Origins, Purpose, & Structure
by Bill Siebert
The Chthonic-Auranian OTO is a branch of our illustrious Order founded on the premise that the OTO is not only a pyramid of Knight Monks (as emphasized by the Caliphate OTO), or a highly specialized Magical Engine (as emphasized by Grant's Typhonian OTO), but is also a family/tribe/network/fraternity of magickians who are each doing his/her Will as best as each of us is able, and who are each fully responsible for our actions/stillnesses, thoughts/trances/channelings, and speech/silence. We feel that each Thelemite by doing his/her will, has access to the Fountainhead of the Order. It is from here that true initiation flows.
The Chthonic-Auranian OTO was founded just prior to the September Full Moon in 1985 at the Southern Pagan Lunarfest (SPiRaL) by myself, Cliff Pollick, & Sam Webster. Each of us had been active members of other branches of the OTO during our magickal apprenticeships. Cliff was a III° member of the Caliphate OTO, and co-founder of Hadit Chapter of the Caliphate in Philadelphia. Sam was a II° member of the Caliphate, & founder of Aum. Ha. Camp in Boston. Besides being once a Minerval in the Caliphate OTO, I had long been a member of Grant's Typhonian OTO for nearly a decade, during which time I worked my way from probationer to V°. When I began to evince symptoms of knowing my Will & reifying it, Grant informed me that the OTO was designed for those who were not yet ready to manifest their Wills. According to Grant, those who know their Will and are doing it, have no need of the OTO. Once I grasped the significance of what he was saying, I most certainly agreed that I had no real need of the Typhonian OTO. Synthesizing my personal links with the Fountainhead of the Order, and accepting similar links which Grant & others were formulating within themselves is not always an easy task for me, but it is one which I find to be well worth my effort. So I remained within the orbit of the Typhonian OTO until Grant expelled me in 1986.
The light of Gnosis extends outward from each of us. In previous Ĉons, Magickal Orders, Religions, and Yogic Schools were formulated by individuals who had tapped-into the Gnosis, & set-about sharing their wealth with others of like aspiration. Illumination extended outward thru catena of initiation to those individuals who had not yet discovered the light of Gnosis within themselves. Some disciples became dependent upon the light emanating from their Master, thus blinding themselves to the light which emanates from within themselves. As Gnostics died, or went on to other endeavors, Schools, Religions, and Magickal Orders in which these Masters had once worked their Will did not simply close-up shop or evaporate into thin air. Beuracracies (whether mundane or transcendental) seek immortality. When there are no Masters to head these Orders, all to often the task is left to Fools or charlatans. In many ways, Secrecy & respect for tradition encourage Hanumann & the Ape of Thoth to stand in the spotlight, while the work of the inner Order goes on un-noticed, save by those few who understand that Gnosis comes from within.
Although there are many Gnostics who prefer to work solitary & away from formal groups, I much prefer to work/play/grow within a Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis whose members see themselves & each other as operating within a free-form ever-shifting network of Anarchistic Kings. From my perspective, the core of the OTO is not based upon pyramidal politics. It is a multi-dimensional self-luminous spider web with no single spider-god architect, & no fixed center around which the universe orbits. We whose will is to function as Sovereigns of the OTO are both weavers & web (see Book of Lies). Individually & collectively, we gleefully follow stimulating strands which others have woven, as we add our own personal embellishments as we go. We each cherish those inspiring patterns in the web which helped us to access our present level of illumination. As the Knights Templar did before us, we keep all roads safe for pilgrims -- I warn others away from those individuals &/or practices which I have found to be dangerous, or seductively sedating. Yet I have no desire to compel anyone to follow my advice. How can I possibly determine another's Will for him/her, or judge his/her ability to flourish under circumstances which I find stiffling? All I can do is advise. We each repair the fabric of the web, inasmuch as each of us feels it is need of repair (if it ain't broke, don't fix it!). And we (individually & collectively) create new & interesting patterns, by which we entertain ourselves, each other, & mayhaps increase the general level of Gnostic illumination throughout the multiverse.
