These are recent excerpts from the O.T.O. Lodge news. Copyright (c) O.T.O. and the Individ

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

These are recent excerpts from the O.T.O. Lodge news. Copyright (c) O.T.O. and the Individual Authors, 1989 e.v. Limited license is hereby granted to reproduce this file without fee, with this message intact. This license expires November 1990 e.v. unless renewed in writing. No charge other than reproduction costs is permitted under this license to the receivers of copies of this file without O.T.O. written permission. ************************************************************************* From the author of "Thelema About Town" (This was written and submitted before the raid.) In many ways, the establishment of the Law of Thelema can be seen as a logical extension of the libertarian values espoused by our brother Masons over the past few centuries: values which guided the founding principles of this nation and which have inspired the reformation of governments around the world. Yet in our own time, rather than the continued emancipation of humanity, we are faced with the rapid deterioration of such personal liberties as we have all been raised to consider irrevocable. How has this happened? Our political processes are under such perpetual scrutiny by journalists and analysts that practically no legislative action ever goes unexamined. Yet weekly, we are informed of the escalation of police power, the erosion of due process, and the imposition of military force upon our own citizens, to cite a few examples out of many. And what has the public reaction been? Only that the encroachment of martial law has not gone far enough. Apparently, the majority of Americans feel that they are in such danger that their only salvation lies in the sacrifice of all their freedoms, until everything not compulsory is forbidden. We are marching backwards into vast batteries of ready-made cells, all the while congratulating ourselves on our good fortune. Once again, how has this happened? In our time, public opinion is perpetually manipulated by mass-media, constantly pouring out paradigms, judgments, and prejudices. In reaction, counter-culture groups in politics, religion and even in the occult, pour out alternative views and evaluations; differing in conclusions, but adopting identical methods, as if some satisfactory balance can be reached by colliding factions of blindness. How much of an attempt is being made to provide people with the necessary tools to evaluate for themselves the inherent validity of a set of propositions? Indeed, most people never seem to have considered that there is any difference between a valid argument and a compelling emotional appeal. Most spiritual paths sooner or later take it on themselves to point out the superiority of their brand of reality to that of their competitors. Naturally, at the same time, every other view from fellow cultists to pseudo- scientific materialists to generic secular humanists defend their versions above the rest. Crowley, however, infused Thelema with a tradition of skepticism which we can use as a way out of this cycle. His ideas were never intended to be taken as the cornerstones for some conditioned doctrine. The issues of fundamental importance were for him those of method, not those of propositions. And for him the primary measure of the value of a method was, how far do the results of a method hold up to skeptical inquiry? Many of Crowley's ideas have proven horrendous or laughable over the course of time. We do not know if any of his views will ever be considered important to the world at large. But his application of skepticism to the spiritual quest, whether bearing his name or not, is of utmost value to anyone who aspires to be guided by knowledge rather than prejudice. We may sharpen our skeptical sense through the use of an array of tools which, though none of them are comprehensive in themselves, together form a formidable protection against the floods of rhetorical filth which are pumped into our awareness as if deception were a public utility. Next month, we will begin the study of Logic with reflections upon, not the fallacies of some opposing tribe, but the writings of Crowley himself, so as to encourage the critical examination of not only that which we are suspicious of, but that which we might hold very dear. It is there, if anywhere, that we are most likely to be deceived. ************************************************************************* ************************************************************************* The Great Raid Debacle. Late at night, on September 29th, (1989) the Berkeley Police raided O.T.O. They hit Merkabah House first, entered a detached dwelling behind Merkabah House, and then went off to break up Thelema Lodge. Yes, that's right, Berkeley PD raided a church in Oakland. There was a search warrant, and the objects of the search were major drugs, paraphernalia involved in drug sales and use, and records of drug dealers. One would therefore characterize this effort as a connected series of "Crack House Raids". Of course, there was no crack, no dealing and no point to the raid. I understand that rolling papers were