In The Newaeon Newsletter, Volume IV, Number 5 we presented a brief editorial regarding the secrecy surrounding the identity of the new "Caliph" of the "McMurtry" [Caliphate] pseudo-o.t.o.. We asked some reasonable questions. Why the secrecy? Is the new "Caliph", Hymenaeus Beta, trying to hide something? Is he afraid that Newaeon or someone else will discover something unthelemic about him? Is he nothing but a puppet whose strings are pulled by those who desire the power of authority but not the responsibility that goes with it? Recently a member of this group, one of the very few intelligent and diplomatic of the group's membership, defended the secrecy by quoting from the Manifesto of the Ordo Templi Orientis as printed in The 'Blue' Equinox, Volume III, Number 1.
"5. The authority of the O.T.O. is concentrated in the O.H.O. (Outer Head of the Order), or Frater Superior. The name of the person occupying this office is never disclosed except to his immediate representatives."
"15. The O.H.O. is only known to members of the VIII° and IX°.
"The National Grand Master General ad vitam is not approachable as such by any person who has not reached the VI°."
The gentleman went on to say that the new "Caliph" wishes to follow A.C.'s original guidelines as closely as possible - a refreshing attitude since the leadership of the past continually strayed further and further away from those guidelines and the original Manifesto and Constitution of the order.
I thank this gentleman for his intelligent diplomacy, a relief from the moronic ravings of Bill Heidrick and other members of the group. The point of view is well taken and accepted, however - you just knew therewould have to be a "however", didn't you! - however, it should be noted that Baphomet [Aleister Crowley] himself did not follow this rule and hide behind a mask of secrecy. Furthermore, this policy of secrecy seems to me to be very dangerous and unwise. It is behind the veil of anonymity that things can lie hidden - things we should all know about. Enclosed and kept in the dark, dis-ease may breed. One may begin with the best of intentions, but feeling secure behind the veil of secrecy one may [as often one does] bend the rules a little and then a little more until eventually things get way out of hand and the original intentions are lost. It is just such secrecy that has led to the Guyana Tragedy and the Scientology Scandals. Behind the mask of secrecy certain governmental agencies have abused the Constitution of the United States.
The point made by the member of this group is well made. This was the original idea. However, even A.C. did not keep his identity secret and today it seems very unwise. It begs to have investigative reporters snoop into things and all too often such secrets do lead to some very negative outcomes.
Personally I hope that this new leadership can make this group what it should be - what it [so far untruthfully] claimed to be. However, to do this many loafers and wasters, emotionally and mentally unbalanced individuals must be weeded out of the membership, and the policy of secrecy regarding the "Caliph's" identity may have to be dispensed with. This policy will cause people to have such thoughts as: "Okay ... the original guidelines do allow for this secrecy, but is this used merely to lure people into the order, employing the 'forbidden fruit' ploy, hooking them and then flattering their egos by revealing 'secrets' only to the 'privileged few' ... those privileged to pay dues to the group's leadership? Are the original guidelines, nobly created, now being misused and abused to hide something ... to hide someone?"
If the secrecy is employed only because these people wish to be as true as possible to the original plan for the O.T.O., I applaud the attempt. However, times and events past change things. Therefore some change in those original plans may be necessary, some compromise, so that possible problems from within and from without the group may be avoided before they can develop and possibly destroy the order and all that it represents. To avoid abuses from within and allegations from without, the identity of the "Caliph" should be revealed to all. What would you think of our government if the identity of the President were kept secret?
Also quoted by the representative of the pseudo-o.t.o. was the following:
"The secrecy of the Order provides its members with an inviolable shroud of concealment."
While the leadership's identity should be made public, it is only polite to leave it up to the individual members whether or not their connection with the order should be made public. Still - take note of the word used in the above quote, "shroud" - something used to cover a corpse. Was this policy of secrecy part of the cause of the original O.T.O.'s demise?
1998 E.V. NOTE: Of course, since writing the above, the "Caliph", Hymenaeus Beta, has been revealed to be one Bill Breeze, formerly associated with the Kenneth Grant Typhonian pseudo-o.t.o., then with the late Marcelo Ramos Motta's S.O.T.O., until finally he found his way to the Caliphate gang and took over after Grady Louis McMurtry's death, finally finding a means by which he might, lacking any real talent or genius of his own, use people and their desires to fatten his bank account while also prostituting the works of Aleister Crowley to profit from the prophet.
