Ordo Aurum Solis
Ordo Aurum Solis ("Order of the Gold of the Sun") is a Hermetic and Theurgic order founded in England in 1897 by George Stanton and Charles Kingold. It is a vehicle of the Ogdoadic Tradition, itself an important element of the Western Mystery Tradition. Ordo Aurum Solis is best known through the published works of two of its past Grand Masters, Vivian Godfrey and Leon Barcynski. Better known by their pseudonyms, Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips, the husband and wife team together authored many books (some reappearing in newer editions) that cover different aspects of magical practice, such as the Llewellyn Practical Guide to Astral Projection and Llewellyn Practical Guide to Creative Visualization, as well as their seminal work (reprinted in three volumes) outlining the philosophy and practices of Ordo Aurum Solis: The Magical Philosophy.
Despite a few similarities to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, some of its descendants, various Thelemic orders, and other groups stemming from the Rosicrucian revival of the 19th century, Ordo Aurum Solis represents a distinct and unique system of magical philosophy and practice based on the Ogdoadic Tradition
The Ogdoadic Tradition stems from the Mediterranean mystery religions of ancient Greece as well as the Theurgic practices of the priesthoods of Ptolemaic Egypt. Its signature symbol is the Eight-pointed Star of Regeneration, an emblem signifying the Regeneration of the Soul and Divine Inspiration. Its philosophy and practices appear in the works of early Hermetists and the teachings of the Neoplatonic schools of Alexandria, Apamea, and Athens in Late Antiquity. According to its initiates, the father-figure of the Tradition is Hermes Trismegistus.
The symbols and philosophy of the Ogdoadic Tradition were also expressed in Byzantine art. The Ogdoadic Tradition, as mentioned in The Foundations of High Magick (The Magical Philosophy, vol. 1) by Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips, made itself evident in the frescos painted by Giotto (1270-1337). It was also incorporated into the construction of the Baptistery at Florence.
The initiatory structure of Ordo Aurum Solis consists of three "Halls", preceded by a special training in the Circle of the Pronaos. The three grades associated with the Halls of the Order are as follows:
- Neophytos, or Apprentice of the Great Work
- Servitor, or Servitor of the Secret Flame
- Adeptus Minor, or Priest of the Gnosis
Birth of the golden chain
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Various initiatic traditions existed in ancient Greece. These were called Mysteries. In Greece the Mysteries of Eleusis, Samothrace, Orpheus, and Dionysus were among the most important, and in ancient Rome and across its empire, the Mithraic and Isiac Traditions. These effectively combined the sacred Mysteries with the rationalism of Philosophy, which constituted the real genius of such esoteric traditions.
Greek initiates were strongly present in Alexandria, in the latest period of Egyptian history known as the Ptolemaic period. They brought with them the Greek initiatic system of the Mysteries, which was then incorporated by the ancient Egyptian priests into their traditions, thereby giving a new, coherent structure to the same. According to Ordo Aurum Solis and its initiates, this was the real birth of the Hermetic Theurgic Tradition, later to be known as the Ogdoadic Tradition, or Ordo Aurum Solis. As Sumerian and Egyptian magic also found their place in the clear system of the ancient Greek Mysteries, the Western initiatic tradition was born.
Rebirth of the order
Just before the dawn of the 20th century, there were a number of "antiquarian" and "folklore" societies in England that chronicled curiosities and pursued their own chosen researches. One such society was known as the Societas Rotae Fulgentis (i.e., “Society of the Blazing Wheel”) and had been slowly amassing a wealth of knowledge and research from its various antecedents in the Ogdoadic Tradition. To this society belonged two dedicated occultists, Charles Kingold and George Stanton. In the changing religious and political environment of the late 19th century, they decided to take the core philosophy of the Societas Rotae Fulgentis and constitute it into a living magical and initiatory order, establishing Ordo Aurum Solis in 1897 and reawakening the Golden Chain of the Greek and Egyptian initiatic heritage.
Denning and Phillips
Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips are the pen-names of Vivian Godfrey and Leon Barcynski, who together authored many books in the early days of Llewellyn Publications. Chief among these was the formal presentation of the Order Aurum Solis' philosophy and praxis: The Magical Philosophy.
