AOH :: BROCHURE.TXT|
A brochure on the Ordo Templi Orientis
ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS
PEACE, TOLERANCE, TRUTH;
SALUTATION ON ALL POINTS OF THE TRIANGLE;
RESPECT TO THE ORDER.
TO ALL WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: GREETING AND HEALTH.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The letters O.T.O. stand for Ordo Templi Orientis, the Order of Oriental
Templars, or Order of the Temple of the East. The O.T.O. is an Outer
Thelemic Order which is dedicated to the high purpose of securing the Liberty
of the Individual and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding,
Knowledge, and Power; through Beauty, Courage, and Wit; on the Foundation of
The O.T.O. is the first of the Old Aeon orders to accept The Book of the Law,
received by Aleister Crowley in 1904, with its message of a revolution in
human thought, culture and religion based upon 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 the O.T.O.
We hold papers of direct and unbroken descent in the leadership of the O.T.O.
from Aleister Crowley to the present head of the Order. We are incorporated
as a tax-exempt religious entity in California and the United States, and have
been judged to be the genuine O.T.O. of Aleister Crowley by the US Federal
Court. Upon request, we will gladly provide photocopies of the documents
which establish our legitimacy.
Although Ordo Templi Orientis was founded as such in the late 19th century,
its traditional history includes the Knights Templar of the 11th century and
Adam Weishaupt's Bavarian Illuminati of the late 18th century as precursors.
It was Karl Kellner who revived its traditions and gave it the name it bears
today. Kellner was an Austrian industrialist and paper chemist, a high-grade
Freemason, and an initiate of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light; a mystical
society founded in the mid 19th century by Paschall Beverly Randolph.
Kellner's O.T.O. consisted of three degrees only, corresponding to the degrees
VIIø, VIIIø, and IXø of the current form of the Order. In 1902, Dr. Theodor
Reuss became Outer Head of the Order (O.H.O.), and, with the assistance of
Franz Hartmann and Heinrich Klein, developed the O.T.O. into a complete
initiatory system of ten degrees.
Largely through the efforts of Reuss, Ordo Templi Orientis absorbed elements
of other fraternal and occult societies into its teachings and structure in
its first two decades of operation. Some of these societies actually granted
limited or full authority of operation to O.T.O., while others simply granted
a "right to study" their teachings. In 1912, a list of such societies was
published, which included: The Gnostic Catholic Church, The Order of the
Knights of the Holy Ghost, The Order of the Illuminati, The Order of the
Temple, The Order of the Knights of St. John, The Order of the Knights of
Malta, The Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, The Hidden Church of
the Holy Grail, The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, The Holy Order of Rose
Croix of Heredom, The Order of the Holy Royal Arch of Enoch, The Antient and
Primitive Rite of Masonry, The Rite of Memphis, The Rite of Mizraim, The
Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Masonry, The Swedenborgian Rite of
Masonry, The Order of the Martinists and the Order of the Sat Bhai. This list
was not considered complete, but included most of those Masonic and knightly
organizations that O.T.O. officers considered particularly important in the
makeup of O.T.O.
From 1902 to 1921, Reuss spread the O.T.O. internationally through the
appointment and chartering of National Heads, who were accorded the rank of
Xø. The Chartered Xø National Heads were expected to conduct the business of
the O.T.O. largely without intrusive supervision by the international head-
quarters. National Heads were required to adhere to the O.T.O. constitution
of 1906, as revised in 1917, and to maintain good records of the membership
in their respective countries. Dr. Gerard Encausse (also known as Papus) was
the Head for France. Encausse's provincial branch of O.T.O. became ultimately
known as "The Franco-Haitian O.T.O." Dr. Krumm Heller (also known as
Huiracocha) was Head of O.T.O. for Latin America, and his province of O.T.O.
became known as Ordo Templi Orientis Antiqua, O.T.O.A. for short. Charles
Stansfeld Jones (also known as Parzival) was head of O.T.O. in Canada, and
attached his province to that of Aleister Crowley. Aleister Crowley (also
known as Baphomet) had charge of O.T.O. in the British Isles, the United
States and Canada (with the cooperation of Jones).
