Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua - Michael Bertiaux - La Couleuvre Noire - Monastery of the Seven Rays - Choronzon Club

Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua
Gnostic Church
Memphis Misraim
Monastery of the Seven Rays
La Couleuvre Noire
Michael Paul Bertiaux

Michael Paul Bertiaux Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua Gnostic Church Memphis Misraim Monastery of the Seven Rays La Couleuvre Noire

Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua — A Gnostic Inflation

Peter-Robert Koenig

The reader should bear in mind that there is almost no documentary evidence regarding the history of the O.T.O.A. There is absolutely no trace of L.-F. Jean-Maine or his Gnostic Church, Memphis Misraïm or his O.T.O. version (O.T.O.A.) in any of the old French Gnostic periodicals. Apparently, the history of the O.T.O.A. and its tangle of related organizations was developed by Marc Lully, Michael P. Bertiaux, and Manuel C. Lamparter, and perhaps Kenneth Grant, in the late 1960s. Bertiaux admitted to me that his draft history was written based on notes by Marc Lully; these notes are said to have been lost since then.
The following article is a reconstruction of the O.T.O.A.'s self-styled draft history (available in articles by Bertiaux and Lamparter, e.g., in "The Occult Digest" Vol. 3 Nº 1, Chicago 1973; extracted from endless correspondence with the two, and several audio tapes by Bertiaux, e.g., "The Gnostic Church and the Rites of Memphis-and-Misraim", "Sexual Magic and the Rite of Memphis-Mizraim", "History of our work in the Gnosis", 1-3.), and my own research.

==> Explore a wealth of documents related to this area in the F.R.A. gallery.
Additionally, you can find valuable content in the O.T.O.A. gallery.

Michael Paul Bertiaux to Peter-Robert Koenig Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, Manuel Cabrera Lamparter August Leisler Carl Kellner, Josef Dvorak, Michael Paul Bertiaux, William Wallace Webb, Euclydes Lacerda de Almeida, Marcelo Ramos Motta, Johannes Maikowski, the 'Caliphate', Grady Louis McMurtry, Robert Deumié, Oscar Schlag, the Swiss O.T.O.

Every entry regarding the O.T.O.A. dated earlier than 1966 or so is of dubious nature: "Whether or not the Jean-Maine lineage was linked to the OTO of Reuss probably can't be ever proven" (Bertiaux, letter dated 4 April 1990). Nevertheless, there is an obvious parallel between the O.T.O.A. and Reuss' OTO: a nebulous fog of interwoven organisations.

The 16 Degrees of the O.T.O.A.

Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua in former Yugoslavia.


  • 13 July 1865: Gérard Encausse (Papus) was born in La Corogne, Spain.
  • 1890: Jules Doinel (Valentin II) founded the Gnostic Chuch (Église Gnostique).
  • 18 September 1892: Doinel consecrated Encausse a bishop (this was without the apostolic succession of the Vilatte line).
  • When John Yarker died in 1913 it was Encausse who inherited the Memphis Misraim Rite.

Lucien-François Jean-Maine

  • 11 January 1869: Lucien-François Jean-Maine allegedly was born in Leogane, Haïti (he died on 30 April 1960 in Boston).
  • 1899 he was consecrated by Doinel's successor Emmanuel Fabre des Essarts (Synésius, allegedly consecrated by Encausse, Paul Sédir and Lucien Mauchel, although there exists no evidence of such). There are no documents for this.
  • 15. August 1899, in Paris Jean-Maine (Ogdoade-Orfeo I) was made a bishop of the Église Ophite des Naaseniens (Ecclesia Cabalistico-gnostico de Memphis-Misraïm) by Paul-Pierre de Marraga (Orfeo VI), a spanish bishop drawing back his line to the Albigensian and who was allegedly initiated into Memphis Misraim by Manuel Lopez de Brion on 2.2.1860.
    De Brion (Orfeo V) had become a bishop of a mysterious Église Gnostique d'Albigois on 2 February 1875 in Albi/France.
  • In about 1900 Jean-Maine allegedly made the acquintance of Encausse in Paris. Soon, Theodor Reuss was made Encausse's representative for Martinism in Germany.


