Other Thelemic Groups

cancellariusIt goes without saying that there are groups other than the ("Caliphate") OTO that dedicate themselves to the thelemic cause. First are foremost there are of course the various A.'.A.'. lineages, which follow the tradition of the worlds first thelemic order. Secondly there are groups that claim or at some point claimed to represent the true OTO. Last, but certainly not least, there are many other groups that either follow their more or less own thelemic tradition. As I'm not a member of these groups, my information presented on this website is rather limited and sometimes could be even wrong. Any corrections, additional info or comments, esp. made by members of these groups, are highly appreciated. Do not hesitate to contact me if you think that your order is not presented in a suitable way and I will consider to change it appropriately immediately. As brothers fight ye!

As described above, let's start with the the A.'. A.'. - you decide what this stands for ;-). After Crowley left the ruins of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and some travelling, he founded this order in 1907ev with George Cecil Jones. The grade structure is very similar to Golden Dawn's, but unlike the GD or groups like the OTO, there are no group rituals and members are expected to work alone and, at least in theory, have no contacts to any other members except for their superior. Ultimate goals any members works towards is the attainment of a mystical state known as "the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel" and the experience of the Abyss.

Since Crowley's death there are several legitimate and sometimes illegitimate lineages of the A.'. A' out there that can be traced back to Crowley via certain key members of the time or Motta for instance. The secrecy of the order however, also allows others to claim a lineage or membership that in reality doesn't exist. Generally, if somebody very openly declares himself as an A.'.A.'. member to you, chances are, he is not. :-) In no particular order:

This is the A.'A.'. accepted by and "linked" with the OTO in the sense of membership overlap and contact information publication. In the past this was often stated to be a lineage through Soror Grimaud (Helen Parsons Smith), though I technically it is actually ironically a Motta via J. Daniel Gunther lineage. Clarification would be welcome.

Student Reading List, link to the Equinox, The Collected Works of Aleister Crowley (Tannhäuser, Time, Sword of Song, Eleusis), Shiva Sanhita, Hatha Yoga, The Spiritual Guide of Miguel de Molinos (offsite) , Student Task and Oath

An A.’.A.’. lineage, linked with the College of Thelema, that descends from Aleister Crowley to Jane Wolfe (Soror Estai) to Phyllis Seckler (Soror Meral) and the current leadership. Apart from the College of Thelema, Silver Star links etc, this is a basic contact page.

Jerry Cornelius' A.'.A.'. branch that refers to itself as the "Grady Louis McMurtry branch" and is restricted to the Berkeley area and does not accept any membership requests from elsewhere. Effectively this is another Jane Wolfe and Phyllis Seckler lineage.

Yet another Jane Wolfe lineage.

Group in Brazil often called the Frater Adjuvo lineage, which is no other than Marcello Motta.

Another A.'.A.'. lineage via Motta and then Ray Eales. The site contains some of the basic documents such as 'One Star in Sight' and the documents from the syllabus.

Motta via David Bersson lineage. Unlikely the SOTO claim, which can be ignored for the simple fact that Motta never even was a member of the OTO, it is undisputed that Motta was a member of the A.'.A.'. as a student of Karl Germer. This represents one of the various Motta lineages.

Non Caliphate "OTO" groups

As mentioned before, there have been and still are other groups than the 'Caliphate'-OTO that lay claim to represent the true O.T.O. or make use of the OTO "trademark". The next few links give some examples of such groups. The whole question of succession originates from the fact that Karl Germer, being more interested in the A.'.A.'. than OTO, failed to completely clarify the succession prior to his death. Several people did, or like Mellinger did not, claim authority over the order, each claim with it's own weakness.

The last decades have seen a number of court decisions that you will surely come across in your research, but usually these were technically related to the question of copyrights rather than a genuine succession of the Crowley OTO. O.T.O.'s history can be very confusing, even Crowley role as OHO could be argued against, and even if I have my own opinion that the Caliphate OTO is the defacto OTO and McMurty had authority to reactivate the order, it is of course up to you to compare all arguments and histories, given by the several groups or others, and to come to your own conclusions regarding the legitimation of such claims and what really matters to you. Even if a system may not be the genuine OTO system, it may still work very well for you.

"Typhonian" Ordo Templi Orientis - this is not an official TOTO site, but a subsite of P.R. Koenig's OTO Phenomenon site (see my comment on the OTO subsite). Nevertheless it contains various texts by TOTO (Michael Staley, Simon Hinton & others). TOTO was founded, re-activated or however you prefer to put it by Kenneth Grant, who claimed since 1962 e.v. to be OHO (Outer Head of Order) of OTO, but was expelled by Karl Germer, Crowley's successor, in 1955 e.v. On this site you will also find a disputed document, said to be written by Crowley, making Kenneth Grant OHO of OTO along with Michael Staley's official response to this document and some of their account of OTO history, e.g. the point that Germer might have claimed to have expelled Grant, but by his own refusal to accept the OHO position, had no authority to do so. This is however surprising as Grant seems to have accepted and referred to Germer's authority before.

