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[GUIDE] Ordo Templi Orientis


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THE ORDO TEMPLI ORIENTIS


Alright - I'm making this guide mostly because I just find this entire topic interesting, and mostly because I'd just like to see other people RP it considering the presence of the OTO within California and throughout the United States. For all those who do not know, the Ordo Templi Orientis are an initiatory occult society that holds extreme similarities to the Freemason lodges of Europe, modelling themselves after the Grand Masonic Lodges but instead of following a vague 'Supreme Being' as is dictated by Masonic guidelines, the Ordo Templi Orientis adhere to the belief of Thelema following the rise and fall of Aleister Crowley as a major figurehead in the OTO. I intend to cover the brief basics of chaos magic, how it relates to Thelema, and the core principles of Thelema - and then the history of the OTO and it's hirearchy and structure in the US, and known practices/meetings of the OTO.

 

And to clarify, the OTO do not hold any power. The OTO are, in short, a society and grouping of those fascinated with the occult. Whilst they often overstate their own power, they in reality hold none. But they have had a variety and menagerie of powerful members, such as the rocket scientist Jack Parsons, and briefly, Hubbard of Scientologist fame who worked alongside Parsons.


Ordo_Templi_Orientis_(insignia).png

The Lamen of the Ordo Templi Orientis, a magical pendant worn over the heart as an expression of character.


To understand the OTO, is to understand the magical belief of Thelema. Thelema is a spiritual philosophy. Developed by Crowley, Thelema quite literally translates to 'will.' The ever famous quote, 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law', is derived from Thelema. Crowley believed and wrote that, he was the Aeon of Horus. A prophet of a new age of religious belief, due to an encounter he had with a Praetorhuman, a 'non-corporeal being' that spoke to him in Egypt in 1904 and delivered unto him the guidelines of the faith that would become Thelema. This being is known as Aiwass. This in turn caused Crowley to write the book known as the Liber AL Vel Legis, the Book of the Law. This book is a founding document in the philosophy of Thelema, for it outlines the basic and core principles thereof. 

 

For Thelemites, there lies a Thelemic Pantheon as outlined in the Liber AL Vel Legis. The pantheon is real in the eyes of the Thelemites, but also does take own a metaphorical form depending on which god or goddess is being worshipped or spoken of. There are a wide number of gods throughout the pantheon, but there are a primary trio derived from the Kushite beliefs of Ancient Egypt. These three gods are the speakers of the Book of the Law, and therefore, are the foundation alongside Aiwass and Crowley, for the faith. Nuit, Hadit, and Ra-Hoor-Khuit. But, as Crowley himself said, these gods are a 'literary convenience.' An atheist can practice Thelema, as much as a monotheist or a polytheist. The gods, while real and simultaneously metaphorical in Thelema, are merely a channelling device for magick and the power of the self, the will.

 

Three statements distill Thelemic philosophy.

"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law." A Thelemite is bound only by themselves to discover their own fate.

"Love is the law, love under will." The nature of Thelema is to love, but love is submissive towards discovering your own will or fate.

"Every man and every woman is a star." Based off of 20th century cosmology, people fulfilling their own true fates (Wills), are like stars for they occupy their own place and time in nature, yet are uneffected by others.

 

Due to the nature of Thelemic belief, there is no such thing as a Thelemic orthodoxy. There is no set practice and or standard to call oneself a Thelemite. A Thelemite in the barest definition of the word, is someone who has seen beyond their own ego, and attempts to discover and follow their True Will. Their fate and purpose within the universe. That is what it means to be a Thelemite, in a loose sense. But, there are certainly stricter definitions of Thelemite belief. There are those who would argue that being a Thelemite means you must follow the Law of Thelema, and further then, the Liber AL Vel Legis, and further then from this strict definition, is the definition that a Thelemite must adhere to all of Crowley's writings following the Liber AL Vel Legis.

 

Now beyond semantics, we can touch upon the actual beliefs of Thelema. As Crowley left the Book of the Law and the rest of his teachings up to interpretation, Thelemic authors have taken many different stances and interpretations. It implies a pantheistic stance in the Book of the Law itself, but, Nuit himself states that there is no God beyond him, and his master Hadit. The most common interpretation of Thelema is that there is no god beyond the god of the Will. The human self, the power of willpower. The godhead is within humanity, and that the soul of the Holy Guardian Angel as seen within Catholicism, is the innate magical power of the Will. In short, men and women are their own gods. Confusing - absolutely. Thelema is a faith entirely up to interpretation. A monistic view is often taken by Thelemites, that being that the universe and cosmos are merely but a representation of Nuit and his master Hadit, and for Hadit is in every soul.

 

Beyond the foundations of Thelema, there is the most famous part of Thelemic belief. Magick and ritual, which often takes from the pre-established occult writings of the time. Thelemic magick as defined by Crowley is, 'the Science and Art in causing Change in conformity with Will.' Magick is a means to discover the True Will, the fate. And as with many occult practices of the time, Crowley often took eastern mysticism and occult practices and blended them with that of pre-existing western occult orders such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. While magick is often practiced by the Thelemites for material benefit, and there is no guidelines prohibiting it, the stated goal of Thelemic magick is to discover the true self, the true will. By this, they wish to speak with the Holy Guardian Angel that dwells within their own Self, so that they can discover their on daimon and thus, learn their fate. 

