"It is better to have only a comparitively small number of capable members than a great many useless ones."
- Mysteria Mystica Maxima by Franz HHartmann
EQUINOX, Volume III, Number 10
"To become a member of the O.T.O. is to hitch your wagon to a star."
- Liber CLXI, Ibid.
Circa 1978-79 E.V. Morton Press in England published what it called The New Equinox. The intention was obviously to continue where Aleister Crowley had left off with The Equinox "magazine" which he had created. The New Equinox was an ill-printed magazine. Its only worth was the minute amount of rare Crowleyana that it published - all else was sheer rubbish that looked like rubbish and which did not in the least live up to the high standards of The Equinox. Thank the Gods The New Equinox is now gone - in fact, the "Gods" may have even had a hand in putting it to rest!
1975 E.V. saw the publication of The Commentaries of AL, "being THE EQUINOX VOLUME V No. 1 by ALEISTER CROWLEY and another". It was published by Samuel Weiser, Inc. and the "another" was Marcelo Ramos Motta - who was quick, nonetheless, to let readers know who and what he was, or thought he was. This particular book was a travesty that we have dealt with elsewhere. Motta deleted a great deal of Crowley's original material, perverted some of that which he did not delete, and proceeded to fill the book with his own rubbish that was often contrary to A.C.'s commentaries and Thelema in general. Motta followed this with further books which he had to publish through his own so-called Thelema Publishing Co. - this first pseudo-Equinox volume by Mottaa was the only one published by an established publisher. Again, about the only thing of worth in this so-called Equinox series was the rare Crowleyana, although apparently Motta simply lifted much of his Crowleyana from the editions published by others before him. One thing that can be said about Motta's pseudo-Equinox is that it was at least very well and attractively printed and bound. That is much more than can be said about The New Equinox and the subject of this review.
By the way, isn't it nice to have silence from Marcelo Ramos Motta? Have the "Gods" struck again? - using others as [often witless] instruments for Their work.
That makes at least two times that others have tried to capitalize on the name and reputation of The Equinox which was primarily written by Aleister Crowley, thereby misleading students of Magick and Thelema. However, as anyone who was raised by grandparents on a farm [such as yours truly] should know, bad things come in threes. 1986 E.V. sees the publication of the so-called Equinox, Volume III, Number 10, edited by Hymenaeus Beta of the Hymenaeus [Caliphate] pseudo-o.t.o.. For the sake of brevity we will from this point on refer to this book as the "b-EQ" since it is correctly dubbed by yours truly as the "bastard-EQUINOX", for surely it is an illegitimate child - and not even of the father that we know as To Mega Therion.
Don't these people have any originality? Must they continue to mislead and misrepresent? Do they have to unfairly capitalize upon the good name and excellent reputation of The Equinox? Apparently they feel that they must, and apparently they have not learned from the mistakes of their predecessors.
For a softcover book it is well printed, although the back pages of the gift copy I received from a friend and associate, received still in the plastic wrapping, fell out while carefully reading it. And, as one would expect, the book which normally would have cost $8.95 or $9.95 from any other publisher costs $15.00 - and the black and white photographs in the book, one of its few good features, is no excuse for that.
There are in the b-EQ poems. Not only are they nowhere near the high quality of those poems which appeared in The Equinox, but they are typical poems by typical occultists. They ramble on with contrived imagery, no effort to make them rhyme is made - I personally think most occultists have no sense of rhythm, which should make Thelemic Magick impossible for them, and lack rhyme and reason - and they are just, well, awful. By comparison, these poems make those written by yours truly in TNN seem excellent - and I am the first to admit that my skills as a poet are quite crude and immature. By the way, remember, I differentiate between "occultists" and "serious students of magic/k and mysticism". I accept the general definition of "occultist", but it is generally used as an unflattering term in my personal vocabulary.
There is, in the b-EQ, a good bit of trash and I think I would lump the material on Kenneth Anger in this category.
As I have said, there are some interesting photographs in this book - pictures of C. S. Jones, Frater Saturnus and his wife, and so forth - and there is a little rare Crowleyana andd material by others that if not of practical value have some historical value. However, this makes up a small portion of the book, the rubbish takes up space and pads the b-EQ, plus, the majority of works are obtainable elsewhere, such as the so-called Blue Equinox. Of course there are reasons for this, but let's take things one step at a time.
