Style Guide

This style guide is intended for use in preparing all official publications of U.S. Grand Lodge, O.T.O., with Agapé and the U.S.G.L. website as primary examples. It draws on an earlier document by Sabazius.

O.T.O. and Thelemic terms

Some technical terms are used in OTO documents frequently enough to warrant direct consideration here.

Term

Usage / Example

brethren

not capitalized.

brother(s), sister(s)

Not capitalized unless preceding the civil name of a member.

Camp, Oasis, Lodge

Always capitalized when used as local body category names.

Chapter

Always capitalize when referring to a body of Rose Croix.

Camp Master, Oasis Master, Lodge Master

Rather than Campmaster, etc. See master, past master for capitalization style info.

the/a committee

Do not capitalize, even if referring to a Committee of Four, unless "the/a Committee of Four" is written in full.

Committee of Four

Always capitalize when referring to the committee described in Liber 194; when calling it "the Committee of Four," do not capitalize "the."

Electoral College

Capitalize when referring to a specific college. e.g., "the Electoral College" in a publication within a specific Grand Lodge is assumed to refer to the college in that nation, and should be capitalized; note "the" is not capitalized. In "there are now two electoral colleges in the world," it is not capitalized.

High Priestess

Always capitalize when referring to the office within a Chapter of Rose Croix.

initiate(s)

Not capitalized.

local body

Not capitalized.

Lover Triad

Rather than Lover's Triad or similar.

magical, magician

Rather than magickal, magickian; not capitalized.

Man of Earth Triad

Rather than Man-of-Earth Triad; always capitalized.

Most Wise Sovereign

Always capitalize when referring to the office within a Chapter of Rose Croix.

master, past master

Not capitalized for general use, but capitalized for specific, titular use, e.g., "red books are the responsibility of the local body master," "Soror A.U.M., Past Master of the Lodge," and, "past masters of local bodies are often more than willing to help with the ongoing work of the local body."

Minerval (and any other degree titles)

Always capitalize; italicize when referring to the script.

Novitiate, novice

Novitiate is the name of the program; novices are the clergy in training. (e.g., Soror A.U.M. is a novice priestess in the Novitiate Program of the E.G.C.). See master, past master for capitalization style info.

O.T.O.

When referring to O.T.O., do not include "the." (i.e., "O.T.O." instead of "the O.T.O.")

priest, priestess, deacon, bishop

These words are not capitalized unless they are part of someone's title, e.g., "everyone who knows Bishop Pelagius knows a bishop of the E.G.C.")

Rose Croix

Always capitalize. Do not use + between the full words when referring to the body of initiates described in Liber 194. When abbreviated as part of a Chapter name, a + should appear between the letters, e.g. "Babalon Chapter R+C".

S.G.I.G.

Avoid pluralizing the abbreviation. When possible, use the indefinite article. Example: "What would an S.G.I.G. do?" is preferable to, "What would S.G.I.G.s do?" When pluralization is necessary, spell out and pluralize the title if it is not too cumbersome, i.e., "Sovereign Grand Inspectors General." When the best option is to pluralize the abbreviation, do not use an apostrophe.

Sovereign Grand Inspector(s) General

Always capitalize.

Tau vs. T

Use either as preferred by the bishop referred to. If used posthumously, attempt to find an example of the bishop's preference in their own writing. If no preference can be discovered, or for non-specific use, "T" (and, if applicable, TT) is standard, with no period.

Thelema, Thelemite, Thelemic

Always capitalize.

Civil and magical names

Civil names of O.T.O. Members may optionally be preceded by the terms Brother or Sister. Magical names should be preceded at least on first reference with the terms Frater or Soror. After first use in a given document, the latter may be abbreviated as Fr. and Sr. respectively.

Brother, Sister

Used for civil names.

Frater, Soror

Used for magical mottoes

Abbreviations (Fr., Sr.)

Used on:

  • Table of Contents and list of the U.S.G.L. officers

  • after first use in a given document

  • otherwise only if space is needed due to extraordinary circumstances.



In the case of crediting a writer on the page where their submission is printed, their name is listed exactly as in their submission, which may or may not include a fraternal title of any kind.

Internet issues

When preparing text for the web, website links should normally appear as appropriate anchor text, with the underlying address invisible. Email addresses should be rendered in user viewable form as a hyperlink to a mailto: URL for that address (e.g., "Contact us at webmaster@oto-usa.org if you have comments").

