Among the most colourful occult secret societies in the modern magical scene, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) was founded in London in 1981 by Genesis P-Orridge, a popular musician in the industrial-music scene. Drawing on the Zos Kia Cultus system of English magician Austin Osman Spare, the sexual magic of Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis, and the chaos-worshipping Discordian religion, and combining these with most of the popular trends in the 1980s and ’90s counterculture, TOPY defined occultism as a means of personal liberation based on freeing the implicit powers of the human brain through sexual orgasm and the transcendence of all habitual and conventional ideas. See Discordian movement; Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO); Zos Kia Cultus.

A tribal network consisting of three Stations (in Britain, Europe, and the United States) and a constantly changing assortment of local groups called Access Points, TOPY has created a non-structured structure all its own. Candidates for initiation write down a favorite sexual fantasy and, on the 23rd hour of the 23rd day of the month, anoint the paper with three different bodily fluids and hair from two parts of their body. The result is mailed to TOPY headquarters in order to build up a reservoir of magical power. When a candidate has done this 23 times, he or she becomes an initiate, and take the name “Coyote,” “Kali,” or “Eden” followed by a number as their magical name. As the name of the organization suggests, TOPY members and initiates are notorious in the occult community for their non-standard spellings of English. TOPY documents consistently use “coum” for “come,” “ov” for “of,” “thee” for “the,” and “majick” for “magic.” This is not simply eccentricity; it is intended, as TOPY members might express it, to majickally overcoum thee power ov habit and social convention.

For a decade after TOPY’s founding in 1981, it was as much a piece of performance art as a magical (or majickal) secret society, and gained most of its members among fans of Genesis P-Orridge’s musical group, Psychic TV. In 1992, after British police raided his home in the hope of finding evidence of Satanic ritual abuse, P-Orridge resigned his position as TOPY’s leading member and tried to dissolve it, with no noticeable effect. TOPY remains an active presence today in the occult community, with Access Points scattered across Britain, America, and Europe, and a substantial online presence as well.


The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies : the ultimate a-z of ancient mysteries, lost civilizations and forgotten wisdom written by John Michael Greer – © John Michael Greer 2006