Ordo Templi Orientis
Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) is an occult organization and is described by many as a secret society.
This article is about the California-based OTO which has elements of Aleister Crowley's Thelema in its philosophy. It should not be confused by older non-Thelemic orders which existed before Crowley overtook the organization.
Organization & Structure
OTO has federally recognized tax-exempt status in USA under IRS section 501c(3). According to the official OTO USA website, it is also a California charitable corporation.
The OTO International Headquarters are located in:
- New York, New York, USA (Frater Superior)
- Berlin, Germany (Secretary-General)
- Artois, California, USA (Treasurer General)
The US Grand Lodge is the governing body of OTO in the USA.
OTO has local bodies in many places of the world, designated as Camps, Oases or Lodges.
Camps are the smallest organizational bodies of OTO. They do not perform initiations. They are also called Encampments.
'Oases (singular: Oasis) are larger than Camps and do perform initiations up to the IIIÂ° degree.
Lodges are larger than Oases and perform initiations through the IVÂ° or P.'.I.'. degrees.
OTO describes itself as the "first of the great Old Aeon orders to accept The Book of the Law".
The Book of the Law was written by Aleister Crowley in 1904. Crowley described the book as "received". This, in Occultism, is supposed to mean that it was transmitted to him by some spiritual entity via occult means.
Aleister Crowley started what is known today as Thelema. OTO includes many Thelemic philosophical and occult elements.
The main law of Thelema is "Do what thou wilt". Thelemic philosophy describes "True Will", and the law simply states "do what your True Will is".
Individuality is very important in OTO and Thelema. An example is another Crowley saying which states "Every man and every woman is a star". This simply means that everyone is unique and can accomplish their own "True Will", as long as it is not against another person's "True Will".
OTO claims that in the past it was affiliated with European masonic organizations. Today OTO still uses Masonic symbolism and terminology but has no relation to Freemasonry anymore.
The teachings of OTO, as official OTO sources claim, include:
- U.S. Grand Lodge of OTO
- International Headquarters
- The Invisible Basilica of Sabazius: The personal website of Fr. Sabazius, Grand Master General, who is the leader of OTO in USA.