Over the last week I have seen the culmination of a year’s work manifest in an exceptionally gratifying manner. The Occult Conference 2014 was a huge success, and I believe we managed to demonstrate that the Body of God could be built between practitioners of different magical and spiritual paths. A great sense of camaraderie and good will abounded on the day, and I have had a lot of feedback to say that a huge amount of learning took place.
Now, I have had it levelled at me that the event was a recruiting ground for OTO. In actual fact this was not the case – but it was a recruiting ground for “doing your Will”. Those of us already within a Tradition are (hopefully) already on the path to doing our Will, but for those honestly seeking a framework in which to experience the mysteries and be given the tools to achieve their Will, perhaps one of the five groups there would provide some answers in an amenable fashion.
Before I go any further, I need to make it abundantly clear that, once again, I am speaking only on my own behalf and NOT that of OTO in general or UK Grand Lodge in particular.
I believe that offering this opportunity to approach one’s Will is the most important function of an OTO body – not to recruit people to join it, but to offer opportunities to learn and do one’s Will. Here is the model behind my reasoning, and I call it “The Pyramid of Thelema.” It’s more like a triangle because I’m not great at 3D design, but you get the idea:
Here’s one I prepared earlier
Clearly defined throughout the founding documents of OTO (see The Equinox, Volume III, No 10) is the idea of a district of OTO, governed by the Lodge, with Oases handling day to day matters and Camps as satellite bodies introducing people to the Order. Items such as Liber CI, which gives duties and privileges for members of the Order, are said to come into effect in any district which counts more than a thousand souls. I think even by Crowley’s ambitious nature we can discount him honestly expecting us to have recruited a thousand people in every district – but we can certainly imagine him believing a thousand people could be actively doing their Will. I share this aspiration, and Glastonbury is the perfect setting to see if it is possible – and we came a long way to proving that on Saturday.
The Pyramid describes OTO initiates as the capstone, “Let my servants be few & secret” etc, and they allow for those who make up the rest of Thelema. In this model, initiates assist everyone to do their Will, from those who wish to take part in Liber XV: the Gnostic Mass to celebrate Life, Light, Love, and Liberty, to those who wish to use the Order’s resources to learn more about their magical practice and how to live their life, to people looking to do their Will in whatever way they describe it, and looking to secure the liberty of the individual. This still sounds pretty exclusive, until you remember the key Thelemic tenet of “Every man and every woman is a star” and so this extends to every single person if they only choose to investigate their path in life.
Over the last year, the OTO group in Glastonbury which I run has gone from its Chartering as a Camp within UK Grand Lodge to an initiating Oasis, with regular celebrations of the Gnostic Mass, and monthly workshops on Thelema and magick in order to provide the above sections of the Pyramid. The Conference was an expression of this for people who could afford a ticket price and we did indeed turn a profit, which mostly went to the speakers and volunteers. There were however two groups who did not fall into this catchment which were equally important, if not more so: the wider Glastonbury community, and those with absolutely nothing who are in the most need of support.
Firstly, the community in Glastonbury is saturated with opportunities to find out about magical practices and groups, there is a free class every couple of evenings and just hanging out in the pub will lead to some surprisingly informative conversations about magick with complete strangers. It was important that the Conference gave something back to the community, and so during the Jupiterian Ball we held a fundraiser raffle and auction in favour of the White Spring Sanctuary, which suffered terrible damage in February. This is a project close to my heart as I first came to Glastonbury by accident following taking the wrong junction on the M5 on the night the Sanctuary was being completed, and ended up helping to lay the blocks of the plunge pool and scrying pool. When I heard that there was terrible damage, and that Phil at Millstream Forge had offered to build new and beautiful gates, I knew that the Conference needed to do everything possible to help this manifest, and that begins on a very real and material plane – money.
Not only did we get the whole community together to donate prizes for the raffle and auction and raise awareness of the event, we managed to raise over a thousand pounds and this means the gates are now paid for in full! This is a fantastic achievement by anyone’s standards, and I am very proud of the fact that we managed to supply the funds to start this new phase of the Sanctuary’s journey. I am reliably informed that the grand re-opening will take place on April 5th, and it would be lovely to see people there.
Now the second group is simply absolutely anybody! As Mrs Salem would say, “you need clean pants to do your Will”, and that covers the basics: food, shelter, human contact. Without these things nobody will be able to pursue their Will, so the OTO should offer help there to. To this end, last Wednesday on the 110th anniversary of Uncle Al’s Invocation of Horus in Cairo for the Equinox 1904, Calix Sanctus Oasis held a food kitchen in Glastonbury. We flyered and also set up a food bank with the aid of the local Tesco branch, and promoted it online and off. Overall, the turnout was small but significant, and we have plenty of learning for next time. One gentleman attended who has in the past traveled to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, another had come up from Devon seeking an OTO group which was welcoming and accepting – and yes he is looking to take initiation with us.
Most importantly however, we had those attend with absolutely no interest in magick, Thelema, or the spiritual, who just needed to be fed. This is the very base of the Pyramid of Thelema, because without that basic need to have food in your stomach, you cannot hope to realise the potential waiting inside every single person. This includes the kid from the estate with the trackie bums and the peaked cap – who arrived and asked if his friend could come. This fellow, following mouth surgery, did not even want to stay because he refuses to eat in front of people, but we supplied a pint of stew in a disposable cup and sent him on his way with our best wishes, and it was the most remarkable form of karma yoga. I hope that one day the charitable act of Agapé is as synonymous with Thelemites as bickering on the internet is.
We will be running more of these Agapé Feasts on the Thelemic Feast Days, and I will be putting on further events where occultists are able to meet and discuss and find new ways of expressing their Will. For me, the achievement of the Will is paramount, and recruiting for the Order a far second. If we enable people to do their Will, then plenty will find that it is their Will to join OTO. I hope to see the Valley of Glastonbury full of those acting to achieve their Will and assist others to do the same, and at that point we will be a success even with no members.
Keep an eye on this website for future announcements of events, and on www.glastonburythelema.co.uk
Calix Sanctus Oasis Body Master
Organiser, the Occult Conference 2014