Fire of Motion

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Fire of Motion: Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference by Ordo Templi Orientis

This most recent of the U.S. Grand Lodge National O.T.O. Conference proceedings volumes contains some worthwhile and timely offerings. As usual, the book includes an apparatus that documents the biennial event at which the included papers were originally delivered. The program of events shows that fewer than half of the presentations were ultimately published in the book, and my understanding is that the authors did not submit them for inclusion, rather than that they were in any way disqualified. (At least one was restricted to initiated members, and thus not for publication.)

The papers “The Torchbearer in the Underworld,” “The 20th-Century Rosicrucian Conflict,” and “Aleister Crowley on Death” are all valuable contributions to Thelemic scholarship, as I hope my own “Secret Chiefs and the Interior Church” to be. The wine tasting event “Whores, Amazons, Witches, and the Grand Dames of Wine” appears to have been themed with a nod to Scarlet Woman Lodge in Austin, local to the conference site, and its documentation is an interesting glimpse of the weekend’s doings.

The most important part of this book, though, is the Grand Master’s address, which is concerned with the relationship of Thelema and O.T.O. to exoteric politics. It points out that “racism and classism are both rooted in fear,” and that “Opposing racial and sexual prejudice is a Thelemic value” (68-69). Two years after this address, we now see some anecdotal cases of attempts to identify Thelema with “alt-right” bigotries, and it is satisfying to have in print this authoritative statement to the contrary. It is also available online. [via]