|Title||International leader of OTO, Patriarch and Primate of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica|
|Other names||Hymenaeus Beta|
August 12, 1955
|Denomination||Gnostic Catholic Church|
|Lineage||Official church succession|
|Alma mater||Harvard University, Boston|
|Other names||Hymenaeus Beta|
|Occupation||Author, musician, priest, human rights campaigner|
|Order||Ordo Templi Orientis|
|Period in office||1986–present|
|Consecration||August 12, 1974 by E.G.C. bishop Jack Hogg|
William Breeze (born August 12, 1955) is an American author and publisher on magick and philosophy. He is a Patriarch of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, the liturgical arm of Ordo Tempi Orientis, of which he is the current international leader. In this capacity he is a leading editor of the occult works of Aleister Crowley, the founder of the philosophy and religion of Thelema, who is regarded as its prophet. Under the name Hymenaeus Beta he is a successor of Grady McMurtry (Hymenaeus Alpha), who was the first of the caliphs to succeed the Thelemic prophet Aleister Crowley, and served as the Outer Head of Ordo Templi Orientis from 1971 until 1985. Caliph was a designation given to McMurtry by Crowley in relation to the continuing office of Outer Head of the Order (OHO) of OTO of which Crowley was a religious leader. According to Crowley, caliph is the elected spiritual and organizational worldwide leader of OTO and is his successor. A lineage of caliphs carrying religious and organisational significance were designated by Crowley. The caliphs, as successors to Crowley, lead the Order after his death.
- 1 Early life and career
- 2 O.T.O. succession
- 3 A∴A∴
- 4 Editorial Work
- 5 Assisting Women
- 6 Esoteric Art
- 7 Works
- 8 Musical career
- 9 Charity work
- 10 Religious office succession
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Early life and career
Breeze came from a military family. Son of a US Army serviceman, he was born in Paris, France, where his father, Colonel Breeze, was on a tour of duty. Breeze spent his childhood accompanying his father, who had a distinguished military career, on many tours of duty across the United States, staying with him at various US military bases, including Fort Meade where a remote viewing program took place; Nellis Air Force Base, located in close proximity to Groom Dry Lake Air Force Base in Nevada, which is a highly classified remote detachment 83 miles (134 km) north-northwest of Las Vegas closely linked to UFO phenomena; Fort Bragg, where "Project Jedi" was run by Special Forces; and Montauk Air Force Station, at the eastern tip of Long Island, which was later associated with supposed time travel experiments as part of the Montauk Project. In the 1970s Breeze studied literature at Harvard University.
In late 1970s, Breeze helped to publish Aleister Crowley's Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law; Breeze was co-owner of the publishing company, 93 Publishing.
In 1979, when Breeze was 24 years old, he met Grady McMurtry. Ten years earlier, McMurtry and his wife, known as Soror Meral, had re-established Ordo Templi Orientis by invoking the emergency orders from Crowley given to McMurtry in the “Caliphate letters”, which gave McMurtry authority (subject to previous OHO's approval) to "take charge of the whole work of the Order in California to reform the Order". In 1982 McMurtry granted Breeze a charter to form an Ordo Templi Orientis lodge of which Breeze later became the Master.
McMurtry served as the head of Ordo Templi Orientis until his death in 1985. In that year, Breeze succeeded McMurtry as Acting Outer Head of OTO, after all active IX-degree members met in order to elect McMurtry's successor. He was nominated by Helen Parsons-Smith, a widow of Wilfred Talbot Smith, who was a founder of Agape Lodge. Upon his election, Breeze assumed the responsibility of raising the O.T.O. to greater heights and of reconstituting the A∴A∴, with a view to re-establish two orders the way Crowley originally envisaged. Over the next decade, Breeze spent his time establishing International Headquarters and chartering new Lodges. By the end of the twentieth century, the organization had grown to several thousand members.
Gnostic Catholic Church
In 1986 Breeze succeeded McMurtry as the Patriarch of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, the liturgical arm of O.T.O. As a contemporary occult Church, it exists as an integral part of OTO. Breeze was consecrated by E.G.C.'s bishop Jack Hogg as Tau Silenus on August 12, 1974 . Hogg was a bishop of the Gnostic Church of Thelema whose lineage could be traced directly to J. Doinel, one of the founders of the Gnostic tradition, who also consecrated Aleister Crowley. During McMurtry's governance of OTO in the 1970s, the Gnostic Catholic Church and OTO functioned as separate organisations. In 1986, Breeze co-joined the separate Gnostic Catholic Church with OTO. Under his leadership the Church has expanded greatly, growing in several countries.
