T Omphalos is a Thelemite who associates with Sangraal Lodge in the Valley of Trondheim, Norway.
I first heard about Aleister Crowley and Thelema through a very negative appraisal of it in a book on the occult, “Vestens Mysterier.” Then a friend of mine introduced me to a former member and I got a copy of the Magical Link and the Ratatosk, the international and Norwegian membership newsletters. I wrote to a now defunct local body in Oslo but never received a response.
Later this same friend got into contact with two members of the O.T.O. in Trondheim and I started hanging out with them. They lent me some books and The Book of the Law and suggested I write Hugin and Munin Lodge in Bergen and in April of 1993 I got initiated.
What drew me to Thelema was its terrible reputation and the message of Liberty.
What is Magick to you?
Quite simply the science of knowing yourself and your conditions and the art of manifesting this knowledge in action.
Why do you think Thelema is different from other philosophies? What makes it stand out to you?
Its message of humor, Liberty, and discipline, along with its terrible reputation. In the end we all have to face both our own demons as well as that of the Demon Crowley. The very fact that Thelema has a name of an Ordeal where one have to confront the horror and revulsion that the less savory aspects of its Prophet (named so by himself no less) creates in you, makes Thelema stands out in a way I think no other system has managed to copy.
What do you love about OTO? What drew you to it? What makes you stay?
Simply put, all I am today I owe to the O.T.O. I have regained much more than I have put into the Order. The Order teach tolerance and there is no other place than in the O.T.O. where one can meet such diverse set of people. If all these different people can get together, set aside their differences, and focus on what we agree on, then we have manifested that elusive dream of the Universal Brotherhood, if only for a brief moment. I think that work is tremendously important and I am in awe and appreciation that I am allowed to be a small part of it. Besides, as Jim Wasserman noted in a lecture, it is cool to be a member of the O.T.O.
What do you think are most important Magick and meditation practices?
It depends on how far along the pilgrim’s path you are. For Adherents I think Liber Resh vel Helios. For beginners, Liber O and Liber E. For more advanced students Liber VIII. In general I have found it wise to work under someone who knows you intimately and has walked that path before you. My advice therefore, if it is the Great Work that interests you, to sign the oath of a Student of the Mysteries in the A∴A∴ and make yourself eligible to become received into the Order as an aspirant.
A lot of mischief can come from people trying to work ceremonial magick in social groups. More often than not it turns the Great Work into a tea-party where everyone, incapable of minding their own business, starts criticizing the supposed moral failings of others. While the ability to play nice with others is important in groups, it is irrelevant to the Great Work, unless your particular Great Work happens to necessitate playing nice with others. Mixing ceremonial magick with social groups as a result, at best stunts the growth of the magician, at worst it creates a potboiler for the worst kind of social drama possible.
What do you think is the thing that most people misunderstand about Thelema?
I have found that Thelemites often misunderstand the concept of liberty as being one without any consequences or responsibility. They need to understand that discipline lies at its core and that understanding and respect from the environment arises out of our own attainments. Above all they need to learn to mind their own business and by that I mean both learn what actually is their business and what is not. Minding both of these two is crucial to living a life of freedom. Many Thelemites are occultists and believes that this is the essence of Thelema. It is not, Crowley himself emphasized that one only had to accept the Book of the Law to become an adherent. There is more than enough room for all of us. Moreover, like most occultists, thelemites who pursue that avenue often tend to be scientific illiterates. Though Crowley did not exactly live up to his admonition of skeptical mysticism and respect for the scientific method and findings, it is a worthwhile endeavor to cultivate. The problem is that more often than not these things turns into empty slogans.
We see this in many of the memes that are spread. Popular as they may be, often the most quotable things, tend to be their most misguided words. More often than not they trot out folk-psychology that are platitudes at best, at worst problematic. In general I am wary of memes as they tend to reinforce a kind of folk-psychology among occultists that is deeply misguided. If they actually took these memes seriously (which they thankfully seldom) – it would lead to disastrous consequences in their lives. The occult field is rife with vastly unwarranted claims about psychological gains and behavioral change resulting from their practices. They remain blissfully ignorant of the fact that this makes their claims as pseudoscientific as that of the pre-modern claims to actual physical results.
Why do you think OTO is important to Thelema?
OTO was consecrated by the Beast 666 to promulgate and establish the Law of Thelema. It is the best school in Thelema as a Way of Life there exists and I recommend it to everyone who have an interest in establishing the Law of Thelema in their own life.
What do you think are the most important aspects of Thelema?
There are two core aspects of Thelema: It’s foundation for a spiritual community and its individual path of advancement. The O.T.O. and the A∴A∴, where the latter is the spiritual heart of the former.
Do you have any stories from any experiences with Magick?
My Great Work is something I consider to be private and for the review of my Superior in the A∴A∴ only. Simply put the Great Work is not a tea-party.
Where do you see OTO going in the next 10 years?
Increasing its membership, professionalism and owning property.
How do you see the world differently as a Thelemite?
I view the world and my interaction with it from the first principles of the Law of Thelema, with its fundamental tenets of minding one’s own business and self-discipline. This can cause some confusion in others, since I appear to be liberal on some issues, yet very conservative on others.
What is your favorite part about the Gnostic Mass?
The declaration of Unity with the Church of old times. This communion with the Saints is a testament to the covenant that exists between that of the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴
How do you see Thelema evolving in its 2nd Century of existing (i.e. after 100 years)? How is it different or how is it going to be different? What has grown or changed?
I foresee more splintering due to a basic indifference towards the Tunis Comment, the seeds of which we saw after Crowley’s death. On the other hand I also hope to see that we grow up as a movement, start minding our own business and collaborate on the things that we actually agree on. There is too much bickering going on in our community considering the many things that we actually do agree on.