taken, pipes and something identified as a "bong". The rolling papers included Drum Brand, only sold with Drum Brand Tobacco and taken from beside a partly filled can of Drum Tobacco. Several people were listed on the search warrant as residents to be given special attention, including one person who actually lives in San Francisco, and yours truly, Bill Heidrick. I was listed as living at Thelema Lodge, a place I have been able to visit to teach classes about six hours a month on average. I would like to be there more often; but my home has been in San Anselmo since 1971 e.v., and Grand Lodge duties spare me little time to enjoy the many events at Thelema. Since I was not there, I had to learn all this indirectly. These are my opinions of that happened, based on accounts of the witnesses and from documents. The raid commenced with a knocking at the Merkabah house door. A resident opened it, and seventeen police with drawn guns burst in on a Hermetics class. Our members and guests were thrown down and cuffed without further preamble. Two were released after questioning (didn't live there and weren't on the list). The others were told that they had to give urine samples then and there or face 90 days in jail. A document purporting to justify this violation of civil rights was flashed, and mention was made of a new state law no one there had heard about. Copies of the document have been recovered from the police report and related papers. Bye bye, 5th amendment! It was nice knowing you, 4th amendment! I should note that more than seventeen officers seemed to be present, but only seventeen names of officers appear on the police report. All remaining in the house were charged with narcotics intoxication, pending urine test results, I suppose. A couple of hypodermic syringes were produced by an officer, alleged to have been found in a sink that had just that day been cleaned. None of the people at the house recognized the syringes, and none used intravenous drugs. Other items of a similar nature were found by the police in locations where nothing was seen before the raid. These syringes were not charged against anyone at arraignment, according to the charges I have read. Two of the people taken to the Berkeley station were released that night, one being told that the reason for his arrest had been forgotten, the other being held until it was clear that no matron was available to assist in her incarceration. Six in all were charged from Merkabah house, and after the charges finished dropping at arraignment only narcotics intoxication (urine tests were not back yet) and smoking paraphernalia charges were maintained (as best I can determine). There were illegal weapons charges earlier, with the ritual daggers and swords torn from religious shrines in the house giving that dubious base. The illegal weapons charges were dropped. Most of the officers appeared confused. Remarks of "why are we here?" have been reported by witnesses. The officer leading the raid and some others made themselves busy, tearing out and emptying drawers and the like. They trashed the place. A little humor was evidently not lacking, and several books on occultism were arranged in a little display on one of the beds to make a nice picture. A baby photograph was seized and described in the police list as "showing infant white male child w/ black cross across front of body." This was a photo recently sent to a friend by the mother. The black cross was a creative interpretation of the straps of the car seat shown in the photo. One officer was interested enough to offer criticism of a painting on erotic themes, but it was too large to fit in the van. Two of the people in the house were making love in a bed room, and they were taken naked from the house and thrust into the police van. A couple of O.T.O. members from Thelema Lodge went over to the site during the raid, were questioned and released. Off the jolly crew went with their involuntary guests to visit Thelema Lodge (in Oakland, remember). There were word games and similar entertainments: "Who's got the warrant? Do you have the warrant? ... Ah' we forgot the warrant" --- a copy was found in Merkabah House a few days later, in a spot where nothing had been seen after the raid. The Thelema Lodge copy of the search warrant was also discovered several days later, crumpled up in a cat box. Since it was Rosh Hashana, seasonal anti-semitic remarks were demonstrated by the officers for the edification of any prisoners who might chance to be Jewish. On reaching Thelema Lodge, the two Thelema Lodge inhabitants who were not detained at Merkabah house were seen to drive up to park at their home. The police dragged both out of their car and hustled them into the house. The police gained entry by being admitted and by crashing in several interior and at least one exterior door. The exterior door was described as not being seriously damaged in the police report, but the frame was smashed. The rush, floor, and cuffs procedure was repeated. Two members of the O.T.O. were questioned and largely ignored. The others were given the full treatment; urine samples and the like. One of these refused the urine test, and he alone appears to have been