FRATER SUPERIOR MERLIN X
of Oriental Templars
Ordo Templi Orientis
With an Introduction
and a Synopsis of the Degrees
of the O.T.O.
Albert Karl Theodor Reuss (18551923), who as Frater Superior Merlin X served
as the second Outer Head of the modern O.T.O., first promulgated the
Constitution of the Order in 1906 E.V.. The following revised version was
issued in 1917 E.V.references to the British section of the O.T.O. (M.M.M.)
and its journal The Equinox show that it was in effect during Crowley's
tenure as X for English-speaking countries. Many innovations introduced by
Crowley and subsequently adopted by Reuss during the years 19181919 E.V. may
be found in the Intimation With Reference to the Constitution of the Order,
reprinted herein. First published in The Equinox III(1) in 1919 E.V., the
Intimation greatly amplifies the Constitution, and they should be studied
together for a proper comprehension of each. The ``Introduction'' to the
Constitution is a paraphrase of Bro. Franz Hartmann's First Instruction,
published elsewhere in this issue. The original ``Synopsis of Degrees'' is
not reproduced here since it diagrams the degree system prior to Reuss'
implementation of Crowley's revisions of the degree systemtraces remain in
the Constitution's references to ``probationers'' instead of ``Minervals,''
for example. In place of the original ``Synopsis'' we have supplied Crowley's
own, revised to reflect the dues and fees in effect at this writing. The
original ``Synopsis'' will be published in a future issue of The Oriflamme
in the context of an historical study of the evolution of the system of
O.T.O. Otherwise, the original document has been republished here verbatim.
The Constitution's siting of headquarters in Switzerland is another vestige
of the Reuss eraheadquarters frequently moved during Crowley's life, and has
since alternated between New York and California. The Constitution is
presently being reconciled with Crowley's Intimation and other modernizations
since it is being formally implemented. Its publication here is intended to
aid this process.H.B.
To all whom it may concern
Let it be known that there exists, unknown to the great crowd, a very ancient
Order of sages, whose object is the amelioration and spiritual elevation of
mankind by means of conquering error and aiding men and women in their
efforts of attaining the power of recognising the truth. This Order has
existed already in the most remote times, and it has manifested its activity
secretly and openly in the world under different names and in various forms;
it has caused social and political revolutions and proved to be the rock of
salvation in times of danger and misfortune. It has always upheld the banner
of freedom against tyranny in whatever shape this has appeared, whether as
clerical or political or social despotism, or oppression of any kind.
To this ``secret order'' every wise and spiritually enlightened person
belongs by right of his or her nature; because they all, even if they are
personally unknown to each other, are one in their purpose and object, and
they all work under the guidance of the one light of truth. Into this Sacred
Society no one can be admitted by another, unless he has the power to enter
it himself by virtue of his own interior illumination, neither can any one,
after he has once entered, be expelled, unless he should expel himself by
becoming unfaithful to his principles, and forget again the truths which he
has learned by his own experience.
All this is known to every enlightened person.
But it is known only to a few that there exists also an external visible
organization of such men and women, who having themselves found the path to
real self-knowledge, and who, having travelled the burning sands, are willing
to give the benefit of their experience, and to act as spiritual guides to
those who are willing to be guided.
While numberless societies, associations, orders, groups etc. have been
founded during the last thirty years in all parts of the civilised world, all
following some line of occult study, yet there is but ONE ancient
organization of genuine Mystics which shows the seeker after truth a Royal
Road to discover The Lost Mysteries of Antiquity, and to the Unveiling of the
One Hermetic Truth.
This organization is known at the present time as the: Ancient Order of
Oriental Templars. Ordo Templi Orientis. Otherwise: The Hermetic Brotherhood
It is a Modern School of Magic. And, like the ancient schools of magic, it
derived its knowledge from the East. This Knowledge was never revealed to the
profane, for it gave immense power for either good or evil to its possessors.
It was recorded in symbol, parable and allegory, requiring a Key for its
For the symbols and glyphs of Freemasonry were originally also derivedd from
more ancient mysteries.
These symbols of ancient Masonry, of the Rosicrucians, the sacred art of the
ancient Chemi (Egyptians), of Homer's Golden Chain, like those of modern
Freemasonry etc. are however but different aspects of the One Great Mystery.
They all require a key to disclose the real underlying meaning. There exists
however but One Right Key, and moreover this one right key must be used the
This key can be placed within the reach of all those who are prepared
unselfishly to study and work for its possession, if they apply for
membership to the Order of Oriental Templars (O.T.O.)
