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The Voudon Gnostic Workbook by Michael Bertiaux ( Expanded Edition) (Weiser Books) A long-awaited new edition of the seminal text on the spiritual system that is a convergence of Gnosticism and Haitian voodoo, The Voudon Gnostic Workbook, is a singular sacred work that is comprehensive in scope--from "how to be a lucky Hoodoo" to how magick and voodoo intersect energetically, to esoteric time travel. Complete with charts and graphs and instructive interdimensional physics, The Voudon Gnostic Workbook is an "object of desire" among students of the occult. Michael Bertiaux is an occult practitioner and instructor in the Chicago area who developed a large following based on his voodoo-infused Gnostic teachings. 

While The Voudon Gnostic Workbook has remained a controversial book considered important for masters of metaphysics, it recently came into popular culture and renewed popularity when Grant Morrison revealed it had been the inspiration for his cult comics The Invisibles, using the cribbed time travel from Bertiaux' s masterwork. Voodoo is not an evil religion and is much misunderstood. It derives from the Dahomean Gods called the "Loa." Esoteric voodoo is actually a highly practical procedure for leading us into making contact with the deepest levels of our being and most ancient modes of consciousness.

Michael Bertiaux's The Voudon Gnostic Workbook is the most comprehensive and illuminating contemporary book on the subject. Launched out of a correspondence course and series of classes for students and followers of Voudon Gnosticism and the OTO, this seminal text is at once one of the most mysterious and magnificent of all esoteric books. 

"This book is a must-have for any serious occult student's library." --Christopher Penczak, author of Gay Witchcraft (Weiser Books) and several best-selling Pagan books. 

The The Voudon Gnostic Workbook presents the teachings of a Franco-Haitian esoteric and theurgical society known as "La Couleuvre Noire" (The Black Snake), which by reason of their tradition is believed by its members to be a society derived from an adept who died in Leogane, Haiti, in 1774. This tradition also entails teachings derived from African mysticism and spiritism, as these teachings were developed in two hundred years of occult work and casework practice in esotericism and a type of psychology within Haitian culture and the wider Voudon diaspora, which grew out of the occult practices of the members of this order.

It is in this growth of occult practices that the Black Snake School has been shown to possess an identifiable presence of teaching and has demonstrated the evidences of its tradition and forms of spiritism, fused with a peculiar type of Catholicism and aspects of the French mystical and spiritist traditions.

Those serviteurs of this cultus, who adhere to the traditions of this path, would be found to possess a familiarity of language and thought with Black Templarism, Eliphas Levi, Allan Kardec, Stanislas de Guaita, H. P. Blavatsky, and modern depth psychology, as well as the never ending sources of fetischisme and elemental propitiation. In many ways, this tradition would have remained in Haiti, among certain scholars had not so many Haitians come to the U.S.A. in the period 1957-21986, as a result of political instability in their home land. Also, the author of this book, who was briefly in Haiti in 1963, seems to have made contact both then and later in this country with the leaders of The Black Snake Cultus and helped and worked with them to establish their mystical society and neonaasenic church in the U.S.A.

Over the years, The Black Snake Cultus and its outer form: The Ancient Order of the Templars of the East (OTOA), which they understand to be derived from the experience of Papus (Dr. G. Encausse) by reason of his claim to jurisdiction over a secret body of Franco-Haitian adepts, taught its members by means of courses of esoteric instruction in two small lodges in the U.S.A. (Hyde Park, Chicago, Il. and Dorchester, Boston, Ma.) and in one small sanctuary in Leogane, Haiti; before becoming more widely known as the result of a four year course of instruction, written by the author of this book, for a small esoteric school: "The Monastery of the Seven Rays".

The Monastery of the Seven Rays was originally located in Ecuador and later moved to Spain. It claimed a kind of neo-gnostic connection to the spiritist writers, Jules Doinel and Victorien Sardou.

