Interested in Initiation?
Be sure to check our calendar, weekly bulletin, or our monthly newsletter to see any upcoming Initiation dates. If you are interested on being Initiated please contact a Lodge Officer or one of our Ordained Clergy and they will be happy to help you find a date that works.
The following information is from the website of The Thelemic Order. Please visit TTO’s website for more information on the TTO membership in general.
What are Thelemic Initiations?
In every century there are new initiations. Over time, what was once mysterious becomes dated and humdrum, and initiations that once opened eyes repeat truths that are broadly communicated in the media. At the same time, new challenges face us, and we look to initiations to tie our approach to those challenges to humankind’s most ancient spiritual roots.
Beginning in 2020, the Initiatory Branch will present a new series of Thelemic Initiations which will summarize over two hundred years of initiatory material in a set of original and never-before-seen rituals.
In regards to their value it is our intent to let success be our proof, however we are fully confident that the new Thelemic Initiations incorporate the central spirit, secrets, and ideals, though not the exact presentation or details of Craft Degree Masonry, The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor, Memphis and Mizraim, The Royal Arch, Rosicrucianism, the Golden Dawn, and various subsequent initiations in a powerful set of rituals relevant to the modern era.
Are These Based on the O.T.O., Golden Dawn, Masonic, or Wiccan Initiations?
No. The Thelemic Initiations do not use any material currently under copyright by any organization. They are not intended as duplicates or substitutes for any other specific system of initiation.
They do extract from public domain materials and the rich syncretic tradition of Western Esotericism, drawing on materials as diverse as Mithraism, Orphic Tradition, and dozens of other 17th – 20th century systems.
Because most of the existing initiations that are still practiced in Western Tradition share common roots, they will, of course, contain broadly recognizable elements.
Can I see the Oaths in Advance?
TTO does not include extravagant oaths in its core rituals. Initiates are asked to swear on their personal honor.
We are particularly sensitive to the tendency in some 19th and 20th century initiatory groups to blur magical oaths and fraternal oaths without adequate distinction, which creates confusion and may induce a false sense of ‘bound obligation’ in perpetuity which is not appropriate to a fraternal oath.
The specifics of any actual oath may be made available in advance as part of the consent negotiation process which is managed by the Initiator.
How Can I Consent if I Do Not Know What is Going to Happen?
There are numerous situations in which people consent to a general type of activity without knowing what, precisely, is going to happen. Consent negotiations do not need to be a buzzkill in regards to anticipation. Initiators are trained, specifically, on how to handle the negotiations for the Degrees to which they initiate.
It is not incumbent on the Initiator to tell you precisely what is going to happen. Some mystery and uncertainty is the heart of initiation. The initiator must characterize any issues in a way that allow you to make informed decisions for your physical and emotional safety. The goal of consent is to focus anticipation and tension on the actual focus of the mystery at hand, rather than the concern that some irrelevant trigger may be activated.
Negotiations serve not only to insure consent, but also to alert the Initiator to any safety issues that might represent an unforeseen danger, e.g. bad knee, gluten intolerance, etc.
Consent is a two-way street. Any individual initiator, based on negotiation, may feel uncomfortable initiating you. A person who is uncomfortable with, or triggered by, many aspects of a given initiation may be a poor candidate for initiation. That said, initiators are trained to work diligently to accommodate psychological and physical limits.
Can You Make Accommodations for Psychological or Physical Limits?
Part of initiator training is how to learn about any limitations while respecting the privacy of the initiation candidate, and make any possible accommodations. We are committed to accommodation for physical disabilities, however we may not be able to accommodate every disability at every location. Initiators will work with candidates and with the Cancellarius of the Initiatory Arm to find a suitable location to support individuals with disabilities.
In general we are able to accommodate most personal limits in regards to emotional or psychological issues. In these cases the accommodation or remediation is a matter of negotiation between the initiate and the initiator, who must both be satisfied with the proposed accommodation.
Why do you allow accommodations? Shouldn’t everyone just have to “tough it out.”
As an example, someone who has been attacked and bound in the past may be triggered by being bound by rope. The act of ceremonially binding their wrists, or blindfolding, common in many Masonic and post-Masonic traditions and intended as a fairly trivial element which most people would not react strongly to may invoke PTSD flashbacks completely unrelated to the point of the initiation. These flashbulb memories and resulting flood of cortisol and other stress hormones may be entirely disproportionate to the intent of the initiation and render it valueless with the initiate barely able to focus or appreciate the remainder of the content. This is not desirable, complicates the job of the initiator and subverts the intent of initiation. What was intended as a sublime transformative experience becomes an unrelated ordeal.
While we support ordeal-based initiation, we believe it should be voluntary and consensual with the ordeals intentional and focused not a matter of random happenstance.
It is also worth noting that the frequency of PTSD inducing experiences, particularly military service and sexual abuse are not uniformly distributed through society, nor is access to mental health treatment which might ameliorate some non-PTSD stress or phobic issues. Some groups have a much greater chance of exposure to these experiences than others. Thus “screening out,” individuals who are likely to have negative experiences during initiation can represent a discreet and invisible form of gender, ethnic, and class based discrimination. In order to insure that these transformative experiences of the Law of Thelema are available for all, we attempt to make accommodation to the greatest extent possible.