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Ordo Templi Orientis

Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O., OTO), Order of Oriental Templars, Order of the Temple of the East bracketed text represents a pro-OTO viewpoint

[Peace, Tolerance, Truth:
Salutation on All Points of the Triangle;
Respect to the Order.
To all whom it may concern: Greeting and Health.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

The letters O.T.O. stand for Ordo Templi Orientis, the Order of Oriental Templars, or Order of the Temple of the East. O.T.O. is an Outer Thelemic Order which is dedicated to the high purpose of securing the Liberty of the Individual and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood.

O.T.O. is the first of the great Old Ĉon orders to accept The Book of the Law, received by Aleister Crowley in 1904. This book proclaims a New Ĉon in human thought, culture and religion. The Ĉon arises from a single supreme injunction: the Law of Thelema, which is Do what thou wilt.

This Law is not to be interpreted as a license to indulge every passing whim, but rather as the mandate to discover one's True Will and accomplish it; leaving others to do the same in their own unique ways. "Every man and every woman is a star." The Law of Thelema can ultimately be fulfilled only through the individual efforts of each person. Nevertheless, many worthy aspirants to the Great Work of Thelema have a genuine need for information, guidance, fellowship, or the opportunity to assist their fellow aspirants and serve humanity.

Although officially founded at the beginning of the 20th century, O.T.O. represents a surfacing and confluence of the divergent streams of esoteric wisdom and knowledge which were originally divided and driven underground by political and religious intolerance during the dark ages. It draws from the traditions of the Freemasonic, Rosicrucian and Illuminist movements of the 18th and 19th centuries, the crusading Knights Templars of the middle ages and early Christian Gnosticism and the Pagan Mystery Schools. Its symbolism contains a reunification of the hidden traditions of the East and the West, and its resolution of these traditions has enabled it to recognize the true value of Aleister Crowley's revelation of The Book of the Law.

The Spiritual Father of Ordo Templi Orientis was Carl Kellner[?] (Renatus, Sept. 1, 1851 - June 7, 1905), a wealthy Austrian paper chemist. Kellner was a student of Freemasonry, Rosicrucianism and Eastern mysticism, and traveled extensively in Europe, America and Asia Minor. During his travels, he claims to have come into contact with three Adepts (a Sufi, Soliman ben Aifa, and two Hindu Tantrics, Bhima Sena Pratapa of Lahore and Sri Mahatma Agamya Paramahamsa), and an organization called the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light.

In 1885, Kellner met the Theosophical and Rosicrucian scholar, Dr. Franz Hartmann[?] (1838 - 1912). He and Hartmann later collaborated on the development of the "ligno-sulphite" inhalation therapy for tuberculosis, which formed the basis of treatment at Hartmann's sanitarium near Saltzburg. During the course of his studies, Kellner believed that he had discovered a "Key" which offered a clear explanation of all the complex symbolism of Freemasonry, and, Kellner believed, opened the mysteries of Nature. Kellner developed a desire to form an Academia Masonica which would enable all Freemasons to become familiar with all existing Masonic degrees and systems.

After that, the rest is history. The Academia Masonica rapidly evolved into the Ordo Templi Orientis.

Theodor Reuss[?] soon succeeded the founder as head of the O.T.O.

O.T.O. and Aleister Crowley

In 1910 or 1911 Aleister Crowley entered the O.T.O. by admission of Theodor Reuss and in 1912 he was appointed head of the order in the English speaking countries.

Although famous because of all-time notorious occultist Aleister Crowley, and although Crowley's contributions built the templar of the Order, the Order has had many other leaders that have contributed to the Order.

According to a letter written by Theodor Reuss on October 25 1921 Crowley had been expelled from the order and forbidden to use its name.


A number of people regard the O.T.O. as evil, perhaps because of its link to sex magick. (According to non-hostile Crowley biographer Lawrence Sutin, the order's VIII degree related to solitary sex magick and the IX degree to sex between a man and a woman. Crowley, Sutin says, added a homosexual XI degree.) Many OTO-hostile webpages contain false or dubious information, such as the claim that Aleister Crowley founded the Order and that he literally sacrificed children.

Some (Robert Anton Wilson, for example,) criticize the O.T.O. for its continued attempts at secrecy. (One Order-related website says that the secret is even easier to misinterpret than it is to profane.) Wilson says, in effect, that secrecy made sense when Western nations had laws against openness and clarity but that it now serves no useful purpose. One can find information about the sex-related O.T.O. degrees in books such as Sutin's and on sex-magick webpages.

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