PHONEY MASONRY OF THE O.T.O.
by Gary Ford
The O.T.O. is Clandestine Masonry
Notes on the Degrees mentioned, "given by name" or "conferred"
in the Fourth Degree and Council of Princes of Jerusalem of the Ordo Templi Orientis (Caliphate O.T.O.) a Pseudo-Masonic Body
with a brief history of the O.T.O. & its relation to Freemasonry
While the ideas of associating the devil, sexual activity and Freemasonry are by no means new, they have been largely if not entirely fantasy. At least until the Ordo Templi Orientis came along (no pun intended). The O.T.O. did indeed unite sexual teachings/techniques with a form of "fringe" and "irregular" Masonry. And when Aleister Crowley either became or merely assumed the office of Outer Head of the Order in the early 1920's some would say that he added his own brand of Satanism into the mix as Crowley so often referred to himself as "The Beast, 666".
Theodor Reuss & Beginnings:
The early history of the Ordo Templi Orientis or O.T.O. is shrouded in obscurity as are many organizations of this type. It emerges from the early 20th Century as a Masonic fraud. It united certain fringe and some entirely bogus Masonic and other fraternal bodies and promoted a form of sexual magical practice. It was the brainchild of Theodor Reuss (1855-1923) of Augsburg, Germany.
Reuss was a professional singer, journalist and may have been a spy for the Prussian police. He was initiated into legitimate Freemasonry in November, 1876 into Pilgrim Lodge No. 238 while in London. He was passed to the Degree of Fellowcraft in May, 1877 and raised to the Degree of Master Mason on 9 January, 1878. There is no record of Reuss having ever attended another meeting and he was dropped from membership on 1 October, 1880. This is the entire extent of his career as a Regular Mason .
Reuss claimed in July, 1914 in his publication the Oriflamme to have founded or "revived" the Illuminati Order in 1880 . He seems to have formed a lodge named "Ludwig Lodge" at Munich for that purpose. If his story is true this would have taken place in the year in which he was dropped from the rolls of Pilgrim Lodge in London. Little else is known of this lodge which, if it existed at all outside the imagination of Theodor Reuss seems to manifest once more in 1895 when he "revived" the Order again, but this time in Berlin. This Lodge seems once more to have faded from the material plane since it was again re-opened in Berlin in March, 1901, with Reuss elected as Master. A charter was issued by the Order of the Illuminati and referred to its self declared "authority" to form Masonic lodges. It was also backdated to January 1900.
By July of 1901 Ludwig Lodge became independent from the Illuminati Order that had spawned it. This action made Reuss as head of the Illuminati who gave himself "authority" to form lodges of masons, separate and independent from Reuss as Master of Ludwig Lodge. By the end of 1901 Reuss had five additional phony Masonic lodges under his "Obedience", none of whom were recognized by any of the regular German Grand Lodges.
Reuss now went about obtaining charters from sources outside Germany to form various appendant Masonic bodies. In order to do this he stressed his own English Masonic credentials (which by this time had long since lapsed and were completely void). Early in 1902 Reuss was granted a warrant by John Yarker of Manchester to found Holy Grail Lodge No. 15 of the Swedenborgian Rite. Ludwig Lodge and the other bogus lodges were recognized as Swedenborgian Lodges under Reuss' guarantee of their regularity(!). In February Dr. William Wynn Westcott as Supreme Magus of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia authorized Reuss to form a Societas Rosicruciana High Council in Germany with Reuss as Magus. John Yarker issued Reuss a warrant for the Antient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim on 24 September, 1902 . Reuss is also believed to have received letters-patent as a "Sovereign Grand Inspector General 33°" of the entirely bogus Cerneau Scottish Rite from Yarker with this same date.
In all fairness to Westcott and Yarker and the Orders over which they presided, none of the bodies associated with them made Masons in the Craft Degrees in England. And all required their members to be Master Masons of Lodges working under a Grand Lodge system. It must also be noted that Yarker sincerely believed (erroneously) that the Cerneau Rite was a legitimate Scottish Rite body.
