or, “Oh my God, you’re NOT going to sell that publicly, are you?”
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. –AL I:40
Dear student, in this Epistle I’d like to address a disturbing trend beginning to rear its ugly little head within Thelemic circles in a distressful if not severely felonious way. Yes, as usual, my Epistle might be a bit lengthy if not ridiculously wordy. Then again, a spider’s web of misunderstanding is often quite a tangle to unravel and warrants such verbosity. Especially if you’re as discombobulated as I am over this whole damn issue. I’d like to start by saying that I’m going to play the Devil’s Advocate, if I may, for no other reason than to inspire thought and conversation. I am not necessarily going to attack OTO policies as much as to face its phantoms. For a magician this is a totally acceptable behavior, especially if those phantoms are effecting your Universe. However, by embracing the ideas within this Epistle I could be jeopardizing my standing within the fraternity. Sadly, the phrase from Liber OZ which states that “Man has the right to write what he will” often does not apply to initiates within the OTO. In fact, neither does one’s First Amendment Rights which supposedly grant you the Freedom of Speech. The title given to OTO Minervals, a solider of freedom, should be changed to reflect a soldier who can only speak and write that which ‘someone’ else wants the world to believe. If you haven’t guessed, I’ve often been accused of being a cynic.
Let’s get down to the matter at hand. The subject of this Epistle would never have been deemed justifiable while the late Frater Hymenaeus Alpha 777 (Grady Louis McMurtry) was in charge of the Ordo Templi Orientis. He would have argued against it, both in ctice and principle. I know this to be a fact because I heard him discuss such on numerous occasions. What I am referring to is the present-day OTO policy regarding the selling of, or quoting from, Francis King’s book The Secret Rituals of the OTO (1) or similar related material. You might be asking yourself, “Why should we be concerned about the policies of a mundane fraternity?” To that I can state that every A.’.A.’. branch has an Outer Extension which it uses consciously or unconsciously on the Malkuthian plane. Our branch, which is an off-shoot from Grady McMurtry, uses the Clerk House structure. After Grady’s death one of the Motta branches took charge of the OTO. It must be remembered that Aleister Crowley has stated, “distinguish carefully between A.’.A.’. and O.T.O. The latter is a practical organization devoted to the establishment of the work of the former.” (2) However, if an outer organization, like the OTO, has policies which are slowly becoming a dictatorship, are restrictive and unThelemic, it’s only natural to question the intent or purpose behind the branch of the A.’.A.’. which is presently running its affairs. In other words, the Outer Extension will automatically reflect the Inner aspirations. Since there is only one true A.’.A.’., with many branches off the main trunk of its Tree, it becomes natural to assume that the actions of one branch can effect us all like a disease. This is why we can not ignore what occurs in any fraternity which has an A.’.A.’. connection.
Basically, there are three legal issue which I’d like to discuss in this Epistle. They should not be confused as often they are in OTO politics. The first issue deals with Copyright infringement. The second is in regards to the Fair Use Rights of material already published and the third deals with revealing Trade Secrets. The latter usually falls under the category of the first but in the OTO’s case it doesn’t apply, especially in regards to Francis King’s book. Regarding the first issue, or Copyright Infringements, this is where an individual publishes another person’s material in its entirety, or even certain portions thereof, without the written permission from the copyright proprietor. Easy enough, but what constitutes ‘portions thereof?’ This use to be a gray area which prompted the Fair Use Laws to be established around 1975 in the United States. This new Law was designed to let individuals know what Rights they have when they wish to quote material in order to illustrate the point which they are attempting to make, without having to get the consent or written permission of the copyright proprietor. Thus, Fair Use. As an example, it may be deemed justifiable to legally quote as much as two hundred words from a three hundred page book, but not from a three-page article. The main determining factor is that one’s quoted material doesn’t undermine the original work. In other words, if a person’s book or article quotes a large percentage of the original, or especially crucial points, so that others seek it rather than the author’s original, it can be considered a financial loss for the author and is in violation of the Fair Use Laws. The Law, in a nutshell, deals with two key words, ‘amount and substantiality.’
