This article appears in Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of The Process Church of the Final Judgment by Timothy Wyllie, edited by Adam Parfrey, published by Feral House.
The editors requested that Genesis Breyer P-Orridge pitch in a chapter concerning the influence of the Process Church on his own explorations into cult dynamics, particularly with TOPY, or Temple Ov Psychick Youth, whose own "holy book," Thee Psychick Bible, is being printed in an expanded edition in 2009 by Feral House. Genesis' research on the Process Church found its way, through Boyd Rice, into Apocalypse Culture (Amok Press, then Feral House) back in the mid-'80s.
Since the mid-'60s, my teenage years, I have been profoundly obsessed with human behavior — whether there can be a system, technique, chemical, belief system, discipline that is able to reprogram entrenched, inherited patterns of behavior. Is there any way to short-circuit control, erase compulsive and reactive responses? Can we re-invent a SELF consciously in order to maximize its potential and, hopefully, our satisfaction in life? My lifelong search is for focused mutability, and to change the means of perception; to challenge every status quo as a matter of principle and never rest, never assume or imagine that the task of reinvention has a finite ending. Permanent change toward a radical, positive and liberating evolutionary mutation of the human species is the core essence and motivation of every single aspect of my creativity.
Parallel to this aesthetic and philosophical obsession has been an almost symbiotic series of similarities of problems and spookily parallel media issues that feel as if they are delivered to me like an advisory commentary from The Process. I've come to value The Process as a manual of strategic repair for my own life journey when serious conflicts with "control" occur. At other times I use my Process archives as a means of problem resolution. This gradual but lifelong adoption of my (possibly misconstrued) understanding of The Process has developed an almost oracular quality, sometimes implying what we should or should not do in the various ways we've approached monolithic culture at any given time.
In order to contextualize the ongoing interaction of The Process with key moments during my life, and in particular with reference to Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth decade within my art practice and occulture research, a little background is required.
The very first mention of The Process that we were consciously aware of was in an early issue of OZ magazine. To this day OZ remains the most psychedelic underground publication of the '60s and '70s. With white print on yellow overlaid with clashing green art nouveau graphics, it was able to generate an internal environment equally as challenging as an actual acid trip. An OZ writer trumpeted a somewhat overblown warning to "freaks" that The Process was an insidious "mind control" cult fraught with oppressive psychotherapeutic technologies and covert monetary greed. Needless to say, and as is often the case, the more vivid and paranoiac the descriptions of the group were, the more they were defamed, and the more enticingly mysterious they appeared, the more obdurate our fascination became. Later we would realize, with hindsight, that salacious articles in The News Of The World and other gutter press that we had found starkly compelling when adolescent had been sensationalized investigations into The Process.
My friends and I financed hash purchases by street-selling OZ and International Times, the two primary publications to have grown out of the British '60s post-acid, under-the-counter-culture. The other way we raised money was by selling books. We would persuade our parents we were going to London on the train to see a Magritte exhibition at the Tate and would be staying with a friend's grandparents in Purley, London. Then we'd sneak off by bus to the motorway and hitchhike to London, thus saving our money for food, fun and live music. Our appetite for new ideas, contrary philosophies, drug experimentation and alternative communities and lifestyles was insatiable. We were teenage neo-Beatnik dreamers searching for novelty for its own sake and extra-sensualist perception.
One weekend, whilst hanging around on the Kings Road outside Granny Takes A Trip (the shop selling the ultimate in dandy-flavored flower-child clothing), we saw a meticulously groomed, long-haired and bearded guy wearing a black cloak with dark clothes beneath. My instincts told me he represented an antithesis of the shock of colors and informality of the typical hippie. And he was selling a magazine. I got close enough to see it wasn't OZ, or IT, but a strikingly colored Process magazine.
To this day, it is impossible for me to explain why this minimal event touched me so deeply, but my intuition compelled me to discover what I could about this vilified group. What was it about The Process that unified contradictory elements of the counterculture into rabid condemnation and paranoia? I realized that The Process were the same group accused of being the "Mindbenders of Mayfair" and later further alleged by the gutter press, and later Ed Sanders (who should have known better!) to have programmed the Manson Family, Son of Sam and who knows how many other notorious serial killers. The Process became symbolic of the neo-hippie bogeyman! Anyone able to shatter society's complacency on such a deep level resonated with my own compulsive urge to strip away imposed behavioral patterns so that my life could be an unfolding, autonomous narrative written by my self-conscious choices.
