- What is the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight®?
- Is the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® some kind of sect or a church?
- What are your aims?
- What do you mean by "magic" and "esoteric sciences"?
- Is there a school building somewhere?
- What is your viewpoint on magic?
- Are you affiliated with any other organisations?
- What is your attitude towards organized religion?
- I am already a member of a spiritual movement. How does this relate to becoming a member of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight®?
- What is meant by a "contacted School"?
- Is your Course a Qabalistic one?
- Do I have to believe in God?
- Do I have to meditate for hours on end?
- Do I have to travel anywhere to follow your course?
- Are your courses compatible with modern life?
- Do I learn how to do rituals?
- Do I get a personal tutor?
- Am I free to leave the school whenever I wish?
- How long will it take me to complete the First Degree course?
- What? Five years?
- Will it make me psychic?
- I'm already psychic, how will it affect me?
- How much does membership cost?
- I am not a member of the Order. Is it possible for me to have a coaching session with you?
- What are your conditions to participate in workshops and classes?
- Isn’t occult instruction supposed to be free of charge?
- Who is Ina Cüsters-van Bergen?
- What is Alchemy?
- What is Magic?
- What is Angelic Magic?
- What is Meditation?
- What do I learn in a Hermetic Training Institute?
- What is Mythology?
- What is Hermetics?
- What is Kabbala?
- What about psychism and paranormal experiences?
- What is Occultism?
1. What is the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight ®?
The name of the school is abbreviated as OTLA; is the shortcut for Ordo Templi Lucis Asterum, the Latin name meaning Order of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight®. We are a modern Western Mystery School, which teaches as well in classes as through correspondence.
The curriculum deals with the so-called esoteric sciences, which are the Western equivalent of the Eastern Yoga systems. The Western system is just as effective and noble as the Eastern systems, and they both lead to the same ultimate goal: integration of the psyche and soul and a direct knowledge of the spiritual realities which underlie manifestation.
2. Is the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® some kind of sect or a church?
Absolutely not. We are a school. We teach, and the school is organized as a loose structure precisely in order to avoid any sectarianism and to encourage independence and free thinking. We do not interfere in our members' private lives or belief systems.
3. What are your aims?
The Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® is a non-profit organisation and the aim of OTLA is to help in spreading the esoteric knowledge in an ethical way to all who want to receive it, regardless of religion, sex, nationality, race, age, social status.
4. What do you mean by "magic" and "esoteric sciences"?
Magic is the Science of the Sacred that was taught at universities until the Renaissance. Then the division between science and religion took place, and three archaic sciences – Alchemy, Magic, and Astrology – found no place in the new structure, and the knowledge of these techniques were taken under the care of the so called ‘Secret Brotherhoods’.
Magic is simply the Yoga of the West. It has the same ultimate goal as the Eastern systems: that of service to, and ultimately union with the Divine, no matter how we define the term (or not, as the case may be). Its methods are especially suited to Western students. The esoteric sciences are the tools that allow us to pursue this path of spiritual development. Some of these tools are meditation, contemplation and ritual.
5. Is there a school building somewhere?
No. The Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight ® is partly based on the Internet. The daily work on the meditation course is undertaken in the student's own home. Interaction between the student and their supervisors takes place mainly through email.
The Temple Training and workshops are given in rooms rented especially for that occasion. Here groups of students meet and here is the opportunity to meet your supervisor in person.
6. What is your viewpoint on magic?
Magic and sorcery are not the same thing. The technology of magic is neutral. It is the intention of the operator which determines whether the magic is black or white. For this reason, occult schools have carefully screened their candidates throughout the ages. This school is concerned only with serving the forces of the Light. The aim of occult training is, ultimately, to enable the student to become a conscious collaborator with these high spiritual forces.
7. Are you affiliated with any other organisations?
The Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® is not dependant on any other organisation on the earth-plane. As an organisation, we do not take any stand on political or religious issues. We are, however, descended from the Golden Dawn Tradition.