The teaching units of chapters of this present book were instructions given to the Chicago lodge of the cultus, in the period following the writing of the fourth year course of instruction of the Monastery. I might add that the Monastery had a proper tradition of its own, being at one time a priory of the Discalced recollect friars, who had embraced their own form of spiritism. During that period, roughly 1975-1986, at weekly meeting of this cultus, the members studied the papers now presented as the contents of this book.

While the membership of this order grew, a spiritist version derived from the raw and elemental mediumship of Jules Doinel and G. Encausse as well as from essentially a type of Voudon cabala, with influences of Allan Kardec, developed and made itself felt more and more powerfully in the regular and intense seances and other strongly mediumistic rites, which concluded the study work periods of the inner group, each week. Furthermore, from the beginnings of the order in Chicago in the 1960's, close fellowship had been maintained with the neo-pagan and wiccan communities. This led to the original publication of this book by a wiccan book publisher and neo-pagan activist.

In the text of this book, we can find various elements fused into a synthesis of spiritualism and occult experience but grounded in the French traditions derived from Doinel and that early neo-gnostic movement of spiritists and theosophists, in which the author of this book's teachers in Haiti had been educated and initiated. I might add that studies have shown that shipments of occult books from France to Haiti were a commonly received commodity and a much frequently stolen item upon arrival in Haiti, as the postal police records will verify. Those occultists fortunate enough to travel to France brought back many treasures, both books and initiations, as recently written studies on the textures of Haitian religion can attest.

So that on this rich basis of esoteric forms of catholic belief and piety, of the French tradition of gnostico-spiritism, and the native religion of psychic energy, found in the Haitian countryside, of practices that possibly have the remotest antiquity, we can find resting the edifice and structure of the work book, which presents its exotic subjects as processes and grades of spirit-energies and as types of speculative and cultural theology, which are shown to be the refinement of elemental and psychic potencies. Then we can see how the secrets and logics of the Vudu, or the spirits of nature and history, have been brought down to Earth and manifested in the mediumism of the human personality and therein given an almost textbook formulation. Likewise the reader is encouraged to explore and enter the spaces of countless and fantastic opportunities for inner world emanation; since whatever else this book is: it is first and foremost the Voudon-Gnostic Workbook, being equally both Gnostic and spiritist and all keys and tools await the reader.

Let that same reader take this mystical directory in hand, let that reader know what contents they hold in their hands and what buried genii slumber like hidden oracles, rendering invisible or visible their treasures, until the fated moment of their revelation, as the powers of Voudon. --COURTNEY WILLIS 

Let me tell you about the world of esoteric prayer from my own personal experience. I have worked with these energies for a number of years. I have even gone to where the teachings are given out and where the power of esoteric prayer is worked daily.

When I was in Haiti, I entered deeply into the mysteries of the spirits as they are known there, They are called the "Loa" or "Les Vudu." These are spirits and they hear our prayers and work with the energies of prayer in quick and always helpful ways.

After my development into initiation consciousness, I was able to write a number of lessons and other papers on these Holy Spirits and their work. I taught that when you use esoteric prayer, what you do is talk to the spirits as if they were sitting next to you. You talk to them inwardly, of course, but they never act or appear as if they know everything and that there is no need to talk to them. They are always ready to listen to /us, especially when we speak to them about something that is very important to us.

It is by this means that we learn the power—secrets of esoteric prayer, since it is the life of the spirit to teach us to know in this way, This way is the way of the Gnosis, a very ancient word from the Greek language, which means the knowing of the spiritually attuned. In the Gnostic church, which is based upon esoteric prayer and spiritualism, we teach all persons to become attuned to the ways and words, or powerful lessons, which come from the Holy Spirits.

I was recently in Japan, where I made daily attunement to the Holy Spirits, which are over there and which have the name of the "Kami." Naturally, these spirits are universal beings, but I went to Japan in order to make contact on a daily basis with them by means of the way of esoteric prayer and as well to visit the many holy shrines and sanctuaries dedicated to the Holy Spirits in that beautiful country.

