For the last few years, I have been actively immersed in the practices of the O.T.O. system. I perceive the whole system as rather elaborate, offering an inspired beginner a solid structure to advance life. In my case, I see the path entwined with the O.T.O. degrees as an excellent opportunity to complete a specific task from my current A.'.A.'. attainment.
Using my head and meekly bowing to no one, however, I see certain aspects of the said system as downright ridiculous and very much old-aeon-like (the general feeling of theocracy, taking the vows of obedience to the head of the Order or something or someone on the outside, waiting to be invited to higher degrees for long years and similar nonsense). Maybe (or obviously) these things work for some, but not for me.
And, all the drama around the "great and wonderful O.T.O. Order" higher initiates' ego trips is quite useless to me. Also, I need no community to fill the inner need for belonging and acceptance...
...so I aligned my time and efforts with a sister Krumm-Heller lineage, which welcomes individual creativity, supports freedom of choice, and does not inhibit the progress of an actively involved student in any way.
Reflecting on the whole O.T.O. system, I think the first three degrees' practices must be a real challenge to a newcomer to the Thelema. Nevertheless, the meditations and other exercises are intriguing and can indeed contribute so much, I have to say.
Again, in my case, being quite familiar with the Thelema practices, I breezed through the degrees (ignoring the old aeon notions from Freemasonry as they have got nothing whatsoever to do with the Thelema spiritual current, in my opinion), with one major crisis that lasted around nine months.
Lesson learned: the O.T.O. meditations and other practices of the system are efficient enough. There is no need to combine them with anything else (the Mahamudra empowerments in my case).
The jackpot or the process that contributed to my current initiation level the most thus far, however, was the P.I. annihilation.
Part of the diary entry after the ritual:
“The immediate result is that I have no inclination whatsoever towards our Prophet anymore, either way, for example. I see now that everything I did up to this point (in the O.T.O. and A.'.A.'.) was only a mental projection, and what he did was just as unreal as anything else”.
Freedom, independence, less drama, more Understanding, Wisdom, Strenght, etc. - that is what the O.T.O. meditations and other practices have delivered. And the best is yet to come!
I find the A.'.A.'. system very useful, but demanding considering the tasks after the abyss. That's where the practical and down-to-earth approach of O.T.O. comes in handy and can contribute a lot.
The O.T.O. is an effective and brilliant system.
I see both Orders, the A.'.A.'. and the O.T.O., as two sides of the same coin, complementing each other both in practices and manifestations, sharing but one ground reality:
"There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt."
Liber AL, III-60
Fr. 418 .'.