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SYNOPSIS OF VOLUME ONE
This volume begins telling the story about Grady McMurtry’s Scottish ancestors. How they came to South Carolina, lived through the Civil War and then moved to Oklahoma. It mentions their pioneer days, his Grandfather fighting both the Indians and the Sheriff. Grady’s childhood is discussed, along with his own father’s criminal career as a bank robber in the thirties and its effect on Grady. The Great Depression forces Grady’s family to move to California.
Once in Pasadena, in 1939, Grady’s begins writing poetry. He attends the local Junior College. He joins Howard Scott’s Technocracy Inc. He becomes involved with the Los Angeles Science Fiction Fantasy Society. He meets such notables as Paul Friables, Forest J. Ackerman, Ray Bradbury, Jack Williamson and the famous rocket scientist Jack Parsons. The latter would become his best friend. Parsons introduces Grady to Crowley’s writings and the OTO. There are many memories of Grady’s early visits to the OTO’s Agape Lodge in Pasadena and meeting Wilfred T. Smith, the Lodge Master. Harry Hay, founder of The Radical Fairies, plays the organ at the Agape Lodge ceremonies. Karl Germer, the Grand Treasurer General of the OTO, is released by the Nazis from a concentration camp. In 1941 Grady drops out of College and joins the Army. Germer moves to New York and become Head of the OTO for the United States. Grady and his girlfriend Claire Palmer join the OTO. Grady’s meets Lou Goldstone the science-fiction illustrator and editor of the magazine Fantasia. Grady’s poetry is published in this magazine. Grady marries Claire. Pearl Harbor is attacked. Grady leaves Claire at the Agape Lodge and reports for duty. While he’s away, the OTO Lodge teaches Grady’s wife about free sex and “do what thou wilt” which inevitably ends Grady’s marriage. The OTO ‘lunacy’ in southern California is discussed. Grady marries his second wife Marjorie Fox or Foxie. Grady is sent to Officers Candidate School in Wyoming. Grady begins writing to Aleister Crowley. They share thoughts on poetry and Agape Lodge. There are numerous letter exchanges. The sexual antics at Agape Lodge are beginning to affect everyone. Crowley and Germer think the Lodge is corrupting the Thelemic teachings. Grady and Parsons have a major blow-up over Grady’s wife’s behavior after Pearl Harbor. Grady is upset that Jack and others have taught her about free sex. In the end, Jack and Grady settle their differences and remain friends.
Wilfred T. Smith steps down as Lodge Master in order to do The Hidden God ritual. Jack Parsons becomes the new Lodge Master. Grady is now a Lieutenant and a Company Commander. He is sent overseas to fight the Nazis. In route, while in New York, he visits Karl Germer. In England, in-between preparing for the invasion of Europe, he visits Aleister Crowley many times at 93 Jermyn Street. They become best of friends. His visits are discussed in-depth, what transpired and how AC gave him his name Frater Hymenaeus Alpha 777 and made him a IXth Degree initiate. Grady’s duties in the army, the bomber squadrons and his poetry regarding the war are all discussed. London is being bombed by the Nazis. Crowley’s apartment at 93 Jermyn Street is badly damaged and if he had been home he would have been killed. Crowley moves to the country to Bells Inn. Grady’s often visits him there. D-Day, Grady and his troops go ashore. He’s almost killed twice. Grady’s memories of this battle, his duties and the poems which he writes like Normandie in June and others.
Crowley, the Prophet of Thelema, looks for a ‘spiritual’ descent of authority for his Order similar to Mohammed. The infamous Thelemic Caliphate letters are written. In these and other letters Crowley discusses his vision of Grady as being the possible future Head of the Order. Grady is officially made ‘Caliph.’ With a lull after Normandie, St Lo and other battles, Grady flies back to England to visit Crowley. Then the Battle of the Bulge begins. Grady’s troops are stationed near Bastogne. However, he is stuck in England. He spends Christmas with Crowley. The fog lifts; Bastogne is relieved, Grady returns to the front.
