Address delivered by National Grand Master General Sabazius X° to the Eleventh National Conference of the U.S. O.T.O. Grand Lodge

Address delivered by National Grand Master General Sabazius X° to the Eleventh National Conference of the U.S. O.T.O. Grand Lodge

For the Chance of Union

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

Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to the eleventh biennial conference of the US Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis, in the great and humid state of Florida. Let me start off by thanking Sister Vanessa, Sister Sherri, Brother Illia, and the members of Hidden Spring Oasis, Swirling Star Lodge, Serpent & Lion Camp, and the Conference Committee for their work putting this conference together for us.

Our theme this year is “For the Chance of Union,” taken from the Book of the Law, Chapter I, verse 29, “For I am divided for love’s sake, for the chance of union.”

The Latin word ligare means to tie, bind, or unite; and to reestablish such a bond, to reunite after separation or division, is re-ligare, from which we ultimately derive our word religion.

Now, there are two topics you customarily don’t talk about in polite company: religion and politics. I talked about politics last time, so…here we go with religion.

But before I get started, I should offer a disclaimer about how difficult it is to definitively pin Thelema down on a lot of specifics, particularly regarding such things as social science, psychology, and other sciences, for several reasons. For one thing, Crowley offered differing models of his vision for an ideal Thelemic society depending on who he was trying to convince at the time.

For another thing, a great deal has happened since Crowley’s death; including many advances in physics, biology, psychology, neurology, communications, etc etc etc.

So you’ll still see a lot of disagreement about how the principles (and prophesies) of Thelema ought to play out in the modern world. There are Thelemites who believe some things along these lines that I pretty strongly disagree with, personally, and I’m sure they just as strongly disagree with me. I don’t think that means they’re not Thelemites. So, as I speak to you, keep in mind that I cannot offer to you any definitive guide as to how you should interpret the principles of Thelema. I can, however, offer what I believe; and the principles and prophesy and poetry of Thelema have certainly been a major influence on my thinking and my esthetics.

Anyway. Religion.

For my purposes here, I’m going to define religion as that which comprises the various collections of customs, practices, and beliefs that deal with our human relationship with the divine–whatever that may turn out to be.

Interestingly, the question of whether Thelema is or is not a religion has always been pretty controversial among us. There could well be an argument about this going on in some Facebook group right now. Maybe even in one of the back tables there.

But the question of whether Thelema is or is not a religion was pretty thoroughly put to bed by Brother Bill Heidrick in his “From the Outbasket” column in the November 1992 e.v. issue of the Thelema Lodge Calendar. Short answer: yes, it is.

What I personally find interesting about this, though, is why this question has been so controversial over the years, and why so many Thelemites find the idea that they are participating in a religion to be offensive.

Well, centuries of aiding and abetting–if not instigating–war, genocide, and brutality against women, children, and dissident minorities may have something to do with it.

And, for some of you, it may be even more personal. A lot of people have had childhood experiences with religion that have left them traumatized and bitter. Some–though not all–of the particular exoteric religious organizations that we have had to deal with while growing up were both authoritarian and corrupt; and they attempted to instil in us toxic, manipulative beliefs about ourselves, and each other, in order to mould us into passive creatures that can be easily controlled.

Just consider, for example, the belief that women are naturally inferior to men and must submit to their authority. Or the one that the only permissible justification for having sex is to produce more sla hard-working citizens–and it must, therefore be smothered in prohibitions, guilt and shame.

And then there’s the whole idea of original sin–the notion that disobedience to Authority is such a terrible thing that the consequence for it is a curse that can be passed down to every subsequent generation for all time, condemning all human beings to an eternity of post-mortem torture unless they come groveling for forgiveness–to the right religious authorities. And then, when they do give up their own “willfulness” and submit to Authority, they are given a metaphysical rain check!

Religion has notoriously been employed since the time of the Roman Empire, and even before, as a tool to shore up and reinforce existing power structures which would be unable to stand on their own merits–to preserve and magnify the power and wealth of privileged, hypocritical, corrupt elites at the expense of basically everyone else; by exploiting our natural insecurities about life and death. The putative afterlife we are promised is configured to both frighten us into conformity, and console us with vague promises of a remote reward for our putting up with what would otherwise be intolerable circumstances.

