Gardner, Crowley and the OTO (was re: Wiccan)

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Kwaw

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Jan 15, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/15/00
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Bear and or Gypsy <ava...@indy.net> wrote in message
news:387E94C5...@indy.net...
> Tracie,
> If my history is correct Gerald Gardner the founder Of Gardnerian
Tradition
> took many of rituals from Crowleys books and even worked with him at one
time.

Well, as is apparent from reading Gardner's Book of Shadows he was 'at the
least'
well acquainted with the works of Crowley. As most will be aware Gardner
'cut and paste' the BOS together from a variety of sources; the great bulk
of 'borrowings' however, with the possible exception of Aradia - Gospel of
the Witches, come from Crowley (mainly the Book of the Law and the Gnostic
Mass but also from a variety of poems and essays). Other sources are the
Key of Solomon (Mather's translation), rituals from the Golden Dawn and also
(as well as many others) the Crowley/Mather edition of the Goetia, a signed
and dedicated copy of which Crowley gave to Gardner, and various unpublished
rituals of the OTO and masonry to which Gardner had access.

There is a dispute as to how long and how well Crowley and Gardner knew each
other. According to Doreene Valiente Gardner met Crowley in 'the last years'
of the
latters life and were introduced by the Crowthers. The Crowthers have said
this was in 1946 though Patricia later rectified that to 1947 to coincide
with a reference in Crowleys diaries when Crowley gave Gardner a Charter to
run lodges of the OTO. However, it seems rather odd to me that Crowley
would not only give someone such a charter on their first meeting but also
make them Head of the OTO in Great Britain and Eire at the same time!

Louise Wilkinson tells us that they first met
at the time Crowley was giving his Eight Lectures on Yoga which was 1939 (a
good 7 to 8 years before Crowley's death in 1947). The OTO was originally a
masonic order and though this changed under Crowley he still maintained the
right of masons to become affiliate members. It was as a mason of long
standing that Gardner became an affiliated member of the OTO in 1940.
Certainly in 1940 Gardner was in attendance at a ceremony conducted by
Crowley with several members of the OTO, affilliated masons and a group of
druids which was designed to stop Hitlers invasion. Many believe it is
these rituals that Gardner later attributes to a 'fictional' coven.

In 1947 Gardner was chartered by Crowley to conduct lodges of the OTO (there
is a reference to this in Crowleys diary and the Charter still exists).
>From then on any enquries to Crowley as Outer Head of the OTO that came from
within Europe were directed by Crowley to Gardner for iniation (copies of
letters sent to prospective candidates by Crowley and that are still extant
prove this). It appears in effect that Gardner had become not only Head of
the order in Britain but to Europe as well. After Crowley's death Gardner
wrote to Crowley's solicitor claiming that as "Head of the OTO in Britain"
he, Gardner, was rightfull heir to Crowley's goods and papers. There is
also a letter extent from Lady Frieda Harris to Karl Germer in which she
refers to Gardner as "Head of the OTO in Europe".

Shortly after Crowley's death Gardner made a trip to America to meet with
Karl Germer, then head of the OTO. They decided at that time that Garder
should resign as Head of the OTO in Britain so that he could concentrate on
"the Witchcraft". He also met with Jack Parsons, head of a californian
lodge of the OTO and returned to England with a copy of Parson's book
"Magick, Gnosis and the Witchcraft". Kenneth Grant then became Head of the
OTO in Britain and Gardner was in regular attendance at the lodges
ceremonies, and Grant occassionally attended those of 'the Witches' as well.

When Grant was expelled from the OTO Gardner ordered that no member of his
covens should attend Grant's lodge (there was a lot of cross-fertilisation
between Covens and Lodges of the OTO). Some preferred to stay with Grant
and Gardner approached Austin Osman Spare to make for him a talisman for the
'return of stolen property'. According to Grant the 'magickal' war that
broke out between himself and Gardner resulted in the death of at least one
priestess.

Following Grant's expulsion Gardner went to meet with Karl Germer in America
again. On his return he began a highly effective process of disassociation
from both Crowley and the OTO. It was so effective I believe his
association could only have been so successfully concealed with the full
approval and aid of the OTO itself. The title of Parson's book, "Magick,
Gnosis and the Witchcraft", reflect the three main strands Crowley had
struggled to create and maintain to further the formula of Thelema after his
death; being the OTO, the Ecclesastic Gnostic Church, and a new pagan
religion to be promulgated under the banner of witchcraft. At this time the
OTO and the Gnostic Church were close to extinction; and I believe it was
decided that the witchcraft should be protected from its association with
Crowley in order to assure that his negative reputation did not 'rub off' on
the new movement and risk its progress.


