Apparently the rumor mill is in high gear again. I was told people were discussing the OTO and said “The cakes of light contain BLOOD and the XI degree is SODOMY”. Now, one of these things might be kinky fun, but I won’t say which.
Anyway, the XI degree one is the easiest to deal with: With the global heads of the order being only rank X themselves, and with progressive ranks being invitation only after III, the sodomy bit would be awfully lonely with only three people in the entire world to share it with. Or maybe XI is just one person. Lashtal has a semi-serious thread about the topic which very quickly turns into “poetry Crowley wrote in college” due to lack of any serious evidence. I posited the origin might be from the Masonic degrees being imported into the OTO, since the Knights Templar and Masons had both been accused of sodomy. It might be a reference to an observer seeing the hermaphrodite idol Baphomet (or going to a Gnostic Mass), and not understanding the occult meaning of the Lord of Understanding, decided it was about sodomy. Nope, turns out Peter Robert-Koenig, self styled “O.T.O. Phenomena Researcher” has blown the doors off the secret. Apparently OTO members are direct lineage to Nosferati (I have no idea what this means), regularly engage in orgies, have a “sexual link to the illuminati”, and the Typhonian Order submits to “sexual violations of extraterrestrials”.
I only wish.
“Alright, so what’s in the funky cakes? I hear it’s BLOOD!” Well the answer is “yes” from anyone who is half turned onto the idea. At face value, the recipe is written as a Spyragic. That is to say, something is taken, soaked in alcohol, then burned to a fine ash, then the ash is soaked in alcohol, then the whole mess is filtered. To produce a stone, evaporate what remains. This is both stupidly complicated, illegal in the US (distillation), and it both tells us exactly what’s going on and nothing at all.
In my opinion, the EGC is pretty strict about ‘cakes of light’ – blood of any sort is optional, and “legally obtained livestock blood” (EGC handbook, p14-15) is suggested. Suggested in OTO parlance means “required at public mass, otherwise whatever you want behind closed doors”, see “Queering the Gnostic Mass” for how the EGC handles these sorts of disputes. As for 99% of OTO lodges, there’s no blood in the cakes, people or otherwise. For 100% of public performances, it’s not people blood. So if you ask an OTO member, why will they say there’s blood in it? Becuase it’s sweat (asana or really any physically demanding thing which tears down the body), blood (labor, or purification), and tears (effort, or maybe refinement). Hence “Magic without Tears” etc.
Crowley wrote it as a hat tip to the salt-sulfur-mercury alchemical process, and by using 3 physical ingredients and by blessing them individually the 3 becomes 6… The blood is “who is making it” not “what goes into it” in my opinion. In other allegory, the “preferred blood” is the Priestess (who is consecrated), a child (who is innocent), the host of heaven (the preist, consecrated by the priestess), or livestock (muggles, because Crowley is a jerk). To wit, flesh and blood have to make it, it becomes a thing, it becomes magical, and then it goes back into flesh and blood. There’s no more blood in it than the preist and priestess getting it on at the altar – it’s entirely symbolic.
Seriously, if your lodge does do this, please print this post and bring it along. There’s no reason to assume this liability in the age of HIV and more importantly I feel there’s plenty of evidence that Crowley was once again using occult terms to describe a magical process which shouldn’t be taken to the letter in it’s most base form.