Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The O.T.O. Framework for Issue Management

Ain't Mad, Just Pissed.
Today I gotta address something that actually pisses me off about people in general, and also to point out something cool about the O.T.O. in the USA, and how it deals with shit between brothers, between sisters, between brothers and sisters, and everything in between.

The other day when I posted about public criticism of the O.T.O., my intent was to get people to focus on fixing problems rather than pretending they don't exist. I got a lot of support from some people, and some mixed reviews from some others. Overall it was received well by our community.

But today I woke up to a comment on the post from some smug self-righteous pretentious enema bag of a human being saying "And so my friends...here is prime real estate example of not to join these "mystery" schools."

I didn't add the ellipses. They were his. There were more in another sentence. He's just totally that kind of guy.

I deleted his comment, because really? Bad things happen to people in groups like O.T.O., no one should ever join them?

Podunk, Montana: Attractions
If that's the criteria, you'd better pack your shit and move to Podunk, Montana and be alone, because the things I was talking about that happen in the Order happen at all levels of secular society, including businesses, fraternities, sororities, academia, non-profit organizations, schools, scouts and in all occult, new age, spiritual, shamanic, pagan, and every single one of the Christian churches I ever belonged to, and there were, ahem, several.

Shit happens to women, and men, with team-mates, partners, and in situations that are fraternal, tribal, and societal. We are humans, and we act like it wherever we are. Some folks are good, some suck, and most fall somewhere in between.

But where I take umbrage at the sentiment expressed above by the non-member drive-by commentator is that because sometimes people in the Order have issues, all Orders suck.


In point of fact, sisters and brothers:

The O.T.O. is not comprised of a bunch of stupid noob fucktards. 

We've been doing this shit for 104 years. We've seen the ugliest of the ugly, and we are working hard, daily, to rise above the bullshit and be better than we were a decade ago. We've been doing it since Agape Lodge, here in the States, refining with each generation the mistakes of the previous folks, creating a method that lets folks "Do what thou wilt" while protecting the rights of Liber Oz for every woman and every man who is a Star.

It's not perfect, yet, but we've been doing this longer than most, and we've been doing it with the intent of making the thing we do as Ideal as possible, for a long, long time.

And we've been doing it with all the arrogance and expectation of equality and liberty that America brings to the table every time we feel like gathering sustenance to accomplish our Will.

And yes, sometimes that attitudinal approach to things sucks for the rest of the world.

But sometimes, every once in a while, we get shit right and set the goddammed bar at a level that everyone else on the planet should strive for.

Body Master Training, Kaaba Colloquium, and the Path of Mediation

The O.T.O. Kingdom of the United States of America has incorporated systems that provide a process to address horseshit when it occurs.

These systems are evolving, and processes are developing and are being refined regularly. Body Masters in lodges are trained and prepared to address the issues that arise in close confines through things like the sexual harassment policies of the "Camp, Oasis, and Lodge Master Handbook." This document provides the guidelines of what to do in the event of local members starting problems that need to be addressed.

Think About It
In addition, the O.T.O. provides travelling events like the Kaaba Colloquium, presented by folks who have been through it before, who have studied a bit on what happens when lodges form, and who have figured out how to address issues in the Lodge when they inevitably arise.

Not only is there actual leadership training in place, there's also the "Path of Mediation." Written by a former "Ombudsman" of the O.T.O., this document provides the best practices for dealing with the inevitable crap that arises in the Order when you put more than one magician in a room together and expect them to get along for a while.

The steps are pretty easy, just like the ones I laid out in the other post. They're basically common sense:

  • Own your own shit in the situation; none of us are perfect, recognize it might be all in our heads, address things we might be doing personally that contribute to the situation, etc. BUT ... If it's not you, then:
  • Take it to the person you've got a problem with, try to resolve it like a fucking adult, recognizing your own issues, but fairly expecting right treatment from your brother or sister in ways that confirm your own rights as laid out in Liber Oz. If that fails, then:
  • Take the issue to the Body Master. Not the fellow lodge mates, or your friends, or the Internet, but the person responsible for Pax Templi locally.
First you take your issues to yourself. Then to the person causing your shit. Then to the Body Master or local head of this Hydra we joined.