In 1906 Reuss moved to London. In the July-December issue of the Oriflamme for that year Reuss styled himself as "Sovereign Grand Master General ad vitam of the United Orders of the Scottish, Memphis and Misraim Freemasons in and for the German Reich, Sovereign Grand Commander, Absolute Grand Sovereign, Sovereign Pontiff, Sovereign Grand Master of the O.T.O. Freemasons, Supreme Magus Soc. Frat. R.C., SI 33°, Termaximus Regens I.O. etc."
It is from these and other rather complex machinations by Reuss that the O.T.O. emerges. In 1912 the "Jubilee edition" of the Oriflamme, appeared. It now described itself as the "Official Organ of the Order of the Oriental Templars and the Sovereign Sanctuary of Ancient Freemasons in Germany". It is later stated in this issue that:
"Our Order possess the KEY which opens up all Masonic.'. and Hermetic secrets, namely, the teaching of sexual magic, and this teaching explains without exception, all the secrets of Nature, all the symbolism of FREEMASONRY and all systems of religion."
In this same issue the announcement is made of a new National Grand Lodge of the O.T.O. for Great Britain and Ireland. The head of the Order for England was Aleister Crowley, a man who referred to himself as "The Great Beast 666." Crowley would later re-write the rituals of the O.T.O. and write papers which delineated the sex magic secrets of the Order. Crowley kept diaries of his experiments with the Order's sex magic techniques from at least 1914 . It was Crowley who would succeed Reuss as "Outer Head of the Order" in the early 1920's. Reuss died in 1923.
All dressed up, but nowhere to go but to a bogus 'Masonic' lodge. He ceased to be a regular Freemason in 1880 when he was dropped from the rolls of Pilgrim Lodge No. 238 of the United Grand Lodge of England. When this photo was taken Reuss hadn't been a real Freemason for 15 years. The O.T.O. was his brainchild.
The Great Beast 666 Joins In:
Crowley was no stranger to secret societies when he met Reuss in 1910. He had joined the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at the end of 1898 and took part in some of the activities which led to its breaking up in the spring of 1900 . While traveling in Mexico that summer he met "one of the highest chiefs of Scottish Rite freemasonry" who made him a (needless to say, irregular) 33°. Crowley was about 25 years of age at this time. Later, he wrote of an incident about this time in the USA in which he attempted Masonic recognition from an individual and was taken aback when he was not recognized as a Mason. This seems to have made him very angry, and perhaps hurt. In 1904 Crowley joined what he seems to have believed was a regular lodge. This was Anglo-Saxon Lodge No. 343 of Paris under charter of the Grande Loge de France (which was not recognized by the United Grand Lodge of England).
In 1908 Crowley began to issue his periodical The Equinox. In its pages he promoted his own fraternal invention, the A.'.A.'. primarily using rituals that he had modified from the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. He included his own developments of magick, yoga, philosophy and religion and filled in with short stories, plays, poetry and reviews et cetera. Still in print, the Equinox stands as a monument to Crowley's genius and his eccentricity.
In the spring of 1910 Reuss met with Crowley and offered him the VII° of the O.T.O., which was allegedly comparable to the 33° in the Scottish Rite. In September of that year Crowley favorably reviewed John Yarker's book The Arcane Schools in his Equinox. By the end of November Yarker had issued Crowley a patent for the bogus Cerneau 33° and the 95° of the Rite of Memphis and 90° of the Rite of Mizraim. Crowley seems to have done nothing with these "honors" until 1912, when Reuss issued him a charter on 21 April naming him 33°, 90°, 95°, X°, National Grand Master General for Great Britain and Ireland of O.T.O. It is interesting to note that the "charter," which can be seen in Occult Theocracy by Lady Queenborough, is actually a Cerneau Scottish Rite and Memphis/Mizraim certificate that was pressed into service by hand lettering the letters O.T.O. along the top. Indeed the O.T.O. seems to be an afterthought of Reuss' previous bogus Masonic schemes. All of the early so called history of the O.T.O. given in the Jubilee edition of the Oriflamme refers back to a time when Reuss and company were working or attempting to work the bogus Cerneau Scottish Rite, the Antient & Primitive Rite of Memphis & Mizraim or bogus "Illuminati" lodges. Many years after the O.T.O. emerges as the preferred vehicle for the schemes of Reuss and Crowley, its ritual work consists of bogus Craft Degrees, bogus Scottish Rite degrees and even (because of the bogus Craft Lodges and degrees- worked in England and the United States by Crowley) bogus Memphis/Mizraim/Primitive Rite degrees. The entire history of the O.T.O. is one of bogus "Masonic" activity mixed with periodic attempts to either "regularize" itself Masonically or to at least publicly say that O.T.O. has no conflict with regular Masonry while still "conferring" Masonic degrees which O.T.O. glories in and claims are completely authentic.
