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.
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.
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.