[TNN.IV.6.TP-1, January 1986 E.V.]
A new broom sweeps clean?
As you should be aware of by now, Grady Louis McMurtry [Frater Hymenaeus Alpha 777], who was styled the "Caliph" of "Aleister Crowley's O.T.O.", recently died. We have in past newsletters revealed the joke played upon Grady by Crowley pertaining to the magical motto given to him by A.C., and we have shown that this so-called order is not "Aleister Crowley's O.T.O." as they constantly claim, and that Grady was not the legitimate O.H.O. of the order - a title that he shied away from in print while yet acting as if he were the O.H.O., feeling secure behind the relatively meaningless title of "Caliph".
You should also be aware of the fact that a new "Caliph" [who enjoys the use of the title Outer Head of the Order] has been elected - by what process we cannot be certain - and that this New Yorker wishes to remain anonymous, calling himself Hymenaeus Beta, which seems to be the start of an "imperial" dynasty.
We have made an issue of this anonymity and it was diplomatically pointed out that this is what Baphomet [A.C.] had originally intended for the office of the O.H.O.. We still wondered if perhaps this anonymity, which, by the way, Crowley did not hide behind, was being used either to hide something new members of the group should know, or if the new "Caliph" was hiding from those who have a right to investigate and comment upon the group and its activities, or if perhaps the identity of the new "Caliph" was being kept a secret to entice people with the "forbidden fruit" and then reveal it to the chosen few [since the mysteries of magick are not such a mystery any longer] - those who have advanced far enough, that is to say, so that egos may be masturbated to insure their continued membership as well as their uninterrupted payment of dues and homage.
"The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it. When I leave town now, I never tell my people where I am going. ... somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one's life."
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
Perhaps, of course, this new "Caliph" does indeed only intend to follow the Beast's original guidelines as closely as possible. Still ... one must wonder.
Since the new leadership has taken over, some improvement in The Magickal Link has been visible. In form it appears more professional and they have finally taken to spelling the title correctly: The Magical Link. This "new blood" may indeed be just what the group needs. However, we think the only true means of correcting the errors of the beginning would be to tear down the entire structure and start to build it all over again. To admit to the falsehoods of the past - Grady was not elected to the office he assumed and the letters written by Crowley do not appoint him O.H.O. and were only intended to be used as a temporary means of correcting a problem that A.C. himself could not deal with directly due to distance, lack of funds, and poor health - not to mention the distrubing influences of a world war. Furthermore, it should be admitted that not only was Grady in no way entitled to the title of O.H.O., but he was not and never had been a "member" of the A.·.A.·. as he claimed. Jane Wolfe had no right to accept Probationers and yet she handed out a bogus Probationer form to Phyllis Seckler/McMurtry [Soror Meral] who in turn handed out an even more bogus form to Grady - and not one of them even had the faintest idea as to what "membership" in the A.·.A.·. means, nor does the surviving member of this trio understand that great Order to this day. Instead of performing the magical acts, or rather of employing the magical formula solve et coagula, the new leadership has chosen to mend the cracks in their tottering structure and leave it stand upon its unsound foundation while it adds further faults to that structure with such things as this policy of anonymity.
In The Magical Link, Volume VI, Number 1, of January 1986 E.V., thenew "Caliph" is interviewed - not by an objective interviewer, but by the Grand Secretary General of the group. HB [Hymenaeus Beta] explains why Grady's identity was not kept a secret - and it sounded a wee bit contrived to me.
"Grady McMurtry, as Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha 777, had to prove both that we were the O.T.O. and that he was the head of it."
It is worth noting that to intelligent beings he in no way proved himself to be the legitimate O.H.O. and that the only entity that he had proven the group's right to the name of Ordo Templi Orientis was the California court system [or so the Caliphate persistently claims] and those who comprise this system are not the best judges in such a matter as this which they have little or no technical knowledge of and care little about. Their recognition of the group's right to employ the name Ordo Templi Orientis has a more limited effect than the group would have its members believe.
HB was also asked at the beginning of this contrived interview, "I know I speak for many of our members when I ask why you keep your identity secret from the general membership?" HB's reply:
"Well, the O.T.O. Manifesto in the Equinox says that the Outer Head of the Order is known only to the VIII° or higher. That's clear. Thus, my position as O.H.O. clearly requires secrecy..." and "If you think about it, this policy was probably designed as a guard against abuse of the office - autocracy is all too easily abused. ... The secrecy policy also keeps the office clean, in a fundamental way. Not only is there no fortune to be gained, there's no fame, and so the whole office and the accession to it is depoliticized, and with it the entire Order. An egomaniac would recoil with horror at the thought of submerging his precious identity in loads of work for the rest of his life! Since H.A. left a clean O.T.O. behind, it has not been an issue with us."
