It has been reported that Phyllis Evelina Pratt, Soror Meral of the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o., was born on the 18th of June, 1917 E.V. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Married thrice, she kept the name of her first husband, Paul H. Seckler, Jr., with whom she had two daughters and a son who in turn provided her with four grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Phyllis abandoned the name McMurtry, apparently often at odds with one of her husbands, Grady Louis McMurtry, with whom she shares the responsibility for raising the corpse of the dead Ordo Templi Orientis in Pasadena, California for less than altruistic reasons.
It was Jane Wolfe, an actress who had some contact with Aleister Crowley but who did not garner his favour, who introduced Phyllis to the last remaining lodge of the O.T.O. in Pasadena which she joined in 1939. And it was Jane who, without authorization or in the proper manner of the time, provided Phyllis with a bogus A.·.A.·. membership certification that eventually led to an equally bogus “lineage”. Phyllis later created the “College of Thelema”, but to judge by its “fruits” and both transcripts and audio recordings of her lectures, she provided a poor education in Thelema and the Qabalah, often making glaring errors and misstatements.
She was also an art teacher at Livermore High School, having earned a Master of Arts degree from UCLA in 1955 according to the Caliphate, and said to have been an accomplished painter. I have seen some examples of her art and admit there was talent there, perhaps a talent that would have been better nurtured within the embrace of Thelema rather than stifled by the grip of the Caliphate pseudo-o.t.o.
She, like Helen Parsons Smith, only more so, was often at odds with the Caliphate and its original leader, Grady McMurtry, Frater Hymeanaeus Alpha 777, and while she and the group were “in bed together”, it was a stormy relationship to say the least.
As it was with Helen, Phyllis and I exchanged a great many letters and some gifts, and she too often tried to coax me into joining the Caliphate, of course before The Newaeon Newsletter began criticizing the gang. However, after those articles appeared she continued to correspond with me, sharing her thoughts and feelings regarding Grady, Bill Heidrick and others, as well as the Caliphate in general. If you ever got the impression that the gang was one big happy family, you were misled. Members of the Caliphate would chuckle at this and quote “As brothers fight ye”, but this disorganized “organization” was and remains something worse than a dysfunctional family.
Whereas I believe Helen Parson Smith hoped that I would become a member of the “Ordo Templi Orientis” and help to straighten out the mess that is known as the Caliphate, I feel certain that Phyllis Seckler wished me to join so that I might be used as a puppet whom she could manipulate to eventually seize power and take control of the gang. Needless to say, seeing the Caliphate for what it is I not only did not wish to involve myself in its lies, hypocrisy and insanity, but also I certainly had no intention of being anyone’s puppet--even if, giving her the benefit of the doubt, Meral’s intentions were good.
At the age of 86, Phyllis Seckler died on the 31st of May in Oroville, California. As was the case in regards to Helen Parsons Smith’s death, the family, honouring Phyllis’s wishes, did not hold funeral services, and I suspect that this was, at least in part, because Soror Meral and her family did not wish to stain the proceedings of her final “feast” with the hypocrisy and idiocy of the Caliphate.
22nd of September 2008 E.V.
The Autumnal Equinox