It should be noted that facing the title pages there is a page with the O.T.O. seal and name. Under "MYSTERIA MYSTICA MAXIMA", employed as a seal of the M.M.M., is one of the Golden Dawn wands, which seems rather inappropriate, and the seal of Baphomet has been perverted by having a crudely drawn representation of the cartouche of Ankh-af-na-khonsu stuck into it. Naturally the signature of Hymenaeus Beta follows. The things some people will sign!
The b-EQ is published by "THELEMA PUBLICATIONS/A Publications Division of Ordo Templi Orientis/JAF Box 7666, New York, N.Y. 10116" - just in case you wanted to know. Looks like Motta and the Thelema Publishing Co. all over again.
HB [Hymenaeus Beta, the current "Caliph" of the pseudo-o.t.o.] says in the Introduction,
"My predecessor as head of the O.T.O., Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha 777 X°, rescued the O.T.O. from the brink of extinction."
The fact of the matter is that HA [Grady Louis McMurtry] was never properly elected nor was he appointed to the office of O.H.O. by either Aleister Crowley or Karl Germer and the so-called "Caliph Letters" from Crowley do not in any way identify the late Mr. McMurtry as the Outer Head of the Order. The term "Caliph", relatively meaningless in the O.T.O. system, a term actually applied to the leaders of the original enemies of the Knights Templar, was given to him with typical Crowleyesque tongue-in-cheek only to flatter his ego so that A.C. could use the then young fool as his messenger boy while desperately trying to hold together the last remaining O.T.O. lodge. Crowley had little choice. They were separated by an ocean and A.C. was poor and old, in ill health, and World War II was going on. Meanwhile, in Pasadena, California, the members of the original Agape Lodge were getting way out of control. One brother is reported to have taken off with another's wife and order funds, while the abandoned husband was going further and further out of his mind until he finally blew himself to bits in what is commonly termed an accident. Later another brother ended up establishing a huge money-making institution that has often been investigated with good reason, while yet another brother eventually returned to England after being expelled to there pervert the O.T.O. and Thelema in books, falsely claiming to be the one and only true O.H.O. of the O.T.O.. Motta, it should be remembered, was associated with the original Agape Lodge. In short, nothing good came out of this group. This was not Crowley's fault, nor was it the fault of Thelema. The fault lies with the individuals themselves. Out of this group came Hymenaeus Alpha. He abused the minor and temporary limited authority that Crowley gave him, but much much later when there would be no one to seriously oppose him, during his old age when friends, servants and supppliers of various goods were desired by him. He did not rescue the O.T.O. - he merely set in motion the further damnation of the order that Germer had so wisely tried to end. There is a lot said against Karl Germer for not initiating new members into the Agape Lodge and simply allowing things to go to hell, but it seems obvious that that man of them all in that last O.T.O. Lodge may have been a true Thelemite and wise man. He saw the insanities developing and growing in the original Agape Lodge, found that there was nothing that could be done to correct matters, and, probably with a heavy heart, allowed it to die in the hope that at some later date the O.T.O. could be reborn, resurrected from the ashes as the mythological Phoenix, to start afresh. Far from rescuing the O.T.O., the late Mr. McMurtry, for his own petty personal reasons, continued the madness of the Agape Lodge which now proceeds to misrepresent Thelema in the 80's as Frater Saturnus had hoped would not happen. Necromantically the rotting corpse, without the original soul, the life force that is the true being, was raised up from the grave and is now being used like a zombie to further the personal aims of various individuals who claim to be Thelemites but often prove to be very unthelemic indeed. Extinction was probably the best thing for the O.T.O.'s last lodge in Pasadena - after all, it is only a temporal order, i.e. temporary, a body that has a birth and must also have a natural death, unlike the A.·.A.·., a supernal order.
And I find it to be a significant fact that since the passing of Grady McMurtry, the Grand Lodge not only changed location, moving from California to New York, but that it took the name of that last lodge from whence so much insanity and perversion came - the Agape Lodge. But let us get back to the b-EQ.
Reprinted in the b-EQ is the following:
LIBER B VEL MAGI SUB FIGURA I: Originally in Equinox I.7 - Volume I having been republished by Samuel Weiser. It should be noted that it is here listed as a Class A document as it is in the Syllabus of EQ I.10 whereas in EQ I.7 where it originally appeared it was listed as Class B.
