I went into this knowing essentially nothing about the O.T.O. except for Aleister Crowley and "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the Law; love under Will." But regarding the rest of it, the O.T.O. is a VERY syncretic organization. I was confused at first, because of some vague Christian elements, but the whole ritual felt a lot like a pagan ritual, only longer and more formal. I talked with one of the people performing the ritual afterward, and during the course of our discussion, I found that Crowley had known Gerald Gardner, which explained a lot. Gardner was also in the O.T.O. at one point. We further talked about the syncretism of the O.T.O., which is very fascinating. I've long felt myself to be a bit of a weirdo, even among the pagan community, since I mix together elements of paganism, Satanism, Conversations With God, the Left Hand Path, the Right Hand Path, and bits and pieces from a whole plethora of other sources, even Christianity. Among talking with the priest, participating in the ritual, and looking at their library of books1, which is extensive and very varied, I was very impressed. I got even more impressed after finding out that another new person there was a Satanist/Luciferian of a sort. (Something about Satan being Adam, and that he used the knowledge gained from the forbidden fruit to become a god. I shall have to speak with her more, next week.) Sadly, I didn't get her email nor she mine, but she said she'd be coming back next week.2 And I, too, will definitely be going back.
There was a VERY strong Wicca streak through the ritual. Lots of "So mote it be"s and so on. The, uh, the ritual was not exactly family friendly, unless you're a family of nudists who don't mind exposing your kids to suggestive ritual gestures, since the high priestess was nude for about half the ritual. But still, I loved the energy of the ritual, even if I couldn't follow a lot of what was being said. I think I understood enough. It seems that the O.T.O. stance on God, at least for the ritual, was as an ineffable being, which tracks with my thoughts on Kohraindehr (Deity of The All). And, like I said, it was a lot like a pagan ritual.
But, given the heavy Left Hand Path flavor of my work with Shao'Kehn, I was most tickled about the LHP friendliness of the O.T.O. Alex is pleased by that, as well. :-) (Oh, and Baphomet was mentioned in the ritual.)
Oh, and the bread they used in the ritual with the wine (or juice, in the case of me and one other), was real gingerbread! And no, I don't mean the crunchy kind of gingerbread you buy at the store. This was soft bread (in teeny tiny little disks) with real ginger in it. It had such a pleasant bite to it, that it was still biting several minutes later.
All in all, an excellent experience. I'm glad I went.
One last thing: The phrase in the subject heading, "There is no part of me that is not of the gods," is something from the ritual; everyone who got bread and wine/juice during ritual said it after imbibing. I like that phrase a lot.
1 = Which reminds me, they have a thing every Tuesday where one can go and browse their library. Only paying members can check books out, but it's free to browse and read during the Tuesday thing. So there's something else to go to!
2 = She also said something about getting together some time to do our own rituals. So this could be the start of more awesome friend stuff. (Though I can't remember if she said her husband was a Satanist too, or what. I only had a few minutes with her on the bus to talk about it.) She was whispering Satan's name, so I started saying Samael (shaam-eye-el) in its place, since even I was ignorant of Satan's real name until a few weeks ago. (But she seemed to know it.)
This was cross-posted from http://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1083938.html
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