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 Bubastis Oasis Any questions not answered here may be directed to the Initiation Coordinator.
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.
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 and the Oasis
- 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 attend NOTOCON (Yes, this is a real reason and not a bad one! The National Conference is a wonderful event where any member can exult in the hospitality of the Order.)
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 Coordinator or any Oasis Officer.
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 Lodge 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.
When will my initiation happen?
We schedule initiations within 90 days of the date the payment is received.
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 Initiation Coordinator.
Once I turn in the Minerval application, what can I expect?
You will receive an email from the Initiation Coordinator 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 Initiation Coordinator 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?
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 Sekhet-Maat Lodge?
- 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 Oasis Meetings, Minerval initiations, the National O.T.O Conference (NOTOCON), and other special workshops and classes offered by the Lodge.
- You can produce your own events like classes, workshops, study groups, or original rituals. If you wish to do something along these lines, you can contact the Oasis Master and he or she will assist you.
- You will receive Agapé (the U.S. Grand Lodge quarterly newsletter).
If I take my Minerval initiation at Bubastis Oasis, does that automatically make me a member of the Oasis?
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 Bubastis Oasis, you must be an initiate member of O.T.O of at least First Degree and agree to pay local dues. Minerval initiates may become affiliates of the Oasis; affiliation does not confer the full benefits of membership, but it is very similar. Benefits are outlined on our membership page and in our Standing Rules. Please feel free to contact the Oasis Treasurer, 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 Bubastis Oasis, the minimum dues are $360/year or $30/month. All members of the Oasis are expected to pay dues.
What do my contributions to the Oasis pay for, and can I contribute more to help the Oasis achieve its goals?
Local dues pay the rent and maintenance on the Temple and keep the electricity and heat running. 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. Our financial goals and accomplishments are published on a monthly basis.
Sounds reasonable — so how do I pay my dues?
To become a member, you will need to read our Bylaws and Standing Rules, and agree to them by signing our Membership Roll. You may pay your first month’s dues with your Minerval Dues and Fees if you wish and sign the membership roll after the Minerval ceremony.
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 OasisTreasurer in any of the ways listed below, who will submit them to U.S. Grand Lodge for you.
Dues to Bubastis Oasis can be paid by:
- Online via PayPal (See Bubastis Oasis Membership page)
- Mailing a check to payable to: Bubastis Oasis, 2530 Electronic Lane, #702, Dallas, TX 75220
- a check or cash in an envelope with your name and “dues” on it, and depositing it in the temple drop box (outside the office), or
- Handing your dues to the Oasis 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 Oasis Master, who will make arrangements with you.
Do I get to know who will be performing the initiation ceremony?
No. 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 Oasis, that means the Oasis Master, Deputy 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 Oasis 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.
But… but… I have more questions!
You can find more here:
- U.S. Grand Lodge, O.T.O. (includes the O.T.O. degree system)
- U.S. Grand Lodge also has an excellent FAQ that covers relevant subjects, including O.T.O, Aleister Crowley, the Church, and Thelema.
Any questions not answered here may be directed to the Initiation Coordinator.