Ordo Templi Orientis
An Open Letter to
Those Who May Wish
to Join the Order
Enumerating the Duties
These Regulations Come into Force in Any District Where the Membership of the Order Exceeds One Thousand Souls.
These regulations first appeared in The Equinox III(1) (Detroit: Universal, 1919) and constitute our best and most comprehensive guidelines for Thelemic social intercourse. Certain provisions will need to be modified to take advantage of the U.S.A.’s comparatively enlightened tax-exemption statutes as applied to religious organizations— a few are of dubious legality at this writing. Most of the principles outlined herein have long been observed in the U.S. O.T.O. —H.B.
Sabazius X° has issued a memorandum discussing the modern OTO position on Liber CI.
Issued by Order:
BAPHOMET XI° O.T.O., HIBERNIÆ IONÆ ET OMNIUM
BRITANNIARUM, REX SUMMUS SANCTISSIMUS
AN EPISTLE OF BAPHOMET to Sir GEORGE MACNIE COWIE, Very Illustrious and Very Illuminated, Pontiff and Epopt of the Areopagus of the VIII Degree O.T.O. Grand Treasurer General, Keeper of the Golden Book, President of the Committee of Publications of the O.T.O.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
IT HAS BEEN REPRESENTED TO Us that some persons who are worthy to join the O.T.O. consider the fees and subscriptions rather high. This is due to your failure to explain properly the great advantages offered by the Order. We desire you therefore presently to note, and to cause to be circulated throughout the Order, and among those of the profane who may seem worthy to join it, these matters following concerning the duties and the privileges of members of the earlier degrees of the O.T.O. as regards material affairs. And for convenience we shall classify these as pertaining to the Twelve Houses of the Heaven, but also by numbered clauses for the sake of such as understand not the so-called Science of the Stars. First, therefore, concerning the duties of the Brethren. Yet with our Order every duty is also a privilege, so that it is impossible wholly to separate them.
OF THE DUTIES OF THE BRETHREN
1. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt. Yet it is well for Brethren to study daily in the Volume of the Sacred Law, Liber Legis, for therein is much counsel concerning this, how best they may carry out this will.
2. The private purse of every Brother should always be at the disposal of any Brother who may be in need. But in such a case it is a great mischief if the one ask, and the other consent; for if the former be really in need, his pride is wounded by his asking; and if not, the door is opened to beggars and imposters, and all manner of arrant knaves and rogues such as are no true Brethren. But the Brother who is possessed of this world’s goods should make it his business to watch the necessity of all those Brethren with whom he may be personally acquainted, anticipating their wants in so wise and kindly and delicate a manner that it shall appear as if it were the payment of a debt. And what help is given shall be given with discretion, so that the relief may be permanent rather than temporary.
3. All Brethren shall be exceedingly punctual in the payment of Lodge Dues. This is to take precedence of all other calls upon the purse.
4. The Brethren shall be diligent in preaching the Law of Thelema. In all writings they shall be careful to use the prescribed greetings; likewise in speech, even with strangers.
5. They shall respond heartily to every summons of the Lodge or Chapter to which they may belong, not lightly making excuse.
6. Brethren should use every opportunity of assisting each other in their tastes, businesses, or professions, whether by direct dealing with Brethren in preference to others, or by speaking well of them, or as may suggest itself. It seems desirable, when possible, that where two or more Brethren of the same Lodge are engaged in the same work, they should seek to amalgamate the same by entering into partnership. Thus in time great and powerful corporations may arise from small individual enterprises.
7. They shall be diligent in circulating all tracts, manifestos, and all other communications which the Order may from time to time give out for the instruction or emancipation of the profane.
8. They may offer suitable books and pictures to the Libraries of the Profess-Houses of the Order.
9. Every Brother who may possess mines, land, or houses more than he can himself constantly occupy, should donate part of such mines or land, or one or more of such houses to the Order.
10. Property thus given will be administered if he desire it in his own interest, thus effecting a saving, since large estates are more economically handled than small. But the Order will use such property as may happen to lie idle for the moment in such ways as it may seem good, lending an unlet house (for example) to some Brother who is in need, or allowing an unused hall to be occupied by a Lodge.
11. (Yet in view of the great objects of the Order, endowment is welcome.)
12. Every Brother shall show himself solicitous of the comfort and happiness of any Brother who may be old, attending not only to all material wants, but to his amusement, so that his declining years may be made joyful.
