Membership

 

MEMBERSHIP IN O.T.O.

The structure of O.T.O., like that of Freemasonry and the ancient mystery schools, is based on a staged series of initiations or degrees. In the rituals of these degrees, O.T.O. seeks to instruct the individual by allegory and symbol in the profound mysteries of nature, and thereby to assist each initiate in discovering his or her own true identity. Initiate membership is subdivided by degree. There are a total of 21 initiate degrees in O.T.O., including thirteen numbered degrees and eight un-numbered, intermediate degrees or sub-degrees. The degrees of O.T.O. are divided into three Grades or “Triads”: the Hermit, the Lover, and the Man of Earth.

The Minerval Degree (0°) is an introductory Initiate 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. Minervals may begin preliminary novitiate training under an E.G.C. Bishop towards ultimate ordination to the Diaconate and/or Priesthood in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, but they are not eligible for ordination or for service as an officer of a Local Body.

The First Degree (I°) bestows full membership upon the initiate. A First Degree initiate may retire from active participation in O.T.O., but the spiritual link forged between the initiate and the Order during the ceremony of the First Degree will remain throughout the initiate’s life. An initiate of the Second Degree is eligible for ordination as a deacon of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica.

Beyond the degree of P∴I∴, advancement is by invitation only. Initiates of the intermediate degree of Knight of the East and West (K.E.W.) are eligible for formal ordination to the Priesthood in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. Episcopal consecration in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica is conferred as part of the Seventh Degree. The Tenth Degree (X°) is held by the National Grand Master General of O.T.O. in a particular country.

The Man of Earth degrees follow a pattern based on the symbolism of the Chakras and the stages of Kundalini Yoga; and represent, in dramatic form, the Individual’s Path in Eternity. In the 0°, the Ego, a wandering God, is attracted to the Solar System. In the I°, the Child experiences Birth. In the II°, the Man or Woman experiences Life. The III° represents the Death of the individual, and the IV° represents the world beyond Death, the glorified state of the Initiate. In the P∴I∴ Degree, the Initiate symbolically achieves ultimate Perfection (Completion), and the entire cycle is withdrawn into Annihilation.

Of these Events or Stations upon the Path, all but the II° represent single critical experiences. We, however, are concerned mostly with the varied experiences of Life. All subsequent degrees are therefore elaborations of the II°, a progressive instruction in how to live, 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 V° – IX° rituals and teachings are therefore instructions to the Initiate in the Mastery of Life; there is instruction in Hermetic Philosophy, Qabalah, Magick and Yoga, all aimed at preparing the Initiate for the revelation and application of one Supreme Secret.

Every man and woman of full age (18 or more years old), free, and of good report, has an indefeasible right to the first three degrees of O.T.O. (but not according to any particular time schedule). These “first three degrees” actually include all the degrees in the Man of Earth Triad (the Minerval is considered a prologue to the First Degree, and the Fourth and P∴I∴ Degrees are considered pendants to the Third Degree).

Progress of the O.T.O. initiate toward the Fourth and P∴I∴ Degrees is usually a matter of years. A certain amount of time is usually required to allow full maturation of the effects of the O.T.O. initiations, although under some circumstances the Minerval and First Degrees may be taken on the same occasion.

Initiate membership is available to every man and woman who is free, at least 18 years old, and of good report .  O.T.O. initiations are conferred through a physical ceremony conducted by a chartered initiator. Initiations are almost always held at O.T.O. local bodies, most commonly Oases and Lodges.

Therefore, the path to becoming an initiate member of O.T.O. involves contacting a nearby or otherwise convenient local body which conducts Minerval initiations, obtaining an application for initiation from that body, and submitting it along with the appropriate dues and fees.

In order to establish “good report”, your 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.

O.T.O. operates primarily on dues and fees collected from the membership. Initiation fees are used to defer the costs of the initiation itself. Payments are made as follows:

  • Initiate dues renewals are sent to the appropriate Grand Lodge (or to International Headquarters, for members outside the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge).
  • All other payments are made to the Local Body, prior to the initiation ceremony.

In the jurisdiction of U. S. Grand Lodge, the current schedule of dues and fees for the initial series of degrees is:

 

Degree Annual
dues
Initiation
fee
TOTAL
$42 $42 $84
$42 $42 $84
II° $84 $42 $126
III° $126 $84 $210
IV° $168 $120 $288
P∴I∴ no increase $36 $36

 

In addition to the above dues and fees, individual local bodies may charge their own dues or initiation fees, to help cover their own operating costs.

Dues are payable upon applying for a new initiation, or after one year, whichever comes first. Fees are payable upon applying for a new initiation.

 

MEMBERSHIP IN E.G.C.

Lay membership in E.G.C. is available through baptism and confirmation. Members of O.T.O. in good standing are eligible for clerical ordination in E.G.C. Members of II° and higher are eligible for ordination as Deacon, and those who have reached K.E.W. are eligible for ordination as Priest or Priestess.

MEMBERSHIP IN SERPENT & LION

Membership in O.T.O. or E.G.C. does not automatically confer membership in Serpent & Lion Camp. Serpent & Lion is a group of individuals who have chosen to work together magickally.  Serpent & Lion is a dues collecting body and these dues are separate from those collected by U.S. Grand Lodge. Dues are $10.00 per month and provide a means of sustaining the body. Individuals interested in joining Serpent & Lion may contact the secretary and request an application here: secretary@serpentandlion-oto.org