Magical Path of Initiation
The O.T.O. initiations are physical ceremonies, or Dramatic Rituals. In Magick Without Tears, Crowley explains the nature and basic symbolism of O.T.O. initiations as follows:
Let us begin at the beginning. What is a Dramatic Ritual? It is a celebration of the Adventures of the God whom it is intended to invoke. (The Bacchae of Euripides is a perfect example of this.) Now, in the O.T.O., the object of the ceremonies being the Initiation of the Candidate, it is he whose Path in Eternity is displayed in dramatic form.
What is the Path?
- The Ego is attracted to the Solar System.
- The Child experiences Birth.
- The Man experiences Life.
- He experiences Death.
- He experiences the World Beyond Death.
- This entire cycle of Point-Events is withdrawn into Annihilation.
In the O.T.O. these successive stages are represented as follows:
- O° (Minerval)
- I° (Initiation)
- II° (Consecration)
- III° (Devotion)
- IV° (Perfection or Exaltation)
- P.I. (Perfect Initiate)
Of these Events or Stations upon the Path all but 3 (II°) are single critical experiences. We, however, are concerned mostly with the very varied experiences of Life.
All subsequent Degrees of the O.T.O. are accordingly elaborations of the II°, since in a single ceremony it is hardly possible to sketch, even in the briefest outline, the Teaching of Initiates with regard to Life. The Rituals V°-IX° are then instructions to the Candidate how he should conduct himself; and they confer upon him, gradually, the Magical Secrets which make him Master of Life.
Obligations of Membership
Members of the O.T.O. are of full age, free, and of good report. There are modest dues obligations to the International and National O.T.O., and there are often dues obligations to one’s local O.T.O. body. A I° or full member states that he/she accept The Book of the Law as written, without wishing to change it. Even in the Minerval degree, a commitment is made in the strongest terms to uphold the ideals of freedom set forth in The Book of the Law. However, how The Book of the Law and its significance are interpreted by each individual member is up to them. The O.T.O. does not impose restrictions on members’ beliefs, or on their affiliations with other organizations that do not attempt to infringe on the rights and operation of the O.T.O.. Non-members may also be welcome to attend many events as guests, provided these events are not related to initiations; this is up to the discretion of the local body holding the event. While we respect every individual’s unique Will, fraternal and respectful behaviour is expected and required of members and guests, both to fulfill the higher purpose of the Order and as a practical necessity for its function.