The History of SOLAR LODGE
Outside The Law
South of the Border - Down Mexico way
Shiva spoke quietly to Capricornus, saying, "Why don't we connect with Kuat's friend [he who would someday be known as Frater Mont], who lives in Mexico. Kuat can make the contact to set up a meeting across the border where the F.B.I. can't touch us."
Kuat did indeed contact [he who would later come to be] Frater Mont, and he set up a meeting with Shiva, Sol, and Capricornus at La Fogata (The Lighthouse), a Motel in Tecate, Baja California, Mexico.
Pre-Mont was a most valuable connection. He wished to link up with the Order (because he thought they had plans to visit Tibet - even though that country was off-limts for westerners), and he was most pleased to assist these members with the full knowledge and understanding that the F.B.I. was searching for them. He initially arranged for accommodations in a trailer park near Ensenada; then, the renting of two successive houses in that area.
Finally, the Lodge purchased 70 hectares of farm land located over one hour of driving time below the Mexican immigration check point south of Ensenada.
Thus the Order found a resting place from the minions of the law, deep in a foreign country, and this took about two months to accomplish. It was called the Pig Farm since the first purchase made was that of three piglets . . . and they grew up to be a big pig family. In the process, pre-Mont undertook initiation and became Mont, thus named for the Aegyptian deity who oversaw and maintained the celestial armory.
The Pig Farm originally had one small adobe house, which rapidly expanded to include two large mobile homes, seven acres of farmland dedicated to alfalfa, a vegetable garden, a washing machine run by a gasoline engine, a hot water heater that was heated by burning wood, and a tractor - all moisturized by water (trucked in by a jeep-drawn trailer holding 55-gallon drums) from a small spring-fed reservoir about three miles eastward up the canyon.
This last item prompted the hiring of the famous local well-digger, Jesus Bernal, who was sixty-five years of age and required a constant supply of tequila and pure cane alcohol to keep him going. He dug a concrete lined well, twenty feet deep and about four and one-half feet in diameter, and the Farm members finished it up and installed a pump. A pressurized water supply for domestic and irrigation purposes put the Pig Farm on line for production.
Back in California, the members out on bail, plus members not wanted by the establishment, held a massive "yard sale" at Solar Ranch and at The Eye of Horus (Blythe), and after that sale all the holdings along the Colorado River were abandoned. Remnants of the buildings and the Barris Pile remained intact for years, but by the 1980s it was all gone.
Financial support was gained from these sales and from members who continued to operate the apartment buildings in Los Angeles.
Finally, those who had been arrested went to court. Amazingly, the district attorney dropped the charges! When the members left the courtroom, they were immediately re-arrested, but this time on warrants issued by the Grand Jury. This was intended to keep them in jail and not out on bail, but the bondsman from Indio agreed to transfer the original bonds to these new arrests and everyone remained free until the next court appearance.
THE MOST IMPORTANT TESTIMONY
When the trial finally started, the most important testimony came from the doctor who examined the child after his rescue by the Deputy Sheriff. The doctor stated that he was ... "A normal 6 year old boy, perhaps a bit dirty, but showing no signs of dehydration or malnutrition."
This statement is simply not consistent with the (untrue) testimony that the child was burned, continually beaten, and imprisioned for 60 days in 120° heat.
Nonetheless, the hammer eventually fell. A few members received a felony conviction and 6 months in jail; a few members received a misdemeanor conviction and 3 months in jail; some received a not-guilty judgement and no jail time.
Back in Mexico, the Pig Farm became a hive of activity. Virtually all the members still remaining were introduced to the secret Farm down in Mexico.
Like an imitation of Noah's Ark, the Farm accumulated pairs of turkeys (the stupidest birds in existence), chickens, ducks, guinea fowl (the loudest birds in existence), peacocks, goats, more pigs, and a single calf.
