One of many occult secret societies active in America today, the Ordo Templi Astarte (Order of Templars of Astarte, OTA) was founded by American magician Carroll “Poke” Runyon in 1970. Runyon received an irregular Ordo Templi Orientis charter from Louis Culling in that year, but quickly moved away from OTO traditions to construct an eclectic magical system of his own, based on the eighteenth-century ritual system of the Crata Repoa, the teachings of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the gods and goddesses of the ancient Phoenicians, and his own discoveries in the field of the evocation of spirits through mirror magic.
Like most of the magical orders of the late twentieth century, the Ordo Templi Astarte is relatively small, with two lodges – both in the state of California – and a membership well below 100. It has nonetheless had a significant influence on the occult scene in America and elsewhere, largely by way of Runyon’s publications and the order’s magazine, The Seventh Ray.
The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Societies – Paperback – February 1, 2009 – Written by John Michael Greer