NOT ONE I.O.T.a – by Ray Sherwin


A lament at the failure of a magical order

Following the publication of my recent book VITRIOL, I received a number of messages from people in various parts of the world describing iniquities to which they had been subjected by the magical order I co-founded in 1978.

At this time I was perplexed about two things. The first was why the co-founder had chosen, a couple of months previously, to denigrate me publicly when I’d said nothing about the order in print for more than thirty years. Why would he go out of his way to pick a spurious fight? Had he not done so, I would have had none of this to say. The second was why anyone might hold me responsible for what occurs within an order which I’d had no connection with and taken no interest in for all those years. It transpired that they’d turned to me because no-one within the order was prepared to acknowledge their complaints.

What encouraged the co-founder, who was actually on an extended back-packing holiday for the first two years of the order’s existence, to make such absurd slights against the person who got the whole thing off the ground? The only possible reasons I could come up with were that he, ill-advisedly, did this to aggrandise himself in some imagined way and because he considered me a soft target. However, it is not I who lives in the glass house and his decision to throw stones betrays the petulance of a run-away ego* which never paused to consider how his small-minded, knee-jerk comments might provoke a thoughtful response – that I might, for example, know of the frantic meetings held in Bristol to arrange cover-ups of criminal activity within the order.

A detailed reasoned response and an analysis of the current status of the order is provided in my forthcoming book OUROBOROS which is, essentially, a grimoire, in which I have provided, amongst the magical formulas, an account of why it is that I now choose to work alone and my argument for no longer participating in ritual. My reasoning has much to do with the rapid subversion of the order away from its original and laudable intentions by power hungry and self serving individuals – the betrayal of the pristine idea behind the formation of the order and the betrayal of the less experienced members.

When the order was inaugurated, it was my contention that it should be without a hierarchy and without dogma, otherwise it would be inane rather than innovative. By 1982, a mere four years later, it had become self evident that the order was now hierarchical and dogmatic which is why I quietly disavowed it.

Since the publication of VITRIOL, however, I have been made aware of much more serious allegations about the conduct of some members of the order. These include child abuse and manslaughter, for which crimes several members of the order were convicted, yet the leadership has consistently refused to accept any responsibility or to issue advice and warnings to new members. This is the worst of all worlds – the acceptance or pursuance of leadership with no regard for the responsibility which should accompany it – hubris in the place of nobility and a dedication to kudos in the place of dedication to magical research, research having been the raison d’être of the order in the first place.

The privilege of leadership was egregiously abused by the co-founder when he used Chaos International (a magazine which I co-founded in 1987 in the spirit of chaos) to publish propaganda for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). The last vestiges of credibility were lost at this time. and it is more than difficult to stifle the ribald laughter. The order was not originally intended to be political and certainly not xenophobic or anti-gay. If anything, it was to be anarchistic, in the true sense of that word.

Party politics presents an impossible environment in which to practice magick. It is a glamour, a sham in which no self respecting magician would ever become ensnared, especially not, one might have thought, the self-proclaimed heir to the Zos Kia Cultus, the one who claimed, at the outset of the order, to have accepted Crowley’s Liber Oz. Oz is not compatible with the far-right policies peddled in Chaos International, so we must presume that the order no longer accepts the Law of Thelema. The notion of ethics, of niyama, has been surgically removed. Indeed, if the Mass of Baphomet is the only accepted litany of the order, as claimed in a recent cocaine fuelled lecture at a London bookshop, congratulations must surely be due to those jocund individuals who have surreptitiously inveigled those ‘not in the know’ to acknowledge the core magical importance of a nineteenth century French cartoon character.

In a recent e-mail to me, the co-founder admitted that the current leadership of the order consists of people whom he wouldn’t care to invite to lunch. Whether this is because they are anarchists who disapprove of the direction in which the order is now being propelled or because of their ineptitude or their deplorable personal hygiene, he didn’t say. Perhaps one or more of them was responsible for setting up the order’s pornography business. Pornography, right-wing politics, child abuse and the deaths of three young people in the north of England are a very bad mix for a magical order. The senior members disrespect one another, calling each other abusive names like impudent children at the same time as providing links to websites promoting cannibalism and the use of corpses in ritual. One can only presume that this is no longer an Order but a Confusion.

It is unlikely that the majority of the order’s members know anything at all about the crimes to which I’m referring. The leadership is doing its utmost to prevent that. I’m not the first person to allude to criminal activity within the order but I hope that my analysis will reach and encourage members and would-be members to consider whether or not they really want to be associated with an order whose reputation is now so irretrievably tarnished. With the number of new applicants for membership falling year by year the future of the order is already much in doubt. The sooner it reaches its absolute demise the better.

*“The ego is like the prostate. Functioning correctly it is essential but should it become enlarged it is a pain in the fundament – for everyone” (Ouroboros by Ray Sherwin).



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