Peaches Geldof and the Ordo Templi Orientis occult & spiritual study
From Scientology to libertine cult Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO): How Peaches was obsessed with the occult and spiritual study
Peaches was devotee of religious cult led by occultist Aleister Crowley
She had sect’s acronym, OTO, tattooed onto her right arm in a heart shape
Three weeks ago she tweeted picture of shelves filled with Crowley’s works
He wrote The Life Of A Drug Fiend and Magick, In Theory And Practice
Peaches defended Crowley to a detractor, calling him a ‘beautiful thinker’
The 25-year-old’s family were worried by her interest in the mysterious sect
By HARRIET ARKELL
PUBLISHED: 10:39, 8 April 2014 | UPDATED: 17:42, 8 April 2014
While Peaches Geldof appeared to have beaten her drug demons, her continuing fascination with the occult, and particularly a mysterious religious cult called OTO, worried her family.
Just three weeks ago Peaches, 25, tweeted a picture of bookshelves groaning with works by Aleister Crowley, the British founder of the Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO).
She also posted a photograph of Crowley’s book, Magick – In Theory And Practice, praising him as a ‘beautiful writer and thinker’.
Her interest in OTO ran alongside previous fascinations with the Scientology cult, and Judaism, the religion of her husband, Thomas Cohen.
Crowley, who styled himself as ‘the Great Beast, 666’ and was dubbed ‘the wickedest man in the world’, revelled in sadomasochistic sex rituals with men and women, and the use of hard drugs including opium, cocaine, heroin and mescalin.
Peaches, who had ‘OTO’ tattooed in a heart on her right arm, is said to have become interested in the occultist’s religious theory during her short-lived marriage to musician Max Drummey when she was 19. At the same time, she also pursued an interest in Scientology after talking to actress Katie Holmes, then married to Scientologist Tom Cruise.
She was said to have visited Scientology centres in Los Angeles and New York, before losing interest in the cult. More recently, Peaches, whose husband, Thomas Cohen is Jewish, developed an interest in Judaism.
Peaches Geldof: From feisty young girl to loving mother-of-two
While the marriage to Drummey failed, Peaches’ interest in Crowley’s teachings persisted, and she has previously urged her online followers to read his ‘super interesting’ books, an interest that worried her family.
Last year her father’s girlfriend, actress Jeanne Marine, said of Peaches’ interest in the cult: ‘You don’t know if it’s something that will pass or if it’s longer than that. The thing is, young people, they change their minds a lot.’
She said neither she nor Bob Geldof knew anything about the cult, but said the fact that Peaches had tattooed its name onto her skin indicated that her interest in it might be more than a passing fad.
OTO was said to have been brought to Britain from Europe in the early 20th century by Crowley, an infamous occultist and drug addict.
Crowley, who was said to have filed his teeth into fangs, was rumoured to drink blood and stage drug-fuelled orgies, and was widely criticised for being ‘in revolt against the moral and religious values of his time’.
He founded the religion of Thelema, which was based around the idea of free will, and reorganised the OTO’s teachings around the same principles.
One of his books, The Diary Of A Drug Fiend, was among those pictured on Peaches’ bookshelf.
Crowley’s followers, however, say he was a highly influential thinker and writer in the field of western esotericism and counter-culture, and in 2002 the BBC ranked him 73rd in their list of the greatest Britons of all time.
‘His work within the OTO was nothing short [of] miraculous and he was a beautiful writer and thinker too, as well as magical practitioner’
Peaches Geldof on British OTO founder, Aleister Crowley
On 16 March, Peaches posted a picture of Crowley’s Magick book alongside the slogan ‘Do what thou wilt’, a central tenet of the philosophical law of Thelema, upon which the thinkings of the OTO were based.
When one follower asked her if Crowley, who died in 1947, was a satanist, Peaches replied saying: ‘No, it has nothing to do with Christian ideas like satan or Jesus at all.’
And when others made references to his less appealing traits, she leapt to his defence, saying: ‘All the stuff about him being a Nazi sympathiser and a racist was lies made up by the press who hated him.
‘He would also just say controversial stuff purely to subvert people’s perceptions of him in the media. If you read any of his work, he makes this abundantly clear.
‘His work within the OTO was nothing short [of] miraculous and he was a beautiful writer and thinker too, as well as magical practitioner.’
Other celebrities linked to OTO include the rapper Jay-Z, who has been seen wearing a t-shirt bearing the slogan ‘Do what thou wilt’, and Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page.
Last year the head of OTO in Britain, John Bonner, 63, told the Mail that its followers here numbered hundreds rather than thousands.
He said: ‘We are used to being misunderstood. Many stories about Crowley, like people saying he filed his teeth down into fangs, are nonsense.
‘You could call us a sex cult in a way, because we recognise, accept and adore the whole process which goes towards making tangible the previously intangible.’
Devotees of OTO say it can take years of study to understand the religion, something Mr Bonner, who lives in Sussex, acknowledged.
He said: ‘You’re not supposed to just jump straight in to it. It takes time and study, but our rituals are not for public consumption. You need to join us and go through the initiation process before you can begin to understand.
‘But according to our beliefs we can’t turn anyone away. So if you are over 18, are passably sane and are free to attend initiations, then you have an undeniable right of membership.’