As part of a plan to be accepted, or at least not bothered by, regular Freemasonry Crowley planned to re-work the whole O.T.O. ritual structure, removing or changing substantially the Masonic form of the titles and rituals of the degrees. He only succeeded in doing this however for the first four degrees of Minerval, Man, Magician and Master Magician. Today these degrees remain substantially as Crowley re-wrote them. These rituals and their titles indeed do not infringe upon Freemasonry in any way. As we shall see later however, the same cannot be said for those degrees beyond Master Magician.
In 1919 Crowley issued a Manifesto for his branch of the O.T.O. named the Mysteria Mystica Maxima in which he stated that "the O.T.O. is a body of initiates in whose hands are concentrated the wisdom and the knowledge of the following bodies":
It is interesting to note that in this same year (1919) in a letter, Crowley referred to regular 32° Scottish Rite Masons in America as "so many pieces of rather nasty dirt." In another letter Crowley wrote, "Affiliate Frank Lodge but rub it into him that even our eighth degree wipes its arse with the thirty third. As you and I need toilet paper, they can give us or sell us their dirty sheep skin." And in yet another letter of 1919:
"My point about our 33rd is this, that we cannot admit that any one soever is higher in Masonry than ourselves ... My idea is to hele the breach with Memphis and Mizraim; these rites, though messy, keep going. Now I am Patriarch Grand Administrator General, and can be S.G.M.G. at the election, which, by the way is overdue. Now I propose that the Scottish Rite absorb M. and M., conferring all its degrees formally upon their 32nds. Our price for this is seats on the S.C. of the Scottish in America. Otherwise, we use our energy to run every rite, Scottish and the rest, on our own ... Remember, we don't admit that their rite is any good until it has our O.K. Theirs is a forged charter."
In other words, Crowley was at this time attempting to gain a seat on the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in the Northern Jurisdiction in the USA. This is another instance that showed his incredible lack of knowledge relative to Freemasonry. It was for this reason among others that he re-wrote the Minerval through third degrees of the O.T.O. He abandoned the project when it became clear to him that his scheme would not work.
At the end of 1921 Crowley decided to take complete control of the O.T.O. In a letter to Reuss dated November 23, 1921, Crowley stated: "It is my will to be O.H.O. and Frater Superior of the Order and avail myself of your abdication -- to proclaim myself as such." He signed the letter "Baphomet O.H.O." In a diary entry for November 27, 1921, Crowley wrote: "I have proclaimed myself O.H.O. Frater Superior of the Order of Oriental Templars." While Crowley later stated that Reuss accepted this and merely resigned in his favor, no documentation exists to confirm Crowley's version of the story. Reuss died in October, 1923. Whether merely by self proclamation or by "legitimate" succession Crowley proceeded as the Outer Head of the Order until his death in December, 1947. In accord with his wishes Karl Germer became O.H.O. of O.T.O., serving until his death in 1962.
By the end of W.W.II only one O.T.O. lodge under Crowley was still working. This was Agapé Lodge No. 1 which was formed in 1935. This lodge performed initiations and Crowley's "Gnostic Mass." It was headed by Wilfred Talbot Smith (1885 - 1957). The period of Smith's involvement with O.T.O. has recently been well documented in The Unknown God, W.T. Smith and the Thelemites by Martim P. Starr. This fascinating and expertly told story was published by Teitan Press in 2003. Agapé Lodge ceased holding regular meetings after 1949. Germer died in October, 1962 without naming a successor as Head of O.T.O.
