The Authentic Magical Tradition in the 18th & 19th Centuries

Adapted from THE ROOTS OF MODERN MAGICK 1700-2000: An Anthology

"The letter F, placed in the center of a Blazing Star, signifies the active principle of the Creative Elohim."
— A.E. Waite, The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross
"The female organs of generation were revered as symbols of the generative powers of nature or matter, as the male were of the generative powers of God. They are usually represented emblematically, by the Shell, or Concha Veneris, which was therefore worn by devout persons of antiquity, as it still continues to be by pilgrims, and many of the common women of Italy…The male organs of generation are sometimes found represented by signs of the same sort, which might properly be called the symbol of symbols. One of the most remarkable of these is a cross, in the form of the letter T, which thus served as the emblem of creation and generation, before the church adopted it as the sign of salvation; a lucky coincidence of ideas, which, without doubt, facilitated the reception of it among the faithful. To the representative of the male organs was sometimes added a human head, which gives it the exact appearance of a crucifix..."
— Richard Payne Knight, 1786

Special Prolegomena For Our Web Site Readers

My intent, in compiling my most recent book, was to collect the best of my short essays on magical history, written over the last twenty years, edit them for anachronisms, errors, and more recent information, and publish them more-or-less in chronological order, from 1700 to 2000. I tacked on an appendix with some experimental work that I thought might prove profitable in the years ahead, and set out to write an introduction, which, as it turned out, proved largely to be a completely new essay with some fresh insights into the central gnosis of magick in the 18th and 19th Centuries.

It was my intention for this period to avoid all intellectual reference to the work of the OTO as it presently exists. I even toyed seriously with the idea of including the secret essays by Dr. P.B. Randolph on sexual magick as used by the Brotherhood of Eulis (aka The Triplicate Order) and the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light in the twenty years or so preceding the founding of OTO by Kellner and Ruess, as separate appendices. These had generously been provided — purchased for me, in fact — some years ago by Hymenaeus Beta and "backgrounded" in my earlier book for Looking Glass Press, The Story of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, but I decided to save these for a later volume I have in mind to create.

What follows is original research, but there are several notes of a cautionary nature I should make for my friends here. For a book, let alone an experiment in the relatively new field of "ebook publishing" which still has bugs in it (they could certainly do with a human being acting as proofreader, rather than machines reading machines), this will do as an introduction to the volume. The work is aimed at the broader magical community, but may reach virtually anyone at any level — or no level — of initiation, but for the more initiated (in the broader sense of the term), one is likely to derive different insights from this text according to their level of spiritual development in the magical sense.

In the book and earlier in the pages of Agape I have covered the work, for example, of Hargrave Jennings, but no serious magician should be content to rest with my essay; Jennings is a hard read, but should be read in the original for full effect. Likewise, the 18th Century genius of the authentic tradition, Richard Payne Knight, is dealt with briefly and I trust effectively, but one should at least make it their business to read his work as written. Although the greater magical community does a great deal with qabalistic studies, and the Freemasonic influence upon at least the structure of contemporary magick are so pervasive as to be taken as given, almost no sympathetic writers in modern times have given much thought to the influence 17th and 18th century Jewish Mysticism has had on modern magick. In an ironic twist, this tremendous influence from Tzvi and Franck, the Chassidim, the Safed mystics of the 1600s et al where mentioned at all, tend to be mentioned by anti-Semitic writers in their efforts to defame magick, Masonry or mysticism as "Judaic conspiracies". The sane magical community’s commentators and historians rarely mention this influence, though it is a matter of standard interest now in Judaic studies, and is currently having a profound effect even in Reform Judaism, as well as being something of the latest "new age" fad.