By 1969 I was living with the Exploding Galaxy in Islington, London, surrendering my creativity, personality and my future to an extremely demanding commune. We tried to break down as many inherited values, inhibitions, and gender roles as possible through rigorous mutual deprogramming, often including humiliation if you contradicted the "founders." Later I founded COUM Transmissions, a performance art group that during the first half of the 1970s delved deep into character archetypes and social — especially sexual — taboos and physical limitations, often utilizing pain, restriction, my own blood, enemas and muscular stress. We wanted to create a morally clean slate upon which we, and only we, then designed an independently constructed ethical identity. As our public explorations became more and more intimate, media attention focused upon our work in an ever more antagonistic style until, after the opening in October 1976 of our retrospective "PROSTITUTION" at London's I.C.A. Gallery, a huge tsunami of outrage, disgust and scurrilous defamation drowned all meaning in contrived denunciations, the (now) most infamous being "These people are the wreckers of civilization!" Questions were asked in Parliament, our Arts Council grants were withdrawn overnight, and I was threatened with having my passport cancelled if COUM tried to perform in Canada, where we had been booked to go next.
When you are the subject of exposés in the yellow press, finding one's sincere and optimistic intentions ridiculed and twisted to deliberately alienate the public, it quickly becomes apparent that your message gets lost in the hysterical noise of slander. I recall The Process experiencing an even more extreme smear campaign at the time, which started me thinking about how to avoid the soul-destroying impact when the governing powers, those grey beings with a vested interest in maintaining privilege and influence, attack you with unrelenting fervor. It might seem exciting to see your face on the front page of national newspapers calling for you to be "put in a cage and the key thrown away" but there is a realization, by the target, of vulnerability to hysteria-triggered violence by bigots and fools, destruction of relationships from the intimidation, and the malicious degradation involved. It made me realize WHY The Process chose to leave the U.K. But I had seen NOTHING yet in terms of Establishment vitriol and witch-hunting with myself the scapegoat!
In the mid-'70s when I began to read about Western magic, beginning with Aleister Crowley but in particular Austin Osman Spare, I came across the W.S. Bainbridge book (Satan's Power) on The Process, which rekindled my interest and feeling of kinship with the group. I had co-founded Psychic TV (with Alex Fergusson) in 1981, with another, more complex, integrated project in mind than COUM. During long winter discussions with my inspirational collaborator Monte Cazazza, we considered what might happen if a rock band, instead of just seeing fans as an income flow and an ego booster, focused that admiration and energy toward a cultural- and lifestyle-directing network? What would happen if we created a "paramilitary occult organization," as we dubbed it at first, that shared demystified magickal techniques? Sleeve notes could become manifestos, a call to action and behavioral rebellion. I had had out-of-body experiences, had noted that ritual seemed capable of "making things happen" by directed orgasm, and I wanted to learn more about why even this ad hoc shamanistic approach was so effective. Bit by bit we took this daydream more seriously. We examined The Process in particular for the "best" in cult aesthetics. We needed an ideology, levels to achieve, secrets to reveal to those involved, symbols and uniforms, regalia and internal writings. I began collecting any original Processean publications I could find, building an alternative library of possibility.
We called our experimental organization Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth [sic]. TOPY's uniform combined grey priest shirts we bought at Roman Catholic suppliers with grey military-style trousers and combat boots. Embroidered patches in the vesica (vaginal) shape with a "Psychic Cross" and 23 were sewn on jackets and shirts to identify the TOPY community. We looked again at The Process and saw that the long hair and beards had a powerful impact once collected together en masse. The TOPY haircut had a long tail of hair at the back of the head, and then the rest of the head was shaved in reference to earlier spiritual disciplines. Long hair for Sadhus and Babas, shaved hair for Hari Krishnas and so on. Ascetic and decadent, the contradictory eternal balance. The Psychick Cross was the most instantly effective strategy for generating very quickly the impression of a serious, focused, militant network. The Psychick Youth look was so strong that it seduced and attracted males and females to adopt it quickly. A handful of Psychick Youth dressed up had an immediate visceral impact far beyond what might be expected from such small numbers. Looking back, I feel our proposal that symbols and outfits should be unique but FEEL familiar was a highly seductive and effective strategy.
