by Marco Visconti
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Disclaimer: this article could be titled “5 Things To Expect After Leaving The Golden Dawn”, especially the David Griffin variation. Or “5 Things To Expect After Leaving Asatru”. Some, if not all, the reasons behind the decision of writing this piece are sadly common to many different Traditions nowadays.
…after a whole year of reading about the rise of the alt-right neo fascism inside Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) and many other new religious traditions like neo-paganism and Theosophy, and seeing how its leadership either supports it, is silent about it, or tries to do something about it but being seemingly incredibly slow at it, and after having read how that poisonous mentality might in fact be the driving force behind all the instances of abuse that are being reported all over the globe…
…you finally decided to quit the Order.
What can you expect next, and what should you do about it?
1 – You May Be Ostracised
Let’s start with the bad news: you can expect ostracism, ridicule, and general unpleasantness from those who called you Sister or Brother just a mere day before. The most common reaction will be to just pretend you never existed: those who constantly checked on you will disappear into thin air, and you will see all of those part of the “family” stop commenting on your posts on social media – if you are working in that environment for your brand, be prepared to take the hit, as all your supporters will show their true colours and tell you, in no short terms, that they never truly liked or supported your efforts.
There will be few and far between, those few actual Adepts, that will still honour the bonds and care for the friendship: but for the most, you will be as dead and buried.
2 – You May Be Made the Target of Slander and Libel
This is less common than the previous point, but still if your “betrayal” will be considered particularly heinous, especially in the event you decided to speak plainly and publicly about your experience, you can expect a number of your ex “Brethren” – usually not those of your local Chapter/Lodge/Oasis/Camp, but belonging to different Grand Lodges or National Section, i.e. those who never met you in the flesh – that will go every possible length to downplay, silence, or destroy you and your words.
Consider these the “antibodies” of a vampiric egregore fighting for its survival, and you are currently the cancerous cell gone mad. They will try to fight you to the death, because they cannot survive with the “best Order of the world” delusion: there are plenty of academic-level studies on this kind of cult- and sectarian-like behaviour, you to just have to google one to see the length these people are willing to go to make sure you “go away”. The techniques of the book “Antagonists In The Church” has been used for over a decade now to deal with people like you and me: it might be a good idea to get a copy and read it, so you can recognise the incoming attacks. It seems that very book destroyed the Church of All Worlds.
3 – You Will Feel Alone and Disconnected… For a While
There is just no way of avoiding this step.
Be prepared for it, and be honest with yourself: if you know you don’t have a steel resolve, and if you know you cannot take stress easily, just disappear for a while – your mental and physical health are more important than anything else. Moreover, you have already done your part by ending the feeding of said vampiric egregore.
Take yourself out of social media, avoid going to those places where you might end up meeting your former fellow Initiates, and simply take it as a bad breakup.
I do hope, however, most of you reading this are able to go the distance and keep up the fight for Truth: Liber Ararita, Chapter V, might be a good meditation in these trying times. And as with every bad breakup, after a while you will make sense of your own pain, realise the other side has already moved on and forgot you, and you will be able to start anew: this is where things get interesting.
4 – You Will See the Countless Shortcomings of the Order
This is the step where those who you who did leave without realising the full extent of the situation will start to see how deep the rot runs.
There are no High Adepts you should aspire to, only fourth-rate bureaucrats that, in the 40-odd years since McMurtry re-established (read: bootstrapped) the Order, failed to put in action the Blue Equinox model or even propose a coherent model for the modern times. Or to keep the Crowley’s literary corpus in constant print, providing both deluxe and cheap editions. And your dues are paying their salaries and their travels/hotels around the world. Think about it.
The Secret of the IX Degree has been published for decades, just google for “Liber C – Agape vel Azoth” and “Emblems and Methods”: with a bit of personal study, you can understand what those papers mean by yourself in a few weeks – after all, Crowley used to recognise one as IX only if the individual showed him previous knowledge of the formula. This should have been the “serious and hard work” of the Order, and as it stands only around 30 people in the world have been invited by Hymenaeus Beta (according to one of the members of the Sovereign Sanctuary that resigned after the last Aeropagus meeting in Barcelona in June 2018 e.v.), most of them only due to their administrative duties. In case you are wondering: yes, it’s a big scam.
So… what does really the OTO has to offer? Oh yes, “Brotherhood”.
I will admit this is tricky, because it seems to me a lot of you really need to belong somewhere, to have this kind of para-esoteric dysfunctional family, since those of your birth are possibly even worse. I can only say, do what thou wilt.
