The structure of the O.T.O., like that of Freemasonry, is based on a staged series of initiations or degrees. |
After Franz Hartmann's death in 1912, the O.T.O.'s structure was defined like this: the first three degrees were the equivalent of Craft Masonry; the IV° was a mutated version of the AASR; In the V° Hartmann's obscure 'Esoteric Rosicrucianism' was combined with the AASR's eleventh and eighteenth degrees; both the name and the lection for the VII° were taken from the fourth degree of the Fratres Lucis ('Knights of the True Light' or 'Order of the Asiatic Brethren', and therefore Reuss's and maybe Aleister Crowley's 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light') although the VII° seems to have been only a purely administrative degree; and then real O.T.O. membership started at the VIII°; the IX° corresponded to the Illuminati Order, and the X° was Reuss himself. The sex-magic only entered Order teachings at the IX°.
In 1914, one year after John Yarker's death, Aleister Crowley linked several of the AASR's and MM's degrees with some of the O.T.O. degrees. The 33° AASR, 90° Memphis, 95° Misraim and X° O.T.O. are purely administrative degrees.
After 1917 the O.T.O. was meant to be an umbrella Order or a collection of other Orders with the authority to grant charters, permissions and degrees from these other Orders. In 1917 Reuss changed the order structure again, redistributing the thirty-three degrees of the AASR among the first six O.T.O. degrees: so the VII° became identical with Craft Masonry, and again proper O.T.O. membership did not commence until the VIII°, which was now dubbed the 'Esoteric Rosicrucian' degree. Again, sex-magic was only imparted in the IX° [see chart below].
The essence / secrets of the Ordo Templi Orientis-variations are in their higher degrees; strictly speaking only members of these degrees are considered to be members of the O.T.O. proper.
Deutsch: Read about the "Asiatischen Brüder vom Rosenkreuz", the "mächtigen und weisen Orden der Ritter und Brüder des Lichts" - the source of Theodor Reuss' "Brotherhood of Light" which was in fact the "Brothers of Light". English: Theodor Reuss and the Brothers of Light in the Seven Churches of Asia. The origins of his Brotherhood of Light.