Originally posted by Tamahu
I've heard that the O.T.O. used to be very similiar to the authentic ancient Gnostic Schools, but then it degenerated into a school of black-magic,
after a certain black-magician(Aleister Crowley I assume) ruined the teachings.
The teachings are supposed to be, at least theoretically, the same. OTO was founded by Dr. Theodore Reuss in 1899. Before Crowley became a member of
OTO, he wrote a book called "The Book of Lies." After reading it, Reuss showed up at Crowley's doorstep, accusing him of revealing OTO secrets.
Crowley replied that he had no idea what Reuss was talking about. Reuss then invited him to become a member of OTO, with the promise that he (Reuss)
would make Crowley OTO Grand Master in the UK. The reason for this, no doubt, is that Crowley would have to take a vow a secrecy in order to join, and
Reuss wanted him to stop blabbing about the order's secret magickal techniques. Crowley accepted, and was made Grand Master for Britain on the
After Reuss suffered a paralytic stroke, he resigned his leadership, making Crowley international head of the order. At the time, OTO began to come
into conflict with Freemasonry. Several European Masonic Grand Lodges accused OTO of plagiarizing Masonic ritual to use for their own initiation
ritual. In order to keep from being listed as a clandestine pseudo_Masonic Rite, Crowley re-wrote the OTO initiation rituals, purging them of their
Masonic overtones, at least in their first three degrees. Unfortunately, this was never done for the OTO's higher degrees, and they continue to be
rip-offs of the Rite of Memphis.
Whether he was as bad as people claim or not; Crowley would have to have been doing a hell of alot of 'joking', if he wasn't really a
There is no doubt that Crowley did a lot of joking; but he also wrote a lot of stuff just for its pure shock value. There are a couple of reasons for
this. First, he despised proper Victorian bourgeois society. He believed it was hypocritical, and restricted any sort of personal growth. He declared
war on it in his writings, and, strongly influenced by Nietzsche, began launching his anti-Christian, anti-bourgeois tirades.
Secondly, he had seriously studied and practiced Buddhism under the guidance of his former college roommate, Allen Bennett, who had become a Buddhist
monk in Burma. He would periodically visit Bennett in Burma for the rest of life, to meditate in the mountains with the monks. In Buddhism, Crowley
learned the Zen principle of "koan" (or "kung-un"), the doctrine that people can be shocked into enlightenment through apparent blasphemy.
According to the Zen Masters, this is a way of deprogramming people. For example, when a young student devoted to Gotama would approach Ho Tai, Ho
would declare "The Buddha is fried excrement!" Such a statement could possibly shock the novitiate enough to lead him to samadhi.
Knowing very well how hung up Victorian society was on "manners" and "good taste", Crowley tried his damndest to overturn them in favor of real
insight. Whether or not he was successful in this is a completely different question, but his methods did indeed follow the principle of kung-un.
And speaking of Eliphas Levi; have you ever heard or read anything about this?:
No, but I have studied him for many years. He is usually the starting point for modern Hermetics. He is quoted at length by Pike in "Morals and
Dogma", as well as in the materials given to members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Builders of the Adytum.
It was Levi who first published the facts linking Tarot the Qabalah, which by itself was the single most important event in modern occult authorship.
It was also Levi who first prophesied that the Great Magical Agent was about to be harnassed by profane science, and that when the Agent was so
harnassed, it would revolutionize the world.
Levi claimed that this Agent would bring light to the night skies, and allow people from all over the world to communicate with each other instantly.
This Magical Agent was soon thereafter harnassed in part by profane science, as Levi accurately predicted, under the name "electricity", and all of
his prophecies concerning it have come to pass.
As for Levi having "impure knowledge", it is sometimes claimed that his knowledge was less than perfect because his Qabaistic interpretations of the
Tarot were wrong. However, as both Waite and Crowley have pointed out, Levi had taken a vow of secrecy in his Initiation; it seems likely that he
published the wrong attributions on purpose. This would both keep his integrity in his vows, while also letting the curious reader know that there was
in fact a Grand Arcanum of knowledge concerning these things to be more thoroughly investigated.
In any case, I would still have to disagree with your assertion that sex magick ipso facto
constitutes black magic. The parallel between the
erotic and the mystic is found not only in the holy writings of the East such as the Kama Sutra, but even in our own Holy Books, most notably in the
Song of Solomon. Indeed, I'm not completely convinced that "black magic" even exists. No one can perform "real" Magick unless they have been
properly purified and consecrated; if an unworthy object were to try to use the Holy Arcanum for impure purposes, I would believe that he'd be doing
nothing but flailing his arms at the air, and bringing damnation upon his own head.