Introduction

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

Welcome to my Thelemic blog. Here is an in-depth introduction and a description of my work in Ordo Templi Orientis to date. I’ll talk a bit about what led me to the Order and then offer a listing of my activity and progress since that time, in the hope that my aspirations and interests will be reflected in such a presentation. It is a bit lengthy so I don’t blame anyone for skimming.

I grew up in Montana, in an intellectual, liberal Roman Catholic household, as a single child. My parents were in grad school for most of my early childhood and I was exposed to philosophy, art, and religious questions at an early age. It is with some ironic fondness that I recall my devoutly faithful mother asking me how we know that God exists, at age 6, and her delight at my response that we don’t know, we just believe. Little did she know that this memorable interaction was like the proverbial mustard seed, and would later take root in agnosticism and ultimately blossom in my renunciation of Christianity and its false doctrines of original sin and vicarious atonement, and its dishonest attachment to self-sacrifice.

I first learned about Aleister Crowley when reading Robert Anton Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger: The Final Secret of the Illuminati at age 14. I had also been reading Carl Jung, William Blake, and Joseph Campbell, and generally studying mythology. Exposure to the ideas of Aleister Crowley changed my life. Although I had a hard time understanding Crowley’s writing directly, I got a solid introduction through continuing to read Robert Anton Wilson and later Timothy Leary.

I longed to undergo some kind of “rite of passage” and was fascinated with ceremony and drama. To this end I undertook initiation at 14 through the Order of DeMolay, a junior Freemasonic Order. I was already interested in O.T.O. then, but didn’t really understand what it was, nor did I know if it really existed. We didn’t have “the Google tubes” back then. I felt, though, that DeMolay would do, and it would prepare me for my eventual initiation in Freemasonry. I worked hard and became the Master Councilor (and initiator) of my Chapter of DeMolay, and eventually held state office. At the same time, not coincidentally, I pursued the dramatic arts and became a Thespian while in high school, and got my “letter” in drama twice. I even had a letterman’s jacket. The jocks hated that.

When I was finally of age to take initiation in Freemasonry, I took the first three degrees, and was disappointed to find that although the rituals were profound, the members seemed to regard initiation as a mere rigmarole that one had to undergo in order to trade business cards. To my mind, this was backwards. I was also increasingly unhappy about what I would later label “old aeon” doctrines, such as the required superstitious belief and trust in a “supreme being” as well as the lack of female members. I quickly became inactive and resorted to pursuing my esoteric interests independently with friends, holding seasonal ceremonies and studying the magick of the G∴D∴

In 1998, I was 25 and moved to Portland, Oregon for a job. After moving here, I became aware after a few months that I lacked any friends who were into esotericism of any sort, leaving me a bit lonesome. I was also in an abusive relationship at the time, and feeling overall quite lost in the dark wood. I thought to myself, there must be some way to meet people who have similar interests and values. Then I remembered my long-ago interest in O.T.O., and it occurred to me that the Order might exist in Portland, and Google had come into existence so I could find out relatively easily. I immediately made contact and met with two members on Feb 14, 1999, at a little cafe at SE 17th & Hawthorne Blvd. After asking them a few questions which I thought at the time were quite critical (in retrospect they were rather perfunctory), I signed an application for initiation to the Minerval degree.

About a week later I attended my first performance of the Gnostic Mass, and it was then that the Law of Thelema began to come into sharp focus. Somehow seeing it in action clarified much of Crowley’s writing that had previously been enigmatic to me. I remember thinking, “This is IT!” I knew that I was in the right place, and was ready to dive in head first. On this occasion, someone was getting baptized, so I signed up for that as well. I also volunteered to perform as Hermanubis in the Rite of Jupiter. I was initiated Minerval on April 23. By July, I was a First Degree, working regularly as an officer in Minerval and First Degree initiations, and creating all the printed material for NOTOCON II. Later that year, I played the title role in the Rite of Mars and was confirmed in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.) I started my activity in the E.G.C. on the first team in Portland to perform the Mass with the Child roles filled. In 1999 I also quit my day job, which was turning into an all-day-all-night job with increasing demands on my social life, and settled on employment which allowed me to pursue my true vocation.

In 2000, I directed Aleister Crowley’s Rite of Sol, started doing the layout & typesetting for Lion & Serpent, the official journal (at the time) of Sekhet-Maat Lodge; and became the Class Coordinator for the Lodge as well. I also took Second Degree that year. My activity in initiations and the Gnostic Mass became a regular part of my day-to-day life.

