ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS SPERMO-GNOSIS -- CARL KELLNER, THEODOR REUSS, ALEISTER CROWLEY
a lecture by P.R. Koenig
One day the universe broke into pieces -- either caused by a female aspect of the Creator or due to an intermediary entity between the Divine and the Profane.
Those who are happy with and in the world, and benefit from good health, and who experience love and satisfaction in their preferred fields, seem not to need the universe-healing Gnosticism, which I believe is a religious tool to deal with unbearable life.
The magician and the Gnostic live in two worlds at the same time. But, while the magician tries to use the world beyond, in order to have power over this world here, the Gnostic seeks a divine reality, a realm within this world here, which is only a sort of shadow world. Both the magician and the Gnostic (as have many other traditions such as Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Tantra) feel that sexuality might be the key or the door to other realities; but they differ in method between ascetic and libertinistic/sensual orientations: both still use the sexual force. Gnosticism is a varried set of overlaping traditions that often contradict each other. Not all gnostics were "spermo-gnostics". But of these I will speak now. I will summarize the complex Gnostic traditions (although the subject is far too diverse for anyone to depict it accurately in a short essay) but not their literature, nor compare their cosmology in general, nor their History; (1*) I will also go to modern times, where modern Gnostics probably find both worlds more real than the ancient Gnostics did. (2*)
Living in a world which is subjectively felt and experienced as a "rotten place" (a Gnostic term), cries out for salvation. The way this salvation begins is with the material body. It rises up to higher planes (e.g. the emotional plane and the intellectual plane), until man reaches the divine place in the Pleroma. That is fullness to overflowing.
This Pleroma, be it in man or somewhere in outer space, is the Gnostic counterpart to the "rotten" earthly place. Two routes can be pursued to leave this rotten place: to suppress or avoid it (the ascetic concept); or to dissolve it while completely living it out (the sensual way). On a higher plane it is vice versa. The sensual way leads to homeopathic asceticism: weakening the evil whilst indulging in it like a necessity. The sensual gnostic embraces sin in order to experience the decaying of the world, and to rise as the Phoenix from the ashes. Sexual orgies are sweating out the divine Pneuma/Logos which rises to the Pleroma. The ascetic way reacts allopathically: against the poison of existence it gives ignorance of the body as a remedy. (3*)
The term I have introduced above, the concept of "homeopathy" surprisingly is used as a method often with the ascetic way of Gnostic life. Homeopathy surprisingly has a lot in common with Gnosticism itself. (4*)
Homeopathy and Gnosticism both regard the material plane as the most unimportant to man. Both concepts seek a bringing back of man/humanity in/to a primitive/archaic state of health/salvation. This state manifests itself on the highest spiritual/divine plane. Both, homeopathy and Gnosticism teach that healing and/or salvation happens from Above to Below and from Inside to Outside (which reminds us of Hermes Trismegistos' Emerald Table of the Rosicrucians and the Freemasons). But while Gnosticism offers salvation/health either via "Optimum through Maximum" or "Optimum through Minimum", homeopathy follows the middle path of balance.
The central point with the ascetic and sensual Gnostics lies with their concept of Sperm. It is the sperm that contains the Holy Logos which, when in Man, has to be brought back to the Pleroma. (5*) This implies two questions:
1. can women be
Maybe because it was the greediness of the female aspect of the creative Entity that caused the fall into the profane, it is the duty of the Man to give the universe back its completeness/integrity. On the material plane the woman is punished with the large wound between her legs. (6*) This wound signifies the place where primitive man once was bound with his own female aspect: the perfect Androgyn, now torn apart. It is the man's turn now to experience the lust which broke the universe apart. Woman has to suffer. Only man's sperm transports the Holy Logos. Women lack the prostata (7*) and therefore are superfluous for man's salvation as long as he does not achieve androgynity. (8*) If he does have "use" for the female, then it is only as a channel to higher divine entities. Maybe he sees some use for her menstrual blood? When he is Christian orientated (let us call him the libertine Gnostic), he might use her blood as the "Blood of Christ" and consume it as a "religious nourishment". If he sees the world as a really bad place, he avoids having children and animalistic flesh-eating (and here we find vegetarians). An ascetic avoids having ejaculations, even with his wife, but directs his sexual energies in Yoga-practises into his head (where he assumes is found the most direct bridge to the Divine). In order to achieve Androgynity, he penetrates his wife (avoiding orgasm) so that she, as well, might benefit from his luck. (9*)
Yoga is one of the preliminary conditions to master the body before using it as a temple. By westerners, Yoga is mistakenly thought to be a system of physical exercises to keep the body supple and the mind calm. But the meaning of the word yoga is union and the system was developed by eastern adepts to assist them to attain union with the source of all being.
