The Initiation Ritual of the Third Degree






The Oasis is open in the Second Degree. The C. has been given the Pass Word, etc. The Tent has been moved to the West of the Well, facing East. The WELL is dry. S. crosses his hands, right over left; W. and E. take them and uncross them again. They then hold them above his head, through, save as stated.

S.: A.

W.: U.

E.: M.

All: (Simultaneously.) AUM.

S.: (Rises.) Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

W.: (Rises.) Love is the Law.

E.: (Rises.) Love under will.

S.: Fellow soldiers, assist me. What is the first duty of a Master Magician?

W.: Most Mysterious Master, to guard the Camp.

S.: Let the Camp be guarded.


W.: Most Mysterious Master, the Camp is duly guarded.

S.: The next duty?

E.: To see that all present are Master Magicians.

S.: To order, fellow soldiers.

(Pose and Sign.)

How many officers has the Camp?

W.: Three visible.

E.: And eight invisible.

S.: Brethren, I am weary. I pray you, bring me water from the well.

(They leave him and report.)

W.: Most Mysterious Master, there is no water in the well.

S.: I pray you, brethren, seek diligently.


E.: Most Mysterious Master, there is a trace of moisture in one corner of the well.

S.: I pray you, give me to drink thereof.

(E. brings the cup, which is of blood and laudanum.)

S.: My brethren the draught is right bitter.

(They replace cup and return.)

S.: I pray you, hold up mine hands.

(Done. S. catches the support of the Tent, and disjoints it, thus causing the tent to fall behind him. They then aid him to grope his way to the altar in the East. As he falls to his knees he grasps the candle stick.)

S.: Fellow-soldiers, the King is dead.

All: Long live the King!

(O.T.O. applause.)


First point: Examination.

Second point: The Oath.

Third point: The Ordeal.

Fourth point: Instruction.


The place is open in the Second Degree.

S.: Fellow-soldiers, Brother …, is to be devoted this night to Our Mystery; he must first give proofs of his worthiness. I will therefore put the necessary questions.

(C. brought by E.)

S.: How were you prepared to be consecrated a Magician?

C.: (Having been taught previously.) I obtained the four powers of the Sphinx.

S.: Which are?

C.: Knowledge, Will, Courage and Silence.

S.: In the Latin language, these are?

C.: Scire, Velle, Audere, Tacere.

S.: Their initials are identical with those of what sentence?

C.: Sub Umbra Alarum Tetragrammaton, or Tahuti, the Master of Magic.

S.: Have you completed your travels with the Sun?

C.: I have fulfilled seventy years.

S.: The sun is setting. Do you pledge your might as a Magician that you will steadily persevere through the ceremony of Devotion to the Degree of a Master Magician?

C.: I do.

S.: This … didst … thou … well.


Do you likewise pledge yourself, under the penalty of your obligation, that you will conceal what I shall now impart to you with the same strict caution as our other secrets?

C.: I do.

S.: Then I will entrust you with the Pass Grip and Pass Word, leading to the Degree to which you seek admission.

The Pass Grip is given by joining hands as you have been taught, and twisting the wrist sharply to the left. The Pass Word is AGAPE, which means LOVE in the Greek language. Look frankly and fearlessly into my eyes, and say with me: There is the dove and there is the serpent. Choose ye well. You will now retire from the Camp to a place prepared, there to undergo the necessary preparations for your Devotion.

(E. takes out C.)


C. is prepared by having cords, with heavy weights, totalling 156 pounds, attached to his shoulders, wrists, waist and ankles. The Camp is opened in the Third Degree. E. goes out, prepares C. and knocks thrice.

During the preparation, all chant solemnly ‘Abide with Me’. etc.

W. opens door.

W.: Whom have you there?

E.: A Magician who devoted himself to our Mystery.

W.: HALT! (W. applies Dagger and Disk to Umbilicus of C.)

S.: Do you vouch that he is properly prepared?

W.: I do.

S.: Admit him in due form.

(C. is led to throne by E.)

S.: (Gives Grip.) What is this?

C.: The Grip or Token of a Magician.

S.: What does it demand?

C.: A word.

S.: Give me that word.

C.: At my initiation I was taught to be cautious; I will letter it with you.

S.: I agree; begin.


S.: What is its import?

C.: The Lord.

S.: (Gives Pass-grip.) What is this?

