The Four Functions of a Local Body

While we wait for the “Strategic Goals” of USGL, I think it is possible for every local body to come up with their own set of strategic goals. To come up with goals, of course, one must know what we are trying to accomplish. With this in mind, I'd like to present what I see as the four essential functions of every local OTO body, based upon a close examination of Liber CI, as well as the other OTO foundational documents, such as those found within the Blue Equinox. As stated before, this list is my own and it is important to state that I have no authority in these regards whatsoever.

OTO Local Body Arch
I. MMM and EGC
II. Ladder from First to Fifth
III. Member/Thelema Gateway
IV. Spiritual Community

The MMM (Minerval through KEW for local MoE bodies) provides the fraternal, philosophical, and mystical path of the initiate and the EGC is the ecclesiastical environment wherein those Mysteries are celebrated. These rituals form the cultural backbone of our Order, and within the MoE, provide the building blocks of our Spiritual Society. This happens through the dual path of individual attainment and fraternal obligation.

A substantial portion of available resources and manpower should go towards increasing capability, quality, and fidelity in relation to these events. This includes attention to multiple aspects, including performance of officers, environmental elements, equipment, vesture, music, event organization, and bureaucratic follow-through. Moreover, there should be secondary events that support these rites, such as classes, walk-throughs, workshops, and rituals. A tertiary element is the promotion of exploration in how to manifest the rites within the local body community, especially in terms of fulfilling fraternal oaths.

The Minerval is a guest of the Order, and is under no expectation or obligation to stay or advance. Once the member takes the First, everything changes. They are thrust into the cycle of the Man of Earth, the ultimate goal of which is not P.I. or K.E.W., but Fifth, which is described as the “natural stopping-place of the majority of men and women” (CXCIV). Although the majority of members are expected to rest at Fifth, that doesn't mean it's necessarily easy to get there. It is the duty of the local body (in terms of both leadership and community) to provide various forms of assistance, often veiled, in accomplishing this task from the very beginning of the initiate's career. Too often issues related to the Rose Croix do not come into play until a member hits PI or perhaps KEW, when it should really begin at First. To this end, guidance in the issues of knowledge, character, and skills is a responsibility of the local body, so that initiates who are willing and able to put in the Work will have the aid and support they are rightly due.

The local body is a gateway—it brings in new members and exports the Law of Thelema, both of which are mandated by our foundational documents. There is an intimate connection between these two activities, since growing local membership results in more resources that can be applied towards promulgating the Law, which in turn results in more Thelemites, many of which will be attracted to membership, and so on. In more practical terms, the local body is normally the “face” of the OTO, commonly in the form of the Gnostic Mass, ritual theatre, festivals, or other similar public events. While outreach and promulgation efforts can be worked on separately, in the long run they are tied together.

Every local body is a single community, all of which help make up the developing Spiritual Society that is OTO. Said another way, every local community is a unique microcosm to the OTO's social macrocosm. Liber CI makes it crystal clear that our individual communities are to uphold certain ideals, such as full acceptance, care, and honor of mothers and children (i.e. families), protection and due aid given to all initiates, and virtues such as hospitality, generosity, cooperation, tolerance, freedom, and good manners. It is a duty of the local body to help manifest these ideals within the scope of their charter.

As also said before, these functions are all bound up together, and are constantly influencing each other. There will always be times when one area is a priority over another, of course, but it will be to the detriment of any local body to ignore outright even one of these areas. It is a constant balancing act designed to develop excellent initiates and create a new Thelemic society.