The Scarlet Letter
Volume III, Number 1 | Sept. 1995
by Sr. Lillith
Our big fall project is to put on the Rites of Eleusis. There are seven rites, each with a different director and casts drawn primarily from the SWO membership. They will be staged in series starring the first week in November, five days apart, and are open to the public. Publicity posters are all over town, rehearsals are well underway, and we are selling subscriptions to the performance series for $31. I am sure there is an advertisement elsewhere in this Scarlet Letter so look for more information.
The entire Oasis is involved in rehearsing, constructing, and collectively tearing our hair out over these Rites, but all this effort will truly be worthwhile. The directors are Saturn: Sr. Continuity; Jupiter: Fr. Sharash; Mars: Fr. Sar Shalom; Sol: Fr. Pnesomeuma; Venus: Sr. Voluspa; Mercury: Sr. Lillith; and lastly Luna: Sr. Terra Eternia which is being staged by the San Antonio wing of SWO. These should be great rituals and fun theater. Hope to see you there!
We arose from our beds of purple all through the late summer to attend virtually weekly initiations at all levels of the Man of Earth triad. We initiated our first home-grown III° candidate at the end of August, and a batch in early September. How time flies!
The change in our status to Oasis is a welcome one. The event gives me reason to reflect on the lifespan of Scarlet Woman as a growing community.
We welcome new Minerval guests of Scarlet Woman Oasis... Sr. Debbie R., Sr. Ariadne, Sr. Eva B., Sr. Kundalini, Sr. Terri O., Sr. Terra Eternia, Br. Theta L., Br. Matthew B., Br. John B., and Fr. Penumbra. Another Minerval initiation is coming up in early November.
Congratulations to new I° Initiates at Scarlet Woman Oasis from this past quarter... Sr. Breanna Ashtara, Fr. Adi, Sr. Bastien, Fr. Kairete Nikomen, Sr. Voluspa, Br. Brian R., Fr. Titvs, Sr Arani, Br. Patrick G. Siblings advancing to II°: Fr, Sar Shalom, Fr. Aquarius, Fr. Parsival Achad, Fr. Omega Baphomet, and Sr. Oroboros.
Condolences to those joining the ranks of the newly dead: Sr. Lillith, Fr. Kestrel, Sr. Oalimn, Fr. Pnesomauma, and Fr. Gemmatia, and two guest corpses visting us from other areas Fr. Fool/n and Fr. Phoenix.
I remember when I used to know everybody in the Camp. I met Sr. Continuity over drums at a CMA event. Likewise I had met Fr. Sharash drumming at CMA a couple of years earlier, and after several personal detours we finally married. There was a pivital evening when Fr. Adam Walks Between Worlds was visiting Austin and hosted a gathering in his mobile home where we sat naked, cross legged, knee to knee, and read Liber AL by candlelight. Fr. Sharash, Fr. Xephyr, and I were all at that gathering. Sr. Continuity announced her intent to start an O.T.O. camp in Austin and we started gathering informally and began performances of the Gnostic Mass in Sr. Continuity's living room. (A far cry from the spacious temple space we now occupy at the Bodhi Yoga Center.)
When SWC officially came to be, Sr. Continuity brought the Master of Apotheosis Camp, Sr. Q.V.P., in from Houston and five of us Minervaled together. Three of the original five SWC Minervals have gone on to bond with the Order, advance to II° and two of us are now III°. In the original Minerval batch, I had known Fr. Xephyr and Fr. Catfish-Seahorse for several years through the pagan student group at UT. Fr. Xephyr introduced me to Fr. Kestrel at one of our early Gnostic Masses. Fr. K.A'K was a drumming compatriot of Sr. Continuity's and I had met him many months earlier at a pagan organization meeting. Fr. Gemmatia, who had been attending occasional events at Bubastis Oasis in Dallas, was glad to find Scarlet Woman Camp grown up in Austin closer to his northern suburban home.
Shortly after that first Minerval ritual, FR. P. and Sr. Oalimn, who were then I° and 0° respectively, moved to town. They joined us for dinner and hot-tubbing and we became friends. Next to join were Fr. Baphomet who was a friend of a visiting pagan aquaintance I met at a gathering in Georgia; and S. Oroboros who had made contact with Sr. Continuity. These two have gone on to marry, contribute heavily to our community, and become our gracious temple hosts. Fr. Sar Shalom ("Of The Many Name Changes") found us when he responded to a poster advertising classes in magick at the Scarlet Tantric Pagan Center. Sr. Continuity talked to him on the phone and recognized his serious interest right away. She invited him to Mass and one of our gatherings. He has been growing with us and contributing to the community ever since. And then there were more, and more.
