This Essay is written from the Thelemic point of view. People who have not as yet accepted the Law of Θελημα are in it regarded as pagans and philistines, little more than animals, and, in certain things, below the beasts. The attitude of the author should be kept in mind by the reader. Also, the prophecies made on the future of America are personal and therefore of at the most relative reliability. It is for each Brother to read and judge for himself.
It is this author's contention that the Secret Body of the Law is already organized and is the A∴A∴. To it may be ascribed the Verse in AL, ch. 1: "Let my servants be few and secret; they shall rule the many and the known." This rule is to be entirely in the spiritual planes, manifesting on the material plane through the channels Nature herself has established. In a word, the rule of the A∴A∴. is a rule of spiritual radiation. The Initiate is to be a spiritual Sun, a radiating Star. So far my intuition takes me, further not. But it must be quite clear that the rule of the Servants is not to be per se a temporal one. It may be that a particular servant is cast in a position of rule in the physical plane; but that must be considered an exception, not the rule, and something not to be hankered after by the disciple. Let it be added that the Initiates of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis are to be included, if necessary, among the servants; for their future progress, however, they must become Masters of the Temple or the equivalent. Only the M.T. can truly serve. Those below him have a main duty: that they try to become one, or better, none.
The O.T.O. is the instrument of the A∴A∴ , through which the Law can and shall be spread, progressively, like the growth of vegetation over the earth, the further plants appearing, the further seeds becoming available. It is the visible body of the Law as the A∴A∴ is the invisible body; and if properly utilized, it can, without disturbance, conquer the world. It must be the ideal continuously before our mind to make the O.T.O. grow.
The present situation of the Order is not good. The A∴A∴ is by definition as efficient at this moment as it shall be a hundred years in the future in the sense that its influence is not to be searched for in material things. But as the A∴A∴ is the mind of the Law, the soul of the Law, the O.T.O. is its body. Its situation is to be gauged by a thoroughly materialistic outlook.
There is plenty of work being done in Europe, specially in the German sector. It is to be expected that some further work is being done in South America, and that more shall develop in the near future. But America is in a rather disjointed, disconnected state, and, on the whole, the Order is so poor that it cannot issue its own bodies of doctrine effectively. Brothers are scattered all over the continent, and Lodges are, to my knowledge, non-existent and have been so for quite some time. All Lodges that have been formed have sooner or later dissolved in discontentment, discord, spite or foolishness. The situation must be stopped. It is absolutely necessary that Lodges be established, that they grow united and strong, that the Treasure of the Order become full. In the plane of Disks we are too poor. In the plane of Cups we are too rich. In the plane of Swords we could be richer, and I suspect that we could be so in the plane of Wands, also.
We must establish a nucleus of radiation in America, one Lodge, powerful enough, fortified enough by wise use of the Ophidian vibrations--this power and force to make of it a vortex of influence into which members can be attracted. This Lodge must be the first cell of a growing organism that is, from the point of view of the old Aeon, in the nature of a cancerous growth in society; from the point of view of the New Aeon, a new serpent skin slowly growing under the dry and old one. From this Lodge missionaries may be gradually sent to other spots on the continent to develop new centers of attraction. Such missionaries must be in possession of the Central Secret or must be themselves talismans charged continuously with force from the original Lodge. Such Lodges that may be formed must be under absolute control of the O.H.O., the Holy King, the Sanctuary of the Gnosis, and obedient to their command. They must be subordinated to the Orient represented by the first Lodge where it is presupposed the Government of the Order shall be. In any case, let us not confound the issues by arguing that the Lodges have a right to freedom of their own. The O.T.O. is not a democracy. The O.T.O. is an anarchy, and, as a result, its government is absolutely autarchic. (This evident paradox must be solved by each Brother in his own heart and seen to be evident truth in this plane of illusion.) This is what makes it absolutely necessary that the O.H.O. be at least a M.T. or its equivalent, or that the Holy King be so, or, which would be even better, that both be. Absolute Power is deadly to all except those who have definitely rid themselves of their Egos.
