the film. Today, Anger is a IX° of the ‘Caliphate’ and as a member of the ‘Areopagus’ of VIII° members has a say in the Order’s future. Members of this Areopagus generally give an open ended proxy to William Breeze as ‘Frater Superior’, based on his representations to them, though in fact at any given Areopagus meeting Breeze holds sufficient proxies to cast a majority vote: therefore Kenneth Anger is physically not present at those meetings.
[160] Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, p. 10.
[161] “I paid for everything. I had to send him $2,000.00 so he could even get out of D.C.; then I paid for the airplane and the moving van, and I supported him for several years and so on. So, the whole thing, why you have an O.T.O. now, is my fault. (laughing).”An Interview with Soror Meral, California 2008, 14.
[162] A different account: “In April 1967 Phyllis renewed her contact with Grady, sending him a letter. He never replied. In June Phyllis sent him another letter to let him know what she knew about Karl Germer's death. He did not reply to this letter either,” Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, p. 8.
[163] Seckler: “I informed her [Sascha Germer] that my intuition was not to tell the people in Southern California. We discussed that a letter must be written to Mr. Motta. We discussed the people all through Europe that she needed to contact.” Lawyer: “And you stated earlier the reason Mr. McMurtry did not get a letter was because you did not have his address?” McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, pp. 248, 278, The “people in Southern California” were Jean Brayton’s Solar Lodge, according to Seckler.
[164] It was a letter to Seckler dated December 19th 1968 in which McMurtry admitted to already knowing of Germer’s death. Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, pp. 10–11.
[165] 25.10. 1963.
[166] “I also have this being a constitutionalist that the Caliphate [...] was created on an afternoon of despair, that is to say that it was falling apart, obviously we were not getting the work published, obviously there was no one else there . . . I was all by myself [deep breath] and so I simply decided to commit as it were the great . . . magickal act, of activating Crowley’s [‘Caliphate’] documents,” transcription of McMurtry speaking at a lodge meeting in spring 1984.
[167] Regarding the correspondence between himself, Seckler, Mildred Burlingame and H.P. Smith, McMurtry stated: “I don’t remember any in the late '60s until Phyllis Seckler wrote me in 1969.” Question [lawyer]: “Were the letters about O.T.O. matters?” McMurtry: “Oh, yes.” Question: “And they didn’t tell you that Karl Germer had died?” McMurtry: “No, they didn’t know.” Question: “Is it your testimony that Phyllis Seckler did not know that Karl Germer died?” McMurtry: “I said Mildred Burlingame.” Question: “Yes, but Phyllis Seckler knew, didn't she?” McMurtry: “She may very well have known but she wasn’t telling anybody until 1969.” Motta vs. Weiser, 15.3.84, 524, quotation from p. 530.
[168] McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, 76, 137: Question: “You didn’t know about Mr. Germer's death until six years after it happened?” McMurtry: “That is correct. More like seven.” And “I was not informed until 1968 that he had died in 1962,” McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 190.
[169] Motta vs. Weiser, 15.3.84, p. 531.
[170] In a court this would be considered perjury, because he was a sworn witness.
[171] Statement of Smith in McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 323.
[172] Seckler thought that McMurtry “seemed to think he needed her in order to start up the OTO,” Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, p. 36.
[173] 777lleeheflin.org/939393/index2.html.
[174] Llee Heflin in personal emails in July 2000.
[175] Kenneth .i.Grant;: ‘Outside the Circles of Time’, London 1980, p. 94. “Its present Head in the Outer is Aossic-Aiwass 718 [i.e. Grant], who succeeded the Master Therion (Aleister Crowley) in this capacity shortly after the latter’s death in 1947,” p. 286.
[176] Symonds and Grant proceeded to publish editions of Crowley’s works in which copyright existed by reliance upon the claim made by Grant to be the Outer Head. The first book to appear under the Symonds-Grant joint editorship was ‘The Confessions of Aleister Crowley’ which appeared late in 1969. The dust jacket of this publication stated that Grant “took over the British Branch of the Ordo Templi Orientis and is now the Head of the Order.”
[177] Israel Regardie wrote to Weschcke in reference to McMurtry, “some while ago, I told him that when my present commitments about re-introducing Crowley were done with, I wanted to back out of the scene altogether.”
[178] Later, McMurtry was upset when the ‘Caliph card’ disappeared from some editions of the Thoth deck.
[179] Motta vs. Weiser, 14.3.84, p. 512. “Mrs. Germer took an extreme dislike to me and even refused to shake my hand the last time I saw her and was quite paranoid about my position,” p. 514.
[180] On 24th January 1949 the administration was granted to Frieda Harris by the High Court of Justice, though limited for the purposes property and effects, including copyrights, of and in connection with Crowley’s profession as a writer. Likewise on 21st January 1949 for John Symonds. On 1st March 1971 the limited net value of the estate was rated at £100.
[181] Regardie remained on friendly terms with Metzger. In the 1980s, Regardie still saw in Metzger a “good friend” and the O.T.O.’s “European representative,” Regardie to Julijan Naskov, 22 February 1980 and 23 August 1982.
[182] Metzger’s ‘Manifesto’ was bilingual in English and German. McMurtry had the English translation checked. A report of 7 pages comments on its quality: “The German part seems to have been written by a person or persons who had very little if any education and could perhaps have been a translation from the English to German using a dictionary and some rudimentary knowledge of German,” Fra. S. to .i.McMurtry;, no date or place.
[183] Montenegro had provided the Swiss, including Oscar Schlag, with sufficient information about the members of Agapé.
[184] Motta vs. Weiser, 1.3.84, p. 167.
[185] Quoted in Grant to Euclydes Lacerda de Almeida, 29.10.77.
[186] Motta to Euclydes L. de Almeida, 10.12.71.
[187] .i.Yorke; to Helen .i.Parsons;-.i.Smith;, letter of 17.10.1971. Although the ‘Caliphate’ as a whole accepted Yorke’s expert status, on this occasion Heidrick used similar wording in the trial of McMurtry vs. Motta. On 15th May 1985, when asked whether Yorke’s statement was “reliable” he countered with “Nonsense. That's utter nonsense,” pp. 600, 617. Additionally, a friend of Yorke commented that the McMurtry tarot-deck “was still a touchy subject for Gerald in his last years and one case where I felt he thought he had made a mistake. And then Grady got more and more into being a hippy guru and started ad­opting mannerisms and jingoisms that he did not really wear well: I remember Gerald squirming over some photos of Grady in psychedelic garb and wondering what all this ‘groovy’ ‘freaky’ and ‘far out’ stuff meant. […] it was obvious that Grady was not doing the drugs, they were doing him. […] During most of this time Regardie had seen Metzger as the man and had even received a letter from Metzger stating that he (Regardie) was entitled to edit and publish Crowley material. I did see a letter from Regardie to Yorke where Grady was described as a drunken incompetent. […] It is ironical that it was Motta who forced disparate people such as H.P. Smith, Phyllis Seckler, Kenneth Anger and Grady to band together and form an uncertain truce which has now been sealed by the ever-resourceful Mr. Breeze in one big business arrangement,” Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, email dated 30 December 1998.
[188] In May 1993 H.P. Smith registered herself as “President of [!] Rex Summus Sanctissimus of the Church of Thelema.” Martin Starr became “Secretary.” Helen Parsons-Smith died in 2003. According to the California Business Portal, the current head of the Rex Summus Sanctissimus Of The Church Of Thelema(which is its corporate name) is Philip Smith.
[189] Seckler, ‘ITC’ III;4, p. 39. Crowley to Hugh George de Willmott Newman: “I never wrote any ritual of ordination and such things, and I am certainly not going to start at my time of life,” 24.9.1944. The O.T.O. under Crowley was foun­ded on The­lema, not the Roman Catholic Church. Crowley was not a Bishop of the Gnostic Catho­lic Church and never ordained or consecrated anyone or anything. All pre-existing Masonic orders were considered to be subsumed within the O.T.O., and so he had no need of them. For Crowley, ‘Gnostic’ equalled ‘Thelemic’. The ‘Caliphate’-Gnostic Church parodies the Roman Catholic traditions in introducing offices like Patriarch, Archbishop, Bishop, Priest/Priestess and Deacon (Priest and Deacon already appear in Reuss‘/Crowley's Gnostic Mass of the 1910s). Nowadays, they offer services like: Baptism Ceremony for a Child, Baptism Ceremony for an Adult, Confirmation Ceremony, Ceremony for Ordination of a Deacon, A Wedding Ceremony, A Ceremony for a Greater Feast for Death, A Basic Exorcism Rite (there seems to be a growing emphasis on exorcism), A Ceremony for Visitation and Administration of the Virtues to the Sick; they have a growing Saintship and Animal Benefictions (once at scarletwoman.org/soter/beastb.htm). Christian prayers are attached also to the ‘Caliphate’-V°-ritual: The Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, The Litany of St. Joseph and The Litany of the Blessed Virgin Mary. These prayers (that is, the initiation rituals) are accompanied by music of Mozart, Holst, Strauss, Mahler and the like.
[190] Paradoxically, a “non-profit corporation” in the USA is permitted to make a profit. The “non-profit” part simply means nobody gets more than a reasonable salary and that benefits are provided in a limited manner according to law. “Non-profit” is a misleading term for such corporations, since it just means non-profit in this very narrow sense.
[191] Cornelius, ‘In The Name of the Beast’, II, p. 154.
[192] .i.Motta;: ‘Oriflamme’ VI;3, Nashville 1983, p. xiv.
[193] Israel .i.Regardie;: ‘Gems from the Equinox’, Arizona 1974, p. xxxiii, foreword written on 31.3.1970.
[194] .i.Regardie;: ‘The Legend of Aleister Crowley’, Arizona 1983, p. 162. “I was going to ignore the whole thing, remembe­ring that Karl Germer had expelled Kenneth Grant from the O.T.O. but I have decided otherwise,” Regardie to the co-editor of ‘Mezla’ 3.8.73, facsimile in ‘Sothis’ I;2, September 1977, p. 71.
[195] Seckler, ‘ITC’ II;2, 1978, p. 13.
[196] ‘Gnostica News,’ October 1974. ‘Mezla’ III;1, NY 1985, p. 5. ‘Nuit-Isis’ I;4, Oxford 1988, p. xxiv.
[197] Wasserman cited a letter from Motta: “That Mr. Weiser was a Jew and that Mrs. Germer was also a Jew merely compounds the outrage in my eyes,” McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 394.
[198] Wasserman in McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 380.
[199] Motta to Frau Germer, 15.8.74.
