Paul Foster Case quickly became my favourite Golden Dawn initiate, when everyone else of my fellow brethren revered either Aleister Crowley, Israel Regardie or S.L. MacGregor Mathers. Even though I regard the latter to be one of the greatest initiates of our modern era, P.F. Case came close and surely was the greatest American initiate of all time. So, for me it is naturally to notice and gather any information that I can get on either Case or the B.O.T.A.
I have made some notes before on this blog regarding Case’s involvement in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, from which he found his main inspiration to form the B.O.T.A., where I also quote some interesting information from Tony DeLuce regarding the B.O.T.A. Chapter work, the equivalent of a Temple in the Golden Dawn. Now recently I stumbled upon a interesting conversation between Tony DeLuce and Tony Fuller, both of them initiates of both the B.O.T.A. and the Golden Dawn Traditions, and whom I trust for their scholarly integrity and honesty, from which I have gathered some very illuminating information regarding the Chapter work of the B.O.T.A.
When still a member of the B.O.T.A. I was told by people I trust that only one permillage of the members ever reached the Chapter levels, and that there probably only existed one Chapter serving the entire Europe and one in the U.S. So information regarding B.O.T.A. Chapter work is very scarce ideed; I have always known that they work a version of Golden Dawn ritual equivalent of the Outer Order and the Adeptus Minor 5°=6° Grade. Case clearly states in the B.O.T.A. lessons that his organization doesn’t initiate anyone beyond the 5°=6° and that all initiations above that is solely made between the initiate and his Higher Self or Holy Guardian Angel. But other than this, one won’t find any more information from B.O.T.A. itself regarding Chapter work, which is an extremely secluded affair althogether. One must search in different quarters. Now, the latest news says the following:
- Paul Foster Case brought into the B.O.T.A. the Outer or First Order rituals already used in the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega (A∴O∴). This means that the First Order rituals of the B.O.T.A. Chapter is neither that of the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (G∴D∴) or the later Stella Matutina (S.M.) revisions; they follow the particular A∴O∴ formula. Here I must add my own observations regarding the “Elemental Grades”, i.e. that of Zelator (1°=10°), Theoricus (2°=9°), Practicus (3°=8°), and Philosophus (4°=7°). Between the G∴D∴, and later A∴O∴ and S.M., there are very few and only minor differences, mostly alternative wordings, etc. It is the 0°=0° Ritual which differs the most between the original G∴D∴, A∴O∴ and S.M. In the case of the A∴O∴ this is mostly seen in the so-called “antiphony”, a unique exchange of words made between the principal Officers, which has never seen the light of public before. Other than this the A∴O∴ 0°=0° Ritual differs very little from the original G∴D∴, contrary to the S.M. which has added the initial “…by Names and Images…” and changed the wordings throughout the Ceremony of Admission to make the ritual more Christian oriented.
- However, Case changed the wordings of the A∴O∴ antiphony somewhat. Besides taking away all the Enochian references from the “Elemental Grades”, he also introduced new elements into the 0°=0° and 2°=9° which is based upon his teachings of the Cube of Space, and also brought in portions from his own The Book of Tokens into the 0°=0°. This brings my attention to the Pronaos Ritual of the B.O.T.A., which serves as a species of preparation ceremony for the 0°=0°, and the overtly stage directions made there to the Cube of Space diagram. It also seems that Case modified the Double Cubical Altar which resembles Aleister Crowley’s instructions from Book 4. Furthermore, Case, in his version of the 0°=0°, somehow emphasized the division between the opening / closing ritual and the initiation ritual. The 1°=10° seems to be virtually identical to the original A∴O∴ version, which is also the case with the 3°=8° and 4°=7° if it weren’t for the fact that considerable portions of the Officer’s speeches were removed from the latter two. When it comes to the Portal Grade Ceremony, Case didn’t use the G∴D∴ / A∴O∴ version but the one practiced in the S.M. instead, which he found in Israel Regardie’s The Golden Dawn. If the source isn’t mistaken there is also supposed to be a lesser amount of diagrams in the B.O.T.A., and those that are there are the same as the diagrams published in Crowley’s The Equinox Vol. 1 No. 2, i.e. quite few of them. It looks as Case added his own diagrams to make up for this lack. This last detail recalls something I read or heard a long time ago, that Case had returned all his A∴O∴ documents after he had resigned, and that he recreated the rituals from memory with the aid of Crowley’s The Equinox.
- In the early phase of the B.O.T.A. Paul Foser Case only presented the 0°=0° and 1°=10° Grade Rituals for his Chapters until the 1930’s, when he supposedly closed most if not all of the Chapters. However, he later reactivated some of them and by then had written the 2°=9°, 3°=8°, 4°=7° and Portal. Case didn’t administer the 5°=6° until the early 1940’s, when he reluctantly opened his own Second Order under pressure from his Portal members. Supposedly this was done as a coup of sorts; Case’s members built a Vault of the Adepti while he was absent because of a lecture tour. Thus they took seven ping-pong tables (which have the dimensions 5 foot x 8 foot), assembled them together and painted them according to the specifications taken from Regardie’s The Golden Dawn. Case upon his return had no choice but to indulge his members. But Case produced very little 5°=6° curriculum, beyond a few papers. One of these supposedly was Charles Stanfield Jones’ (a.k.a. Fra. Achad’s) I.N.R.I.: De Mysteriis Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis! I wonder if he disregarded of the Thelemic undertones in that one!