13. Every Brother shall seek constantly to give pleasure to all Brethren with whom he is acquainted, whether by entertainment or conversation, or in any other manner that may suggest itself. It will frequently and naturally arise that love itself springs up between members of the Order, for that they have so many and sacred interests in common. Such love is peculiarly holy, and is to be encouraged.
14. All children of Brethren are to be considered as children of the whole Order, and to be protected and aided in every way by its members severally, as by its organization collectively. No distinction is to be made with regard to the conditions surrounding the birth of any child.
15. There is an especially sacred duty, which every Brother should fulfil, with regard to all children, those born without the Order included. This duty is to instruct them in the Law of Thelema, to teach them independence and freedom of thought and character, and to warn them that servility and cowardice are the most deadly diseases of the human soul.
16. Personal or domestic attendants should be chosen from among the members of the Order when possible, and great tact and courtesy are to be employed in dealing with them.
17. They, on their part, will render willing and intelligent service.
18. While in Lodge, and on special occasions, they are to be treated as Brothers, with perfect equality; such behaviour is undesirable during the hours of service, and familiarity, subversive as it is of all discipline and order, is to be avoided by adopting a complete and marked change of manner and address.
19. This applies to all persons in subordinate positions, but not to the Brethren Servient in the Profess-Houses of the Order, who, giving service without recompense, are to be honoured as hosts.
20. In case of the sickness of any Brother, it is the duty of all Brethren who know him personally to attend him, to see that he want for nothing, and to report if necessary his needs to the Lodge, or to Grand Lodge itself.
21. Those Brethren who happen to be doctors or nurses will naturally give their skill and care with even more than their customary joy in service.
22. All Brethren are bound by their fealty to offer their service in their particular trade, business, or profession, to the Grand Lodge. For example, a stationer will supply Grand Lodge with paper, vellum, and the like; a bookseller offer any books to the Library of Grand Lodge which the Librarian may desire to possess; a lawyer will execute any legal business for Grand Lodge, and a railway or steamship owner or director see to it that the Great Officers travel in comfort wherever they may wish to go.
23. Visitors from other Lodges are to be accorded the treatment of ambassadors; this will apply most especially to Sovereign Grand Inspector Generals of the Order on their tours of inspection. All hospitality and courtesy shown to such is shown to Ourselves, not to them only.
24. It is desirable that the marriage partner of any Brother should also be a member of the Order. Neglect to insist upon this leads frequently to serious trouble for both parties, especially the uninitiate.
25. Lawsuits between members of the Order are absolutely forbidden, on pain of immediate expulsion and loss of all privileges, even of those accumulated by past good conduct referred to in the second part of this instruction.
26. All disputes between Brethren should be referred firstly to the Master or Masters of their Lodge or Lodges in conference; if a composition be not arrived at in this manner, the dispute is to be referred to the Grand Tribunal, which will arbitrate thereon, and its decision is to be accepted as final.
27. Refusal to apply for or accept such decision shall entail expulsion from the Order, and the other party is then at liberty to seek his redress in the Courts of Profane Justice.
28. Members of the Order are to regard those without its pale as possessing no rights of any kind, since they have not accepted the Law, and are therefore, as it were, troglodytes, survivals of a past civilisation, and to be treated accordingly. Kindness should be shown towards them, as towards any other animal, and every effort should be made to bring them into Freedom.
29. Any injury done by any person without the Order to any person within it may be brought before the Grand Tribunal, which will, if it deem right and fit, use all its power to redress or to avenge it.
30. In the case of any Brother being accused of an offence against the criminal law of the country in which he resides, so that any other Brother cognisant of the fact feels bound in self-defence to bring accusation, he shall report the matter to the Grand Tribunal as well as to the Civil Authority, claiming exemption on this ground.
31. The accused Brother will, however, be defended by the Order to the utmost of its power on his affirming his innocence upon the Volume of the Sacred Law in the Ordeal appointed ad hoc by the Grand Tribunal itself.
32. Public enemies of the country of any Brother shall be treated as such while in the field, and slain or captured as the officer of the Brother may command. But within the precincts of the Lodge all such divisions are to be forgotten absolutely; and as children of One Father the enemies of the hour before and the hour after are to dwell in peace, amity, and fraternity.
