Society Ordo Templi Orientis
Founded by Marcelo Ramos Motta in 1978 e.v. in Brazil, truly had never any kind of link (magical, traditional or legal) with the original Ordo Templi Orientis. S.-O.T.O. is described as a "fraternal organization", incorporated as a church in 1978 after Motta reportedly had a falling-out with the three remaining contemporaries of the founder of O.T.O. (Aleister Crowley, 1875-1947) who had joined together and restarted O.T.O. in California after 1969.
By the laws of S.-O.T.O., Motta should have regularly received the diaries kept by all its members, who even had to send Motta their personal correspondence for review. He was the sole decision-maker and all commitments in life were subject to his approval, especially any involvements with anyone outside the group. If someone was accused to say something that was not from Motta's approval, the member could be sanctioned in various levels by Motta. His manners was so hostile that almost all the members left the group, but the most devoted followers. To affiliate it was required to sign a "letter patent" (with the legal value of a contract) which demanded a payment of 1,000 times the annual salary of the candidate if (s)he revealed anything considered secret - also nude pictures of the candidate was demanded along the applications.
Motta claimed a unique and privileged access to the "Truth" and anyone who questioned his "spiritual authority" was therefore "insane" and "diseased" and had to be "cut off". As he kept all the personal diaries of all the members he could twist the information found there as "proofs" of his accusations. Motta wrote in his S.-O.T.O. Constitution that members could call for the "elimination of the culprit" for anyone expelled for "crimes" against SOTO. In other places he makes it clear that "traitors" should be killed. Leaving SOTO was your "magical death".
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Succession After Marcelo Motta's Death
After Marcelo Motta's death on August 26th, 1987, the succession of the S.O.T.O. was delegated to a vote by three of Motta's students, on the condition that they agree. The individuals named in the Declaration of Trust were Daniel Ben Stone, Claudia Canuto de Menezes , and William Barden. Claudia Canuto separated from the Declaration of Trust, making a vote on the succession impossible. This placed the S.O.T.O. and, consequently, Motta's copyrights, in limbo.
Various splinter groups continued on after Marcelo Motta's death, such as the S.O.T.O. led by David Bersson, H.O.O.R. (Holy Order of Ra Hoor Khuit) led by Ray Eales, and a group in Australia led by the now late William Barden.
S.-O.T.O. was always a tiny group, with less than 100 members at its height over several countries.
Degree Structure of Society Ordo Templi Orientis
The degree structure of the S.O.T.O. differs significantly from that of the O.T.O. structure. It is comprised of three "circles" (Outer Circle, Inner Circle, Secret Circle). No member of Society Ordo Templi Orientis is permitted to publicly exclaim their degree openly after the IV°, except for the National Grand Masters & the XI°. Advancement in grade is gauged by evidence of moral and intellectual dedication to the order.
I° Attraction to the Solar System (Birth).
II° Thelemic Behavior on Earth (Life).
III° Lordship or Ladyship of Earth (Death).
IV° Freeman or Freewoman.
V° Squire of Damsel.
VI° Knight or Dame.
VII° Novice. Watcher. Sentinel.
VIII° Deacon or Deaconess. Inspector. Herald.
IX° Priest or Priestess. Judge.
X° Holy King or Holy Queen. Outer Head of the Order.
XI° This Grade has neither title or description. It corresponds to a certain High Grade in the A.·.A.·.
Each of the grades in the Society Ordo Templi Orientis corresponds to one of the three true grades: Man of Earth, Lovers, Hermits. The I°-III° corresponds to the Man of Earth, the IV°-X° to the Lovers, and the XI° to the Hermit. The XI° observes no rules but acts under emergencies according to His or Her Oaths from the Inner & Secret Circles. It is possible for a member of the XI° to hold an office below his/her grade in the Hierarchy and not reveal that they hold the XI°.
Initiation into the Society Ordo Templi Orientis is selective, however any human being who can pass through the Initiatic Ordeals has a right to the I°. Initiation into the Inner Circle can only be done by the recommendation of a Director to the Supervisor General or O.H.O.(of Society Ordo Templi Orientis) with official invitation.
The Principles and Aims of the Society Ordo Templi Orientis
According to the Constitution of the Society Ordo Templi Orientis, written by Marcelo Motta, the goals of S.O.T.O. are two in number:
1. To promulgate the Book of the Law to uplift humanity to the heights of Life, Liberty, Light, and love, establishing a Spiritual Dynasty and Hierarchy completely within the boundaries of the Law of Thelema.
2. To promote the philosophy and works of Edward Alexander Crowley, English Poet, Writer and Mystic, deceased.
The Society Ordo Templi Orientis states that it has the following aims:
1. To promote the activities necessary to its principles.
2. To concur for the increase of dignity and mutual tolerance among all beings;
3. To stimulate the organization of institutions and to vivify all activities compatible with its aims and principles.