Ordo Templi Orientis: Consider the O.T.O. non existent

Ordo Templi Orientis
Veritas Mystica Maxima
Consider other O.T.O.groups non existent

by Peter-R. Koenig

      This is the continuation of the biography on Theodor Reuss        

                Hermetic Brotherhood of Light – Ordo Templi Orientis – Anational Grandlodge and Mystic Temple Verita Mistica

Rudolf Steiner and Marie von Sivers became members of the Reussian Memphis-Misraim Rite on November 24th 1905, though their oath made no mention of the O.T.O. as the O.T.O. did not exist yet. They both received a charter to run an independent group on January 3rd 1906, granting the permission Steiner required to advance to the 33°, 90°, and 96° as soon as he has 100 members. At this time Steiner was still the general secretary of the Theosophical Society. According to a letter from the Hungarian Emil Adrianyi "Ardens Ascendo" (later a member of both the O.T.O. and the Golden Dawn) [1] on September 8th 1906, to Steiner "the Reussian Orders had absolutely no 'practises'", but were merely an imitation of Theosophy, mixed in with the 'Ancient and Primitive Rite'. [2]

The Steinerite ritual texts for lodge-opening and initiation are in places identical with those of the later 'O.T.O. Orient Thuricensium', which referred to the 'Office of Misraim' as late as the 1960's (it is still used by the Swiss O.T.O. today, in a slightly revised version). [3]

In the same year 1906, Steiner parted from Reuss, stating that he would have "nothing, but absolutely nothing" to do with his Orders; even though he was still using the titles 'Mystica aeterna' or 'Office of Misraim' in early 1914. Steiner had not taken over the merging of the separate Rites of Memphis and Misraim but only the permission to use the expression "Misraim". Aleister Crowley stated: "Steiner is in relation with the O.T.O., but he lets a lot of drivel go out." [4]

Early in March 1910 Crowley received the VII°. On the 12th of April 1912 he was made 33°, 90°, and X° "of London", "National Grand Master General [...] in conformity with the Constitution of the O.T.O. of the 22nd of January 1906 E.V. [...] for Great Britain and Ireland."

Just as with similar warrants [5] issued by Reuss in 1912, this printed Memphis-Misraim charter had the title "O.T.O." written in (later on?) by hand at its head. Crowley's branch of the O.T.O. received the name 'Mysteria Mystica Maxima' (MMM).

Crowley wrote to Heinrich Tränker in 1924:

"My relations with Dr. Reuss.
My name came to public notice in London in March 1910, when Mathers
[1854-1918, co-founder of the Golden Dawn] attempted to prevent the publication of No. III of Eq. In this vol. as instructed by the Chiefs who had come to me in Cairo in 1904 I published the rituals of 5=6 R.R. et A.C. London talked for 9 days of Rosa Crucians & my studio harangued by sole authentic Chiefs of that Order in great multitude. Among these was Brother R[euss] [...] Some time later however he came to visit me again in an entirely different spirit, he was the Grand Master of Germany under Br. Yarker who had given me 90-95. R. claims that the O.T.O. combined all the secrets of all degrees [...] He now explained the great importance [6] of this method of working. I did not take him very seriously but from time to time made experiments. My personal reaction against R was always very strong, his overbearing aggressive manner was offensive. [...] R was very uncertain in temper and in many way ways unreliable. In his last years he seems to have completely lost his grip even assuming the B. of the L. of ....tion ...dans [two illegible words]: than which no statement could be more absurd. Yet it seems that he must have been to some extend ...ty [word illegible] led on account of his having made the appointment of yourself [Tränker] & Achad [Jones] and designating me in his last letter his successor is evident to me, in my case at least he was acting altogether against his human will as will be clear if I can lay my hands on the letter by way of the very ...s p... [two partly illegible words]".

Dividing Switzerland for O.T.O. matters

In 1913 a certain Professor Emil Schaub in Basel (German speaking Switzerland), and a John Daniel Reelfs in Geneva, wrote independently of each other to Crowley. "I shall be obliged to divide Switzerland" according to the different native languages (which would be four) Crowley answered Schaub in March; and stated that he would not confer any MM degrees, as these were already incorporated in the O.T.O. Emil Schaub had been "appointed" by Edoardo Frosini (33° 90° 96°, VII°), and Crowley dispatched Reelfs to see Frosini as well, so that he could first confer a charter on Reelfs by virtue of his having the 33° and VII°. It remains a mystery why Reuss was not informed of this as OHO.

In a report of 1914 on the 'Present Standing of the MM', Reelfs was commissioned to remind certain members who had fallen behind with their subscriptions of their financial obligations – these were L. Waddell, J. van Notten, Florence van Notten and Frederic Alfred Beeker; Schaub was not mentioned.

Theodor Reuss left London at the last possible moment before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 and immediately reported for service with the Red Cross at Berlin. After a brief period spent working for German Counter-intelligence on the Dutch border he moved to neutral territory at Basel in Switzerland where he worked as a newspaper correspondent and taught English at the local Berlitz School. He was using a visiting card which described him as A.C. Theodor Reuss, "Honorary Professor at the High School for Applied Medical Science (University of France)". This centre for Higher Learning was probably founded by Gérard Encausse/Papus.

Also in 1914 Reuss published the by-laws of the British section of the O.T.O. (already published by Crowley in 1912) (which were later re-used by Crowley for his 1919 Constitution in the "Blue Equinox" [Detroit 1919]) [7] in the German magazine "Oriflamme" and the "Outline and Elements of the O.T.O.". (4*)

In 1917, while distributing his translation of Crowley's Gnostic Mass (later published in 1918 in German) on Monte Verità in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, Reuss published a revised O.T.O. Constitution [8] (a revision of the 1906 Constitution).[9]
Between 1917 and 1919 Crowley revised his own version of the lower O.T.O. initiation rituals (0*-III*), which were never used by Reuss or any deriving Reuss-O.T.O.-group. [10]

It is probable that the outbreak of the Great War and Crowley's escape to America prevented any further developments. In Crowley's "Golden Book", which only contains entries from 1912 to 1917, Reelfs is found in the list of VI° members; nor again is Schaub included [11].

Frosini's collaborator (Frosini being the successor of Michele de Vincenzo Majulli, 33°, 90°, 95° and VII°), were G. di San Fortunato and Arturo Reghini; the latter made Crowley an honorary member the 'Ritus Philosophicus Italicus' on October 20th 1913. Reghini moved to Julius Evola's (1898-1974) UR group in 1927. [12]

Arturo Reghini, Maximus (12.11.1878–1.7.1946), 20.10.1913 Aleister Crowley, Rite Philosophique Italien

After October 12th, 1915 Crowley saw himself as the prophet of his New Aeon of Horus, which he had evoked. Between 1917 and 1919 he drafted his own O.T.O. rituals (from 0° to VI°), [13] but without Reuss's agreement; seemingly Reuss had expressly warned Crowley that the O.T.O. was not to be used as a vehicle for Thelema. [14]

Monte Verità and the Ordo Templi Orientis

Picture gallery of the protagonists.
[Colored with AI]

The Austrian piano-teacher Ida Hofmann (died 1926) and Henri Oedenkoven lived in an 'open' relationship (Oedenkoven's wife Isabella soon rose to the VII°), they were the founders and chief financial partners in the vegetarian colony of Monte Verità, the 'Mountain of Truth' in the Swiss canton of Ticino (Italian speaking part). Frau Hofmann brought Theodor Reuss to Monte Verità in January of 1916, where he henceforward concentrated his activities, and founded the 'Verita Mistica' (VM) lodge of the O.T.O.
Frau Hofmann was the authoress of such works as "A Contribution to the Female Question", "The Importance of True Theosophy", (this latter in Italian) and compiled some "Notes Towards the Promotion of the Vegetarian Lifestyle" [15].

Ida Hofmann Ida Hofmann Ida Hofmann Henry / Heinrich von Oedenkoven Henry von Oedenkofen Ida Hofmann

[Colored with AI]

In 1917 Reuss wrote to the English Masonic Grand Lodge introducing himself as an English Master Mason and a "loyal son of the United Grand Lodge" and informing the brethren that the "O.T.O. Grand Lodge Mystica Verita" will held a meeting on 24 June 1917 in celebration of the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Grand Lodge of England, and that a resolution had been passed sending their congratulations on the event. In vain, Reuss hoped that the United Grand Lodge would send two official delegates the Masons had been dubious about both Reuss and the conference for Reuss wrote again detailing his English masonic connection, stating that since 1880 he had been a member of numerous lodges and that since 1908 he had been a member of "the French Craft Lodge Humanidad No. 240 at Paris".

Hans Rudolf Hilfiker-Dunn "Nothung" (born May 4th 1882 at Oftringen in Aargau) was received into the I° on December 2nd 1916 in the 'Verita Mistica' lodge; he gained the II° on May 24th 1917, and the III° on August 21st 1917 [16]. 'Nothung' is the name of Parsifal's sword, which according to Reuss corresponded to the 'archetypal Phallus' in sex-magical terms [17].
    Hilfiker left home for the first time at fourteen years old. After finishing at a local school, he won a place at an institute abroad, which provided the necessary knowledge of languages for the trade [manufacturer], and then entered his father's business at a cotton-mill in Dagersmellen; afterwards he honed his skills at the Weaver's School in Wattwil. Later, he spent eighteen months furthering his education in Italy, until his father's death in Sepetember 1903. After completing his stint as a recruit at a school for N.C.O.s (Non-Commissioned Officers) at age 21 he went to England. (In the First World War he served the fatherland as sergeant-major in the infantry). For four years, mostly in London and Manchester, he perfected his trade.

Hilfiker's mistress Clara Linke (b. June 25th 1875 in Görlitz, d. 1923), arrived at the colony to take the cure as a guest, but stayed on as a member. She was an important support to the concern; while Ida Hofmann led the communal life, it was Clara Linke who ran the business side of things.

Oskar Bienz from Stammheim, who had started out in life as a mechanic, was initiated into the VM at Ascona on August 19th 1917 [18]; there he became actively 'artistic', and adviced to establish an O.T.O. lodge in Zürich. And so, under the ægis of Reuss and Laban de Laban "Varalja" it came to pass on October 24th 1917: the inauguration of 'Libertas et Fraternitas'.

Ordo Templi Orientis Veritas Mystica Maxima Monte Verità Johann Adam Meisenbach Rudolf Jean Baptiste Attila Laban de Varalja Ascona Mary Wiegmann Elga Feldt Suzanne Perrottet Käthe Wulff Frau Lederer Imre Schreiber W. Rosenblum Sisters Beraly Coleman de Montcabrie Ruckeschell Ordo Templi Orientis Veritas Mystica Maxima Monte Verità Johann Adam Meisenbach Rudolf Jean Baptiste Attila Laban de Varalja Ascona Mary Wiegmann Elga Feldt Suzanne Perrottet Käthe Wulff Frau Lederer Imre Schreiber W. Rosenblum Sisters Beraly Coleman de Montcabrie Ruckeschell Ordo Templi Orientis Veritas Mystica Maxima Monte Verità Johann Adam Meisenbach Rudolf Jean Baptiste Attila Laban de Varalja Ascona Mary Wiegmann Elga Feldt Suzanne Perrottet Käthe Wulff Frau Lederer Imre Schreiber W. Rosenblum Sisters Beraly Coleman de Montcabrie Ruckeschell

Anarchy and O.T.O. in Switzerland

The Czech dancer Rudolf Jean Baptiste Attila Laban de Varalja (15.12.1879-1.7.1958) opened a branch of his Munich dance academy in Ascona; in the early part of 1916 his colleague Mary Wiegmann established another branch in Zürich, where the pair were soon mixing in Dadaist circles [19].

Laban de Laban Laban de Laban Laban de Laban

[Colored with AI]

Laban and Hilfiker were in Zurich a few days before the inauguration of 'Libertas et Fraternitas' – Reuss was there too, to give a lecture on Freemasonry; and all three had much business to transact. At considerable cost (Hilfiker's bill alone came to 1,950 Swiss francs) Laban and Hilfiker had O.T.O. contracts ratified on November 20th 1917 (no 'Charters' or 'Letters Patents' — the contract applied exclusively to the monetary aspect of things). Both were granted permission to open their own Masonic lodges in accordance with the O.T.O. statutes of "January 22nd 1906-1917"; Laban being permitted to initate up to the VI°, and Hilfiker to the III°. In these contracts the O.T.O. was characterised as identical with the Order "of ancient Freemasons of the Scottish, Memphis and Misraim Rite". [20] The Templar and Masonic furnishings of 'Verita Mistica' were passed on to 'Libertas et Fraternitas'.

Libertas et Fraternitas Freemason Freimaurer Ordo Templi Orientis Lodge Loge Zuerich 1917 Theodor Reuss Rudolf Jean Baptiste Attila Laban de Varalja Hans Rudolf Hilfiker-Dunn

Libertas et Fraternitas in Zuerich

On November 3rd 1917 at its inaugural meeting, Laban became the first Grand Master of this 'Mystic Temple'; Hilfiker, resident in Rüti (Canton Zuerich), was enthroned as Acting Master on November 11th.
The women in Laban's dance-company, Elga Feldt, Suzanne Perrottet, Käthe Wulff and Frau Lederer, were soon caught up in the mysteries of the 'Verita Mistica'; but foremost amongst them was Mary Wiegmann, who had been running the Zurich dance academy since 1916. Of the six men and ten women in the Zurich lodge, besides those mentioned above, there were also one Baron Herbert von Bomsdorff-Bergen, at the time supposedly a producer at the Opera House [21], together with his wife; Oskar Bienz (Laban's "dear friend and student"); [22] Imre Schreiber; and W. Rosenblum who acted as lodge treasurer. The meetings were hald at the home of a certain Heinrich Friedländer, together with Brothers Reiser and Turnibuca, and Sisters Beraly, Coleman, de Montcabrie, and Ruckeschell.

According Oskar R. Schlag (1907-1991), Bomsdorff-Bergen claimed that a scar on his nose was the 'Mark of Baphomet'; [23] but after seceding from 'Libertas et Fraternitas' in 1922, Bomsdorff-Bergen turned to writing pamphlets against Freemasonry in an anti-Semitic tone, under the pseudonym of 'Christian Schweizerkreuz'. He still maintained contacts with the Rosicrucians in Ticino from his estate in Morcote, which he had dubbed 'Klingsor's Magic Garden', and probably died in 1925. John Symonds gave Bomsdorff a part in his novel "The Medusa's Head; or Conversations between Aleister Crowley and Adolf Hitler" – he appears in a scene set at Weida in Thuringia during 1925, where Crowley is chosen as "World-Saviour" by Heinrich Tränker and others [24].Baron Herbert von Bomsdorff-Bergen

Laban de Laban wrote to his mother under the verbose title of "Grand Council and Senate of Ancient Freemasons of the Scottish and Memfis [sic] and Misraim Rite" on November 14th 1917: "The lodge at Monte [Verità] has been closed down, the unsuitable members there – Henri, Ida, etc. – have been excluded, and I've transferred the headquarters from there to here."

Having long lasted already under the leadership of Hermann Joseph Metzger, the Swiss O.T.O. produced a most intriguing document at the start of the 1960s: it was a warrant issued by Reuss for Ida Hofmann, Clara Linke "et socii" for Switzerland "in generale" using the name 'Veritas Mystica Maxima'; both women had been admitted to the 33°, 97°, and X° O.T.O., as the certificate attests. The 'American Self-Realization Fellowship', which allegedly possessed Reuss's "Golden Book" in the early 1950s, quoted an entry from it for a commission granted to Ida Hofmann, Alice Sprengel and Clara Linke, but mentioned no warrant, charter, or certificate with the wording given above. The phraseology of these documents differs in grammar and form from the other known Reuss warrants; it is likewise doubtful if the signature was Reuss's. [25]

Theodor Reuss Ida Hofmann Clara Linke Ordo Templi Orientis Veritas Mystica Maxima Ordo Templi Orientis 

In 1918 Clara Linke established a children's home at Monte Verità, while the Zürich lodge fell to squabbling among themselves: it seems the women had not proved very willing to pay their way, added to which there was talk among the men that no respectable person could be a member of what was being bruited abroad as a 'black' temple. Hence no more new initiations took place; what couldn't have seemed easier on the heights of Monte Verità proved a stumbling-block in puritanical Zürich. The ten women duly walked out [26].

Mary Wiegmann had a licence to open her own women's lodge, but abandoned this idea and left the O.T.O. on November 16th 1918; in 1920 she founded her own dance-academy in Dresden. Mary Wiegman

Laban departed Zürich in November 1918 in the direction of Munich and Stuttgart, to dedicate himself to his career in dance; but called (in French) for an "International Alliance of Women of the Rose + Croix" under the O.T.O.'s seal as "Secretary of the Order" [27]. His successor was Hilfiker: however the lodge wished to break free of Reuss. On February 1st 1919 "the expression O.d.O. [sic]" was "completely abandoned", and on April 26th of the same year 'Libertas et Fraternitas' officially seceded from both MM and the O.T.O., though still working the Rite of Cerneau; Reuss was still making charges for this privilege up to July 1920, receiving a payment of 3,000 Swiss francs from the rich merchant Hilfiker. [28] On May 10th 1919 there followed the long-awaited "Licence of the Gr. Or. for Switzerland of the A. & A. Scott. 33° Rite". It is a typical Reussian warrant of this era, with its printed O.T.O. device as letter-heading. "Bro. Reuss joined thereto the stipulation that we recognise him as the highest authority". This followed a list of Reuss's financial demands and an excerpt from a letter of the "Grand Master General for America, Brother Crowley" expressing the hope that the O.T.O. there would progress greatly. [29] It was only in the "Manifesto of M.M.M.", published in the 1914 "Oriflamme" that Crowley was mentioned as X° of America (of which more anon).
    What was meant by "America"? "British North America" – which went on to become "Canada"? "North America" not being a country at all, with any laws, but just a geographical region? In 1912, Crowley was given the X° and authority over the entire British Isles. Was that authority extended to Canada as an "island" of Britain, Canada being a colony of Great Britain, at that time.

On April 24th 1919 "Under the direction of the Most Worthy Grand Master General "ad Vitam", Br.·. Theodor Reuss, 33, 90, 97, X°, and with the assistance of Sr.·. Ida Hofmann, 33, 90, 95, IX°, Br.·. H.R. Hilfiker whom on the 9th of November was advanced to the IV° by Br.·. Grand Master Laban de Laban per communicatio [30], and to the V° and VI° by Br.·. Grand Master General Th. Reuss p.c., was ritually initiated into the Degrees of IV/15, V/18 and VI/30..." etcetera, etcetera. There then followed the nomination of Engelhard Pargätzi, Rolf Merlitschek, and Martin Bergmaier; and on June 28th further promotions took place [31]. Hilfiker was made an honorary member of the French Grand Orient and the Martinist Order, as well as being appointed a "amity representative of the S.S. of the O.T.O., and of the 33° AASR and MM for Europe". [32] He was entrusted with a Reussian VII° initiation ritual [33], and the "O.T.O. Instruction Booklet", namely a copy of Reuss's essay "Parsifal and the Secret of the Holy Grail"; in Hilfiker's manuscript there was appended an excerpt from Crowley's "Manifesto of M.M.M.": "The MMM is a synonym for the O.T.O.". [34]

Hilfiker supported his Zürich mistress Helen Walder with a knitting shop, to ensure the future of their illegitimate child. [35] In 1920 Oedenkoven and Ida Hofmann left their 'Mountain of Truth', and arrived in Brazil by way of Spain.

Reuss still equipped some members of the Zurich lodge with O.T.O. degrees, which irritated those members of the lodge who wished to be thought of as apart from the O.T.O. "When Papa Reuss started promoting people privately, that was more or less the way the O.T.O. was carried on – not, though, our Rite" – so wrote Pargätzi "Tristan" to Hilfiker on April 4th 1920, not suspecting that Hilfiker had already been advanced to the VIII°. Besides that, he had inherited the secret passwords, a magical seal, and had the oaths for the IX° and X° revealed to him, wherein the 96° was provided under the authority of the OHO of the O.T.O. [36] On May 12th 1920 Hilfiker was made into 33°, 90°, 95° through Joanny Bricaud (33°, 90°, 96°). [37]

Laban de Laban Theodor Reuss

1917 Theodor Reuss — Laban de Laban
["Materialien Zum O.T.O."]

Laban de Laban Hans Rudolf Hilfiker Mary Wiegmann Theodor Reuss

1918 Theodor Reuss — Laban de Laban, Hans-Rudolf Hilfiker, Mary Wiegmann
[Robin P. Marchev: "Wahrheitssucher und Schwindler. Aus der Chronik der Loge Libertas et Fraternitas. 1916-1925." Oberengstringen 1990.]

Hans Rudolf Hilfiker Engelhard Pargaetzi Rolf Merlitschek Martin Bergmaier Theodor Reuss

1919 Theodor Reuss — Hans-Rudolf Hilfiker, Engelhard Pargaetzi, Rolf Merlitschek, Martin Bergmaier
["Materialien Zum O.T.O."]

Hans Rudolf Hilfiker

Letter from Engelhard Pargaetzi to Hans-Rudolf Hilfiker, April 4, 1920: Quarrel in Theodor Reuss' Swiss O.T.O. lodge
Declaration that the relations between the Grand Orient and Theodor Reuss were definitely past history

Ordo Templi Orientis at Monte Verità (Ascona) and Libertas et Fraternitas in Zuerich: Documents.
[Colored with AI]

By this stage – at least in Crowley's opinion – Reuss was a spent force; [38] nonetheless, there is evidence that he was enthusiastically planning to form a national Grand Orient, and to call a World Congress of Freemasons in Zurich during the summer of 1920. This would be analogous to the congress of 1908 in Paris; as once with 'Papus', Blanchard, and Détré, there would firstly be a busy trade in offices and dignities with Krumm-Heller; [39] but Reuss's second (and main) objective was to establish an 'International Union of Freemasons'. A third point in the programme of the Congress was the enactment of Patriarch Joanny Bricaud's proposal that Crowley's "Gnostic Mass" (claimed to date from 1913), [40] being the pivotal point of O.T.O. ritual and meant for public performance, "should be defined as the official religion of all followers of the Universal Freemasonic World Federation, including the 18th degree [41] of the Scottish Rite." [42] "In the Rite of Memphis and Misraim the Rose-Croix degree has no Christian character, on the contrary having mystico-gnostic significance [...] The missing exposition [...] is contained within the mystical degrees of VII°, VIII° and IX°." [43] Reuss would circulate his "Set Up of the Neo-Christian O.T.O." [44] plus a written vindication of any sexual scandals, [45] together with an essay entitled "The True Secret of Freemasonry and the Mystery of the Holy Mass".

Heinrich Tränker sent "A Treatise on the Brotherhood of the 'Gold-und-Rosenkreutz'" to be read out at the Congress [a text which was also published in the first magazine "Der Rosenkreuzer", a collaboration of Reuss and Krumm-Heller in November 1921], which met with little success though; it is still a mystery why Tränker did not appear at the event in person. Hilfiker and Merlitschek, both Reuss-loyalists, did arrive for the Congress, which was held at the 'Libertas et Fraternitas' lodge's temple in Zurich from July 17th to the 19th, 1920; Crowley and Charles Stansfeld Jones "Achad" were invited too, but did not attend. [46]

Following non-O.T.O. organisations were represented

1 The American Masonic Federation: M. McB.Thomson
2 The Grand Lodge of Washington, D.C.: M. McB.Thomson
3 Grand Orient of Cuba: M. McB.Thomson
4 National Grand Lodge of Scotland: John Anderson
5 Grand Lodge of Columbia: A. Spilmer
6 Sov: Sanctuary pour la France des Rites Écossais A et A et de Memphis et Misraim: Dr E. Pargaetzi
7 Sov: Sanctuary Rites de Memphis and Misraim for Germany: T. Reuss
8 Grand Orient of the Scottish Rite in Germany: T. Reuss
9 Sov: Sanct: Rites de Memphis et Misraim for Germany: T. Reuss
10 National Grand Lodge of the United Rites, Scottish, Memphis and Misraim for Great Britain and Ireland: R. Reuss
11 Grand Orient of Switzerland of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite: H. R. Hilfiker, R. Merlitschek, M. Bergmaier,
12 Prince Alexander of Greece, Grand Protector of Greek Freemasonry: H.Schutz

However, the Congress did not fulfill many of Reuss's hopes for it; indeed, the delegates seem to have turned on their nominal host almost unanimously, subsequently producing a number of declarations against the O.T.O. in these terms:
The 'Rosicrucian Chapter' of the 3rd of October 1920's Second Resolution: "[it was presumed] that the relations between the Grand Orient and Bro. Th. Reuss were definitely past history, and that the so-called Gnostic Catholic Church remains outside the International Union of Freemasons. The Chapter [18°] views it as self-evident that adherents of any Church in the International Union of Freemasons, with regard to their prestige in the outside world, cannot possibly be permitted any offices..."

A Protocol from the session of the Supreme Council held on November 6th-7th 1920: "Neither the Grand Orient, nor any of its members have any kind of connection with the "Gnostic Mass" issued by Herr Reuss. The distribution of the printed version was purely Herr Reuss's personal concern, so that nobody in our association can be made answerable for the stupidity of this gentleman [...] we have striven [...] since the 18th of July 1920 to disassociate our Grand Orient from any connection with Reuss's name, his writings."

On May 17th 1925 'Libertas et Fraternitas' was received under the ægis of the regular Swiss Alpina Grand Lodge, which signified its renunciation of the Grand Orient and the Higher Degrees. Since then its history has had nothing more to do with the O.T.O. phenomenon; however, Hilfiker's independent rôle is not without further significance (see below). On the 1st of February 1921, Hilfiker was made 33°, 90°, 96°.

And the Ordo Templi Orientis?

C.S. Jones (Achad) asked Hilfiker (via Reuss) for a 33° Certificate at the end of 1920; in fact it was Reuss who made Jones X° (now 'Parsival') for North America on May 10th 1921, thus enabling Jones to give his (first) Agapé Lodge at Vancouver in Canada some Masonic status. [47]

In July 1921 Spencer Lewis (33°, 90°, 95°, VII°), the founder of A.M.O.R.C. (established on April 1st (!) 1915 as the 'Antiquus Mysticus Ordo Rosae Crucis') was made "Honorary Member [...] for Switzerland, Germany and Austria" of the O.T.O. [48] In the same year, Krumm-Heller "Huiracocha" (96°, VIII° and X°), and Carl William Hansen were endowed with considerable honours and responsibilities like Heinrich Tränker "Recnatus" (33°, 90°, 96°, X°). Because Spencer Lewis was unwilling to make the A.M.O.R.C. over to Crowley (who was "prepared to take over the whole of the AMORC"), [49] Crowley wrote to W.T. Smith, denying Lewis's authority, referring to the foregoing Reuss Charter: "Lewis is [...] not a full member [...] it is not a warrant, it is not a charter." [50] As Lewis had been making use of the O.T.O.'s sigil in his publications, Crowley asserted that he was the inventor of the O.T.O. Lamen. (Lewis died on August 2nd 1936).

O.T.O. Fading Out

Alice Sprengel (September 28th 1871-1947) came from Berne, but was the illegitimate child of a Lutheran pastor from Pomerania; she was one of Rudolf Steiner's closest colleagues in Berlin [51]. She acted in his first mystical drama "Die Pforte der Einweihung" ("The Portal of Initiation") on August 15th 1910 in Munich; she played the rôle of Theodora. But when Steiner married Mlle. Sivers in December 1914, she transferred her loyalties to Theodor Reuss, obtaining an authorisation to found O.T.O. lodges, [52] becoming one of the O.T.O.'s "executive council of 3 (supreme council)" [53] at the "Anational Grandloge & Mystic Temple, "Verità Mistica", Or[ient] Ascona"; the other two members of the council maybe were Frau Margerite Faas-Brunner-Hardegger and Frau Genja Jantzen.

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. 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 Charles S. Jones 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.”

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.”

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.

Clara Linke was named as "Universal heiress" by Reuss in his will of December 12th 1922, but because Frau Linke died soon afterwards in Rome, Reuss issued another will in favour of his wife and his housekeeper on June 27th 1923; he died on October 28th later that year, but without having nominated his successors in the MM, Gnostic Catholic Church, or the O.T.O. Much trouble was to result from this omission.

Aleister Crowley had already noted in his diary for 27th November 1921: "I have proclaimed myself O.H.O. Frater Superior of the Order of Oriental Templars." But: "We do not have any papers, documents, letters, or diaries" which would have proved that Crowley had been nominated by Reuss [54].
After Reuss died Crowley revealed his intentions to Heinrich Tränker in December 1924: "I wish to obtain control of all existing movements," and told W.T. Smith his thoughts about Reuss on January 3rd 1935: "Reuss was working with me almost every day, and if he had made any objection to my claim (sovereignty), he would have done so."

Crowley subsequently interpreted the fact that Reuss had not chosen him as heir-presumptive in a letter to Smith in March 1943, in the following manner: "he [Reuss] had been misled by some rumour that I was dead or in trouble or something." [55]

In 1926 Ida Hofmann, "the woman at the very beginning" [56] died at São Paulo.

Crowley's O.T.O. Problems

Crowley wrote to Smith on the 3rd of January 1935, in a document that requires detailed examination: "You speak of my "sovereignty". It was Reuss who had the S. as I who acknowledged him... on the other hand my price for doing so if I may put it in such vulgar language was the charter referred to in the magazine of the O.T.O. part 6 (a). You will see that this covers America (b), due the fact of the situation of that time were that Reuss and myself were the only people in a position to take any effective action of any kind. That charta is not immediately accessible (c) but the manifesto of the O.T.O. was published and circulated quite wildly in 1913 (d). Reuss was working with me almost every day (e) and if he had made any objection to my claim (f) he would have done so (g). There is also in existence a pamphlet issued by Reuss with photographs of various prominents, Grandmasters and other high officials of the Order. My photograph appears therein. Its publication is certainly later than the manifesto (h)."

  1. Crowley was thinking of the "Oriflamme" of July 1914, p.19.
  2. In fact this "Oriflamme" names Crowley as X° for America, an office for which he was not chartered; C.S. Jones held the post from May 5th 1921 until his death on February 24th 1950. Crowley expelled the Reuss-X° Jones from his Crowley-O.T.O. on October 1st 1934.
  3. There is only one charter dating from 1912 for Great Britain and Ireland Crowley was made "33°, 90°, 95°, X° of London [...] National Grand Master General of Our Mysteria Mystica Maxima (M.M.M.) established in the United Kingdom of Great Britain + Ireland, according to the Constitution of the O.T.O. of the 22nd of January 1906 E.V."; it was signed on April 24th 1912 by Reuss, Heinrich Klein and Frau Best. Klein died in London o June 23rd in London, while Yarker died in Manchester on March 20th 1913.
  4. In the July 1913 "Oriflamme", but soon circulated in the form of a 22-page brochure in England. This "Manifesto", written in 1912, mentions Crowley as X° of America, Great Britain, and Ireland. Although the Constitution issued by Reuss in 1917 had precedence, Crowley republished his "Manifesto" word for word in the 'Blue' "Equinox" of 1919 (p. 201, with the X° passage) – it stood as the absolute foundation of Crowley's branch of the O.T.O. But by 1919 Crowley had squandered his fortune; he had the O.T.O. in his sights as a new source of money. The question remains: was Reuss aware of the ticklish business of who was now X° for America? Crowley left England on September 24th 1914; his tract "Honesty is the Best Policy" was printed and distributed by Reuss in May 1915; in it Crowley is only described as O.T.O. Grand Master of England. [57] Even so, Francis King states that Reuss "disregarded Crowley's claim to occult supremacy in America". [58] In 1917 the Monte Verità "Manifesto" called for an "Anational Congress", and mentioned two headquarters for the O.T.O.: Ascona and New York... [59]
  5. This collaboration cannot have been particularly intensive; when Reuss wrote about the "Constitution of the O.T.O." in 1917, and the Gnostic Mass in 1917-18, he spoke of the "Master Thirion" and "Thelima".
  6. To the X°.
  7. The 'collaboration' in fact ended in 1914 with the outbreak of the Great War.
  8. Crowley here means the 'Jubilee Edition' of the "Oriflamme", where he was however only referred to as X° for England and Ireland. Supposing that Reuss had actually accepted Crowley as X° for America, then where did that leave C.S. Jones as X°, considering he was inclined to acknowledge Crowley's authority over the USA? [60]

In March 1943, Crowley brought Smith up to date about Reuss: "the late O.H.O., after his first stroke of paralysis, got into a panic about the work being carried on [...] He hastily issued honourable diplomas of the Seventh Degree to various people, some of whom had no right to anything at all, and some of whom were only cheap crooks."

Karl Germer informed Carl Heinz Petersen (1912-1957) on January 6th 1954 that Crowley and Reuss had met in Palermo in 1922 to sort out the vexed question of the O.T.O.; an assertion that has yet to be proved (Crowley's diaries are void of such an entry). Indeed there exists above quoted Reuss letter to Crowley telling the latter not to spread Thelema through the O.T.O. [61]

And the Outer Head of the Order [OHO] of the O.T.O.?

On April 14th 1936 Hilfiker wrote to Joanny Bricaud's successor Constant Chevillon (born 26.10.1880): "Yarker's original charter [to Reuss]... had been endorsed in my name as his authorised successor." To Chevillon on 21.7.36: "Concerning Reuss's charter, which is in Tränker's possession, I have to tell you that it was endorsed in my name, and that a lady [Clara Linke?] was instructed to bring it to me with the documents of secession. However, this lady died en route, and almost at the same time, Reuss passed on."

And indeed, Yarker's charter of September 24th 1902 was be found in Hilfiker's literary remains. After this date, Reuss is acknowledged by Yarker in his warrants, certificates, and charters, with reference to the O.T.O.'s statutes; although the document in question did not authorise him to actually do anything, and promoted Reuss "only" to the 30°, 31°, 33°, and to the office of "Sovereign Grand Inspector General."

So on the same day, did Reuss get an as yet undiscovered document from Yarker, that would be cited from time to time?

Hilfiker wrote to Patriarch Chevillon on June 13th 1936 that "the O.T.O. died with Reuss", despite the announcement of Heinrich Tränker as OHO. (Arnold Krumm-Heller, who had stopped working the grades in Berlin after a time, had lost interest). In Hilfiker's letter to Chevillon on July 21st, he distanced himself from Crowley and had come "to consider the O.T.O. as non-existant". In 1936 Hilfike revived the Swiss Sovereign Sanctuary of the MM Rite under Chevillon's leadership, though independently of 'Libertas et Fraternitas' [62]. Hilfiker was actively involved in the efforts by Reuben Swinburne Clymer (1878-1966) to unite all Rosicrucian orders of the era under his leadership; this was most likely a kind of 'anti-FUDOSI' contrived in opposition to Spencer Lewis's A.M.O.R.C., together with Clymer's and Chevillon's assistance. [63] Chevillon consecrated Krumm-Heller as an X° in 1939, but was murdered by the Gestapo in 1944.

Hilfiker and Clymer first met on May 7th 1947, and subsequently conferred at the 'Hotel Baur au Lac' in Zürich from June 1-5 1948. For a short time before his death, Krumm-Heller was a member of Clymer's Rosicrucian organisation. [64]

Oscar Schlag thought that Hilfiker considered himself to be both a prophet and an emissionary from the spirits; and supported the hypothesis that Hilfiker could be seen as Reuss's heir – but that possibly his certificates, charters and the orders derived from Reuss in connection with this appointment had been kept secret due to Reuss' and Crowley's bad reputation. [65]


In the estate of Margerite Faas-Brunner-Hardegger (1882-1962) there was found a Wagner libretto with Reuss's 1914 date-stamp in it; she was summed up by Harald Szeemann as follows:
"She was a skilled telegraphist, had studied law, was secretary of the Swiss Trades Union Congress from 1905-1909, encouraged the anarchist views of Landauer and Mühsam, led the 'Hammer Group' in Berne, and must have gone to Ascona for her health. In 1912 she was imprisoned because of false evidence given in a legal action against Ernst Frick. She lived with Hans Brunner [1887-1960], initially in a socialist commune in Herrliberg, then from 1919 onwards at Monte Verità in the Villa Graciella [previously the residence of Karl Vesters]." [66] Margarethe-Faas Hardegger

Hans ('Giovanni') Brunner was a German conscientious objector who ran a furniture and interior-decorating business in Minusio. After Frau Sprengel's death in 1947, Margerite Hardegger (alias Sister 'Hyacinth') was Genja Jantzen's rival for the position of Sprengel's legal successor. Hardegger had already fallen out with Sprengel herself over a struggle for the office of Acting Master (chairmaster). [67]

In the neighbouring Villa Verbanella there lived a certain Frau Dr. Appia (perhaps a relative of the Monte Verità theatre-reformers?), who had built a temple for her meditations there, having returned to Monte Verità from the USA. There are claims that she had published a book anonymously in America, entitled "Master in the Far East", but nothing further is known of it. For a time she stayed with Frau Hardegger, and Frau Hanne Wildt, who was the ex-mistress of Eugen Grosche, the Grand Master of the Fraternitas Saturni. Grosche was a guest of the ladies of the O.T.O. lodge in Ticino in 1937; this O.T.O. lodge should not not be confused with the defunct 'Verita Mistica'. Who was in charge of the Swiss O.T.O. remained undecided. Hilfiker's mistress Hanne Walder in Zürich, and a certain Frau Billwiler, both set themselves up in opposition to Genja Jantzen; [68] Eugen Grosche also made mention of one Dr. Maag, a bookseller in Lugano [69].

