OTO In North America Centennial Conference

This passed Saturday May 16th, 2015 e.v. was the occasion of the O.T.O. IN NORTH AMERICA CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE, held in Vancouver. The day’s program included a full slate of lectures, opening and closing remarks by Frater Iskander of OTO Canada as well as lunch and dinner.

The event program described the lectures thusly:

The New Aeon in the New World: The Law of Liberty in the Wild West
James Wasserman (O.T.O. U.S.A.)
The first great success of Ordo Templi Orientis was in North America, home of British Columbia Lodge #1 in Vancouver, founded by Charles Stansfeld Jones in 1915. Jones initiated Wilfred T. Smith, who founded Agape Lodge #1 in Los Angeles in 1935 and initiated Grady McMurtry in 1941. Agape was the sole O.T.O. Lodge in the world at the time of Crowley’s death in 1947. The primacy of Western culture in the Thelemic movement, and the fact that The Book of the Law was transmitted in English, are self-evident. I will focus on some of the other common cultural idiosyncrasies shared by Canada, the U.S, and Australia: including their isolation from direct monarchical rule and the restrictions of their European roots. Settlers in the New World and Australia were forced to reject the State as the defining Authori-ty through necessity and geography. Their will to survive demanded their embrace of the primary virtues of the Law of Liberty: rebellion, self-reliance, hardiness, and the warrior spirit. I believe the U.S. became the first enduring home of the modern Order’s efforts, in part because it fully rejected its political roots by declaring and winning a brutal war.sanctifying in blood its embrace of autonomy. The Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights spell out political Liberty in an elegant and persuasive manner.whose likes were not to be seen again until Crowley penned Liber Oz¡ in 1941. I believe all three proclamations describe the conditions of a society where spiritual attainment is most accessible during this Aeon of the Crowned and Conquering Child.

Bizarre Sons
Frater Dionysius Paradoxos Alpha (O.T.O. U.S.A.)
The Thelemic adept Charles Stansfeld Jones (Parzival X° O.T.O.) served as instructor in the kabbalah and magic to the novelist Malcolm Lowry. Their relationship spanned from their meeting in 1941 and subsequent interactions until the death of Jones in 1950. For most of this time, both men lived in small wooded communities on the coast outside Vancouver, British Columbia. The influence of the kabbalah and magic of Jones on Lowry’s novel Under the Volcano was considerable, even though it only came into play during the novel’s fourth and final revision. Additionally, these ideas had a lasting effect on Lowry, which extended into the writing that he did after Under the Volcano. Lowry, in turn, contributed to the magical revelations of Jones, and helped to provide the context and material for the magician’s professed “Discovery of the Word and Name of Ra-Hoor-Khuit.”Lowry based the central character of Under the Volcano partly on himself and partly on Jones, and he cast that character as a ¡°black magician.¡± A conclusion discusses various definitions of ¡°black magic,¡± and their possible applicability to the two subjects of the study.

Mahaguru of the “Purple Cult”: Charles Stansfeld Jones and the Universal Brotherhood
Frater Taos (Secretary General, O.T.O. I.H.Q.)
In 1921 Charles S. Jones joined the Universal Brotherhood (also known as the Integral Fellowship or the Mahacakra Society), a highly secretive organisation of obscure origins and purpose. While Jones’s involvement with the U.B. . he became its leader or Mahaguru in 1928 . and Crowley’s denouncement of the organisation as an elaborate swindle, has been covered in detail by Martin P: Starr in The Unknown God (2003), little has been written about the origins and actual teachings of the U.B. Based on previously unavailable secret U.B. documents and letters, this paper will not only reveal who the actual founder was, but it will also discuss the organisational structure, teachings, and the true objective of the U.B.

Leila Waddell: From Amati to America
Soror OSIS, O.T.O. New Zealand, F.S.R.
Having for two years compiled material towards a biography of Leila Waddell, the first Secretary General of Crowley’s M\M\M\, New Zealander, Sr. OSIS shares some of her favourite anecdotes.

The Alpha & Omega of Initiation: Aleister Crowley, Charles Stansfeld Jones and the Way of Duplexity
Frater AISh MLChMH (O.T.O. U.S.A.) & Frater Shiva X° (O.T.O. Australia)
On the heels of the remarkable 1914 Paris Working and its goal of reconstituting the Order of the Temple in the form of the O.T.O., in the U.S., Aleister Crowley received ‘Duplex’ as the Word of the Equinox in 1915. Crowley interpreted this word as the mystic marriage of the Orders A\A\ and O.T.O. We suggest that this mystic marriage typifies Crowley’s U.S. period, and in particular his work with Charles Stansfeld Jones, Crowley’s attainment to the Grade of Magus, the development of the O.T.O. and its central ritual – the Gnostic Mass, and the publication of the visionary 1919 Blue Equinox in Detroit. This joint presentation will draw upon both published and unpublished archival correspondence and documents from the O.T.O. archives.