[200] Weschcke once was a part of the Paracletian Church mostly as a favor to authors Denning and Phillips (Leon & Vivian Barcynski) who had taken it up, but they were the bishops, not Weschcke. Regardie wrote to Weschcke: “I am rather fed up with writing” and “I really feel through with writing, Carl; I am fed up to the gills with it.” Also, in reference to McMurtry, “some while ago, I told him that when my present commitments about re-introducing Crowley were done with, I wanted to back out of the scene altogether.” Later, however, on July 6, 1973, Regardie wrote complaining about “a number of young squirts are getting on the bandwagon and are preparing to flood the market with cheap, poorly edited editions of some of Crowley’s material. Frankly, I would hate to see some of them bring out an edition of ‘The Law is for All’ before you do.”
[201] Motta vs. Weiser, 14.3.84, p. 541: Seckler received $350 as rental payment.
[202] ‘Commentaries of AL’, p. 20.
[203] Wasserman in McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 389.
[204] .i.Motta;: ‘Oriflamme’ VI;4, Nashville 1984, p. 401 and ‘Equinox’ V;4: “Israel Regardie: pirated O.T.O. material and published it for his own personal profit; did so even while Mrs. Karl Johannes Germer, legitimate executor of the Outer Head’s last will and testament, was slowly dying of starvation in his own state of residence, California,” p. xiv.
[205] Given that Frau Germer was in possession of the Crowley-Germer-archive and was considered mad by the American Crowleyites, this was an astonishing neglect and disinterest.
[206] William Breeze, ‘Particulars of Claim’, 1999, p. 13. (‘Caliphate’ vs. John Symonds, Anthony Naylor, Mandrake Press Ltd.).
[207] Passage compiled from above source.
[208] Paul Stuart, Seckler’s son was indirectly accused in court of having taken two boxes from the Germer archive and having deposited them in Tom Withmore’s basement. Seckler blamed Gualdoni for having sold off parts of this archive out of self-interest, McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 267. Heidrick had allegedly bought material from the Germer archive from a certain Rory Root in 1977, Heidrick in McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, p. 623.
[209] Motta argued that he, as only a XI°, was not eligible as O.H.O..
[210] Motta vs. Weiser, 1.3.84, p. 107, “or anybody else who could show authority from Mr. Germer or Mrs. Germer.”
[211] Motta vs. Weiser, 1.3.84, p. 145.
[212] In an unpublished draft intended as a leaflet promoting his books, Motta accepted McMurtry's status: “Mr. Grady McMurtry, Ninth Degree OTO by patent of Baphomet, Tenth Degree.” But he revoked this opinion in Motta vs. Weiser, 13.3.84, p. 333: Lawyer: “So you do recognize Grady McMurtry as a ninth degree O.T.O.?” Motta: “No, sir, I do not.”
[213] .i.Motta; vs. .i.Weiser;, 2.3.84, p. 223 and .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, 15.5.85, p. 446. To stymie Motta, they professed that the court’s decision had already been given and that McMurtry was the possessor in fact this was to take place only two days later; Motta vs. Weiser, 13.3.84, p. 382.
[214] On this day, Wasserman informed Motta that “Grady is the Outer Head of the Order.” This letter was put into one envelope together with another letter from McMurtry; McMur­try vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 165.
[215] Wasserman considered this as an intersection of Motta's A.·. A.·. and McMurtry's O.T.O.: “What I did and very correctly tried to do was to bring the two parties together,” McMurtry vs. Weiser, 17.5.85, p. 835.
[216] Seckler, ‘ITC’ II;2, 1978, p. 17. The very same day that the Court awarded us the Archives, Grady and I took home a big load in my station wagon. A few days later we got a large van, a friend of ours drove it, and the three of us went to Calaveras County and got the rest of the material from the storage where it had finally been placed by Mr. Gualdoni.” Statement Seckler in McMurty vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 230.
[217] Michael Magee in ‘Sothis’ II;1, London 1976, p. 90. Referring to Motta's Manifesto in: ‘Commentaries of AL’, p. 269.
[218] McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 933.
[219] “On reaching the Grade of Master of the Temple [8°=3] in 1962, Marcelo Ramos Motta assumed the XI° O.T.O., which is the O.T.O. Grade all Brethren must assume on Crossing the Abyss,” Motta in ‘The Commenta­ries of AL’, NY 1975, p. 270; Motta to Euclydes Lacerda de Almeida, 25.7.74 and 9.11.74; Motta in McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 929.
[220] Lon Milo DuQuette was initiated on 15 November 1975 by McMurtry and Seckler in Dublin, Constance DuQuette on 5 June 1976 by McMurtry and Seckler in Dublin.
[221] “I told him [McMurtry] of the plot to thrust a paper in his dying face and thus that person would be next Ca­liph [...] Well, he was sober, having dried out in hospital, and he listened, and his move to make 4 new 9th Deg. members came from this sudden realization that he had been somewhat careless,” Seckler to Kristopher D***, 8.12.78.
[222] “We stood around bewildered, but decided that it was all we would get and it would have to do,” K.G.D***, email of 21.2.97.
[223] K.G.D***, email of 27.11.96.
[224] Seckler, ‘ITC’ II;2, p. 24.
[225] 7.3.77, McMurtry in McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, p. 102.
[226] Seckler, McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 305.
[227] On June 16th 1945, McMurtry was chartered by Crowley to be Sovereign Grand Inspector General (although in his letters and diaries Crowley refers to McMurtry’s appointment as Grand Inspector General, no document survives to verify it). Motta vs. Weiser, 14 March 1984, p. 511; Motta vs. Weiser, 15 March 1984, p. 574; McMurtry vs. Motta, 13 May 85, p. 41. Germer admitted McMurtry’s position in a letter dated January 12, 1946.
[228] Dissolved in January 2009.
[229] “We started out in ’77 with some work that had been prepared by Phyllis.” Heidrick during the ‘Caliph’ election of Breeze on 21.9.85, transcript online via http://www.parareligion.ch/minutes/minutes.htm.
[230] Heidrick during the ‘Caliph’ election of Breeze, 21.9.85. Also: “O.T.O. had been effectively dormant from about 1950 until the later 1970’s,” Heidrick in alt.magick, 8.1.96.
[231] K.G.D***, email of 26.11.96.
[232] Philip Jameson: ‘How A. Crowley came to Berkeley’ in ‘Rising Aeon Journal’, Seattle circa 1978 and in ‘The Berkeley Bard’, Dec. 915, 1977.
[233] “Thelema Lodge was the Grand Lodge of the OTO from that time until about 1986 e.v. when Agapé Lodge No. III was opened as Grand Lodge in the manner of Crowley and Germer’s administrative operation. Until then, Thelema Lodge was both a Grand Lodge and a general membership Lodge. At present, Thelema Lodge is only a local membership Lodge,” Heidrick in alt.magick, 14.11.95.
[234] The term provisional (sometimes also conditional) will be discussed later in this article.
[235] Heidrick to Gary M. Kelly: “We number only five IXth Degree members among our ranks. In addition we have one IIIrd Degree [...], a couple of IInd Degree members, less than ten Ist Degree members and about 40 Minervals,” 17.11.1977.
[236] Heidrick to Kelly, 3.1.78.
[237] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ 3, Berkeley December 1977, p. 26. In fact, it was Heidrick who wrote that, based on the assumption that Metzger had been regularized into the O.T.O. via Germer.
[238] ‘The Berkeley Bard’, Issue 643, “The Joy of Sects…,” Dec. 915, 1977, p. 7
[239] .i.Breeze; in: ‘Abrasax’ 16, Texas 1992, p. 43.
[240] Steve Englehart, email dated 25.8.1997. Englehart was co-author with T. Casey Brennan of ‘Vampirella: Transcending Times & Space’. In the 1970s Brennan (b. 1948) proclaimed that he was ‘The Great Beast 666 Reborn’. Eventually, he wrote for Motta’s ‘Equinox’ V;3, Nashville 1980.
[241] “As I experienced it, the S.O.T.O. existed solely on paper as a collection agency to pay Motta’s bills.” Martin Starr in his book ‘The Unknown God’, Chicago 2003, p. x.
[242] “A legal controvery over the works of Aleister Crowley, the black magician who described himself as the 'great beast 666' and Devil's Disciple, led to two men being charged with possessing incendiary devices, the Central Criminal Court was told yesterday. Jeremy Ellis, aged 24, became involved in occult and black magic and believed that Routledge and Keegan Paul, the publishers, had infringed the copyright of Crowley's work, the court heard. Ellis, of St Thomas's Road, Finsbury Park, north London, was jailed for 12 months for possessing an incendiary device with intent to damage or destroy property and books belonging to the publishers. Graham Sherin, aged 24, of Brunswick Place, Brighton, an electronic engineer at Brighton Polytechnis, who made four devices, was sent to prison for 15 months. He also admitted stealing equipment from the polytechnic. Both pleaded guilty.” Times, October 22, 1982. Motta in ‘Magick and Mysticism’ (i.e. ‘Oriflamme’ VI;2), Nashville December 1982, p. 160: “It seems he had a stroke of genius.” Ellis committed suicide in 1983.
[243] Extant the wording of a registration on 28.3.79. They did not file as a corporation because it is much more expensive than filing as an association.
[244] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ II;7, Berkeley 1979, p. 90. Already on 18th July 1976 McMurtry had indirectly assumed the office of the O.H.O., when he approved of Wasserman’s letter, McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 168: “the office of Caliphate [sic] is equivalent to the office of OHO.”
[245] Seckler, ‘ITC’ II;1, 1978, p. 5.
[246] Seckler to Kelly, 11.6.79.
[247] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ II;7&8, p. 98.
[248] “During the time when Grady was trying to throw me out of the O.T.O., I decided to join AMORC to see what they were doing. So I did. I got to their ninth degree.” ‘An Interview with Soror Meral’, California 2008, 9.
[249] James Graeb to Seckler, 17.7.79, and Heidrick to Seckler, 17.7.79, 24.7.79 and 15.9.79. Graeb paid a visit to Seckler’s home and put pressure on her by playing an audiotape of McMurtry and Heidrick discussing her expulsion from the order; statement Seckler in McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 279.
[250] Heidrick to Seckler, 2.6.79. According to Heidrick, Germer had also demanded the same in three cases from other O.T.O. members; McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 533.
[251] “She is his meal ticket,” Seckler to K.G.D***, December 8, 1978.
[252] Seckler to Heidrick, 21.9.79.
[253] Seckler to James Graeb, 12.6.79.
[254] A good insight into relationships between the sexes in the ‘Caliphate’ can be found in Claudia Kowalchyk: 'A study of two ‘deviant’ religious groups: The Assemblies of God and the Ordo Templi Orientis', NY 1994: “Here is a group whose teacher is very concerned about sex in a sacramental nature and all that stuff, and yet when it comes to something simple, like changing our clothes, people act like a bunch of Baptists,” or quoting a member: “I think the language of the initiations is sexist and archaic and to a feminist such as myself, quite frankly, insulting. I feel that there's this sort of old boys' club running thing which is quite literally an old boys club which again, is to me, frankly insulting,” pp. 162164. The attitudes implicit in Crowley’s ‘Gnostic Mass’ also annoy many women in the ‘Caliphate’: they think that the main rôle they have in it is washing, perfuming, and dressing up the priest only to finally proclaim his godhood. As soon as they no longer rouse the men’s interest they’re replaced, as it is written that “another woman shall awake the lust” (Liber AL III;34).
[255] On 24.9.79 the oath had to be sworn, Heidrick to Seckler, 15.9.79.
[256] “Here I'd done all this work for Grady, and I couldn't stand it any longer. He had cost me too much money. I didn't have any more money, and so moved him out. I like to say I threw him out. (laughing) That was rough to do because he didn't want to leave. In other words, here was somebody supplying everything for him, so why should he give it up. Anyway, I got him out finally and then I would attend a few meetings. [L.] had a house in Berkeley. That was a little later though, when H.B. [Breeze] was at the head of it, at that time. But yes, after I'd done all that, Grady and [name excised for privacy] did their best to throw me out. And I've written that story now, just gone through that. I have to laugh when I think it was [J.G.] who rescued me. (laughing) We were arguing and they said that if you don't attend this meeting about you leaving and being left out of the O.T.O. and such — if you don't attend they will automatically re-move you. So I said, (in an exasperated tone) Alright. I attended that meeting and then there was a huge argument. Grady wanted me to take the [ceremonial oath], because he thought that meant that I had to obey him, and I argued that I was not going to obey any alcoholic — no way. (laughing) I don't care what his title was. So that went on and on you see, and everybody in the room finally saw my point, so then [J.G.] said, Well, I'll make a resolution. Everyone said they'd take the oath with me. [J.] said, I'll make a resolution that if you take the oath it doesn't mean that you have to obey Grady. And Grady said, What'd you say?, and [J.] said, Oh, you can read this tomorrow. Everybody voted in favor of the resolution. So we went into the other room and Grady sat there and we all took the oath (laughing) . . . all of us. Then we went back into the middle room, and Grady came out and I said: Grady, who paid for your trip here to California? Grady: You did. SM [Seckler]: Who paid for the moving van? Grady: You did. SM: Who supported you for so many years? Grady: You did. SM: Who paid your doctor and dental bills? Grady: You did. And on and on. Finally, a tear trickled out of his eye, and he said, Don't we have lovely children?, meaning all of these kids. (laughing) But I had won the battle you see, so after that Grady had to give me 418 Lodge. Of course all the time I had the Ninth degree anyway. Karl Germer gave it to me. So, it was due to [J.G.] that I did not walk out. 1 was going to walk out of that room in two more minutes. I was so angry, I was going to walk right out! To hell with him! (laughing) It was [J.] who stopped that. An Interview with Soror Meral, California 2008, 15.
[257] Seckler to Kelly, 9.10.79.
[258] Lawyer: “What was it that made you think that you should take Mr. Motta's correspondence?” McMurtry: “Well, it wasn't so much as I should take it. It was a matter of curiosity. I had offered him that we could have this you know, can we have an agreement or some kind of a peace. And when he wrote back and refused, I found some of it to be very psychologically interesting, and I thought, well, I might just as well take this, be­cause at least it will be secure. And that was the size of it.” Lawyer: “Was it also a consideration that there might be a problem, a legal problem between you and Mr. Motta and you might need his letters?” McMurtry: “He said he was going to sue me. That was possible, but I didn't really think of it too much like that. This was just interesting material.” Lawyer: “Did you take any other correspondence between any other people in the Ordo Templi Orientis at that time?” McMurtry: “I do not believe so. I have no memory of it at all.” McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 797.
[259] .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, 17.5.85, p. 814; Heidrick: “We were entertaining people,” McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 973.
[260] Motta: “I probably also expected him [Ger­mer] to give me some kind of magical formula by which I could increase the size of my penis,” McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, p. 760.
[261] .i.Seckler; to Kelly, 10.7.79.
[262] .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, statement of .i.Seckler;, 14.5.85, p. 242. When Sascha Germer tactfully offered to return his letters, Motta did not want them back: “My life is an open book to anybody who cares to read it,” 15.2.63. Nevertheless, in a letter to Martin Starr, Motta later expressed a wish to take legal steps against McMurtry over this matter; Motta in McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 922.
[263] On July 14th 1984 Motta expelled McMurtry from the O.T.O.: “You are a liar. You are a trai­tor. You are unworthy. You are unfit. You are outcast. Die in your misery.”
[264] Motta in McMurtry vs. Motta, 16.5.85, p. 768.
[265] Wasserman, McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 388. Motta: “Let me state for the record, sir, that the grade of the Ninth, the power of the Ninth allows us to kill people magically if we want to,” McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 919.
[266] II;7, Berkeley July 1982, p. 2. Later, on 29th August 1988 the “tax exempt status since May 1982” was recognized retrospectively by the tax office based upon the supposedly religious nature of the group. The ‘Caliphate’ mainly uses this “religious character” exemption in the context of litigation, because in a number of countries they believe they may benefit from local religious freedom legislation and tax exemptions.
[267] ‘OTO Newsletter’ II;7&8, p. 90.
[268] There were constant denials of McMurtry’s problems for the purpose of maintaining favourable public relations. For example, “there is no drug problem,” ‘OTO Newsletter’ II;1, June 1978, p. 47.
[269] Doc Stanley to McMurtry, 20.10.1982.
[270] Seckler to Kelly, 13.8.79.
[271] Seckler to Kelly, 9.10.79.
[272] Seckler, ‘ITC’ II;2, p. 10, and Sascha Germer’s letters to Motta dated 7.10.68 (which was sent later according to a post-scriptum dated 3.12.) and 16.11.74.
[273] Starr, ‘Chaos from Order’: “Edson Frank Dunlap (1930–1987), a licensed dentist with access to anaesthetics, conducted the burglary.” Dunlap was also involved in the ‘Boy in the Box’ case; see the FBI files online at http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/manson.htm.
[274] .i.Seckler to Heidrick, 25.5.79.
[275] Motta vs. Weiser, 15.3.84, p. 561.
[276] Heidrick to Seckler, 2.6.79.
[277] Seckler: “Grady and I signed a small piece of paper, which gave Helen the ability to take care of the library,” McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, pp. 240, 281. Seckler refused to keep the archive at home fearing burglary. “She was scared to death of the library,” Wasserman in Motta vs. Weiser, 2.3.84, p. 227.
[278] “The lock was undisturbed; it was just as it always had been. I opened up the storage and to my great shock, everything was gone, everything,” Seckler in McMurtry vs. Motta, 14.5.85, p. 234.
[279] McMurtry in Motta vs. Weiser, 15.3.84, p. 562 and Seckler to Kelly, 22.9.79. That is, all those letters which hadn’t already had been taken by McMurtry before were stolen. Wasserman accused Seckler in Motta vs. Weiser, 2.3.84, 232 and 15.3.84, p. 597: “My personal experience is not such that I would trust her, no.” A year later, he withdrew his accusation; Wasserman in McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 437.
[280] Seckler to K.G.D***, 22.4.79.
[281] Motta vs. Weiser, 15.3.84, p. 562. On 29th April 1979 Heidrick penned a three page report that ended with “Phyllis is the prime suspect.”
[282] King, ‘Secret Rituals of the O.T.O.’, p. 90. A.R. Naylor, ‘O.T.O. Rituals and Sex Magick’, Thame 1999, p. 211. Likewise with the Solar Lodge: if the Burlingames were not empowered to initiate, then neither was McMurtry.
[283] .i.Seckler; to Kelly, 13.8.79.
[284] .i.Seckler; to Kelly, 21.6.79.
[285] Seckler to Kelly, 11.6.79.
[286] Seckler to Kelly, 21.6.79.
[287] Seckler to Kelly, 22.9.79.
[288] Seckler to Kelly, 10.7.79.
[289] Seckler to the present writer, letter of 31.5.91.
[290].i.King,; ‘Secret Rituals of the O.T.O.’. Many witnesses reported that McMurtry used the King book to perform initiations.
[291] There are two versions: the first one was very Masonic in style (‘Ritual de Recepção ao Grau 0’) and soon fell out of favour with Motta.
[292] Court transcript .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, p. 750. Motta to Sascha Germer: “The rituals of the O.T.O., you know, are no longer ‘secret’, for Achad [Charles S. Jones] gave them over to the Catholic Church.” 15.2.63.
[293] .i.Motta’;s ‘Equinox’ V;3, Nashville 1980, p. 481.
[294] During this trial McMurtry did not claim the office of the O.H.O..
[295] “If I could, I would stop Symonds and Grant from publishing unless under my supervision,” Motta vs. Weiser, 1.3.84, 150.
[296] This is the reason why the ‘Caliphate’ under William Breeze has been effectively turned into a commercial corporation complete with Kafkaesque bureaucracy, and can be deemed a legal appendix drawing its sustenance from a body of publishing. The mountains of paperwork and regulatory trivia produced by ‘Caliphate’ officialdom only augments the impression that it is run by lawyers.
[297] September 24, 1984, Motta vs. Weiser, p. 23.
[298] Motta vs. Weiser, p. 535.
[299] .i.McMurtry et alii vs. Motta, 13.5.84, p. 9. “They didn’t exist at that time, to our knowledge. We couldn’t produce them.” p. 12.
[300] In 1983 McMurtry visited Europe for the last time, going to London, Norway, Aachen and Belgrade, where he immediately advanced his O.T.O. candidates to the III° “as his last official act as Caliph of the O.T.O..” One participant in these ceremonies remembered that “We were in a good mood and stoned from the ritual and [...] then somehow the conversation got around to Metzger etc.; and Grady got increasingly enraged, starting to swear and bluster, and nearly talked himself into a fit.
[301] Starr, letter dated 22.08.1988.
[302] .i.Motta;: ‘Sex and Religion’ (i.e. ‘Equinox’ V;4,) Nashville 1981, p. xi.
[303] “William E. Heidrick falsely claims to represent the O.T.O.; possibly a dupe of Grady McMurtry, q.v.,” Motta, ‘Equinox’ V;4, p. xiv.
[304] Author’s conversation with .i.Schlag.;
[305] .i.McMurtry; vs. .i.Motta;, statement of .i.Heidrick;, 15.5.85, p. 607.
[306] ‘O.T.O. Newsletter’ I;4, March 1978, p. 23.
[307] As with any power of attorney, McMurtry’s letters of authorization would have ceased to have effect upon Crowley’s death, and there is nothing in the O.T.O. constitutions or related documents that allows an O.H.O. to appoint a successor to his successor. Furthermore, a ranking member is given no special status in the constitutional documents.
