Bio of J. Edward Cornelius

J. Edward Cornelius (July 14, 1951 – December 8, 2023) — Hymenaeus Gamma 777 — served as Inner Head of the Order for the McMurtry A.’.A.’. until his death. As a youngster, he was a member of the French Promethean Society in West Haven, Connecticut. He joined the O.T.O. on November 18th, 1977, assuming the motto Achad Osher 583. He would serve as the Lodge Master of several O.T.O. lodges. He joined the A.’A.’. under Grady Louis McMurtry (Frater Hymenaeus Alpha 777  O.T.O., 9°=2 A.’.A.’.) as a Probationer 0°=0 in July of 1979. By April of 1984, J. Edward had been elevated up degree by degree to VIII° O.T.O. He was not one of the Provisional Degrees established for legal reasons. In April of 1984, J. Edward swore the Oath of the Abyss under Grady’s direct guidance, himself having sworn it years earlier. He was now a Magister Templi 8°=3 in A.’.A.’.  

The late J. Edward Cornelius, formerly Caliph and Inner Head of the Order of the McMurtry A.'.A.'. He is pictured here in his library
Frater Hymenaeus Gamma 777 (J. Edward Cornelius, 1951-2023), former Caliph and Inner Head of the Order of the McMurtry A.'.A.'.

In early 1985 J. Edward sent a lengthy letter to Grady regarding his views of IX° as requested. After receiving this, Grady called, acknowledging that J. Edward obviously knew the “Secret.” He sent J. Edward a copy of his typescript of “Emblems and Modes of Use,” which arrived in late February, acknowledging that this degree would not be official until they met. Tragedy struck before this would occur. Grady passed away in July of 1985. 

By April of 2004, Cornelius had become disgusted with the lies, backstabbing and treachery of the new leadership in O.T.O., which by now was being run by a renegade branch of Marcelo Motta’s A.’.A.’.  established in the early 1990s. After twenty-seven years in the Order he decided to go inactive, to not pay his dues and to give up his membership. However, he kept writing, releasing such books as Aleister Crowley and the Ouija Board (2005), The Magical Essence of Aleister Crowley (2010), Aletheia: Astrology in the New Aeon for Thelemites (2011), The Aleister Crowley Desk Reference (2013), the Essays series (2015-2023), The Cult of Aleister Crowley (2021), The Secret Sexual Teachings of Aleister Crowley, the Beast 666 (2022), and so many others. J. Edward Cornelius was Grady Louis McMurtry’s recognized heir as the undisputed Caliph and head of his A.’.A.’. lineage. He ran Love’s Sake Clerk House in Oakland, CA; Berkeley, CA; and Prescott, Arizona.

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