The Scarlet Letter
Volume IV, Number 2 | June 1997
From the Camel's Back
By N. V. Continuity P.

CamelAs Scarlet Woman dances into her fifth year as a local body (I think of her more as a universal body, or I think of her universal body, or something like that), she does so as a Lodge. As is usual among my species, this passing of an important milestone causes me to reflect on our collective history. In the last four years, a tight cohesive working group has developed in Austin, as has community and family and the thickening and maturing of fraternal bonds. I have commented before about the closeness and the quality of the relationships and the love, the love, that floats us as we travel together toward the Great Sea. The egregoire remains strong and elastic. She stretches to admit the new, she bends her starry body and embowers the dwellers of the Camp of Friends. We have been thrice blessed, and together, we have built something we can be proud of.

We have married and buried our brothers and sisters. We have witnessed the birth of babies and the initiation of dozens of siblings. We have welcomed people into our Sanctuary and our Temple for hundreds of ceremonies; E.G.C. and M.'.M.'.M.'., and those that we devised. We have celebrated each other's triumphs and anniversaries and name days and Greater Feasts, and we have grieved and mourned our losses. We have chased away evil demons, and invoked fresh new Gods. We have been happily honored by a fascinating parade of visitors. We have seen a King newly made. We have been thrice blessed, together.

And the wheel turns. I thank everyone; especially those who have served the Camp, the Oasis, and the Lodge as an officer. That's a fairly large number of people, according to my reckoning. I particularly want to notice Oalimn, who served as Senechal for almost three years and provided us with dozens of gorgeous, delicious, and elegant feasts; and Sharash, who has been the editor of the Scarlet Letter since its inception in 1993. He brought it from a newsletter to journal, by consistently upgrading the quality and raising its editorial and publishing standards whenever he could. Vol IV, no 1, was his last issue; he is now free from the dread deadline, which, like the proverbial hot potato, has passed to me. This is ironic because every Letter that has been late has been at least partially stymied due to my inability to sit down and churn out editorials on time. Now, I have no one to blame but myself. And if your Scarlet Letter is tardy, you know who to write to...

Luckily, I now share the editorship of the Scarlet Letter with Aisha Qadisha, which is good news for the Thelemic arts community. If you want to familiarize yourself with our work as individual artists/writers, be sure to visit our homepages, which are handily linked off the Scarlet Woman Lodge homepage. We confidently expect to put the entire Scarlet Letter on-line in a special edition that will include full color art (one of the great advantages of cyberpublishing). Look for us online in July. Besides a new look, the SL will include interviews with people we are interested in (Mack White and Harvey Bialy are on deck), as well as the archival material, rituals, original commentary and review, fiction, and art that you have come to expect from us. As always, we welcome submissions from new contributors. Please write to me (e or snail) if you have any questions or comments.

We continue to be interested in cyberpublishing and cybercommunication. The O.T.O. is currently comprised of less than 3000 initiate members, of which about 1700 live in the USA —numbers-wise we could probably buy all the seats at a decent size multiplex theater (not that I would want to go to one —or that all the initiates would happily agree to go to the same 10 movies. But that's another editorial). The Order is growing at a steady rate, but our membership roles are really very small with the happy correllary that one has a good chance of familiarizing oneself with a high percentage of siblings. We're kind of far flung, but cybercommunication changes everything. Take myself as an example. I got online in December. It's now June. I have doubled the number of initiates with whom I regularly directly communicate in just six months, and have access to information about the activities and interests of local bodies which were just names in the Magical Link previously.

Cybertravel opens your brain. Net culture gives you the soapbox you've always wanted and have just known you deserved. Nothing can stop you from publishing as much as you can write, and promoting the hell out of it when you are done. Everybody has regular access to the microphone. Okay, not everybody. But it's really pretty easy and it doesn't cost that much to get started. If you get connected, you can get free e-mail and a free webpage. You can get lots of them. You can start your own empire or newsgroup or ring or network, or you can make up some new thing that I don't know about yet. Manifest destiny is alive and well in the virtual world. Loose tentacles and electronic pamphleteering. Information out of bounds. Very few rules...just the way we like it.

Suddenly, world travel is demystified and made less intimidating. After all, one can hardly remain a stranger for long in a land where one's sisters and brothers live. I used to think that a certain amount of social distance was inevitable when geographical distance existed, but I don't believe that anymore. Get yourself a modem! Make a point to travel around and meet your Order kin. Come and visit us. Maybe we'll be visiting you someday soon. Hopefully, we'll be seeing many of you at the O.T.O. National Conference in Akron in August. In the meantime, may you be thrice blessed!

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