The conclusion, however, remains that the Order shall never prosper anywhere as we want it to until it be a veritable network of cells (lodges) all over the country communicating with each other freely through physical or psychic channels and submitted to the iron rule of the only ones who can rule--those who are no more. This apparently complex but actually simple pattern can be diagrammed thus:
In the first diagram, the Lodge have contact only with the Great Orient, none between themselves. This pattern makes for greater cohesion and harmony, but it is to be foreseen that eventually the number of lodges will be so great that the Orient by itself shall not be able to cope with all the governmental and personal problems that may arise. In such a case, it shall be time to distribute the government according to the Constitution of the O.T.O. by creating Lodges of higher grades in each community and delegating to such Lodges the administration of the affairs of the lower ones. This must be accomplished with extreme care and under the severest supervision, due to the dangers of the abuse of power, dangers that have been the demoralization and destruction of all Orders, religious or otherwise, that have preceded us. Man is slow to perceive tyranny, but sooner or later he shall get rid of it, even if only to have a new tyranny grow. Our Order can have no tyranny but the tyranny of Justice; and Justice even, to be effective, must be continuously inspired by Understanding. It is to be advised that, except in special cases, every ruling Master of a Lodge above the III° have been trained and tested in the Great Orient and be personally known to the Initiates of the Original Lodge. It is also to be recommended that every master of the man-of-earth triad have been a personal disciple of one of those higher degree Masters trained by the Grand Orient. In this way discipline can be more easily maintained.
Despite all these precautions, it is to be foreseen that breaches of discipline shall arise, that scandal and immorality may develop in the Lodges, not only financial but sexual scandal may breed at any moment, and more easily so in the Lover triad than in the man-of-earth triad. Breaches of discipline of this kind are breaches of Order discipline, not of personal discipline, and must be dealt with the utmost severity! Brothers who, in the interest of their own egos or wishes harm the Organism of the Order must not only be demoted but, in case it is estimated that they possess too much knowledge, they must be ruthlessly exterminated. An appropriate magical link must be formed and a hostile current of will directed for their prompt destruction. Such extreme cases, of course, can be decided only by members of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis in the lower grades and by the Supreme Council in the Sanctuary of the Gnosis itself. This is a matter to be decided by the careful deliberation of the Original Lodge before it starts forming its web of cells, so that the system in dealing with such extreme cases may be agreed upon by all. But doubt not! Such rash dealings will become necessary, not only as an example for the balking, but also because it is a natural law to eliminate from a healthy organism anything that might tend to produce disease of all cells. Disease circumscribed to one cell only need not concern the Order; each brother or sister is sovereign in his own sphere. But where his behavior may affect the Order as a whole he is the slave of the Order.
The necessity for such attitude shall arise infallibly, and therefore we must stress once more the absolute need for the greatest possible spiritual development in the members of the higher grades and particularly in the administrative body.
It is to be noted also that financial scandal is to be considered as more serious and much more deserving of punishment than sexual scandal. If a brother is unchaste, the force misused aborts by its own dispersion; but if a brother misuses the moneys of the Order he deviates the current of its temporal power from the execution of the Order's will, which is THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE LAW UPON THE EARTH, ON THE PHYSICAL PLANE.
Now that these general considerations have been dealt with, let us circumscribe our observations to the American scene.
America is fast becoming a dictatorial country. This flat statement shall most certainly shock the average American Brother, but it is only too clear to those who have, at least for some time, experienced life in other and more privileged countries. A short trip to Mexico would be enough to prove to you that the average Mexican, for all his poverty and lack of varnish, enjoys more personal freedom than the average American, and has a much wider sphere of self-expression allowed to him by his fellows. America is preparing for war, and any country that is preparing for war tightens the leash on its citizens; but as if this were not enough, America has been tending towards socialism with all its evils ever since the New Deal.
