[N.B. I pretty much never post anything critical of OTO, and even less anything critical of individual people I love; this looked like another post "to file." However, given the current local support controversies, I am hoping that this might clarify something I don't hear discussed: that as with all religious/spiritual/ideals-based -- even political! -- organizations, OTO is subject to a constant tension between ideal and actual that can cost it support. In brief: wanting your members to feel cared about is not a touchy-feely waste of time, but as crucial from the hardheaded business perspective as it is, arguably, from the spiritual side.
So apologies in advance if the following whiny meditation bugs hard-working friends (and strangers) who are surely doing their best, and who never themselves meant to give offense. I only realized this week what a big deal the following was to me; and it made me think that perhaps when people are national-, but not local-, supportive, sometimes it might help us to ask them why.]
Sol in Pisces, Luna in Capricorn, Dies Veneris
7 Pisces CI / 24 February 2006 EV
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
"Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles: they are by somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn, a human being; somebody who said to those near him, when his fingers would not hold a brush 'tie it into my hand' -- "
I'm sure some here must have wondered why, if I care enough about OTO to support (and even discuss) it as I do; to defend it, unthanked (except, Gods bless him, by my AOL homie Brother Bill Heidrick), on the AOL boards and in twice-weekly chats as I did for years; to acknowledge its legitimacy (and copyrights) and give its current contact info in each of my books, to pay annual Minerval dues irrespective of AC's policy (and initiatory reasons) to the contrary...well, hell, what's the big deal? Why not support the local body f'rgodssakes? You got a problem with them?
No. I know exactly two members there personally -- one its excellent and kingly bodymaster, and each of them very fine people -- and have never attended; my problem had nothing to do with the local body per se. It had to do with the Order. One of the beauties of the OTO system is that (unlike the Thelemic inner orders) one needn't fully understand it to operate it correctly: those charged with carrying it on could theoretically miss any number of fine points, make any number of missteps, without stripping the system itself of its efficacy. I am in awe of the genius that went into AC's (re)formulation of OTO...as of so many other things he did, of course. Blessing, and (yes) worship, etc., etc. ;)
What drew this particular independent thinker to OTO in the first place was Frater Superior Hymenaeus Beta's editorial in Equinox III (10): "Culture vs. Cult." It called for a Thelemic cultural renaissance, and, amazingly, included the following acknowledgment: "The poets have always been with us, although we (for our part) have not always fully reciprocated... We must never forget that it is we who run the risk of becoming 'sleeping dominies' -- the poets know their business and a goodly part of ours." It finishes by stating the Order's intention to "do honor to our predecessors' vision, and lay claim to their inherited wisdom."
In 1992 EV that was plenty good enough for me, and it has been so ever since.
'Course, that "not always fully reciprocated" thing should have been a warning, too: it's a lot easier to appreciate Allen Ginsberg, or anyone else, after he's famous, than when he's one of those beatniks Saturnus (bless him!) didn't want brought around. Ditto for a lot of other respected "outsiders": Kenneth Grant, Kenneth Anger, and I wish I could think of somebody not named Kenneth, but you get the idea. In particular, those lionized only in their latter years -- or posthumously -- do not show up with papers explaining this to you in advance, so you can be nice to them early and beat the rush...and anyway, they're so often oddballs: work nights, sleep days, recluses, "clean-livers," you name it. Besides, when you're trying to do the thankless and wearisome day-to-day dog work of running an Order, it's often easier to be gracious to those in front of you, than to those busy elsewhere with their own affairs. Anyway, none of this is a surprise; I have never felt gypped (though it might have been nice) to be the only? explicitly Thelemic novelist on earth -- one of the first since AC himself, certainly -- and have nobody much in the upper tiers of OTO seem to feel any need to appreciate that (more notable exceptions: Brothers Lon DuQuette and Arild Stromsvag; Gods bless them, too, like they needed to hear it from me :) ).
