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OTO in the 1930's

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OTO in the 1930's


Was the OTO open to women in the 1930's? Please cite charter specifics or give examples of women members of the time in response. Thank you.

My understanding is that Lady Harris who did the Thoth deck was a member of the Golden Dawn. I was wondering if she was also a member of the OTO. If she was not, I'm interested in why she wasn't. If she was, I'd like to know her date of initiation and final grade.
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Hello Wizzle, here's a note of 1937...hope it helps.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Frieda_Harris


1937 - Introductions

There were three significant events in 1937 - she met Aleister Crowley; he initiated her into his own Order, and she studied the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Crowley was on the lookout for a talented artist for the three month Tarot project. His headhunter was Clifford Bax, playwright, author, and co-editor of an art & literature magazine entitled The Golden Hind between 1922-24, founded by Austin Osman Spare. On June 9th, 1937 Bax had intended to introduce the artists Meum Stewart and Leslie Blanche to Crowley, but they do not seem to have turned up, so he invited Frieda instead. Bax may have known Harris through Masonic links. Clifford Bax was also instrumental in introducing John Symonds to Crowley. Symonds takes up the Frieda Harris story:

"[Crowley] helped her through the portals of the mystical Order of the A.'. A.'. (Argenteum Astrum]]) She took the name of Tzaba “Hosts”, which adds up to 93; this is also the number of the thelema current which she was trying to tap." John Symonds, The Great Beast.

Frieda Harris was no stranger to ritual through her membership of Co-Masonry, but her knowledge was lacking. As well as reading books by Crowley, her studies of Anthroposophy were to be a critical aspect in the creation of the Tarot. It is quite possible that her studies of Steiner were suggested by Crowley himself. Crowley is on the record as saying that his mission was to continue the work of Blavatsky and Theosophy. Another avenue may have been Greta Valentine who introduced Frieda to Aleister. Greta Valentine was a London socialite whom Crowley loved, but probably never conquered.

"When they met in 1936 she was studying anthroposophy, the mystical teachings of Rudolf Steiner, whose school she attended. Her own interests stopped short of traditional occultism."

Greta was an artist friend of Frieda, and it was at her house in Hyde Park Crescent, London, that Frieda and Aleister worked on the Book of Thoth.

-------------------

I checked the O.T.O. site from the U.S. carefully, but no mention is made of what 'grade/level' Frieda Harris was initiated in from Crowley, as you were trying to find out.

http://oto-usa.org/faq.html

Good luck!

Cerulean
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As a member of International Co-Freemasonry, Freida Harris was unlikely to have been a member of the OTO (at least at the time).

One interesting aspect to this is also that Reuss, who prior to his OTO 'creation' held warrants for establishing the Memphis-Mizraism (Masonic) Rite [MM] in Germany, also at the minimum passed on warrants to others who also initiated women into Freemasonry. Reuss later appears to have incorporated the MM lodges under his own warrants 'into' the OTO, something that Crowley appears to likewise have continued when he took over reigns of one branch of the OTO.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wizzle
Was the OTO open to women in the 1930's? Please cite charter specifics or give examples of women members of the time in response. Thank you.
Simple answer, Yes. The OTO is a specific re-formulation of Freemasonry along New Aeon lines that is open to both men and women. It's one of the main reasons why the OTO is not classed as masonry even though there are similarities. According to traditional craft masonry, women cannot be made Freemasons. That's what makes the OTO different. (I think there was some trouble on this issue in Detroit the 1920's between Crowley and the resident Freemasons who felt that Crowley was treading on their toes.)
Quote:
9. Every man and woman that is of full age, free, and of good report, has an indefeasible right to the III°. Liber 52
See: http://www.hermetic.com/crowley/libers/lib52.html (1919)
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizzle
My understanding is that Lady Harris who did the Thoth deck was a member of the Golden Dawn.
Harris was never a member of the Golden Dawn. Where did you hear that? She was a co-mason and interested in various esoteric doctrines, but she was never a member of the Golden Dawn.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizzle
I was wondering if she was also a member of the OTO. If she was not, I'm interested in why she wasn't. If she was, I'd like to know her date of initiation and final grade.
I've no idea if Harris was ever initiated into OTO. It's possible that she was initiated in an informal way. But you have to bear in mind the poor state of the OTO in Britain at that time. There were no active British lodges at that time. All the active lodges were in America in the 1930's and after. (See in particular Agape Lodge.)
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Quote:
Back in February, Crowley had written of Frieda Harris, "She is seriously on the Path." His May 3 diary added, "She is now quite definitely a pupil." Within a week, she affiliated to the O.T.O. for £10 and joined the A.'.A.'. with the motto TzBA.

PERDURABO ~ Richard Kaczynski Ph.D.
That makes a lot of sense actually. If Crowley was going to work with Harris on the creation of a Tarot deck he would only have told her the real esoteric meaning of the symbolism if she was bound by the Oath of the Order not to reveal it's secrets to non-members. Common practice in all esoteric societies.
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Why not????


Why didnt so-and-so join the OTO? I've never really asked that question. I've heard answers (without asking) , surely the most valid reason is "I don't want to." ?
There is a fair amount written by AC about the difference between OTO and AA.
You might find it hard to track, to get a record of the first womans initiation in OTO (or anyone elses). These things are often highly confidential, however there are historical 'leaks'.

To the best of my knowledge, there is no reason whatsoever that if, at day one of the original chartering of the OTO, a woman requested to join, she would have been refused on that point. A healthy tradition that still exists today. When I was active in OTO, the first national head was a woman. I subsequently served (yes served!) under two women Local Body Heads or Masters.

Check the OTO Constitution, even the higest level of people in the Order can come from the lowest degrees, man or woman.

Lots of things about the OTO are published. Thats for us to pursue and learn, if 'tis our will. But there is a lot more to all the extant teachings including things that are unpublished, for reasons of privacy and protection.
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