All the Gnostic movements, be they the old ones or modern ones, assign salvation only to man: the woman has to become a man in order to enter heaven. (10*) The ascetic Gnostics avoid ejaculation and let the woman join in his wonderful ability to "produce" the Logos; the libertine Gnostics use all of the woman's gifts in order to sweat out the Pneuma.
Well. Our two questions (1. can women be saved? and, 2. what shall we do with the sperm?) cannot be separated. Only man's sperm can offer salvation (11*) and woman has to become man in order to be saved. (12*)
Which spermo-Gnostics are known today? Since the turn of the present century, the most famous group has organised itself as a quasi freemasonry organisation, called Ordo Templi Orientis, in short: O.T.O. (13*)
Ordo Templi Orientis
Three famous O.T.O.-protagonists are: the provider of its concept/idea, the Austrian Carl Kellner (1851-1905); its German founder Theodor Reuss (1855-1923) and the notorious Englishman, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). The reader will find the beliefs and practises of the O.T.O.(-groups) below.
Gnosticism (in its varied forms) is only one tradition that comes into play in Ordo Templi Orientis symbology, and not all aspects of every kind of gnosticism are particularly important. These modern Gnostics (and their sheep) were sperm-eaters. They assigned this to the Holy Logos; and, at least Reuss and Crowley, did not like women. (14*) However, while Reuss' biography (15*) opened his mind dualistically towards both ascetic and libertinistic ways as a means of achieving salvation, Crowley's libertinistic biography (16*) shows an individual whose universe got smaller each day, and whose world was populated with demons and angels, which did not dissolve at the darkest moment in order to give rise to a phoenix.
The Occult Circle,
later reformed as O.T.O., under its founder Carl Kellner, ca. 1895
Carl Kellner was a skilled practitioner in several traditional styles of Yoga. He believed that a major role was played by the nerve fibres (Nadis) and the 10 different kinds of breathing (Vayus). The ancient indian bodily expressions for the 10 Vayus are: Prana (in the heart), Apana (near the anus), Samana (near the genitals), Udana (in the throat), Vyana (the whole body), Naga (in the genitals), Kurma (open the eye lids), Krikara (causes sneezing), Devadatta (causes yawning) and Dhananjaya (floats through the physical body).
Reuss' theory of "Sexual Magic" was focussed on the 6th Vayus (see above) or Naga which he published in 1912, seven years after Kellner's death. Since Theodor Reuss later spoke of the "Hermetic Brotherhood of Light" (HBL) as the central and secret source of the teachings it is easy to assume that Kellner followed its protagonist P.B. Randolphs teachings of using drugs in order to reach illumination while having sexual intercourse. Randolph also gave techniques to focus the sexual energies upon a wish, a sort of an inner photography which represents the desire to be fulfilled. (18*) There is oral history as to Carl Kellner being one of the 12 co-founders of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light in Boston/Chicago in 1895, and then leading a German "branch" which later was to become above mentioned "Inner Triangle".(19*) There is reason to believe that Reuss' HBL was not the same as Kellner's.
The O.T.O. under Theodor Reuss
After Kellner's death in 1905, Reuss founded an O.T.O.-system now consisting of 7 pseudo-freemasonic degrees, opening the 7 Chakras, while the sexmagical VIIIth and IXth degrees were "given" without any rituals. The Xth degree only labeled the country's leader.
The surviving papers of Reuss show that he continued the Yoga-teachings of Kellner but also introduced Manichaeism. (20*) The whole body was considered Divine (the Temple of the Holy Ghost) and the sexual organs were meant to fulfill a peculiar function: a Holy Mass was the symbolic act of re-creating the universe. (21*) The root belief is that only by co-operation between man and woman can either advance spiritually. Sexually joining is a shadow of the cosmic act of creation. Performed by adepts, the union of male and female approaches more closely the primal act and partakes of its divine nature, which is seen as continuous and continuing, not for once and for all. This point of view is different from the Christian one, which holds that the creation of the universe by God occurred at some definite point in time past. The sensations that form slowly within Man and Woman sexually joined come not from the conjunction of the physical parts, but from the male and female sexual polarities in contact. Correct breathing patterns affect the chemistry of the blood stream and so bring about a change in the internal environment of the brain. Consciousness ego moves away to make room for divine power. The sexual energies then should be stored, together with correct breathing both leads to the transmutation of the energy in order the Magician becomes a Clairvoyant (in German: "Seher"). (22*)
Reuss was not that fond of masturbating (the VIIIth degree under Crowley) and called it "Selbstpeinigung" (causing pain to oneself) and "widernatuerlich" (against nature). (23*) Nevertheless he saw the Lingam (phallus) as a symbol of the creator of the universe.
