Technicians of the Sacred was formed in 1983 by Courtney Willis with the specific and primary purpose of the preservation and practice of Voudoun and other Neo-African religious systems, its art, magic and culture. To help with its goal of the practice of Neo-African religious and magical systems, in 1988 the International Religious and Magical Order of Societe' took its formative stages.

Later in 1988, the International Religious and Magical Order of Societe/ merged with La Couleuvre Noire, and the Confraternity of Oblates of the Monastery of the Seven Rays, two groups taught by' Michael Bertiaux. The Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, (O.T.O.A.), united itself inside The., International Religious and Magical Order of Societe" in January 1989.

The following article appeared in the Encyclopedia of american Religions, by J. Gordon Melton, 1978, McGrath Publishing Co., Wilmington, North Carolina, 2nd edition. It refers to the history of the Cofratemity of Oblates of the Monastery of the Seven Rays, one of the groups taught by Michael Bertiaux, (COM7R), and has been updated to 1989.

The Confraternity of Oblates of the Monastery of the Seven Rays is the organizational umbrella given to the various magical activities focused in the person of Michael Bertiaux, a noted Chicago occultist-magician. Bertiaux is the inheritor of the French Martinist tradition which he received through his magical training in Haiti and by his ordination and consecration as bishop of the Neo-Pythagorean Church.

Louis Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803) was a Roman Catholic raised in France. As a soldier, he met Martines de Pasqually, a disciple of Emanuel Swedenborg and Rosicrucianism. De Pasqually founded an occult order, the Order of the Elect Cohens, which Saint-Martin joined in 1768. After de Pasqually's death in 1774, in Haiti Saint-Martin became the focus of a group of occultists. He began to write books (published posthumously), and a movement, the history of which is still known only in fragments, was born.

By the end of the eighteenth century, a branch of the Martinist Order had been established in Haiti. This group continued to function after Haiti gained its independence. It tended to blend with Voodoo. In the 1890s, there was a revival movement in the Martinist Order, emphasizing a purist strain of Gnostic philosophy. In the years between the world wars the Gnostic Church was established in Leogane, Haiti, and was brought to the United States after World War II. In general, the Gnostic philosophy emphasizes a secret knowledge that humans can attain, and affirms the esoteric identity of Catholicism and Voudoo.

C.O.M.7.R., which became widely known through its advertisements in Fate Magazine in the 1970s, is a magical order drawing upon modem magic, Voodoo, and the nineteenthcentury French Gnostic-occult tradition. Bertiaux wrote the lessons which teach a basic magical system and lead the student into the higher levels of magical working.

C.O.M.7.R. is the ecclesiastical structure which, along with six other fraternal and psychically oriented structures with which it is interlocked, focus the Martinist occult/mystical tradition in North America. The tradition began in France, was brought to Haiti, and from there came to the United States in the mid- 1950s. Bertiaux was consecrated by Bishop Hector-Francois Jean-Maine, a Haitian who had received orders from the Spanish Albegensian Church which in turn had orders from the French Gnostics. The famous French occultists Joseph-Antoine Boullan (1824-1893) and Pierre Michel Eugene Vintras (1807-1875) are included in the lineage.

C.O.M.7.R is a ritual theurgic body in which the eucharist is the center of initiation. Through it, the invocation of angels and planetary spirits is made, and spirit communication often takes place during the mass. Purity of ritual is emphasized, and no tallow (i.e. nothing that carries the suffering of animals) is used in the candles. All members of the clergy are clairvoyant and often have visions during mass. Also, during worship a mystical language is intuitively (i.e. clairvoyantly) perceived and mystically spoken, in communion with the mysteries.

A Gnostic hierarchical system is headed by the Absolute, similar to the Kabbalist Ein Soph. The Absolute emanates a Trinity, which in turn is the source of Lucifer and Sophia, the basic malelfemale polarity. Lucifer is the morning star, inferior to Christ but not to be confused with Satan. Sophia is paid homage in the cult of the Virgin, the archetypical divine mother. She is often revered as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Satanism and black magick are strongly opposed.

The Church is subject to a hierophant (in 1989, Michael Bertiaux, residing in Chicago, U.S.A.). The general jurisdiction is under Courtney Willis of Burbank, California, who has direct authority over all members.

Associated with the Church is the Ancient Order of Oriental Templars. The Ancient Order of Oriental Templars is a lodge with credentials derived from pre-Crowleyite Ordo Templi Orientis in Germany. It teaches a 16 degree system of magick. It concentrates on Saint -Martinís Philosophy of Numbers. Numbers form a key to Saint-Martin's system of magical correspondences and tie Saint-Martin to Pythagoras. The Templar Order has an outer court used for recruitment and basic training in occultism.


Docteur Bacalou Baca (Michael Bertiaux): LuckyHooden Chicago, Absolute Science Institute, 1977. Michael Bertiaux: Voudon Gnostic Workbook New York, Magickal Childe, Inc., 1988. Kenneth Grant: Cults of the Shadow, New York, Samuel Weiser, 1976. Kenneth Grant: Night Side of Eden London, Frederick Muller Ltd., 1977. Kenneth Grant: Outside the Circles of Time, London, Frederick Muller, Ltd., 1980. Christopher McIntosh: Eliphas Levi and the French Occult Revival, New York, Samuel Weiser, 1974.

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