Alma Hirsig’s “Life In A Love Cult”

Marie Ann, Alma and Leah Hirsig were sisters with a shared interest in gurus. Born in Switzerland, the family moved to New York City when Leah was 2 years old. In 1918 Alma introduced Leah to Aleister Crowley who was living in Greenwich Village at the time. Soon Leah would become Crowley’s Scarlet Woman and co-founded the Abbey of Thelema in Cefalu, Sicily with him. (more on Leah The Order of the Eagle site:
Meanwhile Marie Ann went on to publish a series of articles in the New York Journal under the pen name Marion Dockerill “exposing” the scandalous conduct of number of mystic teachers including Pierre Arnold Bernard, one of the first yoga teachers in North America,  “My Life in a Love Cult” by the “High Priestess of Oom” — wherein Bernard was referred to as “Oom the Omnipotent,”  a title he never used himself. Bernard was eventually implicated in a sex scandal that never came to trial as his female accusers skipped town. He ten moved operations upstate to Nyack, NY where he built a wealthy clientele, including the Vanderbilts. A few years ago Robert Love published a book on Bernard,“The Great Oom: The Improbable Birth of Yoga in America which was covered on NPR There have also been scholarly presentations on the gent:
Thanks to Soror Hypatia for the tip and Dr. Richard Kaczynski for information on this item.

Frater Lux Ad Mundi


  1. I need to correct a popular mistake.
    Alma Hirsig is not the author of the articles “My Life in a Love Cult” that refers to Leah Hirsig. The real author is the other sister Marie Anne Hirsig (aka Marion) married to Dockerill.
    The three women are my grandfather’s sisters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *