William Breeze

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William Breeze
BornWilliam Gary Keith Breeze[1]
(1955-08-12) 12 August 1955 (age 63)
Paris, France
Pen nameHymenaeus Beta (Ὑμεναιος B)
OccupationAuthor, voilist, international leader of OTO
ResidenceNew York, United States
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materHarvard University, Boston
GenreOccult studies
SubjectBiography, magick, philosophy, religion
Notable worksThe Law is for All (1996, Thelema Media)

William Breeze (born August 12, 1955) is an American author and publisher on magick and philosophy. He is the current international leader of Ordo Templi Orientis.[2] Under the name Hymenaeus Beta he is a successor of Grady McMurtry (Hymenaeus Alpha) who served as a the head of OTO from from 1971 until 1985, and in this capacity he is a leading editor of the occult works of English author Aleister Crowley, the founder of the philosophy and religion of Thelema.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

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 at the time of his birth. Breeze spent his childhood accompanying his father, who had a very distinguished military career, on many tours of duty across the United States, staying with him at various US military bases, including 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[4] closely linked to UFO phenomena,[5] as well as Fort Bragg and Fort Meade, Maryland[6] where Remote viewing program took place,[7] and Montauk Air Force Station at the eastern tip of Long Island, which was later associated with supposed time travel experiments[8] as part of the Montauk Project.[9] In the 1970's Breeze studied at prestigious Harvard University in Boston where his academic expirience was literature.[10]

McMurtry's succession[edit]

In 1979, when Breeze was only 24 years old, he met Crowley's Caliph Grady McMurtry, and being his student and one of his best friends, Breeze later succeeded him in that capacity, after McMurtry passed away in 1985. A veteran of the Normandy Invasion and the conquest of Nazi-occupied Europe, Major McMurtry served in both World War Two and the Korean Conflict, and have trained and been initiated directly by Aleister Crowley who appointed him his "Caliph" giving him the name Hymenaeus Alpha (Ὑμεναιος Α") after meeting him at his suite numbered 11, at the Bell Inn in a small village of Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire, where Crowley was staying during the bombing of London in 1944, describing the inn as "a most delightful, really old inn, big open fire, food incredibly good".[11]

Photograph of Lieutenant Grady Louis McMurtry (Hymenaeus Alpha) taken during his military service in 1941, now held in OTO archives.

McMurtry's meeting with Crowley at the Bell Inn[edit]

McMurtry has written about his first meeting with Crowley in 1944 in his diary,[12] stating: "Naturally I was in uniform. Not only was there war on, but I had taken the morning off from my duties as Company Commander of US troops in England to grab the company jeep and go over and see Crowley. I walked in to the desk of the Bell Inn hotel in Buckinghamshire and asked the clerk how I could find him. He said: "Oh, right up those stairs, on the right, down the corridor to the left, and it's room number 11." So I go pounding up the stairs with my combat boots on, found the door on the right, and pound on it. I heard some unintelligible sound, so I pounded again. This time I heard a voice saying very distinctly, "Who is it?" Since I was talking trough the door, and there seemed to be some problem of communication, I said very loudly: "Its lieutenant McMurtry". The door opened and there was Crowley. He took one look at me and said: "Oh, there you are, dear chap. Come right on in." Then he paused, looked puzzled for a second, and said: "That's strange. When I was taking the I Ching divination this morning it said that I would be meeting a military man." I walked in and I remember that it was a happy reunion and a heart-warming experience. Crowley was a wonderful person."[13]

Helping to re-establish O.T.O.[edit]

In 1969 McMurtry and his wife known as Soror Meral re-established the Order by invoking the emergency orders from Crowley 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".[14]

Since 1971 until his death in 1985, McMurtry served as the head of Ordo Templi Orientis,[11]an international fraternal order founded in the early part of the 20th century and headed by Crowley.[15]

In late 70's Breeze helped to publish Aleister Crowley's Magical and Philosophical Commentaries on The Book of the Law. Eedited by John Symonds and Kenneth Grant, it was published by 93 Publishing, a company which was partially owned by Breeze.

After re-establishment of OTO with Phyllis Seckler, in 1982 McMurtry granted Breeze a charter to form an OTO lodge of which Breeze later became a master.[16] A lot of initiations were conducted under his mastership, and in 1985 Breeze succeeded McMurtry as Outer Head of OTO. After McMurtry's death, under Breeze's leadership, OTO began to grow internationally for the first time. Over the next decade, Breeze spent his time establishing International Headquarters and chartering new Lodges. By the end of the Twentieth Century, the organization has grown to several thousand members over time.[16]

Gnostic Catholic Church[edit]

Photograph of the OTO's Gnostic Mass Temple located in the Bywater of New Orleans.

