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 O.T.O. documents frequently enough to warrant direct consideration here.
- brethren: Not capitalized.
- brother(s), sisters(s): Not capitalized unless preceding the civil name(s) of a member or a list of members.
- Camp, Oasis, Lodge: Always capitalized when used as local body category names.
- Chapter: Always capitalized when referring to a body of Rose Croix.
- Camp Master, Oasis Master, Lodge Master: Rather than Campmaster, etc. See master and past master for capitalization style.
- 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 CXCIV; 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 as shown.
- 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.
- Most Wise Sovereign: Always capitalize when referring to the office within a Chapter of Rose Croix.
- Novitiate, novice: "Novitiate" is the name of the program, and is capitalized; "novice" is the term for a particular person undergoing training for service in the clergy, and is not capitalized. 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.
- O.T.O.: Do not include "the" (i.e., "O.T.O." rather than "the O.T.O."). In body text, include periods but omit spaces (i.e., "O.T.O." rather than "OTO" or "O. T. O."). When brevity is important (e.g. in the titles of web pages), the periods may be omitted ("OTO").
- 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.". See also Styles of Address: EGC.
- Rose Croix: Always capitalize. Do not use + between the full words when referring to the body of initiates described in Liber CXCIV. When abbreviated as part of a Chapter name, a + should appear between the letters, e.g. "Proserpente 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 names or mottoes.
- Abbreviations (Fr., Sr.): Uses include:
- Tables of contents, lists of U.S.G.L. officers, and similar contexts.
- After the first reference (with "Frater" or "Soror" written in full) in a given document.
- In contexts requiring unusual brevity, as determined by authors and editors.
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.
Website links should normally appear as appropriate anchor text, with the underlying address invisible. E.g., to direct readers to the U.S.G.L. Treasury website, it is better to write "Further information is available on the U.S.G.L. Treasury website" than "Further information is available at https://treasury.oto-usa.org/". If an entire site is best referenced by its domain name, use the free-standing domain name as the link text, with that link leading to the site. E.g., "The best source of information about the U.S.G.L. Treasury is treasury.oto-usa.org."
Email addresses should be rendered in visible form as a hyperlink to a mailto: URL for that address (e.g., "Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have comments"). Not all browser configurations handle mailto URLs properly; making the address visible allows users to fall back to copying and pasting the address.
When referring to internet resources in printed text:
- When referring to an entire website, only the site's domain name should appear, underlined. E.g. "More information can be found at treasury.oto-usa.org."
- URLs and e-mail addresses are underlined. Simplify URLs as much as possible; this typically includes dropping the protocol specifier (http:// or https://) and trimming trailing characters if the result is still functional -- e.g. "oto-usa.org/locations" rather than "https://oto-usa.org/locations/". Do not make the URL a hyperlink in the final layout; doing so may interfere in backward PDF compatibility.
- All email and website addresses should use "natural" internet capitalization. In general, this will mean lowercase for email addresses, domain names, and the protocol portion (http/https) of the URL if it is present. The path part of the URL (following the domain name) can be mixed case, and should be reproduced verbatim.
- Always manually confirm that web and email addresses which will appear in print actually work when typed verbatim into a browser or email client.
In material intended for the general public or less experienced members, write each term in full once before later using its abbreviation. The abbreviation may appear in parentheses following that first use for added clarity. E.g. "Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (E.G.C.) is a religious organization. Through E.G.C, we provide..." On a public website, this should be done on each page if practical; there is no predicting which page a visitor will read first.
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.). The periods may be omitted when brevity is important, e.g. in web page titles. 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 if possible). 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.
- Common calendar dates: Use long date format (e.g., January 23, 2005 EV) when space permits.
- Thelemic dates: Use astrological symbols where possible. See the Thelemic calendar page on the public U.S.G.L. website for more information and resources.
- Titles of publications, recordings, and other media should be capitalized and italicized. Additionally, nicknames, short names, or translations of titles, when used in place of those titles, will be treated as titles; that is, capitalized and italicized. 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 celebration 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.
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."
- 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
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)