As currently constituted, the EGC and MMM are two institutional vehicles of OTO that serve it in its larger social mission to promulgate the Law of Thelema. In both, the methods used to promulgate the Law are Initiation and Congregation. In EGC, Initiation (there known as Baptism, Confirmation, Ordination, and episcopal Consecration) is subordinate to Congregation. In MMM, Congregation (there known as "fraternity" as present in Camps, Oases, and bodies of the higher grades) is subordinate to Initiation. But both methods are inextricably intertwixt and support one another, just as MMM and EGC are and do.
EGC internal authority per se culminates with the Episcopate, and MMM internal authority does likewise with the degree of Sovereign Grand Inspector General. Higher offices for each organization are merely authority over MMM (e.g. Grand Master, Frater Superior) and EGC (as Primate, Patriarch), vested in particular members of FLH (as Supreme and Holy King, OHO).
The table below anatomizes several sets of correspondences between the Ordo Templi Orientis initiatory Degrees and the various categories of lay and clerical membership in the Gnostic Catholic Church. The tabulator was a Deacon of EGC who had completed the Man of Earth Degree series of OTO, and the contents of the table were based on an honest reading of the current (A.L. IV v) EGC regulations, OTO Constitutions and bylaws, and organizational policies. Honest errors are possible, particularly in the "Functional Parallel" column for Degrees beyond CPI.
|OTO Degree||Regularized EGC Qualification||Functional Parallel in EGC||Symbolic Parallel in EGC|
Regularized EGC Qualification
The first column of correspondences is set by policy, and reflects organizational engineering designed to maintain the vitality and appeal of the Church, while subjecting it to the management standards and organizational aims of the Order. Symbolic considerations also enter here, but only to the extent that the symbolic content of the Degrees may be considered prerequisite training for clerical responsibility.
The Catechumenate and Lay Membership are open to non-initiates, in order to prevent arbitrary limitation of the general membership of the Church. The ceremonies of baptism and confirmation are public, in keeping with the organizational tenor of EGC, and they require no instruction under seal to appreciate.
The Diaconate is open to First Degree initiates of OTO in developing areas, but ideally the Diaconal ordinand is a Consecrated Magician, because of the extra instruction afforded by the Second Degree. In any case, the First Degree ensures that the Deacon is a full member of the Order, sworn to observe its basic principles and regulations.
The Priesthood is open to Knights of the East and West, because pledges of that Degree are required to devote their lives to the promulgation of the Law of Thelema. Thus they take on the vocational responsibility appropriate to the Priesthood. Also, this is the first OTO Degree which is offered only by invitation, and thus there is no question of entitlement to sacerdotal office.
Episcopal authority is attached to the Theoreticus sub-degree of the Seventh Degree OTO. The three segments of the Seventh Degree mark the confluence of the three organizing manifestations of OTO: a) Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica, b) Mysteria Mystica Maxima, and c) Fraternitas Lux Hermeticae. The full initiate of the Degree is then eligible for authority to confer initiations through the KRE Degree, and to ordain to the Diaconate and Priesthood, both functions to be administered in the proximate orbit of the Supreme Grand Council.
The Primacy and Grand Mastership are merely two different expressions of organizing authority at the national level, and the same holds true for the Patriarchate and Outer Headship of the Order for the global context.
The only canonizations of saints in EGC since the death of Aleister Crowley have been those of the subsequent Past Fratres Superiors.
Functional Parallel in EGC
The second column of correspondences indicates the ways in which the various forms of Church membership reflect the organizational functions of the initiates of various Degrees within MMM/FLH.
The Catechumenate corresponds to Minerval initiation, in that the Catechumen and the Minerval are both formally welcomed into the community, but are not charged with any added social responsibility. Both forms of membership are considered preliminary or exploratory phases of the relationship between the individual and the organization.
Likewise, confirmation to lay membership in the Church is analogous to the magical link to the Order provided by First Degree initiation. And just as the confirmed member is eligible to sponsor baptismal candidates and confirmands, the First Degree initiate is elibible to sponsor initiatory candidates.
Priesthood corresponds to the Degree of Master Magician, because of the shared function of occasional presidency. Just as Priests and Priestesses receive the authority to baptise new Catechumens and preside over the Mass, the Master Magician is eligible for the authority to initiate in the Oasis Degrees and preside over the Oasis initiations.
The Knight of the Red Eagle is eligible for the chair of the Lodge, and thus has authority corresponding to the local presidency of the Bishop. The Electoral College of the Senate may be considered to be Episcopal by analogy because of its super-occasional authority, i.e. power to recommend the assignment or revocation of charters to body masters and Oasis initiators.
The national and global presidencies of the the Primate and Patriarch remain consistent under these standards.
Symbolic Parallel in EGC
The third column of correspondences lists one understanding of how Church rites and initiatory Degrees analogously address certain basic Mysteries through shared symbolism.
The First Degree of OTO and Baptism in EGC are both ceremonies which symbolize birth.
The Second Degree of OTO and Confirmation in EGC are both ceremonies which symbolize adulthood, the confrontation of reality, and the assumption of responsibility.
The Third Degree of OTO corresponds to the notion of "the communion of saints," understood as either the commingled awareness of the deceased, or as the shared bonds of those who have died to their profane attachments.