Aleister Crowley pretending to be a Freemason.
While Crowley was never a member of any regular Masonic Lodge he gloried in the titles of the Scottish Rite and the Antient and Primitive Rite and made several remarkable comments about Freemasonry in his autobiography (or autohagiography, as he called it) as well as in his Equinox. See The Confessions of Aleister Crowley Chapter 72, etc.). His remarks on Freemasonry show a marked lack of knowledge on the subject. He believed, for instance that by merely sitting in Lodge with one irregular "Mason" that any and all "Regular" or Orthodox Masons thereby became "automatically excommunicated" from their Regular Lodges. And further, that any Mason or Masons that they sat with in any regular Lodge would also be "automatically excommunicated" and so on (see Confessions, Chapt. 72,pp.p 695-697). Crowley may only be excused for such idiocy by the fact that he himself was never a member of any regular Masonic Lodge and actually knew very little about Masonic law and custom. He knew that he was not a regular Mason and inquired of the Grand Secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England how to heal his situation but he never did take care of it. His Phallic interpretation of Freemasonry while not uninteresting was by no means original. See the works of Pike and Mackey on the subject. These ideas had been kicked around for many decades before Crowley came upon them (so to speak).
O.T.O. Under McMurtry:
In the summer of 1969 Grady McMurtry assumed the office of Outer Head of the Order of O.T.O. based on letters he had received from Crowley in the 1940's that gave him special powers in California. The story, as always, is rather complex and highly debatable. And as it is the basis of the "Caliphate" O.T.O.'s claim to succession it is a highly sensitive issue. If it could be proved that there was indeed no regular succession passed on to McMurtry, a small empire of about 3,000 members, the "order property" and several enormous egos could be severely threatened.
When McMurtry "activated his emergency powers" there were less than a dozen surviving members of the O.T.O. in the United States. Under McMurtry, he and the members that he represented, incorporated as a legal entity in California in the 1970's and various plans were implemented to obtain new members. Initiations and Gnostic Masses were performed and Crowley's Tarot deck was printed and sold with a contact address for McMurtry's order. McMurtry died on July 12, 1985. His successor as O.H.O. was chosen by a vote of the members of the "Sovereign Sanctuary" on September 21 of that year, according to his wishes, rather than by designation by him. "Hymenaeus Beta " (known upon earth as William Breeze) was elected to succeed McMurtry as "Caliph". He continues in this office to this day.
Caliphate O.T.O. Today:
In spite of Crowley's complete lack of legitimate Masonic claims, several of the highest-level Caliphate O.T.O. members have claimed "Masonic Authority" from Aleister Crowley in the presence of myself and others. Some have been brazen enough to publish articles falsely claiming that they (the "Caliphate" O.T.O.) are Masons. One example of this is the article "Are We Not Masons?" in OYEZ (Spring 1980), the official publication of Heru-Ra-Ha Lodge, O.T.O. in California. The article includes such memorable statements as "You bet your plumbline we're Masons!" and "In meeting a Freemason of other rites, you should remember that you are not only his equal, but his superior, and that he is not entitled to share your secrets."
At least one longtime Master of a lodge in Southern California repeatedly told his employer in my presence that his "Lodge activities" were "Masonic" while his only fraternal activities and membership were in the O.T.O. In light of my experience with the Caliphate O.T.O. over many years (both inside and outside), and the fact that Masonic degrees and titles are still "conferred" to this day without a refutation or change from the top levels, they should not be surprised when this fact is merely pointed out.
In its degrees the O.T.O. still "confers" Masonic Degrees, uses Masonic titles, Masonic regalia and Masonic words and phrases. For example, the O.T.O. has a "Royal Arch" degree largely plagiarized from British versions of the ritual. The O.T.O. uses the same officers, the same "secret words" as the true Masonic rituals do. In other degrees, the O.T.O. cites, by name, many of the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted (Scottish) Rite, which it claims to "confer" upon its members.