Source materials on the Frankists or Zoharists are a bit hard to find — the whole phenomenon is still considered something of an embarrassment in Jewish Academia, but Qabalism (or Kabbalism, Cabbalism, Qabbalism, et al) is practically falling off the trees into your hands since scholars such as Gershon Sholem and Martin Buber published respectable studies on the subject through the heart of the century just passed. There is some history of the Hellfire Clubs, albeit generally prurient in nature, and one need not rely on the bilious and turgid accounts of Ms. Cooper-Oakley or A.E. Waite alone anymore to get to the sources of the history and ritual of the Asiatic Brethren and Fratres Lucis. In short, the reader is encouraged to go to the sources and make one’s own determinations, and not to rely solely on mine. Somehow, with this particular crew, I doubt that will come as a shocking suggestion. You might want to start out with the Antiquities of the Illuminati web site, that manages to integrate a great number of these varied strands in a sensible and coherent way. If all else fails you, mortgage your house, and buy a bunch of reprints from Kessenger or Health Research.

One other note, more explanatory than cautionary, and certainly *not* apologetic, on why I give relatively brief attention to the Golden Dawn tradition. It is still current, which can as easily (or with equal difficulty, I should say) be traced back to the 18th Century. It yields far more support for the original claims of the Golden Dawn’s "pedigree" than I once credited, and I thank Hymenaeus Beta for pointing out to me recently the work of Frederick Holland’s Society of Eight, clearly in the GD/SRIA lineage, and still informed in the middle 1800s by the authentic gnosis. What happened between this work and that of the historical Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and successor bodies to sell their essential heritage to Victorian sensibilities is a story in and of itself, and mostly I choose to leave this to a separate study. "Strictly above the waist magick" simply misses the point, in my view.

Magick In The Eighteenth And Nineteenth Centuries: A Summary

There is an authentic magical tradition, anchored in a specific technology of gnosis and organized in a graduated, initiatory pattern. There are byways, sideways and pitfalls, but there is no other authentic tradition, at least in the West.

We refer, of course, not to all mysticism, but to the magical approach to gnosis only. Magick may be defined as "the yoga of the West" and makes use of ritual, ceremony and a traditionally secret approach to sexuality as a means of transcendence that is unique, save only for the remotely comparable Tantric Yoga of the East, to which it has often been compared.

Tracing the history of the authentic tradition can be a tricky business. Ideally, it is transmitted through an organized body of manifestation with a full grasp of the sacred technology involved — including its implications, and an efficient methodology for communicating both technology and methodology. Yet, when the historian attempts to trace backwards from the present one finds the (understandable) tendency to secrecy a barrier to overcome layer by layer. This protective measure in a world often hostile to healthy sexuality of any sort almost invariably overlaps into organizational secrecy, obscure symbols and fictionalized and mythologized internal historical claims, which tend to blur the continuity of authentic tradition.

At the same time, and equally consistent, we find sound organizational structures evaporate after a generation or two, due largely to emergent administrative bureaucracy, a tendency to descend into puerile and insipid self-caricature of the original purposes, incompetent and often authoritarian leadership formations, and the inevitable death of the body of manifestation. The tradition is then carried on by either surviving members true to the authentic tradition some years later and under a different or variant name, or, in the fullness of time, a rediscovery and recreation of the tradition by a new generation of idealists, who then pull together the surviving remnant of the tradition. Following the unique continuity of ideas is the only reliable method of assessing whether a given manifestation is in the tradition or not.

In the Eighteenth Century, everything changed. This statement could be made, perhaps, of any time, of any century, but certain time periods — brief as these things go — start out in one way and end in another, starkly different from the previous era. The Eighteenth Century started out as a continuation of the great age of monarchies and empires and exploration and lingering medieval superstition, and, by the end, had transformed into an age of reason and revolution.

The occult world of 1700 was much the same as that which had preceded it going back to the ancient ideas of Greece and Rome, traces of European paganism and magical notions that probably stretch back to Egypt and Sumer. How much of the occult there was in the trade guild signs, passwords and initiation rituals that existed as the century began is an object of some dispute. Certainly, craft Masonry, which dated from antiquity, unquestionably had some sort of system of guild recognition and admission procedures. Whether this was merely a form of protection for guild proprietary secrets and wage concerns, perhaps mixed with bits of conventional moral piety, or something more in line with the occult Speculative Masonry that arose and quickly spread and grew more and more elaborate early in the 1700s, has proven grist for many mills without satisfactory resolution.

