Category Archives: The Invisible Basilica of Sabazius

The personal site of the US Grand Master of Ordo Templi Orientis; includes essays, rituals, and commentary


Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Antichrist: A novel of the Emperor Frederick II by Cecelia Holland.

Cecelia Holland Antichrist

Historical novelist Cecelia Holland is the author of Antichrist: a novel of the Emperor Frederick II (1970). The British issue of the same book had a more timid publisher, it seems. The title there was Wonder of the World, in reference to Frederick’s renown as stupor mundi. The US Primate of the Gnostic Catholic Church identifies Frederick II as the “Frederick of Hohenstaufen” enumerated among the saints of Liber XV, and he points to Frederick’s notable antagonism with Rome, but he fails to note the item that gave Holland her title: a tradition of identifying Frederick as the Antichrist.

Antichrist is an inherently prophetic figure, and the prophecies of Frederick’s Antichrist status were initially derived from Joachim of Fiore’s writings. Holland observes this fact with a brief notice in her prefatory “Note” (ix). The Super Hieremiam was a pseudo-Joachimist work that identified Frederick as a head of the apocalyptic dragon and as the emperor whose death would inaugurate the age of the Holy Spirit. The prophecy regarding Frederick is one of the elements that made Joachim’s work topical for the Franciscans who became interested in it during the 1240s.

Holland’s story is set in the 1220s, with Frederick’s prosecution of the Sixth Crusade. She depicts the Franciscans in Outremer as opponents of the Emperor, and she has them accuse him of being Antichrist. Whether they would have done so at that time, before taking up the ideas from Joachim, or whether the accusation in the novel was anachronistic, I don’t know.

Besides the Franciscan Order, Antichrist includes a rough and caricaturing treatment of the military Orders of the Temple and the Hospital. Of the former, Holland writes that they “were beyond doubt Satanist,” choosing to take the French court proceedings as gospel on this count (xiii). She depicts both Orders—who were, after all, opposed to her protagonist Frederick—as corrupt and malevolent. In fact, her depiction of them is much in keeping with the villainous roles that they play in the novels of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

An important aspect of the novel (and the events it attempts to describe) is the relationship between Christians and Muslims, both in southern Europe and in Palestine. The idea that Frederick was Antichrist had much to do with his perceived and actual intimacy with Saracens and Islam. Holland creatively adds a member of the Order of Assassins to Frederick’s bodyguard in Palestine. This touch on her part leads to a historical error, in which she has the “Assassins” in question refer to themselves as Hashishiyyun (164). The Muslims associated with Alamut whom the Crusaders called “Assassins” were sometimes called hashishis as a term of derision by their Muslim antagonists, but they were in fact, and knew themselves as, Syrian Ismailis of the Nizari sect.

Holland’s book was great fun to read: it has a lot of witty dialogue and vivid description. If handled respectfully, it would probably make a terrific movie. Although she makes some outright errors, the author provides the unusual courtesy among historical novelists of pointing out which principal features of the story are her conscious interpolations (xii-xiii). As far as the broad outlines of her narrative go, there is nothing to contradict any of the history I have read. [via]

Manifest Thy Glory

Manifest Thy Glory: Proceedings of the Eighth Biennial National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference was recently released, and may be of interest. This book includes the text of presentations by many Hermetic Library fellows, including Sabazius, T Polyphilus, Colin Campbell, and Beth Kimbell, and touches many topics related to the subject matter of the library.

National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference NOTOCON Manifest Thy Glory

Manifest Thy Glory offers a selection of papers from the eighth biennial National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference (NOTOCON) of the United States Grand Lodge of O.T.O., held in the Valley of Detroit, Michigan, in 2011 EV. The papers cover diverse topics including the Holy Guardian Angel, talismans in magick, spatial orientation in ritual, and other magical methods; occult history and biography, including the Stèle of Revealing and Ida Craddock; promulgation of Thelema through publishing and podcasts; textual analysis from Catullus to ‘Liber Trigrammaton;’ a touching reminiscence from the incomparable Lon Milo DuQuette; and even space, the final frontier. Other highlights include a street guide to Thelemic historical sites in Detroit, and the address given by U.S. National Grand Master Sabazius. They represent some of best modern practical and scholarly work on Ordo Templi Orientis, Thelema, and the magick of Aleister Crowley.

