About the O.T.O.
Ordo Templi Orientis is the first of the great Old Æon orders to accept The Book of the Law, received by Aleister Crowley in 1904 e.v. This book proclaims a New Æon in human thought, culture and religion. The Æon arises from a single supreme injunction: the Law of Thelema, which is Do what thou wilt.
This Law is not to be interpreted as a license to indulge every passing whim, but rather as the mandate to discover one’s True Will and accomplish it; leaving others to do the same in their own unique ways. “Every man and every woman is a star.” The Law of Thelema can ultimately be fulfilled only through the individual efforts of each person. Nevertheless, many worthy aspirants to the Great Work of Thelema have a genuine need for information, guidance, fellowship, or the opportunity to assist their fellow aspirants and serve humanity. Such aspirants will find welcome in O.T.O.
O.T.O. was originally affiliated with European Masonry but is no longer a Masonic organization, though it shares some terminology and traditions with Masonry. The complex but intriguing history of O.T.O. may be of interest for the light it sheds on the origins of our current organization and goals.
The O.T.O. operates local bodies throughout the world; most members participate directly in one or more of them. There are three levels of local bodies within the O.T.O.: Camps, Oases, and Lodges, in order of increasing importance and services available. Most local bodies offer classes on Magick, Ritual, Kabbalah, and other topics of interest to practicing Thelemites. Many bodies perform the Gnostic Mass on a regular basis. Other common local activities include performance of group rituals (for example, the Rites of Eleusis), publication of a newsletter or journal, and cooperative activities with other local alternative-religious groups.
For those who wish to join our fraternity, O.T.O. offers a staged series of initiations, or degrees. These are physical ceremonies performed at local Lodges, Oases and some Camps. In the rituals of these degrees, O.T.O. seeks to instruct the individual by allegory and symbol in the profound mysteries of nature, and thereby to assist each initiate in discovering his or her own true identity.
Membership in the O.T.O. begins with the Minerval, or 0 degree initiation. This is an introductory, probationary Degree, which does not establish any permanent fraternal bonds with our Order. It offers the participant a chance to experience our mysteries as a guest without any long-term membership commitment. For more information on the Minerval Degree see the Minerval Frequently Asked Questions document. Information on the complete degree structure of O.T.O. can be found on the Membership Page of the Canadian National O.T.O. website and the Grand Lodge of the United States of America hosts a very good introduction to the history of our Order: U.S. Grand Lodge - History.
Initiate membership is available to every man and woman who is free (that is, not incarcerated), at least 18 years old, and of good report. In order to establish "good report", your application must be signed by two sponsors who are already I° initiates of O.T.O.. Prospective sponsors will generally want to get to know you before signing your application. Individuals seeking initiation should contact an officer of the Oasis.