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Going Clear: Is O.T.O. a “Black Magic Cult”?

By Brandy Williams

We are discussing Lawrence Gibney’s documentary Going Clear, Scientology and the Prison of Belief. In L. Ron Hubbard and the O.T.O. we examined Hubbard’s involvement with the Ordo Templi Orientis and his role in Jack Parson’s Babalon Working. In L. Ron Hubbard the Magician we evaluated Hubbard’s (meager) accomplishments in that field.

In the documentary, author Lawrence Wright called Parsons “the head honcho in this black magic cult.” That cult, he said, “was” the O.T.O., Ordo Templi Orientis. Of course the O.T.O. is very much extant and I am a member. I don’t identify as a member of a cult or as a practitioner of black magic. So what does “black magic cult” actually mean?

Let’s take a look at the documentary. The discussion of Ordo Templi Orientis is illustrated by an inverted pentagram with a goat’s head, the famous photo of Crowley making horns on his head, and some footage from Kenneth Anger’s film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome featuring Marjorie Cameron. Wright stated that Parsons was trying to impregnate a goddess like woman with “the anti-Christ.” (Parsons was working toward a physical manifestation of Babalon.)

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