Sounds pretty good - if you do not think about what is being said and you merely accept it without thought - and the pity is that most of the membership and general populace would carelessly accept these superficial statements.
How can secrecy and anonymity guard against the abuse of the office and autocracy? Whether or not the autocrat's street name is known or unknown he can still abuse the office. In fact, the rule of secrecy may actually aid him by making him a mysterious and therefore interesting entity - by hiding his human failings along with his name and making him seem "infallible" more than human - and it may serve to protect him from necessary criticism and other things he should stand up to and face like a man. The "Caliph" effectively becomes two entities - one known by his magical name and the other by his street name, and it is possible that ethics could be compromised. For instance, he may be in a position [under his street name] to help the group or even himself financially although it would be forbidden if he were a known member of this group. A whole host of abuses are possible and we have here merely scratched the surface in the most general way. With the abuses the office and the order would be "dirtied" and the image of Thelema tainted.
How does the secrecy keep the "Caliph" from gaining fortune and fame? Superficially his statement sounds very nice, but it simply does not hold water. In point of fact, the secrecy may lead to a geater personal fortune by employing the two separate entities that he now possesses, and as for fame, well, by making a big secret of his identity the new "Caliph" builds interest in a person [himself] that most people probably would not otherwise have. Reveal a thing and most people find no interest in it; keep a thing secret and most people become intensely interested. It seems to me that HB is doing his very best to focus everyone's attention on him, to make himself seem more interesting than he is, to flatter his ego with the interest others have in him just because he has made such a mystery of his personal identity. And if he finally reveals his identity to the world [we should all gasp in awe here] he can continue to masturbate his ego in the more common ways.
"An egomaniac would recoil with horror at the thought of submerging his precious identity."
Sounds good, but it is very general and not always accurate. some egomaniacs might recoil with horror, but others may wear a sly smile knowing that by apparently submerging one's ego in fact builds a great interest in that ego. One is also to think, "How unselfishly noble of this man!" Besides, there are plenty of members of the required grade or higher who will know who he is so that ego can be satisfied in the usual manner while being satisifed in the more sneaky way. And of course, an egomaniac might prefer to be known by grandioise names and titles like Caliph Hymenaeus Beta, Outer Head of the Order and Frater Superior, especially if he is reminded of his subconsciously recognized insignificance by a mere name.
It is the oldest trick in the world among crass occultists to use secrecy to give a false sense of importance to matters that are not very important at all.
The new "Caliph's" arguments in defense of this policy of secrecy are superficial and inane. Then again, perhaps he himself is not even consciously aware of how his ego may be tricking him into giving it that which it feeds upon - attention and admiration - but if this is so, if he is so easily fooled by ego, should he be in such a position of [apparent] authority?
Finally, how does this policy of secrecy regarding the identity of the "Caliph" "depoliticize" the order? Whether the leadership is known by one name or another the order is still a political body and it seems to be acting more like a political than an esoteric entity. Whether one called a past President Richard Nixon or Tricky Dicky did not matter in the least for Watergate was Watergate. Get the point?
Oh, and by the way, Grady McMurtry did not leave a clean "O.T.O." behind. It's dirty. It's very dirty. How, for instance, was the first publication of the Thoth tarot deck financed? And the treatment of women who have real opinions in the gang is atrocious.
Does the new broom sweep clean? Or does it merely try to sweep things under the rug?
Grady's righthand man was one of those who argued over his deathbed about who had the rights to possessions and titles and when Grady died he raved about who should be the next Caliph and insisted that if he was not elected he would quit the order entirely. After he wiped the foam from his mouth he must have calmed down and realized that he could possibly achieve his ends better by sticking around and from working within the group. He remains a member of the group - and Hymenaeus Beta keeps him around.