Starting in 2005, Breeze begun chartering new international Grand Lodges, including those of Australia and United Kingdom, the latter covering England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus British Crown Dependencies. Despite the O.T.O. formalising itself with regulations and policies, Breeze allowed the leadership in local areas the freedom to experiment with tactics for growing the organisation.
On October 10, 2014, Breeze was unanimously re-elected de jure Outer Head of the Order by a council of Grand Masters. On May 16, 2015, his organisation celebrated 30 years of his governing of OTO.
Motta's A∴A∴ movement was first formally announced in the early January 1976, when Motta's edition of the Commentaries of AL with introduction by James Wasserman went to print. Motta was a disciple of Karl Germer whom he met in 1953 and his A∴A∴ work was also supervised by Germer. Motta, in turn, took on his own students, including James Wasserman and J. Daniel Gunther.
After his election as the Outer Head of the O.T.O. in 1985, Breeze sought to rebuild the A∴A∴ so that both orders could again operate in the way Crowley intended. Having spent the years immediately following his election giving most of his attention to the O.T.O activity, in the summer of 1992, together with J. Daniel Gunther who was involved exclusively with the A∴A∴, and other students of Marcelo Motta, Breeze renewed the A∴A∴ activity which at that point was dormant.
The revived A∴A∴ began to grow. with the subsequent publications of The Equinox journal, newly typeset in authorised format with exhaustive editorial work by Breeze himself, along with assistance of other O.T.O. and A∴A∴ members, which was issued jointly by the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴, starting with The Equinox Vol IV, No. 1 and 2 published in 1996.
The Holy Books of Thelema
Under his name as Frater Superior of the O.T.O., Hymenaeus Beta, Breeze is known as the preeminent editor of The Equinox journal, issued jointly by the O.T.O. and the A∴A∴, and the commentaries on the Holy Books of Thelema.
On April 10, 1982, Breeze and McMurtry began producing a new edition of The Holy Books of Thelema, which was published by Weiser Books in April 1983. Breeze did the design and editorial work, and James Wasserman handled typesetting and the layout, production and proofreading. The Holy Books of Thelema were originally published in 1909 by Crowley under the title "ΘΕΛΗΜΑ" in three small books that Crowley had put out privately for the A∴A∴ members. The previous edition by Israel Regardie was published in 1972 with Sangrael Press but was out-of-print.
The 1996 edition of The Law is for All (a collection of Crowley's commentary on The Book of the Law) edited by Breeze is based upon the original manuscript of Louis Wilkinson and has an introduction by the material's original editor. It includes annotations, reading lists and indexes not found in the earlier edition.
During the summer of 1982, Equinox Vol. III, No. 10, edited by Breeze, went to press, featuring the core O.T.O. documents. Breeze also added a number of A∴A∴ papers, along with letters from Magick Without Tears, the text of The Book of the Law, and various other writings by Crowley, Wilfred Talbot Smith, and Frater Achad, also featuring James Wasserman's essay on the history of the O.T.O. Breeze wrote an extensive introduction and showcased a group of contemporary Thelemic poets and artists, along with a section on Kenneth Anger's films.
In 1996 Breeze's edition of The Equinox Vol. IV, No. 1: Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers, went to press. It included number of previously unpublished pieces in the Equinox series, including Liber LXV's commentary, and a colour reproduction of Crowley's illumination of Liber Pyramidos. Its main feature, Liber Cordis Cincte Serpente (Liber LXV) is considered to be one of the Holy Books of Thelema. It includes Crowley's commentary which, unlike in the earlier editions, was positioned opposite and facing the corresponding text of Liber LXV. Breeze's edition also includes other works of Crowley and shorter commentaries which have not been published before, including Charles Stansfeld Jones' commentary on Liber A'ash (written by him as an A∴A∴ assignment, and then annotated by Crowley), and other commentaries Breeze included to aid the aspirants within the system of the magical Order of the A∴A∴ in the attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel, and the grade of Adeptus Minor. It contains reprinted documents important in defining the A∴A∴ training system, including Crowley's works such as One Star in Sight, Liber XIII, and Liber CLXXXV, to which this book adds An Account of the A∴A∴ introduced by Crowley's essay titled Occultism published for the first time, including one unpublished version of the A∴A∴ Student Examination. It also contains a large colour plate section including a colour reproduction of Crowley's original illuminated manuscript of Liber Pyramidos and paintings by J. F. C. Fuller dealing with A∴A∴ teachings. These paintings have been used as the covers of the edition.
