Ordo Templi Orientis is a fraternity. This word means much more than a group of people belonging to the same organizationâ€”it implies a deeper and more meaningful connection. In our case, it refers to members who have mutual obligations and have undergone shared ordeals designed to initiate us into the Mysteries. Such initiation makes us more than fellow members; it makes us brothers and sisters, with a bond thatâ€”beginning at First Degreeâ€”lasts a lifetime. As such, there are fundamental principles involved in being a sibling of O.T.O., which cut across all ideologies, all spiritual practices, and all degrees. These principles are applicable for each and every one of us, without exception, and embodying them is what defines an honorable initiate within our Fraternity.
The Principles of Fraternity are five: Honor, Beneficence, Harmony, Tolerance, and Nobility.
To be Honorable means many things, all of which are vital to fraternity. Fidelity to one's obligations, siblings, and the Order is certainly a central ethic of O.T.O., which also implies loyalty, meaning that the initiate will act in good faith with his brothers and sisters. Moreover, he will be willing to defend and fight alongside one's siblings in the face of oppression with courage and steadfastness. At the core of Honor is the trait of integrity, which means being true to one's word, committed to one's responsibilities, and willing to accept accountability for one's actions.
Creating a safe and supportive environment for members to conduct the Great Work is a core function of O.T.O. Such an environment is assured by providing mutual support in our labors, being just and fair in our dealings, and most especially in the act of service—the willingness to give of one's time, resources, and energy to enable other initiates to succeed within our Order. The principle of Beneficence is embodied in our central cultural pillar, hospitality.
Harmony is an idealâ€”it is the vision of a world of Stars living and working together in the Spirit of Will and Love. In a practical sense, Harmony is a necessary state for any organization to fulfill its aims, which is severely hampered when strife, instability, and unrest exist amongst the membership. Disagreement and conflict are not necessarily unhealthy things, but when engaged in, they must be guided by fairness and good faith so to preserve equanimity between siblings. As long as mutual respect is maintained, disagreement and conflict will not lead to the poisons of contempt, animosity, and hostility, but whose friction will rather create light for the benefit of all.
Every member has, by necessity, their own unique Path in their Great Work. Within the boundaries of fraternal good will and fidelity to initiatory obligations, members are encouraged to express themselves in a fully genuine way while respecting the right of others to do the same. As such, initiates have respect for independence and aspire towards increased toleration of ideas different from their own.
At its heart, Nobility arises from the combination of courage, independence, and dignity, and is embodied in exceptional character. It is the essence of Leadership that inspires others through example. A Noble brother or sister has confidence without arrogance, self-respect without being self-absorbed, and altruism without pity. A royal bearing is carried with calm authority, not over others, but over the self, which bestows grace. Pettiness, meanness, and selfishness are unknown to the Noble initiate, who wishes not to injure fellow siblings, but to help them all rise up to accept their rightful station as sovereign kings and queens of the New Aeon.