LIBER II THE MESSAGE OF THE MASTER THERION: From EQ III.1 [the Blue Equinox] - republished by Weiser as well. Quotations from CCXX [Liber AL vel Legis, The Book of the Law] III.60 should be "There is no law...", small L; actually it should be "l" but in EQ III.1 it was originally "L". This sort of thing can get a little confusing here. In some of the original printings there were some errors that the pseudo-o.t.o. sought to correct, but of course they ended up making some of their own mistakes along the way and here we are going to try to point all of this out since the style of letter is important, at least in quotations from CCXX.
"Law" in the CCXX I.29 quotations is correct although it was originally "law", but the Theta in Thelema was probably supposed to be lower case and not a capital. We will not bother to point out every little error in the b-EQ, such as the semi-colon [;] where a colon [:] originally appeared before the quotation from CCXX I.41, but there are some that cannot be ignored such as the skipping of an entire sentence: "It should now be perfectly simple for everybody to understand the Message of the Master Therion." This should follow "The obvious ... be appointed."
LIBER AL VEL LEGIS SUB FIGURA CCXX AS DELIVERED BY XCIII * 418 TO DCLXVI: Published in EQ I.10 and elsewhere, frequently. Here we go: I.39, Theta in Thelema probably should not be capitalized; 49, no comma after "Isa" the second time as there is in EQ I.10, but this appears correct; 51 has a period after "highest" as it appears in the original handwritten version although it has a semi-colon in EQ I.10; III.17, there is no comma in the b-EQ after "men" as there was in EQ I.10 and the handwritten version and so there should be; 34, the accent mark in "globèd" should be as here and not slanted the other way as the b-EQ has it [i.e. it should be a grave and not an acute accent]; 43, "through" was originally misspelled "though" in EQ I.10 but looking at the handwritten MS it seems that it may have originally been so misspelled; and 57, the second semi-colon seems to have been a colon in EQ I.10 and the MS version. Well ... that wasn't so bad!
LIBER DCCCXXXVII THE LAW OF LIBERTY: From EQ III.1 and here the b-EQ fouls up by having "DCCXXXVII" on the title page. There were a number of errors in the original version which the pseudo-o.t.o. tries to correct with decent success. We cannot go into all of them here. [Would you really want us to?]
LIBER CCC KHABS AM PEKHT: From EQ III.1 - more minor errors corrected.
LIBER CL VEL NOL DE LEGE LIBELLUM ["NOL" represents the Hebrew letters Nun, Ayin and Lamed, not here easily reproduceable]: From EQ III.1 - originally "A SANDAL" was under the Hebrew characters in the title. There are minor differences between EQ III.1 and this b-EQ version although the b-EQ also spells "ecstasy" as did EQ III.1, i.e. "ecstacy". Top line of page 67 in the b-EQ, "Now then will do" should be "Now they ..."
LIBER LIBRAE SUB FIGURA XXX: From EQ I.1 - a few minor differences in the b-EQ.
MYSTERIA MYSTICA MAXIMA: From EQ I.8 - more minor differences.
LIBER CVI CONCERNING DEATH: From INT [the International magazine], Dec. 1917 E.V., page 365 - various differences.
LIBER XV ECCLESIAE GNOSTICAE CATHOLICAE CANON MISSAE: From EQ III.1 and Magick in Theory and Practice - various differences between all three versions, actually all four counting the version printed in the International. There are more differences in the listing of the saints. Fra. HaLayL is credited with the preparation of this version of Liber XV and he seems to fancy himself a Greek scholar, however, on page 133 he has "SOMA" in Greek, Sigma, Omicron, Mu, Alpha, an accent mark over the O, as it is in Magick, without the accent mark, but ignores the fact that in EQ III.1 it is "SOMA" with a horizontal mark over the English O showing the correct Greek spelling of "soma" or "body" - Omega or long-O and not Omicron or short-O. Page 136 has "DIA" in Greek, Delta, Iota, Alpha, accent mark over the I, with a footnote and the footnote says "Probably should be DIA." [in Greek characters, no accent mark -ED] Of course it should be, but HaLayL fails to point out that the original mistake in Magick was "OIA".
