Jerry Cornelius - H.J. Metzger


by J. Edward Cornelius Trying to establish the early dealings between Grady McMurtry and Metzger is difficult due to so much myth making in recent years. Below are some of the facts as I have uncovered them from my own private letter archives. Of course, this is sketchy and subject to change. I have most of the letters between the parties in question but I'm missing critical ones, pieces of the puzzle, which may throw a whole different twist into the story if discovered. However, in listing what we DO know, it may give researchers 'an edge' or direction in order to uncover the whole truth. So here are the facts. In McMurtry's files is an interesting letter from Gerald Yorke to him (dated August 12, 1969) wherein he writes about Metzger, saying (quote): "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." It seems that throughout 1969 and the seventies, Gerald Yorke, Israel Regardie, Phyllis Seckler and Grady McMurtry correspond back and forth. In my files are literally hundreds upon hundreds of letters, many two, three pages long. It seems Regardie, after seeing McMurtry's full file and all AC's letters to him and the extent of their relationship, accepted McMurtry almost immediately as having the authority to re-establish the OTO in California. Most important for our concern, in these early years McMurtry publishes the Thoth Deck out of Lllewellyn which has McMurtry's address on a printed card, which in one letter to Regardie he states, "the Message of the Caliph card in every deck sold is a gold mine for us" as far as recruitment. This letter uses OTO Letterhead as do most of McMurtry's letters to Regardie. It seems the problems with Metzger begins in November, or December of 1970 when a friend of both McMurtry's and Regardie's writes to Metzger and mentions McMurtry's Thoth Deck being published by Llewellyn. In a letter to Regardie from McMurtry (dated Dec. 13th 1970) he mentions this, writing, "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 him back that the literary rights were settled by A.C.'s will." Don Hanlon is mentioned quite often between McMurtry & Regardie who initially think him a very promising student but, toward the end of their relationship, they think "he's a jerk." Unfortunately I do not have Don Hanlon's letter to Metzger so no telling what he actually wrote. Also, at the end of the letter quoted above is a list of 'enclosures' which McMurtry is sending to Regardie. Unfortunately we have no copies of these letters surviving in my McMurtry archive but at least have a reference to them and hopefully they'll surface some day. 1. letter from Llewellyn dated Nov.20th, 1970 to Grady McMurtry. 2. letter from Metzger to Llewellyn (no date listed) 3. letter from Metzger to McMurtry dated Nov.12th 1970 Regardie replies to McMurtry (dated December 21st 1970), "I got a copy of Metzger's letter from Lllewellyns. 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." He also lets McMurtry know in a letter (dated Jan. 14th 1971) that he has not replied to or "answered Paragranus [= 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." Of importance, it seems McMurtry, Seckler & Regardie NEVER once dispute Metzger's claims of authority in these letters. However, it becomes clear that Metzger's assumption about McMurtry stem from the 1960s based on only 'ONE' letter which McMurtry sent to him. (which is from Crowley dated Nov. 21st 44). Metzger's view are not founded upon the dozens, upon dozens of the letters which Regardie had seen between Crowley & McMurtry which helped him make up his mind that McMurtry was authentic. Yorke in these early letters makes it very plain and clear that he 'trusts Regardie's judgment' and if he accepts things regarding McMurtry, then so does he. These two individuals then become, what McMurtry calls "the Eyes of Horus." In a letter (dated Jan. 16th 1971) Phyllis Seckler writes to Regardie, for Grady McMurtry, saying, that there is no need to send the Swiss booklet because "we got the booklet about Karl Germer from Metzger so no need to copy same." (it appears Metzger sent it in his letter dated Nov. 12th 1970 to McMurtry) She then refers to a comment Regardie made in a previous letter (which I can't seem to locate) wherein he suggests a solution between McMurtry & Metzger. She writes, "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 rants on in a long paragraph about Metzger's character. At one point she even jokes, "If it had been me I would have rushed to welcome the efforts of the McMurtry's in Calif and would have extended congrats and a charter." Instead, Metzger wants nothing to do with the Americans. So she acknowledges 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?" Grady McMurtry writes to Regardie (dated Jan. 29th 1971), "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." Regardie replies to McMurtry (dated Feb. 2nd 1971), "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." The issue about Metzger isn't discussed much further in their correspondence. Anyway, in the OTO Form Letter of July 9th 1974, McMurtry clearly explains his views about Metzger. Doesn't dispute his 'being OTO' just his 'being O.H.O.' In fact McMurtry writes, "There is at present no Outer Head of the Order for Aleister Crowley's Ordo Templi Orientis." (pg.3) On the very next page he writes, "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." Question P.R.K.: In the official OTO-NEWSLETTER 1978, McMurtry recognized Metzger's standing as the X° of Switzerland. Obviously McMurtry must have changed his view as Metzger was not invited to the electoral body of the IX°. When and why did McMurtry change his stance? JC: Agreed. As far the second question, by the time the 'electoral body of the IX°' was created Metzger and McMurtry were well into their split. Neither of them were budging on their views as to who had what authority and why. In all practical purposes by 1975 there were (at least) two official OTOs in the world.
Also by Jerry Cornelius:
An Apology to Red Flame No. 7
An Open Epistle Regarding Francis King's Book The Secret Rituals of the OTO
The Warrior-Troubadour, The Life & Times of Grady Louis McMurtry (Red Flame No.1)
Myths of the Solar Lodge Revisited (The Scribe, Vol.1 No.7 1997)
Chronology of events leading up to the lawsuit filed by the Ordo Templi Orientis on Sept. 12th 1990 against Alameda County & the City of Berkeley.
KALIL and the Thelema93-l Tango
An Open Epistle on the Expulsion
Liber Al Vel Legis (The Book of the Law) (Red Flame Nr.8)

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