I used to be a member of Aleister Crowley's OTO
It was September of 1988. I was 'Tyler' of Eulis Lodge OTO in Atlanta,
Georgia. Allen Greenfield was the secretary of the Lodge. The Lodge master
was Bil Pagett.
Jeff Clark had moved into the Lodge HQ where I lived with Pagett and his
girlfriend. (Clark had moved into the house in a desparate hurry. Which was
odd, he had bragged that he was going to marry the woman he was living with.
I learned later that Pagett knew he had beat the woman, but didn't bother to
tell anyone this when he asked if we would mind Clark moving in)
Pagett and his girlfriend went out of town for a Pagget family wedding. I
was sick and Clark was on a mission from God to clean up the house because
he thought we were 'living like niggers'. I came home on Saturday after a
half day of work. Clark had taken the basement door off the hinges; we were
not even supposed to go into the basement. I went into the house and asked
him where he got off taking the house apart. He exploded into a frenzy of
violence against me. I tried feebily to defend myself, but failed. Clark
spit in my face and when I ran from the house in fear, he pushed me into a
ditch and kicked me in the head.
I moved out of the house within days. A month later, Pagett raised Clark to
the second degree. I was pressured to assist in third degree initiations.
No one thought there was anything very wrong with Clark using violence
against me. Obviously Pagett believed it was worthy of reward. Everyone told
me I was being 'bitter' because I didn't want anything to do with Eulis
About six months later, Clark and Russel Hill raped a female member of the
lodge. Pagett held a kangeroo court where they were found guilty and forced
to memorize Liber Librae (a two page writing of Crowley's)
I know now, that I am partially responsible for the rape because I failed to
do the morally correct thing and go to the police. Clark committed a violent
crime against me. I had every right to bring the police in. Unfortunately, I
was weak and stupid. It is only too easy to say 'I made oaths' that's total
bullshit. I was stupid and weak. That's all there is to it. I hate myself
for that failure. I hate myself for not holding Eulis lodge accountable for
Clark went on to have his own OTO lodge, he called it Syntaxis. Apparently
he lost it because of misplaced money. So the lesson there is that it's okay
to beat and rape your brothers and sisters in the OTO, but it's wrong to
keep initiation money.
I understand now that Clark is fairly important in the A.A. which goes to
show that they are as morally bankrupt as the OTO.
A month ago I did something I never thought I would do, but in a way, I
should've seen it coming: I asked Christ Jesus to come into my heart and
bring me the healing that has escaped me all these years. It's not easy,
it's not an easy road, but it seems to be the only thing that will save me.
Pretty ugly stuff, huh?
An Open Letter to Uncle Al
(Or Aleister Crowley without Tears.)
(Originally printed in ABRASAX VOL 3 #1 Autumn Equinox)
Dear Mr. Aleister Crowley,
I was first introduced to the ideas of Thelema as the search for one's own
path some six years ago. Since then, as I watch the slow attempt to move
from cult to culture, I come to feel more saddened and distanced from it
than anything else.
The problem seems to one of the properly interpretating and applying the
tenets of Thelema. And while, for some, these are little more than
philosophical musings, to the organized groups which are attempting to
implement Thelema as a world religion and to supersede Christianity and the
like, there are some very thorny issues.
The major question this is implied in the very attempt to enact Thelema is
whether or not it is a viable religion. In my own experience, limited as it
might be, I have seen that theory and practice can be two very different
What does a religion need to be viable? Some say that man needs ritual.
Some say there needs to be a code of ethical behavior. Some would say that
it needs to make people feel good.
Well, Thelema certainly has rituals. The Gnostic Mass being the central
example. For our belief in higher powers, we have the mythos of Nuit, Hadit
and Ra Hoor Kuit, even though in your system, man is God. And you say that
man must take responsibility for himself rather than leaning on God as a
crutch. As in "Trust in God", "God will guide me" or that all time great one
"God works in strange and mysterious ways". That aspect I like. I don't
think man should pass the buck to God. It's really unfair to God, don't you
The main problem Thelema has I believe, is it's so-called code of ethical
behavior. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", is at first
glance an outright call to anarchy! There are no two ways about it. Now you
tell us in your various writings to take this to mean, "Do thy will and
nothing else."rather than do as you please. And in case of disputes (such as
when two men feel it is their will to have the same woman) act like
civilized beings: fight like gentlemen. Give me a fuckin' break Mr. Crowley!
Let's take a closer look at this Thelemic code of behavior. It says in
Liber Al vel Legis (the ultimate guide for Thelemic living):
"...Therefore the kings of the earth shall be Kings forever: the slaves
shall serve. There is none that shall be cast down or lifted up: all is ever
as it was. There are masked ones my servants: it may be that yonder beggar
is a King. A King may choose his garment as he will: there is no certain
test: but a beggar cannot hide his poverty.
