As of February 1999 EV, O.T.O. has approximately 3000 members. Of these, roughly half are in the United States. O.T.O. is active to varying extents in about 40 countries.
Categories of Membership
Membership is divided into two primary categories: associate and initiate. Associate membership can be strictly a correspondence matter, with no physical presence required. Associate members receive The Magical Link (see listing under publications), have access to other membership publications, may attend many O.T.O. local activities if a local body is nearby, and receive occasional discounts to OTO members from some book sellers. Otherwise, associate members have the opportunity to correspond with other O.T.O. members in the U.S.A. and other countries, by mail or electronically.
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica also offers lay membership, which is conferred through the ceremonies of baptism and confirmation. Lay membership confers no special privileges, and is not, at this time, a matter of formal record.
Initiate membership can be conferred only in a physical ceremony by a properly chartered initiator. 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 Minerval Degree (0°) is an introductory Initiate degree, designed to allow the aspirant to decide whether or not to become a full member. Members of the Minerval Degree may begin novitiate training for the Diaconate and/or Priesthood in Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica. 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.
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 the Minerval and First Degrees may be taken on the same occasion if the candidate so wills.
Although O.T.O. has historically been associated with various rites of Freemasonry, O.T.O. has renounced any claim to “make Masons.” While retaining the use of certain customs and terminology used in early Freemasonry, O.T.O. has revised its rituals, insignia and modes of recognition to avoid infringing upon the legitimate privileges of the established and recognized authorities of modern Freemasonry. O.T.O. membership does not, of itself, confer any Masonic status.
How to Become an O.T.O. Member
If you would like to apply for Associate Membership in O.T.O, please send a check or money order for US$ 10.00 for your first year’s Associate dues to:
- Ordo Templi Orientis
P.O. Box 303
Queen Street 40
Please include your full name, mailing address, age and gender.
As mentioned above, initiate membership involves a physical ceremony, and thus must typically be arranged with a convenient local OTO body. We provide a list of OTO bodies on the Net which may be useful in this regard.
Initiation and Instruction
The degrees of O.T.O. are divided into three Grades or “Triads”: the Hermit, the Lover, and the Man of Earth, as follows:
- The Third, or Man of Earth, Triad
I° Man and Brother Woman and Sister
III° Master Magician
IV° Perfect Magician and companion of the Holy Royal Arch of Enoch
Perfect Initiate, or Prince of Jerusalem
- Outside all Triads
Knight of the East and West
- The Second, or Lovers, Triad
V° Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix, and Knight of the Pelican and Eagle
Knight of the Red Eagle, and Member of the Senate of Knight Hermetic Philosophers
VI° 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
VII° Theoreticus, and Very Illustrious Sovereign Grand Inspector General
Magus of Light, and Bishop of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica
Grandmaster of Light, and Inspector of Rites and Degrees
- The First, or Hermit, Triad
VIII° Perfect Pontiff of the Illuminati
Epopt of the Illuminati
IX° Initiate of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis
X° Rex Summus Sanctissimus
XI° Initiate of the Eleventh Degree (This degree is technical, and has no relation to the general plan of the Order)
XII° Frater Superior, and Outer Head of the Order
Dues and Fees
O.T.O. operates primarily on dues and fees collected from the membership. Annual dues are established by the Order as a minimum contribution. Fees (one time only) are set for each initiation to defer the costs of the initiation itself.
Payments are made as follows:
Associate dues are sent directly to International Headquarters.
Initiate dues renewals are sent directly to Grand Lodge (or to International Headquarters, for members outside the jurisdiction of a Grand Lodge).
All other payments are made at the time of initiation to the Local Body.
The current schedule of dues and fees for associate membership and the initial series of Initiate degrees is listed here:
Category – Annual dues – Initiation fee – TOTAL
Associate $10 — $10
0° $36 $36 $72
I° $36 $36 $72
II° $72 $36 $108
III° $108 $72 $180
IV° $144 $100 $244
P:.I:. no increase $31 $31
In addition to the above dues and fees, the 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.
In addition to dues and fees, members (and non-members) are welcome to make whatever contributions they may wish from time to time. Contributions may be applied toward an income tax deduction, subject to any limitations and restrictions set forth in current State and U.S.A. Federal income tax laws. Dues may or may not be tax deductible, depending on local state law.