The main goal of O.T.O. – to protect the Freedom of the Individual and to help it’s improvement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge and Power through Beauty, Courage and Knowledge - on the basis of a common Brotherhood. The holy task of the Order is to help everyone create the Great Magisterium of the Spirit in the philosophical egg of the Soul, in the Atanor of the earthly Body.
Ordo Templi Orientis (Order of Oriental Templars or Order of the Temple of the East) was founded in 1902. With it’s historical roots, it is associated with Freemasonry, more precisely, with several of its directions: the Ancient and Original Rites of Memphis 97 °, the Ancient Eastern Rites of Mizraim 90 °, and the Ancient and Adopted Scottish Rites of 33 °. The first founders of the Order of the Eastern Templars Karl Kelner, Franz Hartmann, Theodor Reuss assumed that O.T.O. will become a kind of Masonic Academy, which combines the wisdom of all Masonic degrees. However, this did not happen. O.T.O. never became part of regular Freemasonry, at least because it adhered to the principle of equality of men and women, and, therefore, took the latter to it’s ranks. In addition, O.T.O. considered faith in God (or gods) as a personal matter of each person, and therefore mono-, and poly-, and even atheists could enter it. Finally ties of O.T.O. and Freemasonry interrupted in 1920 when the Congress of the "Universal Frankmasonry World Federation," which was held in Zurich, rejected the proposal of Reuss, who at that time headed our Order, to make Thelema the main law of Freemasonry.
In order not to violate the legal privileges and recognized powers of the modern Free Masons, in 1917, with the participation of the then active leadership of the Order, the initiation rituals of A.T.O. were replaced by Aleister Crowley - at that time it’s full member and initiator. Nowadays, membership in O.T.O. does not mean awarding any Masonic degree. O.T.O. - this is a completely independent Order, which can include Christians, Buddhists, Wiccans, Freemasons, Satanists, etc. In one word - representatives of any religious denominations and esoteric societies can become the members of the Order. At the time of Crowley's death, the most numerous and capable department of O.T.O. existed in California - Agape Lodge. Grady McMurtry worked in this lodge, who, along with Karl Germer, Crowley called his heir. After McMurtry's death in 1985, the Sovereign Sanctuary (the highest organ) of our Order elected Hymenaeus Beta, who is a head of O.T.O. and to this day. In 2003, the Order numbered 3,711 members and had it’s representative offices in 47 countries. It is important to note that O.T.O. - poor order. It has no luxury temples and office buildings, and no crowned persons and presidents in it’s ranks. It is not customary to give it’s masters diamond cufflinks or call to themselves "nouveau riches." O.T.O. does not lure official power. O.T.O. does not engage in paid training of "magicians," and membership fees are small here. The membership fee for the year in the Minerval degree is $6.30. It goes to the International Headquarters of the Order. This money funds the trips of consecrators to those countries where local branches of O.T.O. themselves do not have the means and opportunities for this. They also go to the aid of the new branches of the Order and to ensure it’s life in general. The initiation fee exists in order to offset the costs of preparing the Temple and other initiation accessories, as well as the "agape" fraternal meal, which is an integral part of it. Its size is not much larger than the membership fee.
The O.T.O structure, similar to that of Masonic fraternities and ancient secret schools, is based on a consistent series of initiations to their respective degrees, most of which are awarded ceremonially. In initiatic rituals of different degrees O.T.O. seeks to help the individual understand through the language of allegories and symbols the deepest secrets of Nature, and thus help him to comprehend his own true identity, the true Will.
A person can become a member of the Order only after a special initiatic ceremony, which is conducted by the initiator, who has the permission of the leadership of the Order. Valid membership is divided into 21 degrees, 13 numbered (from 0 to 12) degrees and 8 non-numbered sub-degrees, which are intermediate.
O.T.O. DEPARTMENT: CAMP, OASIS AND LODGE
In addition to administrative bodies and management bodies in O.T.O. there are three levels of official local initiated bodies (local bodies): Camps, Oasis and Lodges.
The base level is Camp. Camps can be as simple as study groups and complex as miniature Lodges. Camps can or can not carry out initiations, but even those that have a Charter can carry out initiations to a degree no higher than in III °. The camp can be created by the only dedicated member of the O.T.O. who has a degree not lower than the First. It can perform such tasks as organizing regional representation, initiating, publishing, maintaining a computer site, etc. Camps must maintain effective accounting of financial transactions and have a reliable postal address.
The next level of difficulty higher than Camp is Oasis. In many ways, Oasis is a miniature Lodge. In relation to its members, the Oasis should carry out the basic functions of the Lodge: conduct training in the form of classroom classes and/or sending out written materials, try to regularly serve the Gnostic Mass and dedicate from 0 ° to III °. The oasis must be created by at least three consecrated members, one of whom must have a degree no lower than the Third. Oases are usually created from existing Camps. Since oases are initiating organs, they must have all means necessary to perform initiations up to and including the third degree. Oases bear the same financial and reporting responsibility as Camps.
The top-level local body under the jurisdiction of the electoral College is the Lodge. The Master of the Lodge must be initiated member not lower than V ° and must also possess the Right of Initiation to a degree not lower than III °. The Lodge must independently initiate members up to and including III ° and must have all necessary for the initiation of IV ° and PI, if even the Lodge Head does not have the Right of Initiation to these degrees. Typically, the minimum distance the Lodges must be spaced from each other is 50 miles, except in densely populated cities. The duties of the Lodges and Oases are similar. In addition, the Lodge may be required to assist the Order in legal matters. Lodges must keep a complete set of documents, beyond what is usually required of lower-level bodies, as well as producing manuscripts, periodicals and other publications or other works that contribute to the dissemination of the Knowledge of Thelema. It is assumed that all Lodges try to serve the Gnostic Mass as often as possible. The two main functions of the Lodge are (1) to serve the majority of its members; and (2) in the event of misfortune that may befall the Grand Lodge, prolong the life of the Order. Despite the requirements of the 1917 Constitution of the Order, under which no one can be a member of more than one Lodge at a time, today's O.T.O. does not limit membership in local bodies.
The first Ukrainian thelemites were dedicated to O.T.O. in 2004. On May 1, 2007, according to a charter issued by the Supreme Council of Ordo Templi Orientis, the first branch of the Order was opened in Kyiv - the Parsifal Camp, which a few years later grew to Oasis. In 2016, O.T.O. "Parsifal" was granted Lodge status. To date, members of the Ukrainian O.T.O. work in several cities of Ukraine. Anyone who has reached the age of majority (18 years old) and recognizing, to the extent of his own understanding, the Book of the Law has the right to declare his desire to become a member of our Order. But at the same time, this person needs to present the recommendations of two guarantors from among the members of the Order. To do this, person must prove that it is seriously interested in magic, wants to learn and can participate in joint magical work. Membership in our Order opens the way to Knowledge, but does not give any privileges on the material plane. Every new member of our Order will face difficult work. However, person is entitled to count on his brothers and sisters from O.T.O. will always be ready to help him in this matter.