The first NOTOCON conference took place in 1997 EV in Akron, Ohio, and has since been held on alternate years in different cities around the United States. Manifest Thy Glory is the third collection of papers from the national conference to be made available, following the inaugural volume Beauty & Strength for the 2007 EV conference.

Ordo Templi Orientis is an international fraternal order of men and women devoted to the pursuit of individual liberty, the study of magick, and the promulgation of the Law of Thelema. Founded in the early twentieth century, it has been shaped by such leading lights as Carl Kellner, Theodor Reuss, Aleister Crowley, Karl Germer and Grady Louis McMurtry.” [via]

Neither East nor West

Hermetic Library fellow Sabazius has posted his keynote speech from NOTOCON IX, which had the theme “Neither East nor West” and which took place earlier this month in Sacramento, California. This was the ninth NOTOCON, a biennial conference for the US Grand Lodge of Ordo Templi Orientis.

“Neither East nor West. Neither the house of dawn, nor the house of dusk, neither the realm of beginnings nor the realm of endings; neither here nor there, neither black nor white, neither the past nor the future, neither the old nor the new. We find ourselves in transit; in the interstices, the in-between places, partaking of partialities, gradients, nuances, and transients. Familiar things pass away, and strange, new things confront us, leaving us excited, but also perhaps somewhat unsure, insecure, and anxious. We feel well rid of some of the old, and we welcome some of the new—but not all, necessarily.

In the face of the insecurity of the impermanence that confronts us, comfort and courage can often be found in belonging to, and identifying with, an institution that is anchored, to some extent, in history and tradition, and which exhibits the size and strength to endure into the future. We want to be a part of something larger than ourselves. It is a natural human impulse, one not lightly to be dismissed. I daresay this is why many of us are here tonight. It is, in fact, I think, one of the very foundations of human culture, and we see this tendency everywhere, manifesting in mysticism as well as in a propensity to gather together in tribes of various sorts.” [via]

Gnostic Mass Video Project

You may be interested in this Gnostic Mass Video Project by Anahata Chapter of the O.T.O. Rose Croix in Seattle, WA to raise funds for a full-length, high-quality video celebration of Aleister Crowley‘s Liber XV, The Gnostic Mass. The video is being produced by Jon Sewell, of Eleusyve Productions, and, among others, will have the participation of Hermetic Library anthology artist David Shoemaker and fellow Sabazius.

“Anahata Chapter of the O.T.O. Rose Croix, with the sanction of the United States Grand Lodge, O.T.O., is proud to sponsor the making of a professionally produced, high quality video of Liber XV, The Gnostic Mass.

When completed, this video of Liber XV, The Gnostic Mass, will serve multiple purposes. It will be a US Grand Lodge-sanctioned representation of the central ritual of the O.T.O. for reference and teaching purposes all over the United States.

It will serve as an historic document of the celebration of the Gnostic Mass in the early years of the 21st Century and, it will serve as a worthy introduction and provide continuing access to the Magick and mystery of the O.T.O., even in areas of the country and the world where there is not a local O.T.O. body immediately accessible.

We believe the staging and content of this video presentation will be of great interest and value to both O.T.O. Initiates as well as those interested in Magick, Thelema, and Western Esotericism, and we invite all interested people to support the completion of this project by contributing through this Indiegogo page!” [via]

NOTOCON IX presentations

The list of National Ordo Templi Orientis Conference (NOTOCON) presentations, and presenter bios, has been posted for the upcoming ninth biennial event on Aug 9th – 11th, 2013, being held in Sacramento, CA this time. In addition to several names you may recognize from posts here or content on the library site such as Lon Milo DuQuette, Richard Kaczynski, Christeos Pir and more, you will find Hermetic Library anthology artist David Shoemaker and fellows Colin Campbell and T Polyphilus are presenting this time around. Of course, library fellow Sabazius will also be there.

NOTOCON is the biennial conference for current members of OTO, with attendance minimally restricted to those who are initiates of at least Minerval, or 0°, with many presentations and events of interest. If you aren’t already a member, there’s still time to become a Minerval initiate before the conference, of course.