Every day, I experienced advancement in my way of communion as I grew more and more aware of the powers of esoteric prayer and the energies, which were everywhere, sent by the Holy Spirits. For a long time, I have been under the direction of the Japanese Master, Doctor Kammamori, and there he led me from one level of being to the next. It was he who enabled me to see how the laws of the Kami, or the Holy spirits of the Shinto Religion, could work in daily life. Each day, I worked with the energies of the spirits, as he, Doctor Kammamori, had instructed me, When we work in the experience of esoteric prayer, we really come to know about spiritual light and energy. I think that you have be inside of what is happening to you in order to understand it fully.

You may wonder what we are doing in this book of spiritual work. Well, let me tell you that we are concerned with esoteric prayer and with teaching how it works and what it can do. I think that prayer in this sense is the application of the lessons of spiritualism and the gnosis to our seeking eternal communion and closeness to God—Energy, through the Holy Spirits. I think it is there that we solve the problems of daily life, which arise and seem to bother us so much. This kind of problem solving is important because in order to grow in the spirit, we have to move on to a higher or more perfect relationship with the Eternal, At one level a problem exists, which is bothersome to us. Then we move in the spirit on to the next level, which is the higher point of view. There our relationship in the gnosis is one of greater closeness of God. Our relationship to God—Energy has improved because of the Holy spirits. They have led us to an improvement. Now, at that higher level in our relationship with God, we are able to solve that problem with the spiritual powers, which come to us from that level of beingness, or because we are closer to God, we are better beings and have more God—Energy in us. This is the goal of gnostic teachings. When we work from that higher level, we look at the problem that was before us and are now able to bring it back to where it was supposed to be all along. In other words, when we are in the spirit, we are able to see things from the viewpoint of God—Energy, and from that view we see all things the way the Holy spirits are able to see them.

Whatever exists is really not supposed to cause harm or misfortune. It is supposed to be part of the energy of the lifestream of the spirit. So we take the God—Energy of the Holy Spirits and quite simply apply it to the world of problems. The problems are then sent back to where they were before our experience touched them and perhaps disturbed them. No longer are they problems for us, rather they are parts of experience and we know (gnosis) what the ways of their own life should be. They were not to be disturbed nor were they to disturb us in any way. By the use of this experience, we see everything as a kind of lesson in the real growth of the soul, from one world to another.

The teacher of spiritualism, Kardec, always told us to look to the spirits for insights into the way we were to live each day. Those early French gnostics of the last century, under a strong influence from Kardec, stated that gnosis (or spiritual knowledge) was the way in which we were to make prayer work in an inward and absolute way. We were taught to by the Holy spirits how we are to use the powers of prayer and ritual magick.

These same gnostics, and they were very familiar with Voudoo and Shintoism as forms of the universal religion of gnostic spiritualism, taught us to enter into communion with God and thereby become able to see things, perhaps all things, the way god sees them. Certainly, we have his energy to work with and in this matter, we can move beyond all limitations into the lifestream of divine light.

The spiritual circumstances of light from the Holy spirits are always ours when we make use of the principles of esoteric prayer. We are living in a constant conversation or dialogue with divinity. The religious dimensions of life and thought comes to us and sits down beside us and enables us to see every day as a working with gods and Holy spirits. Let me help you to see each day as the beginning of a new conversation with God through the gnosis of the Holy Spirits. They certainly have led us that way in this workbook.

They teach: The Reservoir of Power -- Mysticism is the lifestream of the spirit. It is the lifestyle of those who commune daily with God—Energy. Mysticism is the basis of the prayers to the Loa or Les Vudu, in Esoteric Haiti, and to the Kami or Kammamorian spirits, in Esoteric Japan. Vedic or gnostic prayer is the basis of communion with the Mystic Fire of the ancient Hindus (Agni). Each day we come to learn how these holy powers operate in our lives and how we can be and become more attuned to these Holy Spirits than we are or have been. We want more of the operations of the mystic pathway in our life and existence. If you believe in the power of Cod—Energy, you will intuit that It (Agni) is now present everywhere in your experience. You are then a mystic.

