A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, 1967 to 1973, Part I

Aiden Kelly discusses Aleister Crowley, Ordo Templi Orientis, and more in a post at A History of the Craft in America: California and Councils, 1967 to 1973, Part I. The post discusses the history Ordo Templi Orientis, particularly in California during the time of Grady McMurtry, and also mentions in passing the events detailed in Tom Whitmore’s Raiders of the Lost Basement.

“During the 13 years that McMurtry, using the name Hymenaeus Alpha, oversaw the OTO, it revived, grew, and expanded. His chapter held regular, well-attended meetings in the East Bay. Its history did not intersect with that of the NROOGD until about 1974, when both Glenn Turner and Chandria from Glenn’s coven, Allan Moonbloode from Isis Rising and Silver Star, plus Witches from several other traditions, were active in it. Chandria subsequently founded the Nuit-Urania coven, practicing what she called “Thelemic Wicca,” a blend of OTO and NROOGD practices. This NROOGD variant subsequently spread into the Pacific Northwest, under the leadership of Vandimir and Lady Jezebel.

Grady McMurtry passed over on July 12, 1985, at age 66. After McMurtry’s death, the IXth grade members of the OTO elected his successor, who has chosen to be known publicly only as Hymenaeus Beta and who moved the international headquarters of the OTO to New York City. However, rivals appeared, claiming to be Crowley’s true successors. It is unusual for members of an occult organization to turn to the legal system to settle a dispute, but that is what happened. In decisions in 1985 and 1988, the United States Supreme Court ruled that McMurtry had been Crowley’s only legal successor, basing its decision not only on McMurtry’s letters from Crowley, but also on the fact that the original manuscript of Crowley’s Book of the Law had been found in a box in a basement in Berkeley, albeit under suspicious circumstances.” [via]