New Religious Movements
Aleister Crowley was the founding member of Ordo Templi Orientis – the Order of Oriental Templars – or Order of the Temple of the East; otherwise known as OTO. He was born into an upper class-family in 1875 and fashioned himself as ’the Greatest Beast, 666’. Richard Price in his article, published in the Daily Mail in April 2013, describes OTO as an even more sinister, creepy ‘religion’ than Scientology. This Satanic sex cult, Price states, is attracting and ‘snaring’ celebrities such as Peaches Geldof, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page and rapper Jay – Z who uses ‘imagery and quotations’ from Crowley’s work.
Price describes Crowley, OTO’s founding ‘prophet’, as ‘an unabashed occultist’ who before his death in 1947, revelled in his notoriety as ‘the wickedest man in the world’. His forms of worship included ‘sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, spells which he claimed could raise malevolent gods and the use of hard drugs, including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescaline’.It is reported that here, in the UK, there are now OTO lodges scattered around the country, practising the same ceremonial rituals and spreading the word of Crowley.
Richard Price went to meet with the head of OTO in the UK, John Bonner, 62. The meeting took place at Bonner’s home in East Sussex where he told Price that in the UK their organisation numbers in the hundreds whilst worldwide it is thousands. Bonner objects to any comparison made between Scientology and OTO and points out that it is ‘extremely expensive’ to study Scientology, whilst OTO demands no financial contributions.
The article refers to a former FBI agent, Ted Gundersen, who whilst investigating Satanic circles in LA found that Crowley’s teachings about ‘raising demons to do one’s bidding’ suggested human sacrifice, preferably of ‘an intelligent young boy’. John Bonner during his meeting with Price dismissed any suggestion that he and other believers in OTO would ‘even begin to countenance such excesses’. He did accept though, that many people may not be able to deal with Crowley’s ‘complex teachings’. Bonner states that, ‘our rituals are not for public consumption. You need to join us and go through the initiation process before you can begin to understand’.
Crowley’s motto, perpetuated by OTO, was ‘do what thou wilt’; and Bonner promotes this in his comment in the interview with Price when he refers to the exercising of free will as being what they are all about. Price suggests that this individualistic approach has led to a lasting fascination among artists and celebrities. Rapper Jay-Z, Price points out, has given the sect very useful publicity through the wearing a T-shirt inscribed with ‘Do what thou wilt’ or and through his clothing line, Rocawear through which he uses OTO imagery such as the ancient Egyptian symbol, frequently referenced in occult texts – the ‘eye of Horus’, and the head of Baphomet (the horned, androgynous idol of Western occultism). Richard price points out that whilst OTO could appear to be a used as just a ‘marketing opportunity for attention-seeking celebs’, it is, in fact, a living religion, with believers still practising occult rituals as set out in Crowley books. It is worrying indeed, that celebrities engaged in this sinister and creepy religion could lure and encourage young, impressionable, fans into finding out more about Crowley’s teachings.