In any event, it was at this point in history that Speculative Masonry arose, along with sophisticated ideas concerning earlier concepts of Rosicrucianism and Speculative Alchemy, which quickly intermixed one with the other in rich if enigmatic blends. Along with this, and coincident with it were ideas about human liberty that would come to a head only in the last years of the century. These concepts also influenced both mainstream and what came to be called "fringe Freemasonry" in the form of Illuminism and a curious synthesis of occult bunkum, genuine mystical philosophy, a spiritual vision of liberty, equality and fraternity based in that philosophy, and a host of rumors that amazed and amused the aristocracy on the eve of their destruction.

Enlightened Despotism led to a liberalization of attitudes towards the much-beleaguered Jews of Europe, known in Hebrew as the Haskalah or enlightenment, notably in Germany, Austria, Poland and Russia. While this produced, on the one hand, a marked tendency among Jews towards assimilationism and by religious reform, the Haskala arrived in the middle of a mystical revolution that had been going on in Judaism behind the ghetto walls for a hundred years. This was a war between the messianic visions of Shabbati Tzvi and Nathan of Gaza, and later Jacob Franck and his daughter Eva; the ecstatic Qabalistic mysticism of Israel Baal Shem Tov and the first generation of Hassidism in the middle; with traditional Orthodox Judaism at one end of the spectrum, and early Reform Judaism at the other.

The Qabalistic mysticism, mostly understood (or misunderstood) from the interpretations of renegade Jewish converts, had long intrigued the world of gentile metaphysicians in much the same way that Eastern Mysticism would titillate later generations. The Haskala, with its opening across the ghetto wall, produced eventually an odd synthesis of Speculative Freemasonic, Political Revolutionary, Rosicrucian and alchemical ideas, gradually incorporating Jewish Qabalism, as some Masonic bodies began to admit Jews, and Jews began to influence the fundamental ideas of Speculative Freemasonry. Organizations such as The Knights of Light, the Fraters Lucis or Brothers of Light, and the Asiatic Brethren began to appear in "high degree" Freemasonry, even as Steven Morin introduced Scottish Rite Masonry to America. It is important to our thesis to understand that the European Masonic experience and that in America were quite different.

From its earliest origins, the Ethical Deism and egalitarian ideals of Freemasonry in America attracted and was influenced by Jewish Brethren. As Paul Bessel put it, "Jews were actively involved in the beginnings of Freemasonry in America. There is evidence they were among those who established Masonry in 7 of the original 13 states: Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia. A Jewish Mason, Moses Michael Hays, helped introduce the Scottish Rite in America. Hays was also Deputy Inspector General of Masonry for North America in 1768, and Grand Master of Massachusetts from 1788 to 1792. Paul Revere served under him as Deputy Grand Master. There were several other Jews who held the title of Deputy Inspector General of Masonry in the late 1700’s: Solomon Bush in Pennsylvania, Joseph Myers in Maryland and later in South Carolina, and Abraham Forst of Philadelphia in Virginia in 1781. Another Jewish Grand Master was Moses Seixas in Rhode Island from 1791 until 1800. There were many other American Jewish Masons in early American history, including one in George Washington’s original Fredericksburg Lodge."

Herbert S. Goldberg, 33° put it this way: "Jewish Masons played an important part in the American Revolution, with 24 of them serving as officers in George Washington’s army. In addition, several helped finance the American cause, including Haym Salomon, a Philadelphia Jewish Mason who, with others, contributed and raised money for the American war effort and loaned money to Jefferson, Madison, Lee, and others for their personal expenses. Salomon was imprisoned by the British and died in his 40’s bankrupt and with penniless heirs."

"the Scottish Rite was founded on May 31, 1801… There were eleven gentlemen of Charleston who founded the Supreme Council. Four of these founders were Jewish and are buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Coming Street in Charleston. The four Jewish founders are Israel De Lieben, First S.G.I.G.; Emanuel De La Motta, First Grand Treasurer General; Abraham Alexander, Sr., First Grand Secretary General; and Moses Clava Levy, Treasurer General."

The European Masonic experience was somewhat different, as noted, with Masonic ideals and interest in Jewish Qabala clashing inside the fraternity with the all too familiar old and deep strains of anti-Semitic views and attitudes. The difference between American Masonry and the European brand, though varied by country, can best be understood against this background. Certainly, some of the early Jewish brethren were essentially ordinary Jews seeking to meet with non Jewish peers on an equal basis. Others were mystics with decidedly heterodox views. These trends came together and ‘regularized’ first in the German "Judenloge" and still later in a genuinely integrated Freemasonry in other European countries. As the distinction was lesser in America, so was the influx of Jewish dissidents and mystics, as opposed to rather ordinary Jews and non Jews interested in fraternity, ritual, ethics and philanthropy. We shall return to the mystical trend, of Frankists and Qabalists in Freemasonic bodies in Europe presently. It forms a key bridge in the Authentic Tradition of the 18th and 19th centuries.

On a different track, as early as the 1780s Richard Payne Knight began a detailed investigation of the role of graphic male and female symbolism in both ancient and modern spirituality. He documents the survival of phallic worship less than 50 miles from Naples as late as 1781. He focused on common amulets of the period, noting that the "most in vogue represents a hand clinched, with the point of the thumb thrust betwixt the index and middle finger…We have proof of the hand above described having a connection with Priapus," he says in a letter dated December 30, 1781, "in a most elegant small idol of bronze of that Divinity…which was found in the ruins of Herculaneum; it has an enormous Phallus, and with an arch look and gesture, stretches out its right hand in the form above mentioned, and which was probably an emblem of consummation…" Knight goes on to recount an eyewitness account of a barely Christianized rite held at Isernia September 27, 1780, in which women offered wax votives of erect penises of various size, with the words ‘let it be like this’ and similar magical appeals.

His work would come to be followed up upon in the 19th Century by such scholars of magick as Emma Hardinge Britten and later Peter Davidson.

The Asiatic Brethren, which overlapped with the Fraters Lucis, seem to have linked a number of these trends, including the above mentioned esoteric (and, sub rosa, erotic) ideas of the Zoharists (Frankists), the enigmatic Jewish messianic cult of Jacob Franck; High Degree Freemasonry, which often conferred royal and ecclesiastical titles as integral parts of their initiatory system (e.g. Prince, Levite, Priest, et al); and the radicalism of the Illuminati with their ideas of equality, liberty and fraternity which eventually profoundly transformed the world order. Naturally, though not without opposition, the admission of Jews on an equitable basis was highly attractive to advocates of the Haskala on both sides of the ghetto walls. As the 18th Century progressed, we thus find egalitarian, Qabalistic and esoteric "messianic" Jews exercising a significant influence on both mainstream and esoteric Freemasonry.

This movement coincides with the notorious Hellfire Clubs in France and, more notably, Britain, with their odd mixture of religious trappings, classical paganism, frank and graphic eroticism, and a creed of "Do what thou wilt". An aristocratic indulgence, there is almost certainly an overlap with certain contemporary forms of Freemasonry, especially those with an especial taste for secrecy and the outré.

By mid century, certainly, some version of the Knights of Light was at work. As the world became engulfed in revolution, these movements became, at their fringes, more and more intertwined, overlapping into the 19th century in fact.

Chris McIntosh, as quoted in Esoteric and Science News for March 2, 2003, describes the situation at the end of the century in this way:

"Freemasonry, according to Carl von Ecker, provides perhaps the only route to enlightenment for the Jews, and therefore it must be open to them.

"Although the Eckers had thus defended the admission of Jews, the issue continued to be a cause of dissension within the order. Some of the Schleswig members, for example, felt that, although existing Jewish members should be allowed to remain, new ones should be restricted. There was trouble also in the Hamburg branch of the order. Carl von Ecker applied for Masonic authorization from Duke Ferdinand of Braunschweig, who agreed only on condition that Jewish members be expelled from the group. Carl von Hessen proposed a compromise in which Jewish Asiatic Brethren would form a separate lodge called the Melchisedeck lodge, but the Hamburg Jewish members rejected this proposal and left the order.

