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About Minerval Initiation

The Minerval Degree (0°) is the introductory Initiate degree in Ordo Templi Orientis. It is said to symbolize the first step in the journey of the Self in Eternity, where the Ego, a wandering God, is attracted to the Solar System. The questions and answers contained in this document were written as a guide for those interested in joining the Order by taking the Minerval Degree initiation. Some questions are specific to Sekhet-Maat Lodge. Any questions not answered here may be directed to the Camp Secretary.

The total cost for Minerval initiation is $84. This includes $42 for 1 year of U.S. Grand Lodge dues and $42 Initiation Fee.

What is an initiation?

Initiation implies a beginning or an introduction, a rite of passage and a welcoming into community. In O.T.O., it is a ceremony that usually serves several purposes. In the Minerval degree, it introduces the candidates, using dramatic allegory and symbolism, to the Mysteries of Thelema.

What does “Minerval” mean?

The word is derived from the name of the Roman goddess Minerva, the equivalent of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom. A Minerval, then, may be considered a seeker of wisdom. In our system, the Minerval initiation is the first of our Mysteries, and is given the number zero in our numbered system of Degrees. It is an introductory, probationary Degree, which does not establish any permanent fraternal bonds with our Order.

Why would I want to be initiated?

There is no single answer to this question. Everyone has their own reason for taking an initiation. Common reasons include:

  • To learn more about the Mysteries of Thelema in a non-binding way (Minerval initiation does not establish a permanent bond with the Order)
  • To become an affiliate of the Order
  • To seek a deeper level of fellowship with members of the community
  • To begin your inward journey to self-knowledge. Aleister Crowley wrote, “initiation is, by etymology, the journeying inwards; it is the Voyage of Discovery […] of one’s own Soul.”
  • To gain greater insight into the system of Thelema.
  • To gain greater insight into the symbolism of the Gnostic Mass.
  • To seek a deeper level of fellowship with members of the community.

Are there any requirements?

Yes, there are several eligibility requirements for the Minerval degree. Candidates must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • not be incarcerated, on probation, or otherwise bound to the Department of Corrections
  • be capable of taking and keeping a binding oath to the Order
  • obtain sponsorship from two members in good standing who are initiates of the I° or higher
    have attended at least two O.T.O. events, one of them preferably a Gnostic Mass

How do I go about getting initiated?

Start by filling in and returning a Minerval application and indemnity form, and your dues and fees for membership. You can request the paperwork from our Initiation Secretary.

Okay, how do I get two sponsors?

Before you can be initiated, you will need to develop a level of personal familiarity and trust with at least two members. The Camp conducts many activities that are open to non-initiate guests at which you can meet such people and introduce yourself. You can take a look at our calendar for information on upcoming events that are open to the public.

Do I have to pay the fees when I turn in my application?

Your initiation will not be scheduled until you pay for it. You can pay your dues and fees online or give them to the Treasurer.

Once I turn in the Minerval application, what can I expect?

You will receive an email from the Body Master telling you the date and time of the ceremony.

What if I can’t do it, or I change my mind after I turn one in?

Simply let the Treasurer know. If necessary, you can ask to skip the current ceremony and be put into the next. Keep in mind that if a year passes, then you will have to fill out a new application.

What should I plan to bring to my Minerval?

Bring only yourself.

How should I prepare for my Minerval?

There is no one correct answer for this. It depends on you. Practically speaking, you do not need to do anything to prepare. Looking over the U.S. Grand Lodge website might be a good idea to educate yourself about the organization you are joining.

After I take my Minerval, how long do I have to wait until I take my First Degree?

The minimum time within the degree at Roar of Rapture is nine months. We encourage all Minerval initiates to carefully consider their readiness to continue to the First Degree, since the I° establishes a permanent magickal bond between the initiate and the order.

As a Minerval, what benefits can I take advantage of within U.S. Grand Lodge and Roar of Rapture Camp?

  • As a Minerval initiate, you may attend future Minerval initiations as a guest (at any O.T.O. body in the world) which gives you the opportunity for further study of the degree through attendance and participation.
  • If you are also baptized in the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.), you may participate as an officer in the Gnostic Mass in the “Child” role.
  • If you are also confirmed in the E.G.C., you may undergo novitiate training under the supervision of a Bishop to prepare for eventual ordination as Priest, Priestess, or Deacon.
  • You can volunteer for many events and non-initiation rituals.
  • You can attend initiate-only events like Lodge Meetings, Minerval initiations, the National O.T.O Conference (NOTOCON), and other special workshops and classes offered by the Camp.
  • You will receive Agapé (the U.S. Grand Lodge quarterly newsletter).

If I take my Minerval initiation at Roar of Rapture Camp, does that automatically make me a member of the Camp?

No. By taking Minerval initiation, you automatically become a member of U.S. Grand Lodge (as are all O.T.O. members within the United States), but this does not make you a member of the local body where you were initiated. To become a member of Roar of Rapture, you must be an initiate member of O.T.O of at least First Degree and agree to pay local dues. Minerval initiates are affiliates of U.S. Grand Lodge; affiliation does not confer the full benefits of membership, but it is very similar. Benefits are outlined on our membership page. Please feel free to contact the Secretary, Deputy Master, or Master regarding membership.