Focus the energy of God in your life by drawing on the way of the Holy Oracles. Learn to enter that religion which is an aspect of both Esoteric Voodoo, mysticism, Devotion to the Kammamorian Spirits and the angelic communion of the Faith--Energies of the Christ and the Mystic Fire of Agni. This is the attunement of the Gnosis. In all of this, you will seek more and more ways in which to bring the Holy Spirits and their sacramental mysteries closer to you. Let me tell you that the Holy Mother of God, the Primordial and Eternal Goddess is seeking to make the esoteric prayer—life and teachings of the spiritual world the experience of all Her children.

The esoteric teachings and mysticism of the spirits from the entire mystical and God—Energy religions are truly powers and experiences to feed your soul. These energies are directed to your soul in very precise ways because even in the west, among the gnostics who will use this workbook, you can realize how close you are to a science of prayer in liturgies, oracles, ceremonies, rituals, and meditations.

Yes, you have the ways and the paths whereby the spiritual power can be directed into the problem area and then with the power of light that entity in that area can be cleaned and made pure as the light of God, your radiant source. 

History of La Couleuvre Noire

The publication of Kenneth Grant's very excellent book, The Magical Revival (London: Frederick Muller, Ltd., 1972), serves to show for the first time in public print connections between the O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) magical work of Aleister Crowley and the Haitian Voudoo and Gnostic Magic. In fact, it is Mr. Grant's contention that Crowley's magick, and especially his sex magick, is identical with the magic and especially the magie sexuelle of the French and Haitian Gnostic adepts. In view of this connection, it might be useful to give some information on the Franco-Haitian O.T.O.A. "Ordo Templi Orientis Antigua" and its origins and derivatives.

It is now fairly well known that Crowley received the initiatic succession of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica from Theodore Reuss in 1912, at the time of his consecration to the order of bishop for O.T.O. Reuss had received this succession in 1909 from Gerald Encausse, Grand Master of the Martinist Order and bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica. Reuss and Encausse had exchanged initiations, with Encausse receiving the initiatic succession of the highest degrees of the O.T.O. from Reuss for France and the French-speaking countries.

Gerald Encausse, born July 13, 1865, at La Corogne, Spain, and known as "Papus," had reestablished the Martinist Order in Paris. In 1890, he had been consecrated along with the mystical writer Paul Sedir (Yvon Le Loup) and the occult-book publisher Lucien Mauchel, to the episcopate of the Ecclesia Gnostica, by Jules Doinel (Tau Valentin II). Those who have read Crowley's autobiographies know that Encausse inherited John Yarker's Rite of Memphis-Misraim (which was originally French, but which had been transferred to England via the U.S.A. between 1860 and 1875, and which actually was the basis of the German O.T.O. since Sept. 1902) with the event of Yarker's death in 1913. Thus, Encausse was known to be connected with Egyptian and mystic Masonry, Gnosticism, Martinism, and the Rose-Croix (through Stanislas de Guaita), the Elus Cohens, and P. B. Randolph's "Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica," which operated in France along sexual magical lines. It must be understood, however, that the O.T.O. which Encausse received from Reuss did not contain the secret degrees and work which Crowley was to develop within his own branch of that order. We are discussing the earlier period, 1909 to 1912, which is prior to Crowley's entry into the work.