The Fair Use Laws may not cover material which is distributed privately under the assumption that such is not revealed or released to anyone who is not a member of a given company, organization or a fraternity, like that of Ordo Templi Orientis. This brings us to the third issue of revealing Trade Secrets. This issue is a definite ‘gray area’ of the Law. However, it is usually impossible for an organization to go into a Court of Law and argue that material published twenty-five years ago, which both members and non-members have known about and use, is a Trade Secret. In other words, a Trade Secret must be a secret. It’s common sense. Of course, one could ask if the OTO can still argue that quoting from Francis King’s book NOW is in violation of Trade Secrets? The answer to this is quite simple. ABSOLUTELY NOT. According to the Law, if an individual violates Copyrighted material and the proprietor of said copyright knows about it and does nothing within what is legally termed ‘reasonable time’ then they forfeit any and all claims against the individual who published their material. This Law was establishes to stop a Copyright proprietor from sitting back, doing nothing and waiting to see if a book makes a sizable amount of money before making any claim against the author or the book’s profits. In other words, a violation of Copyright must be established immediately or within ‘reasonable time’ to be valid.
As an example of what I just wrote. On December 28, 1971, Grady McMurtry registered with the State of California to form a legal entity for the establishment of the OTO on solid ground. This began the process which would prove he was the real OTO. King’s book was published in late 1973. Although Grady knew about the book, he never wrote off a letter within ‘reasonable time’ (or for that matter, ever) voicing his opinion of a Copyright Infringement to either Francis King or the publishers. We know that he, and his wife Phyllis, discussed the book with Israel Regardie before it was released and shortly thereafter. In one letter Phyllis mentions how she “saw fit to add my two bits worth on the subject in the In the Continuum.” (3) This is a magazine she and Grady published. In the same letter she also asks, “I certainly would like to hear your ideas and remarks on the book and what I have written in our publication.” Regardie sent the following advice. “I finally got Francis King’s book The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. As far as I’m concerned it’s a flop and I would say you have nothing to worry about on that score.” (4) Obviously Phyllis had already agreed because she began her article (In the Continuum) by answering a question. “You were asking if the publication of The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. as introduced by Francis King would not destroy our Order. I think not.” (5) She then goes on for six more pages to explain her views, very eloquently and to the point. Any mention of copyrighted material, or the violation thereof by Francis King, is never mentioned.
Furthermore, in July of 1974 when writing an official form letter to be sent to individuals inquiring about the OTO, Grady simply stated that anyone using the knowledge found in this book “will have some problems.” (6) He never mentions anything about the book being illegal or a Copyright Infringements. His argument was mostly centered around ritualistic errors and omissions which make the book useless. Ironically, even years later, Grady seemed to imply the only reason the OTO never fully endorsed the book was because it was incomplete. As he was the world-wide head of the organization, Grady’s written words, especially in an official OTO newsletter, stated very clearly the OTO policy when he wrote, “We do not endorse the publication of this material because the so-called ‘9th° section’ does not include the paper (entitled IX° Emblems and Modes of Use) which Aleister Crowley handed me at 93 Jermyn St circa 1943-44 e.v. without which the whole thing is nonsense.” (7) Grady seemed to be more preoccupied with what the book lacked rather than it being illegal.
Still, even more damaging is that although he did not ‘endorse the publication’ he did openly use it for years while acting as a Saladin. When I received my own Charter to Initiate through the OTO in the late seventies Grady told me to use King’s book and he’d send me the originals later. In fact, he allowed the book to be used by every Saladin in the Initiation Chambers of the Ordo Templi Orientis worldwide while he was Outer Head of the Order, thus giving the book, in legal terms, his ‘acknowledgment and justification.’ Knowing these facts means that Grady McMurtry and the OTO forfeited any and all claims against the book as violating either Trade Mark or Copyright Infringements. On the other hand the present day OTO may disagree. But do you think a Judge would agree with them upon hearing how the OTO has used the book ‘within’ its own Initiation Chambers as well as the source of quotes for public lectures for well over twenty years prior to making any official claim that it’s illegal? The bottom line is that years ago, by Grady’s lack of immediate action, he implied consent and agreed with the book, or at least with Regardie’s views that it didn’t matter that it was published because it’s just pearls before the swine.