However, putting my speculations aside, Parson's book "Magick, Gnosis and
the Witchcraft" demonstrates at least that Gardner was not the only member
of the OTO to have a mission to promulgate a new pagan religion under the
banner of witchcraft. It is interesting to note that as early as 1914
Crowley wrote in a letter to a young Neophyte of the OTO:

".....I hope you will arrange to repeat this [a 'lunar' ritual] all the
time, say every full or new moon so as to build up a regular force. You
should also have a solar ritual to balance it, to be done each time the Sun
enters a new sign, with special festivity at the Equinoxes and the Soltices.
In this way you can establish a regular cult; and if you do them in a truly
magickal manner, you create a vortex of force that will suck in all the
people you want. The time is just ripe for a natural religion. People like
rites and ceremonies, and are tired of hypothetical gods. Insist on the
real benefits of the Sun and the Moon, the Mother-Force, the Father-Force
and so on; and show that by celebrating these benefits worthily the
worshippers unite themselves more fully with the current of life. Let the
religion be Joy, with but a worthy and dignified sorrow in death itself; and
treat death as an ordeal, an initiation. Do not gloss over the facts, but
transmute them in the athanor of your ecstacy. In short be the founder of a
new and greater Pagan cult in the beautiful land which you have made your
home. As you go on you can add new festivals of corn and wine, and all
things useful and noble and inspiring."

Also of interest is this rather provocative statement Crowley made in the
conclusion of the Gospel According to St. Bernard Shaw, 1916:

"For not only do I hold the cult of John Barleycorn to be the only true
religion, but have established his worship anew; in the last 3 years
branches of my organisation have sprang up all over the world to celebrate
the ancient rite. So mote it be."


So mote it be.

Kwaw


Richard Ballard

unread,
Jan 16, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/16/00
to
Sorry for a dumb question: What's the OTO?

Best wishes.

"Kwaw" <kw...@mangans.clara.co.uk> writes:

>The OTO was originally a masonic order and though this
>changed under Crowley he still maintained the right of masons
>to become affiliate members.

Richard Ballard CNA4 KD0AZ


Baird Stafford

unread,
Jan 17, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/17/00
to
Richard Ballard <rball...@aol.com> wrote:

> Sorry for a dumb question: What's the OTO?

The Ordo Templi Orientalis (or words to that effect) - an Order of
Ceremonial Magic that claims it wasn't founded by Aliester Crowley but
might as well have been: he seems to have rewritten and/or improved
almost all its rituals after he joined it in the early years of the
twentieth century.

Blessed be,
Baird


--
Modkin for soc.religion.paganism,
Modstaff for alt.religion.wicca.moderated
Visit me at <http://bairdstafford.com>


Roger Dearnaley

unread,
Jan 19, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/19/00
to
"Kwaw" <kw...@mangans.clara.co.uk> wrote:
>Bear and or Gypsy <ava...@indy.net> wrote in message
>news:387E94C5...@indy.net...
>> Tracie,
>> If my history is correct Gerald Gardner the founder Of Gardnerian
>Tradition
>> took many of rituals from Crowleys books and even worked with him at one
>time.
>
>Well, as is apparent from reading Gardner's Book of Shadows he was 'at the
>least'
>well acquainted with the works of Crowley. As most will be aware Gardner
>'cut and paste' the BOS together from a variety of sources;

I am not aware of any conclusive evidence proving that Gardner was the
one who did the cutting and pasting (though obviously he has to be a
prime suspect): it could have been Dafo, say, or even Dorothy Clutterbuck.

>the great bulk
>of 'borrowings' however, with the possible exception of Aradia - Gospel of
>the Witches, come from Crowley (mainly the Book of the Law and the Gnostic
>Mass but also from a variety of poems and essays).

In Gardner's earliest BoS, there is far more material from the Key of
Solomon and the Goetia than from Crowley. Even in the later versions
their contributions are roughly equal.

Also, it is not clear how much of the material that originally comes
from "the Book of the Law" was taken directly from "the Book of the
Law", and how much was taken from other places in Crowley's works (such
as the "Gnostic Mass") that quote from "The Book of the Law".

> Other sources are the
>Key of Solomon (Mather's translation), rituals from the Golden Dawn and also
>(as well as many others) the Crowley/Mather edition of the Goetia, a signed
>and dedicated copy of which Crowley gave to Gardner,

While there is material that may be drawn from this source in Gardner's
earliest BoS, this book doesn't appear in the list of the contents of
the Toronto archive, which contains all or almost all of Gardner's
library. See:

http://www.angelfire.com/ca/redgarters/gbglibidx.html

So if Gardner ever had a copy of it, he must have given it away, or it
must have got lost somehow.

What is your evidence that Crowley gave this book to Gardner?

>and various unpublished
>rituals of the OTO and masonry to which Gardner had access.

With the caveats given above, and the fact that you have omitted several
(non-Crowley related) sources, I agree with this outline of the sources
that Gardner's BoS draws upon.

