Voice of London investigates ‘Ordo Templi Orientis’. The Gnostic Catholic sect, founded by Carl Kellner, relies on Aleister Crowley’s teachings of Thelema and Sex Magick.
Words: Gabrielle Espinet | Subeditor: Lateefa Farah
It is important one understands the Order, its beliefs, and its purpose. It was only last year John Bonner, the Head of OTO, told the Daily Mail “You’re not supposed to jump straight in to it. It takes time and study, but our rituals are not for public consumption. You need to join us and go through the initiation process before you can begin to understand”.
Ordo Templi Orientis, roughly translated to ‘The Order of the East’ is a religious organisation, under the Gnostic Catholic Church, founded by mystic, Carl Kellner in 1895. The sciences of Kellner’s beliefs derive from Freemasonry and later picked up Aleister Crowley’s teachings of Thelema and Sex Magick. Sex Magick is an ancient science of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic, or spiritual pursuits. Its goal is to tackle and perfect our sexual forces. What is vital to understand is the Order believes in liberating individuals through Light, Love, and Life.
Its membership method is based on various stages and degrees. Its system is as followed.
You and I may never understand the contents of each, but in order to apprehend the organisation’s presence, one must be aware of The Hermit Triad.
Let me break it down.
VII ° – adoration of the phallus, both within and without
VIII° – interaction outside closed vessels of the vagina and anus. Sexual fluids might be mixed with saliva and then rubbed into the absorbent tissues of the anus and perineum as well as the external correspondence to the chakras also might be used to anoint the internal anus, then transferred as semen, anal elixirs, and saliva back to the mouth.
IX° – Interaction with vagina involving menstrual blood or secretions of women when sexually aroused.
X° – impregnation and fertilization of an egg, also the act of creation or succession
(i) – isolation in the anus where there’s no interaction at all
(ii) – interaction with excrement and small amounts of blood (when small wounds occur during intercourse), mucus, and mucus membranes that lead to blood supply
People outside this society may criticise and proclaim this as abnormal, while loyal members will defend their beliefs – ultimately calling it their Will. However, with a relatively small following and tolerance of social acceptance, does everyone really feel as though they belong?
Psychologist Ray Baumeister and Mark Leary claim there is a fundamental need to belong.
Their ‘belongingness hypothesis’ states people have a basic psychological need to feel closely connected to one another and that affectionate bonds from close relationships are a major part of human behavior.
Mark Leary and Ray Baumeister, Social Pyschologists of Duke University stated, “it seems fair to conclude that human beings are fundamentally and pervasively motivated by a need to belong, that is by a strong desire to form and maintain enduring interpersonal attachment”.
I knew if I wanted to get information, members or anyone associated with the Order would be chronically capable of giving just that.
I got in touch with a former follower based in London.
For the sake of the article, we will call this former follower of OTO and journalist, Mary. She is a solo chaos magician looking for a community. She has experimented with many religious organizations dealing with Magick and revealed she did not feel welcome at OTO. It made me question the acceptance of prospective members.
She explained she was looking at different sects focusing on magick (The Golden Dawn, Satanic Temple, and Illuminates of Thanateros), but didn’t appreciate the structure. It seemed as though her main orientation was based on the assurance of a safe space and comfort for a practicing magician.
Mary speaks of the practice of Magick. She is referring to Aleister Crowley’s, (English Occultist, Ceremonial Magician, and Novelist’s) Science and Art of causing Change to occur in accordance with one’s Will.
She also expands on the community she would like to be apart of, “people who share similar values, who value women and non-binary folk”, or people who associate themselves as male, female, or neither.
Her response had me on edge and made me question diversity within the religious organisation. But before I could ask more questions, I wanted her to at least feel comfortable within our chat. Besides, we had only met online. I mentioned my diverse array of trans and non-binary friends.
Her last statement left me with even more questions, the obvious being the members involved and how they treat people of different race and gender (identities), and even made me evaluate who the majority and minority were – but I let the conversation rest. The chit chat must have spiritually exhausted her.
I am left with the eternal question: Why do we as humans radiate restrictiveness, when all we want is to belong?