Crowley used the name "Mysteria Mystica Maxima", or M:M:M: to indicate the
lower Degrees of his O.T.O. province, but used "Ordo Templi Orientis" as the
name of the over-all system. There were other Reuss era O.T.O. provinces in
several European countries and in Brazil. Crowley chartered O.T.O. provinces
in South Africa and in Australia. Without exception, all such provinces of
O.T.O. were chartered, documented and recorded by the issuing O.T.O.
authority. Secondary chartering was also documented, e.g. AMORC, the San Jose,
California based Rosicrucian organization, had a 1921 "Gage of Amity" document
from O.T.O. to their founder, H. Spencer Lewis, a VIIø O.T.O. member.
Theodor Reuss became ill and resigned as Head of the O.T.O. in 1921, dying the
next year. Aleister Crowley was the designated successor to the headship of
the international O.T.O., and he was ultimately confirmed in that status by Xø
National Heads. Crowley served as the Outer Head of the Order from 1922 until
his death in December of 1947.
Agape Lodge No. 1 was established in 1912 in Canada under the authority of
Jones and Crowley. In the 1930s, Wilfred Smith (also known as Ramaka) came
down from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, on instructions from Crowley to establish
Agape Lodge No. 2 in Southern California. Agape Lodge #2 held its first
meeting in 1935, in the vicinity of Pasadena, California. Later, Agape Lodge
No. 2 was headed by Jack Parsons, a respected chemist who was instrumental in
the founding of the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion
When World War II broke out, international communications became increasingly
disrupted and civilian travel was limited. Crowley became very dependent on
foreign representatives, being unable to travel himself. Karl Germer (also
known as Saturnus), Crowley's German representative, was arrested by the
Gestapo and confined in a Nazi concentration camp for "Seeking students for
the foreign resident, high- grade Freemason, Crowley." Germer's warrant of
arrest survives to this day, and he was released early in the War through the
efforts of the American Counsel. Germer traveled ultimately to the United
States, where, as Grand Treasurer General and Crowley's second in command, he
conducted much of the business of the O.T.O. The other European branches of
O.T.O. were destroyed or driven underground during the War. The South
American branches maintained a light contact with Germer until the early
By the end of the IInd World War, only Agape Lodge No. 2 in Pasadena,
California was still functioning. No Lodge work was conducted in England at
that time, and initiations were very rare outside of California. The South
American O.T.O.A. held no initiations; and sent a candidate, Dr. Montenegro,
up to California for initiation.
During the IInd World War, Grady Louis McMurtry (also known as Hymenaeus
Alpha), a member of Agape Lodge No. 2, traveled to Europe on military assign-
ment, and visited Aleister Crowley on several occasions while on leave. At
that time, Crowley made McMurtry a IXø O.T.O. member, and ultimately made
McMurtry the chief O.T.O. officer in charge of O.T.O. work in California and
the United States, under Karl Germer. Crowley also notified McMurtry that
Germer was to be Crowley's successor as Head of O.T.O., but that McMurtry
should hold himself prepared to succeed Germer.
Crowley died in December of 1947; and in accord with his wishes Karl Germer
became International Head of O.T.O., serving from late 1947 until his death in
1962. Agape Lodge No. 2 continued in Southern California until 1949, after
which the Lodge ceased to hold regular meetings.
Under Karl Germer, the O.T.O. entered a period of relative dormancy, and no
new members were initiated. Germer notified McMurtry and others that O.T.O.
was to be incorporated and governed by a triumvirate of officers, but this
incorporation was never accomplished under Germer's headship of O.T.O.
Germer did charter a group in England under Kenneth Grant, a IIIø member; but
Germer closed the new group in England and expelled Grant from O.T.O.
membership. Germer also took an interest in the efforts of Herman Metzger
(also known as Paragranus) in Switzerland, and took steps to regularize
Metzger into Crowley's O.T.O. Metzger was thought to have come from a post
war survival of the earlier Reuss period, but had no original connection with
Crowley's O.T.O. Germer and Metzger fell into disagreement toward the end of
Germer's life. Metzger has not engaged in O.T.O. activity either directly or
indirectly in the United States.
