Rodney Orpheus

Rodney Orpheus
Background information
Birth name William Rodney Campbell
Born (1960-07-08) 8 July 1960
Moneymore, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Genres Gothic rock
Years active 1984–present
Associated acts The Cassandra Complex

Rodney Orpheus is a Northern Irish musician, record producer, writer, lecturer, and a leading member of the Thelemic organisation Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.). He is known for his work with the musical group The Cassandra Complex and for his book on the magick of Aleister Crowley, Abrahadabra.

Early life

Rodney Orpheus was born William Rodney Campbell on 8 July 1960 in Moneymore, Northern Ireland, and attended Rainey Endowed School on a scholarship. He became interested in music during the punk rock movement of the late 70s and led one of Ireland's first experimental punk bands, The Spare Mentals. In 1980 he migrated to Leeds, England where he formed The Cassandra Complex with Paul Dillon in 1984.[1] The two, who met when Orpheus gatecrashed Dillon's 21st birthday party, originally financed the band by working at The Sorcerer's Apprentice occult store.

After the release of The Cassandra Complex's first records Orpheus spent several years touring Europe, and while living in Aachen, Germany he joined Ordo Templi Orientis. Orpheus had studied the works of Aleister Crowley and other occult writers since his teenage years, and had previously founded and edited the UK occult newspaper Pagan News along with writer Phil Hine.[2]

While in Aachen he began work on the book Abrahadabra, published by Looking Glass Press in Sweden and later republished by Weiser Books. The Ashe Journal described the book as "a significant contribution to the field of Thelemic, or Crowleyan if you will, magick,"[3] and the Tree of Light journal said it was "one of the very few competent and readable introductory texts to Thelemic magick."[2]


Orpheus moved to Hamburg, Germany in 1990 where he formed the Makhashanah Oasis (later Lodge) of O.T.O. During this period he also formed the band Sun God,[1][4] based on Santería initiation he had received from Baba Raul Canizares on a visit to New York and inspired by the work of Vodou artist Sallie Ann Glassman. He set up a recording studio where The Cassandra Complex recorded their next albums, as well as producing and remixing several records for other German alternative artists, including Die Krupps and Girls Under Glass.[5] Orpheus had a role in the German vampire movie Kiss My Blood,[6] and toured with The Sisters of Mercy.[7] He was described as a "technopagan" in Mark Dery's 1996 overview of cyberculture Escape Velocity:

To Rodney Orpheus the ease with which such metaphors are turned upside down underscores his belief that there's nothing oxymoronic about the term technopagan in end-of-the-century cyberculture. "People say 'pagans sit in the forest worshipping nature; what are you doing drinking diet coke in front of a Macintosh?' " says Orpheus, who in addition to being a card-carrying Crowleyite is a hacker and a mind machine aficionado. "But when you use a computer, you're using your imagination to manipulate the computer's reality. Well, that's exactly what sorcery is all about – changing the plastic quality of nature on a nuts-and-bolts level. And that's why magickal techniques dating back hundreds of years are totally valid in a cyberpunk age."[8]

Los Angeles

Orpheus had used Steinberg's computer music software in the studio for some time, and soon after moving to Hamburg he joined the company to pioneer their Internet Services division. He became a well-known figure presenting the company's software at trade shows, and in 1999 relocated to Los Angeles, to design one of the first Web 2.0 community sites,[9][10] While based in L.A., Orpheus served as a member of the US Grand Lodge O.T.O. Supreme Grand Council. He was still writing literature as well as music during this period: his horror short story "Gothic Blood Dream" and his poem "Poison Butterflies" would be published in the Gothic II anthology in 2002.

Return to the UK

In Los Angeles Orpheus spent time working within the movie sound industry[11] and became a strong supporter of surround sound. This led to him moving to Henley-on-Thames and becoming Business Development Manager for the DTS Entertainment surround record label in 2004.[12] During this period he produced the surround albums Planet Earth for LTJ Bukem and A Gigantic Globular Burst of Anti-Static for The Future Sound of London.