Gnostic Catholic Church, a contemporary occult Church, exists as an integral part of OTO. In 1981 Breeze was consecrated by E.C.G.'s bishop Jack Hogg as Tau Silenus, and in 1986 succeeded McMurtry as the head of the Church.[17] Hogg was a bishop of the Gnostic Church of Thelema whose lineage could be traced directly to Jules-Benoit Daniel du ValMichel, one of the founders of the Gnostic tradition. During McMurtry's governance as the Head of the Order in the 1970's, Gnostic Catholic Church and OTO were separate organisations. However, in 1986 Breeze dissolved the separate Gnostic Catholic Church corporation and co-joined the church with O.T.O. Under Breeze's leadership, the Church has expanded greatly, growing to several thousand conserated members.[18]

Governing of O.T.O.[edit]

Since 21 September 1985, Breeze served as the Head of Ordo Templi Orientis.[16]

Following the death of Grady McMurtry who was heading the Order at the time, Breeze was elected as a new head of the order in a special election by all the active IX° members of OTO.[19] He assumed the name Hymenaeus Beta,[20] and later in that capacity became widely acknowledged as an expert on the life and works of Aleister Crowley.[3]

The ridge above Loch Ness Foyers and Boleskine walk comes down past Boleskine. Located below, Boleskine House can be seen from the forest track.

Breeze devoted much of his time working in the preservation of the Order’s heritage materials relating to Boleskine House (manor house in the Scottish Highlands previously owned by Aleister Crowley, who bought it for the purpose of performing a magical working based on The Book of Abramelin) and OTO’s archival materials in England.[21] 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.[16]

The first pentacle of Venus from a 1889 edition of The Key of Solomon first translated and edited from Ancient Manuscripts in the British Museum by Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, now held in O.T.O. archives

Breeze, furthermore, made available his own researches, undertaken for the definitive edition of Crowley’s Confessions that were published in 1990,[22] becoming the biography’s co-editor.[23]

In his capacity of a Head of OTO, Breeze helped many worthy investigators such as Lawrence Sutin (author of DO WHAT THOU WILT: A Life of Aleister Crowley published in 2000, ISBN 978-0312288976),[24] 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),[25] and Adam Clayton (author of Netherwood: Last Resort of Aleister Crowley. published by Weiser Antiquarian Books in 2012, ISBN 978-0957233409),[21][26] to study OTO, Thelema, Aleister Crowley and related topics using the materials OTO is the guardian of.[27]

Starting in 2005, Breeze begun chartering new international Grand Lodges, including those of Australia and United Kingdom which covers England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, plus British Crown Dependencies.[28]

On October 10, 2014, Breeze was unanimously re-elected de jure Outer Head of the Order by a council of Grand Masters, and on May 16, 2015, his organisation celebrated 30 years of his governing of OTO.[16]

Esoteric art[edit]

In his capacity of Frater Superior of OTO, Breeze advised several American museums and exhibitions on esoteric art.[29] On February 10, 2015, he chaired a panel discussion dedicated to Los Angeles artist and occultist Marjorie Cameron and her work, which was held at Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.[30]

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.[29] 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.[31]


As author[edit]

Under his pseudonym, Hymenaeus Beta, Breeze has written extensively on magic and Thelemic initiation in various occult periodicals, including The Magical Link[32] and texts entitled Culture Versus Cult contained within The Equinox Vol 3 No. 10, published in 1990.[33] His editorial forewords include prolegomenon to Liber Aleph Vel CXI: The Book of Wisdom or Folly,[34] preface to Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey (Nuit - the host of mankind, Had - a single person and a star, Ra Hoor Khut - a child, result of that union)[35] 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.[36]

As editor[edit]

Breeze is known as the editor of several of the works of Aleister Crowley. Some of the works he edited include:

Musical career[edit]

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.[37]


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.[38]


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.[39] Starting in 1994, Breeze played electric viola on many Coil’s albums, including The Angelic Conversation and Time Machines released in 1998, and accompanied the band on various live tours, including Barcelona tour in 2000.[40]

Current 93[edit]