When you take it to the Body Master, expect them to follow up with the person you've already addressed this issue with. 

Nota Bene: They are not going to ignore you, or pretend like it's "sub-rosa." If a problem is severe enough to warrant a Body Master's intervention, you'd better be prepared for them to intervene. 

What if I don't feel comfortable with the Body Master?

There may be occasions where you can't just go to the Body Master, or feel uncomfortable doing that, and you wish you had an impartial person you could reach out to in the Order because you don't think you'll get a fair shake, or you just feel weird talking about it to someone who is locally "friends" with the person causing you strife, or might be the person causing you strife. 

The US Grand Lodge has a position set up to deal with this kind of situation, the "Ombudsman" who will hear your issue, and give you guidance on your next steps to resolve the conflict.

If you find yourself in need, send an email to:

I talk to the current Ombudsman fairly regularly about things, and I trust him to listen and respond to your situation with the full concern and gravity it deserves. We don't always agree on some things, but he has never been anything but fair and consistent with me.

Maybe Chaotic Good
Note that he will treat all contacts as if they are serious allegations that deserve the full attention of the Order, and he will bring to bear all the things he must in his office.

It's not like he's a tame lion.

What to Do if You Have Issues in the Order

Like any organization that plans on being around for a while, the O.T.O. will address any allegations seriously, and as completely as possible. 

Unfortunately, due to people being people, it's super easy to get emotionally riled up and make accusations without being able to provide proof, evidence, or documentation that results in a clear-cut resolution in our favor.

The essence of "mediation" is finding the middle ground, and that means conceding things on occasion. If you need to take the "path or mediation," you need to be ready to prove any and all allegations you are going to bring against the brother or sister in question.

If you've addressed your own issues, and have attempted to talk to the brother or sister personally about the issue, and you have failed to find a way to peace and Joy with that person, it's time to start taking things to the next level.


If you're having issues with a person, start a log. Document when events that make you uncomfortable occur in a journal. Note who was present, who could attest that it happened as you saw it. Talk to others in the situation and determine consensus on the situation. Get confirmation from them about what they saw and heard in case you need their testimony. 

Dates matter. Times matter. Witnesses matter.

It would be awesome if the Order could believe every allegation against a brother or sister, but over the years, we have seen what happens when people break up, divorce, or just don't like each other. 

We know where that road ends. 

So the Order expects you to be able to support your accusation, provide evidence, and provide corroboration.


A brother makes misogynist statements that makes a sister feel uncomfortable, publicly or privately, and begins a recognizable pattern of attempted dominance, undermining, etc.

The sister may or may not document the first instance, but at the moment any sister is uncomfortable with a brother's behavior, they should immediately begin documenting behavior, events, conversations, and things that make her feel uncomfortable. 

If possible, address the brother personally through a safe and documentable means, like email, or private message, explaining what he said, how you felt, and why you felt that way. Copy someone else, or use the blind copy feature (bcc) to make sure others see what you're up to.

Expect an apology, but do NOT stop documenting events.

Put everything in writing, and make sure all personal conversations with the person are witnessed by others. In lodge, that's pretty easy. You stick to your friends, and don't let the creepazoid get you alone. "There's nothing you can say in private that you can't say in front of our brothers and sisters" is a great way to make sure you don't get in a position where it's your word against theirs.

Save all documentation. Pretend it's you against the world. Let nothing slide. Document everything.

If a Sister or Brother Comes to You, or if You See Something and Need to Say Something

Sometimes people are afraid to go vertical and deal with a problem, but they are ok going horizontal to get strength from others who they see as strong members of the community willing to stand up against bullshit. Other times, people have gone vertical to their lodge master, or the Ombudsman, and haven't gotten the satisfaction they desired, and bring their issues to you.

Or if you're like me, you see bullshit going down and make it your business because you've seen how things suck in abusive relationships and you aren't putting up with that because it's wrong.

Start a file. 

I've got some things going on in my world that I keep files on. Names, dates, who said what, what went down, how I felt, what I know at any given time. I have org charts I keep up to date, and I interview people as often as possible to keep up with events. I have input from others, and try to remain objective, not letting my own emotions get the better of me, and preparing to crush the fuck out of those who deserve it, and to exonerate those falsely accused, as needed.