In January 1945 Crowley moves again. He settles into Netherwood, Hastings. Numerous letters exchanges between OTO members are discussed. World War II ends. Grady visits Crowley at Hastings. Grady then returns to California as a Sovereign Grand Inspector General. He is now an International Grand Lodge officer of OTO. The only other two officers are Aleister Crowley and Karl Germer. He is ordered to investigate all the rumors about Agape Lodge. While at Agape Lodge Grady meets the new tenant, L. Ron Hubbard. Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard begin a business together called Allied Enterprises. It’s mostly Jack’s money which starts the company. Jack Parson’s begins the infamous magickal rituals known as the Babalon Working. This is where he and Hubbard try to incarnate a Fire Elemental or Familiar Spirit ... a ‘Moonchild’ from another dimension into a mortal. Then, out of nowhere, appears a flaming red head, the ‘Elemental’, in the form of the famous artist named Marjoire Cameron. Jack and Marjorie become romantically involved. The antics of the OTO Lodge are discussed at length, along with the numerous letters of this period. Also mentioned is Grady’s poetry, his new job and getting re-established in San Francisco now that the war is over. He goes back to College. Due to his ‘magick’, Jack Parsons starts showing signs of going insane. He steps down as Lodge Master. Roy Leffingwell is made the new Agape Lodge Master.
Crowley is very concerned. He sends Grady a special authorization to take charge of the entire OTO in California if it doesn’t stabilize. Germer visits California to inspect the area for himself. L. Ron Hubbard embezzles most of Jack Parsons’ money from Allied Enterprises, then flees. Parsons pursues him all the way to Florida. Parsons performs a magick ritual to invoke another ‘Elemental’ in the form of a huge wind. This wind scuttles Hubbard’s boat, forcing him back to port where he’s arrested and both parties end up in Court. Hubbard then marries Parsons ex-wife. Also, a controversial incident regarding Crowley and Grady, often repeated, which supposedly occurred during the war is discussed at length. It’s proven wrong and finally put to rest. The incident in question dealt with the famous poet Michael Hamburger, not Grady. Grady and his wife give birth to a son. In December of 1947 Aleister Crowley dies in Hastings and is cremated. Its effect on everyone is discussed.
A new world leader of OTO is chosen. It’s Karl Germer. Crowley’s entire private archive and library is sent to Germer. Grady is still in College. His family from Oklahoma re-surface, there are many interactions between Grady, his father and others. Jack Parsons swears the magickal Oath of the Abyss. This is the most dangerous magickal ritual in Crowley’s entire arsenal, often resulting in totally insanity or death.
Throughout 1950 war in Korea loomed on the horizon. Due to his college courses, Grady sends a letter to Military Intelligence, G-2, Department of the Army at the Pentagon in Washington volunteering his services. He is re-activated and made a Captain. However, due to his connections with Crowley, he’s not assigned to G2 but sent to Maryland as an Ordnance Unit Instructor. Germer leaves NY, moves to NJ, where Grady is able to visit him. The whereabouts of Crowley’s ashes are finally revealed. He’s buried under a tree in New Jersey.
In April of 1952 Grady is sent to Korea as a Company Commander in the 8th Army Ordnance Corp. He becomes the Ammunition Supply Officer for the front lines with between 300 to 500 hundred men under his command. November of 1952, Roy Leffingwell dies and Jane Wolfe becomes the new Agape Lodge Master. She was a famous Hollywood actress in silent films and who had lived with Crowley at his infamous Abbey at Cefalu. While in Korea Grady reads a magazine and discovers that Jack Parsons is dead. While preparing explosives Parsons blew himself and his house to pieces in Pasadena. Grady and Jane Wolfe correspond regarding this tragedy.
The OTO in California is also melting down. Germer can’t control the OTO, plots are hatched, dissension is brewing and most Californian OTO members simply dislike him. Jane Wolfe’s health fails and she steps down as Lodge Master. No one is available to take over the Lodge so Germer officially closes the Lodge in September 1953.