This is the fellow who thinks that "the sacrifice of a child" which A.C. wrote about is mere contraception! [The Magical Link, Volume V, Number 11, November 1985 E.V.] This is the fellow who wished to pass a motion at an "O.T.O." Board of Directors meeting to forever ban G.M.Kelly from membership in their group - never mind the fact that this individual, yours truly, never sought, never had interest in, and never wishes membership in their pseudo-o.t.o., and never mind that this motion is contrary to the laws of the O.T.O. and that such a move may be considered unthelemic. Still, the new "Caliph" keeps Bill Heidrick around. Perhaps he makes a passable lap-dog. Perhaps HB had better keep him on a short leash - well muzzled.
In The Magical Link, Volume V, Number 11, the new GSG [Grand Secretary General] is announced. Here is a fellow who left a reputable publishing firm under a dark cloud after engaging in certain unethical activities. He was hooked up with Marcelo Motta at the time and hungered after the important sounding titles and degrees Motta was offering, but when things went wrong, as they always must with Motta, he ran to Grady McMurtry and switched his allegiance as easily as one changes a pair of socks. Well, he now has a fancy title and a very impressive sounding degree, never mind that they are meaningless.
Think of this: there is a man who attends "initiations" in a completely drunken and uncontrolled state of mind who later holds a Bowie knife to a young married heterosexual man and forces him to perform a sexual act with him, who later repeats this performance while under the influence of too much beer and too many "'ludes". He is a fellow who abuses hallucinogenics and after abusing his brothers and sisters verbally has to be tackled to the ground and disarmed when he takes up a machete and proceeds to run wild. This fellow is still a member of this so-called "O.T.O." and he holds a position of authority.
Does the new broom sweep clean? Apparently not. This new broom, the new "Caliph" of the pseudo-o.t.o. has swept a little dirt under the carpet and shifted the position of some of the rubbish - that is all. There is hope among the membership that this "new blood" will turn the group into what it should be and clean up the mess that Grady and Bill made of it. At the same time there is understandable concern among some of the members of the group regarding the secrecy of the "Caliph's" identity - and some of this concern comes from those who are in a position to know his identity.
Without a known street name there can be no personality cult? It is in fact more likely that a personality or ego cult will develop - the ego will simply be known as Hymenaeuss Beta - and that persona will appear to be more than human because its human failings will be, for the most part, hidden along with its street name.
We have no personal interest in the O.T.O. - it is unavoidably political and we are rather apolitical. However, we do have a professional interest in the O.T.O. and since it was the adopted child of Our Father Aleister Crowley we hate to see it perverted and would like to see the O.T.O. live and prosper. If this group is to serve Thelema and become the O.T.O. it must dissolve and reform, the many choking weeds in the garden ripped out and burnt, the falsehoods that compose its foundation must be admitted, and it must be reestablished with sincerity and honesty.
The body of this temporal order became ill and cancerous during the end of Crowley's days on earth, through no fault of his, and if it did not indeed die shortly after Crowley's death in 1947 E.V., its condition worsened. One cannot cure such an illness with bandaids, by kissing the boo boo and making it go away. No. The cure must be more drastic and effective.
[TNN.V.1.TP-4, March 1986 E.V.]
I have recently had the opportunity to read through Vol. V, Nos. 4 and 5, of The Magical Link, for which I thank two brothers, one of which did not identify himself. Indeed the appearance of the Link is much improved, especially now that William Heidrick is no longer in charge of it. Yet I seem to see only an improvement in appearance, not in substance. I think this reflects the state of the "order" as well, at least so far. One good move on the part of Hymenaeus Beta, the new "Caliph" of the group, was to see to it that Mr. Heidrick now only functions within the group in a limited capacity - which seems suitable as dear Bill seems to function with limited capacity.
Regarding some things written in Vol. V, No 4:
Kykuit Camp reported that Robert Anton Wilson is now claiming to be the only true Outer Head of the Order [O.H.O.] of the Ordo Templi Orientis [O.T.O.]. Well why not? It seems to be all the rage these days!
Thelema Lodge proudly boasts that their pseudo-o.t.o. is the "oldest continuously operating O.T.O. Lodge in the world (est. on Crowley's Birthday in 1977 e.v. during a solar eclipse..." This, however, seems to me to be nothing to brag about since it may be said that when they established themselves Our Father hid Himself in shame, or that He refused to bless their endeavor and denied them the Force and Fire to prosper - His Light. These people boast of the strangest things.
On page 3 this group gives its permission to others to publish material that was written by Aleister Crowley which is now in public domain. Generous? No. Stupid. If something is in public domain their permission is unnecessary as any interested party may publish those works. Their apparent generosity seems to me to be nothing more than the flourish of ego.
