O.T.O. is a fraternal Order that seeks to instruct its members in the profound mysteries of existence by the practice of graded initiation. This technique of marking definite staging points of personal development in the life of every individual has been employed by all human cultures of any significance since the dawn of history and beyond.
Initiation into O.T.O. is a process through which the candidate, irrespective of gender, culture, race, or social background, is gradually brought into a greater understanding of their true self, their role as a member of society and ultimately as a unique point of consciousness in the Universe. In many ways, O.T.O. is similar to Freemasonry and the numerous other mystery schools, both ancient and modern, with an emphasis at all times on the absolute freedom of the individual to act as they will in the world.
The preliminary O.T.O. degrees are related to the chakras of the Hindu and yogic systems, as illustrated below.
As the initiate travels through the O.T.O. degrees, instruction is given at each stage, allowing the individual to gain a deeper understanding of the process they are going through. This journey of self-realisation is augmented by the opportunity of sharing it with others in a group setting, which may be seen as closely allied to the concept of satsang in the Buddhist tradition.