PIES WIDE SHUT

OR HOW O.T.O. IS MORE KEEPING UP APPEARANCES

As I am writing this it’s February 2020 e.v. and occulture has been taken by storm by this Twitter thread going viral:

It went so viral, in fact, that got the attention of the rags and sensationalistic press. Here you can read how the Daily Mail (or Fail, really), possibly the worst of the lot, ran the story.

While enjoying all the laughter and schadenfreude this brought, I am also left wondering… did it really need to happen?

As some of you might know, especially if you read my previous articles about my experience in Ordo Templi Orientis, I have served as Treasurer of AMeTh Lodge for 4 years between 2014 and 2018 e.v.

In those 4 years, I lamented constantly how inappropriate it was for the “biggest O.T.O. Lodge in the world”, as then-Master Soror Dahud-Ahes would constantly remind us, to run its very private meetings in the very shared space of a community centre. Because what has now gone viral happened before: I literally lost count of the times we had to stop the flow of a ritual, or clumsily rush a hoodwinked candidate for Initiation up or down the stairs to avoid the customers of the Café below noticing what was going on.

Everyone present surely still remember the one time where one such customers barged into the top floor of the Bonnington Centre right as the Priest of the Gnostic Mass opened the Veil, revealing a very naked Priestess on the Altar.

“Oh… this isn’t the loo, innit?”

“No, it’s on the mezzanine.”

We all laughed at it afterwards, but I was left with a very sour aftertaste from the experience: what kind of Initiates were we if we treated our Sacred Temple this way?

DIFFERENT PRIORITIES

Being Treasurer, I knew that AMeTh Lodge was rather “rich”, by the meagre standards of Ordo Templi Orientis, with a couple tens of thousands in the bank, unused. But no amount of convincing would succeed in getting us to use any of that towards finding a better place to run the Lodge: all sorts of excuses would always pop up, hiding the reality that the upper management simply did not want to invest time and effort in the move, knowing it would be very time-consuming.

At the same time, it became apparent how also the rest of the members did not really care about finding a better space: not like they were using it much anyway, only showing up occasionally to the 2 regular meetings every third weekend of the month, one day for Initiation and the other for the celebration of the Gnostic Mass. And even then, it always felt like people used their O.T.O. membership as pure escapism, and an excuse to rush to the pub as soon as the “work” was done.

These were the same types that would call me an “entitled posh cunt” (gotta love the British) for suggesting raising the monthly membership fee from £15 to £30 so that we could afford hiring somewhere else without denting the untouchable reserves in the bank. And yet would happily sink £50 at the aforementioned pub after every single meeting.

Priorities.

THE INEVITABLE HAPPENS

So it should be evident now that our Twitter heroine, Anya Driscoll, wrote about was bound to happen sooner or later: it’s surprising it took this long, in fact.

What I find rather interesting is that it happened the very moment a new Master took over the Lodge: someone who was one of the few, along with me, working to find a different space. Someone who was willing to invest in it actual money, not thoughts and prayers. Someone who remained a good friend even as I became persona non grata to the leadership, denouncing the cult at the core of the organisation.

Now… Anya Driscoll is copywriter: she literally writes engaging articles and content for a living. Could it be that the usual suspectswhich I wrote about again and again – paid her to undermine their opposing faction inside the Order? Surely it’s just another conspiracy theory…

ANONYMITY ABOVE ALL?

Keeping its members anonymous is one of the fundamental tenets of Ordo Templi Orientis: you can literally get disciplined if you dare “out” a member.

One of the funniest retorts by James Wasserman in the years after the Charlottesville debacle was to threaten to expel those fellow Brothers and Sisters critical of his racist and white-supremacist remarks, on the grounds that he was being “doxxed” by them. Without maybe recalling how the dust jackets of most of his books identified him as a member already.

And yet, looks like O.T.O. leadership is happy to have “the biggest Lodge in the world” to meet on basically public premises. Isn’t it, maybe, that the claim to anonymity only matters when it can be weaponised?

In the end, this story is yet another example of how O.T.O., while being famed, or maybe notorious, for lavish sex magick orgies that very likely inspired Kubrick’s “Eyes Wide Shut”, is nothing more than a an innocuous group of people desperately seeking escapism who have far more in common with the characters of “Keeping Up Appareances“.

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