>There is a dispute as to how long and how well Crowley and Gardner knew each
>other. According to Doreene Valiente Gardner met Crowley in 'the last years'
>of the
>latters life and were introduced by the Crowthers. The Crowthers have said
>this was in 1946 though Patricia later rectified that to 1947

Gardner also gave the date as 1946 to his biographer, Idries Shah
(writing under the name of Jack Bracelin). However, it seems that he
must have disremembered it (from over a decade later), since Crowley's
detailed diaries (which can be found at OTO headquarters in Texas, and
transcripts are in the Warburg Institute in London) make it clear that
he first met Gerald Gardner on May 1st, 1947: Firstly, the diary entry
for that day gives Gardner's full name and titles, and some notes about
his background, as was Crowley's habit on first meeting someone, while
the three other entries mentioning Gardner (all in May 1947) are short,
even cryptic, as was Crowley's habit for subsequent meetings. Secondly,
there is no sign of Gardner before (or after) this in Crowley's diaries,
nor is there any earlier sign of him in the extensive archives of
Crowley's personal correspondence and papers, while there are several
signs of him, even letters between Crowley and Gardner, from May 1947
and shortly thereafter.

>to coincide
>with a reference in Crowleys diaries when Crowley gave Gardner a
Charter to
>run lodges of the OTO.

Actually it was to run an encampment, the smallest size of OTO lodge.

>However, it seems rather odd to me that Crowley
>would not only give someone such a charter on their first meeting but also
>make them Head of the OTO in Great Britain and Eire at the same time!

I am not aware of any good evidence that Crowley did this. Gardner was
the only person with an active interest in the OTO in Great Britain at
the time, but that doesn't in itself make him the head.

>Louise Wilkinson tells us that they first met
>at the time Crowley was giving his Eight Lectures on Yoga which was
1939 (a
>good 7 to 8 years before Crowley's death in 1947).

I had not heard this story before. Could you tell me where it is published?

> The OTO was originally a masonic order

Quasi-masonic might be a better word: no major masonic lodge ever
recognised it, despite Crowley's efforts.

> and though this changed under Crowley he still maintained the
>right of masons to become affiliate members. It was as a mason of long
>standing that Gardner became an affiliated member of the OTO in 1940.

What is you evidence for this? To the best of my knowledge, this
occurred in 1947, at the time of the granting of the charter: indeed,
Crowley's diary entry for May 1st 1947 refers to Gardner's Masonic (or
possibly Co-Masonic) rank (Royal Arch, a "side degree" just above the
basic Masonic 3rd degree), but not to any OTO rank.

>Certainly in 1940 Gardner was in attendance at a ceremony conducted by
>Crowley with several members of the OTO, affilliated masons and a group of
>druids which was designed to stop Hitlers invasion. Many believe it is
>these rituals that Gardner later attributes to a 'fictional' coven.

You are referring to the "Operation Mistletoe" story, spread by Cecil
Williamson and later by Amado "Crowley". Neither of these people can be
considered a reliable witness. Cecil Williamson was the original owner
of the Museum of Witchcraft in the Isle of Man, which he started in 1950
and opened in 1951, with Gerald Gardner as "Resident Witch". After
Gardner bought the museum off him in about 1952, they clearly had a
falling out (possibly over the sum paid to Williamson's wife for her
share of the attached restaurant), and subsequent to that Cecil
Williamson has spread a great many stories, all of which put Gardner in
a bad light, and none of which have been found to have a shred of
historical evidence supporting them when investigated. Amado "Crowley"
claims to be Aleister Crowley's illegitimate son, and has made money by
writing several books of memoirs detailing his supposed relationship
with Aleister Crowley. However, Aleister Crowley kept extremely detailed
diaries, and left many of his personal letters and papers to various
libraries, and there is absolutely no sign of Amado "Crowley" in any of
these. For example, on the day that Aleister Crowley was supposed,
according to Amado, to have first learned that he had an illegitimate
son Amado and to have been reunited with him in a highly emotional
scene, Aleister Crowley's diaries record a routine day, the highlights
of which were that Crowley finished a lecture and that a friend of his
was swindled out of 15s. 8d. by a confidence trickster. (Aleister
Crowley did in fact have an illegitimate son who is clearly attested to
in the diaries, but his name was Ataturk, not Amado, he is now dead, and
not the same person as Amado.) There is also no sign of Cecil Williamson
in Crowley's own diaries or letters, despite Cecil Williamson's later
claim to have know Crowley well. There is one sign of him in the letters
of Gerald Yorke, a close friend of Crowley's at the end of his life: in
1951, several years after Crowley's death, Cecil Williamson wrote to
Gerald Yorke, admitting that he was not familiar with Crowley's work and
asking if Gerald Yorke could send him any of Crowley's old rituals
(Gerald Gardner evidently had not told Cecil Williamson that he was then
familiar with Crowley's work, and by then had several of his books). It
is thus clear that neither Cecil Williamson nor Amado "Crowley" in fact
knew Aleister Crowley, and both of them were in the habit of making up
stories about Crowley and Gardner.