As a Minerval, what dues do I have to pay?

There are two sets of dues:

  • U.S. Grand Lodge dues. These are paid yearly, and the amount depends on degree. At Minerval, annual dues are currently $42 a year. All O.T.O. members in the U.S. are expected to pay U.S.G.L. dues.
  • Local dues. At Roar of Rapture Camp, the minimum dues are $10 monthly. All members of the Lodge are expected to pay dues.

What do my contributions to the Camp pay for, and can I contribute more to help the Camp achieve its goals?

Local dues pay for events, supplies and maintenance of the Temple. When you add it all up it certainly is a bargain, and we’d be very happy to accept any additional contribution you’d like to give us.

Sounds reasonable — so how do I pay my dues?

To become a member, you will need to read our Bylaws and acknowledge our standing rules.  You may pay your first month’s dues with your Minerval Dues and Fees if you wish.

Annual dues to U.S. Grand Lodge can be paid in one of several ways:

  • You can mail your dues payable to: O.T.O. U.S.A., 4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd. #444, Portland, OR 97214-5246
  • You can pay online with a credit card at the U.S. Grand Lodge website. When you get your dues reminder in the mail next year, you will be given the web address to do this.
  • You can give them to the Camp Treasurer in any of the ways listed below, who will submit them to U.S. Grand Lodge for you.

Dues to Roar of Rapture Camp can be paid by:

  • Online via PayPal with links found on our website.
  • Online via a requested invoice.
  • Handing your dues to the Camp Treasurer in person.

What if I can’t pay local dues for a month or two?

We know that everyone can experience tough times. If you can’t pay dues because of financial hardship, please speak to the Camp Treasurer, who will make arrangements with you.

Do I get to know who will be performing the initiation ceremony?

Nope. You’ll just have to wait and see.

After I take my Minerval, will I be expected to take the First Degree initiation?

No. Taking the First Degree is a serious decision, and no Minerval should feel pushed into it. Some take their First Degree right away, some after many years, and it is equally honorable to spend your entire life as a Minerval initiate. The choice is entirely yours.

After my initiation, who will have access to my legal name?

We take confidentiality very seriously — this is a secret Order, after all. Full civil names are given out to Order members on a need-to-know basis only. Within the Lodge, that means the Camp Master, Deputy Camp Master, Secretary, and Treasurer will need to have your full civil name on record. U.S. Grand Lodge also keeps records according to civil names. However, under no circumstances will the Lodge or the Order voluntarily give out your civil name to a third party, including other Order members, without your permission.

I’ve heard that as a Minerval, I will be a “Guest” of the Order. Does that mean I’m not a full member?

As a Minerval, you are both a guest and a member of O.T.O. You are considered a guest because you can, at any time as a Minerval, back out of the Order completely — whereas, although there is nothing stopping anyone from leaving the Order, it is impossible to sever the magical bond that is formed at First Degree. Minerval initiates are, however, eligible for all the general benefits of O.T.O. membership.

So am I joining a cult?

Although some members like to joke about us being a cult, in reality we are not. The following are common elements one might find in a “noxious” cult (e.g. Heaven’s Gate or The People’s Temple):

  • Brainwashing— Although O.T.O. does purport to instruct candidates in certain secret teachings, we do not use “mind-control” methods, such as “love bombing,” sleep deprivation, dietary limitations, or any other methods of coercive manipulation.
  • Blocking exit— In no way do we ever prevent members from leaving the Order.
  • Renunciation— At no time do we ask any member to renounce their current or past beliefs, associations, activities, or lifestyle. Neither do members confess “wrongdoing.”
  • Isolation— We do not cut off anyone (directly or indirectly) from their family, friends, work, or society in general.
  • Financial manipulation— Although there is language in our constitution about upper members giving up their property, in reality and practice, no member is expected to give over all their possessions or wealth to the Order. Further, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and Order income does not go towards enriching its leaders.
  • Charismatic leaders— While O.T.O. certainly has leaders, they typically maintain a relatively low profile and are not considered “infallible,” meaning that the Order is not a “cult of personality.” Rather, it is an enduring institution—it does not exist based on any individual.
  • Control of Behavior— No one in the Order will ever tell you how to live your private life or what you can and can’t do or enjoy. We do take oaths regarding certain behaviors, but it is up to each individual to interpret and fulfill them—no one in the Order polices members regarding their initiatory oaths. However, we do have rules regarding the fraternal and public conduct of our members in general, and these rules are enforced. These rules are generally set forth in the Minerval Guide, which you will receive after your initiation.
  • Disallowing questions— We promote critical thinking and do not prohibit questions or criticisms about the Order.

If I take my Minerval, will I have to do anything I don’t want to?

First, it is important to explain that during our initiations, at no time will you ever be forced to do something against your will. You may, in fact, withdraw from an initiation ritual at any time during its performance (although you will not receive a refund). We can also say that none of the initiation rituals of O.T.O. involve animal sacrifice. Finally, it should be said that for some candidates, the Minerval ceremony can be a fairly intense experience—it is designed to be challenging, but not degrading or painful. Rather, the aim is to instruct, illuminate, welcome, and enhance the lives of initiates.

But… but… I have more questions!

You can find more here:

Any questions not answered here may be directed to the Camp Secretary.