In 1979, when rumors surfaced that Secret Rituals was being republished with a disclaimer, the official OTO stance became that “[t]his book is an affront to the Order, no matter what was put on the back of the title page.” (8) The OTO Newsletter continued by stating, “We would like to see Thelemites avoid it. Too many have already weakened the outer effect of the initiations themselves through premature attempts at the rituals.” In other words, Copyright Infringement was still not a main issue. However, after Grady ‘reactivated’ the OTO and established the Grand Lodge in October of 1977 initiations on both coasts were beginning to bring in many new members. The OTO began growing fast. The Order found that too many people wanted to read the rituals before they went through them and the word got around that there was book published in 1973 which contained the rites. Grady felt this had to be ‘nipped-in-the-bud’ before it went much further. I remember talking with him on the phone about this issue and being informed that Saladins could still use the book. He even had no problem with it being read by members but he requested that we tell them to go through the initiation rituals first. Don’t undermine the effect. It wasn’t a problem in my area because I was one of the few people who had a copy of Secret Rituals and right from the start I refused to let anyone read it. Unfortunately this was not the case elsewhere.
I’d like to now discuss the often levied charge of ‘violating Oaths.’ This is the first line of attack against OTO initiates who sell or quote from Secret Rituals. By his own admission Grady McMurtry didn’t want to buy a copy of the book because he was infuriated that the fraternity’s ‘secrets’ were being published. He finally broke down in late 1973 and bought a copy for what he called “research purposes.” In many ways this proved valuable for him and he openly stated that buying the book “serves a purpose.” He reminded all OTO initiates that when “you take an Initiatory degree, you take oaths not to reveal certain information that has been passed on to you.” Implying its secrets. However, he pointed out that a person can “quote from a book that has been published” without fear of violating their sacred Oaths. (9) In other words an individual can utilize King’s book with spiritual impunity, as Grady did during lectures on numerous occasions, which I personally witnessed. Yet he always ‘suggested’ discretion on the part of OTO Initiates as to what they should quote. I can further attest that he had no qualms about used copies being sold, bought or resold. He only hoped that they would somehow ‘fraternally’ make their way into the OTO and stay there. Still, he was rational and sane enough to realize that this was an unenforceable if not an impossible dream. However, Grady died in 1985, and times have changed as do policies. The present-day OTO has changed its tune. It screams loudly with an unbelievably ludicrous conviction that anyone who merely sells a used copy or quotes from Francis King’s book is in violation of their sacred Oaths sworn within the Sovereign Sanctuaries of the initiation chamber. Furthermore, the Supreme Council of OTO has told one member who deals with used and rare documents that they could be held legally accountable by “offering for sale our confidential documents” (10) if they sold King’s book and other related material.
First of all, it’s a fact, Grady McMurtry is completely correct. The present day policies of the OTO are completely wrong and have little legal much less fraternal merit. If an OTO member quotes from this book they are not in violation of their Oaths because initiates can not be held accountable for what is common knowledge amongst non members and which is knowledge already found in the public domain of libraries around the world. Any claim otherwise shows an insipid or immature knowledge of how ‘Fraternal Oaths’ work and throwing the phase ‘violation’ around as if to imply karmic retribution is little more than a mundane threat of spiritual blackmail or intimidation in order to control one’s membership on this plane. It is hardly magickal or fraternal, much less Thelemic behavior. The behavior reeks of the control freak mentality rumored to exist within the Black Brotherhood.
Lets be honest. There is grave danger under foot for the OTO. As any true magician will attest, an Oath assumes a variety of forms. Probably the most famous Oath is the silly little ditty of ‘Crossing one’s heart and hoping to die.’ I can go on and on showing numerous examples of how Oaths are used in society to force individuals to tell the Truth but it would serve no purpose. The only other type of Oath I’d like to point out is a Magickal Oath because it’s often confused with the fraternal type. A Magickal Oath is something which binds a magician forever to its intent and is an affirmation between the magician and his Universe. It never includes a third party as do Fraternal Oaths. The latter is designed to invoke a dire medieval type of punishment on any individual should they violate their Word as sworn before the Order and its membership. This type of Oath has arguably not kept up with the times and although such might have been practices at one time, it has been reduced to unenforceable gibberish. In standard Masonry it is acknowledge that the Oath or Solemn Obligation is probably the single most misunderstood aspect of the entire ritual. I can attest from what I have seen within the Ordo Templi Orientis that their understanding of how such works is beneath that of even Masonry.
