Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.
Local dues for Black Sun are $31 per month, and are to be paid by all initiates of I° or higher who are local to Black Sun. For those not local to Black Sun (defined as residing 100+ miles from Cleveland) who wish to affiliate with Black Sun, dues are $11 per month. For those newly initiating into I°, the payment of local dues will begin with the calendar month immediately following the initiation (e.g. if you are initiated on June 10, you will begin paying local dues for the month of July).
Please note that “local dues”, which are assessed by the local body, are different from US Grand Lodge (“national”) dues. Black Sun does not accept payment for USGL dues, except as part of an initiation fee; USGL dues must be paid directly to USGL (see “USGL Dues” below).
Local dues are paid directly to Black Sun, and are used to pay for rent, utilities, insurance, special events, and other costs.
Payment of Local Dues
Dues are to be paid each month, either during the month or in advance. It is not required to pay a given month’s dues in advance; that is, dues for April do not need to be paid in March. Payments received up to the last day of the month will not be considered late. Dues may be paid using any accepted method (see “Methods of Payment” below). If dues are not paid for a given month, any dues received in the following month will be first applied to the previous month’s dues. Partial payments are accepted, so long as the full amount is paid by the end of the month.
Hardship, and In-Kind Dues
If you are financially unable to pay your local dues to Black Sun, but wish to maintain active membership, please contact the Treasurer or Body Master to discuss possible arrangements. Considerations for hardship include, but are not limited to, student status, loss of job, or other temporary conditions. Each case will be considered on an individual basis.
One possible hardship arrangement for payment of dues is “labor in kind”, that is, payment for work performed or services rendered on behalf of Black Sun. In-kind payment with goods or services for local dues will be accepted only by prior arrangement with the Treasurer or Body Master.
“Dues Current” Status
Dues-paying or “dues current” members are allowed various privileges, such as:
- Participation in degree-specific events (with exception of attendance of initiations)
- Participation in “members only” events
- Open Temple Night
- Borrowing privileges from the Library
- Consideration for being an Officer in Masses
- Input into Black Sun planning and business meetings
Note that to be considered dues current, one must also be current with USGL dues.
If dues are not paid for a given month, there is a one-month grace period for getting caught back up. If a person does not pay dues for two consecutive months, that person is no longer considered dues current (“lapsed”), and is no longer afforded the privileges listed above. In order for a person to become dues current after lapsing, the person must pay three months of dues at one time, which covers two months of back dues, plus the current month’s dues. This requirement applies to members who have recently lapsed, and members who have been lapsed for many months or years. Newcomers to Black Sun do not need to pay back dues.
Initiation at Black Sun
Black Sun, as a chartered Lodge, performs initiations in the Man of Earth degrees from Minerval through Perfect Initiate. Individual candidates are responsible for securing sponsors and submitting paperwork for the initiation application along with payment for the initiation. The fees for initiation at Black Sun are as follows:
- Minerval (0°) initiation – $93
- I° initiation – $111
- II° initiation – $156
- III° initiation – $310
- IVº & PI initiation – $418
Any member seeking to initiate at Black Sun, or any other body, must be dues current with USGL; if they are not dues current with USGL, they must become dues current prior to initiation (see “USGL Dues” below).
In addition, members of I° and above who are either affiliated with Black Sun, or currently unaffiliated and local to Black Sun, must be local dues current with Black Sun in order to take initiation with Black Sun. Members affiliated with other local bodies may initiate at Black Sun if they are dues current with USGL. These same requirements also apply for those wishing to perform as Initiators or Officers at initiations conducted at Black Sun.
Payment for initiation must be completed prior to the initiation taking place, or the initiation will not be performed; there are no exceptions to this rule. Payment for initiation can be made up to and including the date of initiation, though additional time is required for payment by check (see “Payment Methods” below). Initiation fees must be paid in US monetary funds; donations or work in kind cannot be accepted for initiation fees.
Donations of Cash and Goods
Black Sun is a 501(c)3 non-profit religious organization, and all donations made to Black Sun may be claimed as a tax deduction at the end of the year. Direct monetary donations can be made using any accepted payment method. Donations of retail goods may be accompanied with a retail receipt, which Black Sun will retain. Donations of other material goods may be accompanied with a hand-written receipt for their fair and reasonable value, which Black Sun will retain. Per guidance from USGL leadership, local dues and USGL dues can be treated as tax-deductible donations to a religious non-profit organization.
At the conclusion of the fiscal year (which runs January through December), each individual who has donated to Black Sun will receive a letter acknowledging their donations, which can be submitted as part of the individual’s tax return. They will also receive a separate note providing the total amount of their donations for the year.
Those wishing to pay over and above their local dues each month to support Black Sun are encouraged to do so, as the additional support enables Black Sun to provide better activities and facilities for its members. All “extra” dues paid to Black Sun are tax-deductible as a donation, as they are an entirely voluntary contribution to the local body.
