MYSTERY & CATACLYSM OF A MOORISH ORTHODOX CHURCH LODGE
Yehoodi El and Mustafa al-Laylah Bey
“We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible.”
Beginning in 1990, the [Eulessynian] Hot Tub Mystery Religion (HTMR) celebrated Greater and Lesser Mysteries in two sanctuaries, both on Silent Oak Drive in Euless, Texas, bounded by miles of dark woods surrounding the Trinity River. Fueled by Dionysian excess and theme park aesthetics, Epopts sought to create installation-variations on the ideal of the pleasure dome, inspired by the imaginations of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Moorish Luminary Doctor Jabir `abd al-Khaliq. Prince Krazie, Son of Yippie, a reformed COINTELPRO fink, artist and charter Epopt, described a typical rite as,
“A small speck of light and beauty in an unreal, sick world…receiving the most holy sacraments from the most high of the highest…black light…strange sounds, music…naked nymphs splashing in the rippling water.”
It was in this heady vat of high-minded fun that Forbidden Books, a local cafe and bookstore, rose to the surface, caked in luridly colored sargassum like some rubber-clad, hyper-saturated B-movie creature. `Zines, Re/Search, the Amok catalog, titles from AK Press and Autonomedia all found their way into our hearts and minds through that tavern of blameworthiness. It also served as a community center for the extraordinarily weird. HTMR pamphlets and samizdat erupted like wildflowers proclaiming “Big FUN!” and urging the reader to contemplate the koan: “How much fun can you have before someone tries to stop you?” Oh, how we’ve tested this axiom and its boundary repeatedly and under conditions both mad and sensible.
Odd characters found their way in and out of the events of the HTMR as well as Forbidden Books. Such events like Disturbathon and Blisskrieg! still broil in the imagination of those marked souls who have lived through them. During this extremely fertile period in Assassination City, HTMR engineer Yehoodi El found the works of Hakim Bey (or did they find him?) and thus began a love affair with Anarcho-Sufism which has yet to dissipate. Same city, same store, different scene, Mustafa al-Laylah Bey, a naïve Chaote and dance music junky also discovered Al-Dabir and dreamed of matching sets of pistols and black fezzes.
At some point the collision was imminent. Members of the elusive H’un-T’un Tong infiltrated the Diabolocrat National Party meetings while errant hot-tubbers slid their way into illegal all-nighters. Crazed, ex-Masons and Rosicrucians stirred the pot and lo! The hermitage of the Green One, al-Khezr (pbuhm), arose. As a clarifying note, this imaginal hermitage, the Khalwat-i-Khidr, was never actually formed in the traditional sense, but rather has always existed, like the Green One himself. In our caravanserai all bear the mark of our stay in this shifting pleasure dome – such a mark is tattooed on the hearts of our bawdy anchorites in liquid gold and cinnabar. We know our own.
Early on we chose our ideological focus: There is no greater art than hospitality, sexily dressed as that liveliest of rites, the festival. Our goal has been and still is to catalyze a time-space in which spirited fun, sensual delight, play and exalted discussion create new worlds of possibility. For the adventurous, each festival contains Inner Mysteries to be sought, including the occasional spontaneous initiatory experience. Through our craft guilds, we create dazzling installations designed to tease every sense and create a sort of enchantment, if not a doorway to the Imaginal. In this sense, for many the Khalwat-i-Khidr is a focal point for community, a culture in which creative preparation can be as rewarding as the result. As with the Bedouin, guests and strangers are not only feted but treated with greatest respect as emissaries of the Divine. As our community grows, our vision expands along with our communal capacities.
As pointed out in other tracts, there is no orthodoxy in Moorish Orthodoxy. For our Khalwat, it has been a vessel of exploration and experimentation rooted in the passions and visions of its celebrants; a reinvention of hospitality and community inspired by folk rituals, fairy tales and evocations of ecstatic Love. With wild-eyed fervor, we sought to lick heaven’s G-Spot until it gushed its blessings. With pots, pans, kazoos and cryptic hand-jive, we took to the madnight streets with Callithumpian din. Wracked with enthousiasmos, we fashioned new yogas of sloppy kissing and customized initiations, catalyzed by potions both ancient and newly devised. We heeded the prophecy of Ivan Chtcheglov, seeking “-a complete spiritual transformation by bringing to light forgotten desires and by creating entirely new ones. And by carrying out an intensive propaganda in favor of these desires.” 15 years later we show no sign of slowing.