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December 11th, 2004

THE ROTARY CLUB AND THE SHADOW OTO

I'm actually going to do a piece - pretty soon - on what I see as the prevailing philosophy among the top third of the pyramid of the Order. In theory, the "pyramid" is concerned largely with initiatory level, not with administrative service. The primary duty of the Sovereign Sanctuary, for example, is "...to study and practice the theurgy and thaumaturgy of the grade" to the point of being virtually 'invisible'. In fact, it governs. Most of the administrative service roles as described are in effect part of the middle triad. But the complex history of the modern OTO set some precedents during McMurtry's tenure that more or less necessitated members of the Sovereign Sanctuary assume these roles, and, by the time a viable Second Triad actually was able to assume these roles an administrative habit and ad hoc formation had become part of the fabric of the Order, and so it remains.

In the Grady period, the "emergency measures" were probably a necessity to preserve the very existence of the Order. The problem with "emergency measures" in almost all contexts is their tendency to become, over time, accepted practice. From my minimalist perspective, this has led to a series of highly questionable practices and decisions small and large, very familiar to me from the history of many organizations, which start out with uniqueness and wind up being American Standard.

But, that's for another time. My main subject here is what I usually refer to as "the shadow OTO". Although its "membership" stretches from hangers-on who have never been initiate members to former members of the Sovereign Sanctuary, the average or typical "shadow OTO" adherent could be typified as a former II* initiate who usually has long been inactive, and may possibly be on bad report. The difference between them and the many formerly active members that simply go on to other things -- sometimes perfectly worthy things - is that they continue to talk incessantly about OTO matters, real and imaginary, and they remain on the periphery of the OTO. They should also be distinguished from members of rival bodies claiming to be the historical OTO, but not necessarily from members of supposed "free OTO" groupings that make no historical claims to legitimacy except that they will tell you they are doing "the real Work of the Order". There is a pronounced antisocial element among many of these people, and they pose no organizational threat because they get along poorly with one another as well as with OTO.

Here is *a* "shadow OTO" mythology that I have been exposed to. There are others. Tracing the little germs of truth in all this can be fascinating, but it is, trust me, totally whacky. I used to know a lot of these people, because they failed to distinguish a maverick of my stripe that is willing to consider very weird ideas seriously from those who simply believe in and have an affinity for, very weird ideas. Example- I have some expertise in JFK conspiracy theories, but essentially accept the conclusions of the Warren Commission. These folks are conspiracy believers, not theorists. Some are, in my humble opinion, psychotic, and most are drug addicts of one sort or another. A few are physically dangerous.

So, here's the 'truth' about the OTO. The Secret Chiefs reinstituted the outer order in Buffalo NY many years ago, making Grady their 'outward leader' but governed by people (or beings) that are praterhuman and transcendent...the beings who have been behind every manifestation since the dawn of time. They are the Illuminati in very truth. A local version, during the dark years in the mid '90s was subscribed to by any number of the area faction of these folks, to the effect that the new Lodge Master (my successor) was not yet ready to be a full initiate, so the Chiefs had sent a representative of the secret sovereign sanctuary, an Arabian princess from Lebanon, Princess Noor IX* to bring the local proto High Initiate up to speed to be elevated to the secret sanctuary, and she would be his mistress until she had brought him into whatever it was that secret sovereign chiefs were imagined to be. (Near gods, I gather.) I was told this by the same crowd then beginning to take serious delving into the controversial English Qabala system developed in Britain by a number of people, mostly QBLH members, but including myself, and turning it to their own purposes, which they are still going at, with all sense of control, skepticism or doubt abandoned, as is always the case with these folks. Said Qabala in their hands always seems to 'prove' whatever lunacy they are into. They have no sense of humor about it, which, for me, is always a bad sign. They are still at it, along with an increasingly shrill propensity for slander and occasional threats. As I've had the same email address for many years, these guys write me semi deranged and caustic notes every year or so. They make the 'Thelemic' quasipseudofascists look like polite gentlemen.

They don't talk about Princess Noor much anymore, as there turns out to be no such person. Now, my Arabic is not at all good, but when I was first introduced to the Lebanese Princess, her accent seemed a bit - off. I spent my youth traveling around the Levant and North Africa, and the first Arabic word she spoke- on the second occasion I met her - tipped me off, but everyone seemed to buy into her being, if not a member of the imaginary secret chiefs of Buffalo, her being a Lebanese lady of a certain name age and et al. So the 'dogs of unreason' went on imagining the lbm to be the next Mahdi, and the plot thickened, and, of course, they told me all about it, along with the lore of soup cans, 'free scientology' and other delights. Their guru then and now, Jail, I mean Joel, churned it out like a leaflet on a mimeograph for a minor party candidate in the '60s. I talked to 'Noor' quite a bit, trying to maintain some dignity and respect for the lodge of which I was past master while keeping an eye on what was going on, and she proceeded to start complaining to me about alleged physical abuse by the lbm, not the first woman to say this of him, nor the last. THAT I took seriously, though I admit the accent of the good princess didn't add to her credibility. It was all pretty bizarre.

Finally she broke with him and went home. She called me from home. Home was indeed Lebanon. Lebanon, Ohio. She was neither a princess nor an Arab nor - I know this will shock all of you - a member of the secret Buffalo Society's sovereign sanctuary. On call number three, she dropped the accent, and said, "I guess you noticed." "Umhm." I said. But by then the "shadow OTO" had moved on to other things.

I don't really consider these people amusing -- I'm all for serious delving into unconventional areas, but only by sane people who knows the ground is under their feet. Some of these people are stalkers, slanderers and the fact that they continue to cling to OTO in some sense instead of moving on to other things makes a difficult situation all the more difficult. They remind me of the exmembers of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party who continue, for the rest of their life, to sell The Militant on street corners and talk off, around or down the SWP, instead of doing something productive with their existence.

I wonder how many of them are reading this?

******* [subject change, I trust] ******

It isn't up at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Borders yet (I'd say about a month), but my new book is out, at least through the publisher. My first experiment in working with an e publisher has so far been a mixed bag, but I am quite excited about the book, which brings in some really new insights along with a handy anthology of my best historical work on the occult tradition I have been slowly getting out since the 1980s.

THE ROOTS OF MAGICK 1700-2000
by A H Greenfield


Printed: $15.00
Download: $5.30

THE ROOTS OF MODERN MAGICK 1700-2000
AN EXPANDED ANTHOLOGY ON THE HISTORY OF THE AUTHENTIC TRADITION
BY Allen Greenfield

http://www.lulu.com/magickroots

Description:
The origin of the magical tradition is lost in the mists of the histories of secret societies, occult lore, and forgotten bodies of manifestation. This volume, by an established author and authority on the subject, gives the reader a series of glimpses into three hundred years of the occult spiritual tradition, and concludes with some suggested lines of Work for the 21st Century.

Product Details:
Printed: 258 pages, 6.0 x 9.0 in. (Trade Paperback), perfect-bound, black and white interior
Download: PDF (706 kb)
ISBN: 1-4116-1920-X
License: Standard Copyright License
Copyright Year: © 2004 copyright (c) Rt. Rev. Allen Greenfield
Language: English
Version: 1

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