When rendering website addresses in printed text, the site's domain name without further decoration should be used if reference is being made to the entire site (e.g., "The best source of information about NOTOCON is the notocon.org website").

URLs and e-mail addresses are underlined. Do not include protocol (e.g., http or mailto), leading or trailing slashes, unless they are necessary for correct behavior. This is for space concerns, given the typically narrow width of columns. Do not make the URL a “hyperlink” in the final layout; doing so may interfere in backward PDF compatibility.

If a specific page URL must be specified, wrap the full URL in parentheses, or place it on its own line, to help visually separate it from surrounding text, especially punctuation (e.g., "If you visit the local body list (http://oto-usa.org/bodies.html), you will find that there are currently 45 local bodies in the United States").

All email and website addresses should retain their "natural" capitalization. In general, this will mean lowercase for email addresses, domain names, and the "protocol" portion (http) of the URL. The path part of the URL (following the domain name) can be mixed case, and should be reproduced verbatim, preferably after confirming the URL works properly as given.

The proper abbreviation of electronic mail is e-mail (with a hyphen) for printed text.

Abbreviations

Abbreviations in which each letter is spoken separately should be written with periods following each letter (e.g., E.G.C., O.T.O., U.S.G.L.). Abbreviations which are spoken as single words (acronyms) should be written without periods (e.g., NOTOCON).

Common noun abbreviations which are used in the plural may omit periods. (e.g., "URLs") Such constructions should, however, be avoided if it is not overly cumbersome or obfuscating to spell out the abbreviation. (e.g., "Uniform Resource Locator" is not a widely recognized term, but URL is. On the other hand, "Powers That Be" is better than "PTBs.")

As a special case, the abbreviation for era vulgaris is EV (no periods, small capitals). It should be separated by a space from the date to which it applies (e.g., "January 2, 1987 EV").

The abbreviation for Mysteria Maxima Mystica should be written with Masonic honor dots (M∴M∴M∴), as should the name A∴A∴ and the degree abbreviations P∴M∴ and P∴I∴. The "M" abbreviations for the first through third degrees are somewhat archaic, but if they are used, they should take one, two, and three dots respectively, as shown in Liber LII.  No other abbreviations should be written with honor dots except in quoting material which did so in the original text. The honor dots do not constitute punctuation, and thus should e.g. be followed with a period when they occur at the end of a sentence, as in the first sentence of this paragraph.

Date format

  • Common calendar dates: use long date format (e.g., January 23, 2005 EV)

  • Thelemic dates: use astrological symbols where possible.

Titles

  • Titles of publications, recordings, and other media will be in italics. Additionally, nicknames, short names, or translations of titles, when used instead of title will be treated as title; that is, capitalize and italicize. Examples:

    • Liber OZ is also known as the Rights of Man.

    • Liber OZ is a listing of the various rights of Man, using words with only syllable. ("Rights of Man" is not being used in this instance in place of a title.)

    • I recited the Rights of Man.

    • I attended a performance of the Gnostic Mass at TAHUTI Lodge.

  • Titles of classes, presentations, seminars, etc. are headline-capitalized. No quotes, no italics, unless something within the title requires it. (e.g., An Introduction to the Book of Thoth by Aleister Crowley). If the class or presentation title is used in a sentence where the lack of formatting would cause confusion, underline may be used, but care should be taken to ensure that this does not cause undue inconsistency within a single publication or issue.

Occasions

The terms "lesser feast" and "greater feast" should be avoided. For an individual's birth or death, simply use those words or equivalents. For the celebration of a birth, use "feast for life". For a remembrance of a recently deceased individual (i.e. a funeral), use "feast for death". So, for example, it is incorrect to write "Brother Bob celebrated his Greater Feast on June 1", or "Brother Bob celebrated his feast for death on June 1". But it is correct to write "Brother Bob died on June 1, and his friends celebrated his feast for death three days later."

Grammatical issues

  • Colons used after an underlined title or text are not underlined.

  • Em-dashes (—) have no space before or after use.

For more information

For most questions of style and usage, use the following references:

  • Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, 4th edition (ISBN 020530902X)

  • Merriam-Webster OnLine (http://www.m-w.com/)

For more specific and/or technical questions concerning style and usage, use the following references:

  • Chicago Manual of Style, 14th edition or later (ISBN 0226104036)

  • Fowler's Modern English Usage (ISBN 0198610211)

  • Oxford English Dictionary (ISBN 0198612583)


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