T.'.O.'.T.'. and A.'.A.'. and O.T.O.... oh my!

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T.'.O.'.T.'. and A.'.A.'. and O.T.O.... oh my!

Postby Gnosomai Emauton » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:20 pm

I just followed a yellow brick road that took me to a thread from 2006 which addressed some questions that have been bouncing around in my head and, in turn, raised a few more. Rather than trying to raise it from the dead, I figured 8 years later might be a good time to bring up the discussion again to see if any aspects have changed/matured.

From the original thread (viewtopic.php?f=5&t=188):

Jim Eshelman wrote:
sasha wrote:I've wondered about the relationship between the AA and the ToT. From what I can tell from the public info, the ToT basically provides a Thelemic reformulation of the GD. To tie both of these to the AA, I had the impression (or, more acurately, just guessed) that the Neophyte of the AA encompasses the work and alchemy that one would experience throughout the outer order of the GD and, presumably, the ToT. While the GD, on the surface, makes it look like you go through the different sephiroth (and you do), in another sense, you really just keep working on the different elements within Malkuth.

That's one way of looking at it - Another way is to apply the Four Worlds model, which over time has become exceedingly useful to me. The G.D. model does work the designated Sephiroth, but only in Assiah. (Others would say "in Malkuth," as the rituals themselves say - and usually the people using the different terminology would mean the same thing.)

Admission to the Second Order then formally commences working at the level of Yetzirah, and the same Sephiroth are reworked at a higher level.

As to a degree-by-grade mapping: If we were starting from scratch, and creating something solely from theory to translate the A.'.A.'. levels into a G.D. model, it would likely sound just like you described. The A.'.A.'. 1=10 uses the initiation formula and the elemental system of the First Order of the G.D., even though the work done is that historically reserved to the G.D. Second Order. The A.'.A.'. 2=9 uses an initiation ceremony derived from the G.D. 5=6.

But to get a T.'.O.'.T.'. to A.'.A.'. degree-by-grade relationship, you need info on the history of it all. Temple of Thelema was originally conceived as a preliminary stage to the A.'.A.'. Probationer. For many years, Soror Meral and I were looking at different ways to prepare people for A.'.A.'. levels of work, and there were no existing ways that appealed to those with a strong fondness for ceremony. So, the initial theory was that we'd to a G.D.-type system as one variant of the Student phase and, when someone had finished it, they would be ready to start as 0=0 in A.'.A.'..

Well, T.'.O.'.T.'. took off with a life of its own, and became much more than just a ritualized Student program. But one of the core principles we stuck with from the beginning is to do nothing whatsoever in Temple of Thelema to interfere with or preempt even the 0=0 Probationer process in A.'.A.'..

To the extent that there is an equivalent, I would say that substages of the 5º (Adeptus) are equivalent to the A.'.A.'. 0=0 and 1=10 grades, and it goes on from there. But a First Order T.'.O.'.T.'. member may be doing much higher level and more sophisticated work than many a Probationer because it is a structured curriculum whereas the Probationer is finding his or her own way for the most part. (That's one of primary development steps for the Probationer.) The real key of comparison of working level is, again, the Four Worlds.

In A.'.A.'., much of the 1=10 work is about opening up access to Yetzirah, and then 2=9 through 4=7 are specifically working in Yetzirah and building "organs" or bridges toward Briah. (This comes to a head in Dominus Liminis, which ripens the Yetziratic level and has the main task of opening Briatic consciousness.) A.'.A.'. 5=6 through 7=4 work in Briah.

In contrast, T.'.O.'.T.'.'s Second Order is the Yetziratic level, and the opening of Briatic consciousness constitutes the 8º.

So, for example, the T.'.O.'.T.'. 6º and A.'.A.'. 6=5 Grade are both Geburan degrees/grades. However, A.'.A.'. 6=5 is at the level of Geburah in Briah, whereas T.'.O.'.T.'. 6º is Geburah in Yetzirah (which, frankly, is a lot more challenging! - Geburah is far easier to navigate after the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel).

Does that help?

It does indeed, 2006 Jim.

The current questions bouncing around in my brain (for anyone with insight) are:

- Since T.'.O.'.T.'. has become more than just a ritualized Student Program, how does it currently fit together with the A.'.A.'. 0=0 and 1=10? It began as a reformulation of the G.D. First Order specifically to prep someone for 0=0 but, now that a T.'.O.'.T.'. initiate "may be doing much higher and more sophisticated work than many a Probationer", would it make sense for a T.'.O.'.T.'. initiate to start their Probation prior to reaching the Second Order so that the transition to Yetzirah essentially aligns between both systems (T.'.O.'.T.'. Second Order & A.'.A.'. 2=9)? Could the "substages of the 5º (Adeptus)" be worked as the "any practices that he prefers"? Or, contrariwise, is there something to be gained from making the transition to Yetzirah via T.'.O.'.T.'. and then putting oneself back in the position of lurking on the threshold for a couple years of A.'.A.'. 0=0 & 1=10 running parallel to T.'.O.'.T.'. 5º & 6º?

- Have there been any developments within T.'.O.'.T.'. over the past eight years that would alter any of the descriptions above? If it "took off with a life of its own" from the founding through 2006, have any new unexpected twists occurred that might help someone decide whether or not to pursue group initiation? One thing I've noticed is that there doesn't seem to be much talk of C.O.T. these days. Is it still functioning as a Student path? Or have the two merged?

- While the above quote doesn't address it directly, there is some discussion in the prior thread about the O.T.O.'s initiations and their efficacy. The distillation is that the O.T.O. was primarily a social/fraternal order and that, if one wanted to find spiritual development through that system, one would have to motivate the search oneself. I've heard rumblings that the O.T.O. has been making steps in recent years to more fully embrace its initiatory structure, shed some of the politics that have clouded its history, and return to its mystical roots. Is there anyone out there with experience in the current O.T.O. that can speak to this (without breaking oaths, of course)? Please note, I'm not asking this to try to create a pros/cons list to choose one order vs. another but rather to determine if the answer from eight years ago (no there really is no conflict between taking initiation in two orders because the O.T.O. is primarily social in nature) is still valid.
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Re: T.'.O.'.T.'. and A.'.A.'. and O.T.O.... oh my!

Postby jcrow » Sun Jun 08, 2014 4:55 am

I had not seen the older thread before this. Thank you for bringing this to light, as it answered some of the questions I also had.
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Re: T.'.O.'.T.'. and A.'.A.'. and O.T.O.... oh my!

Postby Uni_Verse » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:16 pm

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We are also in a new era :)
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