LIBER DCXXXIII DE THAUMATURGIA: From INT, Feb. 1918 E.V. - various small differences that we can live with except where the b-EQ has "Black Magick". Originally it was correctly spelled "Black Magic".
LIBER LXXVII OZ: Published in many works many times but not with the b-EQ error, that being the first quotation from CCXX being labelled "AL II:2" when it should be verse "21".
LIBER CLXI CONCERNING THE LAW OF THELEMA: From EQ III.1 - a single minor difference - "percent" on page 150 of the b-EQ but "per cent." inEQ III.1. Such differences are not important, still ...
LIBER LII MANIFESTO OF THE O.T.O.: From EQ III.1 - minor differences. It is worth notiing that the pseudo-o.t.o. is far more forgiving than the O.T.O. was in regards to members who fail to pay dues. We think this is probably more because of a need to "prove" a certain number of members than to kindness on the part of the pseudo-o.t.o..
LIBER CI AN OPEN LETTER TO THOSE WHO MAY WISH TO JOIN THE ORDER: From EQ III.1 - minor differences again, most amusing of which is on page 167 where instead of "join the Order" in paragraph 40 the b-EQ has the word "joint", which probably shows where their heads are usually at! Page 169 in the first column of paragraph 51, "P.R.S. Six weeks." and in the second column, "S.G.C. Three months." are stupidly repeated.
LIBER CXCIV AN INTIMATION WITH REFERENCE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE ORDER: Originally published in EQ III.1 corrects the spelling of "Plebeian" incorrectly. That is to say, this is how it was spelled in EQ III.1 and how it should be spelled but the b-EQ spells it "Plebian".
SYSTEM OF THE O.T.O.: Originally letter #13 from Magick Without Tears where a colon follows "ab ovo usque ad mala".
WHAT IS FREEMASONRY?: an excerpt from The Confessions of Aleister Crowley - they say from pages 700 - 704 but really from pages 700 - 710 of the 1969 E.V. Hill and Wang edition, deleting about 24 very informative paragraphs.
The point of all of this really has nothing to do with errors and differences. The point is this: out of these 18 works by Aleister Crowley only 2 are not otherwise easily available to students and 16 of them can be found elsewhere and are unnecessarily repeated here. Of course the current difficulty in obtaining The Equinox, Volume I, Numbers 1-10, and Volume III, Number 1, gives them an excuse, but more than anything this is an "excuse" to pad their book while showing their "poverty" in regards to the Crowleyana actually at their disposal.
Pages 87 to 112 of the b-EQ really amounts to nothing better than an advertisement tyring to recruit members. And the whitewash regarding certain members of their pseudo-o.t.o. as well as the twists of truth [discussed elsewhere in TNN] are disgusting. Here again we hear the boast [page 97]:
"the Order has grown to its largest size ever. With Lodges, Oases and Camps in the U.S., Canada, England, South America, Germany, Norway, the Balkans, New Zealand and Australia ..."
Sounds very impressive and it is supposed to, but they once made the mistake of bragging in The Magickal [sic] Link that they had 500 members - well - 500 is not a large number for a worldwide organisation and in that same Link they cried about all of the dues that members owed to them and were not paying and this, by the rules of the O.T.O., ends their membership, so in fact that 500 is a phantom number and their membership is even less than this. Upon an investigation into the group it is found that very few of the pseudo-o.t.o. members are valuable, working participants in the group's activities. Most of the members of this group are either loafers and wasters "into" the "O.T.O." because of the drugs, drink, sex and ego-gratification they desire, while others are not really members any more - they are just hanging in, quietly, non-productively, hoping that things will get better and the group will become what it has always pretended to be. It is a vain hope.