One of the adepts known to Encausse at the time in Paris was a young Haitian Gnostic bishop, Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine. He had been consecrated to the episcopate by Tau Synesius (who had been consecrated by Papus, Sedir, and Mauchel) and by one mysterious Tau Orfeo VI (a Spanish Gnostic bishop of the older line which drew upon the Albigen-sian and Memphis-Misraim currents) in 1899, at the age of 30. Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine took as his episcopal name in Ecclesia Gnostica, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I. Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine was born on January 11, 1869, in Leogane, Haiti, and died near Boston in 1960. Because of his position in the occult history of the times and because of his connections with French and Spanish occultism, he was able to receive all the most important initiatic successions and currents and transmit them to other members of his race and also to the one line of Gnostic bishops which is derived from him and which has also absorbed the successions and currents of the American neo-Crowleyan derivatives.

In the Haitian Voudoo, esoterically considered, we must make two important distinctions. First of all, there was already an order comparable to the O.T.O. of Karl Kellner and Theodore Reuss. I refer to the order and rite created by Toussaint-L'Ouverture, which drew upon French cabalism, illuminism, and Dahomeyan African currents. All students of Haitian Masonry are familiar with this rite, which is entirely too little known, but which cannot be discussed in this essay for reasons of space. Secondly, there is a very important distinction to be made between these mysteries of Voodoo, which are parallel to the VIII and IX degree-work of the O.T.O.—I refer to the "mysteres de la solitude" and "mariage mystique"—and those mysteries of the very esoteric Voudoo, which are close to the XI and even higher work of Crowley's O.T.O.—here I mean the "mystere Luage."

Thus, it is important to note that both Crowley and this line of esoteric Voudoo admitted to the development of sexual magic and to the existence of secret degrees of attainment. In this sense both the Haitian Gnostics and Crowley were to go beyond the O.T.O. of Reuss and Encausse.

It is noteworthy that Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine received the Voudoo grades of initiate, servitor, priest, and high-priest in Haiti, in his own father's temple in Leogane, before seeking his occult fortunes in Paris and Madrid. Also, there was a family tradition that the Jean-Maine line was traceable back to a French slave-owner in Leogane who had died there in 1774 (a common enough claim). In this case, the slave-owner was the adept Martines de Pasquales, who had founded the Order of the Elus Cohens, the theurgic current into which Louis-Claude de St. Martin (born January 18. 1743), the founder of Martinist mysticism, had been initiated in France.

Prior to his consecration to the episcopate, Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine was ordained to the subdiaconate, diaconate, and priesthood by Tau Orfeo VI, orders of the sacred ministry of the Gnostic Church which fully matched in magical current his first three degrees in esoteric Voudoo, given to him by his father. Between 1899 and 1910, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I worked with the scattered followers of the African-American adept P. B. Randolph (born October 8, 1825) forming the loosely structured "Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica" which worked the sexual magical techniques of their teacher and the three mysterious degrees of his inner order. It has been well established by historians that the O.T.O. of Kellner and of Reuss in Germany received most of its sexual magical teachings from P. B. Randolph's "Magie Sexuelle."

It might be added that the manuscript of Randolph's work was also used by a group of Polish female bishops, the Mariavite Church, who assisted their male counterparts until suppressed by the Roman Catholics. Recently, Randolph's "Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica" in France was headed by a Mariavite Gnostic Bishop, Msgr. Robert Bonnet. Also, it might be noted that Randolph's sexual magic in manuscript form was translated into French and published by none other than that Polish high-priestess Maria de Naglowska before 1931. Finally, it should be noted that Maria de Naglowska studied Voudoo with the pupils of Lucien-Francois Jean-Maine between 1921 and 1930.