Designing a cult from scratch and then deciding what its belief system might be, improvising as you go along, turns out to be a lot of fun, and a LOT of work!
It was particularly the Psychic TV records that spread TOPY both in the U.K. and abroad. Our first albums gave an address to write to to find out more about TOPY. We received inquiries from the U.S.A. and Canada, then France, Germany, Sweden and on and on. We became very exposed through interviews in the media, a methodology Lady Jaye called "Dazzle Camouflage," drawing in primarily music fans rather than already serious seekers of occult knowledge and techniques at the beginning. This dilettantish segment of our network created a serious credibility issue amongst more established magical fraternities and devotees. Mischievously so, we dubbed them The Museum of Magic.
TOPY grew far more than we had ever imagined, even though we demanded a rigorous series of sex magickal documents (called Sigils) charged via orgasmic fluid, blood, saliva and hair, plus innovative texts stating the Individual's deepest secret desires. We had been constructing TOPY initially "to see what happens" when demystified occult and shamanic practices are released non-hierarchically into popular culture. What will be the impact of several hundred, later several thousand, Individuals masturbating to a common desire and purpose at exactly the same time all across the world? It had never been done before, so we saw this as a contemporary research into the effectiveness of these techniques. As months went by they shifted en masse from the more mundane urges for sexual partners, new apartments and money into far more esoteric goals that dissected human behavior, possible origins of life, matter, collective living experiments and consciousness. Most Individuals would find themselves working with language and image to create symbolic glyphs and non-verbal systems to map out the nature of time, existence and perception as perceived during ritual. This journey we all made together became a communally experienced process and led me back to the other, original Process looking for new models to apply as TOPY became a global, organically mutating way of life.
For example, in 1988 a new zone was created in TOPY STATION in Brighton, which was named the KALI CIRCLE. This was a females-only group. As often happens in close-knit communities, the Kalis in TOPY noticed they all menstruated at the same time, their biological clocks synchronizing their proximity, reinforced by the monthly intimacy of sigilizing. Through reading and discussion of women's magickal powers and the deeply alchemical resonance of menstrual blood, it was proposed by all genders to experiment with seeing this monthly time as an opportunity to harness all the incredible intensity and potency rather than fight it or feel threatened by shifts in Kalis' behaviors. When a Kali wore her red cotton tied on her wrist, none of her behaviors or actions could be questioned or criticized. She would be seen as being in a heightened and positive state of awareness, reversing the classic male-oriented "Oh God, she's got PMS again!!!" responsive attitude.
As we grew in numbers we had to keep improvising new structures and solutions to administer TOPY and began looking for assistance and "advice" from outside. My ongoing interest in The Process had, as already mentioned, resulted in my collecting every publication, newspaper file, freedom of information folder and any other memorabilia from rare booksellers in England and the U.S.A. I started reading Process magazines, of which we had a full set scanned by a friend, and the books including EXIT, Humanity Is The Devil, Satan On War, even transcripts of L.A. police interviews with bikers after the Manson murders that a journalist friend from Hull University acquired for me, vindicating our skepticism as to those accusations being bogus in the (oops!) process.
What became apparent to those of us at the center of TOPY was that to evolve and remain relevant, TOPY must become a template for a new, relevant and alternative way of life. That The Process, for good or ill, thrived by proposing a fully engaging system of living combined with spiritual and mental exploration. That to expose flaws in behavior and personality, and to have any chance of revelatory and revolutionary breakthroughs, the group must immerse themselves 100% in devotion to the group and fearless surrender to any potential challenges and innovations, even at the risk of personal disintegration and mental collapse. Transformation can only occur if the Individual is prepared to sacrifice all they have, including a previous personality, and displacement of a status quo, smashing old loops and habitual patterns is essential.
TOPY discovered that a certain ratio of Individuals were so dissatisfied with their current state of mind, the lack of magic (in all senses) and of connection to others, of outmoded sexual roles and gender expectations and archetypes that they were prepared to move into a far more "Processean" approach to this burgeoning community. With our archive of Process publications, and a probably idiosyncratic interpretation of the messages and structures they had used, we began a migration to Brighton, England. Why Brighton? We wanted a better environment for my daughters Caresse and Genesse. Plus Brighton had a history of alternative culture and liberal ideas from the '60s and earlier. So, with my family and two hardcore Ratio Five TOPY Individuals, Sister Shadows and Brother Words, we bought a large Georgian house in Brighton, complete with an extra self-contained apartment. Sister Shadows and Brother Words sold their London home, as we had, to move a few houses further down on the same street.