8. What is your attitude towards organized religion?
There are many paths to the Light, and all true Paths are worthy of respect. One of the first things an occultist has to learn is tolerance and understanding of other religions. We do not force any particular religious viewpoint on our students and there is no pressure to conform in any way.
9. I am already a member of a spiritual movement. How does this relate to becoming a member of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight®?
We are open for people from all kinds of religious and social movements and regard tolerance and independence as core values. We respect the spiritual practices of other organizations. However not all the spiritual practices mix with our system. When you are actively practicing an inner tradition we advice you to contact HQ to synchronize the different systems.
Our Eggregore cordially welcomes all the people who are seriously interested in practicing the spiritual exercises of our Temple. It guarantees an atmosphere of comradeship. At the same time it acts as a protecting mechanism, on the moment that our tolerance and openness are misused for recruiting on behalf of other organizations, or for networking from a commercial point of view.
10. What is meant by a "contacted School"?
A properly contacted school is a school founded and actively headed by the Inner Plane Adepti, the Masters on the Inner Planes. Different traditions have different names for them – the Great White Lodge, the College of Adepts, the Ascended Masters, the Communion of Saints, the Perfected Ones, the Withdrawn Order, the Elder Brethren, the College of the Holy Spirit, the Inner Order, the True and Invisible Rosicrucian Order, etc. The earth-plane head of a contacted school has to be psychic enough to be able to communicate with them. The influence of the Inner Plane Adepti is transmitted through the group mind of the contacted school to all within its sphere of influence. This tends to accelerate the development of the students. Read also 'What is psychism?'
11. Is your Course a Qabalistic one?
The Masters behind the school are Egyptian. We use the Qabalistic Tree as a connecting thread throughout the course, because this has been the foundation of the Western Mystery Tradition. The course itself is eclectic. It uses the structure of the Kabbalistic Tree to explain the different traditions of the Western Mystery Tradition.
12. Do I have to believe in God?
Not necessarily, but a belief in some kind of a higher force or guiding power can be of great help. Atheists rarely feel the urge to do this kind of work, but we do have a number of agnostics working at the training.
13. Do I have to meditate for hours on end?
No. A thirty-minute meditation, that is necessary. However, it has to be a daily meditation. The First Degree Course is designed to help you acquire this habit.
14. Do I have to travel anywhere to follow your course?
The correspondence course is designed to be done in your home. Interaction between supervisors and students mainly takes place over email.
The classes are in the Netherlands, and occasionally in Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom. You can look under ‘Events’ to see the dates.
15. Are your courses compatible with modern life?
Yes. In fact, it is essential that you have a firm grip of your daily realities. Occult development must never become an escape from the normal duties of everyday life. Contrary to popular opinion, esoteric development is not glamorous – it is a lot of hard work over a prolonged period of time, requiring perseverance, patience and dedication. Properly done, it should not take a major chunk out of your life. All you need to reserve for the work is 30-45 minutes each day to meditate, do the exercises and to study the lesson material.
16. Do I learn how to do rituals?
In the classes a ritual is a part of every lesson. In the correspondence course you will do exercises and sequences of exercises that will let you grow slowly towards solo ritual work.
Contrary to what the popular press might say, ritual in its true form is not weird at all – it is simply a form of externalised meditation. A ritual is a prayer in movement. Like meditation, it needs to be practiced with insight and care. You will be given exercises during the First Degree course – for instance, an opening gesture to use before meditation, and another to use after the meditation session. These are used to focus the mind. Magical ritual is simply a natural extension of this principle.
17. Do I get a personal tutor?
Yes. Each student of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight ® is assigned to a supervision team who monitor the work of the student. As a student, you are required to keep a detailed meditation diary of your daily exercises.
These are automatically sent to one of the supervisors at the end of each lesson. Your supervisor will assess the meditation record and write back to you with any pertinent comments. Furthermore, you can write to headquarters at any time if you have questions or problems with the course.
