The Masters, the Esoteric and the Golden Dawn.

It is time I nailed my colours to the masthead, or whatever that quaint expression is. I have never really hid my belief of and interaction with what many magicians call ‘inner plane contacts’. Indeed without them my esoteric work would be very limited. However, I have never extrapolated upon them in any great length; after all the connections are personal and intimate and I am not keen to expose such relationships. Unlike some writers who often produce more fog than light in their rapturous praises and descriptions of their Masters, Guides and Contacts.

Many people, within the Golden Dawn tradition however have no truck with the concept of contacts. For example, Israel Regardie, particularly in his younger days, poured scorn and derision on the Masters and received messages. Recently Nick Farrell, quite an intelligent chap from what I can tell, wrote a lovely engaging article, The Genius of the Golden Dawn (Hermetic Virtues 3) where he examined the origins of the unique, creative aspects of Golden Dawn spirituality. While Nick does mention one physical ‘Secret Chief’ he does not mention the role of Inner Plane contacts and teachers at all. This is despite discussing how the Golden Dawn successors such as Brodie-Innes and Dion Fortune took the tradition to the next step, when they were both clear they owed much to their own Masters. Such an omission is astounding to say the least.

Now I know from personal emails that Nick has been exposed to, what shall we call it – inner contact abuse? A situation where the inner contacts somehow mirror a spiritual leader’s personal opinions and emotions and become in fact a way for the gutless leader to express what he/she is unwilling to own as their own. Sadly this does happen. However, such abuse, misuse and partial connections with the inner plane teachers and Masters does not in any way stop them existing and functioning.

Surviving records show that inner plane beings have been part of the Western tradition for at least the last few centuries and I would guess forever. Now of course the way these ‘beings’ manifest is very dependent on time and culture. Our current vision of them is still very influenced by the Theosophical milieu of the early 20th century. However, as anyone with any experience beyond the malleable astral plane of Yesod knows, these forms and ideas are not the reality – they are only ways of connection. No reality is ascribed to them, even as we engage with them – at least this is what sensible folk do.

This is I think is why so many contemporary, sophisticated younger magicians reject the Masters concept. Being raised on pop psychology and bald psychological reductionism they take one look at the obvious psychological projections onto the Masters and assume the Masters are false. This together with the blatant abuse, like that above, and absolute crap that is channelled as ‘Messages from the Masters’ convinces them it is all psychological baloney. Much I am sure is, but not all.

Psychological reductionism here has gone too far. Having a belief, a concept based on psychology that the Masters are unreal is as dangerous as having a belief they are real based on received writings and channelled messages. Psychology is by its very nature limited – attempting to explain the human being while denying the spiritual self, or assuming the spiritual is somehow within the ‘collective’. It can never get the correct answers, as we are holistic beings comprised of far more than psychology can ever understand. Similarly the Masters are far more than psychology, our own discrimination and even the likes of Jung or Regardie could ever understand.

However, there need be no conflict between psychology and the esoteric – only between the types of psychology espoused by Regardie and others. For example, Dion Fortune was as well versed in the psychological as any contemporary western teacher and the Masters were fully a part of her daily life. It is appropriate here to repeat a much quoted passage from a Master channelled through Dion herself – or from her unconscious if you insist 🙂

“The Masters as you know them, and the Hall of Initiation, are all imagination. I did not say the Masters were imagination. I said the Masters, as you know them; and I imagine myself, and you imagine me, and between us we make a simulacrum on the astral that enables us to get in touch with each other. What I am you cannot realise, and it is a waste of time to try and do so, but you can imagine me on the astral, and I can contact you through your imagination, and although the mental picture is not real or actual, the results of it are real and actual. The Masters, as they are supposed to be in popular would-be esoteric thought are pure fiction.” (Gareth Knight, Dion Fortune and the Inner Light, p.90-91, emphasis added.)

As I keep telling my students – forget the form of anything on the inner planes, look at how it functions. The visions of Masters, their names, character and the concept itself is irrelevant. How do they function? What do they do? Well, within the Golden Dawn / RR et AC tradition they form part of a chain connecting the unformed with the formed, the One with the Many, the Unmanifest with the Manifest. We are the last part of that chain and our daily material lives should function like a light bulb, where it all lights up – gloriously illuminating the darkness of our world. The Masters are within that chain, serving to link the unformed spiritual blessings of our traditions to our lodges, schools, practices and rituals.

