by Chi Ibe
Rapper Jay-Z is said to be a devotee of Ordo Templi Orientis, known as OTO, a satanic sex cult which also claims to raise demons to do your bidding.
Jay Z has repeatedly purloined imagery and quotations from founder Aleister Crowley’s work by wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with ‘Do what thou wilt’ or hiring Rihanna to hold aloft a flaming torch in his music videos (a reference to the Illuminati, an outlawed secret society whose name supposedly derives from Lucifer, or ‘light bringer’), he has given the sect priceless publicity, Mail Online reports.
Also, his Rocawear clothing line is shot through with OTO imagery such as the ‘all seeing eye’ in a triangle, the ‘eye of Horus’ (an ancient Egyptian symbol frequently referenced in occult).
OTO is a living religion, with followers still practising occult rituals set out by Crowley in his books.
John Bonner, 62, the head of OTO in the UK, told the Daily Mail that:
‘We are not a mass-appeal sort of organisation — in the UK we number in our hundreds. Worldwide it’s thousands. You could call us a sex cult in a way, because we recognise, accept and adore the whole process which goes towards making tangible the previously intangible.”
Some conspiracy theorists have seized on this as evidence that Jay Z is a member of a secret Masonic movement which they believe permeates the highest levels of business and government.
Others take a more pragmatic view: that it is commercial opportunism, cashing in on impressionable teens’ attraction to the ‘edginess’ of occult symbolism.
A former FBI agent, Ted Gundersen, who investigated Satanic circles in LA, found that Crowley’s teachings about ‘raising demons to do one’s bidding’ suggested human sacrifice, preferably of ‘an intelligent young boy’.
John Bonner is dismissive of any idea that he and his fellow believers would even begin to countenance such excesses, pointing out that his is the only religion that sends people a letter of congratulations when they decide to leave (‘because they are exercising free will, which is what we’re all about’).
But he accepts many people may not be able to deal with Crowley’s complex teachings.
‘You’re not supposed to just jump straight in to it. It takes time and study, but our rituals are not for public consumption. You need to join us and go through the initiation process before you can begin to understand.
‘But according to our beliefs we can’t turn anyone away. So if you are over 18, are passably sane and are free to attend initiations, then you have an undeniable right of membership.’
Crowley, who was born into an upper-class British family in 1875, styled himself as ‘the Great Beast 666’. He was an unabashed occultist who, prior to his death in 1947, revelled in his infamy as ‘the wickedest man in the world’.
His form of worship involved sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, spells which he claimed could raise malevolent gods and the use of hard drugs, including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescaline.
Crowley’s motto — perpetuated by OTO — was ‘do what thou wilt’. And it is this individualistic approach that has led to a lasting fascination among artists and celebrities.