If you're going to let yourself get involved in other people's problems, know that they probably aren't documenting it. Stand in the gap for them, be the one who will be their ally. Or just slime away spineless in the corner.

Eventually people have to stand for themselves. If you document issues and complaints, people trying to manipulate the system will see that they are only establishing evidence against themselves and will go away. If they have legit issues, the evidence you gather for them will pave the way for them to have a foundation to stand on.

Actively Work With Your Community

So the thing about the O.T.O. is that we have a pretty solid net in place in our community to catch bullshit, and to eject it from the current. We swim in this stream all the time, and most of the time it's awesome. But if we find ourselves in a warm spot in the pool, or we see a turd floating where people are trying to have a good time, we need to point it out, and get rid of the offense and the offender. 

Sometimes the offender can be retrained, other times they aren't allowed back in the hot tub, for reasons. We have to be compassionate to both sides of an equation, but we must stand firm against any abuse or harm to our tribe.

The O.T.O. is the only religious/spiritual/mystical group I've ever belonged to that had a cohesive and clear set of guidelines in place to address the kind of tribal bullshit that arises when three or more are gathered in one name. It gives me great hope that we can overcome the bullshit, and it makes me angry when people try to say "the O.T.O. has issues so don't join 'em." 

We are the best organization on the planet equipped to manifest the Law of life, love, liberty and light for people of all genders, people of all races, and just, you know, people, whatever the modifier might be. 

If we weren't, I wouldn't participate in this thing. 

I do it for the Joy. 

It best be Joyful.

Harper and I at Anabasis Encampment

Last weekend, Harper and I packed up a cooler, some clothes, some conjuration gear and a laptop, and headed to Indianapolis to give a joint presentation on the Conjuration of the Seven Spheres. I focused my talk on the Seven Spheres cosmology, and the topics of the book. Harper focused her talk on the techniques of scrying that make the experience of conjuration possible at all.

Going in, I wasn't sure what to expect, but by the end of the weekend, all I could say was...

What an absolutely fabulous group of people! The locals were awesome, a Gent for Jupiter showed up, another "student" from days past was there, and the Brothers and Sisters of the O.T.O. who popped in from Tennesee, Kentucky, and Chicago were just the best.

I really love doing this kind of thing, and it's a subject near and dear to my heart. The questions and answers were awesome, the opportunity to present with Harper at an event was amazing, and the conjuration was a total success.

My favorite part was the dinners and conversations with people during and after the event. You guys were great. Thanks so much for having us, for showing up, and for sharing your experiences with us. I can't wait to hang out with you all again, as soon as possible.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

On Public Criticism of the O.T.O.

Heyo-O.T.O. Sisters and Brothers!

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

Today I'm going to talk about a thing that annoyed me yesterday, and I hope my love of the Order comes through, as well as the actual V.I.T.R.I.O.L. I feel looking at some of the stuff that went down yesterday, because Eff. That. Sht.

Twice yesterday, I saw O.T.O. members respond to perceived attacks and criticisms of the Order indignantly.

Say we don't shower again, motherfucker.
One person brought a comment made by a long-time friend to me in private, asking how I could let it slide, and another vague-booked about a similar insult, which may or may not have been the same incident.

Alright, so don't get me wrong, I get it....

I really enjoy pissing off some of the ex-members and soon-to-be-ex-members of the O.T.O. by talking about what a great time I'm having in our amazingly diverse, delightful, and sometimes dysfunctional family. I like to talk about how cool it is that the Order is growing, spreading the umbrella of Thelema across the world, making it accessible to people so that every man woman and child has the opportunity to go through the process of transforming from normal people into Master Magicians, and beyond.

Nothing riles ex-members up like seeing someone having a good time in the Order, I tell you what. There's a dude that I can get into an apoplectic fit on Facebook just by talking about how the O.T.O. is the most effective structure for teaching Hermetics since the sacking of Rome. I imagine he has to clean his monitor for a week after I do it, and I'm still petty enough to get a kick out of that.

It's awesome.

So yea, screwing with people who are just bitter because they didn't get reimbursed for some gas money on a road trip they offered to provide without mentioning they expected some gas money is one thing.