You can no longer freely reprove the methods of the government, you can no longer utter original thoughts, you can no longer lead a virtuous life. You are supposed to conform to the standards of the majority. Psychologists are not interested in adjusting your personality to your Self. They are interested in adjusting you to society, knowing too well that adjustment to Self is beyond their power and knowledge. Material possessions are the test of success in life. Any American who has been able to buy a Cadillac and build a swimming pool considers himself to have attained the Great Work and lays down his arms and rests at the very moment when he is ready to start the true Quest. Leisure and/or the provider of leisure--money--are absolutely necessary in a "civilized" society for one to be able to retire himself from the world and search for Himself. But Americans have forsaken the spiritual worth of having money for the basest subplane of the Plane of Disks--and are fast developing into soulless monsters, diseases abortions of the soul, infested with paranoia and pathological schizophrenia, eaten away by psychosomatic diseases born of emotional or spiritual conflict such as ulcers and cancer. For the sensitive or the initiated eye their auras are horrible to see and even more horrible to feel. The initial current that brought the country to freedom is all but exhausted except in the humblest of classes, which has through all times remained closest to the eternal truths of material life--the manual workers.
Organizations that were created to keep the national balance, such as the police and the governmental investigation bureaus, are becoming not only venial, but, in the higher echelons, conscious or--more probably--unconscious instruments of tyranny. I am inclined to believe that there is no master brain in the United States plotting tyranny. One may take hold of the current and eventually direct it to his own ends; but the fundamental error is in the American attitude itself. The subordination of the individual to society is the death of society. There is a confusion of planes in the American life that is impossible to eradicate without either a national catastrophe or the slow growth of a new healthy generation energized by the influence of the New Aeon. The first remedy is the business of the Secret Chiefs; the second remedy is the business of the O.T.O. I am inclined to believe that the O.T.O. shall be allowed a chance at its method in the next ten years, or perhaps even twenty years, on the condition that it becomes aware of the opportunity and starts earnest work as soon as possible.
I propose, since we have a new period of speech of the A∴A∴ starting in 1958, that all students and Probationers and Brothers of the Order be warned that concomitant with the period of Speech of the A∴A∴ a fresh launching of the O.T.O. is going to take place, and requested to come to whatever city is going to be the center of activity of the Order, there to start a new Lodge of the O.T.O. They should be given one year to organize their personal lives and move to whatever city they are going to be needed in, realizing as much of their possessions as they have at their disposal, and pooling as much of such possessions as they can afford to in a community fund to be the beginning of the Treasure of the Order. They should then, together, study all the rituals of the Order, and practice all the rituals of the Order (naturally such rituals as they are entitled to--but I estimate that the majority of those who might be willing to go through with the inconvenience of the request would be deserving of the IX°, naturally after examination). They should become thoroughly acquainted with the Constitution of the Order under all its aspects and as applied to any possible problems. Then, and ONLY THEN, work should begin to produce a center of attraction.
Needless to say, this work, occurring at the same time, should be absolutely separated from the activity of the period of Speech of the A∴A∴, and as little connection as possible between one movement and the other should be enforced. The reason is quite simple. Right at this moment we are being watched by governmental agencies that fear us to be subversive, precisely as Therion--blessed be His name--was. Our highest Initiate extant was under continuous vigilance in the state of his residence until he moved away. He is inclined to believe now that he is free from watchers, but I disagree violently with him. If he was under vigilance then he is almost certainly under vigilance now, or, at least, it is known where he is. And everybody whom he contacts is being annotated for further investigation in case of need. The reason is that it is suspected that we plot the overthrow of the American government.
This is not true as yet. We plan the overthrow of the Old Aeon, its point of view, its beliefs and its moral codes as obsolete and "evil." If to that end we be obliged to overthrow governments, so we shall. But governments are but the apex of a pyramid of which each individual of a people is the base. Change the individual, and the government shall change. We do not concern ourselves with the national affairs of the United States or any other county. Our concern is Man, whom we want free and triumphant. The least individual we bring to the Law is gain in a work that shall last two thousand years and is but beginning. Let us gather the base of the pyramid, and the apex shall be ours of necessity.