After Coil’s dissolution in 2004, Breeze became a member of Current 93, an experimental music group founded by David Tibet.[41]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "Ordo Templi Prientis: company profile". 12 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  2. ^ Flood, Alison (2015-10-15). "Unseen Aleister Crowley writings reveal 'short-story writer of the highest order'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  3. ^ a b "Bibliography of Works Researched via Hymenaeus Beta and OTO Resources". Zero Equals Two. 2015-02-05. Retrieved 2017-11-09.
  4. ^ "SHOCK CLAIM: Footage of 'alien UFO being tested at Area 51 leaked'". 30 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Huge UFO 'disappeared into wormhole' after bizarre events near top secret military base". 30 March 2018.
  7. ^ "Fort Meade, Maryland, where psychics gathered to remotely spy on the U.S. Embassy in Iran during the hostage crisis". 30 March 2018.
  8. ^ "'Montauk Chronicles' Claims Time Travel, Mind Control, Aliens At Camp Hero". 30 March 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  9. ^ "HAS THE GOVERNMENT ALREADY ACHIEVED TIME TRAVEL?". 30 March 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  10. ^ "Coil: Members". 15 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  11. ^ a b Partridge, Christopher (2014). The Occult World. Routledge. pp. 281, 302. ISBN 9781317596769.
  12. ^ "McMurtry 777 ON KNOWING ALEISTER CROWLEY PERSONALLY". cornelius93. 2018-12-20. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  13. ^ Kaczynski, Richard (2012). Perdurabo, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Life of Aleister Crowley. North Atlantic Books. pp. 513, 527–528. ISBN 9781583945766.
  14. ^ Crowley, Aleister; et al. (July 1990) [March 1986]. Hymenaeus Beta, ed. The Review of Scientific Illuminism: The Official Organ of the O.T.O. The Equinox #10. III. Soror Meral, Research Ed. (Revised ed.). York Beach, Maine: Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-719-8.
  15. ^ Crowley, Aleister; et al. (July 1990) [March 1986]. Hymenaeus Beta, ed. The Review of Scientific Illuminism: The Official Organ of the O.T.O. The Equinox #10. III. Soror Meral, Research Ed. (Revised ed.). York Beach, Maine: Weiser Books. ISBN 0-87728-719-8.
  16. ^ a b c d e "ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF O.T.O." 15 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  17. ^ "Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica: Bishops". 20 December 2018. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  18. ^ T Apiryon; Helena (2001). Mystery of Mystery: A Primer of Thelemic Ecclesiastical Gnosticism. Red Flame (2nd ed.). Red Flame. ISBN 0-9712376-1-1.
  19. ^ Koenig, Peter. "Minutes of the Special Ninth Degree Caliphate Election". The Ordo Templi Orientis Phenomenon. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  20. ^ "31st Anniversary of election of William Breeze to succeed Grady McMurtry". 13 March 2018. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  21. ^ a b "Aleister Crowley: Last Days". Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  22. ^ "THE CONFESSIONS OF ALEISTER CROWLEY, 1990". 3 July 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  23. ^ "The Art of the Law: Aleister Crowley's Use of Ritual and Drama". 3 July 2018. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  24. ^ "DO WHAT THOU WILT: A Life of Aleister Crowley". 2 April 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Aleister Crowley: The Biography". 2 April 2018. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Aleister Crowley: Gentleman of Hastings". 4 April 2018. Retrieved 4 April 2018.
  27. ^ "Aleister Crowley: The Biography. Watkins Books". 15 March 2018. Retrieved 15 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Agape Lodge journal: Vol VII, Number 3" (PDF). 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  29. ^ a b ""Language of the Birds: Occult and Art" Exhibition"". 23 April 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  30. ^ "Deitch Projects Presents the Uncensored Story of LA Artist/Occultist Marjorie Cameron". 17 March 2018. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  31. ^ ""Panel on "Language of the Birds: Occult and Art" at 80WSE Gallery, New York"". 23 April 2018. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  32. ^ "The Magical Link', Vol. V, #3, 1985: The Right to Innitiation". 16 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  33. ^ "The Equinox: The Review of Scientific Illuminism Vol 3 No. 10". 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  34. ^ "The Book of Wisdom or Folly". 17 May 2018. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  35. ^ "Initiation in the Aeon of the Child: The Inward Journey". 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  36. ^ "The Goetia (Edited, annotated, introduced and enlarged by Aleister Crowley, this edition edited by Hymenaeus Beta)". 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  37. ^ "Angus MacLise | DREAMWEAPON : Boo-Hooray". boo-hooray.com. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  38. ^ "William Breeze Discography at Discogs". Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  39. ^ "John Balance, joint founder of Coil, a focal point for English avant garde pop music". Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  40. ^ "William Breeze at Rate Your Music". Rate your Music. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  41. ^ "Current 93: Credits". 12 March 2018. Retrieved 12 March 2018.

External links[edit]