charged with the syringes that mysteriously appeared by spontaneous generation at Thelema Lodge --- again never before seen by any of the folks who live there. One person was charged with the infraction of having less than a 1/4 ounce of marijuana. Several rooms were trashed downstairs in a vigorous but inconsistent fashion. There was some breakage that does not appear in the police reports. It is rather difficult to understand what training led to the techniques in evidence. Photos show clothing and papers all over the place, but there seems to have been little effort to look behind the thousands of shelved books or under seat cushions and the like. Some rooms were given a minimal look; others ended up like an earthquake in a thrift shop. The situation upstairs took some additional turns. Our Temple was broken up and generally desecrated, making it difficult for the Gnostic Mass to be held two days later. One of the members is a student of pyrotechnics (safe and sane style fireworks). He had a room rented upstairs for storage of his materials, colorants, tubes and chemicals --- all obtained legally. This presented a new option to the officers. A call was made to the judge who issued the original search warrant, and a verbal extension was given to include bomb making supplies. We do have a list of the chemicals and "Fire Works Components" (yes, the police did identify the components as fire works), including at least two substances that cannot exist. Possibly that sort of error can be excused by misreading bottle labels, but really --- "flowers of sodium"! The name of the owner of the fire-works chemicals was identified by the police and written into the report. His name was also on the door to the room. It would appear, however, that this brother was not in the target list. The two brothers who had been pulled out of a car in front of the house were charged with possession of these materials. The actual owner of the materials was identified by the police, was in the house and was not charged. These two brothers therefore have felony charges for possession of materials not in their own rooms and known to be the property of a person released without arrest. Naturally we are glad that our brother was not charged for his legally owned property, but it is a bit much to see others charged who had nothing to do with the material. Chemicals were spilled and not cleaned up during the raid. There is no doubt in my mind that the officer in charge knew he was visiting desecration on a church. He characterized the Temple as "temple" in his report. He knew that the place was known as "Thelema Lodge", and he used the term of opprobrium "cult" to describe the group. I really must take exception to that term "cult". We have been in existence for more than eighty years, have more than 1500 members in 26 countries, and the word "cult" does not appear on our letters of religious tax exemption from the Federal Government and the State of California. I don't recall our being called a "cult" in the case we brought and won in the IXth District Federal Court in 1985 e.v., and our religious status was noted in that decision. The discriminatory language got worse. When the six arrested at Thelema Lodge were brought with the six from Merkabah House over to the Berkeley Jail, it became immediately apparent that religious persecution was the name of the new game. Our members were called "devil worshipers" consistently by the jailers. These remarks were spread beyond the jail. Abusive language appears to have been used in an attempt to prejudice. There are Satanists in the world, but for an officer to use the language "devil worshiper" to characterize the religion of a person in custody is in no way different from an officer calling civil rights marchers "niggers". This language is used to dehumanize and to deny due process. It has no place in public, let alone on the lips of arresting officers and jailers. O.T.O. has it's own religion, and does not give place for the Christian "Devil" to exist outside metaphor. Quite frankly, this "devil worshipper" tag is not even ethical if applied to real Satanists of education much beyond grammar school. I have met several over the years, and most could not be said to worship the "Devil". For non-Christians, Satan is more often the symbolic hero of John Milton's "Paradise Lost" than a foolish mental disorder with a pitch-fork. In jail our members and friends were subjected to the verbal abuse already mentioned, but there were other things. No one had been read their rights, and only after the arrest papers became accessible did anyone learn of a very fine print statement of civil rights on a paper that had been signed under pressure without time for reading. Ordinary requests made by prisoners were honored by the jailers, but not identical humanitarian requests made by our folk. One of our people had suffered an injury when he was allowed to tumble down stairs during the raid. He had lost sensation in his right arm, and was experiencing an increasing loss of motor function. His requests for medical examination were refused to his face. With persistence, he was finally heard by an officer from another part of the building. When the matter