book was completed, I was utterly convinced that these “groups” were indeed the sameessential body of manifestation. They were, in fact, the source of the core ideas (andsome of the configuration) incorporated by Kellner and Reuss into the O.T.O. at theturn of the twentieth century, just as the Oriental Rites of Memphis & Mizraim of John Yarker were, to a large extent, the source of the O.T.O.’s structural formation andfraternal outlook. I was a bit baffled when several articulate critics challenged whatseemed an obvious continuity and connectedness. It all seemed to boil down to severalkey points.(1) It was remarkable for me to learn that the eighteenth century Brothers of Light,and for that matter the Initiated Brothers of Asia, are direct antecedents of O.T.O. Ihave at hand some of their rituals. It is almost certainly correct that there are enoughsimilarities in publicly available literature to link these bodies, both directly andthrough intervening manifestations such as the Theon-Davidson H. B. of L. of thenineteenth century. For example, induction into the eighteenth century Fraters Lucisincludes this from the Chief Priest to the acolyte as he anoints him with the SacredChrism: “Let him that hath an ear, let him hear with what the Spirit saith unto thechurches; to him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will givehim a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth savingthat he receiveth it.” A hundred years later, in his monograph Vital Christianity, PeterDavidson made these remarks:“The inward and true Self, the Dual-Soul-Germ, the ‘I am,’ is identical with the Christ,and the nature of such is the great Mystery and final secret which God holds in reservefor those who seek and love Him. ‘To him that overcometh will I give to eat of thehidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving that he receiveth it,’”
One is, of course, quite free to interpret “white stone” and “hidden manna” as onechooses
; but the coincident citations are nonetheless remarkable. They both derive,of course, from the book of
, Chapter 2, verse 17: “He that hath an ear, lethim hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give toeat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”(2) Dr. Reuss does indeed say, in 1920 e.v., “The Gnostics of the Neo-ChristianChurch, also called the Brothers of Light of the Seven Congregations in Asia or theOrder of the Templars of the Orient, proclaim to the misguided suffering humanity themessage of salvation of Liberty, Justice, Love.” While, for example, in the “KnightNovice of the Third Year” (1st Degree) in the Fraters Lucis, the reading of the articles of obligation are prefaced as “The general articles on the duties of the Very Reverend andMost Worshipful Seven Fathers, the Heads of the Seven Churches of Asia....”I don’t see any reason why this earlier association in any way precludes links betweenO.T.O. and later (nineteenth century) organizations with similar names; it simply pushes the time-line further back. Here again, we find the origin of the turn of phrasein the book of
. Parenthetically, the “Seven Churches of Asia” referencesdate from antiquity and show up in all sorts of places, beginning with
:“Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and untoSmyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and untoPhiladelphia, and unto Laodicea.”It is a venerable formula, perhaps with reference to the medieval mythos of PresterJohn
, and incorporated into the Fraters Lucis or Brothers of Light, and then to theO.T.O., the initials of which do, after all, stand for “Order of Oriental Templars.”The point I make in The Story of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light is that thecontinuity of ideas and similarity of names among a variety of groups—particularly when those ideas and names are unique in the Western World—suggest continuity of organization. A “paper trail” may be lacking, or overlaps of membership are not alwaysnoted—though both of these factors are also present much of the time—but thecontinuity is glaringly obvious nonetheless.
The Scarlet Letter | v5n2 | "Hermetic Brotherhood Revisited"http://www.scarletwoman.org/scarletletter/v5n2/v5n2_hermeti...2 of 611/30/10 11:39 PM