33. Every Brother is expected to bear witness in his last will and testament to the great benefit that he hath received from the Order by bestowing upon it part or the whole of his goods, as he may deem fit.
34. The death of a Brother is not to be an occasion of melancholy, but of rejoicing; the Brethren of his Lodge shall gather together and make a banquet with music and dancing and all manner of gladness. It is of the greatest importance that this shall be done, for thereby the inherited fear of death which is deep-seated as instinct in us will gradually be rooted out. It is a legacy from the dead aeon of Osiris, and it is our duty to kill it in ourselves that our children and our children’s children may be born free from the curse.
35. Every Brother is expected to spend a great part of his spare time in the study of the principles of the Law and of the Order, and in searching out the key to its great and manifold mysteries.
36. He should also do all in his power to spread the Law, especially taking long journeys, when possible, to remote places, there to sow the seed of the Law.
37. All pregnant women are especially sacred to members of the Order, and no effort should be spared to bring them to acceptance of the Law of Freedom, so that the unborn may benefit by that impression. They should be induced to become members of the Order, so that the child may be born under its aegis.
38. If the mother that is to be have asserted her will to be so in contempt and defiance of the Tabus of the slave-gods, she is to be regarded as especially suitable to our Order, and the Master of the Lodge in her district shall offer to become, as it were, godfather to the child, who shall be trained specially, if the mother so wishes, as a servant of the Order, in one of its Profess-Houses.
39. Special Profess-Houses for the care of women of the Order, or those whose husbands or lovers are members of the Order, will be instituted, so that the frontal duty of womankind may be carried out in all comfort and honour.
40. Every Brother is expected to use all his influence with persons in a superior station of life (so called) to induce them to join the Order. Royal personages, ministers of State, high officials in the Diplomatic, Naval, Military, and Civil Services are particularly to be sought after, for it is intended ultimately that the temporal power of the State be brought into the Law, and led into freedom and prosperity by the application of its principles.
41. Colleges of the Order will presently be established where the children of its members may be trained in all trades, businesses, and professions, and there they may study the liberal arts and humane letters, as well as our holy and arcane science. Brethren are expected to do all in their power to make possible the establishment of such Universities.
42. Every Brother is expected to do all in his power to induce his personal friends to accept the Law and join the Order. He should therefore endeavor to make new friends outside the Order, for the purpose of widening its scope.
43. The Brethren are bound to secrecy only with regard to the nature of the rituals of our Order, and to our words, signs, etc. The general principles of the Order may be fully explained, so far as they are understood below the VI°; as it is written, “The ordeals I write not: the rituals shall be half known and half concealed: the Law is for all.” It is to be observed that punctual performance of these duties, so that the report thereof is noised abroad and the fame of it cometh even unto the Throne of the Supreme and Holy King himself, will weigh heavily in the scale when it comes to be a question of the high advancement of a Brother in the Order.
OF THE PRIVILEGES OF THE BRETHREN
44. The first and greatest of all privileges of a Brother is to be a Brother; to have accepted the Law, to have become free and independent, to have destroyed all fear, whether of custom, or of faith, or of other men, or of death itself. In other papers the joy and glory of those who have accepted The Book of the Law as the sole rule of life is largely, though never fully, explained; and we will not here recapitulate the same.
45. All Brethren who may fall into indigence have a right to the direct assistance of the Order up to the full amount of fees and subscriptions paid by them up to the time of application. This will be regarded as a loan, but no interest will be charged upon it. That this privilege may not be abused, the Grand Tribunal will decide whether or no such application is made in good faith.
46. Members of the Order will be permitted to use the Library in any of our Profess-Houses.
47. Circulating Libraries will presently be established.
48. Brethren who may be travelling have a right to the hospitality of the Master of the Lodge of the district for a period of three days.
49. Brethren of all grades may be invited to sojourn in the ProfessHouses of the Order by Grand Lodge; and such invitation may confidently be expected as the reward of merit. There they will be able to make the personal acquaintance of members of the higher Grades, learn of the deeper workings of the Order, obtain the benefit of personal instruction, and in all ways fit themselves for advancement.
50. Brethren of advanced years and known merit who desire to follow the religious life may be asked to reside permanently in such houses.
51. In the higher degrees Brethren have the right to reside in our Profess-Houses for a portion of every year, as shown:
P.R.S. Six weeks.
S.G.C. Three months.
VI°. Two weeks.
