The Typhonian Order, previously known as the Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis (TOTO), is a self-initiatory magical order based in the United Kingdom that focuses on magickal and typhonian concepts. It was originally led by British occultist Kenneth Grant (1924–2011) and his partner Steffi Grant, and is now believed to be led by their deputy Michael Staley.
In 1920, Reuss suffered a stroke, leading Aleister Crowley to question his competence to continue as Outer Head of the Order. By 1921, Crowley and Reuss were exchanging angry letters, culminating in Reuss' expulsion of Crowley from O.T.O. Crowley then informed Reuss that he was proclaiming himself Outer Head of the Order. Reuss died in 1923 without naming a successor, and Crowley was subsequently elected and ratified as Outer Head of the Order in a Conference of Grand Masters in 1925.
World War II then intervened, destroying the European branches of O.T.O. and driving its members underground. Karl Germer was incarcerated by the Nazis. By the end of the war, the sole surviving O.T.O. organization was Agapé Lodge in California, where Germer moved after he was released from internment in 1941.
After Crowley's death, Germer was his unchallenged successor for some time, and recognized and endorsed Grant's status as a IX° (Ninth Degree) adept in 1948. However Grant later claimed that his assumption of the XI° (Eleventh Degree) was confirmed in 1946, presumably by Crowley, the same year that he was initiated into the A∴A∴, an associated Thelemic magical order created by Crowley in 1907 after leaving the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
In 1954, Grant began the work of founding the New Isis Lodge, which became operational in 1955 when Grant announced his discovery of a "Sirius/Set current" in a new manifesto upon which the lodge would be based. Karl Germer disliked this new manifesto so much that he expelled Grant from the O.T.O. Grant responded by declaring himself the Outer Head of the Order, assuming the XII° degree, and taking his supporters into schism against those still following Germer. Grant's group henceforth became informally known as the "Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis," absorbing the New Isis Lodge in 1962, around the same time that Germer died without formally naming a successor as Head of O.T.O.
A document published in 1998 in Volume 2, Number 2 of Starfire purported to demonstrate that Crowley appointed Grant as Outer Head of the Order in 1947, before Crowley's demise:. A statement published in March 2009 in Volume 2, Number 3 of Starfire, however, acknowledges that it has subsequently been established the document was a fake and identifies "the perpetrator".
In Starfire II:3 (March 2009 but published "Winter Solstice MMVIII An 105") Michael Staley stated that the Typhonian O.T.O. had ceased to operate as an Order and that its functions and objectives had been taken over by the newly established Typhonian Order. Starfire itself, once self-described as "The Official Organ of the Typhonian O.T.O.", now declares itself to be "The Official Journal of the Typhonian Order".
Kenneth Grant's Typhonian Order
The Typhonian Order is among the most well-known Thelemic magical orders, primarily due to the publications of Kenneth Grant. In particular, it has influenced Dragon Rouge and was instrumental in the creation of Nema's Maat Magick movement.
While the group is known to still promote the Crowleyan Law of Thelema, it is said to also focus on exploration of foreign intelligence such as extraterrestrial life and daemons, and on the darker aspects of occult existence, like the Cthulhu Mythos of H.P. Lovecraft.
Crowley's depiction of Lam does indeed presage descriptions and representations of extraterrestrial entities which have come to be known as the grey aliens in U.F.O. literature.
It must be emphasized that the Typhonian Order does not appear to interpret its alleged contacts with praeter-human intelligences in an overly literal fashion. Rather, Lam and entities from the Cthulhu Mythos are conventions of a sort which enable humans to interact with "something non-human, from a human perspective."
Organizationally, it is believed that the Typhonian Order has shifted from a formal hierarchy to a less hierarchical structure.
- Koenig, "Ordo Templi Orientis--Introduction"
- Kaczynski, Richard. (2002). "Perdurabo, The Life of Aleister Crowley," pg. 332. New Falcon Publications ISBN 1-56184-170-6
- James R. Lewis Witchcraft Today, p. 217, ABC-CLIO, 1999 ISBN 978-1-57607-134-2
- Evans (2007), p. 66
- Koenig, "Typhonian Ordo Templi Orientis: Aleister Crowley Appointing Kenneth Grant: Provenance of the Document."
- Michael Staley, Starfire II:2
- Michael Staley, Starfire II:3: Instrument of Succession - An Apology
- Evans, Dave (2007). Aleister Crowley and the 20th Century Synthesis of Magick. Hidden Press, Second Revised Edition. ISBN 978-0-9555237-2-4