For the last few years, I have been actively immersing myself in the practices of the O.T.O. system. I perceive the whole system as a rather elaborate one, 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, waiting to be invited to higher degrees and similar bullshit). 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 accepting...
...so I aligned my time and efforts with an offspring of the principal system, which welcomes individual creativity, supports freedom of choice, and which does not impede 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 fascinating, 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 are efficient enough on their own. 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 diary entry after the ritual:
“The immediate result is that I have no inclination whatsoever towards our Prophet any more, 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 delivered thus far. And the best is yet to come!
I see the A.'.A.'. system as very useful and at the same time quite demanding, taking the tasks after abyss into consideration. And here, for me, the O.T.O. comes in handy. Its practical and down-to-earth approach can indeed contribute a lot.
I see both systems, 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 .'.