I have read some suggestions on how this gathering of the base should be effectuated, that is, how to make proselytes. I have heard all kinds of schemes suggested in order to attract attention. I consider those all hopelessly fanciful. We do not have to recur to any visible means to attract to our sphere those who belong to it; we have at our disposal the opportunity of Force so marvelously great as the World at large cannot as yet understand or behold. Let us utter our Will in unison when the time comes, and then gather in the net those that are worthy of being our companions, who will gravitate inexorably in our direction.
When we are thoroughly ready to train new members--for the Grand Orient shall train the Brothers who shall spread the Order through the country--nothing should be easier than to construct an appropriate talisman and vivify it in the way to us known, concentrating our Wills in unison to the end in view, and retiring into the sign of Silence immediately afterwards. Then, all we shall have to do is watch the river of souls that rushes by us everyday and, when those we want pass in the stream, we shall reach in and take them to our bosom.
In doing so extreme care must be observed. I must state here that throughout the history of all movements of mankind, many have been called, but few have been chosen. To advertise for Brothers of the O.T.O. in any way would be absolutely absurd. I've read a letter of a Brother affirming that a certain dose of "hokum" has always been used by all adepts who started movements. This is not so, for there have been exceptions to this rule, and note well, those who advertised least maintained themselves the longest. The Egyptian priesthood is an example. So were the followers of San Martin. So is the S.S., who has never had to advertise itself and shall never have to. And so should be the O.T.O. Do we or do we not have the secret of all Magick in our hands? Do we or do we not possess the Summum Bonum, the Elixir of Life and the Quintessence? Let us practice our knowledge and develop it into power, and then we can, Adepts and Magicians, laugh at the hokums of the world. The O.T.O. is a serious Brothers, a Thelemic Brotherhood, austere and terrible. It is not a carnival.
If this were not enough, a further argument against any kind of proselytism would be that to become known is to attract the attention of the powers that be. That, in a country that is fast running towards the kind of society described in George Orwell's Nineteen-eighty-four, is absolutely suicidal. We must remember or try to remember that every single serious fraternity that has existed during a Dark Age--and this most certainly is the beginning of one--has been occult. Brothers, where do you think the term "occultist" comes from? The most successful fraternity of the Middle Ages were the Alchemists--and among them, the Rosicrucians were the least known and the most powerful. We are in a very great sense of the word their heirs. Let us occult ourselves, let us not profane the veil of the sanctuary. In an age when blaring advertisement is starting to tire even the stupid masses, let secrecy and mystery be our hokum. This hokum we need for more than one reason. First, the glamour of mystery has always attracted man throughout the ages. Second, we do need to hide ourselves, lest we are destroyed before we become strong enough to defy the world if need be. Therion is no longer alive. He took over himself the condemnation and vituperation of the masses. Let he among you who has His power or His abnegation step forth into the open; but let me assure you that Therion himself might give me reason in the face of the present conditions, not only in America, but in the rest of the world, and in view of his own failure with his first attempt to establish the Order, due to his incorrigible faith in the "intrinsic nobility" of his fellow human beings. Let us remember that men are only those that can accept the Law of Θελημα--and let us remember that the great majority cannot, and belongs hopelessly to the past age. We are the enemies of the people, not their friends; and even when they accept the Law, they shall still be our enemies in the lower ordeals.
Let us not, therefore, advertise. Let us not bid for followers. Let us watch, observe, ponder, and when we see a Man among the mob, let us bid the help of his strong arm and noble heart in the Herculean task we face. Let us remember that we are watched and stalked. Let us follow the way of the Tao, and do the great things while they are still small, and thus accomplish all while seeming to do nothing. Let us float with the tide, let us adapt ourselves elastically to the environment, let us produce as little disturbance as possible and apply our strength where it will do the most good with the least waste.
To proclaim ourselves in the open now would have one of two results. Or both. First, it would attract the kind of people who are gullible enough to. in this age of advertisement, still believe in advertisement. Second, it would make us just too conspicuous for our safety. We would be watched and, when seen to grow too strong, we would be dispersed by one of the many means at the disposal of the governmental powers. All movements have started in secrecy, and the Christians, who lasted longest of all, made the grade by absolute secrecy until they were strong enough to influence governments, and only then came into the open. I am of course talking of movements belonging to our racial heritage.
