William Blake Lodge is a chartered initiatory body of Ordo Templi Orientis (The Order of Oriental Templars, or OTO) serving the greater Baltimore, Washington and Northern Virginia metropolitan areas. It has been continuously active for over 20 years since its inception in June 1992 and continues to draw upon eclectic sources to further the study of the spiritual system known as Thelema. Thelema celebrates personal freedom and discovery of individual will balanced by discipline, fraternity and love. “Thelema” is the Greek word meaning “will”. In 1904, Aleister Crowley (1875 – 1947) received The Book of the Law (Liber XXXI) , which became the cornerstone of his magical philosophy of Thelema which is central to the OTO system.
William Blake Lodge offers initiation rich in esoteric symbolism and ritual drama as a catalyst for one’s personal development. Our initiation system follows the structure of many mystery schools of the past. Initiation teaches lessons through the process of physically going through the ceremony, and represents a beginning —- the beginning of setting out on the path of self-discovery and unity with the divine (however you define it). Find out more at the United States Grand Lodge website.
The Minerval initiation (0°) is the introductory degree into Ordo Templi Orientis. The ceremony is named for Minerva, the goddess of wisdom. The Minerval initiation introduces the candidate into OTO and the degree formally makes one an honored guest of the Order. It does not constitute full membership into OTO, and a permanent magical bond is not yet forged. The ceremony is designed for someone with no magical training to check us out and experience our initiation system without formally becoming a member.
This breakdown summarizes the first four degrees of the OTO system:
First Degree: Birth
Second Degree: Life
Third Degree: Death
Qualifications for Initiation
Membership (initiation) to the opening degrees of the OTO (Minerval – Fourth Degree) are open to all who are “free, of full age, and good report.” In plain English:
– not incarcerated and able to make and keep a binding oath;
– age 18 or over;
– never previously been initiated into OTO
– able to find two OTO members of the First Degree or higher who are willing to sponsor you.
Sponsorship entails coming to some events and getting to know the members and vice versa, and deciding whether this path is for you. Check out the William Blake Lodge website for our calendar of open events. Most are posted on Meetup.
There shall be no consideration of race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity or sexual orientation when considering the fitness of candidates for admission, advancement, or appointment to office within Ordo Templi Orientis USA.
Applying for Initiation
There is an application that must be filled out prior to the initiation. If you are interested in receiving a Minerval application and/or sponsorship, it’s your job to do the asking. Obviously, if this is a path you choose to pursue, you must take responsibility for your development. We’re a friendly, approachable bunch; and most of us like to get to know somebody before signing his or her app. There is a minimum of 30 days after your application is received before the initiation can take place. It generally takes a couple months to schedule your initiation.
Attend an event for an application; electronic applications are not available.
Please note that it is NOT a requirement to initiate into OTO to attend our open meetings and events. We’re happy to have folks who just enjoy their status as our guests, attend our events and spend time with us.
Initiation Dues and Fees, Membership Dues
Minerval Initiation: $84 (includes 1 year Grand Lodge dues)
First Degree Initiation: $84 (includes 1 year Grand Lodge dues)
William Blake Lodge Membership Dues: $30/month
Ordo Templi Orientis is a dues collecting organization and each degree requires payment of initiation dues and fees. For a Minerval candidate (0°) , initiation fees are $42 and OTO Grand Lodge dues are $42 (for one year) amounting to a total of $84. Initiation fees go toward fronting expenses associated with putting on the ceremony and are therefore not refundable.
Additionally, William Blake Lodge members pay local dues of $360 per year which are separate from US Grand Lodge dues that fund our member-supported temple space.
William Blake Lodge is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit religious organization. Your donations may be tax deductible.