System of the O.T.O.
from Magick Without Tears
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
YOU INFORM ME that the Earnest Inquirer of your ambit has
been asking you to explain the difference between the A.'.A.'.
and the O.T.O.; and that although your own mind is perfectly
clear about it, you find it impossible to induce a similar lucidity
in his. You would add that he is not (as one might at first suppose)
a moron. And will I please do what I can about it?
Well, here's the essential difference ab ovo usque ad mala
the A.'.A.'. concerns the individual, his development, his initiation,
his passage from "Student" to "Ipsissimus";
he has no contact of any kind with any other person except the
Neophyte who introduces him, and any Student or Students whom
he may, after becoming a Neophyte, introduce.
The details of this "Pilgrim's Progress" are very
fully set forth in One Star in Sight; and I should indeed be
stupid and presumptuous to try to do better than that. But it
is true that with regard to the O.T.O. there is no similar manual
of instruction. In the Manifesto, and other Official Pronunciamenti,
there are, it is true, what ought to be adequate data; but I
quite understand they are not as ordered and classified as one
would wish; there is certainly room for a simple elementary account
of the origins of the Order, of its principles, of its methods,
of its design, of the Virtue of its successive Grades. This I
will now try to supply, at least in a brief outline.
Let us begin at the beginning. What is a Dramatic Ritual?
It is a celebration of the Adventures of the God whom it is intended
to invoke. (The Bacchae of Euripides is a perfect example of
this.) Now, in the O.T.O., the object of the ceremonies being
the Initiation of the Candidate, it is he whose Path in Eternity
is displayed in dramatic form.
What is the Path?
1. The Ego is attracted to the Solar System.
2. The Child experiences Birth.
3. The Man experiences Life.
4. He experiences Death.
5. He experiences the World beyond Death.
6. This entire cycle of Point-Events is withdrawn into Annihilation.
In the O.T.O. these successive stages are represented as
(Perfection, or Exaltation)
Of these Events or Stations upon the Path all but three (IIº)
are single critical experiences. We, however, are concerned mostly
with the very varied experiences of Life.
All subsequent Degrees of the O.T.O. are accordingly elaborations
of the IIº, 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 Rituals Vº-n-IXº are then
instructions to the Candidate how he should conduct himself;
and they confer upon him, gradually, the Magical Secrets which
make him Master of Life.
To return for a moment to that question of Secrecy: there
is no rule to prevent you from quoting against me such of my
brighter remarks as "Mystery is the enemy of Truth";
but, for one thing, I am, and always have been, the leader of
the Extreme Left in the Council- Chamber of the City of the Pyramids,
so that if I acquiesce at all in the system of the O.T.O. so
far as the "secret of secrets" of the IXº is concerned,
it is really on a point of personal honour. My pledge given to
the late Frater Superior and O.H.O., Dr. Theodor Reuss. For all
that, in this particular instance it is beyond question a point
of common prudence, both because the abuse of the Secret is,
at least on the surface, so easy and so tempting, and because,
if it became a matter of general knowledge the Order itself might
be in danger of calumny and persecution; for the secret is even
easier to misinterpret than to profane.
Lege! Judica! Tace!
Love is the law, love under will.
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Last updated by Frater Omne Sum,
on 04/22/02 e.v.
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