Furthermore, both their accounts of "Operation Mistletoe" include the
supposed fact that Crowley was doing it on behalf of British
Intelligence, as part of an elaborate plan to deceive some Nazis who
were into the occult. The archives of Crowley's personal papers do
include letters between Crowley and MI5, and these make it quite clear
that during the early part of World War Two, Crowley applied to work for
MI5 and was curtly turned down. (Whether this was due to his general
reputation, the fact that he spent the First World War in New York
writing for a pro-German literary magazine called "The International",
or the fact that the German propagandist Lord Haw-Haw had declared that
the Germans would appoint Aleister Crowley part of the new government
once they had conquered England, is not clear, but evidently MI5 had
decided that Aleister Crowley was not the sort of person they wanted
working for them.)

The likely source of this story is Gardner's own story about "Operation
Cone of Power", a ritual supposedly carried out by the New Forest coven
and some others (with no official government involvement, despite the
rather grandiose name) in 1940. Whether or not this story is true (and
Louis Wilkinson also attests to it, in a way that implies he was there
himself), it is quite clear that he told this story to all and sundry
well before the Cecil Williamson version of the story surfaced. It thus
seems very likely that Cecil Williamson took Gardner's story, changed
some of the details and attributed it to Crowley instead on the strength
of his claimed relationship with Crowley, quite likely in the hope that
people would conclude that Gardner's version was the ripped off one.
Subsequently Amado Crowley, short of material to sell his "memoirs",
picked the story up and embroidered it further.

For more detail on all this, see "The Triumph of the Moon", by Prof.
Ronald Hutton (Oxford University Press, 1999).

>In 1947 Gardner was chartered by Crowley to conduct lodges of the OTO (there
>is a reference to this in Crowleys diary and the Charter still exists).

Again, his charter was to run a single encampment.

>>From then on any enquries to Crowley as Outer Head of the OTO that
came from
>within Europe were directed by Crowley to Gardner for iniation (copies of
>letters sent to prospective candidates by Crowley and that are still extant
>prove this). It appears in effect that Gardner had become not only Head of
>the order in Britain but to Europe as well.

Gardner was only IV degree (Prince of Jerusalem), just above what a
(Co-)Masonic Royal Arch would entitle him to according to Crowley's
writings on the subject, and way too low to be Head of the order for a
country. He was only chartered to perform I degree (Minerval)
initiations, the lowest in the OTO. He was just the only person actively
willing to do this in the entire of Europe at the time: the European OTO
was moribund until Gardner came along.

> After Crowley's death Gardner
>wrote to Crowley's solicitor claiming that as "Head of the OTO in Britain"
>he, Gardner, was rightfull heir to Crowley's goods and papers.

Where is this letter preserved? While I don't consider this impossible,
I would like to see it.

>There is
>also a letter extent from Lady Frieda Harris to Karl Germer in which she
>refers to Gardner as "Head of the OTO in Europe".

Again, where is this preserved?

>Shortly after Crowley's death Gardner made a trip to America to meet with
>Karl Germer, then head of the OTO.

In fact Gardner left England before Crowley's death in December 1947.
Gardner's health forced him to leave England every winter, since he was
asthmatic and had spent most of his life in hot Far Eastern climates
(Ceylon, Borneo, and Malaya). Even in his youth his parents used to send
him to the Mediterranean every winter with a Governess, on medical
advice due to his asthma.

The winter of 1947-48 was unusual in that Gardner went to America rather
than his usual visit to somewhere near the Mediterranean, and this could
be connected with his interest in the OTO during 1947.

> They decided at that time that Garder
>should resign as Head of the OTO in Britain so that he could
concentrate on
>"the Witchcraft".

What is your evidence for this? I was previously unaware of any evidence
as to exactly when Gardner's interest in the OTO waned, thought it was
evidently some time between the winter of 1947 and about 1951.

> He also met with Jack Parsons, head of a californian
>lodge of the OTO and returned to England with a copy of Parson's book
>"Magick, Gnosis and the Witchcraft".

No books by Jack Parsons are in Gardner's library at the Toronto
Archive, so if he owned this book he must have give it away or it must
have been lost somehow. Having checked the Library of Congress, I
believe the title is actually "Magick, gnosticism & the witchcraft :
introductory essays" by Jack Parsons. The Library of Congress's only
copy was published in South Stukely, Quebec by 93 Publications in about
1979, long after Parsons and Gardner were both dead. I have checked the
online catalogs of the British Library, Cambridge University library,
and the Warburg Institute (home of the Gerald Yorke collection, which
includes several extremely obscure OTO private publications not found in
other libraries), and have found no sign that this book was published
anywhere before about 1979. If so, any copy that Gardner obtained in
1947 would have to have been a typescript or manuscript.

