Whether psychological or physical, ordeals form an important part of many initiatory traditions. TTO supports Ordeal-based Side Degrees or supplementary activities through the Order General and with the special attention of the Initiatory Branch.
Ordeals are often, though not always, things we’d rather not do, but undertake in order to in some way prove or test ourselves, or to provoke a mental or spiritual transformation. Ordeals are one of the most ancient components of human spirituality and can be reliably traced back to the earliest human records.
The definition of an ordeal varies from person to person. For one person an ordeal may be the simple act of being blindfolded, or being stripped of street clothing in preparation for being robed in front of a group, both common elements of some Masonic or post-Masonic initiations.
For others an Ordeal might be long isolation, or a suspension from hooks.
Because of the attachments of our culture to sex, sexual activity in ritual may constitute an ordeal for some people.
It really depends on the individual.
There is no special designation for “ordeals,” though there is an attempt to provide robust education on consent and safety to empower those rituals which would be considered “ordeals” to be successful, as well as creating an awareness among Local Masters when activities should be viewed from an ordeal perspective.
The Initiatory Arm works together with the Deputy Secretary for Education of the Order General to promote safer procedures and consent practices for Ordeals inside and outside of TTO.
At the same time we work to create an awareness of the legitimacy of Ordeal based ritual within the wider Thelemic and Magical communities.