C.: The Pass-grip, leading from the Second to the Third degree.

S.: What does it demand?

C.: A Pass-word.

S.: Give me that Pass-word.

C.: Agape.

S.: What is its import?

C.: Love.

S.: Pass, Agape.

(E. takes C. to centre.)

S.: Another yet more serious obligation will now be demanded of you; are you willing to take it?

C.: I am.

S.: Officers, do your duty.

(C. is led about the camp, widdershins, his face covered with his own robe, while all chant. O Lord Deliver me, etc.

S.: The Candidate is ready to take the Great Oath?

W.: (Repeats very solemnly, with strong affirmative.)

E.: (Repeats yet more mournfully, affirmative.)

S.: You will place both hands on the Book of the Law, while the disk is applied to your navel.

Repeat your name at length, and say after me: I, …, in the presence of the Powers of Death visible and invisible, and of this Secret place of Masters in the Camp of Magicians, do hereby and hereon most solemnly promise and swear:

Never to reveal

What I learned beneath the Seal

Within the guarded border

Of this Most Holy Order

Unless it be to a True Brother

And not another

And he lustrated

And consecrated

By high permission

A True Magician

And through disaster

A proven Master

Using a perfect portion

Of proper caution

That he be duly

Tested truly

By right divine

Of Grip and Sign.

And of each word

That ye have heard

In full possession

Or else in session

Of such a Camp as this within whose border

I stand, aspiring to the Holy Order

Which I do know

By the letters O.T.O.

S.: Besides the Oath of Secrecy, there are further Oaths peculiar to this degree. You have already, without knowing it, involved yourself in the necessity of taking them. For who understandeth the full end of all his acts?

Say after me:

I further solemnly pledge myself / to obey the Grand Master Baphomet; / to recognize his authority / and his alone; / without regular charter from him / I will not initiate / or purport to initiate / any person / into any association / of any kind / or administer any ceremony / identical with / or resembling in any way / the Ceremonies of Our Order. / I promise always to look with respect and reverence / upon the members of higher grades, / and to aspire steadfastly / and with modesty / to be received into their number. /

I further solemnly pledge myself / so to apply the Four Powers of the Sphinx / as to obtain full control / over my subtle body, / so that I may travel freely therein / upon all spheres as I will / whether my present physical body / be alive or no. /

I further solemnly pledge myself / to maintain the Seven Bonds of Brotherhood; in act as well as in word. /

My hand shall grip in sure relation

As of true brother with true brother;

My foot shall be the firm foundation

Of our straight walking with each other;

My knee bend not in supplication

Either to him or to another

My body shall not do him wrong;

My breast shall keep his secrets close;

My mouth shall speak him truth in song,

My arm defend him from his foes.

(S. places his hands on C’s, and adds weight to his emphasis.)

S.: Most especially / will I keep secret the knowledge / of the Word of this Degree; / I will never utter it / so long as I shall live, / except at the proper moment, / when acting as Master / of a Secret Place of Masters / in a camp of True Magicians, / warranted by charter / under the hand and seal of Baphomet; / lest its sacred virtue be impaired.

All these points / I solemnly swear to observe, / under no less a penalty / than that of being stabbed / in the bowels, / and my carcass / burned to ashes, / that no trace or remembrance of so vile a wretch / may remain among men, / especially Master Magicians. /

(Seal thrice on CCXX, dropping head to Book.)

In the Name of the Secret Master,

(Puts Book to his brow.)

In the name of the O.T.O.

(Puts Dagger to throat.)

By the authority of the Grand Master Baphomet.

(Puts Disk to heart.)

I proclaim you devoted a Master Magician.

(C. rises. The officers give him the kiss of peace.)


S.: O thou! Lord of the West. I hereby invoke upon this Candidate the Powers of Death, as he offers himself to partake with us the Mysterious Secrets of a Master Magician. Endue him with such fortitude that in the hour of trial he fall not, but that, passing safely under Our protection through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, he may rise from the tomb of transgression, to shine as the Stars forever and ever. Aumn. Send the Candidate on his last journey with the Sun.

(W. precedes and E. follows him; they go widdershins. Solemn and slow music; or S. recites the Invocation to Hecate from Orpheus.)

W.: Most Mysterious Master, the Candidate approaches the end of his last journey with the Sun.

