Another interesting email from a listener...
I just wanted to commend you on the interesting podcasts you have been providing to the occult community and also say that I personally find the discussions with Keith418 to be the most interesting. I was particularly intrigued by the discussion of setting goals as an Organization. I am a former member of the Society Ordo Templi Orientis and still practice the Brazilian Tradition of Thelema, a mix of heavy Crowley, strong parts of Motta and a touch of Grant. Why I mention that is that in the Society O.T.O. one's very advancement was based on the accomplishment of goals set out by the order, not only personal goals but also Lodge level goals. To receive charter to the II* a Lodge had to have its own property, not rented but owned by the Lodge. As an example the old Nashville Lodge was a very nice trailer and in the Achad Lodge in Pittsburgh they bought a very nice 2 story house with a full basement. These properties need not even be expensive but enough room to hold LOdge Meetings and rituals of the I* of the SOTO. As an example, the house in Pittsburgh was around 40 grand and while it needed a lot of work done within the first few months the LOdge headquarters became a very nice home due to the efforts of Fraters Agape and Zain and when I left was in the process of being totally converted into a true Temple of Ra Hoor Khuit. The Lodge even acted as a home to many of the members who willingly helped to pay the house payment, half of which came from the pocket of Frater Sphinx, aka David Bersson! I don't understand why the fear of owning property has taken hold of the O.T.O.
Another aspect that I find interesting in your discussions is that you both seemed to have mentioned that the OTO doesn't really provide members with an analysis of just where their dues and donations are going. People say the SOTO is just a money scam because of the 5% monthly income required for the dues (might I add it is much less than the typical church's 10-15%) but interestingly enough in the SOTO members are able to request such a form and it will be provided by the Lodge secretary or the Director or the National Grandmaster depending on where you are wondering about the funds. There is no hemming and hawing, no excuses etc. the documents required are turned over for their inspection by any member of the Order. There is no beating around the bush.
It was in watching these things unfold that I found it so hard to understand why the OTO is afraid to set goals. The Achad Lodge had 14 members but it only took a few of us to reach the goals and a minimum of sacrifice and a some elbow grease. I am not trying to say that the SOTO is superior but I think that the OTO needs to re-evaluate its goals and just how it goes about them. By having goals like the ownership of property it is easier to gauge just who is doing what for the Order and degree advancement etc. becomes a matter of who is giving to the order and who is not and not always a matter of favortism and celebrity. I have had a lot of friends in the Caliphate that have given their all to the order and yet languish away in the Man of Earth triad because it isn't what you do but who you know. The true aristocracy of the OTO should be those who serve the goals of the Order and not those who can kiss the most ass.
Another interesting aspect of your discussions with Keith418 is the discussion on new and thought provoking works. This has been something i have been lamenting for ages. The way you discussed it though really kind of saddened me because you limited the discussion to OTO and this isn't just a problem in the OTO. I think the problem relates directly back to the California Motta trial and Legge's decision and the way the copyrights went from perceived to be in the public domain straight into the OTO's hands. Unlike my fellows, I do not lament that action but Legge's decision hurt THelema by placing all elements of it into the hands of the OTO and making even the word Thelema something they can control. Since the death of Motta, insightful commentary and evolution of Thelema into the next step has been extremely limited in what was once a prolific field. We had Kenneth Grant, Marcelo Motta etc. contributing dynamite works to the field, Motta's propincity for rants aside. Now we have a trickle with Kenneth Grant returning to his formerly prolific state. I think what has caused this is fear by the publishers to touch anything with the word Thelema on it out of fear of litigation, imagined or real. Is it the OTO's fault? Yes and no. The organization has been extremely litigious in some matters and often blustery over copyrights. Matters like the Crowley rituals I can understand but the OTO has no right to threaten the likes of Phyllis Seckler over the A.'.A.'. because the leadership of the OTO is composed of former members of the A.'.A.'. who were cut off by their teacher in that august body!! On a spiritual level that is like trying to steal the thunder from the heavens stating you had a stronger claim to it by virtue of your quite audible gastrointestinal capabilities! Just because you can rip off a thunderous fart doesn't meanyou are making thunder or have any right to claim it as yer own.
Also, look at what happened to Jerry Cornelius when he published the Red Flame no. 7. It could be argued that he violated his Oaths to the OTO but the treatment he endured was very unbecoming. What made it all the more ridiculous is that he was expelled for discussing something commonly known, the grade words and signs of the OTO and even then it was the originals of Crowley in the latter case. But over here in the Equinox we find secret rituals of the A.'.A.'. being given publication in the form of the holograph of Liber Pyramidos, previously released on the internet! What other secret A.'.A.'. documents did HB release? The Oaths of the grades were supposed to be kept secret as well as the Robe designs, but luckily those disgusting things aren't the real deal.
Another problem is that of relating your material to the audience when you can not directly express the material. Many Thelemites wrongly frown upon commentaries, invoking the Tunis Comment but I have to seriously ask how many of them actually burnt their first copy of Liber AL? Does the Tunis comment not tell us to burn the book upon the first reading? The Tunis comment is a blind, to keep those who are unwilling and unable to think for themselves away from Thelema in my opinion and to shun someone for commenting on Liber AL, and especially any other Holy Book (there is no such commandment as regards Liber LXV or any other class A document) is ridiculous. Commentary is how we express our understanding and insights and isn't writing a book on Thelema, even a beginners book, commenting on the Book of the Law? How many of you do not study the Book of the Law as commanded in the Tunis Comment? Study of the book is required in order to understand its contents, in order to put them into action in your everyday life. If you can not study the book how do you expect to develop a deeper and more fulfilling relationship with the 93 Current? It seems the only element of the Tunis Comment people follow is the forbidding of comment. This is fear, people fear that they are being told what to do, how to think, how to feel about Liber AL. Even the comments of Marcelo Motta are not holy and inviolate, they are merely Class D and to be taken as one man's opinion but here we are with people thinking Motta is telling them how to think, how to feel and how to practice. Now in his own order he may have expected some sort of like mindedness and cast out those who didn't feel the same way as he but that doesn't mean yo can have your own interpretation of Liber AL. Little known fact is that Bersson and Motta were rarely on the same page as to what Thelema is, was and will be. Many seem to think that Bersson was merely a parrott of Motta and his letters and actions on the internet and in private correspondence would indicate that as well but in reading his commentaries you see just how much they vary in their interpretations of the books. Bersson went so far as to say Motta never should have issued the Chinese Equinox because the Mongol system is cursed in Liber AL and the infiltration of Taoism etc. has hurt the 93 Current. Then again, there is a double side to Bersson's coin, Buddhism as a system is cursed as well: I tear off the flesh of the Indian, Buddhist, Mongol and Din. Buddhism is the system that birthed Yoga, an integral element of Thelema! But I have diverged from my point. The leadership of the OTO preaches not to comment on Liber Legis but encourages all the other forbidden elements. Thelema has stagnated because everybody seems afraid to present their research because of the Tunis comment and this interpretation of it. Read Jerry Cornelius comments on the matter.
Love is the law, love under will