It seems that Reuss worked along homosexual (24*) or at least homoerotic tantric lines (mutual touching of the phalli, (25*) the XIth degree under Crowley) but the central secret of his Ordo Templi Orientis was built around Richard Wagner's "Parsifal". The spear became the phallus while the Gral, of course, was the vagina which contained the "Grals-speise" (the nourriture of the Gral, that is, sperm and vaginal fluids). Reuss' O.T.O.-system was formed on an utopian communistic society where the Mother (with references to the christian Maria) took central position in social and sexual life, called "community of Neo-Christians". (26*)
The O.T.O. under Aleister Crowley
After Reuss' death in 1923, Crowley made an enterprise out of the O.T.O.'s secret. There is a surviving plan to promote the "Elixir of Life" (under the name "Amrita", the Magical Medicine) (27*) and to heal patients according to O.T.O. methods, (28*) that is: to heal them with yoga and sexual fluids. (29*) Crowley used the Ordo Templi Orientis (as he used other real or ghostly orders) as a play, a publishing house and found it a suitable instrument to extract the "gold" (be it alchemistical or sexual) from the pockets of his followers. To that purpose he pretended never having had sex out of sheer lust. (30*) It always should have been a "duty", a "prayer to God" (Aiwaz, Baphomet or Sheitan (31*) - there are many more disguises); in consequence a prayer to himself whom he identified with an erected penis.
Crowley's VII* is a treatise about the creative organ's divinity, and from his "Book of Lies" one can interfer that the vital fluid is a vehicle of immortality. The Matter is the original primitive material substance semi-spiritual, immortal and containing in itself the archetypes of all form and possessing the double potency of attracting to itself individual spirits and also particles of gross Matter to form their temporary envelope on this plane (the gnostic Rotten Place).
Crowley's VIIIth degree unveiled to the "pupil" that masturbating on a sigil of a demon or meditating upon the image of a phallus would bring power or communication with a (or one's own) divine being/Super Ego. The IXth degree labeled heterosexual intercourse where the sexual secrets were sucked out of the vagina and when not consumed (when considered holy) put on a sigil to attract this or that demon to fullfill the pertinent wish/order. (32*) In his "Emblems and Mode of Use" (33*) Crowley describes the method of how to smear sperm on a talisman/sigil in order to attract for example money. This paper is so secret that, at one time, its possession was equal with having the IXth degree O.T.O. There was no other proof until only recently: now one possibly needs to go through an examination test to prove "possession"/"knowledge" of the IXth degree O.T.O. (34*)
Crowley played around with different sexmagickal methods. One of the O.T.O.'s secrets is the adoration of the idol Baphomet of the old Templars. While the German splinter-group, the misogynist Fraternitas Saturni definitely tried (and still tries) to incarnate Baphomet in flesh, (35*) in the O.T.O.-groups (that emerged after Crowley's death in 1947) the subject is not that clear although incorporated in the Xth degree. Crowley advised selection of a female partner. The magician and his mate "copulate continuously" until impregnation results: a homunculus. (36*) Maybe the ability of the Xth to create a homunculus was realised on the physical level in their privilege of electing their OHO.
In the XIth degree, the mostly homosexual degree, (40*) one identifies oneself with an ejaculating penis. (41*) The blood (or excrements) from anal intercourse attract the spirits/demons while the sperm keeps them alive. On 31 March 1946 Crowley noted down a dream in his diary: "A most frightful semi-dream (between two normal motions) of giving birth to a foetus per anum. It was a mass of blood & slime. The nastiest Qliphotic experience I can remember!"
Crowley saw no use in the vaginal fluids nor did he think that women are divine, (42*) therefore he could not imagine lesbian sexmagick. He believed that "man is the guardian of the Life of God; woman but a temporary expedient; a shrine indeed for the God, but not the God." ==> Women exist for the use of men. His ideal female: "robust, vigorous, eager, sensible, hot and healthy". That is to say, his interest was in the woman's body and he wanted no spiritual or intellectual participation from her.
Crowley's main tools to achieve illumination remained: spermophagy, coprophagy and algolagnia.
SUMMARY OF CROWLEY’S SEX MAGICK SYSTEM
VII° Adoration of
the phallus as Baphomet, both within and without
Questions and Answers regarding the O.T.O.: Theodor Reuss, Rudolf Steiner, sexmagick and Aleister Crowley
Zur Geschichte des O.T.O. Fragen und Antworten zu Theodor Reuss, Rudolf Steiner und Aleister Crowley