S.: Our Brother is weary; let him be refreshed with meat and Drink.

(W. gives him a piece of bread dipped in the bitter cup.)

(The weights are removed.)

S.: You are now entitled to demand that last and greatest trial by which you can be admitted to the SECRETS OF THIS DEGREE.

S.: At your Lustration, you, a naked soul, put on the frail garment of a mortal body. In the Second Degree you were taught how to live; in the Third you will be finally instructed how to die.

S.: Is the Candidate prepared?

E.: The Sun was his Father, and the Moon his mother.

W.: Earth was his nurse, Air bore him in its bosom.

E.: He has been purified with water.

W.: He hath been thrice proclaimed.

S.: Then let him be adorned with the insignia of his rank.

(They take these insignia from S. and invest C., then setting him upon the throne of S.)

S.: Hail, O Most Mysterious Master!

All: Most Mysterious Master, hail, all hail!

S.: Most Mysterious Master, what rites do we that are Master Magicians celebrate in this Secret Place?

C.: I know not.

S.: We are met to commemorate the death of Mansur el-Hallaj.

W.: An ignorant imposter hath intruded into our Camp.

E.: Nay, hath seized upon the very throne of the Most Mysterious Master.

S.: Let him be stripped of his ornaments, and bound to the Pole of My tent.


S.: What does he merit who hath usurped the Power of the Master?

W.: Death.

E.: Wait. Let us remember the purpose for which we are to come together.

S.: It is Well.


S.: Mansur el-Hallaj was an initiate of our Holy Order, and had come to full comprehension of his nature. He was therefore wont to cry aloud in the market-place of his City: I am the Truth, and in my Turban is wrapped nothing but God! The ignorant and unworthy populace began to accuse him of blasphemy, so that a council of twelve elders was convened to consider his case. Our Brother was acquitted by the votes of nine of these men, three only being for his execution, but even the majority adjudged him guilty of imprudence, and sentenced him to be bound to a pole or cross, there to be mocked and scourged, and spat upon.

(Done. C. has to erect pole himself.)

S.: Let the Candidate be released.


My Brother, let me congratulate you upon the fortitude with which you have undergone the same punishment as our ancient Master. This wise man, profiting by the lesson so severely taught him, refrained from further imprudence, and retired to an Oasis in the Desert, where was a Well. In this secluded spot, it became his custom to greet the Sun at noon with these words: I am the Truth and in my Turban is wrapped nothing but God.

(During this, C. is led to the Well.)

But the Master had not reckoned upon the malice of those three men, implacable and atrocious. They took counsel together, and, since they could not gratify their hatred by judicial means, resolved upon no less a crime than his assassination. Being informed by spies of the Secret Place where they might find the Master, they repaired thither and discovered him at the hour of sunset, in the very act of adoration.

(Gives Life Sign of Second Degree. C. imitates him.)

Thus the first, advancing upon him, cried, ‘Who art thou?’ to which Our Brother in his ecstasy replied, ‘I am the Truth, and in my Turban is wrapped nothing but God’. Upon this the assassin hurled a stone which struck him upon the left breast, throwing him to the ground.


Satisfied with the success of his abominable design the murderer retired; but the second assassin approaching, saw that Our Brother had recovered himself; and in his turn cried ‘Who art thou?’ So fixed was Our Brother in his realization, that he replied as before, ‘I am the Truth and in my Turban is wrapped nothing but God’. The villain, enraged at such persistence, picked up a stone, and hurled it. It struck Our Brother upon the right breast, once more hurling him to the ground.


It was now the turn of the arch assassin and prime mover of this crime to assure himself that Our Brother was dead; but on his approach, he found that, although faint and bleeding from the determined assaults upon him, he had staggered to his feet, so that he might pay proper salutation to the Sun, with whom he knew himself one and individible. The furious wretch exclaimed: ‘Who art thou?’ and Our Brother, with a supreme effort, fixed his eyes upon the last ray of the sun as it sank, and cried, ‘I am the Truth, and in my Turban is wrapped nothing but God’.

At that, the chief of the assassins picked up yet another stone, which struck Our Brother on the forehead, and laid him lifeless at his feet.


Then to make double sure, he stabbed the Master in the throat with a dagger, and his blood gushed out upon the disk or platter from which he was wont to eat. Summoning his accomplices, he directed them to conceal the corpse within the Well of the Oasis.