“Gathered into their fold¡±: The Canadian Connection to the Great Experiment
Frater Phanes X° (O.T.O. Italy)
In October 1915 e.v. the Prophet visited the “Rain City” in British Columbia; this journey happened during what he described as his “active part of my Initiation to the Grade of Magus of A\A\”
Crowley’s American Period as a whole (1914-1919) marked also a turning point of the O.T.O. development, which proved to be the foundation of what is our Order today. From the acceptance of the Law of Thelema to the techniques of the Sovereign Sanctuary, from the Constitutional papers to the Initiations Rituals, almost every aspect of O.T.O. System was reshaped by Crowley in his capacity as Grand Master Baphomet.
While much of this work was connected to the tasks given to him by the O.H.O. Br. Merlin Peregrinus, it was mainly a direct result of his Magus-related Work and Ordeal; by Fall 1915, The Beast 666 had emerged, having taken the Hand of the Scarlet Woman. As a result thereof, the English-speaking members of the Order were summoned to gather into their fold, under their Authority.
This talk will explore themes and events surrounding Crowley’s Canadian stay, which turned out to be critical for the O.T.O. and its way to carry out the Message of the Master Therion.

An Historical Overview of Crowley’s Rites of Eleusis
Sister Lita-Luise Chappell (O.T.O. U.S.A.)The Rites of Eleusis, written and first produced by Aleister Crowley at London’s Caxton Hall in 1910, dramatically introduced the underlying magical aspects of the seven classical planets. These productions were meant to inspire its attendees, and “cultivate their highest faculties”. These productions have continued to be presented to the public ever since in a variety of ways. This presentation will offer a brief overview, with slideshow, of how these rites have continued to amaze and educate our members and the public, and stress the importance of their continuation.

Panic in Detroit: The Rise and Fall of a North American Supreme Grand Council (Almost)
Richard Kaczynski (O.T.O. U.S.A.)
In the late 1910s, Detroit became the center of O.T.O. activity in North America, drawing Aleister Crowley, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Wiflred T. Smith, Cecil Frederick Russell, and even Norman Mudd into its orbit. A small but serious group of Michigan Freemasons, financiers, and bibliophiles were poised to put O.T.O. over the top, founding its first Supreme Ground Council in North America. They began distributing Crowley’s books, publishing the next volume of The Equinox, rehearsing the Gnostic Mass, and offering classes by Crowley’s envoys in the city. After Crowley met with a group of high-ranking Freemasons at the exclusive Detroit Athletic Club, the Supreme Grand Council seemed like a fait accompli. But when Crowley returned to Europe shortly thereafter, everything came crashing down. This presentation recounts the story of the Supreme Grand Council that almost was.

Hundred Years of the O.T.O. in North America: Inspirations and Lessons
Frater Hymenaeus Beta (Frater Superior, O.T.O. I.H.Q.)
The English-speaking O.T.O. was founded in 1912 with Theodor Reuss’ appointment of Aleister Crowley as Baphomet, “Supreme and Holy King of Ireland, Ionia, and all the Britains within the Sanctuary of the Gnosis.” This occurred at a special time in England, a cultural renovation and countercultural renaissance that briefly blossomed before the curtain of the First World War descended on Europe. This talk will trace the origins and fates of the first O.T.O. national sections in Great Britain, the Union of South Africa, Australia, Canada, the United States, Germany, Denmark and Italy — and the varying reasons for their decline in the immediate postwar period. Of these, two groups bore lasting fruit: the Canadian O.T.O., established in Vancouver a century ago in 1914, and the Italian O.T.O. in Cefalu, Sicily, which briefly flourished in the early 1920s. Wilfred Talbot Smith moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles and joined with the Cefalu veteran Jane Wolfe, establishing Agape Lodge, the progenitor of the modern O.T.O. around the world. The first century of the Aeon of Horus was surprisingly dramatic, full of inspiration, romance, intrigue and betrayal, with unlikely heroines and heroes. Working against great odds at the dawn of the Aeon of Horus, it was their unshakeable belief that their work would someday lead to the establishment of Law of Thelema that has brought us here today.


Thanks to Soror Hypatia for the reporting!

Frater Lux Ad Mundi


  1. Very interesting, I would like some more information about the lodge if you have in southamerica thank you

    • You find a listing of the various official OTO groups in South America on this page http://www.oto.org/ and Frater D.S.W. can help you if you’re looking to take initiation in South America. He’s at iis@oto.org

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