The Mysteria Mystica Maxima is the initiatory arm of the O.T.O.  Within, one finds the structure and wisdom of Freemasonry now philosophically, symbolically and ethically adapted to the New Aeon.  The entire initiatory process of the Man of Earth Degrees represents an elaborate instruction whose two objectives are the following, according to Crowley, “It was first necessary to explain the universe and the relations of human life therewith.  Secondly, to instruct every man how best to adapt his life to the cosmos and to develop his faculties to the utmost advantage.”   Modeled much after the Masonic degree system, one is symbolically and respectively, attracted to incarnation, is born, lives dutifully, dies, then Returns, all according to one’s True Will.  Each initiation is designed then to prod a particular chakra to illuminate, thereby prompting transformation.


“[This] process of initiation is unlike that of many college fraternities or the military, the goal of which is to bond the individual to the group by means of ego-collapse, often via methods of pain, exhaustion, and degredation. Within O.T.O., the rituals are designed to be challenging, but in a way that honors the candidate. If bonding does occur, it does so through a conscious and willed effort on the part of the initiate. The ultimate goal of initiation in O.T.O. is "to instruct the individual by allegory and symbol in the profound mysteries of Nature, and thereby to assist each to discover his or her own true Identity."[1]

O.T.O. uses a graded system, similar to that of Freemasonry. There are thirteen numbered degrees and twelve un-numbered. They are divided into three grades or "triads": the Hermit, the Lover, and the Man of Earth. The entire system is as follows:

  • The Man of Earth Triad

    • 0°—Minerval

    • I°—Man & Brother / Woman & Sister

    • II°—Magician

    • III°—Master Magician

    • IV°—Perfect Magician & companion of the Holy Royal Arch of Enoch

    • P.I.—Perfect Initiate, or Prince of Jerusalem

  • Outside all Triads

    • Knight of the East & West

  • The Lover Triad

    • V°—

      • Sovereign Prince Rose-Croix, and Knight of the Pelican & Eagle

      • Knight of the Red Eagle, and Member of the Senate of Knight Hermetic Philosophers

    • VI°—

      • Illustrious Knight (Templar) of the Order of Kadosch, and Companion of the Holy Graal

      • Grand Inquisitor Commander, and Member of the Grand Tribunal

      • Prince of the Royal Secret

    • VII°—

      • Theoreticus, and Very Illustrious Sovereign Grand Inspector General

      • Magus of Light, and Bishop of Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica

      • Grandmaster of Light, and Inspector of Rites & Degrees

  • The Hermit Triad

    • VIII°—

      • Perfect Pontiff of the Illuminati

      • Epopt of the Illuminati

    • IX°—Initiate of the Sanctuary of the Gnosis

    • X°—Rex Summus Sanctissimus

    • XI°—Initiate of the Eleventh Degree (This degree is technical, and has no relation to the general plan of the Order)

    • XII°—Frater Superior, Caliph, and Outer Head of the Order”