Our charter (inasmuch as we can be said to have one!) is an outgrowth of our True Wills. It depends neither from nor upon any catena of initiation from any other group. We make no claim of being chartered by Crowley, Germer, Soror Sprengel, or any secret chiefs outside of ourselves. We are bar-Sinister Mad Wand spawn of Babalon the Whore & To-Mega-Therion--666. Choronzon midwifed our birth. We are indeed heirs to Crowley's legacy, but we are most certainly not claiming legitimacy in the Osirean courts who adjudicate such matters here-&-now.
From my perspective, our Order has 3 grades which I attribute to Hermit Lover & Wo/Man of Earth, but each Sovereign within the Chthonic-Auranian OTO is free to create and manifest his/her own unique system (even if some systems may appear to be contradictory to others). Our innermost grade is the first to be encountered. To me, a Hermit is one who has sought the Gnosis within him/her-self and has made his/her own personal links with the Fountainhead of the Order independent from any external organizations/beings. I am ever-working & ever-playing to reify this grade in my day-to-day life.
The Grade of Lovers is the province of those whose Will is to work within the community, fraternity, and fellowship of our Order. No dues, duties, or hazing rituals are imposed upon those who seek our fellowship -- but (as always) I speak only for myself. It is up to each Sovereign to work this out for him/her-self! --"teach ye must, but .. ." I assume that all candidates for initiation into the Grade of Lovers consider themselves to be Masters of the Temple, or whatever they deem to be the equivalent in whatever system of internal initiation they are working. When working with other Masters, I see no need for hoodwinks, dire oaths, or stodgy 19th Century Egypto-Victorian Masonic ritual forms. For me, Love, Will, & Personal Responsibility have always been keywords for this Grade.
Initiation comes in many forms. Mutual initiation is (to me) the ideal, as no karma accrues thereby. I see initiation into the Chthonic-Auranian OTO as a process of mutual recognition between a representative of our Order & the candidate. (I see you. Do you see me? Fine! Now lets interface our Great Works!) Usually, but not always, this recognition culminates in a ritual to welcome the Candidate into our Order as 1-of-us -- not as some illusory equal, but as an individual beyond considerations of hierarchy or equality.
Local groups are free to charge dues, set up grand temples, or whatever else they feel may benefit their work. But no local group can insist that any member-at-large of the Chthonic-Auranian OTO join their temple, pay dues, or swear fealty to the local hierarch. Conversely, no member of the Chthonic-Auranian OTO has any right to expect services from the Order at large, or from any temple of which s/he is not an active supporting member. TANSTAAFL! (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!) (Do you grok?) In contrast with many manifestations of the OTO, we who embrace the grade of Wo/Man of Earth (the outermost grade of our Order) (also called Citizen of the Galaxy) comprise our Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis. For me, the Sovereign Sanctuary of the Gnosis is not an inner Hermetic contemplative grade, but rather, an outward manifestation of Gnostic-Hermeticism into the world at large.
To me, a Sovereign is one whose personal Will is inexorably inter-twined with the ever-evolving Will of our Order. In essence, a Sovereign is dedicated in body/mind/spirit to the essence of the OTO. S/He nurtures its growth, enriches its function, & when (in any particular Sovereign's judgement) the Chthonic-Auranian OTO has outlived its purpose, s/he becomes the executor of that portion of our Order's Estates which come under his/her self-chosen and self-regulated jurisdiction --to distribute, shroud, destroy, or inter our Order's Wealth, Mysteries, & Wisdom in accord with Will.
Citizen of the Galaxy is my friend Arian's name for this grade -- wherein each Sovereign is a living embodiment of the essence our Order in his/her every contact with each-&-every being s/he encounters. Not only with those who view themselves as magickians, shamans, witches, mystics, sufis, or other practitioners of High Art, but also those with more down-to-earth titles of office, such as neighbor, stranger, friend, traveler, person, or individual.
For me, embodiment of the essence of the OTO does not imply preaching, nor does it even necessarily connote mentioning the Chthonic-Auranian OTO by name. It simply means being a Thelemite (which, to me, simply means that I take Joy in doing my Will) 24 hours a day, each & every day of my life --not just when I am in a ritual Circle, or surrounded by other conscious Thelemites.
Yet, this commitment to embody the essence of the OTO does not necessitate becoming a slave to consistency. How I behave as a Thelemite varies from day to day, & from situation to situation. To me, Thelema is not a static code of morals, but an ever-expansive inter-active flowering of my Will in relationship with the Multiverse at large, and all beings contained therein.