The O.T.O. (Ordo Templi Orientis) is a body of Initiates in whose hands are
concentrated the secret knowledge of all Oriental Orders and of all existing
Masonic Degrees. Its Chiefs are Initiates of the highest rank and are
recognised as such by all capable of such recognition in every country in the
world. Every man or woman who becomes a member of the O.T.O. has an
indefeasible right to the first three degrees of Masonry.
The O.T.O., although an Academia Masonica, is not a Masonic Body, so far as
the Craft degrees are concerned in the sense in which that expression is
usually understood in England, and therefore in no way conflicts or infringes
the just privileges of the United Lodge of England. English Master Masons in
good standing, by arrangement, on affiliation, are admitted at reduced
charges. Members of the IX degree become part-proprietors of the Estates and
Goods of the Order. For further information see the publications of the
O.T.O., and the synopsis of the degrees of the O.T.O.
ANCIENT ORDER OF ORIENTAL TEMPLARS
Under the style and title: ANCIENT ORDER OF ORIENTAL TEMPLARS, an
organization, formerly known as: ``The Hermetic Brotherhood of Light'', has
been reorganized and reconstituted. This reconstituted association is an
international organization, and is hereinafter referred to as the O.T.O.
1.The O.T.O. declares that Brotherhood of All Things Created is a fact in
2.The principle purpose of the O.T.O. is to teach True Brotherhood, and to
make it a living power in the life of humanity.
3.The subsidiary aims of the O.T.O. are:
(a)to spread the doctrines of Hermetic Science, and to initiate its members
in the Secret Doctrines of Hermetic Science, for which purpose its members
are as a preparatory measure initiated, passed and raised in Masonry:
(b)to establish and administer schools, lodges, etc. where Hermetic Science
(c)to build, establish, found, manage and administer Homes, Colonies,
Settlements, etc. where initiated members may live according to the tenets
of the O.T.O.
1.The O.T.O. is part of that great and universal hermetic movement which has
been active in all ages.
2.Organizations throughout the world adopting this Constitution become
integral parts of the O.T.O. upon receipt of official notification of their
acceptance as such. All such joining organizations to be subject to whatever
conditions the authorities of the O.T.O. may impose.
3.The Central Office of the O.T.O. is at present in Switzerland, but may be
removed to any country.
1.There shall be One Supreme Office in which shall be vested paramount
authority regarding all matters which concern the welfare and administration
of the O.T.O.
2.The title of the person filling this office shall be ``Frater Superior and
Outer Head of the Order'', hereinafter referred to as the O.H.O.
3.The person (male or female) filling this office shall serve for life, or
until his or her resignation.
4.The person filling this office shall appoint his or her successor.
1.The Frater Superior and Outer Head of the Order (O.H.O.) shall be the Sole
Executive Officer of the Order O.T.O.
2.The Frater Superior and Outer Head of the Order (O.H.O.) shall have the
Sole power of filling all general offices by appointing persons to occupy the
same, and shall have the power of removing any general officer at will.
3.The Frater Superior and Outer Head of the Order (O.H.O.) shall have power
to declare the policy of the O.T.O., and to direct and manage the affairs of
4.The Frater Superior and Outer Head of the Order (O.H.O.) shall have the
right to cancel or suspend the Charter of any subordinate organization
(lodge, chapter, senate, temple, home, school, etc.) and shall also have the
right to suspend or dissolve the membership of any person whenever such
action is, in his or her opinion, for the interest of the O.T.O.
1.There shall be an Advisory Council (Cabinet) consisting of twelve members,
inclusive of the O.H.O., who is the ex-officio Chairman of the Cabinet.
2.The duties of the Members of the Cabinet shall be to aid the O.H.O. in
promulgating and establishing the measures emanating from that office.
3.The Chairman of the Cabinet together with two members thereof shall
constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
1.There shall be an Executive Committee of Three (Supreme Council), whose
duty shall be to administer the affairs of the O.T.O. under the general
supervision of the O.H.O.
2.The Treasurer General, the Secretary General, and the O.H.O. are the three
ex-officio members of the Supreme Council and the Executive Committee.
3.All official acts of the Executive Committee (Supreme Council) are void and
of no effect when disapproved by the O.H.O.
1. Should any vacancy occur in the office of the O.H.O., the Cabinet shall
have power to perform the duties of that office until the successor to that
office takes possession of the same.
1.The O.H.O. shall be the Custodian of the Archives and Library of the O.T.O.
2.The O.H.O. may appoint agents for any purpose and endow them with whatever
powers he or she may elect to delegate under his or her hand and seal.
1.There shall be a Finance Committee of Three, whose duty shall be to raise
money and direct the disbursement of same. The Treasurer General is the
ex-officio Chairman of this Committee.