In 1998 Breeze's edition of The Equinox Vol. IV, No. 2 went to press. It contains the fourth major edition of Liber 418 (The Vision and the Voice), considered by Crowley to be second in importance behind The Book of the Law which established the religious system of Thelema. Previous major edition of The Vision and the Voice was published by Israel Regardie in 1972 and had been out of print. Breeze's 1998 edition, which includes Crowley's commentary as footnotes, made the material of Liber 418 available to a large audience for the first time.
Devoting much of his time in administering the Order, Breeze also devoted a lot of time to development of the corpus of Thelemic literature and preservation of OTO's archival heritage. Under Breeze, OTO's publishing efforts have undergone a process of standardisation, and many previously unpublished works have been made available through Breeze's meticulous editorial efforts.
Other significant works
In 1991 Breeze published an edition of Liber Aleph vel CXI: The Book of Wisdom or Folly (93 Publishing, New York), which was a reissue of 1962 edition published by Thelema Publishing Co. Liber Aleph was written in New York City at the end of the First World War and is considered one of the most important commentaries on Crowley's teachings, conceptually written as if to Crowley's magical child, in the style of books fathers used to write for their children, with hereditary spirit of medieval grimoires. The text of Liber Aleph has been described by Crowley as an extended and elaborate commentary on The Book of the Law.
In 1994 he became the editor of the second edition of Book 4, Liber ABA published by Weiser Books. Through editorial notes, Breeze enabled the reader to trace much of the evolution of Crowley's thoughts through successive revisions of the Magick in Theory and Practice manuscript.
In his capacity of a Head of OTO, Breeze helped many investigators such as Lawrence Sutin (author of DO WHAT THOU WILT: A Life of Aleister Crowley published in 2000, ISBN 978-0312288976), Richard Kaczynski (author of Perdurabo: Life of Aleister Crowley published in 2010 by North Atlantic Books, ISBN 978-1556438998), Tobias Churton (author of Aleister Crowley: The Biography published by Watkins Books in 2012, ISBN 978-1780281346), and Adam Clayton (author of Netherwood: Last Resort of Aleister Crowley published by Weiser Antiquarian Books in 2012, ISBN 978-0957233409), to study OTO, Thelema, Aleister Crowley and related topics using the materials OTO is the guardian of.
Throughout his career, Breeze helped many women-writers, including Marjorie Cameron and Helen Parsons-Smith, who produced some works on Thelema and Magick as well as published some editions of Crowley's lesser-known works in the early 70's with Breeze's help.
Friendship with Helen Parsons-Smith
Smith first came in contact with Breeze when he worked with Peter Macfarlane who ran 93 Publishing, a small publishing company in Quebec, Canada. Smith asked for assistance with publishing of some of Crowley's limited edition works. She was later instrumental in Outer Head of The Order elections, nominating Breeze as one of the candidates.
Friendship with Marjorie Cameron
Los Angeles artist and occultist Marjorie Cameron was Breeze's close friend. On February 10, 2015, Breeze chaired a panel discussion dedicated to Cameron and her work, which was held at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.
In his capacity of Frater Superior of OTO, Breeze advised several American museums and exhibitions on esoteric art. In February 2016, Breeze co-chaired “Occult and Art” panel discussion which took place at 80WSE Gallery in New York with Professor Susan L. Aberth and artist Jesse Bransford co-chairing the panel. The panel discussed various artists and occultists, including Aleister Crowley, whose paintings were exhibited amongst other modern and contemporary artists who have each expressed their own engagement in magical practice.