Even riling up the folks who have the "True mysteries of QBL and the REAL A.'.A.'. and people who have "Established more (in my own name) to advance Thelema than any structure that stemmed from Crowley legitimately ever..." is fun.

These haters and ex-members who left because we didn't automagickally suck their cocks* when they declared themselves Ipsissimus and the Second Prophet of Thelema** deserve all the derisions and mockeries we can aim at them, if we feel like it, because  they are extremists, nut jobs, and are actively pursuing an agenda that legitimately defines them as "Enemies of the Order."

I see it as my personal duty to help them demonstrate to as many people as possible that they are ridiculous parodies of actual Thelemites, spittle-flecked and mentally ill, in need of meds, treatments, and a whole friggin' lot of therapy, or at least a weekend in Peru with a shaman.

Or two.

Cause I like that, it's in my blood. It is my nature, if you will.

That said, there are people with legitimate gripes against the Order.

There are sisters who were, in their opinions, abused by people still serving in the Order. Decisions made by people that left us looking really stupid over legal issues with felons when we should have known better as Magicians that we never acknowledged.

Guys, I mean come on. There are ugly incidents going on in smaller valleys internationally that are getting sugar-coated, and people know about it.

I don't want to air our dirty laundry, my fellow Order brothers and sisters, but frankly....

To pretend we are all awesome manifestations of the Hermetic Ideal all the time is just bullshit.

No one will believe it, especially when known Brothers of our Order are posting on our own Sisters' timelines about how they are passive-aggressively attacking masculinity and all males because they are sick of having to lie about having a boyfriend to get a guy to stop hitting on them.

No one will believe it when known Brothers of our Order are saying "we are biologically hardwired" to be assholes, and advising the Sisters to "deal with it" in spite of the admonishment of the friggin' book of the friggin' law to overcome and refine our natures to be better than that as human beings.

And honestly, the thing that pissed off the guy that brought it to me personally was the accusation that people in the O.T.O. don't shower, and live in their mom's basements*** and need to understand that getting laid is at times a function of hygiene, employment, and not living with your mom...

... when the actual person that inspired the conversation in the first place makes perfect sense of those statements in multiple ways.

So, if the criticisms of the people in the Order are legit, let's do something about it. Let's not get pissed that people ARE MAKING PUBLIC CRITICISMS that are actually legit, guys.


Stand up for our sisters. Don't put up with douchebags. Stand against people invalidating the actual things people experience.

Tell people to shower, get a job, and pay their fucking dues.

You want to stand proud of the Order? Make it an honorable thing to stand proud of.

And if you're more concerned about the REPUTATION of the Order than you are concerned about the REALITY EXPERIENCED BY MEMBERS OF THE ORDER, I think you have some serious issues that will inevitably be addressed when you start taking the whole "Tiphareth" thing seriously.

It's BEAUTY for a reason. It is BEAUTY. It's not ugly. And when you taste the BEAUTY, you can't stand the ugly.

But if you can't handle friggin' Samekh, fine. Until you're ready for it, recognize that the criticisms we receive from people are actually goads to get us to move towards something better. Something useful for the intent of our Order. Something that gets us to recognize our faults, to overcome them, and to be better so we can demonstrate to the rest of these people on the planet the actual and material and spiritual value of the Law.

When someone levels an accusation at the O.T.O. that you find offensive, check it out.

  • Is it true personally? Do you do the thing they are saying?
  • Is it true in your lodge? Is anyone doing what they are saying locally?
  • Is it true in your Kingdom? Is anyone in your kingdom doing what they are saying in your country?

If it is not true, crush those motherfuckers. Destroy them utterly. Return them to the ash of the Grey Land that they arose from, make them a mockery, deride them in the market place, and humiliate the fuck out of them on all the social medias.

But if it is true in the slightest, purge the fuck out of that as soon as you can, with the full extent of your power, because if we are to succeed in this endeavor we've signed on to with oath after oath, then we cannot abide with it in any way, shape, or form.

And if we can't do that, my sisters and brothers, we have no right to pretend we are what we really are all about.

We're just the latest poseurs with indignant tendencies, and time will sweep us the fuck aside, as we rightly deserve.

Love is the law, love under Will.

