E. S. G. – OTO / Paganism within Freemasonry

There are members of Oregon Freemasonry that are also members of OTO Ordo Templi Orientis and Brothers who follow their faith as Pagan’s such as Wicca, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and others.

In our Ritual it is clearly stated and asked if the candidate for the Ancient Mysteries of Freemasonry believes in god. Further in the Ritual the candidate is asked to who they put their trust. Further the candidate must kiss the Holy Bible / Book.

Question:

“Are the above ‘labeled occultist / pagan’ religions compatible with Freemasonry?”

11 comments

  1. Wicca, OTO, and HOGD are all descended from Freemasonry.

    Brother Gerald Gardner, one of the founders of modern Wicca, was a member of Sphinx Lodge 107 and reached the third degree.

    Theodore Reuss, one of the founders of the OTO, was a member of the Swedenborgian Rite of Masonry, and the rite of Memphis Mizraim (both of which are considered irregular).

    Brother William Wescott, one of the founders of the HOGD, was a regular freemason and master of Quatuor Coronati research lodge from 1893-1894. Brother MacGregor Mathers, another of the HOGD founders, was made a Master Mason at Hengist Lodge No.195.

    All of these rites have freemasonic elements, and any Freemason attending a meeting of these organizations will recognize elements of the openings and closings in their rituals.

    Of these, the least compatible with freemasonry is probably the OTO. It used to actually bestow degrees considered by them to make Master Masons. It does not do so any longer, but it would definitely have been a clandestine and irregular masonic order before 1930. When Aleister Crowley performed the OTO degrees for a Scottish Rite meeting in 1930, he was condemned for their irregularity and similarity to Masonic rites. He subsequently rewrote those degrees to remove the masonic elements, so Modern OTO has no relation to Freemasonry and a member who was both a regular freemason and an OTO member would not be in violation of their obligation. I’m not even certain there is a direct link between pre-1930 OTO and modern OTO, as the organization deteriorated under Alester Crowley and after his death.

    All of these acknowledge a higher power, or a supreme being or beings. They may or may not acknowledge other spiritual powers, but then so does Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Angels, demons, powers, principalities). OTO and HOGD have explicit Christian elements at the higher degrees, and many Hebrew Bible/Old Testament elements in the lower degrees (just like Freemasonry). I would not consider either order ‘Christian’ the way a church is, but in my opinion, Wicca, OTO, and HOGD are all compatible with Freemasonry, and one can be a member of any.

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    1. Ok. I am at odds with the ritual (lets just use the ea degree because of our ea’s in the blog audience). We have to say we place our trust in *. Is that one 1 god? Is stating this as a Brother who follows a pagan faith such as druid, wiccan etc a one 1 god faith? Does it fall into Who do you place your Trust? I am not leading here I don’t have an answer.

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      1. The Freemasonic idea of Deity is very Deist. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deism

        So, any religion that can posit a being(s) who started everything and then split works for Freemasonry.

        Norse religion says that the world is created when Odin and his brothers kill their grandfather Ymir, and throw his corpse into the yawning gap. So a god started the universe. Compatible with Deism.

        Wicca has a bunch of creation myths, but they all usually start with either nothing or a single source becoming two, and the two interacting to produce everything else. Sometimes the two are said to be pre-existing, but they are familiarly related and so can be assumed to come from a single source. Compatible with Deism.

        Hindus start with Brahma, and the various deities and bits of creation flow from that original source.

        Even Satanism starts with an oppressive God who creates everything and throws their hero out of heaven. Satanism, by it’s own ethos, is not compatible with Charity, Brotherly Love, or Truth, but a belief in God is not necessarily the excluding factor.

        If the candidate can answer the question of in whom they place their trust honestly, and have ‘God’ be some correct form of that answer, I think any of these religions works fine. How they define God is immaterial to Freemasonry, the more important thing is that they have a guiding light that is compatible with the light of Masonry.

        For further reading on Masonry and paganism: https://tomrue.net/religion/craft/masonry.htm

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Also:

    Wicca is definitely a religion.

    HOGD is not a religion, but like Freemasonry it has religious elements. The head of one HOGD order, Chic Cicero, is a Freemason, Rosicrucian, and has been in leadership positions in regular freemasonry and the York Rite. He’s also a gnostic bishop.

    OTO is not a religion, but has religious elements. It has a religion associated with it (the Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica) and the orders of the OTO and the orders of the Church overlap, but are not equivalent.

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  3. You mentioned, “The Freemasonic idea of Deity is very Deist.” I have honestly never really thought of this comparison. I have always struggled with my faith because of my deist leanings. It is a personal path obviously that I am on as we all our on our own paths. Very enlightening view point WB Scott.

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