[308] Yorke to Germer, 3.7.48: “Jones and Traenker’s X degrees go back to Reuss and not to A.C. They therefore in the Constitutions of the O.T.O. are the ones who establish the next O.H.O., and even if you are X degree from Crowley, they can outvote you in a council to choose the new O.H.O. They could then appoint their own Treasurer General, and he could I think lay legal claim to the effects and the copyright. It would therefore I think be a mistake to go to law.”
[309] McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, p. 94.
[310] McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, p. 127.
[311] .i.Starr;, letters of 22.8.88 and 19.10.91; also .i.Heidrick; to James M. Martin on 8.5.87.
[312] Nevertheless, they still refuse to accept the evidence that (i) Rudolf Steiner was never a member of the O.T.O.: see http://www.parareligion.ch/steiner.htm; (ii) neither was the alleged co-founder of the O.T.O., Franz Hartmann: see http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/hartmann.htm. (iii) Carl Kellner likewise was never a member: see http://www.parareligion.ch/sunrise/ck.htm; and (iv) the alleged ‘Hermetic Brotherhood of Light’ connection with the O.T.O. was invented by Theodor Reuss for what he himself admitted were purely “tactical purposes”: see http://www.parareligion.ch/2007/reuss/asien.htm. In fact, Reuss was referring to the German order called “Brueder des Lichts der Sieben Gemeinden in Asien” [sometimes also called Asiatic Brethren] which is not the H.B.L., although “Brueder des Lichts” may be translated as “Brotherhood of Light”.
[313] McMurtry vs. Motta, 13.5.85, p. 134. Theodor Reuss wrote a number of variant O.T.O. Constitutions no fewer than three in 1906 (two in English and one in German), several around 1910, and finally in 1917 produced a ‘revised Constitution’ which is almost identical to the two English versions of 1906. In 1919 Crowley added several provisions for administrative and financial amendments which were published in his ‘Equinox’ III, p.10. These Crowley ‘Libri’ (they were included in his scheme of numbered ‘holy books’) collectively represent his Utopian vision of an ‘ideal’ O.T.O., whereas Reuss had his own ‘Programme of Construction and Guiding Principles of the Gnostic Neo-Christians, called O.T.O.’ (1920) and described his own Utopia in ‘Parsival and the Graal Unveiled’ (1914).
[314] Regarding his own bishopric, on 1st August 1996 Heidrick revealed on the ‘thelema93’ internet forum: “Around 1981 e.v., we (Grady McMurtry, myself and some others in O.T.O.) had just completed filing of O.T.O. papers for incorpo­ration with the state of California. [...] we set up a separate EGC corporation, without requirement of O.T.O. membership below the level of board of directors. That one we filed as a formal and simple ‘church’ with no fraternal qualifications or language — in effect O.T.O. was a religious order and EGC was a public membership church available outside O.T.O. membership as well as a religious chapel aspect of O.T.O. proper. [...] I was made a bishop by laying on of hands in the back seat of the car taking us to the notary to get the papers witnessed and signed. [...] About a year later we read a little more law and discovered that O.T.O. did qualify as a religious entity by its own nature in terms of tax law. We amended the O.T.O. articles to reflect that as the declared primary purpose. No pro­blems with IRS or the Franchise Tax Office (California equivalent to the IRS).” According to the ‘California Business’ internet portal, Heidrick incorporated the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica on 10/5/1979. It is currently suspended.
[315] Motta vs. Weiser, 2.3.84, p. 214, McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 893.
[316] The U.S. courts found that Motta was the sole member of the S.O.T.O. corporation, and that at the time of the trial S.O.T.O. had no other members in the United States. See ‘Additional Findings of fact and Conclusions of Law’, McMurtry, Ordo Templi Orientis et alii vs. Society Ordo Templi Orientis et alii, filed April 6 1987, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California No.C-83-5434-CAL, p. 35.
[317] Gregory von Seewald (b. 1955), 23.8.92. He established an Abbey of Thelema in 1983.
[318] Wasserman in McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 835.
[319] The ‘Additional Findings of Fact’ paragraph 27, page 1, states that “Defendant Motta was not a credible witness. His testimony was incomplete, evasive, and contradictory, and was impeached in important particulars. Motta admitted lying under oath in the action referred to in Conclusion of Law 6. There was no credible evidence that defendant Motta was initiated into OTO and became a member thereof. Motta has made inconsistent prior statements as to whether he does or does not claim to be OHO.”
[320] McMurtry vs. Motta, 17.5.85, p. 876.
[321] Ibid., p. 898.
[322] ‘O.T.O. Study Guide’, 1996.
[323] ‘The Magickal Link’ VI;5, Berkeley June 1985.
[324] ‘Scroll of Set’ XII;5, CA 1986, p. 3.
[325] McMurtry ‘reactivated’ the XI° on July 28th 1978, when he put his signature to the XI° rituals drafted by Patrick King. King’s branch of the ‘Caliphate’-XI° consisted of just three members. William Breeze allegedly wanted King to confer the XI°, but King refused. Breeze was furious, since he apparently considered the XI° as equivalent to the Inner Head of the Order. The dispute escalated to the point where King believed that he was being expelled and so gave all his papers and authority in the XI° to James Graeb. Nevertheless, Breeze still sometimes signs various ‘Caliphate’ documents and proclamations as XI°. Meanwhile, Breeze has chanced the meaning of the XI°: Under Crowley it was an “inscrutable” degree while under Breeze it has become a “technical” degree. The difference is big enough to produce another bulk of confusion. King died on September 29th 1997 of complications from being beaten up by Czech police, as the result of a dispute with his landlord. A head wound never stopped bleeding and there were suspicions that he was bleeding internally. In fact he died when an electric radiator caught fire and filled his room with smoke.
[326] An administrative title only used within Motta's O.T.O..
[327] “I never attended a meeting nor witnessed a degree,” Starr in his ‘The Unknown God’, Chicago 2003, p. x.
[328] On 4 March 1984 Starr was still testifying in court that Motta was the O.H.O.; Motta vs. Weiser, p. 273: “he became so on the death of Mr. Karl Johanes [sic] Germer in 1962,” p. 274.
[329] Starr, letter of 15.2.89.
[330] Starr, letter of 9.3.89.
[331] In its ‘Findings of Fact’ the court acknowledged that there were other claimants to the O.T.O. title: “The evidence demonstrates that there are still other possible claimants to the OTO legacy. These include a group in Switzerland led by a Joseph Metzger, (Defendant’s Exhibits 20, 50), a group in England led by a Kenneth Grant, (Defendant’s Exhibit 5), and a former associate of Crowley by the name of Frederick Mellinger, (Plaintiffs’ Exhibits 75, 76.) The Court need not decide whose claim is superior. The Court simply finds as a fact that Plaintiffs represent only one of several groups who claim to be legitimate successors to Aleister Crowley’s original OTO.”
[332] groups.yahoo.com/group/Aiwaz-Thelema/messages/2226, 10.8.2000.
[333] ‘The Magical Link’ I;6, NY July 87, p. 43. US Supreme Court on 11.1.88, ‘The Magical Link’ I;10, NY Feb/March 1988, p. 101.
[334] This was also Germer's opinion. As an IX°, Mellinger needed “no formal Charter” in his initiations, even in undertaking those to the IX° itself, as he was informed by Germer on September 15th 1951: “these remarks refer to Metzger too.”
[335] Graeb: ‘Caliph or Khalifa Spelling is Defunct?’, online at rahoorkhuit.net/ota/jGraeb/caliph_or_khalifa.html.
[336] Seckler to K.G.D***, Dec. 8, 1978. Seckler to McMurtry: “I really think it a mistake to have produced such a body of political IX° who know nothing of the secret workings,” 1.6.83.
[337] James A. Eshelman had joined the ‘Caliphate’ and the A.·. A.·. in 1979, becoming deputy ‘Caliph’ upon the election of Breeze (he was a V° when he too stood as a candidate for ‘Caliph’ in 1985) and left the group (that is the commercial entity called ‘O.T.O. Inc.’ or ‘O.T.O. International’) in 1992. He said of them in April 1997: “I believe their point of view — at least that of H.B. [Breeze], though I doubt he would ever admit it in words resembling these — is that he is willing to sacrifice the spiritual development of the present generation (since it’s impossible to reform the post-Grady version of the Order anyway) in order to lay the best foundation for the spiritual growth of humanity for the next couple of thousand years.” And Eshelman added: “O.T.O. is just a club. A simple club. A wholly mundane thing. Its fate is in no sense tied into that of the Aeon itself.”
[338] James Wasserman (b. 1948) worked at Samuel Weiser’s and played a key rôle in seeing numerous ‘Caliphate’ pu­blications through the press. In 1977, he left Weiser’s to establish ‘Studio 31’, a concern offering a full book-production and graphic-design service. In 1996, Wasserman was appointed to the office of ‘Revolutionary’. This is basically the person supposed to protect the O.T.O. from an infirm or otherwise incompetent or unfit O.H.O.; Wasserman resigned from this office in December 1998. He stepped down because of what were called severe differences of opinion with management,” after starting to display obsessions with government conspiracies. His statements as a high-degree ‘Caliphate’ member all harp on the same themes: Wasserman is in favour of “militarism, patriotism,” wishes to encourage “a strong military, decisive national self interest” and the “concept of the self-reliant citizen-soldier.” His belief in combat and weapons-fetish seem to reflect the cocktail of militarism and religious fundamentalism which at present cripples or propels, depending upon one’s point of view certain sections of American society. Wasserman holds that America is the freest country in the world, but that it’s currently threatened by dark forces, from which it can only be released by Crowley’s teachings (Wasserman, ‘The Slaves Shall Serve’, NY 2004). He equates these evil powers with the Thelemic version of Satan the demon of chaos, Choronzon. He denounces the U.S. government as a Big Brother police-state which interferes with its citizen’s liberties, the FBI as infiltrated by “psycho-fascists” and is also afraid of global rule by “Islamo-fascists” and/or the United Nations. He is not only rabidly anti-European, but in his opposition to Communism even seeks to defend the appalling record of the Communist hunter Senator McCarthy. Wasserman is all for reinstating public school prayer, though presumably thinks he can simply replace the word ‘God’ with a Thelemic divinity. He refers continuously to the John Birch Society, an extreme right-wing organization opposed to a “global conspiracy” (of Commies, Jews, homosexuality, sexual freedom, and abortion etc. ad nauseam) and presents himself as a sort of Bircher rôle model. See also http://www.parareligion.ch/2006/pro/pene.htm.