What most fail to realize is that a Fraternal Oath is always a double-edged sword or two-sided, fifty-fifty and the karma goes to he who violates it first, the Order or the individual. No organization should ever be so presumptuous or arrogant as to believe that it is karmically exempt from its own actions. First of all, when a person takes an initiation he or she does not sign their life away. You might ask, “But isn’t a Fraternal Oath taken for life?” I can only answer, yes, and no. It all depends whether or not the individual remains a member of the fraternity or if he or she quits or was expelled. Obviously once outside the fraternity one is no longer bound by these archaic Oaths. This in itself should give you a hint as to the true power of a Fraternal Oath. Its only power lies in the fact that members within the structure give and in return they get specific annuities as promised by the Order’s written tenets, it’s all fifty-fifty.
If the OTO violates its written tenets nor bothers to enforce its own Rules, Regulations & Bylaws then its membership automatically becomes free of the Oaths and Obligations which they have sworn to that Order. Its either all or nothing for both sides in regards to Fraternal Oaths. Crowley felt this way regarding that which he swore within the Sanctuaries of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. They failed him, not the other way around. The Initiations had become worthless. Members were elevated up for little else than their worldly prosperity and in many cases, simply due to whom they knew. Friends of the influential were getting away crimes which under normal circumstances warranted immediate expulsion. The Order was reduced to little more than the desires of a ‘boys-club’ on this plane rather than the aspirations of anything higher to which it had professed in writing. The bottom line is that the OTO should be very careful when it makes accusations against its members regarding ‘magickal or karmic retribution’ that such is completely justifiable. Karma is a bitch if not an astral termite gnawing away at one’s foundation. It will inevitably collapse one’s reality in on itself. Yes, the OTO should take heed of the Golden Dawn’s downfall. The misunderstanding of their Oaths was its first step toward downfall.
Regardless of the above, I defy anyone to come up with an Oath sworn in any organization or fraternity throughout the history of the world, as an example, which will prove that initiates can not discuss things already published over a lengthy period of time. Yes, all OTO initiates swear a solemn obligation or Oath never to “inviolate the secrets and mysteries of Our Order” (11) but do OTO members even know what inviolate means? It means that you can not ‘profane’ your teachings. Is talking about them with honesty, sincerity and with an open heart and mind, profaning them? No. The regular Masons do it all the time and they even write about their beliefs. Yes, it could also be argued that OTO initiates take an Oath which has them “Solemnly promise and swear never to reveal” (12) what they learn within the confines of the Initiation Chamber of “this Most Holy Order.” (13) However, let’s be honest and stop the game of petty denial. The OTO needs to remember that their Oaths, like every fraternity, were written with the intent that the material would hopefully remain ‘SECRET.’ It hasn’t. The Order needs to get over this fact and move on, as did the Masons when they discovered that their rites had ultimately been revealed. They didn’t change their Oaths or rituals. In fact they still tell their candidates not to reveal what they’ve learn within the chambers even though such is published everywhere. The Masons know a fraternity is ‘more’ than its rituals and, as any magician will attest, simply having the material does not warrant an individual will be initiated or understand the Mysteries. You must go through the actual rites in an earthing process which includes specific verbal teachings.
The other more serious question which we need to ask ourselves is this. Should we be putting the full blame on Francis King for revealing the OTO secrets or on the people who use and resell his book? We know Aleister Crowley, himself, our own forefather, gave copies of all the OTO material to Gerald Yorke who was not even an OTO Initiate and who, in turn, put them in a public University for all of humanity to view. Thanks to Crowley most of the information about our secret rituals can now be browsed through with impunity by outsiders, to be photocopied and to have as many notes taken from them as anyone wishes. It is a fact, his actions indirectly allowed Francis King to publish his book. After all, King got the rituals formerly owned by the collector G.H. Brooke, who in turn, somehow got them from, as King points out, Frater Volo Intelligere, or Gerald Yorke. However, there is another possibility we should consider. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that Aleister Crowley acting as the Outer Head of the Order of OTO was in charge of making Order policies. He must have made a conscious decision or affirmation that these manuscripts no longer had to be kept totally ‘secret’ or inclusively by OTO members. If not, he violated his own Oaths. Since he was a magician, greater than most of us, I personally doubt that he would have made such a blunder as the latter. So what does this tell us? Are we to assume Crowley declassify all the manuscripts while he was Head of the Order if not in writing then by his actions as OHO? Even if the present OTO leadership has reversed Crowley’s decisions, or disagrees with the above assessment and wants everything now secret, the cat, thanks to the Great Beast, is out of the bag.