Under his name as Frater Superior of the O.T.O., Hymenaeus Beta, Breeze has written extensively on magic and Thelemic initiation in various occult periodicals, including The Magical Link and texts entitled Culture Versus Cult contained within The Equinox Vol 3 No. 10, published in 1990. His editorial forewords include prolegomenon to Liber Aleph Vel CXI: The Book of Wisdom or Folly, preface to Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey  written by J. Daniel Gunther (published in 2014, ISBN 978-0892542093), as well as editorial introduction to Magick: Liber ABA, Book Four (ISBN 978-0877289197) and introduction to Aleister Crowley's edition of The Goetia, which explores the relationship between Crowley and Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and the importance of the Lesser Key of Solomon in the grimoire tradition.
- The Equinox, Volume III, Number 10, 1990, Weiser Books. ISBN 978-0877287193
- The Equinox, Volume III, Number VI, 1991, Weiser Books. ISBN 978-0877287292
- The Equinox, Volume IV, Number 1, 1996, Weiser Books. ISBN 978-0877288886
- The Equinox, Volume IV, Number 2, 1998, Weiser Books. ISBN 978-0877289067
- The Equinox of the Gods, New Falcon Publications.
- The Heart of the Master & Other Papers, Thelema Media. ISBN 978-1561840304
- The Law is for All, Thelema Media. ISBN 978-5988821113
- The Revival of Magick and Other Essays by Aleister Crowley. New Falcon, 1998. ISBN 978-1-56184-133-2.
- Magick: Liber ABA: Book 4. Weiser Books. ISBN 978-0877289197
- The General Principles of Astrology. Weiser Books. ISBN 978-1578632886
- Diary of a Drug Fiend. Red Wheel/Weiser.ISBN 0933429118
- Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword, co-edited with Marjorie Cameron, authored by Jack Parsons, 1989, New Falcon Publications
- Three Essays on Freedom, authored by Jack Parsons, 2008, Teitan Press. ISBN 978-0-933429-11-6
As a musician, Breeze came to prominence in the late 1990s when in the early years of his musical career he worked with poet-percussionist and Velvet Underground cofounder Angus MacLise. Breeze played electric viola, mandolin, guitar, bass and electronics. 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.
Breeze has been a member of Coil as an electric viola player from 1994 through 2004. Coil was a British avant garde music band founded by John Balance and Peter Christopherson whose main studio was based in Bristol. Starting in 1994, Breeze played electric viola on many Coil albums, including Time Machines, released in 1998, and accompanied the band on various live tours, including Barcelona tour in 2000.
Breeze supports numerous non-profit organisations which promote the human rights and religious liberty of religious minorities as well as campaign for religious freedom and freedom of belief. He made a significant contribution to enhancing religious freedom internationally through various means such as creation of public and private spaces for positive inter-faith exchanges.
Religious office succession
| Patriarch of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
| Outer Head of Ordo Templi Orientis
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- Crowley, Aleister (October 1996). Commentaries on the Holy Books and Other Papers: The Equinox v.4, No.1. Hymenaeus. Beta (ed.). Red Wheel/Weiser. ISBN 978-0-87728-888-6.
- Crowley, Aleister (December 1999). The Vision and the Voice - With Commentary and Other Papers: The Equinox v.4, No.2. Hymenaeus. Beta (ed.). Red Wheel/Weiser. ISBN 978-0-87728-906-7.
- "The Vision and the Voice. With Commentary and Other Papers by Hymenaeus Beta". Retrieved February 10, 2019.
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- "Deitch Projects Presents the Uncensored Story of LA Artist/Occultist Marjorie Cameron". March 17, 2018. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
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- ""Panel on "Language of the Birds: Occult and Art" at 80WSE Gallery, New York"". April 23, 2018. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
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- "The Book of Wisdom or Folly". May 17, 2018. Retrieved May 17, 2018.
- "Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey". April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
- "The Goetia (Edited, annotated, introduced and enlarged by Aleister Crowley, this edition edited by Hymenaeus Beta)". April 12, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
- "Angus MacLise | Dreamwapon : Boo-Hooray". boo-hooray.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
- "William Breeze Discography at Discogs". Retrieved August 14, 2009.
- "John Balance, joint founder of Coil, a focal point for English avant garde pop music". Retrieved April 22, 2018.
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- Wasserman, James (2012). In the Center of the Fire: A Memoir of the Occult 1966–1989. New York, NY: Ibis Press. ISBN 978-0-89254-201-7.
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