The Mysteria Mystica Maxima is the initiatory arm of the O.T.O. Within, one finds the structure and wisdom of Freemasonry now philosophically, symbolically and ethically adapted to the New Aeon. The entire initiatory process of the Man of Earth Degrees represents an elaborate instruction whose two objectives are the following, according to Crowley, “It was first necessary to explain the universe and the relations of human life therewith. Secondly, to instruct every man how best to adapt his life to the cosmos and to develop his faculties to the utmost advantage.” Modeled much after the Masonic degree system, one is symbolically and respectively, attracted to incarnation, is born, lives dutifully, dies, then Returns, all according to one’s True Will. Each initiation is designed then to prod a particular chakra to illuminate, thereby prompting transformation.
“[This] process of initiation is unlike that of many college fraternities or the military, the goal of which is to bond the individual to the group by means of ego-collapse, often via methods of pain, exhaustion, and degredation. Within O.T.O., the rituals are designed to be challenging, but in a way that honors the candidate. If bonding does occur, it does so through a conscious and willed effort on the part of the initiate. The ultimate goal of initiation in O.T.O. is <<to instruct the individual by allegory and symbol in the profound mysteries of Nature, and thereby to assist each to discover his or her own true Identity>>”.
Membership in Ordo Templi Orientis is by way of initiation. Our initiations contribute to the structure the Order, much as initiation structures other philosophical and religious orders by providing instruction and experience through providing rituals of initiation.
Initiation into our Order is only conferred through a physical ceremony conducted by a chartered initiator within a local body of the Order. Initiate membership is subdivided by degree. O.T.O. uses a graded system, similar to that of Freemasonry. There are thirteen numbered degrees and twelve un-numbered. They are divided into three grades or “triads”: the Hermit, the Lover, and the Man of Earth. The entire system is as follows:
- the Hermit
- the Lover
- the Man of Earth.
The entire system is as follows:
- The Man of Earth Triad:
- 0° – Minerval
- I° – Man & Brother / Woman & Sister
- II° – Magician
- III° – Master Magician
- IV° – Perfect Magician & companion of the Holy Royal Arch of Enoch
- P.I. – Perfect Initiate, or Prince of Jerusalem
- Outside all Triads:
- Knight of the East & West
- The Lover Triad:
- Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix, and Knight of the Pelican & Eagle;
- Knight of the Red Eagle, and Member of the Senate of Knight Hermetic Philosophers;
- Illustrious Knight (Templar) of the Order of Kadosch, and Companion of the Holy Graal;
- Grand Inquisitor Commander, and Member of the Grand Tribunal;
- Prince of the Royal Secret;
- Theoreticus, and Very Illustrious Sovereign Grand Inspector General;
- Magus of Light, and Bishop of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica;
- Grandmaster of Light, and Inspector of Rites & Degrees;
- The Hermit Triad
- Perfect Pontiff of the Illuminati;
- Epopt of the Illuminati;
- Initiate of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis;
- Rex Summus Sanctissimus;
- Initiate of the Eleventh Degree (This degree is technical, and has no relation to the general plan of the Order);
- Frater Superior, Caliph, and Outer Head of the Order.
O.T.O. Degrees and the Chakras corespondences:
The initiate application must be signed by two sponsors who are already I° initiates of O.T.O. Prospective sponsors will generally want to get to know you before signing your application, which may involve your attendance with them at several local body events, or time spent with them privately. A serious candidate should find it easy to obtain sponsorship once they get to know our members and have demonstrated something of their character. Sponsorship in O.T.O. is, however, no light matter and our Initiates are instructed to pay close attention to the caliber and seriousness of all potential candidates, as sponsorship reflects upon the judgment of those who agree to sponsor a particular candidate for initiation.
Before formally joining the O.T.O., which occurs with taking the First Degree I°, the aspirant must proceed through the ceremony of initiation called the Minerval or 0°. This is an introductory 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.
This is the initial ceremony in the journey of the first cycle of initiations known as the Man of Earth Triad, 0° thru P∴I∴. Initiates of the Minerval Degree may also begin novitiate training for the Diaconate or Priesthood in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica.
To become an initiate member of O.T.O., a completed application must be submitted along with the appropriate dues and fees. Dues pay for USGL membership and are valid for a full year’s membership. Fees cover the expenses incurred by the Oasis during the initiation itself. These monies are due no later than the date of the initiation itself, although the Oasis reserves the right to require advance payment of the fees depending upon degree sought.
The Oasis can receive applications from prospective candidates at any time. Once your application has been submitted, an Oasis Officer will contact you to let you know the date, time and location of the next scheduled initiation for that degree. If that date does not work with your schedule, simply notify the Oasis and you will have the opportunity to participate in the next planned date for that degree. Applications are valid for the period of one year from the date of the candidate’s signature. The Oasis regularly announces planned initiation events on our calendar to encourage prospective candidates to apply as well inform existing members to facilitate their attendance.