I shall try further to discourage you by reminding you that the greater a movement grows, the more people you get in, the more it gets to be a mob. Two thousand years from now the O.T.O. shall be as corrupted as Christianity is right now, or little less. Let us hope, however, that the A∴A∴ shall know how to skip the Gulf and change the signs with grace. For it works in the inner, not the outer.
So, let us being with a view to quality, not to quantity. Let us be a pyramid, with plenty of members in the lower grades and as few as possible in the upper ones. Let us makes the ordeals severe before we bestow the Central Secret. Right now it matters little whether those who receive it are not as deserving as they might be, for the great majority of us have not been systematically trained in its use. But the Brother who passes through the rituals up to the IX° shall be been psychologically conditioned to use the secret to the utmost of its effectiveness, specially because many shall soon be the sons of Initiates and shall have inherited ability to their favor. Let us beware lest we hold a serpent instead of a Serpent to our bosom! Remember Saint Paul!
I hope I have established thoroughly three points:
1. We must congregate and organize a lodge that shall be the Great Orient of the Order.
2. We must not recur to any outward means to attract proselytes, but rely on magical power to attract likely candidates to our circle.
3. We must pick them, not let them pick us. And we must have the pick of the crop.
To do so is easier than it seems. Any man, anywhere, that demonstrates to possess Thelemic qualities should be investigated and put through the tests. This should be adapted according to the needs of any particular environment. For instance, if in Louisiana or Alabama or Georgia I see a white man treating Negroes with courtesy and chivalry, specially in public, and not while trying to sell them something, I see that man is a likely candidate, and I shall approach him and ask to be allowed to call on him to discuss important matters later on. Due to our magical current, he will likely as not accept, and with his address in my possession I shall investigate his connections and his life, and listen to gossip about him, and decide whether or not I shall call on him. This is a very simple example, but gives an idea. If I see a man bullying a weaker man in the street and another man springing to the defense of the weaker one, he would be likely prey for us. Or if I see anybody, anywhere, displaying generosity, integrity, courage and tolerance, these are the qualities that interest us, and matters not a whit whether the person is an occultist or not. This type of people would never be attracted by hokum. I know because I am of them, and I am not at all attracted by hokum. Otherwise I should be a San Jose Rosicrucian, not a Thelemite.
I should like to make a further observation. All things considered, people in the humbler echelons of society who show generosity and courage and integrity are to be looked after more than intellectuals, artists or people in power. Intellectuals are in their great majority brilliant but unreliable. Artists are most of them poisoned by the miasma of the Dead Age that crumbles. People in power are dangerous to us until we are in great number, when our concerted energies are enough to keep the great personage under control. For we must remember that a man in power disposes not only of his current, but of the current that the people have, wittingly or unwittingly, entrusted to him. We should be more prompt to accept artisans, farmers, manual workers, waiters, storekeepers and clerks than movie actors, famous painters, writers, government officials and policemen. Intelligence is not culture, and integrity is not social standing. Not in this corrupted society, anyhow, and it is this and other injustices that we are to address.
Those who try to uphold the system of American life as it stands, no matter how pleasant they may seem, or how many qualities they may have, are our enemies. Among them there are a few who try merely, to the best of their abilities, to ease the tension and fever of the disease. They are precious pearls in the mud. But generally speaking, beware of policemen, beware of most preachers (though some are rather courageous), beware of university professors, beware of government officials, beware of people who do social work, beware of the rich, beware of the powerful. Let us not admit them until we are able to keep constant watch on them, and kill them if need be to protect ourselves in case of betrayal.
The O.T.O. may, in twenty years, be the only hope of an oppressed, bewildered country. As our power grows, we may come out in the open. May our power grow! May our treasure grow! May our members grow in number as in spirit! Eventually, peacefully or otherwise, the revolution shall have been made, society shall be transmuted, the yeast that we represent shall have acted, and the millennium shall have been established for the Aeon of Horus.
But that time is far, and may our leaders be humble in spirit when the time of pride comes!
So mote it be.