CALIPH HYMENAEUS BETA XIntroduction: Culture vs. Cult
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
OUR FOUNDING EDITOR, ALEISTER CROWLEY (also known as Baphomet X,
Master Therion etc., etc.) considered a balanced, wide-ranging
education a prerequisite to complete initiation. Unlike most
teachers, Crowley was worldly-wise as well as unworldly-wise,
conversant with the work of the artists, writers, scientists and
philosophers who defined his times. He accordingly used The
which he subtitled 'The Journal of Scientific Illuminism,' to
publish reviews and study guides, as well as individual works that
have since become standard references. A poet in his own right, he
maintained that initiation finds tangible expression in creative
genius, and so issued the finest literature and poetry possible.
formed the editorial subtext of the original Equinox, and in that
spirit we issue this new number. Successive generations of
writers, poets, filmmakers, dramatists, scientists and
have contributed much to the birth of what we call Thelemic
Magick and the arts share the willingness to explore new modes of
perception and expression, to experiment with consciousness
and communicate even if a new vocabulary is called for. This issue
features both contemporary poetry and cinema (the poetry of light)
that demonstrate this.
The poets have always been with us, although we (for our part)
not always fully reciprocated--after being introduced to Allen
Ginsberg in the 1950's, my predecessor Frater Saturnus X
asked that 'beatniks' not be brought around. I mean no
Saturnus, who after all knew and (in his way) encouraged half of
artistic contributors to this issue. But I am reminded of Robert
scribes & scholars of the College of the Holy Spirit, resting from
their carnival appearances or conning the sermons they will
holy poison, in the ears of sleeping dominies. These are men who
for nothing but truth & love. Which is true of everyone in the
but these men know it.
We must never forget that it is we who run the risk of becoming
'sleeping dominies'--the poets know their business and a goodly
of ours. I should know--my poetry submission was respectfully
The work of living writers forms a counterpoise to the historical
material in this issue, all of whose authors are deceased (with
possible exception of Frater Ad Veritatem). We have collected
virtually all of the O.T.O.'s founding documents for this number--
was dubbed the 'ancestor worship' issue during compilation. The
purpose of this collection is twofold: first, to provide a ready
compendium of the essential O.T.O. material as a guidebook during
renaissance the Order presently enjoys, and secondly, to make
the public exactly what the Order is, and is not. The O.T.O. is a
manifold organization with a complex history and philosophy, rich
written, oral and ritual tradition. It is also the Aleister
Estate, responsible for preserving his writings and setting
standards for Thelemic scholarship. These are essentially
functions, yet the O.T.O.'s design preserves flexibility and
adaptability, without which 'Thelemic Order' would be a
contradiction in terms. While it has never been necessary to join
O.T.O. to be a Thelemite, it is central to the Order's
design' that being a Thelemite never becomes a bar to membership.
this important sense, the O.T.O. is a crucible for the development
the social models necessary to a Thelemic culture, as opposed to
My predecessor as head of the O.T.O., Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha 777
rescued the O.T.O. from the brink of extinction. Only a decade ago
survival of the Order was in question, but as the leader of a
of survivors from the Crowley era who had tended the flame for
forty years, Hymenaeus Alpha fanned it into life. Educated in
political science and a management analyst by profession, he also
successfully addressed the greatest long-term threat to the Order:
'cult' tendency in Thelema, manifesting as extreme
the one hand, and anarchic radicalism on the other.
The 'conservative' wing--Marcelo Motta and his Society Ordo
Orientis (SOTO)--evinced a fanatical elitism that laid claim to
exclusive representation of Thelema in all its forms. After
repeated attacks from this group in their apocryphal Equinox
Five,' Hymenaeus Alpha filed suit in Federal Court and won a
cut victory--not for the O.T.O. alone, but also indirectly for
others who were abused in, or simply confused by, the offending
The 'anarchic' wing's development was spurred by the writings of
Kenneth Grant, whose excellent book The Magical Revival indeed
contributed to a genuine revival in the early 1970's. In
works, Mr. Grant (who was expelled from the O.T.O. in the mid-
claimed to be Outer Head of the O.T.O., and proceeded to organize
'O.T.O.' with complete disregard for the intent of Crowley and
original founders. Grant was, for example, extremely critical of
business aspects of the O.T.O., which are clearly a part of the
original charter. Hymenaeus Alpha met this trend by simple
established a reputation as a tolerant monarch, and thereby gave
lie to anarchy. We count some of Mr. Grant's most enthusiastic
among our members.
