William Bernard Crow — OHO of the O.T.O. since 1948

William Bernard Crow — OHO of the O.T.O. — 16th August 1948

and the Rite of
33°, 90°, 97°

It is well known to students of the ancient mysteries that in the Middle Ages their tradition and practice had become divided into three steams:
  1. the hieratic represented the sacramental life of the Church.
  2. the arcane, represented by the teachings and practices of such orders as those of the Templars, and
  3. the regal, the lord and customs of kingship, nobility, and chivalry.
These have today been separated and largely lost.
It is sometimes stated that freemasonry continues the work of the second of the above mentioned sections, and we are far from denying that freemasonry may still retain symbolism derived from such sources.
At one time freemasonry was practised with the consent of the Church. According to Sir David Brewater (quoted by dudley Wright: Roman Catholicism and Freemasonry 1922, page 8) popes conferred on "most important privileges, and allowed them to be governed by laws, customs and ceremonies peculiar to themselves".
But in 1738 Pope Clement XII issued a bull condemning freemasonry and subsequently other papal condemnations have been issued. It is certain, therefore that Church and Masonry have parted company.
Nowadays we find Freemasonry represented by two main streams:
  1. that of the Grand Lodge of England type which is mainly a charitable institution not claiming to possess arcane teaching.
  2. That of the continental Grand Orient type which has even expunged the belief in God from its tenets. With neither of these streams are we connected in any way.
In addition to the above, however, certain orders have existed during recent years and have been described in masonic encyclopaedias, which have retained important parts of the ancient arcane lore in direct succession from the ancient mysteries. They include such masonry as it was before it separated from the Church and much more besides.
The Templar Order itself, or Order of the Temple of the Orient, was duly erected and chartered according to canon law and confirmed it its constitution by Pope Honorius II in 1128 A.D. Having acquired great arcane knowledge it was subjected to persecution and its organization was illegally broken up on 1312 A.D. Many of the Templars, including its Grand Master Jacques de Molay were soon afterwards martyed. Others, however, having escaped and dispersed, continued the work of the Order in secret, and maintained a succession of Grand Masters duly nominated, appointed and initiated, from the said Jacques de Molay onwards.
In later years persons claiming to be Templars have become known to the public and so-called Templar Orders have been established. As these, with few exceptions, have admittedly departed from the original teachings and practices, we are not interested in their activities.
There is, however, one order that has retained the magico-religious cults of the original Templars and the succession of this line has passed to a Grand Master, duly nominated, appointed and initiated after having been elected and accepted by a majority of members of the said Order in good standing, and he has declared on behalf of himself and his brethren as follows:
  1. That the said Order accepts the Original teachings of the Order of the Temple of the Orient.
  2. That the same to not belong to nor are associated with any order purporting to be or calling itself Templar that does not accept the teachings as aforesaid.
  3. That after due consultation with all members and by and with their consent he does decree, ordain and establish that the supreme authority of the said original and authentic Order of the Temple of the Orient and of all other bodies and organizations incorporated therein or allied or associated therewith he and the same is vested in the Sovereign of the Universal Imperium of Spiritual Forces and his lawful successors duly appointed and that the said Sovereign of the Universal Imperium is Supreme Head in mundo and ad vitam of the said Order of the Temple of the Orient and Frater Superior of the same, with all the rights and privileges appertaining to that office.
It will be recalled that the Universal Imperium was in the arcane section of the Order of the Holy Wisdom, now known as the Apostolate of the Holy Wisdom.
The Order of Memphis and Mizraim is another order, described in Masonic Encyclopaedias (Waite, Mackey) from which it may befathered.
  1. that it contained a vast collection of arcane rites superior in extent to any others, including the 33 degrees now only known in the Ancient and Accpted Rite, the 90 degrees of Mizraim and the 97 degrees of Memphis.
  2. that it contains features not now represented in masonry.
  3. That its head was regarded as the Supreme Head of all masonic rites, but is not so regarded by modern freemasonry.
  4. It alleged that the Jesuits has some connection with it at one time.
  5. That the Hiram legend has been removed from its 3 (craft) degree.
The last point is interesting, because in his Mysteries of the Ancients, Dr W.B. Crow avers that the Hiram legend really belonged to a much higher degree. In later years the Rite of Memphis and Mizraim did not itself work the craft degrees but only accepted persons holding such in other recognised lodges. That it had the right to work the craft and even to establish lodges is attested by the Laws and Regulations.
On 16th August, 1948, the Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Wisdom, having previously been duly elected in accordance with the constitution and regulations was enthroned and crowned as Grand Hierophant of the Rite of Memphis, Absolute Grand Sovereign of the Rite of Mizraim, Supreme Power of the Order and of all Rites included therein and allied cognate affiliated Orders and Rites in a Temple near London.
As the Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Wisdom is also Supreme Hierarch of the Ancient Universal Church, this fulfils the prophecy attributed to Dr Rudolph Steiner that the initiatory mysteries would one day be reunited to those of the Church.
All the rites in question have been placed under the sub-division of the Arcane section of the Apostolate of the Holy Wisdom, known as the Ancient and Universal Rite of Cosmic Architecture, which previously included material of this type, but which is now established on an impregnable basis and can be worked in a vastly fuller range than heretofore.
Some of the degrees of these rites can be conferred on suitable persons either alone or in conjunction with those of the Ancient Universal Church and the Universal Metaphysical Kingdom. All interested are invited to write to Dr W.B. Crow, 78 Broadmead Road, Woodford Green, Essex.

This is an outline from the English "O.T.O. Rituals and Sexmagick" (1999).
A facsimile of this text can be found in "Materialien zum OTO"(1994)

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