* They're almost always guys, except for one person who I think is married to the awesome reincarnation of Crowley who happened to make a ring for Elvis while Crowley was still alive, but that's none of my business.

** There are so many Second Prophets, guys, and the ones that died in the 60s, 70s, and 80s were better than you, grow up, lookin' at you world teachers.

*** So at least one Thelemite who I think pretty highly of as a person lives in his mom's basement at the moment as a result of some actual HORSE SHIT he has had to deal with, and this is not necessarily an indictment of anyone who's going through shit, per se, and that's worth noting. Also, I totally lived in my parents' basement off and on til I was about 23-25, I can't remember because I was pretty stoned at the time.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Midwestern Enlightenment Studies with Harper Feist, Soror Laila and Rufus Opus

Hey there!

93 and stuff.

This coming weekend, if you're lucky enough to be in the Midwest, you have two opportunities to experience some goddamned amazing awesomeness at the hands of your intrepid explorer magicians who go about doing this shit and talking about it to you and others so you can do it too!

This weekend in Indianapolis, Harper Feist and I will be providing a joint presentation of angelic conjuration magic that demonstrates how to conjure the spirits, how to hear them and interact with them, and how to incubate the forces they represent in a Hermetic context to attain the transformations that result in the accomplishment of the Great Work:

This would be what I consider the "Green Work" phase of the Hermetic interpretation of the Great Work as I define it. After you've been through the basics of Hermetics (roughly II* in OTO or so), you need the White Work to get you K&CHGA, and then you need the Green Work to make your world your personal playground. The Angel teaches you things, but it also takes you on a series of initiations that put you into a position of authority and wisdom from which to organize and direct the manifestation of your experienced reality.

Harper will be teaching fundamentals and advanced techniques to hear and interact with spirits, which is basically the key to doing magic. I can't tell you how many people don't even consider this simple process that makes it possible to do everything else we do. The number of people that expect a season on netflix related to the spheres to show up in their crystals is just overwhelming. Harper teaches how to use the entire body as a sensory input that connects us to the realms of the spirits, enabling us to participate in the unfolding of experiences they provide.

And then I'll be walking people through the forces of the spheres and how they manifest in our experiences on the daily, providing some insights into the ongoing aspects of creating and maintaining our existences as we progress through each of the Seven planetary spheres and develop the understanding and ability to direct these forces as we see fit.

AND then, on the following Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio, I am SO PLEASED to announce that Sarah Mooshian, also known as the lovely and talented Soror Laila, will be presenting her experiences in the "White Work" phase of the Hermetic interpretation of the Great Work as I define it, also known as the


ahem. take a breath, you actually need a sec.

Ok, ready? Alright:

The motherfucking Attainment of Knowledge and Conversation with the Holy Guardian Angel.

That's right.

Sarah went through all the crap we put up with in this process (and until you have been through it, you won't appreciate the ha-ha "humor" of that comment) to get to talk to this spiritual entity that just makes our lives ...


I mean.

Sarah carefully performed the operations described in the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage, and reaped the harvest that comes from this process.

She's going to be speaking about her experience in attaining K&CHGA using traditional techniques at Black Sun Lodge in Cleveland this weekend.

This kind of frank and earnest conversation about this ritual is what led me to attainment on my own. You can't actually expect to have a better and more useful time this weekend if you can make it to her presentation, linked below:

Not bad if you're close to Cleveland!

So no matter where you happen to be in the Midwest this weekend, you've got amazing opportunities. Join Harper and myself, or join Sarah, or join us both if you can! We guarantee you will not walk away from the weekend's events with anything less than what you need to make your personal world a better place, for you, for me, and for anyone else who has to put up with us.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Office of the Readings: Thelemic Liturgical Community Pathworkings

For the last 23 nights, Leaping Laughter Lodge has presented the annual "Office of the Readings." This series of rituals, led by Scott Michael Stenwick, kicks off with the Equinox Rite on March 19.

Each subsequent night, we participated in a ritual conjuration of the forces of each of the 22 paths of the Tree of Life. Check out Scott's blog post on the ritual he uses that he made back in 2008 on Augoeides. I think the ritual may have changed slightly over the years, but it's the basic formula we followed.

