Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law
Back in 1995, I took initiation with a Thelemic fraternity that then had a Temple in Toronto. Coincidentally, at the same point in time, I met David Shoemaker, who had begun his work in Thelema a year or two earlier.
I stayed with that fraternity through to 2011, eventually becoming an Adept in the Order, and finally, one of its Grand Chiefs. I won’t detail all the ups and downs of that period, but for me it was a time of enthusiasm and intense education in magick and Thelemic philosophy. However, in the 2000s, I became progressively disillusioned with the Order’s top management, and some months after resigning from the Grand Chief position in March 2011, I quit the Order altogether. By this point, my day-job had disappeared in the aftermath of the 2008 financial meltdown, and I was semi-retired and living in central Mexico.
When I went solo, I stayed in touch with former initiates in Toronto, several of whom were at the point of giving up on the same Order I’d just quit. I had intended to remain out of such orders for a year of personal assessment, but after a couple of months, we were actively planning a small new fraternity that would be based solely in Toronto, and accountable to no external authority. In March 2012, we launched the Temple of Our Lady of the Stars. I took on the position of Visible Head of the Temple, with the title of Warden.
The past decade has been a productive one for us, although our growth in actual numbers has been modest. Such Temples rarely become large, though, and this had no real effect on the quality of the experience of the active members. The 93 Current found us acceptable, and supported what we did. I lived for a spell back in Toronto from 2015 to 2018, trying to boost the Temple’s membership, when I gave a series of regular monthly lectures, and the core of the Temple became stable and forward-looking.
When we had begun, however, I considered myself unqualified to run a Temple on my own. I had therefore joined David Shoemaker’s Temple of the Silver Star (TOTSS), after he accepted that we wished to remain autonomous in our own backyard but needed occasional guidance as well as access to certain training documents. That arm’s length but supportive relationship has remained in place for the whole decade of our existence.
Since early 2021, I began getting what we could call inner nudges about my own status and leadership. I wanted our Temple to expand, while directing it from Mexico (again). I’m now slightly older (72 and a few months) than Crowley was at his death, and since I’m ending a period of part-time employment, my freedom to travel is restricted as my income shrinks. The pandemic lockdown hampered everything, of course, but recently I began to look for a way to change the situation. Finally, in January this year, I hit a point where I realised I needed to step down as Warden.
Our Temple’s Chiefs unanimously decided to follow my suggestion that they unite with TOTSS, and in recent weeks we have been working out the details of that transfer with David’s help. The Temple of Our Lady of the Stars has now formally closed. Toronto instead has the Circle of Stars Pronaos-in-Formation, a new body under TOTSS, with which I remain involved, though not in an administrative role. Various announcements regarding this will be made as details are finalised.
To those of you who have followed this blog, even in its limited output in the past year, I thank you for sticking with us and enhancing our reputation as a reliable source of Thelemic teaching. For those of you interested in joining the new Pronaos, you can apply through the TOTSS website, where there is a digital application form (link below). Any qualified applicants’ names, provide they live in southern Ontario, will be passed to us.
To my own students in the Temple, I owe more than I can say for teaching me things I never thought to ask about on my own, and who have shown steadfast dedication throughout the past two difficult years. While I am reducing my involvement, I plan to visit them in the coming months to support the new group as it finds its feet in a broader community than was accessible to it before.
Other than that, I can only say at this time what I took so long to learn, but believe in firmly: “Remember all ye that existence is pure joy; that all the sorrows are but as shadows; they pass & are done; but there is that which remains.” (Liber AL, II, v 9)
This journey does not end.
Love is the law, love under will,