In 2007 he reformed the original line-up of The Cassandra Complex.

Orpheus has always been fascinated by games, and has written supplements for the tabletop game Car Wars from Steve Jackson Games. During a long period of recuperation after an operation in 2001 he started designing modules for the computer game Neverwinter Nights, eventually running an online server called The Hidden Tradition and winning a Neverwinter Vault Hall of Fame award.[13] This led him to spend time lecturing in games design at South Gloucestershire and Stroud College from 2008–2010.

Current work

Rodney Orpheus was appointed Deputy National Grand Master General for UK Grand Lodge of O.T.O.. at the Spring equinox 2009,[14] and appeared on the O.T.O. podcast Thelema NOW! in September of that year;[15] where he would make a second appearance in the August 2011 edition.[16]

He appeared with Nick Margerrison on Kerrang Radio representing O.T.O. in May 2009:

We're chatting to a bloke, Rodney Orpheus, who is part of the religion which Crowley left behind after he died, it's called O.T.O. I'm asking him what would happen if we were to play out Crowley's magical spell ritual designed to call out demons. He tells me probably nothing, "If demons were to come out of the radio I'd be very surprised, if they're going to come out of anywhere, they'll come out of people's heads". Awesome. Great bit of radio. Hit play on the song. Two minutes in the station has a major technical glitch. The consoles in all three studios stop working. The mic won't turn on and then won't turn off. We play three songs in a row as we try to sort it out. Chaos as broadcast assistants and producers run about like headless chickens trying to sort it out. Technical response team on the phone. Finally we're back on air. Not the most impressive bit of radio ever. An example of Crowley's curse?[17]

His most recent book on magick, Grimoire of Aleister Crowley, was published by Abrahadabra Press in August 2011. It has been described as "a truly exceptional modern grimoire" by magical scholar and editor Colin Campbell.[18]





  1. 1 2 Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 256
  2. 1 2 "Tree of Light: Biographies". Tree of Life. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
  3. "Ashé Journal: Book Reviews". Ashe Journal. 5 (2): 247–256. 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  4. Jester (January 1996). "Sun God Interview". Retrieved 31 May 2009.
  5. "Rodney Orpheus Discography". Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  6. Jazay, David (Director). Kiss My Blood (1998). Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  7. "1996/07/14, Stadthalle, Offenbach, Germany". Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  8. Dery, Mark (1 January 1996). Escape Velocity: Cyberculture at the End of the Century. New York, Grove Press, Inc. ISBN 0-340-67202-1.
  9. "Sonic State – News Steinberg unveils Cubase.Net, A new web community for Cubase users". 12 November 1999. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  10. Fassett, Mark (2001). "Audio Notes From Macworld Expo". XLR8YOURMAC (64). Retrieved 5 June 2009.
  11. Border, W.K. (Director). Sex, Death & Eyeliner (2000). Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  12. "DTS Expands DTS Entertainment in Europe; Company Appoints Business Development Manager". Business Wire. 22 June 2004. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  13. Savicki, Steve (2006). "Hall of Fame Interview – Rodney Orpheus (Hidden Tradition)". Neverwinter Nights 2 Vault. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
  14. "Current News – UK Grand Lodge, Ordo Templi Orientis". 20 March 2009. Retrieved 29 May 2009.
  15. "US Grand Lodge, OTO: Thelema NOW! podcast". Retrieved 28 February 2010.
  16. Frater Puck. "US Grand Lodge, OTO: Thelema NOW! podcast" (Podcast). Thelema Now!. Event occurs at 85 minutes. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
  17. Margerrison, Nick. "Straight From The Nicholarse". Retrieved 3 June 2009.
  18. Campbell, Colin. "Grimoire of Aleister Crowley". Colin Campbell's De Arte Magica. Retrieved 8 December 2011.
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