MOE Delegate Nominating Panel Update

Sabazius has posted an update about the full implementation of nominating panel to accept applications to a particular element of Ordo Templi Orientis structure from Liber CXCIV, An Intimation with Reference to the Constitution of the Order, which is to help select volunteers as delegates from the Man of Earth triad, over on his blog at “MOE Delegate Nominating Panel Update“.

“I am pleased to announce that The Man of Earth Delegate Nominating Panel is now fully operational and is accepting applications from O.T.O. initiates of the II° who are interested in volunteering as Man of Earth Delegates to speak on behalf of the entire Man of Earth Triad in accordance with Book 194.

The recently created MOE Delegate Nominating Panel, currently comprising 30 representatives from across the United States, has been diligently working with me to create a seamless selection process of the four Man of Earth Delegates to provide the Man of Earth Triad with a strong voice within Ordo Templi Orientis.

From Book 194: In order that the feelings of the general body may be represented, the Men of Earth choose four persons, two men and two women, from among themselves, to stand continually before the face of the Father, the Supreme and Holy King, serving him day and night. These persons must not be of higher rank than the Second Degree; they must volunteer for this service at the conclusion of that ceremony; and therefore they give up their own prospect of advancement in the Order for one year, that they may serve their fellows. This is then the first lesson in our great principle, the attainment of honour through renunciation. – BAPHOMET XI°” [via]

Non-Consensual Sexual Conduct

Hermetic Library fellow Sabazius has posted on his blog a reminder about United States Grand Lodge, Ordo Templi Orientis, policy about “Non-Consensual Sexual Conduct“.

“The time has come for a reminder that U.S.G.L. does not tolerate rape or any form of non-consensual sexual conduct or sexual harassment by or upon its members.” [via]

“As a Local Body, as a Grand Lodge, as an Order, we need to be united in the goal of creating and nurturing an environment where free relations between our brothers and sisters can be enjoyed without fear.” [via]


Update 2012sep11 @ 11:11a:

Sabazius has posted a follow-up to this in another post at “Follow-up on Last Post: Dealing with Violence” which may be of further interest.

“Since my last post, I have received several reports from women who have been subjected to violence within some kind of an O.T.O. context in the past. One of these women told me that she had been in touch with several other sisters who never reported their mistreatment, and saw no reason to now because their attackers were no longer active members. Others reported that when they attempted to discuss their troubles with their brothers and sisters, attempts were made to either ignore or excuse the bad behavior, occasionally offering such quotes as ‘There is no guilt’ as if that were an excuse for assaulting someone. This is simply unacceptable.” [via]

More from Sabazius about a particular story of Thelema and Prison Ministry

Sabazius has posted more about a particular story of Thelema and Prison Ministry over on his blog at “DRW – A Postscript” which may be of interest.

“We never intended to excuse or condone Wallace’s crimes, or even to down-play their severity. They were, as I acknowledged in my previous post, horrific. Our intent was to recognize what was portrayed to us as the recovery of a human being from a terrible past through his personal acceptance of the Law of Thelema, and the attendant changes in his understanding of his place in the Universe in relation to that of his fellow human beings.

It remains our hope that Wallace’s statements to his correspondents were, in fact, sincere. If they were not, we still maintain our belief and hope that the Law of Thelema, properly interpreted, can be of benefit to others who have led troubled lives.” [via]

Sabazius has posted a particular story of Thelema and Prison Ministry

Sabazius has posted a particular story of Thelema and Prison Ministry over on his blog at “DRW” which may be of interest.

“While in prison awaiting his eventual execution, Wallace turned to contemplation of his crimes and their ramifications, and, as a result, began to study philosophy. His studies led him to Thelema, and this led him to begin corresponding with O.T.O. some time around 1997 e.v., or a bit before. He was a prolific, avid correspondent. He corresponded with one of our E.G.C. bishops on a regular basis for many years, and later also corresponded with a number of other volunteers in our Prison Ministry program. In his correspondence, he proved to be a highly intelligent, literate, articulate, and perceptive individual, who identified himself as a Thelemite and felt changed by his acceptance of the Law of Thelema. In his correspondence, as well as in an interview before his execution, he acknowledged full personal responsibility for his crimes, and expressed remorse over having committed them.” [via]