As life seemed to return to normal, retrospective insight revealed that Solar Lodge had just gone through the real-life ceremony of the third degree which represents death. Now, the fourth degree represents the world after death and is symbolized as a tabernacle in the wilderness.
the third degree, the candidate is driven out of the city into
the desert, where he is slain.
The fourth degree = The Astral Plane (the world after death).
A "Tabernacle" is a portable (tent-like) temple.
So a large tent was erected to the delight of Jesus Bernal who in his child-like manner proclaimed the coming of un circo [a circus]. All the members arrived for first, second, third, and fourth degree initiation ceremonies. Solar Lodge was back in business.
After the rites were completed, a group of five members stayed at the Pig Farm and seven members moved to a large rented house, the Ensenada Lodge, where a varied number of members from the U.S. would visit each weekend. The Ensenada Lodge, a former house of ill-repute, was a two-story affair with a courtyard that overlooked Ensenada from its position high up on the hill in an obscure residential neighborhood.
All this time there was a background pressure, an intimidation, arising from the fact that the F.B.I. was in fact still after everyone.
Capricornus, et al, started on a hitherto unknown intoxication program and became evermore increasingly intoxicated, until Shiva cried out in disgust, reminding them of their oath and obligation to moderate such activity. The result was that Shiva was banished by Capricornus to the Pig Farm in January of 1971.
Meanwhile, the F.B.I. had notified its Mexican contacts that the fugitives were in the area, and further told them that they were wanted for sacrificing babies. After all, if you want to get the cooperation of Mexican authorities, it has to be a chillingly good story. But the Order, with its intricate spy system, found out about the closing net before it completely contracted.
The owner of the trailer park in Ensenada, a Freemason and a long-time friend of Mont, had recently joined the Order, becoming Frater Nat. Nat's brother-in-law was the local F.B.I. informant for Ensenada. The snitch flashed the photos of the fugitives to Nat, asking if he knew them. He said, "Yes - But they moved away." He shortly thereafter drove over to the Ensenada Lodge and spilled the beans.
It was time to take off again. The Pig Farm was entrusted to a few members who had valid Mexican Visas (and were not on the wanted list) and the Ensenada Lodge was defended solo by Frater Mont vs. The Mexican Federales in a battle of wit and will that lasted for hours. Four Federales with machine guns finally offered to torture him, but their Jefe (chief) said, "Leave him alone; I know his father!"
A massive Nixon-backed anti-drug program called Operation Intercept had recently been set in motion at the border. This meant tight security accompanied by new license-tracking computer systems. So Kuat (he was never "wanted") ran the escape vehicle across the United States border at Tijuana to make certain it was not on the Border Patrol computer list; then he returned to Mexico, picked up Capricornus, Sol, Shiva, and Apollo and drove them to the crossing point into the United States at Mexicali.
The Border Patrol decided to go through all the bags. No drugs, no guns. Whew! Slipped through again.
Much tension had built up between Capricornus and Shiva, and it never got any better (Never try to take alcohol or ether away from an addict!). The group settled into a motel in Santa Monica and, after about two weeks of regrouping and rethinking, decided to try Canada next.
North of the Border - Up Canada way
The escape party arrived in Vancouver, British Columbia, just as Spring, 1971 was melting away the remnants of snow. One month in a basement apartment gave way to the renting of a ten acre farm about an hour's drive east of Vancouver.
The usual collection of chickens, rabbits, etc. began, and the male members all joined the gardening team. Each weekday, they would get in their 1948 Chevrolet panel truck, loaded with gardening equipment, and proceed to mow the expansive lawns and trim the extensive flowerbeds of the most beautiful gardens in Vancouver. This went on for several months.
Sol couldn't take it any more and eventually went back to the United States to defend his honor, save his frozen retirement bank account, and to do battle with the establishment. Capricornus decided to follow. In September of 1972, and a general pullout from Canada was announced. Shiva was asked to "cover the retreat." This he did, by moving into an apartment and inheriting the panel truck, gardening tools, and many lawns and gardens needing work. This, of course, was the way to get rid of Shiva, who was no longer going along with Capricornus and her ever-changing plans.
