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.


  1. I am afraid your 'not noobs' comment is unfortunately very location dependent, as are the resources you describe that are only for Americans.

    1. Yes, this is 100% US Geand Lodge stuff. I'm hoping other kingdoms learn from our experiences and adopt similar practices, or evolve them in their own. They sort of have to if they want to continue to exist and not be a series of implosions over time.


The authors of Horns of Cerastes are happy to share their insights, opinions, and interests in all matters Thelema. Anything uncited is probably an informed opinion, but there are times when we have been known to just have fun. Do be careful, it might get on you. Also, all comments are moderated.