And if I thought I had financial difficulties...! They owe over $10,000.00 in legal expenses, which seems to indicate that even though Marcelo Motta lost his case against them he yet walked away with a victory! They also need lots of money for a microfilming project, H.B. needs at least $260 a month for travel expenses, $100 a month for records maintenance, $100 to $200 monthly for the Electoral College, etc., etc., etc., and in the meantime $10,000 to $12,000 is owed to the group, by its members, in unpaid back dues. That says something about the majority of the group's membership - and none of it good.
Finally, the group announces their publication of The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 10. The Table of Contents is given and while it does look interesting, there is a lot of repeated material therein, i.e. works by A.C. published elsewhere, and a good deal of material by others that is probably not worth the paper it is printed on, along with a few gems of hitherto unpublished or long O/P Crowleyana that we are all glad to see. The real objection here is to the use of the name, The Equinox - it is misleading and takes unfair advantage of the original's reputation.
[TNN.V.3.5, JULY 1986 E.V.]
In TNN V.3, p.5, it was written:
"$10,000 to $12,000 is owed to the group [the Hymenaeus (Caliphate) pseudo-o.t.o.], by its members, in unpaid back dues. That says something about the majority of the group's membership - and none of it good."
That is not necessarily true. It means nothing good for the group for it could mean [and does in many cases] that most of their members are irresponsible and dishonourable wasters, which is what you get when you sacrifice quality for quantity in building an organization, or it could mean that many of the original men and women who became dues-paying members got smart and realized that they were wasting their time and money. That latter consideration proves the relativity of "good" and "bad" dependent upon point of view since if that be the case the above statement is definitely good!
I am told that I was not altogether accurate in a past issue of TNN when I said that Helen Parsons Smith [who now no longer calls herself Soror Grimaud] is or was a friend of Grady and Phyllis McMurtry, that she was a thorn in Grady's side, mercilessly criticizing him, that her falling-outs with Phyllis are legendary, and, by the way, that William Heidrick would have become the next Caliph after Grady's death if it had not been for HPS. I am also told that Grady hated Richard Alan and Iona Miller ["Philo Stone", TNN V.2] and that their feelings about him were the same, that it was Phyllis McMurtry [Seckler] who brought RAM into their group and initiated he and his wife so that she could, as it was told to me, run the O.T.O. and the A.·.A.·. [i.e. their sham orders] through Richard Alan Miller, and furthermore, Grady did not [probably] recognize RAM's initiations via Phyllis. Can you follow all of that? I guess that HPS is supposed to be cleared of any harm the McMurtry's, her associates in the group, may have caused, and that Grady is to be cleared of responsibility for Richard Miller, and ... or ... oh, who bloody cares! The only thing I see is that there is no order in this supposed Order and that no one gets along well with anyone else, ego conflicts and intrigues are abundant in this "fraternal" body, and that no one stands firm for another, and no one cares to accept responsibility ... and ... well ... it simply does not sound much like a fraternal Thelemic Order to me as it lacks fraternity, Thelemic integrity and order! What do you think?
[TNN.V.4.TP, September 1986 E.V.]
Since the writing of the above the identity of the "Caliph" has been revealed to be Bill Breeze, although not voluntarily by Breeze himself. Mr. Breeze seems to be getting out of the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o. what he could not get out of Grant's Typhonian pseudo-o.t.o. and later Motta's S.O.T.O.. The membership provides him with the funds to travel around the world, "on business", acquiring rare works by Crowley that so far, in all these years, the membership has hardly even had a glimpse of. When something is published, Breeze rides Crowley's coattails into history by adding his name, introductions, prefaces, forwards and annotations to them - the only way he can make a name for himself, by attaching it to Crowley's. And of course this very unimpressive fellow, considered a pest by more than one publishing house ["pest" is not a word they use, but merely a polite synonym], and in his efforts to make himself the sole legal distributor of Crowleyana in order to profit [quite unfairly] from the Prophet, he has discouraged greater publication and distribution of the works of Aleister Crowley by others who do not wish to get involved the legal battles funded by membership dues and initiation fees, thus impeding the further establishment of Thelema in a society that sadly needs it - and all for petty personal gain - attention, monetary gain and let us not fforget the dull witted little groupies that do not know any better. Strong, dominate, intelligent women with a mind and will of their own, it seems, turn off to Breeze and the very hypocritically chauvinistic Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o..