We kept the London TOPY Access Point (one of several houses we had squatted in Hackney in 1973-76) as an HQ where several TOPY Individuals lived full-time and where our original "Nursery" was still active. A "Nursery" was a room in a TOPY house exclusively dedicated to magickal sex rituals and sigilization. The TOPY Station in London's Nursery had a rather gothic baroque décor that included an old Victorian dentist's chair that had seen its dentist owner commit sex crimes on it before he was caught and convicted and sent to prison. Just as The Process' flirtation with implied "satanic" beliefs and other sensationalist mischief ended up biting them nastily, so TOPY's amusement with the darker aspects of humanity also backfired in a hauntingly similar way.
At the TOPY Station in Brighton, one method we took directly from The Process was Telepathy Raising sessions. Each Monday at the TOPY meals, we would begin with a blessing: "This is my Cross, This is my Life, This is my Wisdom." Then we would all hold hands in a circle around the table, or if there were too many Individuals, around the large living room. Everyone would focus inside with eyes closed, even the children present, and after ten minutes a book opened and the images seen by an Individual would be written down. As the months went by there was a clear increase in similarities. One time in particular almost half of those present saw some image that included a lion.
Loyalty and fidelity went hand in hand. They were even more resilient and lasting amongst TOPY individuals who participated in communal sigilizing. Each TOPY house had a "Nursery" devoted to generating, maintaining, and amplifying psychic and magickal energies. We believed we were experiencing genuine visions, out-of-body experiences, inter-dimensional portals, and ongoing connection to some power or phenomenon that we saw as a positive interrelationship with synchronicity. It was apparent to us all that committed repetition of a personally developed magickal language and set of talismanic objects could literally "FORCE THE HAND OF CHANCE." We were also sure that by using orgasm to, in a sense, "post" a desire, the usual laws of probability broke down and increased one's effectiveness in reinforcing your will. The sexual orgasm as reprogramming was not a new idea, having been used by the OTO and The Process and earlier magical organizations for centuries, but TOPY did away with obfuscation and deliberate theatricality and made public the "secret of all ages," while publicly confessing that sex magick was central to our contemporary occult way of life. This was both our selling point and our downfall, in much the same way that adopting the Gods by The Process opened the door to a media feeding frenzy of libelous half-truths and misrepresentations that continue to this day.
Not long after the TOPY equivalent of The Process Omega moved to Brighton, a steady trickle of fully committed Individuals had followed us there. We soon had five houses that were all TOPY Individuals. It became clear we needed to keep everyone occupied, and that we had a marvelous resource to create experiments together in living and designing a TOPY way of life 24×7 similarly to the way The Process came into its own. We began to have a TOPY communal meal every Monday. Just as Timothy Wyllie and Edward Mason describe The Process improvising additional structures and disciplines in an ad hoc way, and Mary Ann and Robert would note developments, observations and concepts during long meetings of the original hardcore members, so we would discuss problems arising from communal living, sexual friction, the purity of group sigils as opposed to lecherous exploitation, new options for the command structure. In particular I drew on my experiences living in communes most of my life, first The Exploding Galaxy, then The HoHo Funhouse, then COUM Transmissions and now TOPY.
One exercise that was really potent and fulfilling was the TOPY Life Story. Each Monday one Individual would be chosen, or would volunteer, to tell their life story. The rule being that NOTHING is left out, no matter how distressing, humiliating, traumatic, or depressing. The WHOLE truth. Usually this was the first time anybody had told his or her real story. The act of trust involved in revealing such vulnerability was immense. We discovered so much about each other this way and learned why people had certain issues, or habits, or personality loops and quirks both positive and negative. Interruptions were not allowed, but questions, no matter how intimate, could be presented afterwards and had to be answered. The first one or two stories were difficult to present. But once one or two had narrated their innermost experiences and pains, it became easier and easier for others to participate. It was revealed to us over and over how many boys and girls had suffered sexual abuse, and often combined with violence. This prevailing social ugliness by which we had all been damaged became a bond in its revelation that created intense mutual loyalty amongst the TOPY Brighton contingent. Our compassion for each other deepened and has remained as dedicated and mutual loyalty all these years later. Surprisingly, this "Life Story/Confession" in which one Individual told all others present every detail of their life up to TOPY, leaving nothing out no matter how traumatic or distressing, gave us all strength, and I credit this exercise above all others with creating a bonding and trust that not even Scotland Yard could penetrate when "The Troubles" came!