Regardless of this and the court decision in the UK Trademark Case it is an undisputed fact that Grant and the others transformed this order into something very different from the Crowley OTO with their higher focus on the Typhonian tradition, extra terrestial intelligence, LAM, Horus/Maat Double Current and darker aspects of the occult existence. Far less focus on group rituals or ceremonial initiations replaced by some small set of grade work and effectively self initiation that together with Grant's books surely is of interest to some.

This is the homepage of the David Bersson's SOTO. Society Ordo Templi Orientis was founded by Marcelo Ramos Motta, an A.'.A.'. member, who claimed to be OHO (Outer Head of Order) of OTO after Karl Germer's death even though he never was a member of the OTO. All based on statement made after Karl Germer's death by his Sascha, who had no authority in this matter and by the way soon changed her preference to Metzger. Motta lost (as defendant) in a lawsuit against the often OTO and died in 1987ev. In his last will and testament he named a triumvirate to be responsible for SOTO. After his death this triumvirate (Claudia Canuto de Menezes, William Robert Barden and David Ben Stone) failed to determine Motta's successor. The result was a schism: Bersson (aka Frater Sphinx, de Menezes' lover and highest ranking officers of SOTO at the time of Motta's death) claimed to be head of SOTO after de Menezes distanced herself from Barden, who then ran his own SOTO, and Stone. As for David Bersson and his SOTO, my only recommendation is to be very careful and that is as impartial as it gets.

Official website for Michael Bertiaux / Courtney Willis, La Couleuvre Noire, Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, Monastery of the Seven Rays, Technicians of the Sacred. Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua is a gnostic-magical order founded in 1921 in Haiti by Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine in the tradition of gnostic voudon, a synthesis of western hermetic tradition with Haitian magic. The Monastery of the Seven Rays works within the OTOA and both are linked to the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis. La Couleuvre Noire (founded in 1922) is an independent, but linked order dedicated to the practice of advanced techniques of gnostic voudon.

The head or so-called Hierophant of the O.T.O.A. & L.C.N. is Tau Ogdoade-Orfeo IV - Michael Bertiaux, patriarch of the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis. Today O.T.O.A. and L.C.N. work under the care of Sovereign Grand Master Absolute (SGMA) Courtney Willis and Sovereign Grand Master (SGM) David Beth.

Other Thelemic Groups

Last but not least you can find links to the various other thelemic groups and orders out there of various different flavours. Some were founded after ex members of OTO or other groups left or were forced out, some are genuine alternatives and some may just be not so genuine attempts to claim a tradition that in fact only exists in the head of a very few webmasters, but all show the variety of the 93 current in its manifestation within the world wide web. Again, my information on these groups is limited, so any incorrect statements are nothing but my own ignorance of the true facts.

The Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn (Order of the T.·.G.·.D.·.) is dedicated to the teachings of Aleister Crowley, Thelema and the Golden Dawn. It was founded by Dr. Christopher S. Hyatt (Frater Adonai Achad) and David Cherubim (aka Frater Aurora Aureae). The website gives a version of the history of this order, but in a nutshell Hyatt was initiated into the Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie and in 1990 he initiated Cherubim and shortly after they founded the T.'G.'.D.'. together. In 1994 ev they parted company, Cherubim left the 'Hermetic Temple and Order of the Golden Dawn' and OTO, which he had joined in 1985, and coninued to run the TGD.

TGD is based on a system of self initiation and correspondence and the website provides all the details as well as other documents and links, such as David's personal website, the Myspace Aleister Crowley Foundation etc.

The Holy Order of RaHoorKhuit is working in the tradition of Motta's SOTO. It was founded as a new outer Order of Thelema in 1992ev after things didn't work out very well in SOTO pretty much right after Motta's death in 1987 and thereafter. To put it in HOOR's own words from the 'Preliminary Thoughts' document: "Another organization [editor: This is SOTO] formerly filled this niche but owing to the great schisms of the late 1980's ev that order no longer serves Us and has, it seems, fallen". Anyway, according to the same document, HOOR works in harmony with the A.'.A.'. lineage, which in this case is the 'Ray Eales [aka 939] lineage' (via Motta), which is little surprising considering his overseer role in HOOR.

Cor Lucis was founded by Anna-Kria King, who also co-founded the College of Thelema. It is an initiatory and teaching order based in Los Angeles, with a strong emphasis on “Know Thyself.” A graded, step by step process inspired by the Golden Dawn framework and Thelema of course that combines group and private ritual, study, and meditation comprises the program of this modern, ceremonial Thelemic group. Usually, according to its own statement by invitation only and restricted to members within travel distance to LA.

Gerald del Campo founded this order which tries to combine (idealistic) virtues of a knight with the thelemic/gnostic tradition with a strong emphasis on a code of conduct, charitable work.