2689 – OTO Robe

Physical description:
A black robe with (on the front) a red triangle with the letters O.T.O. embroidered inside it in pale blue. A Third Degree O.T.O. robe.
Museum classification:
Ritual Magic
Size:
1400 x 700
Information:

This robe belonged to Philippe Pissier (1963-...), and was used c.1994-96.

In 2018, this robe featured in the Museum's exhibition "Dew of Heaven: objects of Ritual Magic."  It was displayed on a mannequin with object number 3951 (crown inspired by Aleister Crowley).  This is the text that accompanied it while it was on display:

Robe of a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis or OTO which translates as Order of the Temple of the Orient or Order of Oriental Templars. 

Cecil Williamson had a friendly relationship with Kenneth and Steffi Grant (the Museum archive has about twenty letters from them and they collaborated with him on a Museum display in the 1950s, see cubic altar object number 941 for more on this).

What is the OTO?

Steffi Grant described the OTO in a letter to Cecil Williamson in the Museum’s archive.  She described it as,

“...an organization designed to promulgate in the West certain secret magical formulae closely guarded for centuries by the Initiates of the East.”

“...a Fountain-head of Wisdom from which many Cults of the past and present have been watered and sprung into being.”

Aleister Crowley was a key member of this ritual magic organisation, some of the higher degrees of which practised sex magic (one of the secrets of the East described above).  

Cecil Williamson and the OTO

We know that Cecil had a friendly relationship with Aleister Crowley and later with Kenneth and Steffi Grant, all of whom were key members of the OTO.  In the letter below Steffi Grant seems very interested in Cecil’s well being and the success of the Museum. 

Cecil had the British Order of the OTO’s manifesto printed for the Grants in 1951.  This manifesto may have been distributed on the Witches Mill on the Isle of Man. 

The letter below from Steffi Grant is in the Museum archive, it starts with the Thelemic greeting “Do what thou wilt…” and ends with the “Love is the law, love under will.” (not shown, on the reverse of the letter).  These two phrases are the fundamentals of Crowley’s Law of Thelema (or the Will). 

Note the date which has E.V. next to it (Era Vulgaris).  The Thelemic date is in the top left hand corner.   

 

In Book 4, Part 2, Crowley wrote about ritual objects, how to make them, their use and meaning.  He said of the robe:

“The Robe is that which conceals, and which protects the Magician from the elements; it is the silence and secrecy with which he works, the hiding of himself in the occult life of Magick and Meditation.”

He specified that the robe should make the wearer into the form of the Tau Cross as illustrated below (photo taken from Magick in Theory and Practice).  This robe does not have a hood.

In 2018, this object was displayed on a mannequin as part of the "Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic exhibition."  It was displayed with object number 3951 (Crowley style crown).  Photographs below show it in this exhibition.

 

 

 

Resource:
Object
Materials:
Fabric

This robe belonged to Philippe Pissier (1963-...), and was used c.1994-96.

In 2018, this robe featured in the Museum's exhibition "Dew of Heaven: objects of Ritual Magic."  It was displayed on a mannequin with object number 3951 (crown inspired by Aleister Crowley).  This is the text that accompanied it while it was on display:

Robe of a member of the Ordo Templi Orientis or OTO which translates as Order of the Temple of the Orient or Order of Oriental Templars. 

Cecil Williamson had a friendly relationship with Kenneth and Steffi Grant (the Museum archive has about twenty letters from them and they collaborated with him on a Museum display in the 1950s, see cubic altar object number 941 for more on this).

What is the OTO?

Steffi Grant described the OTO in a letter to Cecil Williamson in the Museum’s archive.  She described it as,

“...an organization designed to promulgate in the West certain secret magical formulae closely guarded for centuries by the Initiates of the East.”

“...a Fountain-head of Wisdom from which many Cults of the past and present have been watered and sprung into being.”

Aleister Crowley was a key member of this ritual magic organisation, some of the higher degrees of which practised sex magic (one of the secrets of the East described above).  

Cecil Williamson and the OTO

We know that Cecil had a friendly relationship with Aleister Crowley and later with Kenneth and Steffi Grant, all of whom were key members of the OTO.  In the letter below Steffi Grant seems very interested in Cecil’s well being and the success of the Museum. 

Cecil had the British Order of the OTO’s manifesto printed for the Grants in 1951.  This manifesto may have been distributed on the Witches Mill on the Isle of Man. 

The letter below from Steffi Grant is in the Museum archive, it starts with the Thelemic greeting “Do what thou wilt…” and ends with the “Love is the law, love under will.” (not shown, on the reverse of the letter).  These two phrases are the fundamentals of Crowley’s Law of Thelema (or the Will). 

Note the date which has E.V. next to it (Era Vulgaris).  The Thelemic date is in the top left hand corner.   

 

In Book 4, Part 2, Crowley wrote about ritual objects, how to make them, their use and meaning.  He said of the robe:

“The Robe is that which conceals, and which protects the Magician from the elements; it is the silence and secrecy with which he works, the hiding of himself in the occult life of Magick and Meditation.”

He specified that the robe should make the wearer into the form of the Tau Cross as illustrated below (photo taken from Magick in Theory and Practice).  This robe does not have a hood.

In 2018, this object was displayed on a mannequin as part of the "Dew of Heaven: Objects of Ritual Magic exhibition."  It was displayed with object number 3951 (Crowley style crown).  Photographs below show it in this exhibition.