At its peak in the late 1980s TOPY had around 10,000 Individuals sigilizing and/or connected worldwide with Access Points in England, Scotland, Holland, West Germany, U.S.A., Canada, Italy, Australia, Sweden (and Scandinavia). So, contact and purchase of The Grey Book (our basic mission statement and explanation of sigils and magic) was Ratio One; sending in sigils at all even if the required 23 were not achieved was Ratio Two; active involvement in an Access Point and/or completion of 23 consecutive sigils was Ratio Three; administration of an Access Point, or active participation in a TOPY Station and/or living full-time in a TOPY house was Ratio Four; and full-time dedication of one's life and works to TOPY projects like Temple Records, Temple Press and being full-time prime administrator of a TOPY Station and/or co-running TOPY GLOBAL STATION in Brighton, on a need-to-know basis was Ratio Five. We never released this development to the general public or TOPY Individuals, as we were concerned that it would create elitism and smell of hierarchies. We mainly used these demarcations to decide who got to read more sensitive memoranda and/or were informed of legal and media crises as our world disintegrated in a way uncannily identical to The Process did 20 years earlier.
TOPY included heterosexual couples with "open" relationships, monogamous couples both gay and straight, transsexuals, and quite a few couples with children plus single mothers. During the TOPY years especially we visited other communes, in particular becoming close to the Zendik Farm, a commune/cult dating back to Los Angeles in the acid '60s whose emphasis is on self-sufficiency by organic farming and ecological awareness; we studied the Manson Family, the Moonies, the Children of God, The Source, the Mel Lyman Family, Jim Jones, the Source, the Cockettes, and came to know people at Morningstar Ranch (another '60s holdover in Sonoma County). Many of these communes and cults experimented with separation of children from their biological parents to try and avoid inherited conditioning and emotional dependency-though I wonder if it wasn't, consciously or not, a way to try and ensure fealty to the group and by implication the group guru/leader/figurehead/enlightened superbeing, thereby assuring new, ever more fanatical followers who would have known no other way of life or belief system.
Timothy Wyllie confesses that the Process attitude to children was careless and potentially rather mean-spirited, seeing them almost as a hindrance to the spiritual advancement of individual members and a nuisance, that he sees as pretty shameful.
Fortunately, as I myself had two daughters, children did have a place in our ever-evolving ways of living. Both my children and several others were adopted quite instinctively as special Individuals in their own right. We created a TOPY naming ceremony for each child. We included them in films and on records. The only declared policy was to always talk to them in exactly the same language we would use about an issue or question for an adult.
As we shared our theories and experiences with each other we began adding the slogan:
THEE PRODUCT IS THEE PROCESS or THEE PROCESS IS THEE PRODUCT.
Through a mutual friend, Eve, I was introduced to Timothy Wyllie. Eve knew of my "fascination" with The Process and my search for the realities behind it, rather than accepting the tiny, vague amount of gratuitous misinformation available, when she introduced us. Timothy was everything I'd hoped he might be and more, and his sharp, dry intelligence and wit combined with his encyclopedic knowledge and application of spiritual matters blew me away in the same inspirational cosmosis of energy that Brion Gysin and William S. Burroughs had. Timothy was living in New York at that time and was directing his beneficent resources toward dolphin sentience, extraterrestrials and angels. Brighton had a Dolphinarium where two dolphins suffered terribly, both psychologically and physically, from cruel conditions. TOPY decided to try and close the Dolphinarium by boycotting the entrance every single weekend and peacefully asking people not to go inside and thus financially collude in the ongoing torture of these supra-intelligent beings. For over a year TOPY picketed the Dolphinarium, eventually enlisting the support of animal rights groups. Psychic TV, Julian Cope, Captain Sensible of The Damned and other caring friends participated in benefits. TOPY Individuals visited local schools getting the children involved in dolphin art projects and study groups. We even released a CD called Kondole (the Aboriginal name for a whale spirit) to finance the campaign. Eventually we succeeded and through a charity of the Aga Khan, our two dolphins were flown to the Turks and Caicos for rehabilitation. Timothy Wyllie had inspired us and as a marvelous side effect he has become a lifelong friend and mentor.