As one famous, but failed, anti-corruption activist succinctly put it in 1844: “Die Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes.” In essence, religion provides false consolation in the face of real injustice.

[aside] “I hate the consoled and the consoler.”

But is this the fault of religion, per se? The fault of–our attempts to understand and deal with the human/divine relationship? Or is it the fault of the corrupt power structures that have abused and twisted religion for their own purposes?

There have been numerous attempts throughout history to free religion from them– to shake the unchecked power of these superstitious, authoritarian institutions; but most such attempts, including the Reformation and Communism, have simply substituted their own, new brands of superstition and oppression for the old–rattling and temporarily loosening the shackles on the human spirit; but ultimately leaving them locked firmly in place. In modern times, here in America especially, the implements of religion, sharpened over the ages, have been stolen from the sacred toolsheds of the old corrupt institutions by enterprising, equally corrupt individuals, who combine them with the scientific techniques of the salesman, the psychologist, and the stage magician to turn basic human insecurities about death, success, and money into vast personal fortunes.

But there is a different way to challenge the power of the ossified, oppressive structures of the old times–because religious beliefs themselves are a two-edged sword. The other edge of the sword is esotericism–including occultism, mysticism, and magick–from which our religion of Thelema derives. This is where religion recognizes that its core consists of the ecstatic religious experience–the experience of divine union–which ultimately must be sought out and achieved by the individual–with or without help from others.

We of Thelema desire to seize the tools of religion and employ them to liberate, awaken and challenge the human spirit by appealing to its nobility, its curiosity, its desire to understand itself, its sense of adventure, as well as its sense of humor. We want you to pursue and experience religious ecstasy. We are, therefore, committed to a spiritual struggle against those entrenched ideas and beliefs that have been spread to enslave, oppress, exploit, and divide the human spirit–against those characteristic aspects of religion that make the very word religion repulsive to many.

But while it can be said that we are at war with toxic beliefs, we have no enmity towards people who hold those beliefs–if they mind their own business. There will always be those who prefer to remain comfortably enslaved and consoled. It is not within our purview to convert them or to take further advantage of them. We do not wish to see them oppressed or treated cruelly or unfairly. They can keep their opium and go about their dull business, as long as they don’t impose their banality and passive cruelty on us and our friends. The flock of sheep may safely graze, as our flock of birds flies overhead.

[aside] Take this quiz to find out which bird you are.

Do not clip the wings of those who desire to fly, and we will not disturb your troubled dreaming.

Every religion–every identifiable group and class and race and culture of people– contains bright sparks of those who cherish self-discovery, who value human rights, who recognize and perhaps embody creative genius, and who long for the liberty of the human spirit. We may rightly consider these our friends–in some cases even brothers, or perhaps, more appropriately, cousins. But, considering this, there is ultimately no group or class of people that can be identified with a label that deserves to be coerced or oppressed–other than that class of people that seeks to oppress.

As I mentioned before, religion, at its core, comprises the various collections of customs, rituals, practices, stories and beliefs that deal with our human relationship with the divine, centered around the ecstatic religious experience–the experience of divine union made possible by division: which some call Gnosis. True religion is this personal experience, and the community and culture that naturally develops around it.

And this brings us back to our theme: “For the Chance of Union.” The NOTOCON webpage states, “This theme reflects the desire of individual magicians to work with others within the O.T.O.”

I believe that O.T.O. constitutes such an intentional community of religious culture. But one of the fundamental ideas that we as a community hold especially sacred is the idea that the religious experience is ultimately an individual one, and thus we place a high value on individual will and individual rights. Despite our cohesion and common characteristics as a group, we insist on maintaining a recognition of each individual as having their own agency, their own autonomy, their own rights of expression and creation, and their own right to be themselves and live according to their uniqueness, rather than conforming to an arbitrary standard imposed on them. Paradoxically, one such arbitrary standard is that of the independent individual who stands apart and is responsible only for and to himself. Even though we recognize the absolute rights of the individual, we, as members of a sodality, still pledge each other our appropriate aid, honest discourse, and reasonable cooperation. We believe in the rights of the individual, but we also believe in the value of community.