Thus, Capricornus, Sol, and all the others returned to Los Angeles, determined to wage a behind-the-scenes battle with the authorities, Shiva remained alone in Canada, and the F.B.I. was still looking for everyone.
Some Interesting points of Synchronistic Entertainment
The movie "Billy Jack," released in 1971, is a tale about a woman named Jean who ran a ranch that was invaded by local conservatives. Many scenes are reminiscent of Solar Lodge in 1969.
"Zabriskie Point," released in 1970 (but filmed a couple years earlier as Solar Lodge members watched it being shot), starts at the entrance to U.S.C., and then follows the travels of the heroine out to Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. In one scene she is seated in the cafe at Vidal, California (talking to Harold, the motel's solo resident), and then she goes out into Vidal town where she is accosted by child hoodlums. In the end, she focuses on a place of materialism in the desert, projects mental destruction, and everything explodes - just like the firestorm at Solar Ranch.
Sometimes the strangest things get into the movies.
The Midnight Press
The Midnight Press
The Midnight Press
Capricornus and Sol rented an apartment near the buildings they owned in Los Angeles and set forth to expose the tactics of the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff, the District Attorney, and various Judges. They printed a newspaper entitled The Midnight Press and it was circulated throughout Riverside County. The Midnight Press revealed a multitude of cases of unethical and improper conduct; it spoke of the inquisition against Solar Lodge, and it spoke of researched, unethical mis-dealings with many non-Order prisoners.
By this time, Capricornus was going on "material plane overload." The books that were destroyed in the fire were replaced by new acquisitions. And it came to pass that certain members read those books (often for the first time). Then, when Capricornus made pronouncements and issued commands, some people thought it fit to say, "But thats not what Crowley said!" Or, "But in such-and-such book it says " She locked up the sacred texts, permitting no-one to study or read, preferring that they work hard instead. Mont had built up a catering truck business in Los Angeles for the Order, and money and work was not in short supply.
This was the beginning of the Tong. Tong is a Chinese word meaning "Fist" (among other things), and it is a nickname for the infamous Chinese Triad societies that rule by force and terror.
The members were forbidden to read (or argue). They all ended up working 18 hours a day in the apartments and/or the catering business. Their food and lodging was included in the deal, and each person received five dollars a week for cigarettes (everyone didn't smoke, but they got five bucks anyway). Of course, anyone could escape anytime they chose, so it really wasnt slave labor it only looked like it.
The Federal Bureau
Throughout this period, the F.B.I. was always just a step away. Phone lines were tapped from the beginning of the adventure. All phones were assumed to be tapped, and codes were always used when delivering names, instructions or addresses by phone. Members who were not on the wanted list were followed about. Sometimes the followings took place for hours, deep into the desert, while members bought time and space in which to lose their tails. It was possibly such a following which led to the discovery that the fugitives were in Mexico.
One day, Apollo looked out of the second story window of one of the Orders mansions and saw a suited man crouching in the bushes. A small, black boy was standing on the front lawn, confronting the F.B.I. agent. "Hey man! What you doin' there?" he asked. The man made grand "go-away" gestures accompanied by "shush!" noises. But the boy persisted, and the amusing scene went on for a long time,
Eventually, time ran out. Capricornus had done everything with her attorney to avoid going to court for settlement of the issue, as he had repeatedly recommended. At one point, due to differing opinions, she had the members capture the attorney, bind him (etc.), and then they administered the 0° ceremony (as if such an act would immediately transform him). This was a really stupid idea, for the attorney simply called a halt to all the nonsense by informing the F.B.I. of her whereabouts. Shortly thereafter, Capricornus and Sol were arrested by the F.B.I. at a furniture auction house on Adams Boulevard.