was brought to the attention of a judge, this brother was immediately released on "OR" (own recognizance). This was on the third day of his incarceration, and he had been denied his first phone call for about 60 hours. Arraignments were held Monday and Tuesday, with everybody still in custody being released on "OR" following arraignment. Most charges had been dropped, and further court appearances are scheduled later this month. At this writing the homes are still in great disarray, but enough clean-up has taken place to discover over $380 missing from Merkabah House and almost $500 missing from Thelema Lodge. That's rent money, personal cash and temple furbishment funds. Some of it may have been lost in the street during hasty searches, but there is no explanation for most of it vanishing from boxes, drawers and the like. Also missing are initiation reports plainly marked the property of Grand Lodge (with address!) and being readied for forward. While I sat typing this account, a call came in. The affidavit that led to issuance of the search warrant had surfaced. This entire raid was based on the verbal assertions of one individual, with the complicity of another. I will restrain myself from describing the mental and moral qualities of that person. Suffice it to say that the lurid details offered to the ear of the officer were so absurd that I cannot imagine anyone crediting them for a moment. I was accused of conducting something unfathomable called "a black baptism" in the yard behind Thelema Lodge. Preposterous nonsense about minors, drugs, and the like abounded in the document. The officer entered Merkabah house a few days before, posing as a plumber. He wandered about the rooms trying to "smell" amphetamines. He had to be instructed before entry on how to pour a can of cleaner in a drain and how to soap a gas line joint. When he was asked to snake a blockage, he had no answer. For heaven's sake! Education in the public schools is a disaster, but ...! I would also like to know why Oakland PD appears not to have been contacted about the Thelema Lodge address. It seems only natural that Berkeley PD would consult Oakland PD before doing Elliot Ness impressions in Oakland. What would have happened if someone in the house had called 911 before identifying the intruders? I can't help wondering what impact the big cocaine seizure in southern California and the Night Stalker trial sentencing may have had on this decision to go so far on so little. It's too bad the news about the Oklahoma sheriff didn't attract as much attention. That guy is on trial for allegedly trying to kidnap a suspected drug dealer out of Texas to drag back to Oklahoma for torture with a hot curling iron. Could it be that the admitted drug problems in this country have induced hysteria? Has the fundamentalist hate literature that has been flooding police agencies and service magazines actually been believed? Some of that trash lists the Star of David, the Star and Crescent of Islam, the Peace Sign, the Pentagram from the American Flag and the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States as "Satanic Devices." Several years ago I wrote a piece on the revival of "The Blood Libel"; this blithering nonsense is full of it. By all accounts, most of the officers drawn into this exercise were reasonable and professional individuals. It seems to me that only a few of the officers were responsible for abuses, although those were very serious indeed. I wasn't there. All I have to go on is what the officer wrote in his reports and what the witnesses said. Pray to the deities you still are allowed that you can continue to say the same. The folks at these locations need personal help to replace losses and repair damage. If you can help, please contact the Lodge. Grand Lodge needs donations (tax deductible) to build up the legal fund. Attorneys have to be paid, and civil rights cases aren't cheap. Contributions to the O.T.O. Legal Fund should be made out to "O.T.O." and sent to: Ordo Templi Orientis P.O.Box 430 Fairfax, CA 94930 USA Update on the Great Raid Debacle Owing to the intervention of a 7 point earth quake and delays in getting attorneys, the criminal charges against our brothers and sisters have dragged on a bit. Of the twelve charged, four have had all charges dismissed, including all felony charges. The urine tests have indeed returned negative. The fireworks materials were determined to be "insufficient evidence" on the brothers accused. That leaves eight people with misdemeanors or infractions still pending. The pre-trial dates have been moved for these folks twice now, but an informed source at the district attorney's office has stated that all remaining charges are expected to be dropped later this month. Now that matters have quieted down somewhat, a few details need to be corrected from last month's article. The couple described as being taken naked from Merkabah house were in fact taken from Thelema Lodge, and their genitals were covered even if nothing else was. The baby photograph did not in fact show car seat straps, but a decorative T-shirt. There are conflicting accounts on how many were not taken in from each address, ranging from two to four. Other than