by J. Edward Cornelius

whack a mole cartoon: a mallet tries to whack one mole down into its hole, but another one pops up

It is useless to continually point out the outright lies and distortions being vomited by Gunther-Breeze’s A.’.A.’. lineage in their ongoing quest to attack Grady McMurtry’s branch. You can spend a lifetime playing the game of Whack-a-Mole with these mutators. I’ve been documenting their stories since the early 1990s, hundreds of pages worth. As I see it, every time they poke their little heads up out of some hole and are caught in statements bathed in obvious falsities, they quickly disappear for a while only to reappear later with a new and improved version of supposed facts. Keith Readdy’s book One Truth, One Spirit (2018) is just the latest in a string of examples. He claims that he’s not a member of the Gunther-Breeze A.’.A.’., but if he’s just an historian, he’s a lousy one. He avoids researching anything which might prove the Gunther-Breeze historical theorems implausible. Why? He is either an unbelievably biased researcher and/or he has a hidden agenda. That agenda seems to be elevating one particular branch of the A.’.A.’. above all others. Personally, if their branch would spend less time attacking the legitimacy of others and focus more energy on assisting humanity in learning and living by the principles of Thelema, which is the goal of the S.S. (Silver Star), then they might actually become something worthwhile. However, they believe in eliminating any and all contenders to some imaginary throne—pure Restrictionism, this being the only sin mentioned in Liber AL vel Legis. To me, all they are really achieving with their psycho-babbling is forcing others, like Grady McMurtry’s A.’.A.’. lineage, to defend themselves against a constant barrage of bullshit.

One person in Gunther-Breeze’s lineage, upon hearing that I was going to review Readdy’s book, commented that he’s “looking forward to reading [my] review. Hopefully it will be a substantial criticism that aims a bit higher on the hierarchy of critique than contradiction.” It made me laugh. Readdy wrote an historical book littered with supposed facts [cough cough], but this person does not want me to dispute them or contradict them. Another person wrote how he wished I did less “rants about factionalism.” I guess what these people want me to review is Readdy’s concept known as ‘Duplexity,’ which is the over-all theme of the book. It implies the relationship that is shared between the outer Order known as the O.T.O. and the inner Order of the A.’.A.’. in its goal to promote Thelema.

Sounds fair enough, no?

But where this book fails lies in its inability to stay focused. Had Readdy simply stated the laws of Duplexity mean that the OTO is now being guided by an Inner School run by Guntherites, it would have been a worthy read. But rather than leave the concept of A.’.A.’. lineages out of the book, which is a controversial and never-to-be-resolved topic, he takes sides. A true historian would never do that if there were obvious issues that needed to be explored in a fair and balanced exposé on the subject. Instead, he opened the can of worms by attacking other lineages. But I guess I’m supposed to ignore the guy behind the curtain whispering lies and distortions in Readdy’s ears and simply tell my readers whether or not I liked the concept of ‘Duplexity.’ OK, I don’t disagree with the theory; fair enough? I lived through the period when Gunther’s A.’.A.’. lineage, under Bill Breeze’s dictatorship, seized power and became the new Inner School guiding the OTO.

People who disagree with this need to get over it.

Do I really care if Grady McMurtry’s A.’.A.’. branch has no say in guiding the OTO? Yes and no! But in truth, we moved on. But am I supposed to simply stay quiet and ignore the continual attacks against Grady Louis McMurtry, myself and our lineage? Their spreading of lies and distortions have been a constant thorn in our side since the early 1990s. One of the most obvious flaws in his book is that there was a lot of very eloquent and sincere rhetoric being thrown around amongst outright fabrications, lies and bullshit, but sadly, most people will have no clear understanding of what constitutes the bullshit or what functions it serves. Most, more or less, will simply accept Readdy’s volume as being a good book. The philosopher Harry G. Frankfurt wrote a classic volume titled On Bullshit (2005) where he attempted to study the significance behind the word while pointing out how bullshit, although it begins innocently enough, eventually undermines the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth if he or she uses it excessively. This is a major problem with members in Gunther-Breeze’s A.’.A.’. lineage—their inability to think for themselves and distinguish fact from fantasy. Most, especially if they’ve been a member for years, are incapable of admitting they’ve been taken in by bullshit.

