Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
The aims of the O.T.O. can only be understood fully by its highest initiates; but it may be said openly that it teaches Hermetic Science or Occult Knowledge, the Pure and Holy Magick of Light, the Secrets of Mystic attainment, Yoga of all forms, Gnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakta Yoga and Hatha Yoga, and all other branches of the secret Wisdom of the Ancients.
— Liber LII: Manifesto of the O.T.O.
Ordo Templi Orientis (O.T.O.), the Order of Temple of the East, or the Order of Oriental Templars, is an international body of men and women.
O.T.O. is dedicated to securing the Liberty of the Individual, and his or her advancement in Light, Life, and Love. These principles are taught through a graded series of Degrees, or Initiations, and understood through practical engagement with these Mysteries in the initiate’s own life. A full scheme of the Degree system of the Order is available on the Grand Lodge’s website.
O.T.O. was formulated in Germany by Theodor Reuss (1855 – 1923) and Karl Kellner (1851 – 1905) in 1902 and constituted in 1906. The English occultist, mystic, poet and philosopher Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947) led the British section of the O.T.O. from 1912. He assumed world leadership of the Order in 1921, a position he held for life. Today, the O.T.O. continues to develop in accordance with Crowley’s vision, constitutional design and intimations, rituals, and initiated teachings. It also serves as the Aleister Crowley literary estate. More about O.T.O. history can be found here.
In accordance with Crowley’s role as Prophet of the Aeon, the O.T.O. accepted Liber AL vel Legis (The Book of the Law) – a spiritual revelation received by Aleister Crowley in 1904 – and its Law of Thelema, with its message of a revolution in human thought, society and culture based upon a single, supreme, injunction: Do what thou wilt. This marked a transition in the O.T.O. away from its fringe-masonry origins and milieu, to a ‘Magical’ and ‘Thelemic’ Order.
The O.T.O. is in sympathy with the traditional ideals of Freemasonry. It upholds the age-old dream and belief in the ‘Brotherhood of Man’, and synthesises the teachings of the Eastern and Western mystery schools as a means to apprehend and inculcate this. In its highest degrees, the O.T.O. teaches its own unique system of theurgy and thaumaturgy.
As an Outer Thelemic Order, the O.T.O. is involved in the social experiment of exploring new ways of living and loving as Thelemites in the world. True to its synthetic and syncretic background, the Order preserves the essentially conservative structures and processes of its inherited culture, while serving as a repository of, and vanguard for, the unchartered grounds of Thelemic culture, community and possibility.
Love is the law, love under will.