those minor corrections, the account stands substantially correct. Other details have surfaced. Several people were battered by the officers, variously kicked in the head and ribs. Arm, wrist and other injuries were also reported. Medical attention proved necessary in at least one instance for a back injury. Details of verbal assaults and intimidations will be held for a civil case. The officer leading the raid displayed some confusion about the syringes he alleged to have found at Merkabah house. After our people expressed surprise over seeing these objects for the first time, the officer remarked that he had found them in a drawer in the bathroom. On being told that there were no drawers in the bathroom, the officer is reported to have changed to "in a drawer in the sink". On discovering that there were also no drawers in the sink, the officer finally settled on having found these mysterious objects IN the sink. These several drafts of his story having been worked out, the officer wrote up his "find" as having been in the sink, and that report is the source I used for my account last month. There is an inconfirmed account of officer R. (who lead the raid) calling S.G. (of cult awareness notoriety) in SF prior to the raid. An informed source describes the conversation to have included remarks roughly reconstructed as follows: "This isn't a religious thing is it?" "No, ah, there's drugs too..." Well, there weren't drugs one, let alone "too". Where does that leave us? Here's some superficially unrelated news. The October 22nd issue of the Jehovah's Witnesses "Awake!" magazine has published a bogus account about Crowley and O.T.O. I quote from page 6: "In 1905, in Los Angeles, California, Crowley organized a Satanism group named 'Ordo Templi Orientis.'" Of course, in 1905 e.v., Crowley had never heard of O.T.O. O.T.O. was set up in Southern California by W.T.Smith in 1935 e.v. That's off by 30 years and one human being. Aside from that, Crowley didn't start O.T.O. O.T.O. has never been Satanist and neither was Crowley a "devil worshiper." There's more of course. The Linden LaRouche organization has a major front in Livermore California, called the Schiller Institute. The organization newsletter, "The New Federalist" has been running a campaign against O.T.O., the unrelated Temple of Set and other new age groups for several issues now. Apparently LaRouche has come to the conclusion that O.T.O. got him busted through our well known "front organization", the F.B.I. This obscure belief has led to quite remarkable statements, and may get worse. D. Core is a spokes person for this organization, mainly in England but also in the USA. Harmless information provided to the Schiller Institute has surfaced in a newspaper attack against the O.T.O. in England, thus establishing the existence of the pipe-line. That information was a city name in Marin, provided to the front organization for tracing purposes. We have therefore identified a tie between the LaRouche group at Livermore and the publicity campaign in England against Satanism (so-called). During a year of bogus attack publicity in the British press, a substantial independent occult shop in Leeds was subjected to riots and disruptions of operations. Report has just been received that that shop, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, has been fire bombed by Christian radicals. It has been a cry of Samhain for many years: "Never again the burning". I regret to say that the burning times have come again. I suggest that certain Wicca organizations would better serve themselves and the rest of the combustible occult community by reevaluating their approach to occult crime publicity. There is a faction in Wicca, by no means the majority, which has sought to identify non-Wicca as potential or actual "criminal Satanists". A recent publication titled "Witchcraft, Satanism and Ritual Crime: Who's Who and What's What" has been offered for sale by the highly respected "Green Egg" magazine out of Ukiah. By and large, this is a noble and worthwhile effort. Unfortunately, the publication contains a glossary of occult symbols that bears all the signs of becoming a new age "Malleus Maleficarum" or handbook on approved persecution. Rank on rank of symbols are displayed and briefly discussed as being ok or evil. That dead horse the inverted Calvary Cross is there as a devil worshipper device, with no note to the effect that it's known as the "Cross of Peter" in the Roman Catholic Church (a symbol of the martyrdom of the Apostle). The inverted pentagram, especially if circled, is a devilish emblem of evil --- something of a shock to the Co-masonic Eastern Star organization which uses it as their chief symbol. The eye in the triangle is gently identified as coming from the Illuminati, but no mention is made of over a thousand years of Christian usage of that very symbol for the Divine Trinity. And so on ... Fear is the tool of the oppressor. Panic is the mortise it cuts in the gallows tree. Let's not allow ourselves to be tamed into dogs to tear down the innocent. Remember instead the lesson of Quisling's accommodation with that fellow who perverted the swastika into a shadow across Norway in WWII. It's time