The Voodoo tradition of the family Jean-Maine allegedly went back to the French slave owner Martinez de Pasquales living in Leogane, founder of the Order of the Elus Cohens, who died in 1774. A prominent member of the Elus Cohens was Louis-Claude de St. Martin (1743-1803), founder of Martinism in France.

Hermetic Brotherhood of Light

Of course, the History of the O.T.O.A. also includes the mysterious "Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica" (FLH) of the afro-american P.B. Randolph (born 1825). Allegedly, Jean-Maine worked with disciples of the FLH between 1899 and 1910.
It is said that the famous Maria de Naglowska studied Voodoo by Jean-Maine's disciples from 1921 until 1930. In 1931 she eventually published Randolph's "Magia Sexualis".

O.T.O. and O.T.O.A.

  • 1910: In Paris, Encausse allegedly forwarded his Reuss-X° over to L.-F. Jean-Maine "for Haïti and the French Indies." Jean-Maine incorporated his branch of the FLH, while he counter-consecrated Encausse into some high degrees of P.-P. de Marraga's Ecclesia Gnostica.

According O.T.O.A. History, Encausse's death in 1916 allegedly splitted the French OTO. One wing was led by Joanny Bricaud (1881-1934) in Lyon, approved by Reuss, while Jean-Maine headed the original Parisian version which allegedly followed the constitution of Encausse and Synésius (Fabre des Essarts, 1848-1917).
  • 1919: Jean-Maine moved from France to Spain.
  • 22 September 1921: Jean-Maine consecrated his European successor of the Spanish Gnostic Church "Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis" (Église gnostique d'Albigeois et des Naaseniens) and Memphis Misraïm "para todos los paises latinos": Martin Ortier de Sanchez y Marraga (Ogdoade-Orfeo II) now was leading headquarter of the Ecclesia Gnostica and MM in Madrid. Marraga allegedly was heading a mysterious "Monastery of the Seven Rays" in Spain.
Influenced by O.T.O., Martinism, Gnosticism, FLH and Voodoo: the Spanish and Haïtian branches of MM dispensed with their masonic character and developed magical circles. "The Gnostic and Esoteric Order of Misraïm" (or Egypt) and "The Gnostic and Esoteric Order of Memphis," had been created under the roof of the "Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraïm."

Not only there is no documentary evidence for all this: the regular MM does not accept above mentioned new versions of MM. In order to differ between the MM of O.T.O.A. and the original MM, the O.T.O.A. version is written with a " ï ".

  • In 1921 Jean-Maine returned to Haïti in order to marry.
  • 22 December 1921: Founding of the Haïtian "Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua" (O.T.O.A.) with 16 degrees.
  • 18 January 1925: birth of Hector-François Pierre Michel Eugène Jean-Maine.

La Couleuvre Noire

  • 1922: L.-F. Jean-Maine founded the magical Order "La Couleuvre Noire" (LCN) with six degrees, affiliated with the O.T.O.A.
  • 1930: LCN, O.T.O.A., FLH and Gnostic Church became associated affiliations of the pertinent MM in Spain and Haïti. Only in 1968 these territories had been expanded unto the US and the "French West Indies".

Between 1948 and 1949, the 16 degrees of the O.T.O.A. were adapted according the lycanthropic cabbalah which was developed in the Couleuvre Noire.

  • On 5 January 1949, Hector-François opened the temple of the "Two Yggdrasill (The Solar-Legbah and the Stellar-Legbha)"
  • On 27 January 1949, the O.T.O.A. and the LCN were ceremonially separated.

O.T.O.A. and Gnostic Church

In 1955 Hector-François and Lucien-François transformed the O.T.O.A. into a gnostic and ophidian church.

  • 30 April 1960: J.-F. Jean-Maine died in Boston. His successor became Martin de Sanchez y Marraga under the condition that Hector-François was to inherit the succession at due time.
  • 2 November 1963: H.-F. Jean-Maine (Ogdoade-Orfeo III) became bishop and Patriarch of the Ecclesia Spiritualis (Église Ophitico-Cabbalistique d'Haïti) through Martin Ortier de Sanchez y Marraga.

