Privacy: Membership in O.T.O. is private. Names and addresses of members are kept confidential from the general public and from the bulk of O.T.O. members. O.T.O. officers (including local body officers) are provided with information about members on a need-to-know basis. For example, a member wishing to attend an initiates-only event at a local body may have her membership status confirmed by Grand Lodge in response to a query by the local body master; similarly, Grand Lodge officers in the Treasury and newsletter offices will have access to the member information required to do their jobs.
Non-discrimination: There shall be no consideration of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation when considering the fitness of candidates for admission, advancement, or appointment to office within Ordo Templi Orientis U.S.A.
Becoming a member: Membership in O.T.O. is conferred through initiation. The Minerval initiation (0°) is the introductory degree into Ordo Templi Orientis. The ceremony is named for Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. The Minerval initiation introduces the candidate into O.T.O. and the degree formally makes one an honored guest of the Order. It does not constitute full membership into O.T.O., and a permanent magical bond is not yet forged. The ceremony is designed for someone with no magical training to check us out and experience our initiation system without formally becoming a member. There's more about the O.T.O. initiatory degrees farther down this page.
We're a friendly, approachable bunch of people, and we like to get to know someone before we encourage initiation. If you decide that you wish to pursue initiation after getting acquainted, you can pick up an application at any open event at the Oasis. You can read about all of our upcoming events in our online calendar. We do not distribute copies of applications for initiation through the mail or electronically -- we only hand them to potential applicants in person. You do not have to be a member to attend our open events, but there may be an admission fee -- please see the calendar for specifics.
Any O.T.O. initiate in good standing may affiliate with Blue Equinox Oasis (B.E.O.) by the prompt payment of monthly Blue Equinox Oasis Local Dues. Blue Equinox Oasis (B.E.O.) Membership confers privileges including a discounted admission fee to most events in the B.E.O. calendar, and exclusive access to some events for B.E.O. members only.
The structure of O.T.O., like that of Freemasonry and the ancient mystery schools, is based on a staged series of initiations or degrees. 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.
Initiate membership is subdivided by degree. There are a total of 21 initiate degrees in O.T.O., including thirteen numbered degrees and eight un-numbered, intermediate degrees or sub-degrees. The degrees of O.T.O. are divided into three Grades or "Triads": the Hermit, the Lover, and the Man of Earth, as follows:
The Minerval Degree (0° ) is an introductory Initiate degree in which the aspirant is considered an "honored guest" of O.T.O. rather than a full member. The Minerval degree is designed to allow the aspirant to decide whether or not to pursue full membership, and to allow potential sponsors the opportunity to decide whether to support the aspirant's application for full membership. Minervals may begin preliminary novitiate training under an E.G.C. Bishop towards ultimate ordination to the Diaconate and/or Priesthood in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, but they are not eligible for ordination or for service as an officer of a Local Body.
The First Degree (I° ) 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 life. An initiate of the Second Degree is eligible for ordination as a deacon of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica.
Beyond the degree of P.I., advancement is by invitation only. Initiates of the intermediate degree of Knight of the East and West (K.E.W.) are eligible for formal ordination to the Priesthood in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Episcopal consecration in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is conferred as part of the Seventh Degree. The Tenth Degree (X° ) is held by the National Grand Master General of O.T.O. in a particular country.
The Man of Earth degrees follow a pattern based on the symbolism of the Chakras and the stages of Kundalini Yoga; and represent, in dramatic form, the Individual's Path in Eternity. In the 0° , the Ego, a wandering God, is attracted to the Solar System. In the I° , the Child experiences Birth. In the II° , the Man or Woman experiences Life. The III° represents the Death of the individual, and the IV° represents the world beyond Death, the glorified state of the Initiate. In the P.I. Degree, the Initiate symbolically achieves ultimate Perfection (Completion), and the entire cycle is withdrawn into Annihilation.
Of these Events or Stations upon the Path, all but the II° represent single critical experiences. We, however, are concerned mostly with the varied experiences of Life. All subsequent degrees are therefore elaborations of the II° , a progressive instruction in how to live, 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 V° - IX° 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.
Every man and woman of full age (18 or more years old), free, and of good report, has an indefeasible right to the first three degrees of O.T.O. (but not according to any particular time schedule). These "first three degrees" actually include all the degrees in the Man of Earth Triad (the Minerval is considered a prologue to the First Degree, and the Fourth and P.I. Degrees are considered pendants to the Third 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 under some circumstances the Minerval and First Degrees may be taken on the same occasion.
Original Text Borrowed From: William Blake Lodge