> Kenneth Grant then became Head of the
>OTO in Britain and Gardner was in regular attendance at the lodges
>ceremonies, and Grant occassionally attended those of 'the Witches' as well.

What is your evidence for this claim?

>When Grant was expelled from the OTO Gardner ordered that no member of his
>covens should attend Grant's lodge (there was a lot of cross-fertilisation
>between Covens and Lodges of the OTO). Some preferred to stay with Grant
>and Gardner approached Austin Osman Spare to make for him a talisman
for the
>'return of stolen property'. According to Grant the 'magickal' war that
>broke out between himself and Gardner resulted in the death of at least one
>priestess.

When is this supposed to have occurred, and what is your evidence for it?

>Following Grant's expulsion Gardner went to meet with Karl Germer in America
>again.

To the best of my knowledge, Gardner only visited America once, in the
winter of 1947-48.

> On his return he began a highly effective process of disassociation
>from both Crowley and the OTO. It was so effective I believe his
>association could only have been so successfully concealed with the full
>approval and aid of the OTO itself.

Several members of the OTO have clearly been upset by it, so they were
evidently not part of this "approval and aid". There is good evidence
that the driving force behind Gardner's dissociation with Crowley was
Doreen Valiente, whom Gardner initiated in mid-1953 and who rapidly
became his High Priestess, and rewrote many or the rituals to remove or
disguise the Crowley material in them. Crowley's bad reputation, dormant
for a while before his death, had been revived by the publication of the
sensationalist biography of him "The Great Beast". Gardner's
dissociation from Crowley was gradual rather than sudden, and was not
complete until the publication of his biography in 1960: e.g. in
"Witchcraft Today" (1954) he says some fairly nice things about Crowley,
whereas by 1960 his biographer claims that he considered Crowley to be a
charlatan, with no real magical powers beyond a "hypnotic eye".

>The title of Parson's book, "Magick,
>Gnosis and the Witchcraft",

Do you know when this title was applied to this work? If it was on its
publication in 1979, this would prove little.

>reflect the three main strands Crowley had
>struggled to create and maintain to further the formula of Thelema
after his
>death; being the OTO, the Ecclesastic Gnostic Church, and a new pagan
>religion to be promulgated under the banner of witchcraft.

To the best of my knowledge, Crowley's many and various interests in
paganism never included witchcraft. Apart from a few early poems
mentioning it in an atmospheric way (at a time when most of his poems
were in a "horror" genre), and a few intellectual mentions of it in his
multitudinous writings on magic(k), he seems not to have been interested
in it. He was much more interested in Egyptian and Greek paganism.

> At this time the
>OTO and the Gnostic Church were close to extinction; and I believe it was
>decided that the witchcraft should be protected from its association with
>Crowley in order to assure that his negative reputation did not 'rub
off' on
>the new movement and risk its progress.

True, but I am not aware that this decision was made by anyone other
than Gardner and his followers.

>However, putting my speculations aside, Parson's book "Magick, Gnosis and
>the Witchcraft" demonstrates at least that Gardner was not the only member
>of the OTO to have a mission to promulgate a new pagan religion under the
>banner of witchcraft.

I would like to read this book and decide for myself what it demonstrates.

>It is interesting to note that as early as 1914
>Crowley wrote in a letter to a young Neophyte of the OTO:
>
>".....I hope you will arrange to repeat this [a 'lunar' ritual] all the
>time, say every full or new moon so as to build up a regular force. You
>should also have a solar ritual to balance it, to be done each time the Sun
>enters a new sign, with special festivity at the Equinoxes and the Soltices.
>In this way you can establish a regular cult; and if you do them in a truly
>magickal manner, you create a vortex of force that will suck in all the
>people you want. The time is just ripe for a natural religion. People like
>rites and ceremonies, and are tired of hypothetical gods. Insist on the
>real benefits of the Sun and the Moon, the Mother-Force, the Father-Force
>and so on; and show that by celebrating these benefits worthily the
>worshippers unite themselves more fully with the current of life. Let the
>religion be Joy, with but a worthy and dignified sorrow in death
itself; and
>treat death as an ordeal, an initiation. Do not gloss over the facts, but
>transmute them in the athanor of your ecstacy. In short be the founder
of a
>new and greater Pagan cult in the beautiful land which you have made your
>home. As you go on you can add new festivals of corn and wine, and all
>things useful and noble and inspiring."

What is your source for this quotation? I assume this is part of
Crowley's writings to George Jones in about 1914. To the best of my
knowlege there is no evidence that Jones actually did what Crowley was
suggesting to him.

>Also of interest is this rather provocative statement Crowley made in the
>conclusion of the Gospel According to St. Bernard Shaw, 1916:
>
>"For not only do I hold the cult of John Barleycorn to be the only true
>religion, but have established his worship anew; in the last 3 years
>branches of my organisation have sprang up all over the world to celebrate
>the ancient rite. So mote it be."