VII°. Two months.
G.T. One month.
S.G.C. Three months.
P.R.S. Six weeks.
VIII°. Six months.
52. Members of the IX°, who share among themselves the whole property of the Order according to the rules of that degree, may, of course, reside there permanently. Indeed, the house of every Brother of this grade is, ipso facto, a Profess-House of the Order.
53. All Brethren may expect the warmest co-operation in their pleasures and amusements from other members of the Order. The perfect freedom and security afforded by the Law allows the characters of all Brethren to expand to the very limits of their nature, and the great joy and gladness with which they are constantly overflowing make them the best of companions. “They shall rejoice, our chosen; who sorroweth is not of us. Beauty and strength, leaping laughter and delicious languor, force and fire, are of us.”
54. Children of all Brethren are entitled to the care of the Order, and arrangements will be made to educate them in certain of the Profess-Houses of the Order.
55. Children of Brethren who are left orphans will be officially adopted by the Master of his Lodge, or if the latter decline, by the Supreme Holy King himself, and treated in all ways as if they were his own.
56. Brethren who have a right to some especial interest in any child whose mother is not a member of the Order may recommend it especially to the care of their lodges or of Grand Lodge.
57. In sickness all Brethren have the right to medical or surgical care and attendance from any Brethren of the Lodge who may be physicians, surgeons, or nurses.
58. In special necessity the Supreme Holy King will send his own attendants.
59. Where circumstances warrant it, in cases of lives of great value to the Order and the like, he may even permit the administration of that secret Medicine which is known to members of the IX°.
60. Members of the Order may expect Brethren to busy themselves in finding remunerative occupation for them, where they lack it, or, if possible, to employ them personally.
61. Members of the Order may expect to find suitable marriage partners in the extremely select body to which they belong. Community of interest and hope being already established, it is natural to suppose that where mutual attraction also exists, a marriage will result in perfect happiness. (There are special considerations in this matter which apply to the VII° and cannot be discussed in this place.)
62. As explained above, Brethren are entirely free of most legal burdens, since lawsuits are not permitted within the Order, and since they may call upon the legal advisers of the Order to defend them against their enemies in case of need.
63. All Brethren are entitled after death to the proper disposal of their remains according to the rites of the Order and their grade in it.
64. If the Brother so desire, the entire amount of the fees and subscriptions which he has paid during his life will be handed over by the Order to his heirs and legatees. The Order thus affords an absolute system of insurance in addition to its other benefits.
65. The Order teaches the only perfect and satisfactory system of philosophy, religion, and science, leading its members step by step to knowledge and power hardly even dreamed of by the profane.
66. Brethren of the Order who take long journeys overseas are received in places where they sojourn at the Profess-Houses of the Order for the period of one month.
67. Women of the Order who are about to become mothers receive all care, attention, and honour from all Brethren.
68. Special Profess-Houses will be established for their convenience, should they wish to take advantage of them.
69. The Order offers great social advantages to its members, bringing them as it does into constant association with men and women of high rank.
70. The Order offers extraordinary opportunities to its members in their trades, businesses, or professions, aiding them by co-operation, and securing them clients or customers.
71. The Order offers friendship to its members, bringing together men and women of similar character, taste, and aspiration.
72. The secrecy of the Order provides it members with an inviolable shroud of concealment.
73. The crime of slander, which causes so great a proportion of human misery, is rendered extremely dangerous, if not impossible, within the Order by a clause in the Obligation of the Third Degree.
74. The Order exercises its whole power to relieve its members of any constraint to which they may be subjected, attacking with vigour any person or persons who may endeavour to subject them to compulsion, and in all other ways aiding in the complete emancipation of the Brethren from aught that may seek to restrain them from doing That Which They Will.
It is to be observed that these privileges being so vast, it is incumbent upon the honour of every Brother not to abuse them, and the sponsors of any Brother who does so, as well as he himself, will be held strictly to account by the Grand Tribunal. The utmost frankness and good faith between Brethren is essential to the easy and harmonious working of our system, and the Executive Power will see to it that these are encouraged by all means possible, and that breach of them is swiftly and silently suppressed.
Love is the law, love under will.
Our fatherly benediction, and the Blessing of the All-Father in the Outer and the Inner be upon you.
BAPHOMET X° O.T.O., IRELAND, IONA, AND ALL THE BRITAINS