So you want to apply for a Charter as Master of a new Camp of Ordo Templi Orientis?
Well, the answer is No.
Unless, that is, you can convince the Electoral College that the Camp will benefit the Order and the initiates in your area, and that you are the right person to lead it. You will need to understand the effort that is needed to create a viable Camp that will grow and mature. You will also need to gain the skills needed to lead a functioning body, and to demonstrate that you and the other potential members are committed to making that effort.
The Camp in Formation Program
The Camp in Formation (CIF) Program is a resource offered by the Electoral College in support of individual Initiates who are working toward applying for a Chartered Camp of Ordo Templi Orientis. Please view the Camp in Formation Organizer Guidelines for more information on the CIF Program. While participation in this program is not mandatory, it is strongly encouraged. Participation in the program also makes resources available to aspiring Camp Masters, such as access to a Mentor and to the LB-Leadership-USGL email list.
Requirements for Starting a New Camp
Please view the EC Criteria for Camp, Oases, and Lodges to find the minimum standards set by the Electoral College for the three levels of local body. Camps are the most basic level of local body, while Oases and Lodges grow out of Camps.
Under present policy, it takes a minimum of three initiates to start a new Camp. The prospective master must be at least Third Degree and two of the other prospective members must be of at least the First Degree. Also, the name you use for your prospective Camp cannot have been used for another local body in recent history.
To charter a new Camp, you must submit a completed Application for Camp Charter to the Electoral College. You can obtain the Application for Camp Charter Form by emailing the Document Control Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org. A check or money order payable to "Ordo Templi Orientis USA" in the amount of $30.00 must be submitted with the application, to cover processing costs.
If you have any questions regarding the Camp application procedure, e-mail the Electoral College Secretary at email@example.com.
Additional Resources for Aspiring Camp Masters
Mentorship Program: All local body masters below the Fifth Degree and Camp in Formation Organizers must have a formal EC mentor. A mentor is also available to any local body master who requests one, regardless of degree. The mentor functions as a consultant to the local body master or CIF Organizer, making him- or herself available to answer questions and facilitate communication between the local body master and the Electoral College. To learn more about this service, please read about The Mentorship Program.
Kaaba Colloquium: The Kaaba Colloquium is a Thelemic Leadership Seminar offered for local body masters, officers, and interested initiates of the First Degree and above as a service of U.S. Grand Lodge, O.T.O. It happens semiannually, in varying locations around the country. For more information, please view the Kaaba Colloquium website.
Frequently Asked Questions
• How do I get three Initiates together when there is no local body?
It is perfectly legitimate to seek out other Thelemites who may be drawn to the Order in your area, perhaps with a query on a local e-list, or by putting up notices in local occult bookstores or similar venues, asking interested Thelemites to contact you. You cannot describe yourself as an official Camp or local body of O.T.O. Rather, the gist has to be that those who might be interested in forming such a body can reach you at such and such an address, or email, or meeting place.
If you turn up a potential cadre of initiates, it is the group's responsibility to get in touch with the nearest initiating local body, to meet people who might be willing to sponsor candidates, to get paperwork filed, and to arrange to travel to that local body for the initiations. If people aren't willing to put out that much effort, they aren't likely to stick to the work through the slings and arrows that are likely to assail any new Camp.
• What else do we do while sitting around waiting for initiations?
If we really have to answer that, you aren't likely to get much of a Camp going! Does one person have skill in an area of magick that he or she can teach to others? Yes? Then hold classes. Are all of you completely familiar with the Holy Books? No? Then get together to read them and pestilentially discuss what they mean to you. Is there some field of magical or mystical effort some of you want to learn? Yes? Then get together to share that process, or perhaps find someone knowledgeable who is willing to come demonstrate what they know to the group.
• Is the EC opposed on principle to chartering multiple bodies in a given geographic area?
Some of the Electors are, and some aren't. Consequently, if you would like to start a Camp in an area that already has a local body, loosely defined as within an hour's driving distance from the existing body, you are going to have to convince a majority of seated Electors that you have a really valid reason for starting one; that your Camp would add to the Order's presence in that area in a positive way and expand the total membership of the area; and that you and your prospective officers, if you have any, are actively invested in fostering sustained harmonious relations with the local bodies nearest to you. In short, you face a harder task than if you were simply trying to open a local body in an undeveloped area, but it's not an impossible or hopeless task by any means.