Choronzon Club and QBL Alchemist Church

Michael Paul Bertiaux was born 18 January 1935 in Seattle. He learned Voodoo between 1953 and 1975. While visiting Jean-Maine in Port-au-Prince (Haïti) on 15 August 1963, Bertiaux was informed about his future career.

Gnosis in Haïti

  • 31 August 1968: in Haïti, Bertiaux consecrated Pierre-Antoine Saint Charles (born 21 Juli 1934, Eon III, Ogdoade-Orfeo IV) into the Episcopat of the Ecclesia Gnostica Cabalistica. Thus combining following lines of succesion in the eyes of their beholder:
    1. the Encausse sucession of the Superieur Inconnus of Martinism
    2. the O.T.O. Ecclesia Gnostica Hermetica and the Choronzon Club successions via Shreves
    3. the wrongly believed Vilatte succession
    4. the Memphis Misraïm succession, the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis and the Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua successions via L.-F. Jean-Maine
    5. the Voodoo succession of the haïtian tradition via Saint-Charles as he exchanged his consecrations with Bertiaux
  • 1970: H.-F. Jean-Maine made Bertiaux a Souvereign Grandmaster of the O.T.O.A.
  • 27 July 1970 Bertiaux consecrated Jean Padern Leconte (Ogdoade V/Tau XV, a famous scientist born 27 July 1930 and grand nephew of Haïti's president Michel-Cincinnatus Leconte and North Alexis) into the episcopate of the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis.
  • Between 10 and 17 April 1973 was a meeting (a synode) of 16 pertinent meaningful organisations in Liège, Belgique:
    1. The Monastery of the Seven Rays
    2. The Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis
    3. The Memphis Misraïm Rite
    4. The Ecclesia Gnostica Ophitica
    5. The Universal Martinist Federation of Initiates
    6. The Albigensian Gnostic Rite of Haïti
    7. A group of gnostic and magic christians
    8. A group geared towards gnostic and theurgic Ontology
    9. The Esoteric Rite of the Rose-Croix
    10. The Church of Mandala of Giordano Bruno
    11. The Fraternitas Hermetica
    12. The American Synod of Gnostic Bishops
    13. The QBLH Alchemist Church
    14. The Martinist Order of the Rose-Croix and Aleph-Initiates
    15. The Interior Synctuary of the Elus COhens
    16. The Naasenian Gnostic Brotherhood of Initiates and Adepts.
    Nothing was heard before or after of most of above mentioned 'organisations'.

  • On 15 August 1973, several members of the "Monastery of the Seven Rays" adopted Crowley's Law of Thelema.
  • In 1975 Bertiaux was made Grand Hierophant Conservateur of the Rite of Memphis Misraïm through Jean-Maine.
  • On 8 and 9 August 1975, Bertiaux and Lully held common lectures about the "Unveiled Mysteries" and "The Voice of Revelation". In November, Kenneth Grant's two chapters about the Couleuvre Noire appeared in his "Cults of the Shadow" (1975, Frederick Muller, London).
  • In 1976, the Canadian Ken Ward became Grandmaster of the O.T.O.A. The O.T.O.A. became an affiliation of the Monastery of the Seven Rays.
  • On 20 February 1976, Manuel Cabrera Lamparter was made Bertiaux' representative for Spain and Portugal. Lamparter was born the son of a Spanish father and a Cuban mother (whose father in turn was German) on 15 June 1942 in Sevilla. At his side, apart from his wife: Jose Castro (Fellicisimus), Ramon Vasquez (Armenius), Pedro Perez (Aureolus) and Luis Asensio (Atanasius).

    1976-02-20 Michael Paul Bertiaux Manuel Cabrera Lamparter

    [From: Der O.T.O.A-Reader.]

    At the time of writing (1991) Lamparter worked as an ear nose and throat specialist at the University Clinic and Medical School in Seville. With his first wife, who is now married to a surgeon in France, he had two daughters who are presently 18 and 19. With his second wife, a 35 year-old physiotherapist, who works in the same hospital, he has had three sons, now 10, 12 and 13. Señora Lamparter is the Gnostic Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica Latina.