Let me give you an example of the bullshit in Readdy’s book. He writes his version about my taking VIII° OTO and 8=3 A.’.A.’.:

However, some years later, Gerald Edward (Jerry) Cornelius of Brocken Mountain Lodge in Connecticut pressed Grady for the IX°. Grady instead decided to advance him to VIII°, making it a condition that Cornelius swear the “Oath of the Abyss.” (p. 254)

LIES! LIES! LIES! For the record, Readdy never once contacted me to get my side of the story. He even has my books where these events are mentioned in detail, but he chooses to ignore the facts and push a version of the event as told by people in Gunther’s A.’.A.’. who were not there. This should make the reader ask why. For the record, I never solicited Grady for IX°; that is a well-known fact. In truth, eight months after I assumed VIII° was when Grady approached me, not the other way around, to write a paper on IX° to see if I understood what he had been teaching me in regards to VII° & VIII° OTO secrets over the previous three years. Bill Heidrick knew this, which is why he wrote about knowing, quote, “special instructions he [i.e. Grady] used to send [me].” In fact, my paper on IX° should be in the Grand Lodge files if they have Grady McMurtry’s archive.

In defense of Readdy, one of their members claims my Memoirs of an A.’.A.’. Initiate (2018) is unclear about my own degrees, and list snippets from my book totally out of context as if to assume the specific conclusion that it’s my fault that Readdy, a trained academic, misinterpreted my words. She writes:

From the phraseology of the book and your own words I can see easily how the author would form the view he did. If your own expression of what happened is incomplete or incorrect then perhaps this should be corrected in a later edition of the book or perhaps you should have been more clear in the first place when publishing your work.

However, Readdy’s comments detailing mine and Grady’s degrees are not a mistake. They are almost verbatim of the arguments made by Gutherites since the early 1990s—which pre-date Memoirs of an A.’.A.’. Initiate (2018) by at least twenty-five years. This clearly implies that Readdy was influenced by the interpretations of Guntherites rather than being confused by anything I recently wrote.

And then Readdy asks a question as to why Grady gave me both OTO and A.’.A.’. Oaths on the same day, writing:

Was [Grady] confusing VIII° O.T.O. with 8=3 A.’.A.’.? (p. 254)

This is another old, tired story Breeze, Wasserman and others have been pushing for twenty-five plus years—despite knowing the truth. First, the two oaths were sworn on the same day out of convenience, seeing that Grady rarely came to the East Coast and his health was failing. I was informed that this might be his last visit for quite a few years.

Second, and more important, Grady never gave me VIII° with a condition that I swear the Oath of the Abyss. That is an outright LIE if not a deliberate attempt to twist the facts in order to degrade the incident. In truth, Gunther’s A.’.A.’. needs you to believe this in order to hide the real reason why I was solicited go take VIII°. Did Readdy bother to read Chapter 30 of RED FLAME, A Thelemic Research Journal No.13, In the Name of the Beast: A Biography of Grady Louis McMurtry, Disciple of Aleister Edward Crowley Vol. Two, 1962–1985 (2005) where it mentions me be given VIII°? Obviously not! If you haven’t read this book, the real reason was not kind to Breeze, Wasserman and others who tried to force Grady into becoming a Hidden Master so they could abscond with running the OTO by creating the Electoral College behind his back. They prematurely tried to seize power before his death! Let me quote from the Chapter:

Grady believed that if I took the degree then I would be the only official Eighth Degree in the Order and I could, in effect, institute the council known as the Areopagus at his command. He explained that as head of the Order, he’d simply pull his rank as dictator in case of emergency and tell everyone that he appointed me to this position. End of subject. With that in mind, according to the OTO Constitution, he could appeal any decision which was made in any other Council to the Areopagus, meaning me, in order that I could then override whatever these people threw at him. It seemed logical at the time. He ranted that since they were plotting to overthrow him by using the OTO Constitution, then he would have, quote, an “ace up his sleeve.” If I took Eighth from him then I could be there, just waiting for the proper moment, to act in his favor, if and when the need ever arose.

Of course, whether Grady’s beliefs and action held any validity or not is immaterial. He was in charge of the OTO back then and what he believed held merit in the same way which Breeze wields that power today.

