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His first profession was that of soldier; he served in the European Theatre during World War II, during which time he became a personal student of Aleister Crowley. In the fall of 1943, he was initiated into the IX° of Ordo Templi Orientis by Baphomet XI° (Aleister Crowley). It was Crowley who suggested that he take the name Hymenaeus Alpha, which in Greek gematria adds to 777.
After the war, Grady returned to the U.S. and earned his B.A. in Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He also acted as Sovereign Grand Inspector General VII° of the O.T.O. in California.
During the Korean War, Major McMurtry returned to active duty in the U.S. Army. He then returned to the University of California at Berkeley to complete a Masters Degree in Political Theory. In the late 1950s, he worked as a management analyst for the State Department of Labor in Sacramento. In 1961, he moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Labor Department and the Washington Shakespeare Society.
Karl Germer, Crowley's successor as head of the O.T.O., died in 1962 without appointing a successor. Grady McMurtry, upon hearing the news, returned to California and, using emergency powers granted him by Baphomet XI°, became Caliph and de facto head of O.T.O. in June of 1969. He presided over the revitalization of Ordo Templi Orientis throughout the '70s and into the '80s.
He died peacefully on July 12, 1985 in San Pablo, California.
- Fr. Halayl. (1986). "Hymenaeus Alpha: In Memoriam." THe Equinox, Vol. III, No. 10.