In its "Gnostic Mass" the O.T.O. has even appropriated certain Masonic signs and flaunts them in public performances (these are described in "Editor's Notes" on the Gnostic Mass, Hymenaeus Beta (Bill Breeze), ed., Aleister Crowley, Magick Liber ABA Book Four, Parts I-IV (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1994), p. 742 and also Chapter 4, "Gestures used in the Gnostic Mass," from David and Lynn Scriven, Red Flame, A Thelemic Research Journal, Mystery of Mystery: A Primer of Thelemic Ecclesiastical Gnosticism, Issue No.2 (Third Printing, March 1996), p. 68.
At least one O.T.O. Lodge in Southern California even held workshops for its Third Degree members complete with photocopied handouts from old Anti-Masonic "exposés" and telling the members that these were the basic Masonic secrets and that with this information that they could sneak into a regular Masonic Lodge.
What response can there be to the O.T.O., which publicly claims it is "non-Masonic" yet uses Masonic clothing, confers Masonic degrees, communicates Masonic secrets and tells its members that it is Masonic? If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but is not a duck, then it must be a phony duck.
Perhaps the time has come for the O.T.O. to decide whether or not to continue to play at being Freemasons. If Aleister Crowley could change the titles of some of their degrees to non-Masonic titles and eliminate parts of "borrowed" Masonic ritual work, then surely the current leadership of the Caliphate O.T.O. could, at this time, finish the job. Surely a "Thelemic Academy" would be much more appropriate to their declared purposes for existence at this time than a bogus Masonic one.
The Masonic Degrees referred to in the Fourth Degree ("Lodge of Perfection") and "Council of Princes of Jerusalem" of the "Caliphate" O.T.O. consist of sixty-one Degrees primarily from three different Masonic Rites. The titles listed under Key Numbers 16-22 are said to be "comprehended" in the first fifteen. Some of the Degrees have two or more alternative titles. Some of the titles in the different Rites are identical. The three Rites are:
In reviewing the various histories of these Degrees as well as lists and rituals of them, some variation will be found in the titles and other details. From the early Nineteenth Century to the present time these Rites have passed through many hands. They have seen many colorful and interesting people at their helm. Innumerable scandals, schisms, squabbles and divisions have added to these complications. And ever present has been the Masonic orthodoxy ready to snuff out their existence. The wonder is that we have anything left of them at all. The degrees or "grades" of the O.T.O. are as follows:
It should be noted that of the above titles nine are taken directly from Masonic sources; Holy Royal Arch of Enoch, Prince of Jerusalem, Knight of the East and West, Sovereign Prince Rose Croix, Knight of the Red Eagle, Knight Templar of the Order of Kadosh, Grand Inquisitor Commander, Prince of the Royal Secret and Sovereign Grand Inspector General.
The Key Numbers below are for the convenience of the reader in comparing degree titles conferred in these grades here and do not appear in the rituals themselves. The degrees "conferred", "given" and "comprehended in" can be seen in Francis King's The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. The identical words are used in copies of these rituals (no date but printed in 1990/91) from Heru-Ra-Ha Lodge of Costa Mesa, California, affiliated with the "Caliphate" O.T.O. and also appear in "Fourth Degree, Perfect Magician, Lodge of Perfection" and "C.P.I., Perfect Initiate, Council of Princes of Jerusalem" both of which are annotated by Fraters Baphomet (Aleister Crowley), Hymenaeus Beta (William Breeze) and Sabazius (David Scriven), 1996. This latter is the ritual currently used by the Caliphate O.T.O.
Francis King's book The Secret Rituals of the O.T.O. is often criticized as "inaccurate" by O.T.O. members while it is, in fact, quite accurate. The few "inaccuracies" chiefly consist of one or two slight errors in regard to the secret signs and words, and/or the accidental omission of a sentence or two in the text of the degrees. In fact, the book is so accurate that, since its publication in 1973 its degrees have been individually photocopied, bound into booklets, and used by O.T.O. officers (including their "Lodge Masters") to confer the ceremonies upon its candidates. Many of these quasi-official copies are still in existence and turn up here and there. They reveal that only minor corrections were penciled in before the document was photocopied.