First published in England beginning in 1909 EV, The Equinox
the Official Organ of the A...A.... Crowley issued a new number on
each equinox, and the ten numbers of Volume I are now a standard
reference-library set. After Crowley's induction into the Ordo
Orientis in 1913 EV The Equinox became an Official Organ of the
as well, beginning with Volume I(10). Although they shared the
journal for several numbers, the A...A... and the O.T.O. were and
distinct organizations. They are so often confused that Saturnus
asked Crowley for an official statement on the subject:
The difference between the A...A... and the O.T.O. is very clear
simple. The A...A... is a sempiternal institution, and entirely
secret. There is no communication between its members.
a member knows only the superior who introduced him, and any
whom he himself has introduced. The Order is run on purely
The objective of membership is also entirely simple. The
objective is the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian
Angel. The next objective, omitting considerations for the present
the 6=5 and 7=4 degrees, is the crossing of the Abyss, and the
attainment of mastership of the Temple. This is described very
especially in Liber 418. Much less is written about the 5=6
i.e. the Knowledge and Conversation, because it is too secret and
individual. It is impossible to lay down conditions, or to
the experiences in detail.
The O.T.O. has nothing to do with this, except that The Book
the Law and the Word of the Aeon are essential principles of
membership. In all other respects, it stands by itself as a body
similar to Freemasonry, but involving acceptance of a social and
economic system which is intended to put the world on its feet.
is also, of course, the secret of the IX which is to say, the
which they may use to further these purposes.
To show you the difference, Theodor Reuss was Supreme Head
the O.T.O., but was not even a probationer of the A...A....
Crowley spent the last of his inheritance in releasing Volume I,
which its publishing history becomes erratic--The Equinox had the
first of many interruptions in 1913 EV. Crowley termed this first
hiatus Volume II, 'a volume of silence,' in accord with an
rule of alternating 5-year periods of speech and silence.
Volume III was issued by the O.T.O. under four administrations of
Order over 67 years. (The '5-year' rule was disregarded,
since it pertained to the A...A....) Volume III has a complicated
bibliography whose twists and turns are a bell-wether of the
fortunes. The first number of Volume III to appear was the well-
'blue' Equinox, issued from Detroit in 1919 EV. Crowley outlined
proposed contents of the remainder of Volume III in this number,
Volume III(2) never appeared (although it reached galley-proofs
was included in the series as if issued). In subsequent numbers of
Volume III The Equinox came to assume the character of a series of
occasional monographs. Number 3 reached galley-proofs in 1927 EV,
was delayed until 1936 EV when it appeared in partial form as The
Equinox of the Gods (actually part one of four parts of Book Four
Four, to have included the Commentary to The Book of the Law).
4 appeared in 1938 EV as Eight Lectures on Yoga. Number 5 was
announced in 1938 EV as the Tao Teh King but actually appeared in
EV as The Book of Thoth. Number 6, Liber Aleph, was close to
production at Crowley's death in 1947 EV but appeared posthumously
1962 EV. (Its 'publication fund'--contributions from the
O.T.O.--was found untouched under his deathbed.) This was followed
the Shih Yi (Yi King) (Number 7) in 1971 EV, the Tao Teh King
8) in 1975 EV and The Holy Books of Thelema (Number 9) in 1983 EV.
present issue therefore completes Volume III.
The O.T.O.'s structure, history, aims and philosophy are well-
represented in this last number of Volume III--the most
collection since Volume III(1). Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha was a
pragmatist as well as a visionary, considering these papers plans
the future O.T.O. He observed the principles, and where practical,
implemented them formally, as we are doing with the forthcoming
promulgation of the Constitution. Although much of this material
been termed outdated or ignored outright--even by self-styled
'representatives' of the Order--these papers stand as the
on which we must build if we would do honor to our predecessors'
vision, and lay claim to their inherited wisdom.
Love is the law, love under will.
`UMENAIOS B X
CALIPH HYMENAEUS BETA
Rex Summus Sanctissimus, U.S.A.
Acting Frater Superior, O.T.O.
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