    1977-11-11 Michael Paul Bertiaux  Zivorad Mihajlovic Slavinski

    [From: Der O.T.O.A-Reader.]

  • In 1978, the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis consisted of: H.-F. Jean-Maine, P.-A. Saint-Charles, Bertiaux, Shreves and J.P. Leconte.

    1978-04-09 Michael Paul Bertiaux

    1978-11-24 MIchael Paul Bertiaux

    [From: Der O.T.O.A-Reader.]

    Ken Ward Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua Michael Paul Bertiaux 1978 O.T.O.A. Instrumentum
    Ken Ward about the structure of the O.T.O.A., 1978-12-22.

    The 90th Degree of the Gnostic & Esoteric Order of Mizraim. The Points Chauds.

    1979-06-08 Michael Paul Bertiaux Brunelle

    1979-06-16 Michael Paul Bertiaux Barber

    [From: Der O.T.O.A-Reader.]

  • In December 1981, Ken Ward gave his office over to to Lamparter (documents dated 1.1.82, 6.11. and 20.12.1981).
    Ward: "Marc Lully appeared to be an arrogant and rude person and I only had one contact with him, that was enough!" Ward, email to P.-R. Koenig dated 6th September 1996. "I had so very little to base anything on [...] after years of trying to use and understand the very abtuse [sic] and complex MSR system without much success, I decided enough is enough and left it all behind me," Ken Ward, email dated 24th October 1996.

    1981-11-06 Ken Ward Manuel Cabrera Lamparter

    1981-11-06 Ken Ward Manuel Cabrera Lamparter

    [From: Der O.T.O.A-Reader.]

  • 25 December 1982: Lamparter was consecrated by the Most Reverend Rosa Miller in Sevilla.
  • In 1983 Lamparter re-organised the Spanish Gnostic Church under the name "Ecclesia Gnostica Latina" (Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis) according the O.T.O.A.-Struktur and the teachings of the "Monastery of the Seven Rays".
  • Also in 1983/84, a certain Courtney Willis founded the "Technicians of the Sacred", legally recognized as a Church in California. Until May 18, 1999, they collected 51 members.
  • In 1988 Lamparter was made Sovereign Absolute Grandmaster (S.G.M.A.) via Bertiaux. But on 27 October 1988, Lamparter proposed Courtney Willis as a Sovereign Grand Master. And so, in December 1988, Lamparter declared Willis (Ogdoade-Orfeo VIII) a SGM of the O.T.O.A. approved by Bertiaux. Nevertheless, Willis' authority is not accepted by all members of O.T.O.A. and pertinent Orders worldwide.
    Lamparter: "I should remain as Sovereign Grand Master Absolute, the advicer of Courtney".

Michael Paul Bertiaux, Manuel Cabrera Lamparter, Courtney Willis, Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua

Michael Paul Bertiaux, Manuel Cabrera Lamparter, Courtney Willis, Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, O.T.O.A.

Meanwhile, Bertiaux considers the "Caliphate" as "passé." Also Manuel Lamparter thinks it "not possible to join."
Bertiaux uses a strong language:

Michael Paul Bertiaux Gerald M Kelly
"Our Purpose is to Exploit Every Avenue of Thelemic Opportunity in Order to Take Advantage of it — by hilarous — deed, deceit, cunning + sheer diabolic Genius! [...]
We are out for sheer power + good times — I say — CHORONZON!
The purpose of the CHORONZON CLUB is to destroy the OTO + make sodomized mutes out of its members!