In O.T.O. V. MOTTA, sort of a continuation of the "advertisement", they blow their own horn about the great victory won over Marcelo Ramos Motta. The big court case was a matter that took 5 days, total number of hours probably not even adding up to a day, there was no jury, and it was fought between two lawyers, Motta's having nothing to work with and that making the little that McMurtry's lawyer had to work with all that was needed to win the case. The judge, of course, who made the rulings, may be very learned in civil law, but we must remember he is virtually ignorant of Thelema, the O.T.O. and Aleister Crowley, and this is the kind of thing that makes Justice blind in the negative sense of the phrase [as opposed to unbiased]. The battle was a no win situation for Motta since he had nothing to back up his claims and is so obviously mad it is a wonder he has never been locked away. Phyllis Seckler [née Wade, McMurtry, a.k.a. Soror Meral], Grady McMurtry, Helen Parsons Smith and James Wasserman all sued Motta for libelous statements that he made about them. For the most part those statements were libelous and Motta, for his stupidity and pettiness, deserved to be sued, yet I feel that this was a cheap shot. As you should know, I too was libelously slandered by Motta in that same book, however, I saw no reason to make matters worse for Motta than he had already made them for himself, no reason to go through the trouble of a court case from which I would probably not see the money that would be awarded to me for damages, as those mentioned above, and besides, I do not feel that his stupid slanders damaged my reputation, but apparently the above mentioned people feel that the silly fool had had an effect upon them and their businesses.
What did the Hymenaeus pseudo-o.t.o. get out of this terrific [ahum] court case?
They were given the exclusive right to use "the name Thelema". That is to say, they can have Thelema Publications but Motta can no longer call his company "Thelema Publishing Co." and if I wanted to, which I do not, I could not change "Newaeon Productions" to "Thelema Productions". There is talk of "unfair competition" to justify this but it still seems to be a miscarriage of Justice, giving the pseudo-o.t.o. an unfair monopoly of "the name of Thelema." However, it should be remembered that Thelema as a word or term cannot be restricted - so do not start writing "Th----a" to avoid angering the pseudo-o.t.o.. It is not necessary. Even a judge cannot give them exclusive rights to the Greek word "Thelema". If this legal restriction could be made then why not gain exclusive rights to, say, the English word "Will" and every time someone used it sue! Absurd.
Also they were awarded "all other materials copyrighted in the United States about Ordo Templi Orientis". Seems like a big thing, but it isn't. Crowley actually wrote very little about the O.T.O. and this is restricted to that which was copyrighted in the U.S..
They were also awarded, as a result of this case, "all other writings by Aleister Crowley which are not in the public domain." Now this really sounds like something important, but again the facts are not as impressive. A great many of Aleister Crowley's works are in the public domain, i.e. free from copyright and thus available to anyone who wishes to republish the material. Sometimes a copyright notice in a book does not cover the text of the work, but the editors' annotations and preface or introduction only.
There are two things that the late Grady McMurtry and his surviving pseudo-o.t.o. remind me of: (1) an old fashion, old west, general store with its large, brightly painted false front behind which was the usual small rude wooden building, and (2) a balloon - large looking and brightly coloured to look attractive but really of very little substance, fragile, fairly transparent and mostly composed of hot air.
The pseudo-o.t.o. follows the tradition of the late Mr. McMurtry who knew A.C. only briefly and superficially due to a few brief visits during World War II and who later exaggerated this to make it seem like he had spent a lot of time with Crowley and was his private, personal student. Crowley's tobacconist probably knew him much better and shared more with Crowley.
Now think about this - not to blow my own horn, but just to make you think about the relative worth[lessness] of the late Mr. McMurtry and his group by comparison to someone and something else:
McMurtry, "Caliph" of the "O.T.O." wrote only a few articles in the Link - trivial little things that talk about the inability of roaches to belch and fart, written badly, and often lapsing into tired old war stories - which one would expect from a senile old man who was never anything but boring. He wrote nothing of worth and his poems were extremely crude and immature. G.M.Kelly, besides such things as the Greek Qabalah and the "novel" he is currently working on, had given readers and students an education in reasoning through the Sword of Horus, and so much more by this feature article; poems more instructive than McMurtry's or those of his entire group, and reviews more helpful than those written by anyone in the pseudo-o.t.o. gang; valuable analyses of such works as The Great Beast by John Symonds that, among other things, helps to correct the misconceptions regarding Crowley and Thelema, and gives students material to back up their arguments when defending these; enjoyable and informative pieces such as the "Castle of the Silver Star" stories; Liber MDCCLXXVI sub figura DCLXXVII, Liber MLXI The Message of the Master Keallach, Liber Rationis sub figura MCDXCVII, investigating CCXX via the gematria of the Greek Qabalah in an intelligent manner, "An Account of the Crossing of the Abyss", and other magical works; Liber CMXXII sub figura MCXXX being Parsifal: A Brief Initiated Interpretation and Explanation, as well as Liber DCCCXCVIII sub figura CMLXXX being The Odyssey, etc., a work in progress; and the Newaeon Encyclicals dealing intelligently and in great detail with such matters as "The Nature of the Beast". Et cetera. And Mr. McMurtry had over sixty years to accomplish something [other than the resurrection of a rotting corpse] while the above work by Kelly* was really only begun in 1977 E.V. and represents just the very beginning.