For one thing, humans are, by and large, naturally gregarious. We evolved under environmental pressures which gave survival advantages to those who lived in groups. There’s an added degree of safety, and strength, in numbers. Obviously, some things are nearly impossible to do by independent, unaided individuals. Moving a piano, for example. But it isn’t enough to have raw numbers–the numbers have to act together in a coordinated manner. It is much easier to fight 1,000 independent individuals than it is to fight a coordinated batallion of 1,000 disciplined soldiers. So, if you happen to be an entrenched power structure of the sort I mentioned before, trying to maintain control in the face of rising awareness of the fragility of your claims, there are several pernicious ideas that you could inject into society as effective psychological weapons to diffuse the cohesiveness of hostile forces and break down their ability to successfully coordinate their activities. These include the idealized vision of the Rugged, Independent, Self- Sufficient Individual as an model to be emulated by all; and the idea that certain easily- identifiable groups are biologically or morally superior to others. Divide and conquer.

Furthermore, there is something to be said for a kind of synergistic, spiritual enthusiasm that comes from working within a religious community. For a species that has evolved with a gregarious nature, what really constitutes the spirit of an individual? How did you become the unique individual that you are now? Even if we accept the doctrine of reincarnation, we cannot deny that our individual identity has been shaped by our heredity and genetics; our gender and sexuality; our appearance, our health issues; our family’s ethnicity, nationality, language, and class status; our upbringing; our family’s traditions, stories, assumptions, expectations, and rules; our wealth or poverty; our childhood nurturing or the lack thereof; our relationships, good and bad; our education; our friends and mentors and enemies; our allies and our oppressors. All these things and more contribute to the conditioning and development of our mature individual personas, and will influence how we choose to pursue religious experience, as well as how we choose our friends and fellow-travelers.

But, ultimately, all these things that make us unique are things that take us farther from the Unconditioned Essence of Self that we were before we incarnated in these bodies. Even if we accept the doctrine of reincarnation, all the lives that we experienced before simply added more experience and knowledge and conditioning and limitation and restriction to that Nameless Essence–to the You that is beyond all you are. You have become a living, sentient work of art, beautiful and joyful and tragic in your uniqueness, sculpted with Love by Life from formless Chaos. One way to look at the religious experience, the experience of union with the divine, is to see it as a conscious, inspired journey of return to the understanding of–and reunion with–this primordial Self; the Center and Secret of the Sun, the Most Holy Mystery of which you are the vehicle. Look around you and see, in their glorious diversity, the other vehicles of that identical Mystery–which is beyond death and life. And security.

Also, rabbits are cute. [delete this]

Love is the law, love under will.

String Theory

Cover the board with things divine,
Connect them with string and follow the line,
Soon they become a single thing,
There is no more board,
And no more string,
They will have become,
One and the Same.

NOTOCON XI – Unity Uttermost Showed

Just got home from NOTOCON XI this morning! I have to say it was the best national conference I’ve been to so far. I always love seeing and catching up with my Brothers and Sisters, some of which I only get to see at NOTOCON. Not to mention meeting all the new faces that have been initiated into our Holy Order since the previous conference.

I learned so much and many doors were opened for me in my quest to understand Self. The theme of this year’s conference really struck home with me. I am thankful to everyone for making this weekend an amazing experience.

Looking forward to NOTOCON XII in the valley of Cleveland, Ohio!

Minerval Initiations

Sekhet Bast Ra Oasis in Oklahoma City will be hosting Minerval initiations on October 28, 2017. Interested candidates can request and submit applications with Lifted Lance Camp. Deadline for local application submissions is September 16, 2017.

Sol Exalted – A Thelemic Workshop

Hot town, summer in the city. Sol is exalted, it’s no biggie…

You are cordially invited to spend a day out of the heat at…

Sol Exalted – A Thelemic Workshop

Presented by Lifted Lance Encampment and Sekhet-Bast-Ra Oasis O.T.O.

July 29, 2017 e.v. in the Valley of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


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



Join us as we celebrate “our Lord in the Universe, the Sun” in all his summer glory. This is a one day workshop is featuring the speakers Frater Palamedes Ardentis and Frater Audere Est Facere. They will presenting on the topics of Zoroastrianism, Liber Resh, Liber Astarte, Heliopolis – The City of the Sun, closing out the day with the Flame of the Hearts and an open poetry reading. Bring a favorite poem or two to share if you will!

