Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO) is a worldwide religious and fraternal organization. It was founded in Germany at the turn of the 20th century by Carl Kellner and Theodor Reuss. Once associated with European Freemasonry, the OTO is now best known for its ties to Aleister Crowley.
Crowley was an influential member who reformed the organization around his own religious system, Thelema, which is based on his book “The Book of the Law”. Thelema teaches that “Do what thou wilt shall be the entirety of the Law” is the fundamental principle of existence. “Love is the law, love by choice”
The OTO consists of the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (EGC), or Gnostic Catholic Church, which administers the Gnostic Mass as its central sacrament. The organization employs a system of degrees, and its rituals and teachings are derived from a variety of sources, including Freemasonry, the Knights Templar, and Eastern and Western occultism.
In addition to lodges, oases, and camps, the OTO maintains a variety of local organizations throughout the globe. Noting that the group is esoteric and not mainstream is essential; its beliefs and practices may not be representative of larger religious or fraternal groups.