[339] Sharon Morton was the first person to be made a ‘provisional’ IX°, during Heidrick's I° initiation ceremony. Due to physical incapacity (he was falling-down drunk), McMurtry was apparently not capable of doing anything much. But just before he passed out, Morton asked him to make her a IX°, so that the ceremony could go on. McMurtry did a perfunctory ‘laying-on of hands’, and promptly passed out cold. McMurtry “and myself have pulled the Order together from no members in 1976 to what we have now,” Morton to Kelly, 27.2.79.
[340] In early May 1977, Michael Ripple from Syracuse wrote to McMurtry after finding his address included in a pack of the Thoth Tarot (which was earlier considered by Yorke as being “Caliphate nonsense”). After receiving a reply, he and his wife received their initiations on May 21st.
[341] “OTO was trying to sue a publisher over the book ‘Ghost Story’ by Peter Straub. Since I had submitted the first letter of protest which allowed them to submit the file for the lawsuit before the statute of limitations, they needed my release even though I had already quit the organization. A release that had been already signed by some of the trustees (IX°s) was sent with a request for my signature. I did not sign. I simply sent a letter telling them that I doubted their claims as OTO (as I told you before). I was later told that they had to agree to help the publisher in defense of any lawsuit brought by any other OTO.” Kristopher D***, email of 27.11.96. “This incorporation in no way reflects the proposed structure of the O.T.O. by Aleister Crowley [...] Mr. McMurtry and Mr. Heidrick exhibit limited competence regarding initiation rituals. Mr. Heidrick has accused me of using languages which were not in the original rituals in my reconstruction of initiation rituals which were either lost or never in the possession of Mr. McMurtry (i.e.: IV°, P.I., V° and VI°). This I did not do: if Mr. Heidrick mistakes Hebrew, Latin or Egyptian (from the Stele of Revealing) for Tibetan, that is his problem. Furthermore, my reconstructions have been used by Mr. McMurtry to initiate at least nine persons, including Mr. Heidrick, into these grades. If my reconstructions were incorrect these initiations would be invalid, and McMurtry's corporation guilty of taking money under false pretences.” K.G.D*** to ‘All Interested Parties’, 23 February 1981.
[342] David .i.Bersson;, 6.2.92.
[343] ‘Ecclesia Gnostica’ I;4, Summer 1985.
[344] James Graeb (b. 1954 in New York) became a member on November 18, 1977 in NY and moved then to Berkely. He was one of the three original directors of the ‘Caliphate’, and one of its three original incorporators. In 1979, he drafted the Bylaws which made the ‘Caliphate’ a non-profit cor­poration under IRC 501c(3), which was granted exempt status under Californian law. Graeb used his own ‘Or­der of Horus’ as a sort of outer court for his wing of the A.·. A.·.. Graeb’s rights and powers to initiate and status as ‘Chancellor’ had been cancelled by Breeze on 8 January 1989 (“You will make no public, or private claims to official representation of O.T.O. of any kind, written or verbal”) and only in 1992, when Graeb handed over all the McMurtry material he still possessed, were his rights and powers restored. (“It was on 11 May 1991 that Jim Graeb phoned, and cried on my shoulder! At that time he wanted to sue the O.T.O.,” H.P. Smith to W. Breeze, 27.6.91. But Graeb retorted “I could not have called you on May 11, 1991, as I was in Bangkok, Thailand on that date”, Graeb to H.P. Smith, 6 August 1991). Graeb thought that according to McMurtry's last Will and Testament that he alone had been given, and still held, the actual copyrights to Crowley’s book ‘Magick Without Tears’. Graeb considered himself to still be the President of the body of the Electoral Ninths (a sort of temporary X°) and suggested that Breeze had no authority over such a body as Breeze lacked jurisdiction and was not even a member of that body. On 7.6.2000 Graeb incorporated the O.T.O., the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica and the A.·. A.·. in his own name in California; the fact being that Breeze had no such organisation in that state. Breeze tried unsuccessfully to have California’s Se­cretary of State invalidate Graeb’s corporations. Graeb had won that round, when the Secretary of State ruled that his corporations were legal enough; but still wanting to stay part of the O.T.O., Graeb agreed in the end to give them up. Ja­mes Wasserman asked Graeb to resign, and Graeb refused. He was eventually expelled in 2003.
[345] This ‘Note of Nullification’ was legally sealed on 6 August 1977 by a public notary in Alameda County.
[346] The 1917 Constitution is at http://www.parareligion.ch/1917kons.htm. Breeze’s ‘Cabinet’ includes some non-O.T.O. members, namely Harvey Bialy, an AIDS-denialist from the US (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_Bialy), David Tibet, a Christian singer from the U.K, and an astrologer called Prier Wintle from South Africa.
Bylaws Ordo Templi Orientis Caliph Caliphat Cabinet 2004 Outer Head of the Order OHO Electing Ninth
[347] Anthony Naylor, (Ed.) ‘O.T.O. Rituals and Sex Magick’, Thame 1999, p. 89.
[348] The ‘Caliphate’ was wholly unaware of this 1913 Constitution until it came up for auction at Sotheby’s in December 1996. They then published it in their ‘Magical Link’, New Series I;1, Fairfax, Fall 1997.
[349] Smith, who had urged Breeze's election, claimed that the 1985 vote was an O.H.O. election because the expression ‘Caliph’ “was Grady’s personal nom de plume.”
[350] In 1996, Breeze and Heidrick created a subordinate organization called ‘Ordo Templi Orientis USA’. The stated purpose of this alteration was to create a separate legal entity in the USA, with similar separate entities to then be established in various other countries. It was stated that the then ‘Caliphate’ (O.T.O. Inc.) was to remain the ‘parent’ corporation of all these proposed ‘national’ corporations. However, Breeze and Heidrick meant to seize control of the ‘Caliphate’ (O.T.O. Inc.) by transferring all or most of the ‘Caliphate’ membership and day-to-day activities to its new subsidiary ‘O.T.O.-USA’ leaving the ‘Caliphate’ (O.T.O. Inc.) as a mere corporate shell, whose assets and income could be converted or spent without the knowledge or consent of ‘Caliphate’ members. After the formation of the ‘O.T.O.-USA’ subsidiary in 1996, Breeze, Heidrick, and their Ninths, authorized the ‘Caliphate’ (O.T.O. Inc.) to retain all copyright income, together with a percentage of all dues paid by the rank-and-file members of ‘O.T.O.-USA’, all without their knowledge. The ‘Caliphate’ (O.T.O. Inc.) takes this income because of an inter-company agreement between ‘O.T.O. Inc.’ and ‘O.T.O.-USA’, which was drafted and approved by Breeze, Heidrick and their Ninths only. Since the 1996 subsidiary arrangement, the assets of the ‘Caliphate’ have consisted primarily of rare books and manuscripts, which can easily be transported out of the jurisdiction of the United States on the pretext that they belong to the ‘international’ corporation. On or about April 29, 2000, it was disclosed (to the Areopagus = VIII° and IX° members) that Breeze, with the assistance of Heidrick, had formed numerous corporations in Europe and in the South Pacific, all without the knowledge or approval of the voting members and also without approval or consent of an independent Board of Directors. The real reason for forming these additional foreign corporations is seemingly to permit Breeze to hide assets, pretend to legitimacy under colour of law, and to gain additional money from the ‘Caliphate’ under such guises. Outline based on James Graeb’s draft for filing suit against Breeze et alii, August 2000, see online at http://www.parareligion.ch/dplanet/Graeb3.htm. Graeb characterised the ‘Caliphate’ as a “puppet-show piece.” The case was dismissed in April 2002 because Graeb did not appear in court.
[351] Once Canada was considered to be the ‘Caliphate’s’ most rapidly growing province. The first ‘Caliphate’ body there was founded in 1981 with about fifty people and Breeze as its first Lodge-Ma­ster at Laval. The ‘Caliphate’ was legally incorporated in the provinces of Québec and Ontario in 1981. They never tried to incorporate at a Federal level, but just in the provinces; also there was never an effective X° for Canada. The ‘Caliphate’ was disincorporated in the Province of Québec as of 4 May 2001 because they hadn’t bothered to file reports for the previous two years. The ‘Caliphate’ is mostly inactive in Canada at the time of writing, although a few groups still have an Internet presence.
[352] In an O.T.O. ‘Form Letter’ of July 9th 1974, McMurtry had clearly explained his views on Metzger: “Herr Metzger cannot be Outer Head of the Order because his ‘election’ was only by his own Lodge in Switzerland, a purely national body attempting to effect an international decision. Herr Metzger can also assert that he is the head of his own O.T.O.”
[353] There is no comparison with other O.T.O. versions, essentially because there are no group rituals or ceremonies of initiation at any stage of the Typhonian degree structure. All initiation is stated to be self-initiation. There is a small amount of set grade work within the Typhonian O.T.O.; however, the emphasis is on the initiate charting his or her own course. The Typhonian O.T.O. is concerned with transmissions and communications from 'outerspace'. The Typhonian operations involve essences or elixirs secreted (thrown out and/or considered unclean) by the human organism.
[354] Breeze collects what is called a “ministerial” or “parsonage allowance.” From the ‘Minutes of the Secret Areopagus’ held on Saturday, April 24, 1999: “Beginning with the 1999 calendar year, this allowance shall supersede the previous resolution from the 1994 meeting, and shall be considered compensa­tion. The Parsonage Allowance is to conform with IRS Publication 517 (Parsonage Allowances), and the ministerial allowance is not to exceed 93% of the US Federal poverty rate.” According to James Graeb at http://www.parareligion.ch/dplanet/Graeb3.htm, for the year 2000, for example, this allowance was approximately $12,230 US per annum; while Breeze lived in Austin, Texas, the ‘Caliphate’ paid his house-rent of approximately $12,743. In addition, a substantial portion of the ‘Caliphate’s’ annual travel expenses of $24,295 in 2000 were spent for Breeze’s benefit. According to Heidrick, the ‘Caliphate’ also picks up the rent, utility-bills and some of the food and medical expenses for Breeze; email to XX, 16 April 1998.
[355] On 15th April 1998 John Symonds (who believed he was the owner of the copyrights) transferred his rights as literary executor to Anthony Naylor, who eventually transferred them to his firm Mandrake Press Ltd. Both were subsequently taken to court by Breeze. On 19th October 2000 it was declared that Breeze’s O.T.O. holds title to all Crowley copyrights (literary and otherwise) “so far as subsisting.” On 9th June 2001, Breeze countersigned an ‘Assignment Agreement’ between his O.T.O. and the Official Receiver that gave him legal title to the non-literary works (including accrued rights of action) which means that he has title to all works in which copyright subsists. On 10th April 2002 Symonds, Naylor and Mandrake Press Ltd. conceded that copyrights were held by Breeze's O.T.O. in the subset of Crowley works that they had published. There was a further ‘Consent Order’ in 2002, which delivered up all printing materials of copyrighted works, as well as assigning copyright and other property which had come to Symonds as a result of his being literary executor. This ruling stated that copyright subsists in all the works in the substituted schedule to the claimant’s ‘Particulars of Claim’, which Breeze had provided in 1999.
