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Frequently asked questions

  • Where did the OTO originate?
    The formation of the OTO is attributed to an Austrian paper chemist, Carl Kellner (1851–1905). Formed in the early 20th century, the OTO can be said to draw on a divergent stream of esoteric knowledge, including the traditions of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism, Illuminism, Gnosticism, the Knights Templar, and pre-Christian mystery schools.
  • What’s with the hermetic mumbo jumbo?
    Born at the beginning of the 20th century, the OTO is part of the Western esoteric tradition which leans heavily on the hermetic arts and qabalah as a language to interpret our world – tools that help greatly in understanding the allegorical nature of all religious texts.
  • What's with the number 93?
    In the qabalistic practice of Gematria, the Greek word Thelema – “will” – has the numeric value 93, as does the Greek word Agape – “love”. Hence the number 93 symbolises the unity of love and will.
  • Who was Aleister Crowley?
    Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) was the third head of the OTO. He was a mystic and magician of note, as well as a prolific writer, poet, mountaineer and chess-player. A gifted and sincere spiritual seeker, Crowley was the receiver of the Holy Books of Thelema. He composed the Gnostic Mass in 1913, and in 1915 incorporated Thelema into the initiation rites of OTO. Crowley’s spiritual teachings were generally misunderstood, and during his lifetime he was maligned in the popular press. Beyond the Holy Books, some of Crowley’s more important spiritual works include The Vision and the Voice, Magick, The Book of Lies and The Book of Thoth.
  • Is the OTO a secret society?
    The OTO is an outward-facing organisation, while membership remains confidential to its individual members. To preserve their psycho-dramatic impact on the individual, OTO’s initiation rites are divulged only upon taking initiation. While the unknown can seem scary, rest assured that OTO initiations are there solely to help you to accomplish your True Will; there is no untoward content, and their significance is explained in depth upon completion.
  • How do I become a member?
    Contact the local body closest to you. Typically, we have a catch-up meeting and then you are welcome to attend public events until such time as you are interested in taking initiation. To become an initiate member, you must be at least 18 years old and have obtained the sponsorship of two other members.
  • Can I be a member of other organisations as well?
    Yes, the OTO is non-denominational. We only ask that you do not join the OTO for the sake of promulgating other organisations.
  • Do you accept LGBTQi members?
    The OTO is one of the rare organisations that truly encourages people in their way. We lay no boundaries on how you achieve your true potential, as long as you respect the Thelemic rights of others. Hence, issues of gender identity etc. hold no bearing on membership.
  • Is the OTO a Christian organisation?
    Not in the traditional sense, although this does not preclude Christians from joining. Our connection is to the Alpha and Omega – the true and timeless Godness out of which all life flows. We actively condemn the oppression, bigotry and intolerance that has crept into many institutions in the guise of religion.
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