"(Ephraim Joseph) Hirschfeld, meanwhile, was having his own problems in the Schleswig branch, culminating in a legal battle which began when he sued Ecker for payment of a debt. Ecker retaliated by claiming that Hirschfeld had threatened his life, and the affair quickly escalated. Hirschfeld was placed under house arrest and expelled from the order in a circular that accused him of having gone too far in imposing Jewish kabbalistic elements on the rituals of the order. Although kabbalistic meditation was valuable, the circular argued, its object was to lead the Christian beyond the limits attainable by a Jew.

"In the midst of Hirschfeld’s troubles Heinrich von Ecker died in August 1791, while the trial was still in progress. Hirschfeld was released and restored to favour with Carl von Hessen, but he was not allowed to resume his former position in the order. Resentment against him still simmered, and he was suspected of having written an anonymous polemic against the Asiatics entitled Der Asiate in seiner Bloesse oder gruendlicher Beweis: dass die Ritter und Brueder Eingeweihten aus Asien echte Rosenkreuzer sind, which appeared in 1790. This repeated the claim that the Asiatics were merely the Rosicrucians in a new disguise and castigated them for their unjust treatment of Hirschfeld .

"In February 1792 a mysterious person, referred to as I. Ben Jos. appeared in Schleswig and was presented by Hirschfeld as a leading member of the order. Katz identifies him as none other than Thomas von Schoenfeld, the Viennese Jew who had played a seminal role in the foundation of the order. He paid 550 Taler to settle Hirschfeld’s debts, and the two of them travelled to Strasbourg where they made the acquaintance of Louis Claude de Saint-Martin, the "Philosophe Inconnu", whose work had exerted such a strong influence on high degree Masonry. From here Schoenfeld went on to Paris where he tragically died on the guillotine on 5 April 1793. With the Asiatic Brethren in a state of collapse, Hirschfeld went back to his native Karlsruhe and eventually settled at Offenbach, near Frankfurt."

Offenbach had become the headquarters of the Zoharist sect of Jacob Franck, who died there as Baron Franck and was succeeded by his daughter Eve. The martyred Schoenfeld, be it noted, had been born Moses Dobruska, of a Rabbinical family, is likely to have been associated with Franck, and, like Franck and many of his sect, had nominally converted to Roman Catholicism, thus receiving the favor, patronage and titles from the Austrian royal house.

"As late as 1817 Hirschfeld was still dreaming of resurrecting the order," Chris McIntosh informs us. And A.E. Waite notes that an official organ of the Order, Der Signatstern, continued to publish until circa 1810.

Though we would do well to consider the influence at this point of Cagliostro’s Egyptian Rite Masonry and the somewhat later Rite of Memphis and Rite of Misraim in connection with Napoleon’s Egyptian expedition, the Asiatic Brethren/ Knights of Light appear to have continued more or less intact, and were encountered in both Europe and the Middle East by some of the great luminaries of occultism of the 19th Century.

Wyants informs us: "The rituals and information of The Asiatic Brethern/Fratres Lucis later became an inspiration for the Rose of Perfect Silence in Paris of which P.B. Randolph became a member and obtained a charter to run his own Rosicrucian organization. Randolph sold scryer’s mirrors from the Paris motherlodge to the members of his USA branch. In London Francis Irwin, S.R.I.A. members A.F.A. Woodford and S.C. Bingham had the material, and later the Golden Dawn in England and Francesco Brunelli’s Arcana Arcanorum in Italy, yes even Theodor Reuss’s original O.T.O. idea, all were inspired by the overrated Fratres Lucis."

One line of selectivity needs to be noted here. In the 1700s Continential bodies with names like "Golden Lodge" or "Lodge of the Red Dawn" began to appear, and a line can be traced from these to the S.R.I.A. and ultimately the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in Britain a century or more later. In between, we find overlapping personages. For example, Frederick Holland’s Society of Eight, founded in 1883, included Kenneth Mackenzie, John Yarker, F.G. Irwin, Frederick Hockley, Benjamin Cox, Wynn Westcott and S.L. Mathers as members. Though absent from the SRIA and Golden Dawn, it cannot be doubted that elements of the authentic tradition showed up in such groups as "The Society of Eight". In "The Temple Rebuilt" especially, but also in "The Revelation of the Shechinah" published in 1886 and 1888, Frederick Holland anticipates the slightly later and similar work of Peter Davidson’s "Vital Christianity".