This event is open to the public. The temple opens at 9:30AM and the workshop begins at 10AM. There will be a public performance of the Gnostic Mass at 8:00PM. Registration is $15 per person online at or pay at the door. Lunch will be provided for an additional $5 and off site dining is available.

For further information, assistance with accommodations, or directions please contact :


Love is the law, love under will.


About our presenters:

Frater Audere Est Facere

 Audere has had a lifelong interest in the occult but his life was changed when he walked into a bookstore and found a copy of Confessions. That started the ball rolling and before long he realized he was a Thelemite.

 Audere has been a student of the occult for over 15 years. He is a New Hermetics Advanced Adept, chartered initiator, ordained Deacon of the E.G.C., past master of Sol Invictus Oasis, and current master of Lifted Lance Camp. Audere has been a member of the O.T.O. since 2008.

 He resides surrounded by his vast library with his two cats in Fayetteville, AR.


Frater Palamedes Ardentis

   Frater Palamedes, also known as Brother Pablo, considers himself many things, including performer, poet, wild fanboy, sometimes scholar/always student, agitator, bard-magus, and whatever else he comes up with. A true lover of Freedom and Passion, he champions love and unity, liberty and danger, creativity and aesthetics.

 Initiated into the O.T.O. in 2014 at Scarlet Woman Lodge in the Valley of Austin in Texas, he has dedicated his passion and will towards aiding the goals of this esteemed organization.

 Amongst other things, he’s a cinephile, voracious reader, an insatiable student of the esoteric and an avid gamer (tabletop/video). Born alongside the Panama Canal, he strangely does not like extreme heat and views his perfect weather to be something akin to Fimbulwinter, but he definitely is a child of the Caribbean, with all of its mystic glory, tropical paradises and delicious culinary trappings.

 Pablo spends his time traversing various underground and subcultural communities, ranging from Science-Fiction and Fantasy fandom, unsanctioned parties and kink events to Underground Rap and radical bookstores to, of course, magical lodges and mystic circles.

New Information Pack Available

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

In an effort to present a clear and concise introduction to Thelema and the O.T.O. focused towards an individual’s first exposure or inquiry, Lifted Lance has compiled an information pack that is freely available to download below or from the link on our home page.

Love is the law, love under will.

Third Quarter Schedule

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

Our schedule for July – September has been updated. I’ve decided to try a new meetup spot to change things up, Cafe Imbibe on Wedington in Fayetteville. Also you may notice the quarter is a little light on events. Due to holidays and other O.T.O. commitments we’ve had to make some concessions. As always, if you have any questions or would like to attend an event please leave a comment on our contact page.

Times or locations may change without notice. Check calendar for current event information.

Love is the law, love under will

Gnostic Eucharist

(Excerpt from Hidden Intercourse: Eros and Sexuality in the History of Western Esotercism)

The Gnostic Borborites and their Sexual Celebration of the Eucharist

The Borborites, or Borborians, were a gnostic sect that flourished in the fourth century and reportedly survived up to the sixth century. Epiphanius of Salamis has left us an extensive report on them in his Panarion.


According to Epiphanius, the Borborites practiced a curious Eucharistic ritual, in which instead of bread and wine, male semen and female menstrual blood were offered up and eaten by the participants. Epiphanius reports about the ritual of the male emission:

To extend their blasphemy to heaven after making love in a state of fornication, the woman and the man receive the male emission in their own hands. And they stand with their eyes raised heavenward but the filth in their hands, and of course they pray – the ones called Stratiotics and Gnostics – and offer that stuff in their hands to the actual Father of all, and say, “We offer unto you this gift, the body of Christ.” And then they eat it and partake of their own dirt, and they say: “This is the body of Christ; and this is the Passover, because of which our bodies suffer and are forced to confess the passion of Christ.”

Epiphanius continues his report with the ritual of the menstrual blood, to which he adds an interesting exegesis:

And so with the woman’s emission when she happens to be having her period. They likewise take the unclean menstrual blood they gather from her, and eat it in common. And “This”, they say, “is the blood of Christ.” And thus when they read in apocryphal writings: “I saw a tree bearing fruit twelve times a year, and he said to me, “This is the tree of life”, they interpret this allegorically of the woman’s monthly emissions.