Furthermore, some of the Upper Degree OTO Grade Papers like Liber CCCLXVII, Liber XXIV and Liber CDXIV which were written by Crowley were published by Theodor Reuss in the German Oriflamme and distributed for anyone to read. This occurred back in 1914 while Ruess was still acting as Head of the OTO. So what does this imply? Or is it because they were published in German that we should considered the secrets still ‘concealed’ in the English speaking world? If so, how hypocritical and ludicrous is this? Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating the total ‘openness’ of our rites or Grade Papers simply because they’re published or found in libraries and Universities worldwide. I’m simply advocating fairness for our fraternal brothers and sisters of the Rights normally afforded to outsiders. That is where all this is leading. In other words, the OTO needs to carefully rethink its position and policies regarding Francis King’s book and stop the present day witch hunting amongst its own membership of those who sell this book or quote from it. On the lowest mundane level the leadership of the OTO should reflect upon a simple analogy — there are words in psychology for parents who believe they have the right to repeatedly beat their children for something which every other parent in world believe is OK for a child to do — it’s called abuse.
Furthermore, regarding members quoting from this book, since the OTO admits it is legally subject to the Laws of The United States of America first and not its own Rules, Regulations & Bylaw, it should always consider the actions of members who quote from The Secret Rituals of the OTO subject to the guidelines laid out by the Fair Use Copyright Act, as does the US Government, rather than holding members accountable for the violation of their Oaths with threats of expulsion for revealing ‘Trade Secrets.’ Or better yet, does the OTO believe it is above the Law? Besides, is it fair that people outside the OTO are privileged by Law to quote and use this book freely when its own membership can not? Trying to eliminate King’s book every time it surfaces is very noble but plain silly. You’ll never be able to do it and not only will this guarantee the book’s survival but its rarity will force its value up. If the book costs more, those who pay extreme prices will keep the book in their collections as something sacred. The book will never again be ‘casually discarded.’ It’s common sense. If you want a book to survive in libraries worldwide then make a fuss over it.
Yes, it may be deemed illegal to republish King’s book but this does not imply that existing copies can not be used as a source of quotes or that the original book is restricted from resale. There are many Crowley books published prior to the OTO’s claim of copyright ownership which the OTO has absolutely no legal ground to stop from being resold on the used book market. This includes The Secret Rituals of the OTO. No United States Court has ever ordered the original printing of this book to be burned, destroyed, forbid its resale or it’s use under our Fair Use Copyright Regulations. Only ‘new’ printings are deemed illegal and that is not because a US Court has stated such. It’s because a new edition would contain manuscripts, or material, proven to be owned by the OTO which this fraternity has no intention of now giving permission to republish. Which I totally agree. No organization to date has ever successfully argued or convinced a US Court to begin banning any and all use of information already published, especially over a lengthy period of time as with the information previously released in The Secret Rituals of the OTO over twenty-five years ago. Such a request would be laughed out of a Court of Law because it’s totally unenforceable.