About 1910, Encausse gave the X degrees of the O.T.O. to Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I "for Haiti and the French West Indies." A branch of the Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica was also planned. Jean-Maine's consecration took place in Paris. Encausse, who had received most of the higher grades of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim, received a few more from Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I, who had received them from Tau Orfeo VI. Encausse, always the gracious Frenchman and never to be outdone, exchanged what he had received from Yarker and Reuss. However, it must be understood that the succession of Yarker was that of paid-for or mail order diplomas and existed only on paper, while that of Tau Orfeo VI was sacramental in character and based on the magic of the Ecclesia Gnostica. Business difficulties and the war kept Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I from returning to Haiti until 1921. In order to build up the Spanish Gnostic Church, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I moved to Spain in 1919, and in 1921 consecrated his successor in Europe for the Spanish Gnostic Church-Rite of Memphis-Misraim occult system. His successor took the name of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo II, and with his headquarters in Madrid directed the work of the Ecclesia Gnostica and the magical and Gnostic-esoteric orders of Memphis and Misraim. For under the combined influences of the O.T.O., Martinism, Gnosticism, and Voudoo—not to mention the Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica—the Spanish and Haitian branches of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim gave up entirely their quasi-Masonic character and became completely esoteric and Gnostic orders of magic, i.e., The Gnostic and Esoteric Order of Misraim, or of Egypt and the Gnostic and Esoteric Order of Memphis, within the larger, totally occult and much more ecclesiastical "Ancient and Primitive Rite of MemphisMisraim." This point must be emphasized because there are other branches of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim which claim to continue a Masonic character, while our branch is only interested in continuing the Gnostic and apostolic succession and the magical currents of initiation.

Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I returned to Haiti in late 1921 and married. A son was born November 18, 1924, who was named Hector-Francois. While in Haiti, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I created the Haitian Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua—the O.T.O.A.—officially organized in1921. It was structured to work in 16 degrees, rather than the X of the Encausse-Reuss order, or even the XI of Crowley's rite. Elements of Voudoo, magic, and Gnosticism were worked into a system which "went up the Tree of Life and then down the back." It would be considered a very dangerous system by Golden Dawn standards, but then the Haitians had been excluded from the Martinist-derived Golden Dawn by reason of their race, so don't judge them too harshly. I am certain they never regretted anything they did!

In 1922, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I created the magical order "La Couleuvre Noire" ("The Black Snake"), which worked four degrees, with a probationer's and administrative degree added to make it six grades in all. The relationship of the O.T.O.A. to "La Couleuvre Noire" can be best described on the analogy of the relationship of the O.T.O. of Crowley to the G.B.G. and the Choronzon Club of the American "neo-Crowleyan derivatives," except without the loss of any magical vitality on the part of "La Couleuvre Noire," as it was founded by the chief of the O.T.O.A. and not by a pupil. In 1930, "La Couleuvre Noire" and the O.T.O.A. were made departments of the Rite of Memphis-Misraim, together with the Gnostic Church and the Fraternitas Lucis Hermetica in Spain and Haiti. In 1968, this was extended to the U.S.A. and the French West Indies.

In 1960, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I died in Boston, U.S.A., while on a tour of the Gnostic groups in France, Spain, Belgium, and the U.S.A., which were under his jurisdiction. His authority was passed on to Tau Ogoade-Orfeo II, the Spanish occultist and Gnostic, with the provision that the son of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I, Docteur H.-F. Jean-Maine was to be consecrated to the episcopate and inherit the order and its rites. This was accomplished in Madrid, on November 2, 1962, when the son of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I, Docteur H.-F. Jean-Maine was consecrated bishop and elevated to the patriarchate of the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis by Tau Ogoade-Orfeo II. The new bishop-primate and patriarch took the name of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo III and thus continued the Gnostic succession of Haitian bishops and Grand Masters of the O.T.O.A.

On January 18, 1966, an American Martinist, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV (born January 18, 1935), was consecrated to the episcopate for the Rite of Memphis-Misraim. The consecration took place in Chicago, with Tau Ogoade-Orfeo II and Docteur Jean-Maine acting as the co-consecrators. Later, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV received the complete magical consecrations and currents of the Ecclesia Gnostica Hermetica on August 10, 1967. The Ecclesia Gnostica Hermetica carried the magical currents of the secret work of the O.T.O. and the Choronzon Club, and thus united the Crowleyan (Germerian) and NeoCrowleyan (Choronzon Club and G.B.G.) successions with the Gnostic and Hermetic traditions inherited from the Vilatte succession of bishops. The Patriarch of the Ecclesia Gnostica Hermetica Tau IX (33=36) was the consecrator of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV.