Once the Korean war is over Grady is briefly sent to Japan before returning to SF. Grady distances himself from the OTO to deal with his personal life, his wife, child and college. Grady remains in the reserves and is promoted to Major. In September of 1955 Aleister Crowley’s only son, Aleister Ataturk leaves England to live with Germer in New Jersey. Germer’s second wife dies, he re-marries. His third wife is Sascha Germer. The Germers and Ataturk move to California. In 1956 a lot of Grady’s family, work and college is discussed. Treachery throughout the OTO is still brewing by members like Wilfred T. Smith, Louis Culling and Marcelo Motta. Both Germer and his new wife show signs of paranoia that everyone is plotting against them. They distrust everyone in the OTO and the Order treats them likewise. Germer forbids any new initiations to occur which in effect signs the death warrant for the OTO. In April 1957 Wilfred T. Smith dies. In 1958, Grady comes out of hiding and begins contacting OTO members throughout California. He and Germer almost immediately start fighting about letting the OTO die. Grady tries to unite all the Californian fractions of the OTO. At first he’s got Germer’s blessings. The early months of 1958 which is the most critical year in the OTO’s development. It shows how Grady tried to re-unite the OTO, quoting numerous letters and discussing AC’s Thelemic beliefs. It shows the effect which Grady’s actions had on Germer and especially his wife Sascha. In their paranoia, the Germer’s start believing that what Grady is doing is wrong. They conclude that the California OTO should not be re-united. In March Jane Wolfe dies. Germer and his wife are really showing signs of insanity. He’s threatening everybody with expulsion or censorship, mostly due to his wife’s instigation. Grady ignores Germer’s actions and he continues to try to unite all the scattered OTO initiates. Ataturk creates turmoil. The final OTO blow-up occurs at the Conference in 1959. This is where everyone, except Grady, backs down to Germer’s threats and they stop trying to unite. Grady & Germer continue fighting. Grady leaves Berkeley and moves his family to Sacramento to take a Government job. Grady and Germer have their last major fight. It is here that Grady writes some of the most important poetry of his life. Guided, he says, by his Holy Guardian Angel.
Grady, disgusted with Germer’s leadership, moves to Washington DC in 1962. He leaves the OTO behind and accepts a job offer at the Department of Treasury. He also teaches night courses in Political Science at George Washington University.
SYNOPSIS OF VOLUME TWO
This volume begins with Karl Germer dying of prostate cancer in October 1962. His Will is discussed, who should be the next world leader of the OTO, the in-house fighting regarding such and how, in the end, no leader was elected. The OTO begins a dark period of years without leadership. Sacsha Germer wants nothing to do with anyone. She goes into hiding and keeps Crowley’s archives. In the mean-time, Grady’s activities in Washington D.C. are discussed and how no one bothered to tell him of Germer’s death. He drops out of the military. He joins the Shakespeare Society, becomes a delegate to the Washington Theater Alliance, a member of the DC Chapter of the American Political Science Association and a member of the Executive Committees of both the 39th Annual DC 1 Act Play Tournament (1966-67) as well as the 1st Annual Eastern State Theater Festival (1967). Then his health starts failing. He’s drinking too much. He’s diagnoses with narcolepsy. He and his second wife, Foxie, split. Grady has a new live in girlfriend, a fellow actor from the Shakespeare Society. By 1967 the OTO is non-existent.
Then the library thefts begin. Sascha Germer’s house is looted and parts of Crowley’s private archive is stolen by people unknown. The old secretary to Crowley, Israel Regardie, his house is also looted. Someone has decided to re-activate the OTO on their own and is looking for information. Sascha accuses the daughter of another old Agape Lodge member, Phyllis Seckler, of the thefts. To clear her daughter’s name Phyllis begins her own investigation. She notifies, if not accuses, Grady of the thefts. Grady proves that he is innocent. Due to this correspondence he learns of Germer’s death.