Beginning at Path 32, Tav, the Universe, we worked our way up the Path of the Serpent. The last three paths leading to Kether, Gimel, Beth, and Aleph align with the Feast of the Three Days of the Writing of the Book of the Law.

In a conversation on Facebook sparked by Michael Kolson, the subject of the value of the Office of the Readings came up in a post about the Zero Equals Two article on the Readings. Michael expressed his doubts about the value of the process, and asked if he was alone in thinking it was worthless.

In that conversation, I found myself saying this:
Going through an intentional experience of the 22 paths of the Tree of Life yearly becomes a shamanic quest for us as a group. It becomes an Ordeal, and it's cathartic in ways that are hard to put into words. Last year, we (my partner Harper and I) were dealing with cancer, this year we're dealing with something else, but this operation provides us with a framework to address and deal with things in a way that is beneficial that doesn't happen in any other way communally.
Frater IAO131 asked for more clarification:
To be clear, you are saying that reading segments of Holy Books "provides us with a framework to address and deal with things in a way that is beneficial that doesn't happen in any other way communally"? Can you expand more on how reading these book portions/chapters provides those things? I am very interested to hear.
And that's what started this blog post. 

Let's begin with a discussion of the basic framework of the ritual as a whole, and individually. Beginning on the night after the Equinox, Scott performs a ritual that does the following:

  • Cleanses the ritual space
  • Calls on the powers of creation and manifestation within the Thelemic system to attend, bear witness, and provide their influence in the execution of our statement of intent (my interpretation of his "operant field" theory)
  • Uses a Call and Response formula with the congregants to focus our intents collectively, and to shape the ritual space so that it is conducive to the forces and intelligences we are seeking to conjure, in accord with the ideas of how Magick works as presented in Magick in Theory and Practice.
  • Incorporates a hymn based on four stages of the Alchemical Work that progress as we progress.
  • Conjures the forces represented by the Hebrew Letter, tarot Trump, and Astrological/Planetary/Elemental assignments in 777.
  • Provides a timed period for the attendees to sit in contemplation and integration of these forces.
  • Wraps up with a benediction that further anchors the forces within the magical sphere of the attendees.

So that's the framework. It is a daily group ritual conjuration, contemplation, and integration of the forces of each of the paths as we progress up the path of the Serpent on the Tree of Life.

If you look at the process of initiations we go through in the Man of Earth Triad, for example, you can see that it is a similar process. We are exposed to certain truths, influences, and mysteries, and we are then given an opportunity to integrate those forces before continuing on to the next logically progressive moment in the path from a Guest to a Master Magician. It takes years in the OTO.

In the A.'.A.'., the progression is from Student to Probationer to Neophyte, and so on. Each phase has tasks, assignments, and tests before the cumulative processes have prepared the individual for the next step. This process also takes years.

In the EGC, the progression is through the Sacraments, and a person can go from Baptism, to Confirmation, and on to the service officers of the Ordained Priesthood, and beyond. At each phase the person is exposed to forces, mysteries, and experiences that have to be integrated as they progress in the Church. And again, this process takes years.

In all of these processes of progressive initiations, the participants get to deal with the esoteric alchemical processes that crop up as they go along. The number of anecdotal stories I've heard related to the Ordeals of the MOE degrees are awesome. I've seen people nervous about taking their II*, not because of the actual initiation, but because of what they've seen their lodge mates go through over the next year. The A.'.A.'. Ordeals are consistent enough across the process from the times of Crowley that Dr. Shoemaker was able to produce a podcast and a chapter in his book Living Thelema about what can be expected at each phase.

But when you go through the Paths of the Tree from 32 to 11, you are taking yourself through an initiatory system that goes from the most material and mundane aspects of your existence to the absolute purest, rawest, first expression of the parts of existence.

You go center, then outside, then inside, then outside again, then inside, and then across.

Catch your breath.

Then it's Up one, Up two, up three.

Then back outside, and inside, and outside, and inside, and across.

Catch your breath.

Then it's outside, inside, outside, inside, and across again.

And then take a deep breath.

Because it's up Book 1, up Book 2, and up Book 3, and you've done it, you've gone up through the Tree along all the paths that connect the spheres that trace the manifestation from the purest to the most material. You've done it. You've taken apart the outer shells of things, seen what lied beneath, and how they are connected across from one another. You've ascended.