This looks a lot like one of Crowley's ttougue-in-cheek passages to me.
I suspect he was talking about beer-drinking.

--Roger


Kwaw

unread,
Jan 23, 2000, 3:00:00 AM1/23/00
to
93Roger
I am still awaiting confirmation for some of the references I require to
answer all your questions; but for now I will answer what I can with the
information I have at hand:

Roger Dearnaley <ro...@amurgsval.org> wrote in message
news:38854FEB...@amurgsval.org...

> Also, it is not clear how much of the material that originally comes
> from "the Book of the Law" was taken directly from "the Book of the
> Law", and how much was taken from other places in Crowley's works (such
> as the "Gnostic Mass") that quote from "The Book of the Law".

I am not sure what point you are making here. Are you implying that the
quotations were made indirectly and that perhaps Gardner wasn't aware that
they came from the Book of the Law? I believe he was familiar enough with
the Book of the Law to be able to recognise any quotations from it:

1) He owned at least one copy, it is still in the Toronto collection;
2) In her book 'Dancing with Witches' Louise Bourne relates a conversation
with Gardner in which he quotes from the Book of the Law (Louise doesn't
seem to realize however that she is quoting Gardner quoting AL);
3) The bibliography of 'The Meaning of Witchcraft' 1959 includes Crowleys
'The Equinox of the Gods';
4) For Crowley to have given him a charter to run a camp of the OTO one may
assume (perhaps wrongly) that Gardner had persuaded him of his acceptance of
thelema and the Book of the Law.

>
> > Other sources are the
> >Key of Solomon (Mather's translation), rituals from the Golden Dawn and
also
> >(as well as many others) the Crowley/Mather edition of the Goetia, a
signed
> >and dedicated copy of which Crowley gave to Gardner,
>
> While there is material that may be drawn from this source in Gardner's
> earliest BoS, this book doesn't appear in the list of the contents of
> the Toronto archive, which contains all or almost all of Gardner's
> library. See:
>
> http://www.angelfire.com/ca/redgarters/gbglibidx.html
>

The Toronto archive, while interesting, is not not particular useful as an
authority on what Gardner owned or didn't own for a couple of reasons:

1) Books and other items that he was known to have are not in it. 'The
Equinox of the Gods' mentioned above for example is not there. Neither is
the charter, as this was sold off by Ripleys separately to the collection
(to T. Allen Greenfield, whose lodge wall it now graces).
2) Books he could have never owned are in it, showing that the library was
added to after his death.

> So if Gardner ever had a copy of it, he must have given it away, or it
> must have got lost somehow.

Though as you say, the BoS does use the Goetia as a source, so if Gardner
did put the BoS together himself then he must have had access to a copy at
some point.

>What is your evidence that Crowley gave this book to Gardner?
>

The book still exists and is part of a private collection to which I am
fortunate to have access. I am currently trying to persuade the owners to
let me have a copy of the cover and the inside inscription.

> >and various unpublished
> >rituals of the OTO and masonry to which Gardner had access.
>
> With the caveats given above, and the fact that you have omitted several
> (non-Crowley related) sources, I agree with this outline of the sources
> that Gardner's BoS draws upon.
>

It wasn't my intent to give an exhaustive list of sources. Of those I have
I tired to include a fair balance of non-crowley material.

> >There is a dispute as to how long and how well Crowley and Gardner knew
each
> >other. According to Doreene Valiente Gardner met Crowley in 'the last
years'
> >of the
> >latters life and were introduced by the Crowthers. The Crowthers have
said
> >this was in 1946 though Patricia later rectified that to 1947

>snip

> >to coincide
> >with a reference in Crowleys diaries when Crowley gave Gardner a
> Charter to
> >run lodges of the OTO.
>
> Actually it was to run an encampment, the smallest size of OTO lodge.
>

Thanks for the correction, it is indeed for a camp.

'snip

> > The OTO was originally a masonic order
>
> Quasi-masonic might be a better word: no major masonic lodge ever
> recognised it, despite Crowley's efforts.
>

Crowley's efforts were in the opposite direction as he was uncomfortable
with the masonic nature of the OTO for a variety of reasons:

1) He thought the Masonic rituals too elaborate to stage and excessively
wordy;
2) That the symbolic content was garbled to the point of uselessness;
3) He wished women to be initiated into the OTO and did not believe they
could be initiated as Freemasons;
4) He wished to use the OTO to spread the teachings of Thelema.

It was Theodore Reuss who asserted the Masonic authority of the OTO while
Crowley moved first the MMM away from Freemasonry (by abandoning the term
Masonry and emblems, signs, grips of the Craft degrees), and then as Outer
Head of the Order the OTO as a whole. However, he still maintained the


right of masons to become affiliate members.