The Sovereign Sanctuary can also be viewed as a context for interaction and networking by which the Will of us Sovereigns (all of us together, or any sub-set of us) become united in acts of Love under Will to create/tune/activate various magickal engines for any purpose whatsoever.
Sovereigns are just that. We are beholden to no person and no governing body beyond our own personal interpretation of Will. The only way I know to remove a sovereign from office is to slay him or her (as per Liber Oz and scholia -- especially, the Sothic Comment). A Sovereign cannot be put on bad-report, expelled, removed from active duty, or any other euphemism for hierarchal censure, censorship, or muzzling. I abhore the practice of Coventry, in any form.
The other side of that coin is also incontestable. No sovereign can be obligated to endorse or condone any conduct of any other sovereign or group of sovereigns. No member can be compelled to associate with any other member. Love, Will, & feelings of strong-&-abiding kinship adjudicate association, not rank or office.
A Sovereign is any member of our Order (i.e., any initiate of the Grade of Lovers) who asserts him/her-self as a Sovereign, & who is subsequently embraced as a fellow Sovereign by any 2 or more Wo/Men of Earth. We did it this way to ensure that the Chthonic-Auranian OTO could easily grow beyond our founders' individual foci of vision.
Chthonia and Auranos
Chthonic means of the underworld, or mysterious, with intimations of qliphothic. We emphasize the meeting/acceptance/fusion of dark and light within each of us individually, & within all of us collectively -- see Liber Tzaddi. Chthonic also means spurious -- we openly acknowledge our bastard roots.) Auranian derives from Auranos, a specialized orthography of Uranus. Auranos is an extra-telluric counterpart of Chthonia, the dark hidden aspect of Gaia. In our spelling of Auranos, we imply both gold (Latin: Aurum) & light (Hebrew: AUR) as well as the more traditional fertile rain, symbol for the jizm of Uranus, fertilizer of earth's inner- most mysteries.
To me, Chthonic-Auranian invokes the serpent & the dove. On a micro-cosmic level, I embrace with passion my recognition that I am the product of extra-terrestrial DNA (mainly of viral origin) which has successfully combined with terrestrial genetic material to form the being who perceives itself as being I. From my perspective, we are a co-mingling of the mysteries of Heaven & Earth within the concurbit of the OTO/A.·.A.·.
Some branches of the OTO are structured so as to teach or impart various techniques to their members. Other branches seem to focus their energy into setting tasks, then judging success or failure by evaluating each member's lab notebook (magickal record). In my experience, top-down imposed curricula can very easily become onerous. I see no point creating/imposing strictures which may be restrictive to a particular member's Will. I see required programs of study, &/or external accounting of an individual's progress along a self-chosen Path as having little place within the Chthonic-Auranian OTO, aside from mutually agreeable 1-on-1 voluntary covenants. But, then again, the Chthonic-Auranian OTO does not deal with newbies/neophytes who may need/desire such structure. There is a vast difference between an Order which urposfully takes on those new to the path & Orders (such as our own) who initiate only those who have studied & practiced on their own & who are ready for magickal community whose circle is cast at the Gateway of Daäth.
As a self-directed Thelemite, I set my own course curriculum for un-folding my Will, & I assume others are willing-&-able to do likewise. If anyone is interested in my Work, I am generally eager to share my knowledge, techniques, & speculations -- gratis to friends, & at a fair price to strangers. Likewise, as I discover interesting people whose knowledge, techniques, &/or ideas stimulate me, I ask each of them if & under what conditions they would consider sharing their expertise with me.
The Chthonic-Auranian OTO is still quite small* (23 members worldwide: 2 in Australia, 1 in the Caribbean, & the rest in the US), 5 of us (thus-far) functioning in the Sovereign Sanctuary, with three additional members asserting their Will as Citizens of the Galaxy.
Does my philosophy/approach strike any euphonious chords with what you are doing? I am interested in networking information & energy, regardless of whether we share initiatory links within the same organization!
This little essay was written about 15 or so years ago. The basic formula of the Grades remains the same. Our membership is growing, but by how much I have no idea as the Chthonic-Auranian OTO is not a centralized organization with files, etc. I suspect worlwide membership to be about 100-300, with most concentrated in the USA, but I could be mistaken. Any questions or comments, please write to me at Alobar@bellsouth.net
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