Phyllis and Grady begin a lengthy campaign of letter writing back and forth. Two, three and even four times a week. Many are four or five pages long. They basically renew their friendship, discuss their poetry and the OTO’s past. Grady also discusses his plans about starting something based on Crowley’s teachings in Washington DC. In these letters Phyllis learns of the authority granted by Crowley which would allow Grady to “take charge” in case of an OTO emergency. She also discovers that Grady is the only Grand Lodge officer still alive. She suggests that he moves to California to take charge of the OTO’s affairs. There is love affair blooming through the mail between Grady and Phyllis. Although Grady is separated from his second wife, he is still living with his girlfriend.
There are numerous letters between Grady, Phyllis and other OTO members, like Mildred Burligame. Mostly these letters are renewing old friendships, discussing plans for the future of the OTO and talk about Grady’s moving to California. Grady and Phyllis have fallen madly in love. Phyllis learns that Mildred’s house was also burglarized around the same time as Israel Regardie’s and Sascha’s. However, Mildred knew who was responsible for looting her library. It was one of her ex-students, Jean Brayton. Grady tells his girlfriend its over and that he’s moving to California.
Phyllis and Mildred discover that Jean Brayton is running a “secret group” in LA. In April of 1969 Grady flies to California and moves in with Phyllis Seckler. They meet with many surviving OTO members, again trying to re-unite the Order. Only Mildred Burligame is interested. Grady and Phyllis start investigating the library thefts together and Jean Brayton’s group. Grady and Phyllis get married in Mexico. Their marriage is rocky right from the start. Grady drinks too much, bordering on alcoholism, which Phyllis hates. Also, Grady starts hanging around with many young kids who were interested in Crowley. They are mostly SF hippies, long hair and into drugs. Phyllis and Grady fight over the ‘type’ of people suitable in becoming an OTO initiate. Phyllis, an old school teacher, is very straight and didn’t appreciate Grady’s new hippie friends, like Chuck Apel and Llee Heflin. The first OTO initiations in almost twenty years take place. Phyllis disapproves and does not participate. Then, the ‘Boy in the Box’ scandal erupts in southern California. Newspapers carry the story worldwide. The incident occurred within a group calling itself The Solar Lodge which has a tenuous Charles Manson connection. The group is run by Jean Brayton. One of the members is Jerry Kay, the art director of the recently released movie Easy Rider.
The Kaaba Clerk House Days of 1970. This is when Grady, ignoring Phyllis, tried to get the OTO established amongst the newly initiated hippies in SF by opening a store front. There are many problems; the drugs, there are blow-ups and fights which the Clerk House caused between Grady and Phyllis. Grady tries to release Crowley’s Thoth Deck through Jerry Kay. Behind the scenes Grady’s investigation of The Solar Lodge. Grady and Heflin have a major falling out.
Grady has numerous printing projects. He begins using LSD and other drugs. The LSD effect on his magick and poetry is brought out along with its effect on his sanity. Grady join’s Crowley’s AAorganization. Grady takes the Oath of the Abyss. The majority of all ceremonial magicians have failed at this ordeal. Most, in fact, went insane. The last person to do this ritual was Jack Parsons and many believe it was responsible for his death. As for Grady, the effect is almost immediate, he too begins to lose his mind. Phyllis and Grady’s are constantly fighting. Grady and Chuck have a falling out. Grady has a drug over-dose and is rushed to the hospital.
Grady is still trying to get the OTO established but having little luck. He prints books and signs a contract with Llewellyn to publish Crowley’s Thoth Deck after Jerry Kay fails to come through. Grady has a great meeting with the Satanist Anton LaVey. The book titled The Family is released about the Manson murders. The Chapter on The Solar Lodge is in-directly due to Grady’s research. More of the truth behind the Solar Lodge and Jean Brayton is discussed. Grady visits Regardie. Grady also visits another weird southern Californian occult group calling itself OTA.