Felix L. Pinkus and the O.T.O.

Felix Lazerus Pinkus Ph.D., was born on August 13th 1881 at Breissgau in Prussia, and died in 1947. He studied economics and biology at the University of Breslau, and was a prime mover in 'the modern Jewish question', belonging to the International Zionist League. By 1907 he was resident playwright at the Stadttheater in Lindau, in 1908 accepting a joint engagement with his wife Elsbeth Flatau at the Volkstheater in Zürich, where he would soon also become a teacher at the Privatgymnasium Minerva. In 1910 he became editor of the "Swiss Journal of Primary Education", from 1914-18 was editor of the Swiss "Economist" newspaper, and took over the presidency of the Zurich Union of Zionists. In 1918 he published the pamphlet "On the Founding of a Jewish State", but his financial business went bankrupt. Because of this he was arrested in Vienna, and was tried by the authorities in Zurich [70]; after this he went to live in Albania, but was back with his family in Berlin by 1931. Pinkus subsequently became an economic expert at the Soviet Union's Trade Delegation in Switzerland. "Risen from the self-made Jewish bourgeoisie of Prussia, struggling to resolve the lifestyle of a typical banker with a liberal, socialist and idealistic world-view," Pinkus headed a luxurious household with his wife at 'Krystall', their Zürich villa; not avoiding any cultural stimulus. When not at home, he was active in the 'B'nai B'rith' lodge, [71] and as a part-time journalist at the League of Nations.

Felix Lazerus Pinkus [Colored with AI]

Described as "IX° O.T.O.," Pinkus became the founder and secretary of the section for psychical research within the Schweizerischen Kulturgesellschaft (Swiss Cultural Association), founding a 'Psychosophic Society' at Zurich in 1945, for "promoting esoteric values and providing psychic remedies".

Associated with Pinkus "Elieser", were Hilfiker and his co-evals Reichel, Merlitschek, Baumgartner from Aarau ('zur Treue' lodge), and Struppler and Karl Brodbeck from the Illuminati Order. Also belonging to this circle was an engineer called Traugott Egloff who lived in the Badernerstraße in Zurich; he was apparently completely obsessed with the "Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage", which he eventually undertook in the Brazilian jungle, where legend has it that he vanished without a trace, dying on Good Friday 1969, [72] (but how did anyone know about such a mysterious death?) While still alive (and presumably visible), Egloff had contact with C.G. Jung (1875-1961); in Volume III of Jung's "Collected Letters", four letters from Egloff are reproduced. [73] An esoteric essay he wrote still exists in manuscript form; it is entitled "Sorcery; an essay on conjuration. The art of healing and producing effects through the spoken or written word". [74].

Traugott Egloff Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage C.G. Carl Gustav Jung Sorcery Zauberei

[From: Abramelin & Co.]

Frater 'Paragranus' and the O.T.O.

H.J. Metzger was initiated under the name 'Paragranus' in 1943 [75] by Genja Jantzen and Alice Sprengel in Ticino (or Davos?), [76] though Jantzen's only function was as 'yea-sayer' or rubber-stamp. [77] Under Pinkus's guidance Metzger underwent the three lower Reussian O.T.O. initiation-rituals and "the degrees from I°-IX°." [78]

Frau Alice Herder (born 1902), a Theosophist since the 1920s, has vivid memories of the time when Pinkus arrived in Switzerland as a Jewish refugee, and of some ten occasions when he was actively involved in the Zurich Theosophical Group. Because his ideas were seen as those of a revolutionary, this disorganised grouping did not accept Pinkus, whereupon he built up his own set of followers; Pinkus's magical ideas were based on Éliphas Lévi (1810-1875). Metzger, too, "studied [Lévi's books] in French, Italian and German." [79]

Not long afterwards Pinkus brought Metzger (who was using the alias of 'Peter Mano') along to the Theosophical group a few times: however the latter only seemed interested in promoting his commercial horoscope business [80]. In fact Frau Herder sensed that both Pinkus and Metzger were "weak-natured black magicians", and Metzger always gave her the goosebumps whenever he came near her. By the time that (like Pinkus) Metzger suddenly "fell away" from the Theosophical group he seemed "a comical chap, who could never be serious about anything". The people that Metzger had brought along with him seemed to be like "circus folk, play-actors", "full of hot air, with no depth" to Frau Herder. She had the impression that Pinkus wished to make Metzger his successor, and therefore made him a present of his magical crystal-ball while he lived. [81]

F.L. Pinkus's son, Theo Pinkus states: "I had no knowledge that he [Father] had any definite functions in these [sic] O.T.O. I only knew, and he told me this too, that he had given several lectures in Theosophical circles, in which he had repeatedly stated (and in this he agreed with Herr Metzger) that Theosophical ideals could only be realised in the economic conditions of a communist society, towards which one should therefore work" [82]

When Frau Sprengel and her 'spiritual father' Pinkus died in 1947, Metzger inaugurated his own O.T.O. lodge in Zurich. One of those present at Metzger's initiation Gundula Bader (whose mother, a V°, had been Frau Jantzen's superior) believes it "highly unlikely" that Metzger would have received any of the original Sprengel documents, [83] and that they would surely (in Oscar Schlag's presence) have been forwarded to Genja Jantzen. [84]

Metzger later described these events: "The last remains of a territorial branch of the O.T.O. were placed in the hands of Dr. P. and Frau Sprengel [...] Through a particular invocation, or else a certain ritual, they wished to revitalise everything, thereby opening the portals of the spiritual world, and beginning a new phase. The young lady friends of Frau Sprengel played a special rôle in this, of which they said later – though not before Dr. P. had placed matters in my hands and the documents of Sprengel and her younger friends had been destroyed. It is noteworthy, that the friend of Sprengel [Jantzen?] did not know about the office of either P. or myself"
Metzger defined the alleged Linke-Hofmann charter as his justification, as it spoke about "Helvetiea in generale." In the rituals of the Metzgerite "Orient Thuricensum O.·.T.·.O.·." the term "Veritas Mystica Maxima" appears, but in the versions used today the term "Thelema Lodge" is substituted throughout.
"She [Jantzen?] later attempted to build up an independent group with support from her friend, whilst maintaining that her patroness [Bader?] had given her the Constitution, and that she was to be chief Pontifex of the Order, i.e. sole lord and master. The constitution to which she referred only gave rights to confer the first three degrees, and transmitted no further rights to her." [85]

It is surprising that Metzger would have wished to be initiated in the Davos lodge led by Alice Sprengel (chartered in 1921), referred to the Linke-Hofmann charter of 1918, and yet still apparently hadn't heard of Theodor Reuss's translation of Crowley's "Gnostic Mass", which was distributed early in 1917 on Monte Verità and then in 1920 in Zurich. Although Metzger wanted to be made a Freemason sponsored by Hilfiker, his petition to join a regular lodge was not submitted; on September 17th 1951 Hilfiker "warned" G. Imhof of Basle about Metzger, saying that he had a troubled communist past, and should be viewed as an esoteric careerist. Besides which, there was evidence of "his apparently not entirely pure motives." Maybe, Hilfiker wondered why Metzger's motto 'Paragranus' bore such a very strong resemblance to Reuss's 'Peregrinus' [86]. And why, even when Metzger signed his motto (not least on the alleged Linke-Hofmann charter of 1918), did it look so very much like Reuss's?