59. Beware therefore! Love all, lest perchance is a king concealed! Say you
so? Fool! If he be a King, thou canst not hurt him.
60. Therefore strike hard & low and to hell with them, Master!
(Liber Al Legis sub figra The Book of the Law II:58-60)
"...Compassion is the vice of Kings...
Sounds pretty cold and heartless to me. But in your commentaries, you say:
"There is no reason in nature for cut throat competition...Our troubles
have bee caused by the assumption that everyone wanted the same things, and
thereby the supply of those things has become artificially limited, even
those benefits of which there is an exhaustible store have been cornered."
"The Law is for All"
All very good Aleister, but Nature herself is full of cut¦throat
competition, just for survival! That is where the notion of Social Darwinism
came from. Surely you remember Social Darwinism; your work is full of it.
And you go on to say:
"Thou must have simple Laws and Customs to express the general Will, and
so prevent the Tyranny or Violence of a few."
(The Law is for all)
But, frankly I see Liber Al encouraging Tyranny and Violence rather than
eliminating it. And When I read your comment that humanitarianism is "the
syphilis of the mind," I wonder if there was more syphilis on your mind, or
Yet I really want to give you the benefit of a doubt. I once knew someone
who had a very interesting theory about the above passage. Since it does
conflict with other writings, and your commentaries seem to say something
totally different, it is a blind (which I am told your writings are full)
The idea is to give sick megalomaniacs license to be as Machiavellian as
they wish to be, to be the most ruthless bastards they can be. (Go on, man,
hit 'em hard and low, and if they can't take it, fuck 'em; they ain't Kings,
ha ha) That way, these "kings" hit the brick wall much faster and harder
than they might if they are following the Golden Rule, which you call
"silly". I'm sorry you had so much trouble with Christianity, Aleister;
obviously, it made you very unhappy. But at least Christ inspired people to
rise above what they were, rather than tell them to wallow in muck like
swine the way you have.
Let me tell you a story, Aleister, so you can see where I'm coming from.
Once upon a time, I had achieved a fairly high position in one of your
Thelemic Temples some where in the Southeast of America. I was more or less
in charge of security in this "Temple." One day, a member of this temple of
lessor rank decided he didn't like my attitude and brutally beat the living
hell out of me. Because of the personal politics of the "Temple"I was told
that I was a bad person and deserved to be battered, and the offending party
was raised in rank almost immediately - a reward for his violence. That is
your legacy, Aleister; how do like it?
And here's an interesting footnote to the story. just recently, this same
"Temple" has tried to censor me for writings that they felt "attacked"
members of the "Temple". Does this not conflict with the rights of man as
stated in Liber Oz?
Let's go on, shall we?
An even stickier issue along these lines is the Thelemic values concerning
man's (or woman's) sexuality. "What a mess, I tell you. According to "Liber
Oz: The Rights of Man":
"Man has the right to love as he will, when where and with whom he will."
Wow, sounds great! Free love is always exciting. I'm sure that was pretty
radical for Victorian England. Unfortunately, from today's perspective,
after the so-called sexual revolution and all, there are some very ugly
realities that maybe you didn't or couldn't take into account I wish I had a
dollar for every "Thelemic open relationship" where someone ended up getting
hurt. It starts with, "Well, we should both have the option of making love
at will with whomever." It ends up with, "I can't believe you fucked
so-and-so"; or "The slut won't stop sleeping with so-and-so." The confusion
over love versus sex dilemma has left a lot of causalities in its wake. But
perhaps you don't care how many people have been hurt in your name. Many
Thelemites don't seem to care how many people are hurt. These noble
experiments are great in theory but in practice they are almost always force
us to betray the values that have been instilled in us. In the process of
which, we find ourselves acting contrary to our "gut"instincts. And when the
gut is betrayed, the heart plunges into the abyss left by it. So much for
Thelema making people feel good.
Perhaps these Thelmic values will work in a hundred years or so. But today
does not seem like a good time for them.
Which brings me to the question that haunts me: whatever was the intent of
Liber Al? You claim that it was divinely inspired by a greater intelligence
than yourself. I am unconvinced of this. I have yet to find knowledge in it
beyond what you could have know. And don't tell me didn't enjoy writing
"With my Hawks head I peck out the eyes of Jesus as he hangs on the Cross" I
fear it is all too easy for me to imagine you getting loaded on hashish and
absinthe and scribbling it all down as you whoop and holler at the humor of
So, while your little Thelmites sit in their temples of concrete and debate
over what this line means or what that line really says, they stab each
other in the back proving none of them are Kings. Your call to anarchy
drowns out all the talk of joy and beauty. and I am left thinking that
perhaps Thelema was just another one of your sick jokes.