Then, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV exchanged the episcopate and Patriarchate in the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis with Tau IX (33=36) by making him XVI (33=36) of the Ordo Templi Orientis Antigua. Again, on December 25, 1967, another Gnostic succession from Msgr. Vilatte was received from Tau IV (13=16), the missionary bishop of the QBL Alchemist Church of Illinois (Egyptian Apostolic Succession) by Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV. This is the same apostolic succession which the French Martinist and Gnostic bishop Msgr. C. Chevillon passed on to the Swiss O.T.O. bishop who inherited the Crowleyan order from Karl Germer. Astrologers should take note that Tau IV (13=16), born January 5, was consecrated to the QBL Alchemist episcopate of the Vilatte succession on November 4, 1967. Tau IV (13=16), previously consecrated in Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis to the episcopate on January 18, 1967, assisted in the exchange of consecrations and successions on August 10, 1967. In 1989, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV appointed Tau Ogoade-Orfeo VIII (Courtney Willis) as the Sovereign Grand Master, then as the Sovereign Grand Master Absolute of La Couleuvre Noire. Born on December 19, 1955, He is the spiritual son of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I. On September 7th, 1991, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo VIII was consecrated as Hierophant of La Couleuvre Noire by Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV. Thus, the American O.T.O. and Gnostic successions were united with the Franco-Haitian and Spanish successions. The events of 1966-1969 are discussed in the 5th Year course of the Monastery of the Seven Rays.

It should be understood by the readers that the O.T.O. and the Martinist lines of initiations were continually being linked by means of the Gnostic episcopate. Also, the succession of the esoteric Voudooists and the O.T.O. successions were united by Gnosticism, in the magical Rite of Memphis-Misraim, and in the magical world of the south side of Chicago Afro-American Spiritist-Gnostics during the 1960's.

On August 31, 1968, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV consecrated the Haitian occultist Docteur Pierre-Antoine Saint Charles, born July 21, 1934, episcopate of the Ecclesia

Gnostica Cabalistica, the newly consecrated and elevated bishop taking as his patriarchal name Tau Eon III, Tau VIII (29=32). Thus, in another Haitian adept and Gnostic voodooist were united the following lines of succession which parallel those of Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I in 1910: (1) the Encausse succession of the S.I.I. of Martinism; (2) the O.T.O. Ecclesia Gnostica Hermetica and Choronzon Club successions from Tau IX; (3) the Vilatte succession of the Gnostic episcopate, now possessed by all of the heirs of Templi Orientis Antigua successions from Tau Ogoade-Orfeo I; (5) the Voudoo succession of the four degrees (mentioned earlier in this essay), which Docteur Saint Charles received from his Haitian traditions. Tau Eon III then exchanged his Voudoo consecrations in their esoteric and magical (rather than religious) current with Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV for the successions of the Ecclesia Gnostica. These Voudoo currents were further developed when Tau Ogoade-Orfeo III added the magical current of the esoteric Voudoo high-priesthood to the succession of the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis. Thus, the lines of esoteric Voudoo and Aleister Crowley did meet in a definite succession of Gnostic bishops, and in the dynamics of "thelemic Voudoo." Note: this succession is also possessed by the present (2005) Sovereign Grand Master Absolute of the O.T.O.A. (Courtney Willis), forming a link between Crowley and the magic fire of Haitian Voudoo.

In order to add more Haitian historical elements to the current, on July 27, 1970, Tau Ogoade-Orfeo IV consecrated to the episcopate in Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis Tau Ogoade V (Tau XV, 57=60), the well-known Haitian scientist, born July 27, 1930. The newly consecrated bishop is the great-grandson of Haitian presidents MichelCincinnatus Leconte and Nord Alexis.