And finally, on another whole level, and unrelated, since I had risen degree by degree as Grady’s personal student up to Adeptus Minor 5=6, I leaped from the sphere of Tiphereth, and swore the Oath of the Abyss in front of him. Wake up people, if there is any “confusing” Grady’s beliefs about the OTO and A’.A.’. it with the Guntherieites. The reader should beware: Readdy has a great way of asking pointed questions and sounding as if he’s a concerned historian, but any astute individual will easily recognize the fact that he is merely backhandedly planting seeds of confusion, being a tool of the Black Brother, hoping you will be swayed to his way of thinking. As another example, he writes:

However, the case for Grady’s involvement in the A.’.A.’. is, frankly, baffling. Did he misunderstand some key differences between the O.T.O. and the A.’.A.’.? For example, his Charter to Thelema Lodge in Berkeley, California, in 1977 reads, “Let all Thelemites know that I, Hymenaeus Alpha, 777, IX° O.T.O., 9=2, Caliph of Ordo Templi Orientis of Aleister Crowley, Baphomet 666 do hereby Charter Thelema Lodge as Grand Lodge of O.T.O.” Was Grady here claiming the A.’.A.’. grade of Magus, or did he simply equate “9=2” to the IX° of O.T.O.? (p. 253)

This is another tired story vomited by Gunther’s A.’.A.’. for the past twenty-five years or more. For the record, Grady knew exactly what he was doing and what he was signing. He clearly understood the distinction between the two Orders; I even told Breeze this back in the early 1990s. But again, Gunther’s A.’.A.’. cannot allow you to accept this because it implies that Grady had not only been a Magister Templi 8=3 since 1970, but he assumed the next grade of Magus 9=2 in 1977. Again, Readdy had my biography on Grady McMurtry, but he chooses to ignore this statement:

As planned, on October 12th 1977, just as the Sun passed the peak of an eclipse on the birthday of Aleister Crowley, a Charter was signed in Berkeley, California by Frater Hymenaeus Alpha IX 777 using Crowley’s special Seal Ring of Ankh-af-na-Khonsu. Grady signed the Charter as a Magus 9=2. More importantly, after months of deep contemplation, Grady felt he finally knew his Magickal Word, which would create the Universe for which his entire life had prepared him. He uttered three letters – OTO (Vol. II, Chapter 26, p. 140)

But here is truth: Grady McMurtry’s personal Word as a Magus was so powerful that it created a universe and reactivated the OTO, which has since spread worldwide. That is the power of a Magus! The only way Readdy or others can dispute his claim, at least in their mind, is to try to kick the legitimacy out from under us by creating distortions as to original magickal intent of an Adept. This is why Readdy states another worn out story of how Phyllis Seckler “expelled” Grady McMurtry in 1979 when he was just a Probationer. Indirectly, he is trying to “sell you a bridge” hoping that you’ll buy it and ignore the real story. As an example, Readdy quotes Phyllis:

He never did the work of the probationer. Never […] I threw him out of the A.’.A.’.. He has no A.’.A.’. background. None. However, he went around pretending that he did have, and telling people he was such-and-such a Grade. And then, of course, […] Oh God, he made trouble for other people […] Grady had no right to say he was A.’.A.’. after I threw him out. He had no right to initiate anybody because he had never done the Probationer work. (p. 252)

Readdy forgets that Phyllis accepted Grady as an A.’.A.’. initiate right up until 1979! So what happened in 1979 which made her bitterly strike out against him? Readdy ignores the fact that Phyllis later admitted that her original letter, expelling him, was simply her being angry at him because he divorced her in 1979 for another woman. However, she has acknowledged that he took the Oath of the Abyss on April 24th, 1970. She even gave me further information about Grady taking this oath for the biography that I was writing about him. But she denied his Magister Templi degree, claiming he was only a Probationer in her eyes. The hard question to ask is:

“Who has the right to disavow another person’s claim
at having taken the Oath of the Abyss and thus becoming a Magister Templi?”

Phyllis, Gunther, Breeze, Wasserman?

Phyllis and I talked about this in-depth. She could not fathom the fact that when she threw Grady out of the A.’.A.’. he was actually beyond her grasp in the Third Order as a Magus. In other words, even if she could expel him, she had no authority to do so. He was a higher degree than she, which is why he ignored her. As an example, could Aleister Crowley deny Frater Achad (Charles Stansfeld Jones) swearing the Oath? No! In fact, in 1916 he sent a letter to Achad in which he writes – “Note, that on the 8=3 matter I have no right to cross-examine. You claim it, and there is an end of the matter.” Readdy’s book proves he’s either really stupid in regards to A.’.A.’. policies about the S.S. or, again, he has an agenda.

