America's Occultist: An Interview with Lon Milo DuQuette
You're also an Archbishop in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Can you tell us a little bit about the E.G.C. and its relationship to the O.T.O.?
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.) is the ecclesiastical arm of the O.T.O. It is not a separate organization. It is not a separate spiritual entity. This puts us in a similar position as our traditional ancestors, the Knights Templar, who were a military secret society independent of King and Church. They were answerable only to the pope (who seldom questioned anything they did) and they had their own priests, and their own confessors. In other words, like the O.T.O. they had their own church within the Order.
Get used to thinking of the O.T.O. and E.G.C. as the exact same organization viewed with different glasses. Put on your O.T.O. glasses and you see the O.T.O. with our Frater Superior, our Supreme and Holy King or Queen, our Sovereign Grand Inspectors General, our Most Wise Sovereigns, and our Lodge Masters, and members of the various degrees (some of whom have volunteered for extra duties). Put on your church glasses and look at the same thing and you see the E.G.C. with our Sovereign Patriarch or Matriarch, our Presiding Bishop, our Bishops, and our Priestesses and Priests and Deacons.
Most people don't think of magickal disciplines as spirituality. Is there a difference between a magickal discipline and a spiritual discipline?
I guess it depends entirely on the attitude, motive, and intent of the individual practitioner. It's quite possible, in my opinion, to be a perfectly effective magician without subscribing to any particular discipline that most people usually consider as being "spiritual."
You were on a Pagan panel at PantheaCon recently. Many Pagans are interested in the O.T.O., especially through the writings of Crowley and yourself, although the O.T.O. itself isn't specifically Pagan. How would you characterize the relationship of the O.T.O. and the Pagan community? Do you consider yourself Pagan?
It, of course, comes down to your accepted definition of the word "Pagan." If by the term you mean "rustic" or "country person" I am not a Pagan. If by the term you mean a person that reveres or worships a deity or pantheon of deities other than that (or those) worshipped by the Abrahamic religions then my answer is a qualified "Yes." If by the term you ask if I'm a person who worships the earth as the supreme goddess and attempts to synchronize my entire spiritual focus upon the rhythms of the year and its cycles of agriculture and husbandry my answer is an unqualified "No." I don't worship the "Pagan" Goddess of Nourishment of two aeons ago. I don't worship the "Chrislemew (Christian Muslim or Jew) dying god of sacrifice and superstition of the last aeon. If anything, I worship the Child that represents the formulae of the present aeon, and I attempt to synchronize my spiritual focus on the formula of natural growth. If that makes me a Pagan... then I'm a Pagan.
Can someone be active in the O.T.O. without being a member of the Thelemic religion? Are all faiths welcome?
The O.T.O. requires only that an individual be able to say in good conscience that he or she "accepts The Book of the Law (the primary Holy Book of Thelema, dictated to Crowley by a praetor-human intelligence in 1904) without wishing to make changes in it." As no one may presume to interpret The Book of the Law for another, this puts the responsibility for one's understanding of the text squarely in one's own lap. If an individual believes that his or her religious beliefs can be compatible with their understanding (or even their indifference as to the meaning) of The Book of the Law then there is no other litmus test other than that applied by the individual.
A hopeless movie junkie, Star Foster believes that good movies are the mythic narratives of our times.