"Putting a lamp in a dark place," Holland tells his fellows, "a lamp in a sepulcher, a candle by a skull, a candle upon a tomb, a Phallus in its home, the Cteis, pointing out to us where to find the Lux e tenebris.

"Here is a skull, a tomb, empty, worn out; it is but the ruins of the temple of a man, a piece of earth that has been in child by the sun, but the man is gone, the child is born. The lamp is still burning outside the ruined temple.

"The subtle has been separated from the gross, and the great work is performed: CONSUMMATUM EST." Elsewhere he tells us, "Give me the sign of the Master Mason?

"That is the sign of the Master Builder. It is the belly where the faculty of generation is, and the genital members answer to the elemental world: your porchway, or entrance to King Solomon’s Temple." Clearly, this little circle, at least, can be thought of as within the authentic tradition. Why it did not make it into the later Golden Dawn is perhaps explained by late Victorian culture as such.

It would serve our interests to examine what we know of the teachings of this Brotherhood of Light in the last decades of the 18th Century.

Like the Elus Cohens before them, the Asiatic Brethren and Brotherhood of Light communicated the mysteries by initiatory degrees, taking the form of ecclesiastical ordination, and alluding to the ancient priesthood of Israel and the Order of Melchizedeck.

The titles and format here should be taken for what they are and are not. They are not, per se, titles in a particular religion, but reflected the fusionist tendency emanating from the Zoharists on the one hand, and the liberal elements of Freemasonry on the other. The number of elements and titles originating in primordial Judaism, and high church Christianity, reflect a philosophy of common ground allowing participation by people of varying religious persuasions united by initiation and consecration.

Conspicuously missing is the term "Rabbi" which strongly suggests the Zoharist influence. "Priest" or "Levite" or "Kohen" are used, referring to the hereditary priesthood of Israel, still extant but since Second Temple Times (ending in 70 C.E. with the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans), so to speak, out of work. The Hebrew Priesthood, the Kohenim, are actually a hereditary group with a distinct DNA marker, passed from father to son. In contrast, other Jewish DNA markers are also found worldwide, resembling those of Kurds more than that of other semitic peoples, including the Arabs. In any case, the Fratres Lucis, Elus Kohens and later Oriental Templars obviously used priestly terms largely for symbolic purposes, or perceived magical (as opposed to religious, in the strict sense) powers transferred by laying on of hands, or more simply still as administrative titles.

The mysterious Biblical story of "Melchizedeck" (Genesis 14:18 Psalm 110 and Hebrews 7:1 in the NT) meaning, roughly, "King of Righteousness" in the mystical and Masonic lodges of this period came to be a buzz term for groups admitting both Jews and non Jews. This terminology was also incorporated, in the 1800s, into Mormon Church ritual.

In keeping with this line of thinking, the election of a Master of a Lodge of the Fraters Lucis resembles closely an episcopal ordination. The Temple was furnished to resemble the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. After election, the newly elected officer is brought to the altar, Psalm 2 is read by the Knight Chancellor, whereupon he, joined by the Assessor and Sword Bearer, who would bare his head and chest, and, after receiving a promise to honorably fulfill the office and revere the principles of the Order given by the Provincial Administrator, the Chancellor then "takes up the Golden Cup in which the Priest’s Oil is kept and anoints the Crown of the Head of the Elect, in the pattern of two pieces of a tree bent in the shape of a Cross, saying; - ‘God elects you as the Chief of the Elect.’