It is not the intention of this paper to expose the rituals or correct the inaccuracies. They are relatively well known in certain Masonic and other quarters outside the O.T.O. and are not necessary or relevant to this work. Versions of this material are readily available in O.T.O. Rituals and Sex Magick, I-H-O Books, ISBN 1-872189-93-8. Current versions continue to "confer" the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and others as mentioned above.
IV° Lodge of Perfection:
The following titles from the Ancient and Accepted Rite are "given":
The following titles from the Reduced Rite of Memphis or Antient and Primitive Rite are "conferred" :
The following degrees are referred to as "comprehending" the "obsolete degrees of" :
The following degrees of the Oriental Rite of Mizraim are finally "conferred":
And the following degrees of the "Scottish system" :
And these of "Architecture" :
The secrets of these degrees are now said to be "open to you for study" but aren't "worked". Note numbers 44, 45 and 46, Apprentice, Companion and Master.
Council of Princes of Jerusalem:
The following of the Ancient and Accepted Rite are "conferred":
The following of the corresponding Degrees of the Reduced Rite of Memphis, or Antient and Primitive Rite are "conferred" :
Finally, the following degrees are "conferred" :
Crowley's preface to the O.T.O. rituals:
"Whereas the Institution of Free Masonry has fallen to complete and deserved contempt among all men but especially among true Masons, and whereas the traditional knowledge which it was designed to guard has been lost, degenerated, prostituted, or exploited, and whereas especially in America, the Institution serves as little else but a cloak for the operations of various gangs of swindlers, be it resolved by Us, the authorized representatives of its highest degrees and the faithful depositories of its ancient secrets that the present machinery for communicating its secrets, be declared obsolete and the work of all who may unlawfully attempt to usurp Our authority be declared void and of no effect. Be it further resolved that Our own powers be, during the period of reconstruction, concentrated in a single dictator. Be it further resolved that the whole symbolism of Free Masonry, and its name, be disused, that the true traditional knowledge be communicated in hieroglyphs unmistakably significant, although with the proper guards, in Rituals of first rate literary and dramatic merit, and so constructed that they shall require neither a gathering of many men nor expensive elaborations for their operation. These rituals, herewith submitted, are offered, subject to modifications made by the author in such sense as the Council may deem necessary, as illustrations of the proposed work up to the Third Degree. It may be added in explanation, that the Minerval Degree represents the attraction of a wandering God, or "Ego", within the Solar System -- that the Fourth Degree, of which the Ritual is not yet complete, represents the glorified state of the initiated Man -- and the Degree of Perfect Initiate, which closes the series, His ultimate Perfection. The Degrees from the Fifth to the Ninth are comments upon the Second, a progressive instruction in how to live."
Beginning with these words, Aleister Crowley prefaced his revision of the rituals of the O.T.O. which were originally largely drawn from rituals used in various Orders of Freemasonry. On the one hand Crowley obviously hated Freemasonry as shown here and elsewhere in this paper. On the other, he gloried in the numerous pompous and illegitimate titles extracted therefrom. Amidst all this, his ignorance on the subject can be seen amply demonstrated in Chapter 72 of his Confessions. He believed, for instance that by merely sitting in Lodge with one irregular "Mason" that any and all "Regular" or Orthodox Masons thereby became "automatically excommunicated" from their Regular Lodges. And further, that any Mason or Masons that they sat with in any regular Lodge would also be "automatically excommunicated" and so on. Crowley may only be excused for such idiocy by the fact that he himself was never a member of any regular Masonic Lodge.
It is hoped that more "Regular" Grand Lodges and other Masonic Bodies will look further into this matter as O.T.O. leaders and other members continue to petition their Lodges for membership. Regular Masons are encouraged to copy this paper, and inform their Grand Secretaries of what the O.T.O. has done. If attention is brought to the Grand Masters of each state, it may be that O.T.O., from the IV° and beyond will be OFFICIALLY deemed "clandestine" Masonry. Regular Masons are encouraged to MARK WELL their obligations, take due notice thereof and govern themselves accordingly.