So why are Gunther’s people denying Grady’s claim? The truth is, they cannot acknowledge it because it occurred years before Gunther even joined Motta’s A.’.A.’., and if Motta lost his right to govern the Order according to The Tunis Comment in 1975, then shouldn’t the Order have turned over to one of the highest ranking members of the Order [i.e. Grady], one who had already joined the Secret Chiefs by crossing the Abyss? This is why they can never publicly acknowledge Grady’s true degrees. It kicks the very foundation out from under Gunther’s claims of inheriting the Order from Motta or, in an alternative version of the story, making his own connection with the Secret Chiefs. Regardless if Grady was a good, bad or successful Magister Templi in Phyllis’ eyes, he STILL took the Oath, which made him one of the highest-ranking members in the world in 1975.

To appreciate Grady’s true A.’.A.’. degree I would like to point out that Jim Wasserman wrote In the Center of the Fire (2012) that he took Neophyte under Grady (p.139). Parenthetically, this mention was first time that I ever heard this, and you think Grady would have mentioned it to me, knowing how close we were, but none-the-less, I won’t dispute it. However, I was taught that the A.’.A.’. knocks but once. We know that Wasserman was denied access to the A.’.A.’. by his “receiving Brother” (i.e. Marcelo Motta) because he was a failed Probationer (The Equinox Vol. V, No, 4, 1981), but at the time Grady had no way of knowing this unless he was told. Regardless, I personally accept Wasserman as a fellow brother. I believe the point he is trying to make is that there is only one A.’.A.’., and if Motta failed as a teacher, then he could go to Grady instead because obviously there are no such things as lineages; everyone is in the same A.’.A.’. which, of course, according to Wasserman, is now run by Gunther. But notice what else this story implies: if Grady wasn’t higher than a Probationer as Phyllis claims, how could he accept Wasserman as a Neophyte, which then begs the question, “What degree did Grady hold?” History has shown that he claimed Magus 9=2. Again, if Grady was the highest-ranking initiate, shouldn’t he have been running the A.’.A.’. if Motta failed? Readdy choses to ignore these obvious facts; academia is not his strong suit.

Furthermore, and more important, Motta started openly discussing his personal Commentaries to Liber AL vel Legis and sharing them with others back in the mid-1960s, even discussing the possibility of publishing them in the late-1960s. Let’s say for the sake of argument that The Tunis Comment is correct, and that Motta lost his authority for violating it. If so, didn’t he lose his authority years and years earlier than 1975? With that bit of info, it now begs a more serious question: “What did Gunther, Breeze and Wasserman really join and inherit, if Motta had already fallen into the Black Brotherhood before they met him?” The bottom line, our lineage believes that if Gunther is claiming to have made contact with the Secret Chiefs back in 1973, that is his business; it’s between him and the Gods. But to claim that he’s now cornered the market on the teachings coming out of the S.S. is absolutely ludicrous. Crowley did not create the Third Order; it always existed. For Gunther, or any mortal, to claim that their “One Truth” must be followed above all others proves beyond a shred of a doubt that someone’s ego is screaming from the Black Brotherhood. Read Crowley!

Anyway, I could go on listing numerous, and I do mean numerous, inaccuracies in Readdy’s book, but I think you get the picture. However, in all fairness, I should point out that the entire book is far from worthless. There is a lot of very interesting data found within its pages and worthy of reading, but how is the novice to determine what is real and what is propaganda? These snippets of attacks on other lineages are a distraction in an otherwise good book and, in a way, they expose the book as merely being a propaganda tool, so buyer beware. In my view his book should be renamed One Truth, Filled with Lies. With that I should mention his original Master’s thesis, by the same name, which he published back on December 12th, 2016 using the alias Frater Tέλειος, was so bad and also filled with inaccuracies. Did anyone really expect a longer version to be any different, especially seeing that it was edited and published by Jim Wasserman’s Ibis Press? In the end, I think people within their lineage will most likely praise the book, and it is their right to do so. They all seem to live by a simple premise which states – “What is history but a fable agreed upon?” and, with that, they hope if everyone agrees with their version of the facts, then they must be true. However, their interpretation of A.’.A.’. history is so fraudulent at times that Godzilla could walk through the holes unnoticed. My final thoughts: the paper is too coarse to be used in the bathroom and so the book sits on my bookshelf.

However, the only real truth is that, rather than reading Readdy’s book,
you’d be better off curling up in front of a fire and reading Harry Potter.

by J. Edward Cornelius
January 2019