Timothy became my oracular fallback position. He had already been through all this and more, so in times of isolation, desolation and doubt I would call him for advice. We could both see a pattern that intimated trouble ahead in my public and private life. So I called upon the TOPY network to donate good quality children's and baby clothes, packed them up in large numbers and flew my family to Nepal. We linked up with Samye Ling's monastery there and financed, out of my savings, a twice-daily clean water and meal kitchen at Boudenath Stupa in Kathmandu. Some days we fed 300 to 400 Tibetan refugees, lepers and beggars. In between we took teachings and meditated. The clothes were distributed to refugee families in need to help them survive the winter.
A strange synchronicity was revealed to me reading Edward Mason's text for this book. During the later years of TOPY we began to feel that obsessing on personal self-improvement and "therapy" was not enough. We wanted to develop a system of practices that would finally enable us to consciously change our behavior, erase our negative loops and become unencumbered with psychological baggage. The Process too, certainly at its inception, seems to me to have had similar high ideals. Where the two experiments diverge is the incipient hierarchy that ultimately seems to have disintegrated The Process. TOPY, on the other hand, struggled really hard to avoid having a "Leader" or an "Omega," despite the surprisingly tenacious appetite of TOPY participants to create a "Leader," a guru figure, who was then resented for not having all the answers. My rejection of the pressure to become the Omega figurehead caused a splintering and jealousy that we never really resolved before we declared on a postcard sent to everyone on our mailing list:
CHANGED PRIORITIES AHEAD T.O.P.Y. NOMADS
The schism that had ruined the momentum of The Process was, we had felt, about the distribution of power amongst the Omega and, to a slightly lesser extent, how those alliances within the inner circle(s) and also the depth and distribution of loyalty amongst the members got played out. By 1991 a money schism within TOPY was rupturing ten years' dedication. I could no longer afford to subsidize all the printing, postage, meetings and merchandise. We also faced a more threatening, sinister matter of a yellow media witch-hunt. I started to question the wisdom of referencing The Process as our tactical mirror and things were getting spooky in all the wrong ways.
Just before I had taken my family away from East London to Brighton in 1988, we were thrust into the public eye on a national level when The People newspaper ran a vicious and sensational full-page article with the headline: "THIS VILE MAN CORRUPTS KIDS-DEMI-GOD FEEDS POP FANS ON SEX, SADISM, AND DEVIL RITES." We discovered we'd been under surveillance; casual and close friends and neighbors alike had been interrogated and bullied. Shades of "The Mindbenders of Mayfair" set off warning bells in my head! I had been officially declared an enemy of society, a wrecker of morals as well as civilization, and a target for any unscrupulous journalist and nutcase on the street using outrage as an excuse for intolerance.
A TOPY Individual working in the local post office warned me that our mail was being opened and copied by the "authorities." Not long before this, Scotland Yard had raided Mr. Sebastian's tattoo and piercing studio, later charging him and several other men, none of whom ever knew each other, with being a "gay S&M porn ring." They were tried in the Old Bailey, usually reserved for serial killers, spies and the worst of the worst criminals. It became notorious as "The Spanner" case. The case was tried by one judge, who eventually ruled piercing and tattooing a criminal act of grievous bodily harm, a charge immediately below manslaughter with a sentence of up to seven years. One poor man received three years in prison for piercing his own foreskin. Souvenir photos he got developed for himself alone were the damning evidence. All were found guilty, thus setting a legal precedent in Britain to prosecute anybody with a piercing or tattoo, or who created one! Suddenly, in 1991, my body, and those of many of TOPY's Individuals, was illegal. It seems impossible now just 15 or so years later to believe this was true. Copies of Modern Primitives, the classic ReSearch book we'd helped put together and were featured in, were seized at customs. Clearly a right-wing faction of the Tory government, in collusion with powerful figures at Scotland Yard, was on a mission to marginalize, penalize and viciously shatter the lives of a blossoming gay scene and new contemporary social groups like us that they saw as conspiring to undermine decent family values, which meant TOPY in general, and myself in particular.