In 1963 Metzger described Frau Sprengel as "the oldest sister of the Order"; in that year he claimed precisely the same thing of Frau Hardegger – who had died in 1962. This might have been not wholly unconnected with a certain Frau M. Leutenegger, who had advertised the Villa Aurora to let as a holiday-cottage in Metzger's "Oriflamme" during 1962. When another of the pioneers at Ticino, Karl Vester (born 1879), died on September 24th 1963, he was honoured by Metzger with a small obituary notice. Vester was the superintendent of the Monte Verità estate after Oedenkoven's departure, and had been visited there by Metzger. [87]

As to the rest of the old guard: Hilfiker died on October 15th 1955; Laban de Laban on July 1st 1958 in England; Mary Wiegmann on the way to Monte Verità; and Oskar Bienz, on July 28th 1988 in Johannesburg. [88]


In 1900 Crowley received the 33° in Mexico; in Paris he acquired the status of 'Master Mason' on December 17th 1904, of which the French Grand Lodge (in communication with the parent Grand Lodge in England) was not informed, from which it follows that Crowley had not become a 'regular' English freemason [89]. When Reuss offered him the VII° in 1910 it was only a confirmation of the 33°, which as applied in the O.T.O. to the VII°, was nonetheless still irregular. Despite this, Crowley claimed to be the "sole and supreme authority in Freemasonry" in the O.T.O. appiontments he issued, (for example to the Australian branch).

"The O.T.O. is so to speak the quintessence of Freemasonry and is run on strictly masonic lines." [90] "So far as the O.T.O. is at all concerned with FM, it is that the whole of the knowledge of the 33° of the Reduced Rite is incorporated in the first seven degrees of the O.T.O." [91]

"Many older branches of the O.T.O., especially those that did not adopt the M.M.M. Rite of Crowley, would admit 33° masons to the VII° directly, considering the 33° to be equivalent to what we call VI°. This accounts for high incidence of VII° members in such groups. Of course, the entire value of the Thelema Rite of M.M.M. is lost in them, and they could scarcely be expected to adopt and work without having undergone it, but nevertheless that it was done at the time. We require 33° masons to take Minerv [0°] and continue from there, since it is not the same system any longer, although it does include the older Rites in a Thelemic fashion. But in the old days you passed through ordinary freemasonry to become an O.T.O. member. One of the most important changes Crowley introduced was to revise the entire FM system along Thelemic lines. Which of course requires that the Thelemic O.T.O. derived from Crowley performs initiation within the O.T.O. proper, and not simply accepts 33° from other systems to our system or (as Crowley once proposed in the "Blue Equinox") III° masons to our III°." [92]

The United Grand Lodge of Germany had this to say on the matter: "In the Oriental Order of Templars one is dealing with an organisation into which both men and women are received, and that, by the standards of world Freemasonry, is irregular." [93] In general Freemasonry views the O.T.O. and Illuminati Order as a para-Masonic Rite of Cerneau. [94]


Notes to Chapter 4 (of "Das OTO-Phänomen", 1994)

