Feb 11, 1997 08:21 PM
Recently when there was a comment that the current (Co)Masonic
Litigation that is going on in Denver Federal Court and the potential
connections, (unofficial of course -- TS has nothing to do with *any*
*other* organizations -- this is the official position), I wondered about it.
However, I happened to run into some material in Tillet's book "The
Elder Brother" (which is excerpted below) which has something to say about
the secret masonic rite which has as requirement membership ES and
Co-Masonry and of course you cannot be a member of ES without being a member
of TS. This is the first time, I am hearing of this connection.
Some of you may find it interesting.
PS: Since Dora Kunz (former National President of TS in America) was one of
the pupils of Leadbeater in Australia at that time, and I think she is from
Dutch East Indies, I am wondering if she was one of "The "Seven Virgins of
Java" mentioned below. Can some historian clarify this?
Leadbeater's final attempt to achieve his desired effect of merging
the idea of a community of young people with ceremonial work came in his
last group of pupils. These were all girls, from the Dutch East Indies,
chosen by Leadbeater during one of his visits to Java. The girls were sent
to The Manor by their parents, willingly or otherwise, in 1927-8, and
remained there with Leadbeater until he moved to settle permanently at
Adyar early in 1929. They were known as 'The Seven Virgins of Java', and
were related in Leadbeater's scheme of things both to the World Mother, Who
would manifest Her special force through them, to the powers behind the
Liberal Catholic Church and Co-Masonry, and to the still-surviving idea of
the World Teacher. Leadbeater had long had an interest in Java, and had
produced a book, The Occult History of Java. The seven girls were treated as
a group, an innovation in Leadbeater's teaching since he had previously
always emphasized the need for individuality and individual attention.
They were told they had to function as an organic whole, and would
pass Initiations and other psychic experiences corporately. They were all
trained in Masonry, and rigidly drilled in ceremonial by Leadbeater's
secretary, Miss Maddox. Eventually, despite their youth, they were all
elevated by Leadbeater to the highest grade of Freemasonry, the 33rd degree,
and were all made members of the ES.
Leadbeater planned to establish yet another ceremonial movement in
which these seven girls would have a vital function. It was known as the
Egyptian Rite of Ancient Freemasonry, and it remains a secret inner group,
with a prerequisite of membership of the ES and of Co-Masonry.
Although it has few members it continues to work its six degrees in
various centres of Theosophy. Leadbeater planned that the Egyptian Rite
would draw together the angels of the Church's ceremonial and those of
CoMasonic working, and in this he claimed the encouragement and inspiration
of the Master The Count, who assisted him in the preparation of the Ritual.
The Ritual was originally drafted by Wedgwood, since he was said to be in a
special relationship to The Count. However, Leadbeater did not like the
proposed ritual, and submitted it to Arundale for revision. The final
material was said to constitute 'the most powerful occult ritual in the
world'. The seven girls were kept busy rehearsing their parts in it to
ensure that they were perfect for the day when the Egyptian Rite (ER) would
be inaugurated in the Co-Masonic Temple at Adyar. This was done in 1929,
after the ES had been reopened. The Ritual was formally issued on Christmas
Day, 1931, bearing the imprimatur of Mrs Besant as Grand Master, and a
solemn warning from Arundale, as Grand Secretary, that the ritual text was
the property of the 'SS' (presumably the Sovereign Sanctuary) and 'must be
returned on demand and provision must be made for the return on the death
of the member'. When not in actual use, the ritual should be kept under lock
The Rite consists of six degrees or stages. The first is the Temple
of the Quest, which includes three stages: Fire, Form and Life, intended to
purify the physical and emotional bodies, the mind, and the intuition and
will respectively. Once a candidate has passed through these stages he will
normally be ready for presentation to a 'Lord of Light' to be placed on
probation. The rituals take place in a Temple 'symbolic of the human spirit
with bodies', and are to be 'regarded as a dramatization of the true
functions of the various principles and bodies, so externalised that, as in
a mystic mirror, the individual sees himself as he is destined to become'.
Various officers represent different bodies and qualities, although
their titles were derived from several languages, such as Artifex, Agni and
Etha, and some of them sound a trifle quaint. It was noted that all
participants need to have a thorough knowledge of At the Feet of the Master,
'the teachings of which the Rituals of these degrees are largely destined to
emphasize'. By the time the candidate completes the three stages of the
Temple of the Quest, he should be on Probation and could then advance to the
fourth stage, the Temple of the Rose and the Cross.
Once accepted as the chela of a Master he can go on to the fifth
stage, the Outer Temple or Temple of the Dawn, followed by the sixth stage,
the Inner Temple or Temple of the Star. These are the degrees to be worked
by the members, and above them is the seventh stage, the Sovereign Sanctuary
of the Masters of the Light, the governing body of the ER. Beyond that was
the Great Hierarchy. It was emphasized that the Rite was mainly for the
young, and that wherever possible all the officers should be young people;
with the passage of time and the disappearance of young people generally
from the TS one presumes that this is no longer the case.
The rituals themselves have a distinct Leadbeaterian, if one might
use such a term, flavour about them, and include copious references to and
quotations from At the Feet of the Master, in addition to numerous modified
Anglican hymns. 'O Trinity of Burning Light' and 'There is a King of Glory'
are found with some appropriate original material drawn from the St Alban
Hymnal of the Liberal Catholic Church. Oaths are taken on a copy of At the
Feet of the Master and a silver star, and once admitted to the Temple of the
Quest candidates are invested with a 'symbol of Dawning of Light upon the
darkness' which they wear around their necks, openly in the Temple, and
unseen in the outer world.
Leadbeater found the occult effects of this most powerful of all
occult rituals very pleasing and presumably felt it accomplished the
blending of two streams of angelic assistants, and emanated highly potent
evolutionary currents upon the surrounding world.
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