Suddenly a fax arrived from Sister Shadows and Brother Words at the Vajra Hotel in Kathmandu: " SERIOUS TROUBLE-CALL HOME IMMEDIATELY!"…
The witch-hunting media bomb had exploded.
On Saturday, February 15, 1992, 23 Scotland Yard detectives from the Obscene Publications Squad, armed with a search warrant and video camera, raided our Brighton home. They seized two tons of photographic, video and other material (African drums, ethnic art, sex toys, children's fluffy toys…even the dentist chair!). On Sunday, February 16, 1992, The Observer newspaper ran a story entitled "Video offers first evidence of ritual abuse." It reported they had a film of a "bloody satanic ritual" which they'd passed on to the police. Small fragments of this video were included in a one-hour TV documentary series on Channel Four, Dispatches, in which the journalist Andrew Boyd claimed it "shows abuse of young adults in what is clearly a ritual context. Sex and blood rituals are taking place beneath a picture of Aleister Crowley. The trappings of black magic are obvious." Blurred and distorted images were televised.
By Sunday, February 23, The Independent on Sunday reported that these videos claiming to be the "hardest evidence ever of satanic child abuse" were actually made nine years earlier. One video was created for Spanish national television's Le Edad D'Oro program on Psychic TV, and the other as performance art commissioned by Channel Four, featuring film director Derek Jarman as the visual presenter of a fictional cult in an exercise of how media can manipulate perceptions and control responses! Derek was quoted saying, "At first I was horrified and then very angry that they had so misrepresented scenes from the video. It was not even about child abuse or murder. It seemed too much when you had a lady on the telly, blacked out, saying she had killed her child. I mean, doesn't anyone smell a rat?"
On March 22, the author, researcher and presenter of Dispatches admitted to inconclusive research, misleading identification and entirely fabricated testimonies.
But the damage was done. I was advised by my lawyer that if we returned from Nepal, Scotland Yard would arrest me and hold me for questioning indefinitely, and take my two daughters into custody who would then likely be interrogated for evidence of child abuse. A false accusation at this low point in the British history of abuse usually led to your children being in the State's care for two or more years, regardless of truth. We have never to this day been charged with anything, not even a parking ticket. Yet none of my belongings or my seized archives and property have been returned; in fact, Scotland Yard has implied it was all destroyed, for no legal reason. As a result of finding myself in exile I lost both my homes, my record label and my sources of income pretty much overnight!
The houses alone would be valued now at $1 million. The authorities who colluded in this baseless attack on my lifestyle have never apologized for their bogus accusations. Not one shred of evidence was ever found, nor was the "basement" where all the awful events took place. Not surprising, as our home was built on rock so hard no basement could have been dug even if we had wanted one. Overnight my children lost all their school friends, their extended families, every photo of them growing up. My father passed away during my exile and I was unable to see him even once before he died, nor could I attend his funeral. All this just to publicize a pseudo-Christian author's grossly fabricated scare-mongering book, written in the hope of importing "satanic abuse" hysteria to the U.K. Cheap advertising by cheap minds.
Our attorney told us in a frank phone call that our best course of action was to protect our children and go into exile, as someone at Scotland Yard had said off-the-record that they could not guarantee my physical safety if I returned. He saw that as a thinly veiled threat. But there WAS an upside. Despite all the vicious pressure put upon TOPY Individuals and my family and friends, not one person chose to even pretend there was an iota of fact in the accusations.
Since dropping out from University in 1969 to join the Exploding Galaxy, I had tried my utmost to seek out ways and means of changing not just my own behavior, but ultimately that of the human species. I saw a gifted species of beings who had developed miraculous technologies over thousands of years, yet had ignored applying the same depth of application to its behaviors. We are still locked into negative, dark, aggressive, intimidating social constructs and systems that perpetuate brutality and destruction for untold billions of people. It seems essential for not just for the survival of our species but for a new, improved (we hope) evolutionary phase of human dedicated to wisdom, not war; inclusion, not exclusion; activation, not inertia, with a trajectory toward empowered pandrogeny rather than any outdated binary perceptions of nonsensus reality. In other words, I am an unapologetic utopian idealist, and I believe that too is a positive and constructive essence at the core of TOPY and its progenitor, The Process.