The rational behind this ritual seems to be that the divine element in human beings is located in their procreative power and that, therefore, salvation is realized by the emission of the bodily fluids, which are then offered to God. Epiphanius comments: “The idea is that they can obtain ready access to God through such a practice.”

Sixteenth-century engraving showing a Black Mass involving similar
sexual sacrementalist rituals to those allegedly practiced by the Borborites.

To Be Or Not To Be

“To give advice to a man who asks what to do with his life implies something very close to egomania. To presume to point a man to the right and ultimate goal — to point with a trembling finger in the RIGHT direction is something only a fool would take upon himself.

“To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles…”

And indeed, that IS the question: whether to float with the tide, or to swim for a goal. It is a choice we must all make consciously or unconsciously at one time in our lives. So few people understand this! Think of any decision you’ve ever made which had a bearing on your future: I may be wrong, but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a choice however indirect — between the two things I’ve mentioned: the floating or the swimming.

The answer — and, in a sense, the tragedy of life — is that we seek to understand the goal and not the man. We set up a goal which demands of us certain things: and we do these things. We adjust to the demands of a concept which CANNOT be valid. When you were young, let us say that you wanted to be a fireman. I feel reasonably safe in saying that you no longer want to be a fireman. Why? Because your perspective has changed. It’s not the fireman who has changed, but you.

Every man is the sum total of his reactions to experience. As your experiences differ and multiply, you become a different man, and hence your perspective changes. This goes on and on. Every reaction is a learning process; every significant experience alters your perspective.

So it would seem foolish, would it not, to adjust our lives to the demands of a goal we see from a different angle every day? How could we ever hope to accomplish anything other than galloping neurosis?

The answer, then, must not deal with goals at all, or not with tangible goals, anyway. It would take reams of paper to develop this subject to fulfillment. God only knows how many books have been written on “the meaning of man” and that sort of thing, and god only knows how many people have pondered the subject. (I use the term “god only knows” purely as an expression.) There’s very little sense in my trying to give it up to you in the proverbial nutshell, because I’m the first to admit my absolute lack of qualifications for reducing the meaning of life to one or two paragraphs.

To put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

But don’t misunderstand me. I don’t mean that we can’t BE firemen, bankers, or doctors—but that we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal. In every man, heredity and environment have combined to produce a creature of certain abilities and desires—including a deeply ingrained need to function in such a way that his life will be MEANINGFUL. A man has to BE something; he has to matter.

As I see it then, the formula runs something like this: a man must choose a path which will let his ABILITIES function at maximum efficiency toward the gratification of his DESIRES. In doing this, he is fulfilling a need (giving himself identity by functioning in a set pattern toward a set goal) he avoids frustrating his potential (choosing a path which puts no limit on his self-development), and he avoids the terror of seeing his goal wilt or lose its charm as he draws closer to it (rather than bending himself to meet the demands of that which he seeks, he has bent his goal to conform to his own abilities and desires).

In short, he has not dedicated his life to reaching a pre-defined goal, but he has rather chosen a way of life he KNOWS he will enjoy. The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important. And it seems almost ridiculous to say that a man MUST function in a pattern of his own choosing; for to let another man define your own goals is to give up one of the most meaningful aspects of life — the definitive act of will which makes a man an individual.

A man who procrastinates in his CHOOSING will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. So if you now number yourself among the disenchanted, then you have no choice but to accept things as they are, or to seriously seek something else. But beware of looking for goals: look for a way of life. Decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make a living WITHIN that way of life. But you say, “I don’t know where to look; I don’t know what to look for.”

And there’s the crux. Is it worth giving up what I have to look for something better? I don’t know—is it? Who can make that decision but you? But even by DECIDING TO LOOK, you go a long way toward making the choice.

I’m not trying to send you out “on the road” in search of Valhalla, but merely pointing out that it is not necessary to accept the choices handed down to you by life as you know it. There is more to it than that — no one HAS to do something he doesn’t want to do for the rest of his life.”

— Hunter S. Thompson