And so the magical currents flow on and on and on. About the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis, yes, it is still in existence. In fact, in the words of John Yarker, when describing the Rite of Misraim, "In a quiet way it is still conferred in this country under its own Supreme Council," composed of the Voudoo Gnostic bishops of 2005, and the Franco-Haitian ghost of "Le Maitre L.-FJ.-M." 

Mark of Voodoo: Awakening to My African Spiritual Heritage by Sharon Caulder (Llewellyn)

What happens when a New Yorker ventures into the African world of Voodoo?

In mid‑life, Sharon Caulder left her successful physical therapy practice in New York to find her soul among the Voodoo peo­ple in Benin, West Africa. Mark of voodoo is the story of her on‑site contact with this mysterious religion‑including her initiation into the spiritual hierarchy as a full‑fledged chief and her subsequent romance with the Supreme Chief.

Dr. Caulder speaks candidly about karma, evolution, tantric sexual systems, sacrifice, and spirit possession. Hers is the first book to explain what happens during Voodoo rituals from both the visible and invisible perspectives. Filled with adventure and romance, this is a story that will speak to your psyche and your heart. 

Voodoo is probably the most maligned and misunderstood religion in the world. It originated in West Africa and was disseminated throughout the Americas and the Caribbean by African slaves. As I was in search of my roots, I was impelled to travel to Africa and reclaim my Voodoo heritage.

The story I tell is one of adventure and romance. While searching for my roots, I also found the great love of my life. While searching for my spiritual heritage, I also found the heritage of my race: the Fon Voodoo people of the Republic of Benin (formerly Dahomey) in West Africa.

I write my story to fulfill the task given me by Daagbo Hounon Houna, the Supreme Chief of Voodoo: to bring the world an understanding of the African Voodoo tradition. Daagbo himself received such a mandate from the Dalai Lama and passed it on to me.

Voodoo, like other religions, is designed to help its devotees not only cope with the stresses of daily life, but also to continue their evolution. In order to assist people with this enormous task, the religion, too, must maintain a state of growth and plasticity and evolve. Voodoo has demonstrated its ability to do so as it continues to thrive in altered but powerful and functional forms throughout the African diaspora. The religion was obligated to make necessary changes when it accompanied its enslaved devotees from the motherland throughout the diaspora centuries ago, and it continues to change today.

Having had the privilege to both practice and study Voodoo at its origin, I became aware that the religion was in a phase of change perpetuated by its supreme chief Daagbo Hounon Houna and under the auspices of its ancestors and deities. Throughout the time that I spent with him, Daagbo spoke often of the evolutionary changes that had been made in the essential ritual of sacrifice. By official mandate, they were to no longer sacrifice humans to their divinity, only animals (although tribes deep within the forests defied the mandate and continued to perform human sacrifices). And toward the end of my first visit Daagbo began questioning the sacred practice of animal sacrifice. Daagbo became painfully aware of the continued suffering of his people, and through his limited travels realized that life can be better. He began to search for ways to modify the Voodoo religion so that it supported his people in living more joyous and productive lives.

In 1996, Daagbo was asked by the New York Times African correspondent, "What is Voodoo?" Daagbo answered, "There are women who cannot conceive children, men who cannot find work, and elders who cannot find peace. Voodoo restores hope. It protects our land and brings the cool breeze."

Contrary to popular belief, the Voodoo religion is not aimed at evoking curses through Voodoo dolls or turning people into zombies. Rather, the Voodoo leaders use their mastery of energy and practice their extraordinary skills to attain higher levels of consciousness for themselves and their devotees. It is the exceptional that has gained worldwide notoriety and earned Voodoo its reputation of malevolence. My aim is to undo this misconception and to restore Voodoo to its rightful place as a major world religion and a positive force for all of humanity.

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