Listener Email: Differences in the UK?


[NOTE: This was sent shortly after podcast #42 came out. However, I never had a chance to reply because it was posted to the site right before the switch. Kat was nice enough to resend it!]

Dear John:

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

Greetings from the UK.

I am currently listening to episode 42, and after listening for about a year I’ve finally decided to write in and comment.

First, thank you very much for all your diligence in presenting the TCTC podcast. It is always a pleasure to listen to your thoughts and the interviews, and I enjoy hearing about various projects Thelemites are undertaking. TCTC is a fantastic, highly intelligent resource and you are to be commended for bringing it to fruition and keeping it running.

What’s been itching at the back of my mind every time I listen to TCTC finally made it to my conscious thinking today. Early in episode 42 you said something to the effect of the following : “The main event for the OTO is not a ritual… it is NOTOCON, a convention that takes place every two years and is basically an excuse for members of the OTO to get together and party…..” etc.

Now, being new to the OTO, I freely admit that I don’t have in-depth knowledge of everything and everyone involved therein. Also, because I didn’t encounter the Order until I moved to the UK I have no first-hand experience of the OTO in the US. However, I’d like to perhaps inject a tiny ray of sunshine into perceptions about the OTO.

Here in the UK the central event of the OTO and the EGC is Crowley’s Gnostic Mass. It is regularly practiced. On almost any given Sunday somewhere in the UK the Gnostic Mass is given by an OTO body. It is treated as a serious magickal working, and many OTO members throughout the UK study it in great detail. Even when I am not fulfilling one of the officiant roles, I always take something away from participation in the Gnostic Mass — from just the relief of being still in a beautiful ritual space and allowing it to provide atmosphere for magickal meditation to serious revelations about how my life and my Work is progressing. From conversations with others in the OTO and with guests, spiritual benefit from participating in the Gnostic Mass seems to be the norm rather than the exception.

In addition to the Gnostic Mass, I have first-hand experience of OTO bodies in the UK holding various workshops, including ones on working with the Goetia, Reiki and Yoga, creating and performing Equinox rituals, and holding many of the feasts spoken of by Crowley, comprised of astrologically-attuned ingredients. Ideally, in my opinion, the OTO worldwide would regularly practice a wide variety of Thelemic rituals as well. But that is another discussion for another time. Ultimately, I wrote to let you know that there are practicing magickians in the OTO. We are not all continually drug-addled social rejects. I think proper presentation of the Gnostic Mass should not be overlooked as a genuine Thelemic ritual which is regularly enacted by the OTO.

Best wishes for the future, wherever it leads you, and continued fortitude as you pursue the Great Work. I look forward to more TCTC, and hope that you will be able to continue ‘casting it in the future.

Love is the Law, Love Under Will.


POSTED BY JLCROW ON 10.11.07 @ 3:22 PM

1 Comment so far


Thanks for the feedback and thanks for the encouraging words for the show. Also thanks for resending the message.

Your observations about the activities of the Order in the UK reflect, in general, the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month activities of the local bodies in the United States.

But I think you are missing my point. Yes, the local bodies are doing these things as they should. It is not really something to celebrate; it is what local bodies do and should continue doing. When you get up and go to work, when you pay your bills on time, when you buy groceries and take care of loved ones, should you to receive a commendation or a certificate of appreciation? No, these are the things you do as a natural human being in our society. Similarly, performing mass, engaging in the rituals and teaching classes are the natural functions of a local body. Sorry, the UK does not get any bonus points.

Instead, ask yourself, what wonderful things, what inspirational works, what revealed knowledge has arisen from the Order in the UK? You can ask the same for the Order in the US, or for that matter the Australian one too. What greatness has arisen from all this day-to-day work?

The UK has a 10th degree. Where are his writings explaining the great mysteries that have been unveiled through the processes of his initiation? Where are his inspirational writings delivered from the throne in the Sanctuary of the Gnosis? For that matter, where is ANY inspirational material coming from the Sanctuary of the Gnosis in the UK at all? What great works of art, writing, etc. have they produced? Have they actually produced ANYTHING? Or is it more like the US OTO, most publications of even the slightest interest come from the local bodies and the only thing coming from the national section of the Order are “church bulletins” of policy modification?

If the UK is different than the US, it is going to have to do more than just perform a mass every weekend somewhere in the nation. The US met that that kind of goal in the early 1990s in not earlier. Instead it is going to have to show itself to be a leader of Thelemic thought; it is going to have to demonstrate that it is adopting the ideas in the Blue Equinox and setting up profess houses and doing the other things in it, the Thelemites will have to demonstrate Thelema by living by alternative sets of morals and values, and practicing magick in a way that really makes a difference in the lives of those in the community and out. Holding workshops on yoga and the Goetia isn’t enough. Well maybe it is for some. If so, then I obviously have different standards then they do. I am okay with that.

Thanks again for the feedback. I hope that answers your question. John

BY JLCROW ON 10.11.07 3:43 PM