This is the most vibrant, diverse group of people I have ever had the pleasure of associating with. We are fortunate to have a real wealth of talent, dedication, and variety of interests.
Scarlet Woman Oasis members hailing from San Antonio have just been granted a new Camp charter from the O.TO. Camp Master Fr. Parsival and good company can now be found functioning independently as Saladin Camp in San Antonio, Texas. Congratulations, best wishes and our ongoing support to their effort to carry on the Current.
Fr. P. organized the new Altar Guild which has smoothed temple set up and break down for our regular Sunday masses. All Circle Of The Stars Sanctuary Gnostic Mass officers are asked to periodically donate an evening of effort to assist a Deacon with temple logistics. Any church member is welcome to join and learn the routine. Supplies have been organized and a document developed to help mass officers with the care, feeding, and quirks of our temple equipment and magnificent host facility, the Bodhi Yoga Center. I really enjoyed the turn I recently took at Stewarding. It is yet another perspective from which to view and participate in the Mass. If you want to help, I think the sign-up sheet is under the altar. If you don't find it there, contact Fr. P. about committing to a Sunday evening as Steward.
Our regular Gnostic Masses go on Sunday evenings. Most of them are open to members and guests. In addition Fr. Sharash, Sr. Lillith, and all the mass temple equipment, have just returned from a whirlwind tour of San Antonio where they had the pleasure of presenting a Gnostic Mass staged with Saladin Camp's sponsorship in San Antonio. A charming bookstore hosted the event; eleven communicants and the balance of the mass team with hailed from San Antonio. Saladin Camp is planning to build temple equipment and home grow some mass teams in the near future, but in the meantime we enjoyed playing visiting clergy and thank them for their hospitality.
GOINGS AND COMINGS
In honor of our new Oasis status, what turned out to be a remarkable inagural ritual was held in late September. The temple was full. Everybody turned out, from Minerval candidates to K.E.W.s. Our Oasis officers had an opportunity to declare their wills to work on behalf of our community. Then each of us took turns standing up to speak about Scarlet Woman, to bless, reflect upon, and declare intentions and commitment. The tangible presence of community pervaded the room while each person spoke of their personal experience as members of the Camp and their hopes for the future of the Oasis.
A big OH WOW! to Fr. Pnesomauma for the Feast of the Dragon ritual held Halloween night. Instruction given to participants by Snake, Hawk, and Scorpion, ritual use of mantra and hyperventilation, combined with the black, red, and white costuming (naturally preferred by all Thelemites in attendance) made for an unforgettable ritual experience.
Look for information elsewhere in this journal on Scarlet Woman's upcoming second annual Thelemic Retreat over the Feast of the Stars holiday. The centerpiece of this gathering will be an academic colloquium held with papers presented on the topic of Thelema and the O.T.O. as a social experiment and experience. Other ritual activities including a Gnostic Mass and Feast of the Stars ritual (written by Fr. Titvs) will round out a weekend of fun and community at a comfortable retreat facility. Hope you can join us.
The Thelema Study Group is a biweekly event which has been regularly facilitated by II° initiates. It was founded by Minerval Sr. Breanna Ashtara (who has since become I°) primarily to give new O.T.O. guests and members an informal forum to listen to presentations and discuss issues, technology, and philosophy that pertain to Thelema. I recommend it since I have enjoyed the ones I have attended; I learned something every time.
Is there something about Thelema or the O.T.O. or magick that you want to do, see, learn, or attend, that SWO is not offering now? If so... please don't be shy; ask, suggest, host, or facilitate.
I encourage and invite you to come to the monthly business meetings... This is where personalities become familiar, volunteers are requested, events are scheduled, mass officers confirm their evening slots, and all manner of SWO business is reported on. Don't wait for the quarterly newsletter to find out what you missed! Come in person and hear about it before it happens. Read and keep the schedule mailers that Oasis Secretary Fr. Pnesomauma so efficiently provides so you too will have an opportunity to participate in this great Camp of Friends.
Who me proseletize? No way.