2.The official acts of this Finance Committee are subject to the approval of
the O.H.O. and are void and of no effect when disapproved by the O.H.O.
3.Every member is expected to contribute to the funds of the O.T.O. according
to his or her means, but the following Dues or Fees, to be paid in advance
by the members of the O.T.O. are fixed as minimum contributions (as per
Manifesto M.M.M. 1912).
Entrance fee. Eight guineas, forty dollars, or 200 francs.
(a)Probationers: 2 sh.; 50 cents; 2 francs a month.
(b)Students 5 sh.; 1 dollars; or 6 francs a month.
(c)Initiates; 10 sh.; 2 dollars or 12 francs a month.
The O.H.O. has power to reduce these fees and dues in special cases.
For diplomas are charged
(a)Students class; 50 sh; 15 dollars; or 65 francs.
(b)Initiates Class: Five guineas; 30 dollars; or 130 francs each.
Charters for Lodges of more than 10 members cost 25 guineas each Charter or
100 dollars or 650 francs.
No money paid into the Treasury of the O.T.O. can be reclaimed by either
individual members or lodges etc. under any pretext whatsoever.
1.Any person of full age (male or female) who has signed the preliminary
pledge form, and has been approved by the O.H.O. may become a member of the
2.Every application for admission must be sent in writing to the Central
Office, whether the office be in Switzerland or elsewhere, or to one of the
authorized local organizations.
3.The members of the O.T.O. are classified as:
(a)Probationers (embracing Theosophists etc.)
(b)Students or Lay Brothers (Masonic Members)
(c)Initiates or O.T.O. members proper.
For further particulars see synopsis of degrees of the O.T.O.
4.Applications for diplomas and charters must be accompanied by a remittance
covering the statutory fees and dues. All diplomas and charters must be
issued under the hand and seal of the O.H.O.
5.Three or more members may apply for a Charter to form a subordinate lodge
6.No person may be a member of two lodges at the same time.
1.Every subordinate lodge or organization shall have the right to conduct its
own affairs according to its own wishes and bye-laws, provided that its acts
and bye-laws are not contrary to the letter or the spirit of this
2.The Bye-Laws of subordinate organizations, lodges etc. must be submitted
for approval to the O.H.O., and are null and void if disapproved by the
1.A Congress of the O.T.O. may be called by the O.H.O. to assemble at such
place and time as that officer may designate.
2.Each subordinate organization, lodge, etc. shall be entitled to ONE vote
in the Congress for its first three members, and one additional vote for each
succeeding two members.
3.The O.H.O. shall have power to prevent the discussion of, or action on, any
subject which in the judgement of that officer is against the welfare of the
1.It shall be the duty of the Cabinet to provide Bye-Laws for the O.T.O., and
its subordinate organizations.
2.No Bye-Laws shall become operative until approved by the O.H.O.
1.There shall be a Literary and Masonic Association connected with the O.T.O.
to be known as: The Esoteric Rosicrucians. All its official publications
shall be issued with the hermetic cypher: I.N.R.I.
There are at present two official organs:
The Oriflamme and The Equinox.
2.There shall be a department of the O.T.O. for the purpose of teaching
Hermetic Science, to be known as the ``Hermetic Science College.''
3.There shall be a department of the O.T.O. for the purpose of doing
practical humanitarian work in specially appointed profess-houses to be known
as the ``Homes of the O.T.O.''
1.There exist 4 different seals which are used by the O.T.O. The respective
symbolic meanings of these various seals will be made known to the members
in the course of their studies. One of these seals is for the general use of
the O.T.O.; and one, to be used exclusively by the O.H.O., is called the
Secret Seal (S.S.).
1.The Constitution may be amended by a three-fourth vote of a Congress. But
no amendment shall take effect and become law until approved by the O.H.O.
In cases of emergency the O.H.O. has supreme power to amend this Constitution
by ``Edict'' under his hand and seal, which is to be recorded in the Golden
Book of the O.T.O.
Initiates of at least ten years good standing may apply for a six months'
free residence in one of the established Homes. Applications will be dealt
with by rotation. The final decision for granting a free residence to any
applicant rests with the O.H.O.
This Constitution was first proclaimed, published and issued under the hand
and seal of the O.H.O. in London (England) on January 22nd, A.D. 1906, Anno
Ordinis 788, Anno V.L. 0,000,000,000.
This revised edition of the Constitution has been approved by me, and is now
issued under my hand and seal this twenty second day of January A.D. 1917,
Anno Ordinis 799, on Monte Verita, in the Republic of Ticino (Switzerland).
Merlin, 33 96 X
Fra Superior and
Outer Head of the O.T.O.
Argosinus 33 95 IX
Parcevale 33 95 IX