Baphomet, Hymenaeus Beta [pseud., Aleister Crowley, William Breeze],The Ceremony of Illustrious Knights Templar of the Order of The Holy Grail, VI° Ordo Templi Orientis, (Heru-ra-ha Temple, Costa Mesa, California, U.S.A., circa 1990-91)
Baphomet, Hymenaeus Beta & Sabazius [pseud., Aleister Crowley, William Breeze, David Scriven], Ordo Templi Orientis/C. P. I./Perfect Initiate/Council of Princes of Jerusalem revised winter An IViii. (New York: Ordo Templi Orientis, 1996) *Note-11-13 Secret Master-Sublime knight of Choice(Royal Arch) in CPI degrees conferred pp.9
Baphomet, Hymenaeus Beta & Sabazius [pseud., Aleister Crowley, William Breeze, David Scriven], Ordo Templi Orientis/Fourth Degree/Prefect Magician/Lodge of Perfection revised winter An IViii. (New York: Ordo Templi Orientis, 1996)
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Stephen Skinner, ed., The Magical Diaries of Aleister Crowley;1923 (Jersey: Neville Spearman, 1979)
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John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, eds., The Magical Record of the Beast 666; the Diaries of Aleister Crowley 1914-1920, (London; Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd., 1972)
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John Yarker, The Rite of Mizraim, [privately published, 1876]
Ellic Howe, Fringe Masonry in England 1870-85 Ars Quatuor Coronatorum [the transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076] Vol. 85 (1972).
Ellic Howe & Helmut Moller, Theodor Reuss: Irregular Freemasonry in Germany, 1900-1923 Ars Quatuor Coronatorum [the transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076] Vol. 91 (1978).
Martin Starr, Aleister Crowley, Freemason!, Ars Quatuor Coronatorum [the transactions of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076] Vol. 108 (1995).
Other Reference Material:
Martin Starr, The Unknown God, (Now available from Teitan Press). See http://www.teitanpress.com/books/tug.html
"The first documentary study of Aleister Crowley's contemporary followers in North America, told through the life of their de facto leader, Wilfred Talbot Smith (1885-1957). This work will trace in detail the activities of Crowley's followers in the USA and Canada." It is this and much more. Well written and thoroughly documented. A fascinating story. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
John Yarker, Muster Roll for The Antient & Primitive Rite.
Above is a scan I made of an O.T.O. certificate issued by Theodor Reuss to Matthew McBlain Thomson in 1919 that appeared in the Volume XI, Number 13 (July, 1919) issue of the Universal Freemason. Thomson was convicted in the Federal Court at Salt Lake City, Utah, on May 15, 1922 of using the mails to defraud. He had been selling Masonic Degrees through the mails. The case is quite famous in Masonic research circles as the Thomson Masonic Fraud. A book about this was written by Isaac Blair Evans entitled The Thomson Masonic Fraud, A Study in Clandestine Masonry and was privately published in Salt Lake City in 1922. It deals in detail with the case.
In Crowley's preface to his first attempt at re-writing the rituals of the O.T.O., he wrote "Whereas the Institution of Free Masonry has fallen to complete and deserved contempt among all men but especially among true Masons, and whereas the traditional knowledge which it was designed to guard has been lost, degenerated, prostituted, or exploited, and whereas especially in America, the Institution serves as little else but a cloak for the operations of various gangs of swindlers ... " [emphasis added. ed.] See page 14 of How to make your own McOTO. It seems that the O.T.O. even under Reuss had a few "swindlers" of their own.
Matthew McBlain Thomson 33°, 96°, IX°
Convicted of fraud for selling what he said were Masonic Degrees he spent time in a Federal Prison.
The Headquarters of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, Mother Supreme Council of the world. All legitimate Supreme Councils of the Thirty-Third Degree system derive from this Body. It was founded in 1801. Photo by C. Gary Ford
Copyright © 2004 by C. Gary Ford. All rights reserved.