I wrote this article in August 2018 e.v., a few months after leaving Ordo Templi Orientis, and while publishing periodically what would end up becoming my most read essay so far, The Wasteland. To gain further insight, I suggest you take the time to read it, as well as its follow-up, The Aftermath.
Disclaimer: this article could be titled “5 Things To Expect After Leaving The Golden Dawn”, especially the David Griffin variation. Or “5 Things To Expect After Leaving Asatru”. Some, if not all, the reasons behind the decision of writing this piece are sadly common to many different Traditions nowadays.
…after a whole year of reading about the rise of the alt-right neo fascism inside Ordo Templi Orientis (and many other new religious traditions like neo-paganism and Theosophy), and seeing how its leadership either supports it, is silent about it, or tries to do something about it but being seemingly incredibly slow at it, and after having read how that poisonous mentality might in fact be the driving force behind all the instances of abuse that are being reported all over the globe…
…you finally decided to quit the Order.
What can you expect next, and what should you do about it? Here’s the 5 things to expect after leaving O.T.O.
1 – You May Be Ostracised
Let’s start with the bad news: you can expect ostracism, ridicule, and general unpleasantness from those who called you Sister or Brother just a mere day before. The most common reaction will be to just pretend you never existed: those who constantly checked on you will disappear into thin air, and you will see all of those part of the “family” stop commenting on your posts on social media – if you are working in that environment for your brand, be prepared to take the hit, as all your supporters will show their true colours and tell you, in no short terms, that they never truly liked or supported your efforts.
There will be few and far between, those few actual Adepts, that will still honour the bonds and care for the friendship: but for the most, you will be as dead and buried.
2 – You May Be Made the Target of Slander and Libel
This is less common than the previous point, but still if your “betrayal” will be considered particularly heinous, especially in the event you decided to speak plainly and publicly about your experience, you can expect a number of your ex “Brethren” – usually not those of your local Chapter/Lodge/Oasis/Camp, but belonging to different Grand Lodges or National Section, i.e. those who never met you in the flesh – that will go every possible length to downplay, silence, or destroy you and your words.
Consider these the “antibodies” of a vampiric egregore fighting for its survival, and you are currently the cancerous cell gone mad. They will try to fight you to the death, because they cannot survive with the “best Order of the world” delusion: there are plenty of academic-level studies on this kind of cult- and sectarian-like behaviour, you to just have to google one to see the length these people are willing to go to make sure you “go away”. The techniques of the book “Antagonists In The Church” has been used for over a decade now to deal with people like you and me: it might be a good idea to get a copy and read it, so you can recognise the incoming attacks. It seems that very book destroyed the Church of All Worlds.
3 – You Will Feel Alone and Disconnected… For a While
There is just no way of avoiding this step.
Be prepared for it, and be honest with yourself: if you know you don’t have a steel resolve, and if you know you cannot take stress easily, just disappear for a while – your mental and physical health are more important than anything else. Moreover, you have already done your part by ending the feeding of said vampiric egregore.
Take yourself out of social media, avoid going to those places where you might end up meeting your former fellow Initiates, and simply take it as a bad breakup.
I do hope, however, most of you reading this are able to go the distance and keep up the fight for Truth: Liber Ararita, Chapter V, might be a good meditation in these trying times. And as with every bad breakup, after a while you will make sense of your own pain, realise the other side has already moved on and forgot you, and you will be able to start anew: this is where things get interesting.
4 – You Will See the Countless Shortcomings of the Order
This is the step where those who you who did leave without realising the full extent of the situation will start to see how deep the rot runs.
There are no High Adepts you should aspire to, only fourth-rate bureaucrats that, in the 40-odd years since McMurtry re-established (read: bootstrapped) the Order, failed to put in action the Blue Equinox model or even propose a coherent model for the modern times. Or to keep the Crowley’s literary corpus in constant print, providing both deluxe and cheap editions. And your dues are paying their salaries and their travels/hotels around the world. Think about it.
The Secret of the IX Degree has been published for decades, just google for “Liber C – Agape vel Azoth” and “Emblems and Modes of Use”: with a bit of personal study, you can understand what those papers mean by yourself in a few weeks – after all, Crowley used to recognise one as IX only if the individual showed him previous knowledge of the formula. This should have been the “serious and hard work” of the Order, and as it stands only around 30 people in the world have been invited by Hymenaeus Beta (according to one of the members of the Sovereign Sanctuary that resigned after the last Aeropagus meeting in Barcelona in June 2018 e.v.), most of them only due to their administrative duties. In case you are wondering: yes, it’s a big scam.
So… what does really the O.T.O. has to offer? Oh yes, “Brotherhood”.
I will admit this is tricky, because it seems to me a lot of you really need to belong somewhere, to have this kind of para-esoteric dysfunctional family, since those of your birth are possibly even worse. I can only say, do what thou wilt.
But, please, stop peddling the corporate lie about “Brotherhood”: you belong to a cult, and one that does not suffer different opinions, and one where the Men Of Earth can aspire as much as they want to the next level, in proper thelemic fashion, but unless they keep their mouths shut and their heads low, will forever be like the plebeians at the time of Menenius Agrippa – just to quote from one of the founding documents of the Order.
5 – You are Finally Free to Widen Your Horizons
One of the constant narratives heard while inside O.T.O. is that Thelema begins and ends with it, with few others being called also to aspire to the A∴A∴ – of course, only of the Breeze-approved variation, the one fronted by J.Daniel Gunther.
And that is an outright lie, down to the numbers of the membership: looking at the official reports of USGL, we see just over 1600 active members, while zealots and true believers try to make the point that we should count inactives too. And that’s the biggest section by far.
If you want the O.T.O. Initiations, you can only find them within the O.T.O., as those of us who went through them swore oaths never to user the same rituals outside its bonds. But even starting to look at the celebration of Liber XV, the Gnostic Mass, you will be able to find other Gnostic Churches fully empowered to administer the virtues to the Brethren.
And while the Order’s potentially only true success has been establishing a monopoly of control of the official Thelemic pages on social media (at the same time, while ostracising those who founded, and ran them for over a decade now), putting a little work and not stopping at the first hit on Google or Facebook will show you how Thelema exists, and thrives, beyond Ordo Templi Orientis.
This is where you stop being a slave in the bonds of the Order, and you start doing your Will – and the Universe is literally conspiring with you towards that very end. The work you might have done while a part of the Order does not go to waste, since you will take that foundation and those relationships with other Stellar beings with you.
However… the Temple is no longer confined to the Order, and the conversation continues elsewhere.
Think about it for a second: you are now literally free to go out and set up the sex cult you always wanted after watching “Strange Angel”! Or, jokes aside, you can truly escape the trappings of the gendered language of the Brotherhood.
In closing, I can tell you that it was in snapping out of the glamour the Order placed me under that I found my voice, after years slaving away as a cog in the machine: Thelema truly is the Law of Force and Fire, of Beauty and Ecstasy and Leaping Laughter. By acknowledging it, you are finally enabling yourself to listen to the voice of the Self beyond self, and take the hand offered to you to go explore all Life and all Death and all That Which Remains beyond it: embrace Love under Will and drink plenty the milk of Our Lady of the Stars.
Zenith of London, August 2018 e.v.