Further, the Masters, when contacted by an effective medium can provide healing, guidance, direct and practical teaching. In no way however are they interested in personal lives, lodge politics, leadership or the like. If any contacted being expresses such an interest the contact should be broken at once and a thorough banishing undertaken. Not that any contact I have met has ever acted like this.

Now all of these functions can be found in other traditions, Western and non Western alike. They are not ascribed to Masters, or even discreet beings, but they are there. For example, in esoteric Tibetan Buddhism Masters such as the 8th Century Padmasambhava hid secret teachings called Terma. These teachings are revealed when the time is appropriate – some have been found physically hidden in caves following inner revelations, though often encoded in non-human scripts. Others have been found inwardly, called Sky or Space Terma. Very often the meaning of the Terma is discovered only after much meditation. It then becomes expressed through new teachings, guidance and rituals. Some of the newer Terma concern the role of women and sacred feminine imagery, making them very appropriate for this time, particularly in the Tibetan Diaspora.

Terma here are functioning in a very similar fashion to the Western concept of the Masters. To ascribe all of this rich, powerful, life changing inspiration, teaching and guidance to any psychological pathology is arrogant in the extreme. If we can look beyond the outer concepts and obvious abuses of the Masters we will see this. For example, even that paramount Iconoclast  J Krishnamurti, who publically denounced the Theosophical view of the Masters as much as anyone, still maintained a lifelong connection and service to them, as they are. (See, The inner life of Krishnamurti: private passion and perennial wisdom – Aryel Sanat).

As I mentioned above, any belief, for or against the existence of the Masters, spells death to our spiritual unfoldment and service. It is only our grounded experience that matters here. For those who have never experienced the Masters, perhaps your mental conceptions are limited, or perhaps you are not actually working within a fully contacted lodge or school. Initiates of such schools eventually do experience the Masters, and it changes their lives. It certainly has for me, and for many other people. Recently we conducted a lengthy and very complex house clearing. The house had been constantly cleaned by others over a number of years, but the clearing had never taken. Without the blessings of the Masters our clearing would not have been possible. This has produced immediate, real world relief and changes for several people. No pathology or delusion could do that.



  1. Brin Daniels · March 29, 2008

    I have some good experience with the Inner Plane Masters,I advocate a path which,if the material is well researched and understood,Initiation for money is a defunct establishment.Through invocation and the employment of the Orders symbolism,and active meditation the Inner Mastwers can be contacted,and a very much truer type of initiation can be obtained;the masters are much more broad-minded than initiators who proselytize for money.The narrow minded dogmatists who sell initiation are lacking genuine knowledge of the facts of The Hermetic Order,too much to discuss,and are a deadly threat to sincere seekers.Anything that will restrict,impede growth and expiramentation,unforgivingly ,or act on dogma rather than the vital are enemies of the path.I propose completely ending outer initiation,and leave it to the abilities of the student to make contacts and gain initiation.A word on words,the words are not the territory itself,you must never let language bind,pure,washed with an earnest and sincere mind,you may engage the symbols and approach the Adytum.

  2. Brian Daniels · March 29, 2008

    Thats ‘Brian’.not Brin.

  3. Peregrin · March 31, 2008

    Hi Brian.

    thanks for your comments. I would agree with you regarding commercial interests and western magic. The two do not mix well.

    However, if I am understanding you, I would be cautious about a move to only inner initiation. Outer initiation – that is by an Order – if done correctly is part of the inner initiation. Having a real flesh and blood Order with teachings and guidance is something that is irreplaceable, really. It is only because of the historical fragmentation of the western tradition that we need to rely on Inner Masters rather than flesh and blood Masters.

    The full schema is referred to in the Golden Dawn’s three Orders: the student (material world) is taught by the adept (psychic world) who is commissioned and guided by the Master (spiritual plane). All three are needed, all three are equally important.

    🙂 peregrin

  4. Pingback: Masters, secret chiefs, inner plane contacts | Nick Farrell's Blog

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