Germer died in 1962 without having designated a successor. Some ranking
members, including Grady McMurtry, were not notified of his death for several
years, and several years passed before the question of succession to Head of
the O.T.O. was properly addressed. Metzger in Switzerland published a claim
to being the Head of the Order based on a private election represented to have
been held in Switzerland. Ranking members of O.T.O. outside of Switzerland
were not informed of Metzger's purported election until after the alleged
fact. Metzger was not generally accepted as Head of the Order outside his own
group. Kenneth Grant also asserted a claim to being Head of the O.T.O., but
this was done after he had been expelled from membership by Germer.
In 1969, surviving O.T.O. members from the Germer and Crowley years were
invited to join with McMurtry to resume regular operations of O.T.O. At that
time there were less than a dozen surviving O.T.O. members in the United
States. On December 28, 1971 e.v., the Ordo Templi Orientis Association was
registered with the State of California to form a legal entity for O.T.O. This
Association included members of Agape Lodge #2, from the Crowley and Germer
period. Grady McMurtry produced his letters of charter, and assumed the title
"Caliph of O.T.O.", as specified in Crowley's letters to McMurtry from the
In 1977, McMurtry held O.T.O. initiations at his home in Berkeley, California,
and began a group there. The group began publishing a newsletter, ultimately
the O.T.O. Association was converted into a corporation. O.T.O. was
incorporated under the laws of the State of California on March 26th, 1979
e.v. Those who had claimed in print to be O.T.O. members or who were known to
be former members were notified of the formation of this corporation, and
given a period of time to file a claim to continued membership, according to a
precedent established earlier by Karl Germer. The corporation attained
501(c)3 Federal Tax exemption as a religious entity in 1982.
A substantial effort was made to assume control of O.T.O. by Marcello Motta
under the name "Society Ordo Templi Orientis." Mr. Motta had been a personal
student of Karl Germer for a number of years. After Germer's death, Motta
formed a group in his native country of Brazil. Motta at first recognized
Kenneth Grant as Head of O.T.O., but rescinded this recognition on learning
that Grant had been expelled by Germer. Motta ultimately came to the United
States and sued Samuel Weiser, Inc., a publisher of many of Crowley's works,
for copyright and trademark infringement; maintaining that he was the sole
representative of Crowley's O.T.O. This case was decided in Weiser's favor by
the US District Court in Maine. The Judge found that Motta's representations
regarding O.T.O. did not meet the test of legal existence. During the
proceedings in Maine, the O.T.O. under McMurtry served Motta with a suit to be
heard in the 9th Federal District Court in San Francisco. The San Francisco
case was concluded in 1985, with Motta again losing. O.T.O. under McMurtry
was recognized by the Court to be the continuation of the O.T.O. of Aleister
Crowley and the exclusive owner of the names, trademarks, copyrights and other
assets of O.T.O. McMurtry was found to be the Outer Head of O.T.O. within the
United States. The 9th District decision also recognized O.T.O. under
McMurtry as a legal membership entity. This decision was appealed and upheld.
Grady McMurtry died following the original decision of the 9th District Court,
but the process of appeal established that O.T.O. continued as a corporation.
An election was held two months after McMurtry's death, with all voting
members of O.T.O. present. Hymenaeus Beta was elected Caliph and acting
O.H.O. of O.T.O. in September of 1985. Hymenaeus Beta continues in office to
INITIATION AND INSTRUCTION
The structure of the O.T.O., like that of Freemasonry and the ancient mystery
schools, is based on a staged series of initiations or Degrees, most of which
are conferred ceremonially. In the Rituals of these Degrees, the O.T.O. seeks
to instruct the individual by allegory and symbol in the profound mysteries of
Existence, and thereby to assist each to discover his or her own true Nature.