[356] In the court case of the ‘Caliphate’ versus the German publishers Haenssler Verlag, the judge ruled in 1990 that the local German branch of the ‘Caliphate’ had to be defined as independent from Breeze and his headquarters body, and that they did not fulfil the definition of a ‘socially beneficiary’ body although they claimed to be Masonic in nature. The judge also recognized the fact that there are countless rival bodies claiming the name ‘O.T.O.’, and that therefore the plaintiffs could not benefit from any exclusive or special legal protection. The Court also opined that Breeze’s O.T.O. as an American body could not execute his rights as a US citizen in Germany.
[357] O.T.O. vs. Phaenomen Verlag, November 2007, http://www.parareligion.ch/2005/ce.htm.
[358] Likewise in Australia. The U.S. court case of McMurtry vs. Motta was tried from May 13 through to May 17 1985. In March 1985, two months prior to litigation, Society Ordo Templi Orientis International, incorporated in Nashville, applied for the initials ‘O.T.O.’ to be registered as an Australian trademark. On the same day S.O.T.O. also applied for the initials to be registered in a separate trademark class under the same proprietorship. On March 25 1985, two months prior to U.S. litigation, three more S.O.T.O. trademark applications were lodged in Australia listing their postal name as Society Ordo Templi Orientis International, and the legal identification as Society Ordo Templi Orientis International. Motta died in August 1987. Between 1987 and 1990, his disciple William Robert Barden had the initials “O.T.O.” and the O.T.O. lamen registered as a trade-mark and “Ordo Templi Orientis in Australia” as a business, under “Society Ordo Templi Orientis International” jurisdiction. One month after this had expired in May 1990, Barden registered the “Parzival XI° O.T.O. Foundation” as a separate O.T.O. association, but under the ownership of the S.O.T.O. International. All this went uncontested by the ‘Caliphate’. It is said that Barden died around January 2004. Meanwhile, ‘Caliphate’ member Colin Scott McLeod had registered the O.T.O. in Australia on 7.10.1983. His registration expired on 5.3.87. Eventually, the ‘Caliphate’ registered the name “Ordo Templi Orientis Inc.” on 12.10.1990 as an Association. The new trade-mark registration of the O.T.O. lamen took place on 20–24.11.1992. “Ordo Templi Orientis Incorporated” was registered on 5.4.1994 as a corporation and business name for a Registered Australian Body (active from 1.11.1999). They consider ownership of trademarks in Australia as distinct from the US O.T.O. corporation. Although they have benefited from tax-free status in Australia since 1994 (regained in 2001), they are not listed on the Government List of non-profit organisations published by the tax office, but they are considered to be a charitable institution, that is a religious institution.
[359] ‘Starfire’ does not claim to act on behalf of the Typhonian O.T.O. which is not a legal entity.
[360] What mattered was not that there were several groups using the initials, but whether the average consumer would be aware of it. The Hearing Officer took the view that the average consumers in this case would be those interested in the occult, a significant number of whom would be aware that there were several O.T.O. versions. The Appeal Officer overturned this, taking the view that the average consumer in this case was not restricted to those interested in the occult, but could be anybody; if they had heard of “the O.T.O.”, the likelihood was that, lacking historical knowledge, they would be more likely to identify it with “O.T.O. Inc.” since they are more visible. For instance, O.T.O. Inc. started marketing on MySpace with paid sponsorship links.
[361] Motta: “Oseas Saturnino de Almeida: once chartered by Marcelo Motta, showed symptoms of mental confusion. Confronted, tried to appropriate the Order. Was sued and lost in the first instance. Appealed against the sentence, and lost again. Old-aeon mason with Roman Catholic and Zionist connections. Expelled from the O.T.O.,” ‘Equinox’ VI;4, Nashville 1981, p. xiv.
[362] Motta: “Euclydes de Almeida: once a Neophyte [1°=10] under Marcelo Motta. Charged with registering the O.T.O. in Brasil, tried to register it under his own name. Expelled from the O.T.O., got in touch with Kenneth Grant and tried to set himself up as representing the same. A court order was issued; did not try to appeal. Cut contact with in the A.·. A.·.,” ‘Equinox’ VI;4, Nashville 1981, p. xiv.
[363] During this period, Motta proposed that Seckler and Smith should legally incorporate the O.T.O. in the USA, though obviously unaware that McMurtry had already registered a firm under the title “O.T.O. Inc.” in 1971.
[364] The death certificate stated “Infarto do miocardo, edema dos pulmões, doença,” 30.08.87.
[365] .i.Motta; to Walter .i.Jantschik;, 30.3.87 and 12.5.87.
[366] “Someone (believed to be Stone) resolved to carry out Motta’s request to be cremated, disinterred the body, soaked the remains with gasoline (or some other flammable) and attempted to burn the body. Obviously this made quite a mess; cremation temperatures cannot be achieved in this way. I don’t know if anyone has Motta’s skull as a trophy or magickal relic.” L. Jana Rutkowski-Gromlich, several emails in December 2000.
[367] “I, Claudia Canuto de Menezes of Brasil, do not accept any part of a tripartite trusteeship that named Daniel Ben Stone of the United States, William Robert Bardon of Australia and myself, entitled ‘Declaration of Trust’ and signed by Marcelo Ramos Motta of Brasil on October 15, 1984.”
[368] .i.Bersson; to William.i. Barden;, 20.9.92, and in a letter to the present writer, 25.2.92. Bersson stated in an e-mail of March 2000 that: “In conversation with me, and a few others, Mar­celo Motta stated that the only successor that was worthy of following him was Claudia Canuto. And as you know, she withdrew into the silence. She never officially resigned from the Society O.T.O., however. But she left, never to be heard of again, stating she wanted to go live her own life. I am honest to say this, that I was never at any time considered for the succession from Marcelo Motta. Therefore, I can only do what I am presently doing. Exist as a lineage of AA and O.T.O. from my Superior. I certainly am one of the followers of Marcelo Motta as a pupil in good standing at the time of Mr. Motta death. But I have never claimed to be the follower. He did name me for certain posi­tion(s) within the Order but this would turn out to be only a spiritual claim.”
[369] Gernon served as master of Motta’s S.O.T.O. in Nashville, Tennessee where he had originally gone to at the instigation of Wasserman. He later joined the 'Caliphate' and succeeded Wasserman as Lodge Master in New York City. Gernon was a Bishop of the 'Caliphate'-Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. He committed suicide with a drug overdose in 1989.
[370] Motta’s ‘Equinox’, V;4 1981 p. xi. “He had been accused [by Motta] of plotting the murder of Mr. Motta’s Brazi­lian representative who was then in Nashville, Tennessee, Miss Claudia Canuto.” Wasserman in McMurtry vs. Motta, 15.5.85, p. 461.
[371] “You are a fool, William Bardon, I will begin an Empire on this earth for Thelema such as the world has never seen [...] I am the Head of Thelema for the Entire World,” 20.9.88.
[372] “This is to inform you that you have failed the entrance exam for Society Ordo Templi Orientis by denying serious students access to a Thelemic library,” 19.8.89
[373] “Stone told me, at around 8.00 am on Friday, 18th September, in my hotel room, that he had violated the grave of Frater Parzival,” Barden to Paulo Roberto Manini, 20.1.1988. Barden to Stone, 28.2.88: “You have defiled the grave of our Master and Holy Guru [...] you are a liar, a slanderer, and a thief. You are a wealthy bully, an intriguer, a spy, and a coward. You are a Seckler, a Symonds, a Wasserman, a McMurtry, and a Grant.” Bardon in ‘Mezlim’ III,3, November 1991, p. 51: “My hatred for him was incredible.”
[374] Founded on 12 August 1987, based on Article 18 of the S.O.T.O.’s Constitution. Bardon needed $50,000 to sue Stone.
[375] H.O.O.R. is a sort of outer temple to Motta’s Order of Thelema. David Bersson: “Mr. Marcelo Ramos Motta heir in the A.·. A.·. & O.T.O. is either Myself or Mr. Ray Eales. You are not permitted to know which or if We are both the heir,” letter dated 6 February 1992.
[376] He passed the X° of ‘his’ O.T.O. on to Carlos Raposo in the early 1990s, then became representative of the ‘Caliphate’ in Brazil, together with Marisol Seabra. But “Nothing changes: Carlos Raposo, one of the founders of the Brazilian wing of the caliphake was expelled (2002); Marcia Seabra, the local treasurer of the Caliphake was expelled (2003); the head of the Caliphake in São Paulo was expelled (2004). and Fernando Liguori, the one who pirated Grant, founded a Draconian oto or something like that, and says he’s a magister templi of Achad’s AA. to sum it up: all the same. Euclydes does not want anything with OTOs. he made me his heir along with Tarciso — who died last year from a heart-attack.” Email from Marcelo Santos, 8 February 2004.
[377] “Now [2001] we have two SOTOs in Brasil — one chartered by Motta, headed by Paulo Manini […], and other chartered by me [Marcelo Santos], adopted by Bersson and headed by Dalva [Agne Lynch].” Email of 1.5.2001.
[378] At that time, all charters and warrants were signed “Annemarie Aeschbach on behalf of H.J. Metzger.”
[379] The online California Business Portal records five O.T.O. bodies in California: two owned by James Graeb (one activated in 2000, now dissolved; one activated in 2004, now suspended), one under Motta (activated in 1980, now suspended), and two owned by Vere Chappell (on behalf of the ‘Caliphate’ activated in 1979 and 1996). Graeb also has his ‘Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica’ incorporated twice in California; that filed in 2000 is now dissolved, the version filed in 2004 being suspended. The ‘Caliphate’ registered the EGC in California during 2003.
[380] It is noteworthy that Aeschbach refers to the “Californian OTO,” the geographical prefix implying that there is more than one O.T.O.. The preceding reference to “The OTO registered in California” again implies that a geographical prefix is needed to identify one O.T.O. from several others.
[381] moneyhouse.ch/u/aeschbach-stiftung_CH-300.7.013.007-4.htm; swissguide.ch/de/Beratungen/Stein-AR/618848_aeschbachstiftung.html; help.ch/shabinfo.cfm?key=221086; help.ch/googlesuche.cfm?suche=%C4schbach-Stiftung.
[382] The huge library of the Swiss O.T.O. is currently being catalogued by the library service of Appenzell Canton, and will eventually be opened to the public.




