There are hundreds if not thousands of secret societies around the world. Many of them are names that are recognized by most. Others are less well-known but have been around as long or are closely related. One such secret society is the Ordo Templis Orientis.
The Ordo Templis Orientis was founded right after the turn of the 20th century by Carl (Karl) Kellner and Theodore Reuss in Germany. Kellner traveled for several years and claimed to have met three men called, Adepts, and a group who called themselves the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. Upon arriving in Germany, Kellner met with Reuss and discussed what he had learned on his journey. They began the society as the Academia Masonica. Each man was a member of the Freemasons and wanted to extend the Masonic teachings. Most Masons rejected the proposed changes leading the Academia Masonica to become unaffiliated with the older society.
Though the founding of the society can be traced to around 1904, the actual history of what influenced it goes much further. The Ordo Templis Orientis (O.T.O.) claim many traditions that can be traced to the Pagan Mystery Schools, the Illuminate, Rosicrucian, Knights Templar, Gnostics, and the Freemasons. They have mimicked these groups in have multiple layers of membership and leadership with a select few who are able to make it to the Inner Circle where the true leadership lies and all secrets are revealed. Men and women were allowed from the beginning in the Ordo Templis Orientis.
Their current website of the U.S. branch says that they are also known as the Order of Oriental Templars and the Order of the Temple of the East. They are “dedicated to the high purpose of securing the Liberty of the Individual and his or her advancement in Light, Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Power through Beauty, Courage, and Wit, on the Foundation of Universal Brotherhood.”
Their similarities with other well-known secret societies have brought them periodically under scrutiny. The follow their own Book of the Law and are looked at as a mystic organization. There have been for many years rumors of satanic rituals, murder, child abuse, and witchcraft. All of these have given the O.T.O. an appearance of the occult and brought them into the public and legal eye many times.
Why have so few heard of them? Why has the world heard of the Freemasons and Skull and Bones? When famous and powerful people belong to a secret organization, that society is automatically feared. With so few famous members, the O.TO. has been able to keep a much lower profile though a very sinister one. What the truth really is may never be known.