to knock off volunteering other people's virgins for the dragon. Once used to such fare he will turn and rend all the children of the Lady. With apology for bent feelings and mixed metaphor, --- Bill Heidrick, (aka TSG) Common Values "Tabloid television" is becoming the foremost weapon in the arsenal of the anti-occult propagandist. Last Halloween I caught glimpses of a talk-show dialogue between Christians and occultists. Viewed even in glimpses, there was no denying what kind of picture was being painted. The Christian fundamentalists had calmly and reasonably exposed the "Satanic conspirators" as being vile animals. From what I have heard, this is typical of television "investigation" into the occult. There are certain obvious factors which contribute to the trend. Many of these shows demonstrate blatant bias against occultism, either by their choice of who represents each side, the attitude of the moderator, or both. But even if television journalists somehow attempt to maintain a neutral perspective, the quick and superficial nature of the medium itself tends to support pre-established patterns of thought. The time necessary to consider a different point of view in any substantial way is not available in a half-hour panel or five minute news feature. But the most significant weakness that the occult spokesmen displayed was their complete failure to understand the nature of what was at stake. Fundamentalists, before firing the first shot, took the time to develop a strategy. It is time for pagans and members of other minority religions to take measures to counteract that strategy. Who do the fundamentalists want to influence? Their own need no convincing, and they certainly aren't trying to reach occultists. Their task is to convince the secular public -- parents, civic leaders, voters -- that occultism is as much a threat to the American way of life as it is to the Christian. Their job is aided by the fact that many of our secular values have been developed from Christian values, and most Americans do not take the time to distinguish between them. So the line of attack rests mainly on those issues which are of common concern to all, Christian and non-Christian alike: violence, kidnapping, and other forms of predatory behavior. Fundamentalists know that to base their arguments on scriptural or doctrinal grounds (which is the actual motivation for these attacks in most cases) would tend to alienate them from a secular audience. Once accused, what is the occultist to do? The approach that I have seen utilized has plainly not worked: instead of dealing with the charges of violence directly, occultists have chosen to expound upon those topics which are of foremost value to other occultists. Naturally, occultists are going to value the occult. In their own ears, the issues of expansion of consciousness, universal human liberty, and the casting-off of conditioned illusion ring of such importance that accusations of murder and child molestation are banished from their minds. But to the secular ear this all sounds like psycho-babble. The public doesn't want to hear about the occult. The reason that some matters are "occult," (meaning "hidden") is not because anyone is hiding them. The mysteries are open to anyone who inquires with sincerity and determination. But because there is no immediate personal pay-off, no one goes through the effort to penetrate the mysteries unless they have some strong intuitive reason for doing so. The accusation has been made. The first task of the accused is obvious. It is simply to declare and demonstrate that we share in those values which are essential to the peaceful co-existence of free individuals in a secular society. Specifically: Occultists do not support murder. Occultists do not support the harming of children. Occultists do not support theft or violence against innocent people. Christians, occultists, and the secular public are all potential victims of violent and predatory persons. No one wants to be a victim. There have been predators that have called themselves Christians. There have been predators that have called themselves occultists. There were predators long before these terms existed. We all empathize with their victims simply by being human. There are those who would point at Richard Rameriz and say: occultists are predators. Others would point at Jim Jones or Innocent III and say: Christians are predators. Those who make generalizations of this kind themselves partake of the nature of predators, and deserve our disdain. Surprisingly enough, elements of the secular public are already helping to set the record straight. The Committee for Scientific Examination of Religion has published a report, "Satanism in America," which details the history and sources of anti-occult hysteria with remarkable thoroughness. To obtain a copy for yourself, your parents, or your local police department, it is available from GAIA PRESS, P.O. Box 466, El Cerrito, CA 94530-0466. Make checks payable to Dr. Shawn Carlson. And when someone asks you, "mutilate any cattle lately?" Just say no. *************************************************************************

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank