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.
93 Absolutely bang on thank the gods somebody has articulated this!!! Kudos to you 131
93 & thanks Mercurius.
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”.
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93 — Hell yea Soror! Fully agreed on all points — I just tried to keep it pithy for the post itself. Thanks for your comments!
93’s Brother! I love your blog overall! 93 93/93
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.
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.
If the degrees don’t make you a better person, what is the point in pursuing them?
93 Nexist – They provide the tools and ingredients. It is up to you, in the end, to implement and manifest them in your life. 93 93/93
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.
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
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Please forgive this OTO/Thelema newb for any errors in ‘understanding’ but…..
Would one consider the magick of A.A. (or any other path to HGA and true will) to be in line with the work necessary to properly raise Kundalini to the crown chakra? Meaning…. is the end result the same?
And (keeping in mind that I might be talking out my ass right now) if that question above is no and the only way to do so is through the A.A or some other magickal order… then is working with Goetia really necessary for reaching our HGA? I mean… I’ve been Gnostic for 20 years and am not a materialistic person at all. There is not a single thing I want from them and ‘messing’ with that when it seems so unnecessary is not something I want to do, but on the other hand I am VERY interested in working with my HGA. To be honest I feel like already do through a tarot deck and I have heard a disembodied voice twice in my life that I believe was my HGA.
93 – The work can overlap or be similar. Also, Goetia is not necessary for reaching the HGA, not sure where you got that idea. 93 93/93
In the M .’. M.’. M.’. the “Craft” consist of Magicians instead of Masons & this switch in the use of the terms was right & logical 100 years ago, because during the Dark Ages Magicians & Occultists were hiding behind such “covers” like “Masons” & “Shriners” in order to be able to meet in secret without the danger of prosecution because craft-companies were allowed to have secret meetings & today we don’t need to hide behind fake professional identities anymore(wishful thinking)…Unfortunately, although the M.’.M.’.M.’.-IIº Initiation Ritual contains & teaches the Traditional-Core-Structure of Western Magick(as far as Crowley understood it) the terms “Magician” & “Master Magician” in the O.T.O. are in the same way SYMBOLIC as “Mason” & “Master Mason” are in Freemasonry…& if the Freemasonry-Club can get away with it, in the O.T.O. things are a bit different, because on the Quest for/of the Free Will Honesty towards the Self should be a vital requirement (most of the time at least) & if a Master Mason won’t see it as a problem if he is unable to do the masonry work around his own bathtub at home (for example) a O.T.O.- IIIº Master Magician will know, that after the Initiation Ritual He/She is still a pretty average person with no or not who knows how interesting extraordinary or beyond-average psychic or physical abilities which are needed though in order to induce any real changes in accordance with the own or whoever’s Will…I myself see this lack of a serious method for learning practical Occultism as a great deficit that will have to be dealt with very seriously…
Thank you. I’m waiting to hear about gnostic mass before I can become a member and I really appreciate what you’ve got to say about any mistakes that I’m sure I’ve already made. I just need to keep my mouth shut, head down and keep my options to myself. I have a long way to go 🦋93
i have been reading sex magick.i have been practising thelema in secret.i wish to start a temple in kenya.how will i organise the lodges.