© P.R. Koenig, 2009.

My thanks for translation skills and hospitality go to Mark Parry-Maddocks. Further assistance was provided by Richard T. Cole.

This is a short outline from one chapter of Der O.T.O. Phänomen RELOAD.
A very very short German version online.



Further reading:



Start of the "Caliphate" and transformation of all previous "provisional IXth degrees" into "full Ninths". The transformation of McMurtry's "Caliphate" into a firm by its self-styled "OHO", William Breeze, through an election of 'Caliphate'IX°s becoming provisional X°s electing a 'Caliph' who is provisionally a X° and suddenly turning into a "OHO" is documented via All we want is a 'Caliph': Minutes of the Special Ninth Degree Caliphate Election Held September 20/21, 1985

One O.T.O. in Brazil.
Do you know Oscar R. Schlag?
Who possesses and executes the Crowley-copyrights? National Grandmasters and OHOs of the O.T.O.
The Gnostic Catholic Church Boast or How William Breeze lost his Apostolic Succession
News about the "Caliphate" from 1977
Material on and from the Typhonian O.T.O. (Kenneth Grant, Michael Staley), e.g.:
    The Babalon Working of Jack Parsons
    An Appreciation of Marjorie Cameron
Karl Germer's correspondence with Friedrich Mellinger about H.J. Metzger, Felix Lazerus Pinkus, Grosche and Traenker
Karl Germer about Theodor Reuss and succession
Das Milieu des Templer Reichs — Die Sklaven Sollen Dienen. Hanns Heinz Ewers — Lanz von Liebenfels — Karl Germer, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller — Martha Kuentzel — Friedrich Lekve — Hermann Joseph Metzger — Christian Bouchet — Paolo Fogagnolo — James Wasserman. Unbequeme Aspekte in der Geschichte des O.T.O. und Thelema
English Version The Templar's Reich
Gabriel Montenegro's correspondence with European Thelemites in the 1960s
A section called "Collections of Re-Collections" where 36 thelemites recall 'how they became member' or remember other experiences with HOOR, the Society O.T.O., the 'Caliphate', the OTOF, Steve Englehart etc.
Playgame of an O.T.O.-Fata Morgana, Statistics, Censorship, Name Dropping
Fetish, Self-Induction, Stigma and Rôleplay
Charles Manson and the Solar Lodge of the O.T.O.