[...] OTO groups are too religious + use religious terms entirely too much — i.e. "supershakti," "goddess," "MAAT," etc. In fact they belong in the long disconnected romantic movement. So they are very unconnected with reality. We, on the other hand, are "scientists" + NOT poetic bull shiters!
[...] At the present time the C.·.C.·. is interested in [...]
  1. Time-travel — past, present, + future explorations.
  2. SEX-magic of a horrific type -
  3. Elemental Explorations + work with very low energies
  4. attacking any body who get too close to it -
  5. magical mathematical formulae to blow up our enemies!
  6. a secret method of control of the Quantum mechanic world of physics via fellatio -
  7. getting more Energies out of our XVI° System -
  8. making friends with like minds in other countries -
  9. eating + drinking -
  10. fucking + sucking -
  11. organizing gnostic Systems or Kliphotic exploration -"

Michael Paul Bertiaux Gerald M Kelly
(Bertiaux, letter dated 10 January 1989 — Ceská verze: Dopis Michaela P. Bertiauxe Garymu M. Kelly/Martinovi)

More from Bertiaux' black humor: As soon as when you have become a member: "Taxes must be paid in acceptable euro-currency of XI° issue — Nice big Nazi cock Meisters! Paid to fat, dirty, perverted Bricaudian (sun) French underground (plutonian) captors of Germanic Gods. Macho-Hunk-Stud-Officers held captive by dirty French Gnostic perverts." (Bertiaux to P.R. Koenig, letter 1989-01-10, fac-simile: My Own O.T.O.A.)


M.P. Bertiaux' was consecrated on

  • 15 August 1963: by H.-F. Jean-Maine and Carlos Adhémar
  • 18 January 1966: by H.-F. Jean-Maine and F. Lopez de Brion
  • 25 January 1966: by H.-F. Jean-Maine and J. Marraga y Adhémar
  • 10 August 1967: by R.M. Shreves
  • 25 December 1967: by M.A. Lully
  • 31 August 1968: by P.A. St. Charles

Liberal-Catholic succession

  • Mathew, Arnold H. (28 April 1908)
  • Willoughby, Frederick S. (28 October 1914)
  • Gauntlett, Rupert (26 September 1915)
  • King, Robert (26 September 1915)
  • Wedgwood, James I. (13 February 1916)
  • Leadbeater, Charles W. (22 July 1916)
  • Cooper, Irving S. (13 July 1919)
  • Arundale, George S. (4 August 1925)
  • Hampton, Charles (13 September 1931)
  • Spruit, Hermann A. (22 June 1957)
  • Barber, Forest G. )15 June 1971)
  • Bertiaux, Michael P. (16 June 1979)

Mariavite Church

  • Kowalski, Jean-Marie Michael (5 October 1909)
  • Fantome, Marc-Marie-Paul (4 September 1938)
  • Maas, Paulus Helmut Norbert (9 October 1949)
  • Fusi, Ephem Maria Mauro (24 May 1953)
  • Marchese, Clemente Alfio Sgroi (26 May 1954)
  • de Willmott-Newman, Hugh George (18 September 1954)
  • de Palatine, Richard (25 October 1953)
  • Barber, Forest E.G. (9 April 1967)
  • Bertiaux, Michael P. (16 June 1979)

Michael Paul Bertiaux speaks about the Choronzon Club, Kenneth Grant and Hermann Joseph Metzger.

Search Parareligion Website



This is an outline from the German "Der OTOA-Reader" (1994) and "Das O.T.O.-Phänomen.
To the other chapters of the English online version of "The O.T.O. Phenomenon" book.

    The Threepenny Gnostic Opera with charters of e.g. Manuel Cabrera Lamparter, William Wallace Webb et. al.
    History of the Gnostic Churches related to the O.T.O. and O.T.O.A.
    Ken Ward
    The Italian O.T.O. never hade more than 12 members
    Technicians of the Sacred
    Der O.T.O.A.-Reader contains a lot of further picture material
    The Gnostic Lineages of the O.T.O.A. and related organisations and Churches
    "Ljuben je zakon" or "ljubav pod voljom"? O.T.O. and O.T.O.A. in former "Yugoslavia"
    Anti 'Caliphate' hunt in Serbian Papers
    O.T.O. groups and O.T.O.A. in Italy
    The History of the XI° and the Choronzon Club
    A letter of Michael P. Bertiaux to Gary M. Kelly / Martin
    My O.T.O.A. 1987-1991
    How William Breeze lost an Apostolic Succession
    The Typhonian O.T.O., with material from Maggie Ingalls on the Ma'at-Continuum

    Photos of Hector-François Jean-Maine, Michael Paul Bertiaux, Marc Lully and two Gnostic Masses

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

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