But, please, stop peddling the corporate lie about “Brotherhood”: you belong to a cult, and one that does not suffer different opinions, and one where the Men Of Earth can aspire as much as they want to the next level, in proper thelemic fashion, but unless they keep their mouths shut and their heads low, will forever be like the plebeians at the time of Menenius Agrippa – just to quote from one of the founding documents of the Order.
5 – You are Finally Free to Widen Your Horizons
One of the constant narratives heard while inside OTO is that Thelema begins and ends with it, with few others being called also to aspire to the A∴A∴ – of course, only of the Breeze-approved variation, the one fronted by J.Daniel Gunther.
And that is an outright lie, down to the numbers of the membership: looking at the official reports of USGL, we see just over 1600 active members, while zealots and true believers try to make the point that we should count inactives too. And that’s the biggest section by far.
If you want the OTO Initiations, you can only find them within the OTO, as those of us who went through them swore oaths never to user the same rituals outside its bonds. But even starting to look at the celebration of Liber XV, the Gnostic Mass, you will be able to find other Gnostic Churches fully empowered to administer the virtues to the Brethren.
And while the Order’s potentially only true success has been establishing a monopoly of control of the official Thelemic pages on social media (at the same time, while ostracising those who founded, and ran them for over a decade now), putting a little work and not stopping at the first hit on Google or Facebook will show you how Thelema exists, and thrives, beyond Ordo Templi Orientis.
This is where you stop being a slave in the bonds of the Order, and you start doing your Will – and the Universe is literally conspiring with you towards that very end. The work you might have done while a part of the Order does not go to waste, since you will take that foundation and those relationships with other Stellar beings with you.
However… the Temple is no longer confined to the Order, and the conversation continues elsewhere.
Think about it for a second: you are now literally free to go out and set up the sex cult you always wanted after watching “Strange Angel”! Or, jokes aside, you can truly escape the trappings of the gendered language of the Brotherhood.
In closing, I can tell you that it was in snapping out of the glamour the Order placed me under that I found my voice, after years slaving away as a cog in the machine: Thelema truly is the Law of Force and Fire, of Beauty and Ecstasy and Leaping Laughter. By acknowledging it, you are finally enabling yourself to listen to the voice of the Self beyond self, and take the hand offered to you to go explore all Life and all Death and all That Which Remains beyond it: embrace Love under Will and drink plenty the milk of Our Lady of the Stars.
Love is the law, love under will.
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18 thoughts on “5 Things To Expect After Leaving OTO”
This is why I recommend to OTO members to also have other groups and interests. Diversity is important in one’s magical friend set as everywhere else. Then you are free to enjoy what each brings, including the positive experiences of MMM initiations, while also building resilience. Your experience is both shared and contradicted by the experience of others – I certainly talk to people who have left the order and people in other Thelemic groups. I wish you well on your way.
“After quitting an order I took multiple oaths to join, I’m surprised that people in that oathed-group no longer treat me like a besti. Even worse they may now speak the shit-talking they once held in check due to your oaths. Wow. Crazy.”
I would suggest you go and look what happen in the Perfect Initiate degree.
I’m sorry for what you went through. I object to the use of the word “cult” in this article, though. I suggest that other reader have a look at what happens to people when they leave the Church of Scientology, for comparison’s sake. If an ex-Scientologist published an article like this, what would happen to them? I doubt that it would be published on the Scientologist union’s website. To me this sounds closer to leaving a Masonic group or a spiritual community. Remember that all of these organizations are made up of human beings. Still, this is no easy thing for a person to go though, and I wish well.
It might be these are the early stages towards a Scientology-like approach. One of the zealots have been throwing accuses of “perfidy”, in a classic Miscavige-like style.
Man has the right to speak as he will. You may object to the word “cult” all you wish, but that’s what is being described here–a cult that, if you leave, quickly slanders you.
This accurately describes my experience as a woman, after being suspended for lodging complaints of systemic abuses of local high ranking men, then expelled without cause at their boy’s club request. Blocking the local bootlickers and zealots on social media is the only thing that kept the abusive stalking and slander away. I found removing even people I liked but who posted constantly about the OTO was the best for my mental peace, because it was, in retrospect, a coercive and abusive environment that left scars, and healing requires space.
I am sorry to hear about it. Unfortunately, this is just one of the many, many stories I have heard who paint the same picture: a worrying one.
Your story is far too common.
I left the OTO in 2000 after attaining KEW, earning the invitation to V, and serving as chartered initiator. I blew the whistle on a drug dealer who sold his wares during meetings, a camp master who was experimenting on his members with drugs and dangerous techniques that caused one young man to suffer a psychotic break from reality, and the local SGIG who was turning a blind to it all in order to line his pockets.