Nawww, I wasn't looking for special favors. I was looking for two things: (1) An indication that the Order was still trying, anyway, to achieve AC's vision for it -- and that part, I believe, is true; and, the part I didn't fully realize, (2) An indication that the Order was as interested in keeping its own promises, as it was in loading new duties on its members. So, awful confession time:
I realized Thursday night, with some embarrassment, that I was really pretty much still looking for the Minerval certificate I was promised in 1994.
Isn't that lame? :/
I won't labor the point, or describe the repeated efforts over eleven-plus years -- and at several tiers of OTO authority -- I've put into receiving the thing. I did think again I'd be getting one recently, when it was promised to me publicly two years ago; and of late, when that didn't materialize, I'd begun to imagine seeing it in my last days...perhaps even signed by HB himself (as I believe they were back then -- no disrespect whatever to Sabazius, but man, would that have been cool :( ), but in any case with some belated appreciation of a guy's years of work on Thelema's, and OTO's, behalf. But the trick was...and I'm not proud of this:
Four separate and sustained times of asking, over (at the time) nearly a decade, was enough. I didn't want to have to ask for it yet again.
I wanted somebody, somewhere, to sooner or later remember the thing, and get it to me as a point of personal honor. When that didn't happen, I wanted someone to at least ask me whether anything was the matter, that I wasn't dying to get together with them. When that didn't work, I wrote to somebody trying to re-open a dialogue...and (unlike both HB and Sabazius, in other contexts) he just plain didn't reply: whether because he'd been ordered not to, or just felt I was a rat for not joining a local body, or didn't like me because I don't get out much these days -- or was just plain too busy! -- I'm sure I don't know.
It hurt, though...more, I think now, than I realized; and, frankly, didn't do much to make me want to send money, to the local body or anywhere else. I felt like people were thinking a lot at present about what members ought to do for the Order, and rather less about what, if anything, the Order owed its members. In brief: I felt like I answered HB's call for a Thelemic culture...and I didn't even get this lousy t-shirt. ;)
There. That's my deep, dark secret. Poor, self-pitying AJ. Disgusting, no? :P
Funny, though...I realized two things this week. Thanks to (more Gods-blessings) christeos_pir, Wednesday, that there are still some around who care about the notion of a covenant between Order and initiate -- even a lowly Minerval; and last night, that my dedication to OTO ultimately has little to do with living people (wonderful though so many are; beyond those mentioned, Gods bless all of you on LJ who've made me feel like one of the gang). My purpose was, as HB said His and the Order's was some twenty years ago, to "do honor to our predecessors' vision, and lay claim to their inherited wisdom"...yes, and to pass that baton as far on into the future as I am spared to manage. And I also realized that I didn't believe it was too much to ask that I be allowed to do that as a bit of a loner -- which is, to my addled mind anyway, one of the main things Minerval is supposed to be for. As the wonderful lyrics from "Stray" (theme song, at which I always weep, to the staggering Nobumoto Keiko anime Wolf's Rain) have it:
So I'm gonna live the life that I choose --
Until I fall.
I mean, what else is there? Amen, and amen without lie. Crowley even has a relevant passage about this ("The A.'.A.'. and the Planet" in MWT):
"Genius -- or Initiation, which implies the liberation and development of the genius latent in us all (is not one of the names of the 'Holy Guardian Angel' the Genius?) -- is practically the monopoly of the 'crazy adventurer,' as the official mind will most certainly rate him." There you have it. Some Minervals are there briefly, on their way to First; some are there, are here, simply to be your friends, even at a hermit's distance.
So here's to the OTO, and the Thelema, not only of the present but of the future: like St. E. E. Cummings said, "Miracles are to come." I'm climbing that fence, too: donating a measly $31 per month (but that's money for us at present, alas) to that local OTO body, irrespective of my Minerval, and generally hermit, status. Before anybody snarks at me, please, realize that I don't expect applause for this.
It's the least I can do for the King who wrote "Culture vs. Cult"...and all the Kings I see on LJ -- yes, even the rattin-frattin persistently forgetful ones!, whom I also, believe it or not, just hopelessly adore -- doing their damnedest, still, to answer His call.
Love is the law, love under will.
Yours in Love and Freedom, "A.J. Rose" (Jonathan)
Minerval, Ordo Templi Orientis