The Gnostic Mass – Switzerland

Here are two pictures of a Gnostic Mass (Liber XV) set up from 1966 in Switzerland, most likely the only part of the world at this time where the ceremony was held. There was a great deal of Thelemic activity during this time in Switzerland under Herman Metzger, who was given the IX° by Frederic Mellinger from Germany and by permission of Karl Germer. Germer also authorized Metzger to hold a charter to run the Ordo Templi Orientis in Switzerland. However,  Metzger would fall out of favor with Karl Germer over the translation of Thelemic documents into German. Despite this fact, Metzger continued to operate the O.T.O. even after Germer’s death and well into the 1990s.

The first picture is a traditional Gnostic Mass set up in Zurich. The second is a “Thelemic chapel” in Stein. Note the picture of the archangels atop the super altar and The Book of the Law below.

Materials gathered for One Truth and One Spirit from the Gerald Yorke Collection at the Warburg Institute, University of London. 

Liber Oz Postcards

In 1942, when World War II was raging across Europe and millions of people were subject to one of the twentieth century’s most awful atrocities, Aleister Crowley proposed his own “War Aims” of Thelema. He sent out on postcards a short and succinct declaration of freedom called “Liber Oz.” This document outlines the rights for all who embrace the Law of Thelema as the Law of Liberty and freedom.

Liber Oz is as important of a political statement today as it was in 1942. It is not a far cry to say that at all times, freedom is always threatened and that it must  always be fought for if it is to be realized in any capacity.

This postcard was sent from Crowley to his student and later literary safeguard, Gerald Yorke.

Sascha Germer and Marcelo Motta

On September 15, 1963, nearly a year after Karl Germer died, Sascha Germer (Karl’s widow) wrote to Germer’s A∴A∴ student, Marcelo Motta, encouraging him to take up the work of Thelema and carry it forward. Motta had written to Sascha shortly after her husband’s death, “I am not prepared. I am not anything. It will be many years yet before I am ready to do anything. I have much work to do on myself yet […]” Motta was, according to his own account a Zelator at the time of Karl’s death, and he would recount nearly a decade later to Jame Wasserman that it was “the moment when I became able to carry on alone, but was not completely prepared.”

Nevertheless, as far a Sascha was concerned, Motta was the closest student to Germer and was to be the one to carry the banner into the future. In the letter below, she wrote to Motta, “You are young, you are the future of the Work, I did not believe when Karl said: It will take another 10 years to make Motta the heir! But spiritually you are his Heir! You have to work on in Brazil […] You fight [for] the Work! Fight with Ra-Hoor-Khuit!”

In fact, Motta’s relationship to Germer and his intentions with Thelema lied solely in the work of the A∴A∴. Yet, Motta was never actually granted any charter in the O.T.O. (although Germer had mentioned it to him over the years of their correspondence).



Motta would later indeed carry on the work of the A∴A∴ and announce its resurfacing in 1975 in his publication of The Commentaries of AL. However, it would be Grady McMurtry who would hold a greater claim to the O.T.O. It was that fateful summer of 1976, these two giants would clash for successorship in the Thelemic movement, events which continue to influence the movement today.


Karl Germer: Aleister Crowley’s sucessor

On July 18, 1941, Aleister Crowley wrote to Karl Johannes Germer to inform him that he was to succeed the Beast upon his death in both the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴. Also known by his magical name as Frater Saturnus, Karl Germer would take over the two Orders in 1947 and would act as Crowley’s successor until his death in 1962.

Although Germer did not much advance the aims of the O.T.O., he did manage to secure and consolidate Crowley’s literary estate. He published many works by Crowley, including many texts that were previously unavailable in the Beast’s lifetime such as Magick Without Tears and Liber Aleph.


July 18, 1941 e.v.

c/o Dennes and Co.


London E.C. 4

By these Presents, I, Edward Alexander Crowley, otherwise known as Aleister Crowley, or as To Mega Therion, chief of the A∴A∴, or as Baphomet, Frater Superior and O.H.O. of the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) do appoint Mr. Karl J. Germer, now residing […] to be my personal agent and representative in the United States of America.

I hereby authorize and empower him to initiate, carry through, and conclude any contracts that he may see fit to make on my behalf especially as concerns my work as a writer and lecturer.

All persons in authority under me in connection with the A∴A∴ and O.T.O. are to recognize him as their chief.

This present document is to be regarded as Equivalent to a Power of

Attorney, and is to be valid until further notice.

Witness my Hand
Edward Alexander Crowley Aleister Crowley To Mega Therion 666 9°=2· A∴A∴ Baphomet O.H.O. X° 33° 90° 97°