Top 5 Mistakes of Newcomers about OTO

Top 5 Mistakes Newcomers make about OTO

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

What are some of the most common mistakes and misconceptions that newcomers have about OTO (Ordo Templi Orientis)?

1) Thinking that OTO is an occult society that teaches occultism.

SOLUTION: Realize that it’s not. OTO is a fraternal order that teaches how to live in accordance with the Law of Thelema, with a strong ecclesiastical arm to administer sacraments in accordance with the New Aeon’s Law of Liberty. We are here to establish the Law of Thelema in the world, and to spread its message, not to yell mispronounced Hebrew at the walls.

2) Expecting that all OTO members are High Adepts that conform with your distorted notion of ‘how an Adept should act’.

SOLUTION: Realize that OTO is made up of human beings who are living, thriving, shitting, fucking, and making mistakes like the rest of us. We are just doing it together, to try to build something. Care to help serve?

3) Thinking that taking an OTO degree somehow makes you a better person than someone of a lower degree or someone not in OTO.

SOLUTION: Realize that the Work is your own and the initiations are guidance, and that your smarminess actually, if anything, makes you a worse person. If you actually learned the lessons you wouldn’t be wasting your time comparing your dick length to others and you’d be trying to go and do your Will.

4) Expecting that joining the OTO means you get free access to sex orgies, or free access to touch anyone without their consent.

SOLUTION: Grow up and be an adult, and realize that both Thelema and general adult human society agrees that you need consent before engaging in such things.

5) Expecting OTO to hand you all the Real Secrets™ on a platter so you can do absolutely no work.

SOLUTION: Realize that you get out of OTO what you put into it, and that the real Karma Yoga of OTO is service to the Order.

Love is the law, love under will.

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  1. This is spot on brother! I’d just like to add- People just coming in to the O.T.O. or checking it out also often have the misconception that they are going to learn tons of magick practices in the O.T.O. The O.T.O. is not a “teaching” school. It is more like a “Freemasonic social club for Magicians” and is about service to each other as Magicians, and the community . The Ecclesiastica Gnostica Catholica is the religious branch associated with the O.T.O. and O.T.O. degrees are required for certain ordinations in the E.G.C. So, there is opportunity to serve in the Gnostic Mass and perform sacraments.

    Sure some Lodges, Oasis and Camps offer workshops and individuals contribute to learning, but it is strictly voluntary. There is no magickal curriculum in the O.T.O. we do to advance in the degrees. Degree advancement is rather subjective, but should be based on merit, (service) to the Order fellow members and community.

    Just because someone is of a high degree in the O.T.O does not mean they are some high Adept as in the A:.A:., International College of Thelema or other Thelemic teaching schools. If a prospective O.T.O. Thelemite wants to really learn lot’s of “structured” ceremonial magick, they should apply to one of the schools. You don’t even have to be a member of the O.T.O. to be a part of those although most of us are as it is very compatible to be in both simultaneously. Some of us that come into the O.T.O also hail orginally from other magickal school backgrounds too, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which is yet another teaching school. albeit from the “Old Aeon”.


  2. I will offer my point of view on the fact that the whole “does the O.T.O. teach occultism” is very contentious: while Crowley states it very clearly that the Order does teach, and I don’t quote verbatim here, all kinds of yoga and magick, one could easily reply that over the years the Order has evolved in ways that differ slightly from the original blueprints – for instance, there is no requirement fro members of the VII° and higher to donate real estate to the Order, and other finer points along these lines.

    One reality that everyone, members and non-members alike, must face, is that the O.T.O. is still pretty much in its infancy despite being one of the most renowned (or notorious) esoteric Orders in the history of mankind.

    The experience of the O.T.O. will then vary greatly from Local Body to Local Body… this Oasis will probably have an extensive set of classes on magick, yoga, mediation and the like, while the Lodge one city over will only concentrate on the core system made of the Initiation Rituals and performance and study of the Gnostic Mass.

    To me, ALL of this can be described as “teaching occultism”: surely, it’s not the kind of occultism, or better said, esoteric science, that most people think about when they think of it. It’s not about casting circles, drawing sigils, and working on the magick of results. It’s not entirely theurgy, or thaumaturgy, and yet there are parts of both.

    It’s something entirely unique to the Ordo Templi Orientis – in a way non dissimilar to when I say that the Thelemite is politically beyond the Left and the Right alike, and should embody in fact the political stance of the New Aeon, something completely new.


  3. A.’.A.’. and OTO bro here. The OTO is a lot of fun.. the people and the gatherings. And while you can’t necessarily expect to learn a TON of magick from the OTO, if your lodgemates are really into magick, than you can probably expect in-house services with proportion to that. Our lodge loves booze, but alas, no orgies! Sigh! The A.’.A.’. thrives on giving you that internal, esoteric space to explore yourself. The OTO allows you to get outside of yourself and be social, not a recluse who’s stuck indoors obsessively practicing Goetia and Enochian magick, so they both have their advantages! If you’re only in the A.’.A.’. and you’re in the outer college then I’d recommend checking out what it would cost you to join your local OTO lodge (if you have one) as they can be a good resource for answering questions you might have on certain things. Keep in mind, they don’t necessarily have all of the answers, and just like with the A.’.A.’., we can only really answer what’s in our grade to answer! If you’re in the OTO and you’re looking to get deeper into magick then I would highly recommend the A.’.A.’. since that’s the rabbit hole to end all rabbit holes.


      1. Can a person develop their Will independent of grades and occult rituals?

        I expect I know what your answer will be, and I have, in a way, made up my mind about much of this already. But I always value good opinions.

        I come from a background of Zen Buddhism, humanism, Taoist philosophy, and Stoicism. I have never had much use for formal rituals and dogma, instead preferring to develop dhyana through sitting meditation.

        I came to Thelema after being inspired by the philosophy of Nietzsche, and I find its (Thelema’s) philosophical notions meaningful and useful. However, I don’t want to have to conform to a lot of ideas regarding astrology, aethers, and such.

        Thank you.


      2. 93 — Of course they can. They have for thousands of years and they will. I come from a similar background as yourself and preference the life-philosophy over the occultism/rituals. 93 93/93

        Liked by 1 person

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