Melita Denning, a Jungian scholar, was the first female Grand Master of the Order. She led the Order from 1976 to 1987, and from 1988 till her death on March 23, 1997. Earlier in her life, she had traveled throughout the Middle East and the Mediterranean in search of occult knowledge. It was after six years of research that she finally came upon Ordo Aurum Solis.
Osborne Phillips was Grand Master of the Order from 1997 to 2003. He received magical training early in his life at the hands of Ernest Page, a London astrologer of some repute. In the early 1970s, he was in charge of psychic investigation as conducted by certain initiates of Ordo Aurum Solis. Phillips was also a student of U Maung Maung Ji, who specialized in Eastern philosophical systems and was a co-worker of the UN Secretary-General U Thant.
Carl Llewellyn Weschcke
7th Grand Master of the Aurum Solis, Carl Llewellyn Weschcke is the chairman of Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd. He wrote several books on psychic empowerment and to this day publishes, through Llewellyn, books of the Order Aurum Solis. Weschcke reaffirmed his support to the Hermetic Tradition in the foreword to Jean-Louis de Biasi's The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis.
Jean-Louis de Biasi (Lifetime Grand Master)
Jean-Louis de Biasi, an author and philosopher born in Southern France, has been involved in the Mystery Traditions for the past forty years. He has been Grand Master of Ordo Aurum Solis since 2003, and, as shown on the Order Aurum Solis' website. De Biasi has written books on the Ogdoadic Tradition, the Tarot, the aura, and Freemasonry. As per his website, he now seems to be actively writing books in English. He wrote Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons: Sacred Mysteries, Rituals and Symbols Revealed and has written two books directly related to Ordo Aurum Solis: The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis: Using Tarot Talismans for Ritual & Initiation and Becoming Gods: Invoking the Powerful Divinities to Transform and Enjoy your Life.
The order today
Vivian Godfrey (Melita Denning) was diagnosed with cancer early in 1997 and died on March 23 of that same year.
On June 14, 2003, Leon Barcynski (Osborne Phillips) retired as Grand Master and was succeeded by Jean-Louis de Biasi, the current Grand Master, who subsequently made a declaration that bore witness to the Hermetic nature of the work of the order.
In 2010, the website of Ordo Aurum Solis made mention of the addition of a public branch of the Order called the Ecclesia Ogdoadica, a religious organization transmitting the traditional aspects of Hermetic religion to the public. Reference was made to the religious philosophy of Gemistus Pletho, a Greek philosopher of the Renaissance and heir to the ancient mystery religions. The priests of the Ecclesia Ogdoadica are initiates of Ordo Aurum Solis whose goals are to re-establish the cults of the Immortal Divinities, with the authority of their Hermetic heritage, as taught by the Sacred Texts of Hermetism. This in the hopes that it will promote a Hermetic way of life.
- Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. Llewellyn Practical Guide to Astral Projection. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.
- Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. Llewellyn Practical Guide to Creative Visualization. Woodbury: Llewellyn Publications, 2001.
- Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. The Foundations of High Magick: The Magical Philosophy. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2000.
- Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. The Sword and the Serpent: The Two-Fold Qabalistic Universe. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2005.
- Denning, Melita, and Osborne Phillips. Mysteria Magica: Fundamental Techniques of High Magick. St. Paul: Llewellyn Publications, 2004.
- Grand Masters
- Weschcke, Carl Llewellyn (2011). 'Foreword'. The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis: Using Tarot Talismans for Ritual & Initiation. Woodbury, Minn. Llewellyn Publications
- Biasi, Jean-Louis De (2010). 'Secrets and Practices of the Freemasons: Sacred Mysteries, Rituals and Symbols Revealed. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 9780738723402. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- Biasi, Jean-Louis de. The Divine Arcana of the Aurum Solis: Using Tarot Talismans for Ritual & Initiation. Woodbury, Minn.: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 9780738720869. Retrieved 7 September 2012.
- de Biasi, Jean-Louis. Becoming Gods: Invoking the Powerful Divinities to Transform and Enjoy your Life. Woodbury: Llewellyn Worldwide, forthcoming.
- de Biasi, J.-L. (June 2003). 1st Declaration of the Grand Master. Retrieved on 4/4/07.
- Official declaration