Every man and woman of full age, free, and of good report, has an indefeasible
right to the first three Degrees of O.T.O. These "first three Degrees"
actually include the Minerval, First, Second, Third, Fourth and P:I: Degrees;
as the Minerval is considered an antecedent to the First Degree, and the
Fourth and P:I: Degrees are considered extrapolations of the Third Degree.
These early degrees follow a pattern based on the symbolism of the Chakras and
the rising of the Kundalini; and represent, in dramatic form, the Individual's
Path in Eternity. In the 0ø, the Ego is attracted to the Solar System. In
the Iø, the Child experiences Birth. In the IIø, the Man or Woman experiences
Life. The IIIø represents Death of the Individual, and the IVø represents the
world beyond Death. In the P:I: Degree, the entire cycle is withdrawn into
Of these Events or Stations upon the Path, all but the IIø represent single
critical experiences. We, however, are concerned mostly with the varied
experiences of Life. All subsequent degrees are therefore elaborations of the
IIø, since in a single ceremony it is hardly possible to sketch, even in the
briefest outline, the Teaching of Initiates with regard to Life.
The Vø - IXø rituals and teachings are therefore instructions to the Initiate
in the Mastery of Life; there is instruction in Hermetic Philosophy, Qabalah,
Magick and Yoga, all aimed at preparing the Initiate for the revelation and
application of one Supreme Secret.
In addition to the official O.T.O. instructions, many of the local O.T.O.
Lodges, Oases, Camps and Profess Houses offer supplementary instruction to
their members; and to a lesser extent, to the general public. The particular
form of this supplementary instruction depends on the character and
capabilities of the particular local body; it may be provided in the form of
classes, seminars, study programs, or publications.
At this writing, O.T.O. has approximately 1500 members, and is active to
varying extents in about 17 countries. Membership in O.T.O. is private in the
sense that names and addresses are not released to anyone, including O.T.O.
officers lacking need to know, without prior express or implied consent of the
individual members concerned.
Membership is divided into two primary categories: associate membership and
initiate membership. Associate membership can be strictly a correspondence
matter, with no physical presence required. Associate members receive a
subscription to The Magical Link (see below), have access to other membership
publications, and may attend many O.T.O. local activities if a local body is
nearby. Otherwise, associate members have the opportunity to correspond with
other O.T.O. members in the U.S.A. and other countries, by mail or by one of
several computer-based networks.
Initiate membership can be conferred only in a physical ceremony by a properly
chartered initiator. Initiate membership is subdivided by Degree. There are
a total of 16 Initiate Degrees in the O.T.O., including eleven numbered
Degrees and five un-numbered, intermediate Degrees. The numbered Degrees
include the Minerval Degree (0ø) and the Degrees designated by the Roman
Numerals Iø through Xø.
The Minerval Degree (0ø) is an introductory Initiate Degree, designed to allow
the aspirant to decide whether or not to become a full member. The First
Degree (Iø) bestows full membership upon the initiate. A First Degree
initiate may retire from active participation in O.T.O., but the spiritual
link forged between the initiate and the Order during the ceremony of the
First Degree will remain throughout the initiate's physical life.
Beyond the Degree of P:I:, advancement is by invitation only. The Tenth
Degree (Xø) is honorary, and designates the National Grand Master General of
the O.T.O. in a particular country. In addition to the Degrees previously
mentioned, there is traditionally an Eleventh Degree (XIø), which is entirely
independent of the O.T.O. initiatory, governmental, and administrative
structures. Further information may be provided to qualified individuals
interested in this Degree.
Progress of the O.T.O. initiate toward the Fourth and P:I: Degrees is usually
a matter of years. A certain amount of time is usually required to allow full
maturation of the effects of the O.T.O. initiations. Although the Minerval
and First Degrees may be taken on the same occasion if the candidate so wills;
a nine month "attunement" period between these degrees is usually recommended.