The court situation, however, had been purged. This was an old case; the people with axes to grind found that their axes had been turned upon themselves, and nobody was going to do any jail time. Capricornus was found guilty and three years of probation were assigned along with a $500 fine. The same was true for other members who now came in to have their karma balanced.
Rumors, Lies, Witch Hunts, and Myths
And then a book was published. It was The Family, written by Ed Sanders. It professed to expose the life and times of Charles Manson. It also contained a chapter on Solar Lodge, and the text made connections between Manson and the Lodge and then embellished the myth with all manner of outrageous accusations and false reports. Members could hardly believe what they were reading.
The embellished story continues - it is quoted almost everywhere when Manson and/or Solar Lodge are brought up for re-review. Basically, the book said Solar Lodge engaged in ceremonial sacrifices of chickens and a whole bunch of other magickal weirdness. It said that Charles Manson was a visitor and/or a member. It said a lot more, but those were the main accusations. If you need to, go read the book (if you havent already) to review all the ridiculous crap written therein. But make sure you get the first edition, because we understand that Sanders removed most of this material subsequent editions as it was obviously false. It also mentioned a guy by the name of [deleted].
HERES THE STRAIGHT STUFF ON "THE FAMILY" STORY
There were never any sacrifices, of chickens or otherwise. Everyone fully well knew that the expected "sacrifice" was that of each individuals ego. There was never any swapping of sex partners. There was never any group sex or sex conducted while third (or fourth, etc.) parties were present in or out of ceremony. There were never any visits by Charles Manson or Tex Watson, either in town or in the desert.
The Solar/Manson connection was a time/space synchronicity. Charles Manson and Solar Ranch got busted just around the same time. Both were busted in remote California desert locations. However, Manson was a murderer, while Solar members didnt even slaughter their own animals for food - they kept them for pets and bought their meat at the grocery store. One member was stupid enough to chain a child arsonist up for approximately 10 hours. So where did all the false linkages come from? Here:
Somewhere around 1966 or 1967, a guy showed up at the 30th Street house. His name was [deleted], and he professed to be interested in the Path. He did take the preliminary oath, but he never entered the initiatory camp.
The preliminary oath, required of anyone who asked for initiation, or information, or just to be on-site for metaphysical reasons was: "I solemnly and sincerely swear to do all in my power to know and understand the Truth for myself."
What he was really after was the Tarot Cards. You see, Crowleys Book of Thoth was very rare. One copy sat in the Cherokee Bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard in a Safe, and it carried a price tag of $500, and it was the only known copy available. But Solar Lodge had a photocopy of the book. Aquarius had loaned his copy to Capricornus for copying a few years earlier. The visitor saw the copies and he lusted after them and he asked to borrow them. And then he disappeared.
Phone calls to his home received promises to return the copied book and cards. Months went by. More calls. No return. So, one evening three members knocked on his door. There were no threats, there was no violence or intimidation. Yet, such vibrations hung heavy in the air. He unhappily delivered the copies as requested, and then he took his little form of revenge much later when he had the opportunity to tell bold-faced lies about Solar Lodge to Ed Sanders. And thats where almost all of the crap in the book came from.
The Judgement Hall of Osiris
In September of 1972, at Blythe, California, the last fugitives surrendered. Shiva returned from Canada and arrived in court along with Dys (who, incidentally, was the one who actually confined the child in the first place - the one they really wanted!).
It was an interesting scene. The judge (a temporary judge again - for some reason!) looked at Shiva and said, "I find nothing in this testimony (the Grand Jury transcript) about you, other than honorable mention. Charges dismissed!"
The judge then continued in a loud voice: "But you cant tell me nothing happened out there in that desert." He raised his voice even louder: "Ive read all of this transcript, and I just know that " He was ranting, he was raving. And the defense attorney leaned close to Shiva and said very clearly in a low voice, "Turn around . . . Right Now! . . . And walk out of here!" Wow! What courtroom drama.
The judge was still raving as Shiva let the courtroom doors close behind him.
