On the public OTO website, we have a link to Initiation, which discusses the various degree titles and provides a 30,000 foot view of some of the things that happen as we go through initiations within the Order. There are three “Triads” or “Grades” conferred within the OTO, the Man of Earth, the Lovers, and the Hermit. Every man and woman of full age (18 or more years old), free, and of good report, has an indefeasible right to the first three degrees of O.T.O., the “Man of Earth” triad.
As you progress through the degrees, you move from Minerval to Woman and Sister (or Man and Brother), to Magician, and to Master Magician. This is the fundamental progression that we go through. This is what the O.T.O. provides the rest of the world in service to the Aeon. This is why we do this thing.
Higher degrees are more focused on service to the Order, and aren’t necessary to accomplish the aims of Thelema in individuals’ lives, in my opinion. The thing that the OTO offers the world at large, to every woman and every man is the transition from a regular person (a Woman/Man and Sister/Brother) to a Magician, and then to a Master Magician. The point of our Order is to create Magicians.
So what’s the difference between a regular person, and a Magician? Why does the Order founded upon the Law of Life, Love, Liberty, and Light want to turn people into Magicians? What’s the point?
It should be noted that what follows is the opinion of myself, and not necessarily representative of anyone else in the Order of any degree. I’m just saying what I think. I also think I’m right in this, and I want you to think about it, and figure out if I’m really right, or totally or partially wrong in your opinion, and if I’m wrong, I want you to come up with another reason for yourself to answer the question of the title:
So what is a Magician? In my opinion, a Magician is someone who takes the unmanifest and makes it manifest as they see fit. We take an idea, and we make it into a real thing that is experienced. We use our knowledge and understanding of the secret rules that govern manifestation to make the things we desire into experiences that we can enjoy. We do it according to the Law of Liberty. “Man has the right to make his own Law.” The best image of a magician is the writer. The writer takes an idea they have in their mind, and the make it real in a way that can be experienced by themselves and others. They use a pen, ink and paper. Pens used to be quills, they had to be cut, so scribes had knives. And ink wells. The paper was the Pantacle upon which they manifested the unmanifest. The quill was the wand that wrote the words. The ink well was the chalice filled with the viscous fluid that became the words. The sword kept the quill sharp and effective. The thoughts were made material through the movement of the magician, the application of learned symbols that created an experience for others based on their skill and understanding of the art of writing.
But all magicians do this, whether with through writing, painting, project management, coding, posting on facebook, or the efforts we make to change the world by making our unmanifest desires into experienced things.
Why does the OTO make people into magicians?
I think it’s because that’s what we really are as human beings. Creators. We make things happen, so we can experience them. We do it whether we are conscious of the fact or not. We do it without intent, from birth to death. The creation of Magicians takes it from a thing we do without thinking about it to a thing we do on purpose. It empowers us to create our lives.
It manifests the Law.
Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
This is a thing that is true whether you’re a Thelemite in the OTO or not. You are doing what you Will. Everything you experience is the result of your choices, and your environment. We can’t change the color of our skin by changing our minds, or change the flesh between our legs by changing our clothes, but the we can change our experiences by changing our behaviors. We can change our lives, and the lives of others by doing things differently. We can make the unmanifest manifest, and as we get better at it, we can do it in ways that impact not only ourselves, but others as well.
I think the Man of Earth triad reveals a thing to the candidates that is already true: We are all magicians. We have the power of creation at our fingertips. There are limits, for sure, and we are artists working in a media that is also influenced by others who are doing their Will, and they can make things easier, or harder, depending on their natures. We compete. We Work. We create a shared world, and the only real limits to our ability to change the world are our own levels of ingenuity. And how much time we want to spend figuring out how to make what we want to happen manifest in the world at large.
Some things are hard to do. Politics, activism, facebook posts, I mean, that stuff’s pretty easy. There are templates in place. We can just follow the recipe and get an anarcho-communist enclave, or a laissez faire constitutional capitalist enclave where corporations are held to higher standards. These things take time and effort, and willpower, and “keeping on keeping on” when they seem to fail, but it’s totally something we can do, we have done, and we will do again. If we want.
But that’s easy. There are roadmaps and process flows already written. Anyone can do that stuff.
But that doesn’t really change the world. I mean, it does, but in ways that impact individuals residually. People have more of the profit of their labor, or they have more opportunities to exceed the lives they were born into. That’s awesome. But it doesn’t make them magicians. It just makes it easier for them to be people, which is itself an awesome goal. But that’s kindergarten stuff. Be nice. Everyone’s amazing. We’re all stars.
Friggin’ catechism level stuff for Thelemites.
The hard things to do come into play when we start looking at what it means to “be a magician.” This isn’t for everyone. This is for people who are drawn to it, who have a calling on their lives. They met someone who knew a thing, and they came to mass and felt the spark of creation that happens during the public ritual. They felt the pull to the Mysteries the OTO was created to reveal to people: the methods and arts that we use to make the unmanifest manifest, using secret aids and helpers.
Magicians can set up a temple space, and change the lives of millions of people in a half an hour. It takes some work, sure. It takes a brutal honesty that gets applied to yourself, not to anyone else. It takes an agonizing series of metamorphoses over time to change you from the person who doesn’t even know they define themselves using their father’s words, their mother’s sighs of exasperation into a person who knows they are valuable, potent, and fully qualified to make the world a better place as they see fit.
And along the way, we learn things about ourselves, and our relationships to others. We learn to be brothers and sisters. We learn to be Magicians. We learn to be Master Magicians. We learn to be born, to live, and to die… daily. We see what the point is that we came here to experience. We make it happen, for ourselves, for our children, for our community.
We change the world.
At least, that’s what I think the OTO is up to with this whole “Magician” business. My thoughts on the subject really don’t matter, though.
What are you going to do with it?