He then anoints Left Hand, Heart and Right Hand, etc., followed by vesting him with a cap and robe, saying "He who is the Chief Priest amongst his Brothers on whose head has been poured the Holy Chrism and whose Hand has been touched should be clothed with the Sacerdotal Robe, and let him not uncover his head nor rend his robe." The invocation includes the quotations from Revelations (II:8,17 and IV:5) pertaining to the 7 Churches of Asia, a reference back to the Asiatic Brethren, as with "Order of Melchizedeck", a euphemism for ‘mixed’ Lodges of Jews, in specific Zoharists, and gentiles.

The initiations themselves, which follow upon and assume initiation into the three primary degrees of conventional Freemasonry, include many intriguing references to the central gnosis of the authentic tradition.

The Knight Novice of the Third Year is told, "From remote times, my Brother Knight Novice, there have been certain persons united in mysterious and indissoluble bonds, who have endeavored by uniting their power to probe the occult forces of Being and prove them. Such societies have gone under many and various names…These various societies were seated at this or that place according to their leaders, but their center was always in Asia." Again, "Asia" should be seen as a euphemism for the melding of traditions.

The candidate is later told, "The chief objects, my Worthy Brother, which on the one hand were ill understood by the Freemasons, but which, on the other hand, they were always seeking, were Alchemy, Theosophy and Magic…they took you into a darkened room…our Matter is not found where Metals grow…They tookest away thy clothing; it shows that our Matter is stripped of the Veil with which Nature has clothed it, for it can be drawn from the breast of a Mother. They removed thy shoe…this sign of renunciation has always a mysterious signification …Thine eyes were blindfolded; which teaches that though our Matter is luminous and in itself shining and clear, yet that it is only to be found in the darkest dwelling…we procure our Matter from its dwelling in the volcano, and that our Order has for its chief object the Physical Mysteries wrought by Fire…the Path can only be found in Silence and Secrecy…we have another Poinard beside the one that was shown to thee, and which we thrust into the bosom of our Matter until it pours forth blood…The Sun and Moon denote the Masculine and Feminine Elements, or that which is Active and that which is Passive…"

Here, all in the primary initiation of the Fratres Lucis, is, for the initiated, an almost complete description of the technology of the sexual gnosis of the authentic tradition up to this period. It is with some amusement that the initiated reader peruses A.E. Waite’s description of the rituals in The Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross, taken entirely from the equally earnest, equally uncomprehending manuscript as preserved and analyzed by the Theosophical writer Ms. Cooper-Oakley.

The last two degrees of the system are of equal interest to the initiated reader. In the Knight Levite initiation, we find the following lecture, almost totally incomprehensible to non initiates into the authentic tradition, but most revealing to the initiated:

"What is Perfection? 1,2,3 & 4. What is the Perfect Plane? That which Flames, gives Light, but destroys not .What is it that must not be spoken, whilst the purest Stones of Marble are being procured? Majim, Majim. What are the Elohim? Elih and Ki, the Light without Will, and the Light with Will; the Light without Color and the Light with Color. What gives the Color? The Will. How many of these are together, and when did they begin? They are altogether One and the Same, now and forever. What is the Serpent that flies in the air and burns? The asp found on its scales represents it. How long was Moses with Schamajim ? Forty days. What did he bring with him? The natural Law, set forth on Stone. What was he amongst the people of Israel? Lawgiver, Levite, Protector and the Great Captain."

After the lecture, the candidate is received among the Levites. A note says that the degree opens at "the hour when we come to Sacrifice," and closes in "the hour when the Sacrifice is Consummated."

The final degree, Knight Priest, the candidate is anointed by the Provincial Administrator on the right ear, right eye, and right thumb with holy oil and told, "Thou art a Priest forever in the Order of Melchizedeck." One keeps in mind the Biblical point that Mechizedeck is a priest of "God Most High" from Salem, apparently not a Hebrew, but who blesses Moses and Israel and, in turn, is welcomed into their community.

The unexpurgated teachings of Dr. P. B. Randolph are carried forward to the last 19th Century flowering of the Old Aeon, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light. These instructions are specific and deal with the matrix of Love and Will that leaves us at the dawn of what has been termed "the rebirth of magick" as the nineteenth century came to an end.

Most recent update by TAG August 16, 2005 CE.

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