 

And contemporary practice of Thelema, prides itself on diversity. Dogmatic thinking has no place in Thelema. Writers such as Nu and Had take often from Taoism, and it is common for nearly every Thelemite to differ in their own independent interpretations and beliefs in what Thelema even is, and what writings can be taken into consideration for their own practices.

 

Many of Crowley's own writings are published online such as the Liber Resh, and the writings of the Phoenix. 


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Crowley's rendition of the Unicursal Hexagram. 


The Ordo Templi Orientis is the Order of Oriental Templars, or the Order of the Temple of the East. This in reference to the practice of 'Orientalism', as the OTO was founded in the early 20th century - and as such, a certain fascination was taken by the primarily white European members in predominantly Asian occultism. The OTO itself has a rather complex history, with it's founding in 1895/1906 being somewhat disputed. It's founder was Karl Kellner, a wealthy businessman who desired to create an Academia Masonica within German speaking nations. Reuss, Karl's successor, began chartering occult lodges throughout mainland Europe - nine in total, the first six of which were Masonic Lodges. From here, the OTO began purchasing the right to begin practicing various occult rituals such as the Swdenborg Rite and the Rite of Memphis and Mizriam, which in turn became the foundation of the modern Ordo Templi Orientis. This was accompanied by the incorporation of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor's use of degrees in rite, which is now too a founding principle of the OTO. They had, at this point, established themselves within the occult community as a group of Masonic academics.

 

It was in 1910 that Crowley encountered Reuss, and was admitted to the first third degrees of the OTO. Two years after, Crowley was the head of the United Kingdom's branch and Ireland, and throughout this time period - Crowley began writing various occult documents that would become the founding of the magick and organization later used by the OTO during their move into America, as during WW2 and the death of Reuss - many of the European lodges were forced to go underground or were destroyed, and the only lodge to survive the destruction of WW2 was the Agape Lodge of California. 

 

It was at this point that the OTO began falling into conflict following Crowley's death, with his successor Garmer failing to ever appoint an heir. As such, various OTO branches broke off from the main body - fighting legal cases against one another so that they would be able to secure legal recognition from the Government. Concurrently, there are still arguments throughout the various OTO splinter groups as to who is the De Jure leader of the OTO, the Supreme Frater. 


ChaosStar.svg

The Chaos Star, emblematic of chaos magick.


Now, we move onto the rituals of Thelema. I'll provide some examples as to previously completed rites that were recorded by OTO scribes. The one listed below is the Liber Resh vel Helios, referred to as the daily adoration of the sun. As with all rituals Thelemic, the goal of the ritual is to further drive the practitioner to discovering their True Self through the manipulation of magick.

 

0. These are the adorations to be performed by aspirants to the A∴ A∴.

1. Let him greet the Sun at dawn, facing East, giving the sign of his grade. And let him say in a loud voice:
Hail unto Thee who art Ra in Thy rising, even unto Thee who art Ra in Thy strength, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Uprising of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Night!

2. Also at Noon, let him greet the Sun, facing South, giving the sign of his grade. And let him say in a loud voice:
Hail unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy triumphing, even unto Thee who art Ahathoor in Thy beauty, who travellest over the heavens in thy bark at the Mid-course of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Morning!

3. Also, at Sunset, let him greet the Sun, facing West, giving the sign of his grade. And let him say in a loud voice:
Hail unto Thee who art Tum in Thy setting, even unto Thee who art Tum in Thy joy, who travellest over the Heavens in Thy bark at the Down-going of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Day!

4. Lastly, at Midnight, let him greet the Sun, facing North, giving the sign of his grade, and let him say in a loud voice:
Hail unto thee who art Khephra in Thy hiding, even unto Thee who art Khephra in Thy silence, who travellest over the heavens in Thy bark at the Midnight Hour of the Sun.
Tahuti standeth in His splendour at the prow, and Ra-Hoor abideth at the helm.
Hail unto Thee from the Abodes of Evening.

5. And after each of these invocations thou shalt give the sign of silence, and afterward thou shalt perform the adoration that is taught thee by thy Superior. And then do thou compose Thyself to holy meditation.

6. Also it is better if in these adorations thou assume the God-form of Whom thou adorest, as if thou didst unite with Him in the adoration of That which is beyond Him.

7. Thus shalt thou ever be mindful of the Great Work which thou hast undertaken to perform, and thus shalt thou be strengthened to pursue it unto the attainment of the Stone of the Wise, the Summum Bonum, True Wisdom and Perfect Happiness.

 

- The Liber Resh vel Helios.

 

Thelemic rituals are often recorded and notated in the same way. Each step is to be performed exactly, and without a single mistake. The rituals of the OTO are more often than not, bought or borrowed from fellow occult lodges such as the aforementioned Order of Luxur, or during the founding of the OTO, the Masonic Academia of 20th century Europe. To perform the Liber Resh vel Helios is to greet the sun god, Tahuti, and present him your adorations - once again, to discover the True Self. It all contributes to your standing as an occult magician within the OTO, too. Rituals such as the Liber Resh vel Helios are commonly done by lower level OTO members, for whom higher level rituals such as the ritual of the Moonchild, and of the Scarlet Woman, are off-limits.

Edited by AM
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Do What Thou Wilt, Shall Be The Whole of the Law. The Love of Law, Under Will.

I have a character that may indulge in this, as he's a Psychic.

Edited by DLimit
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