Then things quieted down. Frater Dys pleaded guilty to a felony charge and received probation. It was finally finished!
Shiva was assigned to one of the 30th Street apartments, but the communication gap between Shiva and Capricornus remained. After a few weeks he was invited over to the Menlo Avenue mansion. The event was like a party. Later in the evening, Capricornus asked Shiva to accompany her into a room on the second floor.
She said, "I want you to come back." (As if he had gone). He replied, "But if I come back, I will probably just try to bust everything up."
She had her own interesting reply: "Well Im doing a pretty good job of busting it up all by myself." . . . . . Right!
The result of this meeting was that Capricornus (indirectly) released Shiva from his Oath of Obedience with these words: "Okay, you do what you want. But Id like to see you here. I really need help keeping this all in line."
A few days later he tendered his formal, written resignation and moved into a new apartment.
Solar Lodge, A.S.
Solar Lodge continued operating. The world did not end. The books remained locked up and the initiation ceremonies were stopped. Other ceremonials (including the Gnostic Mass) were still held weekly. A farm was purchased near Merced, California, and the whole chicken-pig-cow collection started again.
One evening, at the never-ending meeting, Capricornus painted a verbal picture of the death and destruction that was soon to descend on humanity; she laid out her new plans, involving a move to Las Vegas, Nevada, and she called upon each member individually for a vote of confidence ("Are you with me, or are you ag'in me?).
When his turn came, Frater Mont said, "Well Jean, all I ever wanted was to go to Tibet. Instead, I followed you through Mexico, and Canada, and Los Angeles, and Merced, and now you want me to follow you to Las Vegas. Sorry, but this is where I get off." He saw the light and, in his turn, tendered his resignation.
There is an interesting principle that was discovered in this on-going departure process: Those that went out the front door continued their practices and looked upon their adventure with the Tong as a part of their Path, a stage in their development. Those that went out the back door stopped any pretense of spiritual development and blamed the Order and its leaders or its members for their present misfortune, all the while turning their full attention to the material world. In fact, the general concept of the Path evoked their full anger.
The front door method involves facing the Guru, tendering a formal resignation, turning on ones heel, and walking out the front door.
The back door method involves hiding from the Guru, tendering no resignation, grabbing anything of value, and climbing out a window in the middle of the night.
And so the Tong went to Las Vegas where they continued in the catering business.
The properties in Los Angeles, all together, sold for exactly one million dollars.
Shem made his split early in the game (1970), he went to court (with a change of venue to San Bernardino county) and received 30 days in jail to be served on weekends!. Everyone who waited longer (than 1970) did no jail time at all; even those who were really guilty as charged. Shem had been five long years in the Tong. He lived to be 56 years of age and died in 1986.
In 1972, Shiva turned his full attention to his ongoing mystical and magickal practices and his new life. He had been nine long years in the Tong.
Mont, who had built a catering empire for the Tong, got himself a single catering truck in 1974 and went to work feeding the hungry on the streets of L.A. He had been five long years in the Tong.
Kuat was the only member who was allowed to come and go. His family had money, and he always had a home in San Diego. But he was attached to Capricornus, and he always had a second home wherever the Tong went. He signed on in 1967 and he stayed off-and-on until 1984, when Capricornus died. He eventually came to be seventeen long/short years in the Tong.
Capricornus passed away in July, 1984 after drinking a secret elixir prepared for her by a Chinese acupuncturist in Texas.
Sol passed away four years after his wife.
One thing was certain. All of them, the Tongolites, and those who resigned themselves to their own fate, were no longer Outside The Law.
Does it end here?
Of course not!
Continue with the further adventures of your
Follow Mont, Shem, Kuat, Shiva, Estar, and LightBlazer
as they create the Anti-Tong. Visit the Magickal Island and
hear Shem's confession about the Thelemic Library.
Meet the Avatar and observe the Flashdance ceremony.
All leading to a new Cosmic Empowerment.
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Beyond the Veil