I have also been told by an EC Member of the OTO that it is no longer acceptable to sell used copies of either Liber AGAPE vel C vel AZOTH, Sub Figvra 100 or De Arte Magica because these are considered OTO Grade Papers. Both of these have appeared in pamphlets numerous times. If you’ve got a copy of either of these you should hold onto them. The resale price on the used market should soar thanks to the OTO. This also implies that another book edited and introduced by Francis King entitled Crowley on Christ (14) will also become rare and as valuable as Secret Rituals of the OTO. This is mainly because, as King points out, “The only omission from (Secret Rituals) is De Arte Magica, a commentary on Liber Agape, a work which outlines the inmost secret of the O.T.O. and is to be found in the Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. For the sake of completeness De Arte Magica is published as an appendix to this book, Crowley on Christ.” (15) However, what I don’t understand is that if the OTO is trying to keep these two pieces from surfacing then why did Frater Hymenaeus Beta give permission for De Arte Magica to be published in Portable Darkness? (16) However, Grady did the same thing when he gave me permission to publish and distribute this piece while I was Lodge Master back in 1980. (17) But what’s up all of a sudden with no selling used copies of this piece? Anyway, regardless of such, all these books and pamphlets are subject to the same laws as is Secret Rituals, and although the OTO may not like it, such is life. However, King was wrong on one account. De Arte Magica is not the only omission from Secret Rituals. Earlier I mentioned how Grady claimed that he could not endorse the publication because a so-called ‘9th° section’ was not included. If Grady only knew that after his death one of his ‘trusted friends’ in Berkeley would photocopy this document from his files, which is entitled IX° Emblems and Modes of Use, and then send it off to another friend who would end up publishing it, he’d be rolling over in his grave.
Where am I going with all these ramblings? If you ask my advice, the greatest danger the OTO presently faces is not that someone will reveal already published secrets by quoting from or reselling Francis King’s book or similar pieces. It’ll come from one of its own Initiates who has been suspended, expelled and threatened with lawsuits, who’ll get a good lawyer and counter sue the Order for defamation of character, slander and being ostracized amongst the Thelemic communities of his peers with whom he or she has spent their entire life pursuing. That’s where the real damage lies. It’ll be due to the Order’s callous if not senseless and mindless actions which produces an unwarranted loss, either mentally, spiritually, emotionally or even financially to an innocent person over something so stupid as a book which was published in 1973.
Yes, you’ll always find some stooge within OTO who’ll argue that my above comments about members counter suing the OTO warrants unFraternal conduct and should never be advised or even suggested. They’ll even quote “Liber CI, An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join The Order” (18), the Seventh House under section No. 25 where it states “Lawsuits between members of the Order are absolutely forbidden, on pain of immediate expulsion.” On the other hand, I would like to point out, no one from a Minerval to a IXth Degree, no matter what position they hold within the Order, is exempt from the policies laid out in Liber CI if such a book is going to be quoted as if gospel. Therefore it could be said that any OTO leader who makes a ‘threat of lawsuit against another member’ also violates the policies laid out in Liber CI. However, the OTO leadership will argue that their threats are for the ‘good of the Order’ and are therefore exempt from the policies laid out in Liber CI. Further claiming that a lawsuit would only be instituted after said member has been expelled from the Order. In their mind this resolves the above issue about “Lawsuits between members of the Order are absolutely forbidden” because the individual would no longer an OTO Initiate. This sounds all well and good but it also frees up the member and enables them to counter sue the OTO for every penny it has if they feel they’ve been ‘unjustifiably wronged’ amongst Thelemic circles. Lawsuits of this nature have been filed against every organization from The Boy Scouts to Scientology by people who have been thrown out or harassed unjustifiably and most win their case or are settled out of Court.
Regardless of the above comments, most of what is written within Liber CI has never been established nor put into practice amongst OTO branches. Mentioning any part of it as if it were ‘official policy’ is simply another form of intimidation. It always befuddles me why it is condoned as accepted ‘fraternal’ protocol. It’s great that OTO wants to dig-up everything about its past, document wise, but it must realize its either all or nothing. A fraternity can not ‘pick & choose’ obscure passages from ancient manuscripts simply to prove its present day point. As an example, a good lawyer could ask if Liber CI is practiced in its entirety or not, if the Order cites such as a legal reference. The answer to such would be obvious. We have to face the harsh reality that Liber CI is simply an interesting historical piece written over seventy years ago and does not reflect one-tenth of the present day OTO nor its Rules, Regulations or Bylaws regardless of what anyone wants to proselytize. The bottom line is that the OTO has to stop hiding behind the shield of ‘unFraternal behavior’ which it screams at its members if it’s equally guilty of the same charge. If the Ordo Templi Orientis is upset with me openly discussing the possibility of lawsuits against the fraternity then it has only to realize that I have learned my lessons well from within the fraternal halls of the Order itself. In other words, sue everybody and if the Order can threaten lawsuits against you it becomes fair game that you, as a member, can make counter claims against it. In other words, you can only mimic the fraternal behavior to which you’ve been exposed and taught. The OTO has become sue crazy but everything within a fraternity is double-edged sword. I only hope that the present day OTO is pleased with what they are teaching their Initiates.
