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William Breeze (August 12, 1955) is an American musician and occultist, a member of the band Coil, and the current international leader of Ordo Templi Orientis. Under the name Hymenaeus Beta he is a leading editor of the occult works of English author Aleister Crowley, the founder of the philosophy and religion of Thelema.
Breeze is a musician who plays electric viola, mandolin, guitar, bass and electronics. In the early years of his career he worked with poet-percussionist and Velvet Underground cofounder Angus MacLise. Footage of Breeze performing alongside Maclise was shown at the exhibition Dreamweapon: The Art and Life of Angus MacLise (1938 – 1979) from May 10–29, 2011 curated by Johan Kugelberg and Will Swofford Cameron.
Breeze has played with Psychic TV and appears on the recordings Thee Fractured Garden (1995), Cold Blue Torch (1995), Trip Reset (1996) and Spatial Memory (1996) and is mostly credited as playing viola and viola synthesizer. He was a member of Coil from 1997 through 2004, playing electric viola. He is currently a member of the band Current 93 (a number and reference important in Thelema).
Breeze has been involved in the occult since the 1970s. He was involved in the publishing of Aleister Crowley's Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law (edited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant; 93 Publishing, 1974) and was a student of Marcelo Ramos Motta, who described him as "an ex-Probationer who failed to keep his Oath and perform his Task and was cut contact with as a result." In 1978, Breeze was initiated into the Minerval degree of Ordo Templi Orientis. During the next few years, he advanced through the Man of Earth degrees of O.T.O., taking his IV° & P.I. at Tahuti Lodge in New York City in January 1985.
Following the death of Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha (Grady McMurtry), Breeze was elected as Frater Superior of Ordo Templi Orientis in a special election by all the active IX° members of O.T.O. He assumed the name Hymenaeus Beta.
Breeze is known in the occult community (under his pseudonym Hymenaeus Beta) as the editor of several of the works of Aleister Crowley.
Some of the works he has edited include:
- The Equinox, Volume III, Number 10, Weiser Books.
- The Equinox of the Gods, New Falcon Publications.
- The Heart of the Master & Other Papers, Thelema Media.
- The Law is for All, Thelema Media.
- Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4. Weiser Books.
- The General Principles of Astrology. Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-908-5
- Diary of a Drug Fiend. Red Wheel/Weiser.
- Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword, co-edited with Marjorie Cameron, authored by Jack Parsons, 1989, New Falcon Publications
On 2nd May 2013, Hymenaeus Beta admitted making editorial mistakes in some of the books he has been responsible for publishing. He wrote "In my travels I have learned to be cautious. “The Great Invocation” and the Paraphrase were both “corrected” by yours truly in Magick(Liber ABA) (1994 and later editions) to change their original readings of “kill me” to “fill me” –a woefully misguided attempt to make these non-Class A texts agree with what I had every reason to assume was the correct reading in Liber Legis." This was announced during one of 3 separate explanations given by Frater Hymenaeus Beta for his controversial editorial decision to change the "fill me" in Liber Legis to "kill me".
- "Angus MacLise | DREAMWEAPON : Boo-Hooray". boo-hooray.com. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
- "William Breeze Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- Motta, Marcelo (1981). The Equinox, vol. V no. 4. Nashville: Thelema Publishing Co.
- Koenig, Peter. "Minutes of the Special Ninth Degree Caliphate Election". The Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
- Beta, Hymenaeus. "On the kill me / fill me correction to Liber Legis". Retrieved 15th June 2013.