18. Am I free to leave the school whenever I wish?
Yes. You can leave the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® at any point in your studies and for any reason. You do not have to state your reasons for leaving if you do not wish to do so. We will not try to stop you from leaving us, neither will we hang on to you in any way, since we recognize that each individual has his or her own path to follow.
Should you find that our particular school is not what you are looking for, we will be happy to recommend other schools if you so wish.
19. How long will it take me to complete the First Degree course?
The fifty lessons which take one month each. This means that if you work every day without taking any time off, the course will take you more than four years to complete. However, given things like holidays and vacations, the odd flu or cold, pregnancy etc, a more realistic time-frame is five years.
20. What? Five years?
Yes. It is a thorough course, and it will give results. Esoteric development and mental training take time and effort. Regard it as the equivalent of university studies.
21. Will it make me psychic?
It depends on what you mean by the word. All people have psychic or clairvoyant gifts, but some have them closer to the surface. Studies within a contacted Mystery school such as the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® will strengthen the links between the various levels of your being, and this in itself tends to bring these hidden faculties closer to the surface. The results vary greatly with each person. We do not guarantee that our students develop into fully-fledged psychics or clairvoyants. No school can guarantee such a thing – all depends on the individual. However, many do develop an increased awareness of the hidden levels of existence. Others may find it takes longer, and in some the psychic abilities are simply too deeply buried in the psyche.
22. I'm already psychic, how will it affect me?
This, too, varies with the individual – it depends on the kind of psychism, how it manifests and the degree of control you have over it. Some find that the psychic faculties seem to disappear for a time, which can be disconcerting. However, those who persevere with the training will find that the psychic faculties return in a more reliable and controlled form. Some, on the other hand, do not go through a "dry phase", but instead experience a steady deepening of their psychic abilities. Yet others find it makes no difference at all.
23. How much does membership cost?
Look for the actual price of our courses and classes in the shop. Prices sometimes differ because our prices are also dependent on prices of venues and travelling expenses.
For the Temple Training and the Solo Magical Training there is a price for lessons per semester. Being a student you get a discount on some of the courses and events.
It is possible to attend the practical lessons as a try out to see if you want to follow the classes on a regular basis (3x maximum). Also for students on the Solo Magical Training it is possible to make appointments to follow casual classes.
Membership is automatically prolonged for the next semester. Termination of membership has to be in writing and send by post, with a notice period of three months to the end of the semester. Semesters end January 31 and July 31.
For all events of the Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® a requirement of full payment is asked within 14 days after booking. Payment in terms is possible after consultation.
24. I am not a member of the Order. Is it possible for me to have a coaching session with you?
For non-members there is a limited possibility to have a series of coaching sessions. Each session takes one-a-half hours and costs EUR 165.00. Count on it that generally you will need a minimum of between three and five sessions.
25. What are your conditions to participate in workshops and classes?
To participate in the temple training, we have the following conditions:
You can attend training for a maximum of three visits as a guest, to introduce you to our work. You can enrol per semester. Before the start of each semester you need to transfer the membership fee and the charge for the lessons to our bank account.
To participate in workshops:
Bookings should be made by completing the email form. As soon as possible after receipt of the form, you will get confirmation from us that we have reserved a place for you, together with the bank data you need to make payment. Payment is required within 14 days of receipt of our confirmation.
26. Isn’t occult instruction supposed to be free of charge?
There is a tradition that occult instruction and initiation should come free of charge. This stems from a time where priests and priestesses were supported by their respective temples. In those days, temple dues were paid in other ways. Later, apprentices paid for their tuition by assisting or serving the master in his or her trade.
Nowadays, occult teachers have day jobs - the age of the hermit in the cave is over. The adept has bills to pay, just like everybody else. To write and teach an occult training in a professional manner is an incredible amount of work. The Hermetic Order Temple of Starlight® also has continuous cost like telephone, computer connections that need continuous updating. Software has to be renewed etc. Preparing lessons and commenting the diaries cost a lot of time. The spirituality is still for free, but time and materials need to be paid. The fees cover these costs.
Read more about the founder of our school