Finally, yes, I agree 100% that it is the prerogative of the present day leadership of OTO to suspend or expel its members for selling or quoting from King’s book — but I’d suggest having a written policy stating such is forbidden and why? However, it will not. To have such would imply that it would have to address many of the points which I’ve made in this Epistle which legally could come back to haunt them if said policies contradict the Law of the Land. It’s much easier to use the scare tactics of claiming that one is violating their Oaths compounded by threats of a lawsuit on the side in order to intimidate a member from doing what it legally has the right to do. However, this is a dangerous practice much like walking on a razor’s edge. I personally believe the Order simply needs to be honest and up front to its members as was the late Grady McMurtry. It needs to tell them, that although it has no legal ground to stop these books and pamphlets from being resold, it would like its membership’s help in keeping them off the shelves in used book stores or from being resold. This is very noble and a true ‘fraternal approach.’ The OTO should hold to the fact that if an initiate believes in the Order they then they would freely oblige the written policies. However, if a member chooses otherwise then so be it, or as John Lennon said, “Let it be.” It’s between them and their God. Stop the witch hunting and persecutions. As any parent will attest, if you beat a child or threaten them repeatedly it will only foster rebellion and resentment. Both of these attitudes are grumblings which are growing stronger each day within the present day fraternity known as Ordo Templi Orientis.
Love is the law, love under will. –AL I:57
1. Francis King, The Secret Rituals of the OTO (London: The C. W. Daniel Company
Ltd and New York: Samuel Weiser Inc., 1973).
2. Aleister Crowley letter to Frank Bennett, Australia, Sun in Capricorn, Moon in
Capricorn An XII, 1916.
3. Phyllis McMurtry letter to Israel Regardie dated September 16th, 1973 p. 1.
4. Israel Regardie letter to Phyllis McMurtry dated November 8th, 1973, p. 3.
5. In the Continuum Vol.I No.2 An. LXIX 1973, pgs. 3-9.
6. Hymenaeus Alpha, Caliph, ‘Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis,’ Dublin,
California, a form letter, July 9th, 1974, p. 4.
7. The Magickal Link, Official Monthly Bulletin of Ordo Templi Orientis, “From the
Caliph,”On Aleister Crowley Revisionism,” Vol.II No.4 April 1982.
8. The O.T.O. Newsletter, Vol.II No.7&8 Double Issue May 1979, Berkeley, CA, p. 89.
9. The O.T.O. Newsletter, Vol.II No.1 June 1978, Berkeley, CA., p.5.
10. E-Mail transmittal from Ben Fernee dated 4/8/99 quoting a letter he received from
the Supreme Council of Ordo Templi Orientis.
11. The Secret Rituals of the OTO, p. 57.
12. Ibid, p. 73.
14. Being Aleister Crowley’s The Gospel According to St. Bernard Shaw.
15. Francis King, Crowley on Christ (London: The C. W. Daniel Co. Ltd. 1974), p. 14.
16. Portable Darkness, edited by Scott Michaelsen, foreword by Robert Anton Wilson
and Genesis P-Orridge (New York: Harmony Books, New York, 1989), p. 154.
17. De Arte Magica, A Commentary on Liber Agape (CT: Brocken Publications, East
18. Aleister Crowley, “Liber CI An Open Letter to Those Who May Wish to Join the
Order,” The ‘Blue’ Equinox Vol.III No.1 (NY: Samuel Weiser, Inc., New York,
Suggested reading on Legal Issue regarding Copyright:
1. The Copyright Handbook, How to Protect & Use Written Words by Attorney Stephen Fishman (CA: Nolo Press, Berkeley, CA, Fourth Edition, April 1998).
2. Kirsch’s Handbook of Publishing Law by Jonathan Kirsch (CA: Acrobat Books, Los
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