  1. R.A. Gilbert: "The Golden Dawn Companion", Wellingborough 1986, p. 240, where Encausse is also mentioned as a member.
  2. Rudolf Steiner: "Zur Geschichte und aus den Inhalten der erkenntniskultischen Abteilung der Esoterischen Schule" 1904-1914, Dornach, 1987.
  3. R.P. Marchev: "Entspricht weitgehend dem 'altschottischen Ritual aus Amerika'" Tau II, Bayreuth 1990, p. 32 (also circulated in an augmented edition: "Wahrheitssucher und Schwindler", issue 50). Illustration of first page in "AHA", March 1991, p. 10. Ritual published in "Der Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader", Munich 1993; see also "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick"
  4. Crowley to Jane Wolfe, 7.7.1919, quoted from Phyllis Seckler (b. 1919 in Canada, member of the second Agapé Lodge since 1939): In the Continuum (ITC) Vol. II Nº6, Oroville 1979, p. 23.
  5. Eugen John Wieland became an 18° on 18.8.1912 in Munich.
  6. June 1912, Crowley to G.M. Cowie, letter dated 7.9.1914, quoted in Gerald Yorke's letter to R.S. Clymer dated 28.2.48.
  7. "Parsifal und das enthuellte Grals-Geheimnis", German original reprinted in "Der Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader" Muenich 1993
  8. Published in: "Der Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader", Munich 1993
  9. See above. The 1903 Constitution in "Der Grosse Theodor Reuss Reader", Munich 1997
  10. "The Equinox" Vol. III Nº 1, the so-called 'Blue Equinox' because of its blue binding, Detroit 1919.
  11. "Nuit-Isis" Vol. 1 Nº 2, Oxford 1987, p. 21.
  12. Baron Giulio Cesare Andrea Evola did a job on Crowley in his "Metaphysik des Sexus" (Frankfurt 1983). For Evola's biography see Eduard Gugenberger und Roman Schweidlenka: "Mutter Erde", Vienna 1987, p. 129.
  13. Part of this ritual was produced much later.
  14. Full text in my "Ein Leben fuer die Rose".
    Regarding 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.". See The Templar's Reich.
  15. Further reading in Harald Szeemann: "Monte Verità", Milan 1978; Martin Green: "Mountain of Truth", New England 1986; Robert Landmann: "Ascona Monte Verità", Frankfurt 1971; "Antología di Cronaca del Monte Verità", Locarno 1992.
  16. Obituary notice of M. Bergmaier, August 1955, p. 6.
  17. Theodor Reuss : "Parsifal und das Enthüllte Grals-Geheimnis", Schmiedeberg 1914, p. 12. Page 6 of the MS. version dated 9.9.1919 in Hilfiker's possession, first reproduced in "AHA" Nº 6, Bergen 1992, p. 14; also in "Der Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader", ("ut supra"). Crowley had already incorporated extracts from this work in his "Liber Aleph". Charles Stansfeld Jones, writing under his magical alias 'Achad' in "The Chalice of Ecstasy", also mentions Parsival.
  18. 0° on 19.8.1917; I° on 24.10.1917; II° on 13.4.1918; III° on 2.9.1921.
  19. Bolliger, Magnaguagno & Meyer: "Dada in Zürich", Zurich 1985.
  20. Lugano and Zurich, 20.10.1917; Reuss signed as 33°, 97°, X°, O.H.O.
  21. Veronika Schaefer, producer at the Zurich Opernhaus: "The name has never appeared in our records (begun in 1922)." Letter dated 22.6.90.
  22. "Alpina" 4, Lausanne 1983, p. 123.
  23. Conversation on 26.2.88.
  24. London 1991.
  25. Illustrations in "AHA", March 1991, p.7.
  26. Marchev in "TAU", p. 24.
  27. Facsimile in Clymer: "Fraternities", Vol. II, p. 317.
  28. Protocol of November 6th-7th 1920, p. 3.
  29. Undated lecture-notes, Spring 1918.
  30. Apart from the 1°, 2°, 3°, and 18°, the degrees from 30° to 33° were all conferrred 'per communicatio'.
  31. These were appointed to the 33° through Thomson on 15.9.1919.
  32. Protocol of 30.5.1919.
  33. Illustration in "AHA", March 1991, p. 8.
  34. Reprinted in "Der Kleine Theodor Reuss-Reader", Publ. P.R. Koenig, Munich 1993.
  35. Marchev, "TAU", p. 24.
  36. Facsimile in "AHA" Nº 8, Bergen 1991, p. 13.
  37. Signature in response to an invitation to the Congress.
  38. Crowley's "Magical Record", (London 1972); entry for 4.2.1920 "stroke of paralysis".
  39. Frick "op. cit.", Vol. II, p. 478.
  40. Crowley: "Confessions", London 1969, p. 714.
  41. The 18th Degree is one of the least active in the 33 degree system.
  42. Invitation of January 1920, p. 2.
  43. Address to members of the 33°, no date or publisher, p. 2.
  44. Schmiedeberg, 1920; and AHA 2, Bergen 1992.
  45. 'Okkulte Politik' in "AHA" Nº 1, Bergen 1992; facsimile in my "Der Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader"
  46. Crowley: "Magical Records", London 1972, pp. 132 and 148.
  47. Howe & Möller, pp. 244 and 327.
  48. Facsimile in: Clymer "op. cit.", Vol. I, Quakertown 1935, p. 380; and Vol. II, p. 283.
  49. Crowley demanded $125,000 from Lewis – in vain. The quotation is from a letter from Crowley to F.M. Spann on 13.1.1936.
  50. Crowley to Smith, letter of 3.1.1935. He use almost the same wording to F.M. Spann on 13.1.1936.
  51. Heinrich Wendt to Yorke, 1957. Also quoted in Ellic Howe: "The Magicians of the Golden Dawn", London 1972, p. 282.
  52. Wendt to Yorke on 24.11.57.
  53. Grunddahl Sjallung to Crowley, letter "circa" 1938, Warburg Institute.
  54. Karl Germer to C.H. Petersen, letter of 6.1.54.
  55. Quoted from "In the Continuum", Vol. III Nº 10, Oroville 1986, p. 41.
  56. Martin Green: "Mountain of Truth", New England 1986, p. 145.
  57. "Das Gesicht Englands", Schmiedeberg 1915, p. 4.; facsimile in my "Der Grosse Theodor Reuss Reader"
  58. Francis King: "Sexuality, Magic and Perversion", London 1971, p. 143.
  59. Facsimile published in "Das Kleine Theodor Reuss Reader".
  60. Howe & Möller, "op. cit.", p. 249.
  61. Full text in "Ein Leben fuer die Rose"
  62. Serge Caillet: "Franc-Maçonnerie", Paris 1988, p. 110.
  63. Serge Caillet: "Sar Hieronymus", Paris 1986.
  64. Clymer: "Book of Rosicruciæ", Vol. II, Quakertown 1949, pp. xxvi, xxx and 224, 266.
  65. Conversation on 30.10.90.
  66. Harald Szeemann: "Monte Verità", Milan 1978, pp. 15 and 34; Green, "op. cit.", p. 172.
  67. Metzger to Grosche, letter of 30.10.50; and Grosche to Metzger, letter of 3.11.50.
  68. Metzger to Grosche, letter of 30.10.50.
  69. "Blätter für angewandte okkulte Lebenskunst" Nº 77, Berlin, August 1956, p. 3.
  70. "Journal de Genève" of 7.6.1926, p. 5; and of 28.7.29, p. 4.
  71. Compiled from R.M. Lüscher & W. Schweizer: "Leben im Widerspruch", Zurich 1987; quotation from p. 26.
  72. Metzger's "Oriflamme" Nº 96, Zurich 1969, p. 1062.
  73. C.G. Jung: "Briefe", Edited by A.J. Jaffe, Vol. III 1956-1961, Olten 1973, pp. 87, 222, 225, 256.
  74. Zurich 1954; facsimile in Koenig/Abramelin & Co
  75. Francis King: "Sexuality, Magic and Perversion", London 1971, p. 194. Mr. King paid a visit to Stein in 1971 with Liza Miller; see p. 195.
  76. The Cantonal Police of Graubünden could find no inforrmation on either Frau Jantzen or Frau Sprengel. Letters of 25.1. and 3.2.88.
  77. Oscar R. Schlag on 22.1.88.
  78. Metzger: "Summarischer Bericht an Sor.·.Sascha Germer, Spring 1963.
  79. Metzger to Germer, letter of 12.6.51.
  80. Advertising handbill for "Schriftanalysen, Vergleichs-und Eheanalysen".
  81. Interview with Alice Herder on 12.8.1992.
  82. Theo Pinkus, letter of 29.6.88.
  83. Gundula Bader, letter of 23.4.88.
  84. Conversation with Herr Schlag. This series of about thirty conversations took place over three years, 1987-1990; their exact dates are not given here.
  85. H.J. Metzger to Karl Germer, letter of 12.6.51.
  86. 'Peregrinus' was a name given to free non-Roman citizens within ancient Roman society; they did not possess all the rights of Roman citizenship.
  87. Metzger to Grosche, letter of 30.10.50.
  88. Ethel Bienz, letter of 21.8.88.
  89. Martin Starr (from M.R. Motta's Argenteum Astrum), in the preface to "Amrita", Chicago 1990, p. xi.
  90. Crowley to Yorke, letter of 27.10.1928.
  91. Crowley to Henri Birven, letter of 8.10.29. Original in Warburg Institute. Also quoted by Kenneth Grant "Aleister Crowley and the Hidden God", London 1973, p. 62.
  92. 'Caliph' William Breeze to his German fellow-Brother Norbert Straet, letter of 11.3.87.
  93. "Vereinigte Grosslogen von Deutschland", letter dated 18 January 1988
  94. Fritz Uhlmann: "Leitfaden der Freimaurerei", Basel 1933, 94, 3700. Also Fritz Bolle to Arnold Schwengler, letter 21 November 1976

Translated and adapted from a chapter on the O.T.O. Protagonists in "Das O.T.O.-Phänomen" (1994) by Mark Parry-Maddocks German original online. An outline can also be found in the English "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick" (1999). Updated and enlarged in: Der O.T.O. Phaenomen RELOAD, 2011.

English: Consider the O.T.O. non existent
Variation française : Hans Rudolf Hilfiker propose de considérer l'O.T.O. comme non existant.
Versione italiana: Considerare l'O.T.O. inesistente
Traduccion castellano: Consideraban a la O.T.O. como no existente
Ceská verze: Veritas Mystica Maxima

Picture gallery of the protagonists.
[Colored with AI]

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

Reuss to Crowley, 1917.

English: Theodor Reuss and the Brothers of Light in the Seven Churches of Asia. The origins of Brotherhood of Light of Theodor Reuss.
Deutsch: Die Brueder des Lichtes der sieben Gemeinden in Asien. Theodor Reuss' Hermetische Bruderschaft des Lichtes.
Français: Les Frères de Lumière dans les Sept Églises d'Asie. Les origines de la Fraternité de Lumière de Theodor Reuss.

original O.T.O. lamen Theodor Reuss . Ordo Templi Orientis . Memphis Misraim . Alter Angenommener Schottischer Ritus . Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite . Martinismus . Cerneau . Swedenborg. See charters, magazines, photographs and many more


       Theodor Reuss' Memphis Misraim Emblem

one of Theodor Reuss' O.T.O. seals


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