Compare the publications, The Magical Link and The Newaeon Newsletter - the former is ill- and boringly produced and seldom contains anything of interest let alone worth, while the latter, TNN, contains the above information/material and much more, and for less money, and on schedule, always delivering as promised, contrary to the Link's earned reputation.
Now, Newaeon is not [at present] an iniatory body. It receives no dues and subscription money received for TNN is not even enough to pay for the printing, copyrighting and distribution. Newaeon is made up of individual cells along A.·.A.·. lines, each independent and on one's own for the most part. With only a typewriter at his disposal, Kellyproduces TNN as part of his responsibility to Newaeon. However, more of worth and quality is produced by Newaeon and Kelly than by the pseudo-o.t.o. which receives large dues payments [when it receives any!], has more people working for it [okay, who could be working for it] and who has computers and other machines at their disposal. [1998 E.V.: of course things change and thanks to the generosity of three people, I now have a computer, scanner and printer to work with.]
None of this is to say "Oh how wonderful Newaeon is, don't you agree?" but rather this: We have a man who claims to be something great, who lived a very long time, and yet has nothing to show for all that after his passing and is easily shown up by a young man who has just started his work. We have two organizations, one small and with few resources that has nonetheless done much more of worth than the other that is large [although not as large as they would have us believe] and has many resources at their disposal and yet what do they have to show for it? Oh yes, they have published some works by Aleister Crowley, but you will notice that the vast majority of those works were hitherto published by other publishers and are otherwise obtainable and from the vast resources of Crowleyana they brag about they have only dribbled out a little to lure dues-paying members and to avoid showing just how bankrupt they really are.
As you can see this review of the so-called Equinox III.10 is also a review of the group of people who put it together and published it. But that is not unusual nor unfitting for "The Sword of Horus".
The Hymenaeus pseudo-o.t.o. is nothing but a balloon - little actual substance and full of hot air - actually hardly worth too much attention from Newaeon, and sooner or later the balloon will be punctured and deflated.
The Equinox III.10 [so-called] is much like the group that put it out. Out of 287 pages there are really only about 56 pages of relatively new and worthwhile material, and here we are being kind, counting photographs and half pages or less as whole pages, including the works of Achad, Ramaka and Merlin which are only worthwhile as historical pieces. Think of it: if you have the works already published in The real Equinox you are being asked to pay more than $15.00 for less than 56 pages of material and only a small portion of which by A.C. has any real/practical value for you. Sounds like you the student are being taken advantage of, doesn't it?
If you are a diehard Crowley fan like me the small percentage of rare Crowleyana in the b-EQ makes the price worthwhile, but then I have paid much more for less Crowleyana before for the sake of Newaeon. Otherwise ... well ... $15.00 is a lot of money ... and the pseudo-o.t.o. will just waste it if they get it ... or worse ... use it to further misrepresent Thelema and the memory of Our Father the Beast 666.
[*Speaking of "self" from an "outside" and objective point of view.]
ADDENDUM: "The O.H.O. is only known to members of the VIII° and IX°." This sentence from Liber LII is one of those which the new "Caliph" hides behind on the pretext of trying to be true to the original plan for the order. The pseudo-o.t.o. as a whole uses secrecy as a lure and a mask. In the September/October edition of The Magical Link, Vol. V, No. 9/10, they show some bad press the O.T.O.'s recently gotten then again try to justify their secrecy with "Crowley always held that while he generally disliked secrecy, its main function was to protect the Order from the 'calumny and scorn of the ignorant.'" But they keep ignoring the fact that times have changed and a policy of secrecy is a damning thing these days, whereas if one is open, honest and up front, not only will others take less interest in one's activities, but everything will be on public record for inspection to prove the lies of the ignorant who would slander and profane. But such good sense defeats the true purpose of their secrecy.
[TNN.V.6.6-9, January 1987 E.V.]