Grady’s poetry in relationship to his magick is discussed regarding his Holy Guardian Angel and his ‘demon.’ Crowley’s beliefs, regarding the Oath of the Abyss, and what occurs to ones psyche and mind are discussed. Why it’s such a dangerous ritual. Also, Grady and Phyllis are still having major problems in their marriage. Grady’s sanity becomes a major issue. In December of 1972 the ‘voices’ in Grady’s head drive him to commit suicide. He was not successful. After his hospital stay he seemed better but, within a short time, he returned to booze, drugs and his old friend. January 1973 it is a quite period for Grady simply publishing, researching and getting his head together. His marriage is effectively on hold. More theory about the Oath of the Abyss is discussed using Grady’s life as an example of the process. In 1974 Grady joins the Sikh organization known as Healthy, Happy Holy Organization or 3HO. He starts letting his hair grow long and he grows his long beard, for which he is famous. Studying Yoga has a quieting effect on Grady mind. A lot is discussed about trying to get the OTO off the ground, his friendship with Israel Regardie, the gatherings and the parties of this period. Grady meets such notables as Robert Anton Wilson and the noted author Dr. Jacques Vallee. Due to Grady’s involvement with 3HO he begins teaching yoga. He and Phyllis finally split, their marriage is over. He moves to Berkeley and she stays in Dublin. She is very bitter.
The final secrets of the Oath of the Abyss, as Grady has come to learn them, are revealed. Grady realizes, once away from Phyllis, that he has actually achieved all the obligation. He becomes a full Magister Templi in Crowley’s AA system.
An old OTO initiate from Brazil, Marcelo Motta, re-surfaces to cause grief. Everyone also discovers that Sascha Germer has been dead for almost a year. The remainder of the OTO property has been put into storage by the State of California. Grady begins the process of proving through the California Court system that he is the head of the OTO and that he should get the property. The Courts agree and everything which the Brayton’s hadn’t stolen is turned over to him. Phyllis, bitter over a failed marriage, begins endless character attacks behind Grady’s back. Each trying to prove that he is neither a true OTO leader or that he successfully accomplished the ordeals of the Abyss. Grady has a new girlfriend, Sharon Morton. He releases the first OTO Newsletter. And he assumes the next magickal step after the Oath of the Abyss and takes the Oath of a Magus. Uttering his ‘WORD’ which is discussed in-depth magickally, as to what this ordeal implies.
Grady’s magickal affirmation allows him to create the first Grand Lodge of the OTO on Crowley’s birthday of Oct.12th 1977. He calls it Thelema Lodge. It is the first US OTO body created since Agape Lodge closed. He also charters others OTO bodies throughout the US. The OTO is finally getting off the ground. However, many problems arise because the Order is growing too fast to effectively manage itself. The remainder of the OTO Archive, previously awarded by the Court and, put into storage under Phyllis’ care, is mysteriously stolen. Phyllis and Grady have issues over the thefts. Now that Grand Lodge has been established it tries to clean up the Order’s bad name, Grady sues the author Peter Straub for slander which he makes in his novel Ghost Story. The OTO wins the lawsuit. Then, tragically, the OTO Newsletter stops due to a controversy. The Order begins publishing The Magickal Link. Positive steps are taken by Grady to establish the Order on solid ground. An OTO Lodge is chartered in Canada and the OTO begins to go international. Motta surfaces again, claiming to be the true head of the OTO and he files lawsuits against a major book publisher, Samuel Weisers Inc, for copyright infringement. Grady and the OTO help Weiser fight Motta. Gerald Yorke, a close friend of Crowley and Grady, and the world’s greatest Crowley collector, dies in England. Many OTO initiations occur and the membership is starting to completely fill out the ranks between 0-IVth. These degrees are called the ‘man of Earth.’ Grady then decides to establishment the second, or inner grades known as ‘the Lover.’ This begins with V and the Rose Croix Chapter. It creates a multitude of major problems. Major obstacle arise within the OTO as some members try to over-throw Grady through the mis-use of the Lover grades. A major incident and blow-up occurs over this in Syracuse, New York. Grady’s health starts to seriously decline. He goes in & out of the hospital.
This volume ends by telling tells the story about how Aleister Crowley’s original manuscript of The Book of The Law is mysteriously found amongst garbage in a basement in Oakland, California. Also, Motta loses his lawsuit. The OTO files a counter lawsuit against him and wins. Israel Regardie dies. Grady’s own health is failing. He finally dies on July 12th 1985. His funeral is discussed, the poetry readings and where his ashes were scattered.