Which, although it had served to quench his thirst for many days, was found to be entirely dry, as though it had expired in sympathy with him. Now, the evening having fallen, it came to pass that the disciples of Our Brother became alarmed at his continued absence, and they organized a party to seek him. These men divided themselves into four sections to proceed to the Well, each to a cardinal point of the compass. A little before dawn, they again met at the Well, to report the result of their search.

Worthy Wazir, have you sought to the North of the Well?

W.: I have.

S.: What did you find?

W.: No trace of Our Brother.

S.: Noble Emir, have you sought to the East of the Well?

E.: I have.

S.: What did you find?

E.: No trace of Our Brother.

S.: Worthy Wazir, have you sought to the South of the Well?

W.: I have.

S.: What did you find?

W.: No trace of Our Brother.

S.: Noble Emir, have you sought to the West of the Well?

E.: I have.

S.: What did you find?

E.: No trace of Our Brother.

S.: Then let us seek him within the Well itself.

(They raise the coping stone.)

S.: Brethren, the Master is slain, yet his Word lives, for here, behold is written in his blood, upon the floor of this dry well, ‘An’el Haqq’, which is to say, ‘I am the Truth’, Noble Emir, do you know the Word by which man is raised from death to life?

E.: I do.

S.: Make trial of that Word.

(Word of First.)

E.: The Word is in vain.

(Repeat with W. and Word of Second.)

E.: Shall nothing endure but the Truth?

W.: Will you not make trial of the Word of a Master Magician?

S.: It is my will.

(W. and E. take C. from Well and support him.)

I am bound to Our Brother by Seven Bonds of Brotherhood.

My hand gripped his in sure relation.

(Point by point done as said.)

As of true brother with true brother;

My foot was ever firm foundation

Of our straight walking with each other;

My knee bent not in supplication

Either to him or to another.

My body did not do him wrong;

My bosom kept his secrets close;

My mouth spoke forth his truth in song;

My arm his warden from his foes.

E.: And do these bonds endure through time?

S.: Noble Emir, they do.

W.: How so?

S.: By virtue of the word of a Master Magician.

The first letter is of silence.


The second is of breath …

Our Brother breathes.

The third letter is of going …

Our brother moves.

The fourth letter is of generation.

Our brother stands rejoicing.


All: He lives in the son.

(O.T.O. applause. All return.)

S.: Let the Candidate be taken from the Secret Place, and restored to his former attire as a magician; after which I will confer upon him the keys to the treasure of Our Sacred Knowledge.



S.: I now entrust you with the Secrets of this Degree. Advance to me as a Magician.


You will now take a third step as before, with the left foot; for Three represents the return of the Two to the One, but after another manner. And herein lieth a great Mystery, beyond the understanding even of a Master Magician.

It is in this position that the Secrets of this Degree are communicated.

They consist of a Sign, a Grip and a Word. As in the First Degree, the sign was single, in the Second double, so in the Third Degree it is triple.

FIRST, is the Sign of Mystery. Clenching the fingers of the right hand, touch with the thumb, the forehead, the right breast, the left breast and finally the throat. This is in commemoration of the wounds of the Ancient Master, and by their position they form a triangle with a point in the focus thereof, which is called CENTRUM IN TRIGONO CENTRI.

SECOND is the Sign of Resurrection. Clenching the right hand as usual, touch the navel with the thumb. Then draw the hand sharply across the body, and drop it smartly to the side; then bring it upwards with a curving motion, slowly, to the navel. This sign demands a word, and this word is AN’EL HAQQ. The other replies: I am the Truth and within my Turban is wrapped nothing but God.

THIRD is the Sign of Brotherhood; which includes the Grip. This is given by approaching with clenched hands, backs upwards, and then reciprocally grasping the thumbs. Three distinct pressures are then given. One says:

‘I give my hand in sure relation.’

The other answers:

‘As of true brother with true brother.’

Approach the feet, so that the right foot of each is between the two feet of the other. One says:

‘I pledge my foot for firm foundation.’

The other answers:

‘Of our straight walking with each other.’

Touch the right knees and say together:

‘My knees bend not in supplication

Either to you or to another’.

Advancing the lower part of the torso, say:

‘My body doth not do you wrong.’

The other, advancing the breast, replies:

‘My bosom keeps your secrets close.’