> 'snip (awaiting confirmation of reference)

> >Certainly in 1940 Gardner was in attendance at a ceremony conducted by
> >Crowley with several members of the OTO, affilliated masons and a group
of
> >druids which was designed to stop Hitlers invasion. Many believe it is
> >these rituals that Gardner later attributes to a 'fictional' coven.
>
> You are referring to the "Operation Mistletoe" story, spread by Cecil
> Williamson and later by Amado "Crowley".

It possibly does relate to the story spread by these two, my source however
is the Druid MacGregor Reid. (Correspondence between Reid and Crowley is in
the Warburg).

>Neither of these people can be
> considered a reliable witness.

Unfortunately, neither can 'Dr' Gerald Gardner, a man with a much fabricated
past who narrowly escaped being expelled from the folklore society for
plagiarism.

> >In 1947 Gardner was chartered by Crowley to conduct a camp of the OTO


(there
> >is a reference to this in Crowleys diary and the Charter still exists).

> >From then on any enquries to Crowley as Outer Head of the OTO that
> >came from
> >within Europe were directed by Crowley to Gardner for iniation (copies of
> >letters sent to prospective candidates by Crowley and that are still
extant
> >prove this). It appears in effect that Gardner had become not only Head
of
> >the order in Britain but to Europe as well.
>
> Gardner was only IV degree (Prince of Jerusalem), just above what a
> (Co-)Masonic Royal Arch would entitle him to according to Crowley's
> writings on the subject, and way too low to be Head of the order for a
> country. He was only chartered to perform I degree (Minerval)
> initiations, the lowest in the OTO. He was just the only person actively
> willing to do this in the entire of Europe at the time: the European OTO
> was moribund until Gardner came along.
>

Although few on the ground there were still several members, at least one
whom, Kenneth Grant, was very willing to take an active role; and was only a
III degree member himself when chartered by Germer.

> > After Crowley's death Gardner
> >wrote to Crowley's solicitor claiming that as "Head of the OTO in
Britain"
> >he, Gardner, was rightfull heir to Crowley's goods and papers.
>
> Where is this letter preserved? While I don't consider this impossible,
> I would like to see it.
>

Firstly a correction, the letter dated December 24 1947 and sent from
Memphis, Tennessee is to Vernon Symonds (not Crowley's solicitor) and in it
he asserts "...Aleister gave me a charter making me head of the O.T.O. in
Europe" (not Britain). A copy of the letter is in the OTO archives and an
extract is published in T Allan Greenfields essay 'A True History of Wicca'.

> >There is
> >also a letter extent from Lady Frieda Harris to Karl Germer in which she
> >refers to Gardner as "Head of the OTO in Europe".
>
> Again, where is this preserved?
>

As above, plus it was published by Bill Heidrick in the Thelema Lodge
Newsletter. The letter is dated January 2, 1948.

> >Shortly after Crowley's death Gardner made a trip to America to meet with
> >Karl Germer, then head of the OTO.
>
> In fact Gardner left England before Crowley's death in December 1947.

That it is true, thanks for the correction. However he did not meet with
Karl Germer until after Crowley's death.

> > They decided at that time that Garder
> >should resign as Head of the OTO in Britain so that he could
> concentrate on
> >"the Witchcraft".
>
> What is your evidence for this?

It has long been suspected, in his 'Notes on Gardnerian Witchcraft' Frederic
Lamond writes that in the Summer of 1947 "Gerald sailed for America to meet
the American OTO heads. He met Jack Parsons in California, who may have
persuaded Gerald to promote witchcraft rather than the OTO". Recent
evidence tends to support this, however there is enough room for
interpretation to leave me no room to say anything other than it is a
strongly held opinion based on the evidence than an absolutely proveable
fact.

> >"Magick, Gnosis and the Witchcraft".
>

>From a letter from Doreene Valiente to T. Allan Greenfied (published in his
essay 'True History of Wicca'):

"I have a remarkable little book by Jack Parsons called MAGICK, GNOSTICISM
AND THE WITCHCRAFT. It is unfortunately undated, but Parsons died in 1952.
The section on witchcraft is particularly interesting because it looks
forward to a revival of witchcraft as the Old Religion....I find this very
thought provoking. Did Parsons write this around the time that Crowley was
getting together with Gardner and perhaps communicated with the California
group to tell them about it? Parsons began forecasting the 'revival of
witchcraft' in the notorious 'Liber 49 - The Book of Babalon' written in
1946. The timing of the genesis of 'The Book of Babalon' - which forecast a
revival of witchcraft in covens based upon the number eleven (the Thelemic
number of magick) rather than the traditional thirteen, seems to coincide
with Crowley's OTO Charter to Gardner, Gardner's U.S. visit, and also
coincides rather closely with the writing of HIGH MAGIC'S AID by Gardner."