Michael Staley: The Babalon Working
Nikolas and Zeena Schreck: "Demons of the Flesh"




An objective researcher will benefit from these Court conclusions The Maine Decision, the California decision, The New Court of Last Resort Contents, Austrian rulings on Copyrights, German rulings on Copyrights, the International Copyright Situation, X versus the 'Caliphate', Anthony Naylor, Phaenomen Verlag, Starfire Ltd, Peter-Robert Koenig ...O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick






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More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan — Jünger, Jäger und Justiz

Scattered On The Floor
Browsing Through The Rituals






Spermophagy

  • Spermo-Gnostics
  • The Secrets
  • Correct Gnosticism
  • Smoke gets in your Aiwass, I and II
  • Nosferatu's Baby
  • Heinrich Tranker Baphomet Rosycross Regarding Aleister Crowley's antidemocratic, racist and misanthropic 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.". "Journal of Thelemic Studies", 1;2, 2008, page 40. See The Templar's Reich.



    Discussions on the Nature of the O.T.O. Phenomenon

  • Ecstatic Creation of Culture
  • The McDonaldisation of Occulture
  • Halo of Flies
  • Use of the Internet
  • Playgame of an O.T.O.-Fata Morgana: Statistics, Censorship, Name Dropping
  • Gaps in the Script of Esotericism: Hypocrisy and Hypercrisis
  • Fetish, Self-Induction, Stigma and Rôleplay
  • Saturn-Gnosis
  • Saturn's art of living and loving
  • Sexmagic and the Fraternitas Saturni
  • Albin Grau Pacitius Fraternitas Saturni Saturn-Gnosis Nosferatu Pansophia




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