In one of those classic magical moments I had thrown a heap of post in my bag as we left England. Whilst trying to make sense of becoming an exile and refugee overnight I idly opened one envelope. It was a letter from Michael Horowitz, archivist for Dr. Timothy Leary, and his partner Cindy Palmer. In it he had written, "If you ever need a refuge, call me at this number." I did, and he immediately offered me and my family sanctuary at his home in Petaluma, where we lived in Winona Ryder's old bedroom for several months.
The bogus accusations of satanic complicity were one of the reasons we wanted this book to be assembled and published. In the malicious roar of innuendo and fake shock that has fueled a decades-long industry of imaginary conspiracies and fantasy horrors, the sincere and coherent concepts and creation of a self-contained original culture and dedicated search for spiritual truth are buried. We wanted this book to rehabilitate the gratuitous and vicarious sensationalism that has plagued a balanced and authentic appraisal of The Process. To re-evaluate what it was, what it tried to be, what it hoped to be and why it grew to be so central in both my psychological and spiritual quest and the phenomenon that was TOPY.
TOPY was built almost as an anti-cult. We hoped to avoid the traditional methods of engendering belonging by rejection of the past, so the names were used to give a sense of equality. After a year or two, we noticed that people with lower numbers were copping an attitude at TOPY gatherings, implying "I was here way before you! You're Eden 425 and I am Eden 10." So to prevent this we began randomly mixing up the numbers every year so that no sense of superiority or specialness could even be implied. (Needless to say there was NO number One and 23 23s!) What we did eventually decide to recognize after several years was that dedication and longevity of application worked for the greater good. Over and over in both Timothy Wyllie's and Edward Mason's texts they stress the autocratic, matriarchal and expectation of strict obedience imposed upon The Processeans by the Omega. There's no question that a totalitarian system can facilitate maintaining an unorthodox organization. There were times we coveted such monolithic techniques, but in the end TOPY persevered with as democratic a system as possible. My friend Z'EV once said, the most astute and unique aspect of TOPY in relation to other groups is that YOU walked away from being a leader when you could have been…
At first Timothy Wyllie was reluctant to discuss The Process. I understood why; I was, and really still am, reluctant to discuss TOPY with casual acquaintances. There is pain and disappointment there. It is hard for anyone to imagine being attacked over and over again not just by the yellow media but by the government, harassed by the police, and alienated from friends and foes by the taint of lies and innuendos of vile secret behaviors and associations. I was forced into exile for my role in creating TOPY, I lost my two homes, my children lost every sense of continuity and security overnight along with the vast majority of our belongings, and had two tons of our archives confiscated and probably destroyed as a direct consequence of my investigations of sex magick/directed orgasm and shamanism combined with proselytizing piercing and tattooing when it was still a secret and taboo, nay, illegal activity.
I can see how The Process experienced an equally irrational campaign to destroy, cripple financially, and break the will of their members for having the audacity to build a set of Logics that included the names of the Gods-Jehovah, Satan, Lucifer and later Christ. Hindsight tells me that, just as TOPY underestimated the outrage that inclusion of sexuality in its mission would cause, to its folly, so The Process misjudged the ongoing bigotry and hypocrisy of the establishment when they included Satan and Lucifer in their panoply of gods. Who would have guessed, though, that in the swinging '60s liberation from inhibition and oppression, there would still be such a furor over those antiquated notions? Why do certain concepts like "Satan" or the open inclusion of orgasm and sexuality in an experimental search for a more integrated way of life cause politicians, clergy and journalists to dub me, for example, a "wrecker of civilization"? Or a national newspaper to trumpet that I should be "bound in chains, locked in a cage and the key thrown away"?
This book may not answer that question directly. But keep in mind that fear of the unknown, coupled with the exposure of corruption in places of power, and a dreary but paranoid policy of maintaining the superiority of vested interests long after they are redundant, at all costs, underlies the façade of our mundane daily culture. Freedom of thought, self-designed ethics and a questioning mind with an altruistic belief in the potential for positive evolution in our human species can expose to the light the impoverished decay of society. The Process was ostracized and forced into exile in the United States, and then my family and I were forced into exile in 1991 for our essential involvement and faith in TOPY. Let this book remain a warning to us all that as long as we live in fear, a fear that serves the agenda of others, we are a doomed species. Unless we embrace evolutionary transcendentalism as a species we will remain clever rats, losing our potential to be infinitely special and aware.
Image by belkus, courtesy of Creative Commons license.