> > Kenneth Grant then became Head of the
> >OTO in Britain and Gardner was in regular attendance at the lodges
> >ceremonies, and Grant occassionally attended those of 'the Witches' as
well.
>
> What is your evidence for this claim?
>

There are several accounts, eg: in the introduction to 'Images and Oracle of
Austin Osman Spare' Grant relates how he introduced Gardner to Spare and how
they were both participants at the Nu-Isis lodge. Doreen Valiente in the
Rebirth of Witchcraft relates a story in which Grant and his wife were at a
ritual with Dolores North, Gardner and an un-named witch.

> >When Grant was expelled from the OTO Gardner ordered that no member of
his
> >covens should attend Grant's lodge (there was a lot of
cross-fertilisation
> >between Covens and Lodges of the OTO). Some preferred to stay with Grant
> >and Gardner approached Austin Osman Spare to make for him a talisman
> for the
> >'return of stolen property'. According to Grant the 'magickal' war that
> >broke out between himself and Gardner resulted in the death of at least
one
> >priestess.
>
> When is this supposed to have occurred, and what is your evidence for it?
>

The 'magical war' broke out in latter half of 1955. Grant has said that he
cannot remember the original reason for their falling out but I doubt it is
no coincidence that it started at the same time Grant was expelled from the
OTO on July 20 1955. It was only after Grant was expelled
from the OTO that Gardner barred coven members from Grant's Nu-Isis lodge
(as it
was no longer an authorised lodge of the OTO [IMHO]). However some left the
coven
and remained with Grant. One of these was a woman called Clanda who claimed
to be a Water-Witch. Furious that Grant was 'stealing' his witches Gardner
commissioned Austin Spare to prepare him a talisman for the return of stolen
property to its rightfull place. Spares method was to bind what he called
an 'intrusive familiar' into the substance of the talisman by a sex magick
process. According to Grant the charm had a dramatic effect at a ritual of
the Nu-Isis lodge where Clanda lay on a massive altar placed between two
stout tapers:

"A current of ice-cold air swept through the room and at the same time an
eerie scrabbing sound came from the region of a heavilly curtained window.
Terror was revealed in Clanda's eyes and her body was convulsed by violent
shudderings. She swayed and reeled; a fluttering noise came from the
window; the curtains parted and a monstrous bird winged its way into the
room and fastened its talons onto Clanda's flesh.

It seemed, she said, as if the claws had lifted her high up into the room,
through the ceiling and out into the open night..............She strove with
all her will to resist the creatures urgent clutches and fell like a stone
upon the altar and awoke sobbing, confused........as she stared at the
window the heavy curtains billowed as if beneath the impact of a powerful
breeze............glistening light upon the frosted window clearly revealed
the unmistakeable claw-marks of a giant bird ............ and a deposit of
some gelatinous substance, resembling seaweed, pulsated slowly on the
window-sill as if breathing.

Having learned that Spare had made a talisman for Gardner I asked him what
nature of demon he had bound to it. He replied: 'A sort of amphibious owl
with the wings of a bat and the talons of an eagle'. The stolen property
(Clanda) was not restored to Gardner or his coven however. Clanda left
England for New Zealand, her ship was wrecked and she was drowned. Did
something take Clanda back to her 'rightfull place' as a Water-Witch - the
waves?"

(From an article by Grant in the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology -
also published in Man, Myth and Magic and several other places).

'snip (checking references)

> To the best of my knowledge, Crowley's many and various interests in
> paganism never included witchcraft.

True. But there is little, if any, proveable connection between wicca and
historical witchcraft. There is however a great deal of proof to show that
Gardnerian Witchcraft (later to be called Wicca) is rooted in freemasonry
and the western occult tradition, both of which are very much Crowley
interests. Also, as a Pagan Mystery School Wicca is much more in accordance
with a revival of paganism as Crowley envisaged it than it is to any Pagan
religion that can be shown to ever have actually existed before it. Not
only as Crowley outlines in his letter to Jones but also:

Ethically - No volumes of Roman code, nor patriarchal/matriarch
interference; just a simple model of freedom born of responsibility and the
honour of light, love, liberty and life under the Law of Do What Thou Wilt .

Religiously - An end to bloodthirsty gods and goddesses; magick and worship
demands not sacrifice. A religion founded not in fatalism, but joy.

Socially and Spiritually - The equality of men and women, priest and
priestess, god and goddess.

> >It is interesting to note that as early as 1914
> >Crowley wrote in a letter to a young Neophyte of the OTO:

'snip

> What is your source for this quotation? I assume this is part of
> Crowley's writings to George Jones in about 1914.

Your assumption is correct. The above extract was published in 'The Great
Beast' by Symonds.

>To the best of my
> knowlege there is no evidence that Jones actually did what Crowley was
> suggesting to him.
>

No. Only that Crowley was making such suggestions.

I will get back to you with other references as soon as I have had them
confirmed (or not). Thanks for your critical response.

Kwaw

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