The O.T.O. encompasses several subsidiary organizations for the study of
facets of Thelemic culture not specifically available within the O.T.O.
initiatory structure. These currently include:
The Gnostic Catholic Church
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, the Gnostic Catholic Church, was brought to the
O.T.O. by Dr. Gerard Encausse (Papus). The E.G.C. is a Thelemic religious
environment, dedicated to the advancement of Light, Life, Love, and Liberty
through alignment with the Law of Thelema. The central activity of the E.G.C.
is the celebration of the Gnostic Mass, as set forth in Liber XV. Membership
in E.G.C. is available through baptism, confirmation, and (after a period of
training) orders. Many O.T.O. local bodies celebrate the Gnostic Mass on a
regular basis, and in most locations, no formal affiliation is required to
attend the Mass.
The Knights of Baphomet
Originally formed as an elite guard in service to the Caliph, the Knights of
Baphomet is now a organization dedicated to the study and practice of Chivalry
as it applies to life in the Aeon of Horus. Membership is by invitation only.
Ordo Templi Orientis publishes a number of periodicals, from Grand Lodge and
from individual Lodges, Oases and Camps. The three primary Grand Lodge
This is not a re-printing of the original Volumes I to III, but a never-before
published continuation of the original series. The first issue in this
continuation, The Equinox, Vol. III, No. 10, was published in 1986. This
issue contains the O.T.O. Constitution, most of Crowley's writings on the
O.T.O., and important instructional documents of interest to O.T.O. members
and other Thelemites. A second printing is currently in preparation. Please
write to the publisher at the following address for details:
Samuel Weiser, Inc.
P.O. Box 612
York Beach, Maine 03910
The Magical Link
This is a quarterly newsletter for members only, currently in its ninth year
of publication. The Magical Link is delivered free of additional charge to
dues-current associate and initiate members of the Order. Each issue of The
Magical Link contains an updated address list of all O.T.O. local bodies and
reports of O.T.O. activites worldwide.
This quarterly journal will soon be available to members free of charge and to
the general public by subscription, or at most occult and metaphysical book
We are very interested in expanding the number of Crowley's works in print.
For a nonmonetary consideration (copyright protection), we will usually be
willing to provide small publishers with a letter of release to print almost
any of Crowley's written works.
DUES AND FEES
The O.T.O. operates primarily on dues and fees collected from the membership.
Annual dues are established by the Order as a minimum contribution. Fees (one
time only) are set for each initiation to defer the costs of the initiation
itself. The annual dues are sent, in their entirety, to Grand Lodge for the
general operating fund of the Order. Fees remain with the local bodies.
The current schedule of dues and fees for associate membership and the initial
series of Initiate Degrees is listed here:
MEMBERSHIP ANNUAL INITIATION
CATEGORY DUES FEE TOTAL
ASSOCIATE $10 --- = $10
0ø $20 $20 = $40
Iø $20 $20 = $40
IIø $40 $20 = $60
IIIø $60 $20 = $80
IVø $80 $40 = $120
P:I: $20 = $20
Additionally, the local body itself may charge its own dues or initiation
fees, to help cover its own operating costs. Dues are payable upon applying
for a new initiation, or after one year, whichever comes first. Fees are
payable upon applying for a new initiation.
In addition to dues and fees, members (and non-members) are welcome to make
whatever contributions they may wish from time to time. Unlike dues and fees,
contributions may be applied toward an income tax deduction, subject to any
limitations and restrictions set forth in current State and Federal income tax
Specific questions may be addressed to:
Ordo Templi Orientis
Grand Secretary General
P.O. Box 32
Riverside, CA 92502
To become an associate member of O.T.O. and receive more detailed information
on initiate membership, complete and return the attached form, enclosing a
check or money order for U.S. $10.00 to cover one year's associate dues.
Love is the law, love under will.
APPLICATION FOR ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP IN ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS
Please complete this form and return to:
Ordo Templi Orientis
Grand Treasurer General
P.O. Box 430
Fairfax, CA 94930
U. S. A.
Please enclose a check or money order for U.S. $10.00 for one
year's associate dues.
Full Civil Name ..................................................
I certify that the above information is correct to the best of my knowledge,
and hereby apply for associate membership in Ordo Templi Orientis.
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