The first, putting his mouth to the other’s ear:

‘My mouth speaks to you, truth in song.’

The second, putting his mouth to the ear of the first, while both throw the left arm over the back of the other:

‘My arm defends you from your foes.’

This Sign and Grip combined, demands a Word. It is the Word by which I raised you, the Word by which we triumph over death. This word is too sacred to utter on any other occasion; and you will therefore say instead of it, a sentence whose initials are formed from the letters of the Word taken in reverse order: This sentence is …, which means:

Now is the blessing of Death at hand.

Be seated, Brother Master Magician, in the throne of the Most Mysterious Master of the Secret Place of Masters.


S.: I am now to impress upon you the Nature of the Bonds which link the Brethren of this Degree. By the union of hands we affirm that the hand given to a Master Magician is a sure pledge of brotherhood, and that it shall never take weapon to assail him; the union of feet is to declare that each shall support his Brother Master Magician, in the Way of his Going; the union of knees, that each shall be self-reliant and independent, not allowing mutual help to destroy mutual self-respect; and affirming that every man and every woman is a star, responsible to itself alone, co-equal and co-eternal with every other God. The union of bodies signifies that the use of the bodily functions shall be such as to bring no grief to any Brother Master Magician, or to them of his household; but rather freedom in rejoicing. The union of breasts implies the unison of the hearts of all True Brethren, the love that inspires them, and the sanctity of the confidence between them. The union of mouths affirms that Master Magicians will speak the truth one to another and one of another; while the arm thrown over the back of a brother asserts that each will guard the other in his absence as in his presence, and defend his honour as if it were his own. In particular he is to be at pains to repel the slanderer of his Brother’s good name, informing that Brother immediately of the name of his Slanderer, and the matter of the slander, and not allowing himself to be tricked into a pledge of secrecy. I ask you, Brother Master Magician, if you clearly understand, and heartily agree, these principles?

C.: (With sign.) I do.

E.: It now becomes my duty to inform you that the ceremony through which you have just passed, is in every essential the Lesser or Infernal Rite of the Slain God, whose name is John, or some sound similar, as Jonah, Dionysus, Janus, Dianus, Nu, Anu, Oannes, On, Noah, and many others. This God of Water is of the North, because the Sun touches his Northern limit as he enters the watery sign Cancer, and turns towards the South, represented by the Goat-Gods, Set, Had, Hades, Adad, Odin, Adonis, Adonii, Atys, etc., who are of the earthly sign Capricornus, the southern limit of the Sun’s journey. As the end of Summer is in Libra, the cardinal sign of air, the Gods of Water partake also of the airy nature, and similarly, the Earthy Gods have their natures intermixed with fire, since the end of Winter announces the fiery sign of Aries, whose mysteries are those of Spring and called the Greater Mysteries, wherein the Slain God is celebrated by his name Iao, Jupiter, Jehovah, Iacchis, Zeus, Shu, Jesus, Osiris, etc. The ignorance of the vulgar and the corruption of the records have aided Time’s work of confusing the doctrines, so that the natures of distinct Gods have suffered the accretion of alien elements till their simplicity has almost baffled restoration.

This Infernal Rite, of which you are now an initiate, is founded on the apparent tragedy of the fall of the year, seen as a catastrophe by ignorant minds, though the philosophical comprehend the phenomenon as the natural, regular and recurrent change in the obliquity of the Earth’s Axis. With this ceremony of the renewal of the life of the Sun, is mingled that of what the wise men of old regarded as a similar tragedy, that of the death of man and his renewal ‘in the son’. Let me ask you to consider, Brother Master Magician, that as the solar tragedy is but the uninformed and partial views of acts, so may the human prove. Of this your progress in Our Order may give you opportunity to judge.

W.: (To S.) Most Mysterious Master of the Time past, will you not bequeath to your successor a double portion of your spirit, and bestow upon him from the shades a mark of your divine favour?

S.: It is my will.

(Gives C. his insignia, and affixes O.T.O.)

(Places candle in his hand.)

W.: (To C.) Most Mysterious Master, the Secret Place of Masters is never closed. It is dissolved into ecstasy, and I request you to order that this may be done.

(O.T.O. applause.)


W.: Let the Word of the God John be heard of us.

(Orator reads — I am that I am to end of Crowley’s Mystery-play The Ship.)