The USGL handed the case over to–the local SGIG who was profiting off of other people’s dues and fees (the man never had a visible means of support and claimed his few self-published books provided his income. Yeah…right….)
I witnessed a lot of abuse of women. One young woman was repeatedly groped and fondled by a V* sister during her I* initiation. Other women were subjected to crueler than usual treatment during initiation–largely by other women. This behavior from other women was, I believe, done in an effort to remove competition as the local authorities used a “sleep to the top” model that I’d been unaware of (I’m gay and was never made aware of this until I left the Order.)
Subsequently, the local SGIG was thrown out of the Order when his incompetence became evident. He now runs his own “Congregational Illuminism” movement that’s slowly dying, largely because he’s a fraud.
Let’s be honest: The OTO is for dicks.
You mention ‘those few actual Adepts’ remaining within the order. I wonder what are they planting on these soils?
Not the mystic, initiatory school O.T.O. was meant to be. I would argue that the last years of that experiment were the McMurtry years: once Breeze took over, it has been a rush to try and make it into the poor’s man Scientology – without the money, the influence, or the power.
At this point I do not even think they are trying to plant anything, just keep cruising the sinking ship for as long as they can. Only a real change at the top might help this constant disaster, but it will come too late, if at all.
USGL claims a net 170 active members gained since 2006 (a good thing surely!) and has created 2,840 Minervals in the process. Granted many (probably most) of that missing 94% are literally neither here nor “there” but simply abandon thelemic society altogether. It is even worse here in the UK. Other countries hardly exceed 100 members as a whole, and most in fact hardly exceed 20, 30.
This is what they are “planting”.
It’s 100% a Hermit Triad-level leadership problem. The OTO, on paper, has a lot of potential. However, on paper “good” and “food” should rhyme! To use the old metaphor of sticking a finger in the dyke to prevent a flood, the OTO’s general plan seems to just get more fingers to plug the holes, rather than re-building the dyke so it doesn’t leak. The constitution isn’t a class A document and clearly needs an overhaul to work, but the very thought of amending it sends leadership into a furor.
But then again, they have a pretty open bigot who’s a bishop and IX, so it shouldn’t really come as a surprise that the whole Order is becoming a farce.
Long ago I was initiated by Grady McMurtry. Marin County / CA 1980. He with deep compassion towards me,suggested that the Order may not be a suitable path for me. He did have some insight there. I did not pursue beyond Minerval. Far too many of the thing identified in this article and the attached ‘Open Letter to Thelemic Men’,basically kept me from going further. In my ‘struggle’ to re-educate me as a male of the ‘era’,there was way,way too much ‘old aeon’ in what was supposed ‘new aeon’. Crowley had one foot [Right?] firmly planted in the ‘old’ aeon,and had somehow managed to stretch out and get his [Left?] foot also firmly planted in the ‘new’ aeon. I could not,simply put,deal with what seemed [and still seems] such a contradiction.
93. I’m not much of a joiner, as should be obvious to all at this point, and obviously I am not dead, as my many years in a Period of Silence may lead one to believe, much to the disappointment of some, especially Bill Breeze and the Caliphake, but I DO like this article and the trend I see. And now, Frater Tau Meithras, I think I may become a “fan” of yours as well. 93-93/93.
I could really unload a lot of commentary in gratitude of self-reflection to what your post has brought me, but I will keep it short. First, thank you for this. Sincerely. I was initiated to Minerval a while back, drifted away from the OTO because of rampant sexual mistreatment of women (including women on women violence), However, recently, feeling a craving for community — ah yes the old psychological lure — I decided to try getting back involved. I dismissed my earlier experiences as the result of bad actors at a local level; and, living in a new city, I decided to try again with a new lodge. While I didn’t observe anything nefarious, and found a few of the members nice (if on an individual level), I nonetheless had an uncomfortable feeling about the overall project I was expected to contribute money and time towards — and what would I receive in return. I couldn’t put my finger on it. And then I read all of your essays and, well, it all clicked. So, I know this vague, and already longwinded, but I thank you as an author for giving voice to the critical failure of the contemporary OTO to be anything more than a bureaucratic piggy bank for resentful gurus who confuse an interest with the occult for having an actual personality.
I know of someone who quit OTO, and their car and home were firebombed. Current OTO members even boasted of being involved on their social media. Also a giant campaign of libel commenced. Not only would the police not charge anyone, they made accusations at the people who reported the arson. Email privately for more and copious documentation.