And you've breathed it all in.

So in real life, the process is a framework of initiation that has a start, and a stop, and clear path markers along the way. It's a controlled distillation of the members of the community that participate.

Harper was going through the process of being diagnosed with cancer the first time we participated in the Office of the Readings, and this community effort to work through things from the most mundane to the highest as a group helped us personally get through a lot of the pain and confusion we were dealing with in our relationship at the time. It gave us a perspective to put our experiences into. A framework to see spiritual things when we would otherwise have been focusing on some frightening truths.

This year there wasn't as much drama going on in our personal lives, but being in the crucible of the progressive pathworkings still managed to bring things that I thought I had dealt with years ago back up to the surface to address and overcome.

And the same was going on for everyone else, to varying degrees in the lodge. We went through it together, sometimes sharing the emotions, sometimes keeping them to ourselves. But we were all going through it, and we went through it together as a community. It strengthened the bonds that we share, and made paths and connections between us that don't form in any of the regular classes, masses, and events we come together to share the rest of the time.

The temple space becomes our Alembic. The rituals and the conjurations of the forces provide the heat. We who participate are the Primum Materia, and the progressive exposure to that sustained heat transforms us, purifies us, and creates a community amalgamation that leaves us stronger, purer, and more able to do what it is we are here to do.

And that doesn't happen often as a group at the local OTO community. Most Work is done alone, especially in the A.'.A.'., and the OTO and EGC initiations are at a much different level of intensity and personal transformation. Not less powerful, but more prolongued than 23 days, for sure. Having a few weeks out of the year that you know you're going to go through some immersion therapy that will draw things up to the surface to address as you climb the Coils of the Serpent is awesome.

So thanks much, Brother Stenwick (and Sorors Lalita and Maurine) for doing the rites, and thanks to all the members of the Lodge of Leaping Laughter for reading, and for the foods and wines and conversations, and above all else for showing up as a community to participate in this rite of renewal and celebration.

Super well done, sisters and brothers.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Advanced Initiation Training (AIT) May 7-8 2016 E.V.

As part of the ongoing quest to increase and improve the skill sets of our Master Magicians and Chartered Initiaties, the OTO provides Advanced Initiation Training. This program is designed to enhance the understanding of both the hands on practical aspects of the process of Initiation within the OTO, and the general understanding of the symbolism of the initiations we perform.

At Leaping Laughter Lodge, the resident Bishops regularly present Initiation Training. They set aside a whole day at the Lodge, and, beginning with the highest degree of local members, go through each of the degrees and discuss what each means. To attend the discussion, you must be initated into the degree being discussed (obviously). As each discussion concludes, the next degreed initiates can join in the next discussion. As the day progresses, we end up getting more and more people, until all the lodge members (who can make it) are present at the Minerval discussion.

It's a real blast.

But even setting aside a whole day for it leaves us with a set amount of time to discuss each degree. There are constraints, and the Bishops are as thorough as possible in these Initiation Training sessions, but there's only so much time to spend on each degree. We publish the schedule so people know when to show up, and if we go over on the II* discussion, there are I* folk hanging out in the lobby waiting to get in. 

We don't have time to get into all the gritty details.

Fortunately, the OTO put together the Advanced Initiation Training (AIT) program. Teams of specialists have put together presentations on the aspects of intiation that let us spend time immersing ourselves in the practice and symbolism of the OTO's initiatory journey.

The Lodge of Leaping Laughter in the Valley of Minneapolis is honored to present AIT on May 7-8, 2016 E.V. We'll have multiple Bishops on hand to provide different viewpoints and discussions, to exchange anecdotes of initiations gone great*, and initiations gone wrong*. We hope to have as many people present as possible, and we can't wait to see you.

There will be wine and roses.

Event details can be found on the links at the following site:

If you already know what AIT is all about and are a Chartered Initiate, or III* or higher and want to attend, you can go directly to the Registration link below:

[NOTE: All footnotes are speculation only, and probably won't actually be discussed:]

* Crowley appeared and gave him a crown. The crown stayed when Crowley went back to the City of the Pyramids. 

** What do you MEAN the goat has a headache? How can you even TELL?