In 2001 I took Third Degree. That year I attended U.S. Grand Lodge Initiator Training three times: in Berkeley, in Portland, and at at NOTOCON III in Long Beach, CA. I also began training initiation side-officers that year through the Lodge. The Rite of Mercury and the Rite of Luna were produced in 2001, and for these I offered administrative and artistic support as well as playing a Probationer in Mercury. I also underwent ecclesiastical training, and became ordained a Deacon in E.G.C. The old Sekhet-Maat black t-shirts were made by myself that year, and I took on the responsibility of producing and promoting Lodge merchandise as well as taking the role of Treasurer. Lion & Serpent also became my responsibility as I became its Editor in 2001.

In 2002 I was chartered an Initiator, became Deputy Master of Sekhet-Maat, founded Thelemic Symposium, and was director and producer of The Ship: A Mystery Play. I took Fourth Degree and P∴I∴, and later in the year was honored to be made a K∴E∴W∴

In 2003 I became the Webmaster for Sekhet-Maat and created an initiation database which was used for at least 10 years to keep record of initiations. I also created all of the printed materials, including custom goblets, lanyards, and information packets for NOTOCON IV. I served as Production Manager for Adonis: An Allegory as well as playing the roles of Hermes and the King of Babylon. My term as Treasurer ended that year.

In 2004 my term as Class Coordinator ended and I became Editor of Agapé and remained in that position until May of 2008.

In 2005 I was ordained Priest in E.G.C., and was honored to be initiated to the Fifth Degree. My term as Editor of Lion & Serpent ended. That year I helped to facilitate bringing Eleusyve Productions to Portland for a rock opera performance of the Rite of Luna.

In 2006 I built a new wiki-based website for Sekhet-Maat, which remained in use for several years and continues to serve as a repository of archived information on the current website. I was also appointed Master of Sekhet-Maat by the Electoral College, ending my term as Deputy.

As Master of the Lodge from January, 2006 to May, 2009, I established mandatory dues, doubling our reliable income. I also put a moratorium on “rent-raising” events, such that any funds raised at events were not allowed to be spent on rent or monthly bills, but instead were spent on improvements and publishing. This continues to be an unwritten policy of the Lodge. During my term we were able to spend thousands of dollars on badly needed improvements, furniture, and ritual gear; painting the interior and exterior; replacing boards in the windows with blue insulated drapes; opening a pass-through from the kitchen to the temple; and establishing a “rainy day” fund which still exists. I also ensured that the Rituals of the Elements and the Feasts of the Times were performed without fail; and in addition to these, we celebrated occasional other days including birthdays and Greater Feasts of the Prophet, Walpurgisnacht, and the Gregorian dates 6/6/6, 7/7/7, and 8/8/8. I established the practice of installing officers ceremonially, and offering toasts to celebrate the achievements of outgoing officers. We also began exemplifying initiations (with an initiate standing in for the candidate) as a means of training and continuing education for officers, initiators, and attendees. During this time I also envisioned and established “Sisters of Babalon”, a public, women-only meet-up designed to facilitate a comfortable way for newly interested women to approach the Order. We brought Eleusyve Productions to Portland for a performance of the Rite of Venus, and we helped Horizon Oasis to facilitate the Regional O.T.O. Campout (ROTOCAMP) near Seattle. During my term as Master, while visiting another body of initiates in Arkansas, I met the love of my life, Julia, with whom I spent a wonderful six weeks traveling in Europe in 2008.

Since ending my term as Master, I have been continuing my work as an Initiator and Priest. I have been appointed to the U.S.G.L. Strategic Planning Committee, and continue to pursue an active campaign of promulgation through teaching classes around the US and the world, and promoting Aleister Crowley and Thelema on social networks. I also created the AC2012 parody political art campaign, co-edited Unity Uttermost Showed! and Manifest Thy Glory. My work with Frater IAO131 has included co-founding and co-producing the Speech in the Silence podcast about Thelema, Aleister Crowley, and Magick; and the Thelema group on Facebook.

In addition, I have been serving as a mentor for masters of O.T.O. groups and camp-in-formation organizers, and helping Thelemites in unserved areas to begin organizing study groups which may one day evolve into camps-in-formation.

During my time in the Order, I have participated in about 300 performances of the Gnostic Mass and about 70 Man of Earth initiations. I look forward to many more.

Love is the law, love under will.

In the Bonds of the Order,
✠ Parsifal

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3 Responses to Introduction

  1. Soror Path says:

    93 thank you for sharing

  2. Thanks a heap for sharing! ^_^

  3. James Staples VI says:

    WOW, I really enjoyed this. Thanks!

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