New Isis Lodge
An original lodge of the British OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis)
organization. The New Isis Lodge was established by Kenneth
Grant in 1955, during the period of turmoil that hit the
organization following the death of the outer head of the order,
Aleister Crowley, in 1947. During Crowley’s last years, aided
by the chaos of World War II, the order virtually ceased to exist
in Europe. Crowley passed his job to Karl Germer, then living
in the United States. Germer operated as a caretaker for the
order, but was more interested in seeing to the publication of
Crowley’s manuscripts than in aiding the revival of the organization
after its decimation by the Nazis. Germer had himself
spent several years in a concentration camp prior to escaping
to England and then the United States.
In 1951 Germer granted a charter to Kenneth Grant, a
young magician who had known Crowley during the last years
of his life. Originally Grant was limited to performing only the
first three of the order’s eleven degrees, but he had access to
copies of all of the secret material. In 1955, Grant formally organized
the New Isis Lodge of the OTO. The ‘‘New’’ was a pun
on ‘‘Nu,’’ or ‘‘Nuit,’’ a term borrowed from Egyptian mythology
that symbolized absolute consciousness. It was associated with
the Crowley concept of the Scarlet Woman, whose formula was
‘‘love under will.’’ ‘‘New-Isis’’ or ‘‘Nu-Isis’’ therefore symbolized
the heavenly and earthly goddess. Grant also began to
work all eleven degrees of the order.
Accompanying the organization of the lodge, Grant issued
a manifesto announcing the discovery of a new planet in this
solar system beyond Pluto, a planet unknown to astronomy,
which he named Isis. Quickly after receiving the manifesto and
news of Grant’s actions, Germer expelled Grant from the OTO.
Grant ignored the expulsion and continued to build his organization.
He had no competition in the United Kingdom until
the 1970s.
Grant had access to Crowley’s library, which was eventually
deposited at an academic library in London, and as his organization
grew he began to write books both on the Crowley legacy
and on his own peculiar revisions of it. He gained considerable
status in the larger magical community in 1969 as the co-editor
of Crowley’s autobiographical Confessions.
Grant, while working the OTO rituals, offered a new variation
that had grown out of his own magical experiments with
what was termed the shadowside or backside of the Kabalistic
system, work which resembled Satanism to many magicians.
Since Grant’s death, the work of the British OTO has continued
independently of the larger OTO movement, one branch of
which is headquartered in Germany and one in the United
States.
Sources
Grant, Kenneth. Cults of the Shadow. London Frederick Muller,
1975.
———. Nightside of Eden. London Frederick Muller, 1977.
———. Outside the Circles of Time. London Frederick Muller,
1980.
King, Francis. The Rites of Modern Occult Magic. New York
Macmillan, 1970.