Motta was born at the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Very little is known about his childhood, only that he was born into a family with Swiss-German ancestry and received a very strict education, amplified by his admission at the Military Academy of Rio de Janeiro (Colégio Militar do Rio de Janeiro). His father was a follower of the doctrine of Allan Kardec and his mother was Catholic. At eleven years of age he became interested for the first time in the mysterious "Rosicrucians", after reading Zanoni, the novel by Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and he "decided to search for them and to become one of those mysterious Adepts". But his first contact with a self-proclaimed Rosicrucian society, the Brazilian branch of AMORC, did not satisfy him and he started his search for an initiatory school of the sort he found in Krumm-Heller's novel "Rose-Croix."
His time at the Military Academy of Rio de Janeiro gave him a sense of duty and discipline, which he applied to his occult research. During that time, he became interested in astrology and tarot, among other esoteric topics. Those interests were not very common among his fellow students, but they gave him some knowledge to argue with his philosophy teacher in a debate that became famous for years.
At the age of 17 he made contact with the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua, Arnold Krumm-Heller's Rosicrucian order where Motta took his first initiations in 1948, at the age of 17. Local political tension impelled him to move to Europe and then to the United States of America. His mission on this voyage, given by the Brazilian leadership of the FRA, was to meet Parsival Krumm-Heller (son of Arnold Krumm-Heller and then legal leader of FRA) and mediate the contacts between the Brazilian group and the international leadership.
Motta's first contact with Thelema was through John Symonds' book The Great Beast. Motta saw many connections between the Law of Thelema and parts of his initiations at FRA, but he had never heard about Thelema or Aleister Crowley. Furthermore, the book gave him some serious doubts about Crowley's initiations. After asking P. Krumm-Heller about the subject, Motta received from him considerable material about Thelema and Crowley, readings that completely changed Motta's opinion about Crowley and his methods and philosophy. Later, in the USA, P. Krumm-Heller introduced Motta to Karl Germer, leader of Ordo Templi Orientis at that time.
Returning to Brazil in 1962, Motta translated and published Crowley's Liber Aleph and wrote Calling the Children of the Sun, the first Thelemic writing published in Brazil (later this work was suppressed by Motta himself for fear of political repercussions). From this year to 1987, Motta, as a member of A?A? had numerous students under his tutelage.
Karl Germer died in 1962, and in 1969, Grady McMurtry assumed control of O.T.O. based on his letters of "emergency authorization" given to him by Crowley. In 1975, Motta published "The Commentaries of AL", as The Equinox, Volume V, Number 1. This book was published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., and contained commentaries on The Book of The Law written by Aleister Crowley and by Motta himself. He also used this book to announce his claim to be the Outer Head of the Order of O.T.O.. This claim was rejected by U.S. court in 1978, when Motta unsuccessfully sued for ownership of Crowley's copyrights. The case was finally rejected on appeal in 1985.
Motta admired and practiced oriental martial arts, specially Judo and Tae Kwon Do. In 1973 Motta self-produced a movie called "O Judoka" ("The Judo Fighter"). Apparently the movie did not pay for itself, forcing him to pay for its debts in the few following years.
Motta never had any kind of economic stability, jumping from job to job and making a living as an English teacher, aided by the help of his followers. He died on August 26, 1987, at the city of Teresópolis (Brazil) at the age of 56 of myocardial infarction (a heart attack.)
Motta established his version of O.T.O. called Society Ordo Templi Orientis in Brazil and elsewhere. The order never reveals the number of its members but it does seem to be smaller than the legally recognized Ordo Templi Orientis. The legally recognized O.T.O. is now headed by a student of Motta's named William Breeze. Motta's pupils included the Brazilian celebrity novelist Paulo Coelho, mathematician and philosopher Gary Costner (Frater P.L.S.), and musician Raul Seixas. He originally bequeathed his succession to the care of three pupils (William Robert Barden, Claudia Canuto de Menezes, and Daniel Ben Stone) on condition that they agree. (Deed and Trust, dated October 15, 1984). They failed to do so. Barden did succeed in publishing some authorized editions of Motta's work .