The following is part IV of a paper submitted by Frater Entelecheia is a member of Horizon O.T.O. in Seattle, Washington entitled: “A Pattern of Trust: Building a Thelemic Lodge Culture.” There’s a lot of food for thought here!
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The trust we have with current and prospective members is our most valuable asset. As I’ve claimed previously, we build trust by demonstrating our commitment to our Higher Cause through our words and through our deeds. According to our Supreme and Holy King, that Higher Cause is, broadly speaking, “to collectively approach, encounter, and magnify the Divine … through our shared Fraternal bonds … [and] through the sacred rituals that we work together.”
The Pattern of Building Trust
Step Four: Initiation
Individual Perspective: The individual has decided taking the Minerval initiation is of interest to them. They were able to find two sponsors. They were able to come up with the initiation fee. Their initiation was scheduled and performed. The candidate had a profound, positive experience.
Lodge Perspective: We made the individual aware of what the Minerval initiation is and what its purpose is. We let them know how to complete a Minerval application and how to get sponsors. Two people decided the individual in question would be appropriate for the Minerval initiation and signed as sponsors. The Initiation Secretary for the Lodge scheduled the initiation, hopefully in a timely fashion. The initiation was performed safely and competently.
Measure of Success: The measure of success at Step Four is how many new Minervals you are making each year. Quality must be taken into account here. We want to initiate people who are probably Thelemites or are probably on their way to being Thelemites. Initiating people just for the sake of it is lust of result; however, the number of people you are initiating per year is a useful metric of success at all the preceding steps. Imagine a year where you have no choice but to run Minerval initiations every single month. That would be a strong indicator of success.
Comment: Initiating someone has the potential to build profound trust with them!
The initiation candidate walks into the situation blind. They have little or no idea what is about to happen. They have no idea what this guy Aleister Crowley decided a hundred years ago to do to them. They may barely know the individuals initiating them. They’re placing a mountain of trust in us. There is a sacred dimension to that trust, and we need to honor it as well as any other aspect of the initiation we’re performing.
My own initiations have been instrumental in building trust with my fellow Lodge members. They’ve also helped build my trust in the O.T.O. system of initiation: its methods and what it teaches. Having experienced those rituals and having seen their impact on other people, I can speak positively and at length about the benefits of initiation, thereby bringing in new candidates. That’s the long-term effect of the kind of trust you build over many experiences.
Initiation is also a means of constituting our Order with individuals who share our values. Everyone should consult Sabazius’ essay, On Sponsorship, to familiarize themselves with the sponsorship criteria. In particular, note that:
“it is your additional responsibility as sponsor to familiarize yourself with the background, character, sense of honor, and mental and emotional stability of the candidates you sponsor. Do not allow sympathy, personal affection, pressure from others, or idealism to cloud your judgment.”
There are right reasons and wrong reasons to sponsor someone, just as there are right reasons and wrong reasons to refuse sponsorship. Building a strong Lodge culture depends upon following this criteria.
Love is the law, love under will
TO BE CONTINUED