Those wishing to pay $125 or more per month in support of Black Sun are considered “foundational members”, and are afforded additional benefits, including:
- A set of keys to the temple space
- Waiving of certain event fees (see “Event Fees” below)
- Special “Foundational Members Banquet” at year’s end
If a member wishes to become a foundational member, they may notify the Treasurer of their intent to begin paying foundational dues. The Treasurer will then expect payment of $125 per month for foundational dues. A foundational member may at any time revert to payment of standard dues for the following month, after returning the temple keys to any officer.
The Foundational Members Banquet will be provided in early December for members who have paid foundational dues for the entire calendar year thus far, January through November. Members may, if they wish, retroactively pay foundational dues mid-year in order to qualify for this event.
Foundational members may access the temple space at any time with their keys. They are reminded to treat the temple space with respect as they would any other time; if damage occurs to the temple space, the keys may be revoked by the Body Master. All members are also reminded that illegal drugs are never to be brought into the temple space.
In addition to payment of local dues, it is also required for members of OTO to pay dues directly to the US Grand Lodge to remain in good standing. Initiation fees for Man of Earth degrees (Minerval through IV° and P.I.) include one year of USGL dues; if a member remains in a degree for longer than one year without taking another initiation, it is necessary to pay dues directly to USGL according to the degree they are presently in.
Annual dues for Man of Earth degrees are listed at http://oto-usa.org/oto/dues-fees/. Presently, USGL annual dues are $42 for Minerval and I°, $84 for II°, $126 for III°, and $168 for IV° and P.I. Members may inquire about their present USGL dues status and make payments at http://treasury.oto-usa.org/inquiry.html.
If a member is not dues current with US Grand Lodge, they may not participate in any members-only events, including initiations. If a member has become inactive with USGL and wishes to become current again, they must pay one year of back dues at their current degree, and one year of dues for either their current degree, or the degree to which they are being initiated, in which instance the current year’s dues would be part of the initiation fee. “Demitted” (inactive) Minervals may become current again only by taking I° initiation; no back dues are required of demitted Minervals. Further explanation can be found here: http://treasury.oto-usa.org/status.html
Events hosted by Black Sun may have associated costs (e.g. food and drink, study materials, instructor fees) or may serve as a fundraising event for Black Sun. Thus, Black Sun may charge an attendance fee for certain events to defray costs and/or raise funds for Black Sun.
Event fees are to be paid in advance of the event, or soon after the start of the event. If a member attends an event and does not pay for an event, that member may not attend any future events until outstanding fees have been paid.
Foundational members are exempt from payment of certain event fees. The description for each event will specify the price for the event, and whether the event is “free for foundational members”. If no special mention is made, then all members are expected to pay the attendance fee.
Black Sun accepts the following methods of payment for donations, dues, fees, services, merchandise, and events:
- PayPal (online transfer from checking account or credit card)
- PayPal Here (physical credit or debit card swiped on premises)
- Square (physical credit or debit card swiped on premises)
Checks and money orders are accepted for payment of donations, monthly local dues, and initiation fees only. For initiations, checks and money orders must be submitted no later than two weeks prior to the date of initiation, to permit adequate time to deposit and clear the check.
Cash and check are preferred methods of payment, as there are no transaction fees. To avoid fees when paying via PayPal, members and guests should specify “Friends and Family” and use a checking account as the funding source when submitting payment. Optionally, they may use a credit card through PayPal if they do not have an associated checking account. For payment in person at Black Sun, all officers have Square credit card readers to accept payment for any goods or services, including dues and initiation. The Treasurer also has a PayPal Here reader to accept credit card payments.
PayPal payments should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. When submitting payment, please add a brief description in the Message field to indicate what the payment is for (e.g. “Local dues”, “Dues, T-shirt, and beanie”, “Tarot Night + hoodie”).
In-person payment for goods and services can be submitted directly to the Treasurer if present, or to any other officer of Black Sun. Please do not leave payments with anyone other than a current officer of Black Sun.
If a check or money order is returned for non-payment, the member or guest will be expected to reimburse Black Sun for all fees associated with the non-payment, and will not be permitted to submit payment by check or money order in the future. A non-payment event will also reflect poorly upon the member, and could result in further discipline.
Questions and Disputes
If a member has any questions about their current dues status or other Black Sun-related financial matters, they should contact the Treasurer via email (email@example.com) to request information or ask a specific question. The Treasurer can provide a complete statement of the member’s financial activity within 1 working day of the request, often sooner.
If a member has a concern or dispute regarding a financial matter, the member may contact the Treasurer to discuss or resolve the matter. If the Treasurer is unable to resolve the issue adequately, the member may contact the Body Master to discuss the matter further. In cases of dispute, the Body Master shall make the final determination regarding resolution of the issue.
Remember… a dollar a day keeps Osiris away. Pay your dues… or Osiris wins.
Love is the law, love under will.
Treasurer, Black Sun Lodge OTO
Valley of Cleveland, Ohio