The Masters and Some Mutterings

Naturally enough since the Equinox the Masters have been at the forefront of my thoughts. This together with the situation in Tibet has given rise to renewed pondering at the state of the western esoteric tradition as compared to the Eastern, the only example I can speak about with any degree of certainty being Tibetan Buddhism. Basically, I think we draw up very short indeed. The main reason is simply that we do not have a living, unbroken tradition embodied in flesh and blood, real people, schools and lineage teachings overseen by enlightened Masters.

I have no doubt there are real embodied Masters in the western traditions – somewhere. But they are few and far between and most of us have to rely on the influence of, and if we are lucky, direct communion with non-incarnate Masters. That these Masters are real is beyond a doubt (for me). One of the aims of the Masters is to guide us towards that state of consciousness known as Illumination, a concept that does not sit easy with many western esotericists. I suspect a few of you are even getting a little uneasy from what I’ve written so far 🙂 And I know that in the past I have refused to talk openly of these things, but I am being directed to do so more and more these days.

Illumination and the existence of a concrete path to that illumination have been real for me since I was 16 or so. I had been sneaking a look over my Dad’s shoulder at the Sunday Times, since as a know-it-all teenager I never read such low brow stuff, when I spotted an ad for (what I know believe to be) the AMORC “Rosicrucian” mail order … esoteric school? … business? … (I never know how to take AMORC). All I remember seeing was the tantalizing word ‘Illumination’ before my dad flipped the page.

Later wandering around in the garden for hours, I couldn’t stop thinking about it – “Illumination” – what was this? I had no idea; I had read nothing more ‘spiritual’ and magical than Alan Garner’s children’s novels (which are very cool). Suddenly though my head ‘opened up’ and I KNEW about Illumination – I knew what it was and I knew there was Path to get there. And with such knowledge I was on effectively ‘on the path’. (It turns out now from reading my Dad’s meticulous dairies that I may have been only 14 – if so, I did nothing practical about this experience for two years!).

It was years later before I was introduced to an inner plane contact and later still, a Master. The experiences are of course still with me. So I am clear, that like the Eastern traditions, we are on a path towards Illumination and the Masters are there to help us along that Path. Otherwise, we live, love, die and are simply reborn. We offer nothing of real substance to the world while conditioned by the world. The esoteric principle which requires us to adeptly operate on the plane superior to the plane where healing is required holds true with our lives. The Illuminated Ones are able to produce healing and change here in ways we simply cannot. Buddhists pray to be Enlightened to end the suffering of all beings. It’s the same for us.

With this in mind, some simple home and up-front truths about the Western Esoteric Tradition:

  • Most western esoteric teachings are at best incomplete and only partially effective; at worst they are harmful and dangerous.

  • The western esoteric tradition is fragmented and scattered to such a degree it can never function as a whole. It is rare a single school can offer all a student requires.

  • The western esoteric traditions have been infected and damaged by the inclusion of ideas and principles from many sources, the chief corrupters being: individualism, psychology and new age thinking.

  • Most people practicing within the western traditions (you) are like the people without the traditions and destined to ‘die like a dog in the street’ (Gurdjieff).

  • This is because most western teachings are incomplete and do not result in the transformation of the self and the development of the higher bodies. As the Gnostic Gospel of Phillip amply explains: “Those who say they will die first and then rise are in error. If they do not first receive the resurrection while they live, when they die they will receive nothing.”
  • The correct type and form of esoteric work involves the traditional approach of (1) Renunciation of the lower self and material desires, so that (2) we may die and thereafter Remake ourselves as directed by the Higher, in order to (3) receive and transmit to all the world the Revelation of the eternal verities and spiritual presence of the One.

  • We have to give up ourselves and our lives. We have to work. We have to be guided in this process.

  • Most western schools are not guided by Masters and therefore cannot offer guidance beyond the Novice and possibly early Adept stages.

  • We need therefore to rely upon the Masters, who can and will guide us in our remaking.

  • We must therefore, if at all possible align ourselves with those schools guided by the Masters thereby completing the chain of Novice-Adept-Master to build a bridge between the One and the world.

  • If we do not have access to a connected school, we must forge our own connection in humility, trust and love, seeking to be of service and being prepared for directions of compassionate action.

May All Beings Be Well and Happy
And May There Be Peace and Peace and Peace Profound.



  1. Asher Fryer · March 27, 2008

    Fantastic advice. One step away from Orthodoxy! 🙂

  2. Peregrin · March 27, 2008

    Is that with a big or small ‘O’ 🙂 Care to explain?

  3. Asher Fryer · April 4, 2008

    The full and total confession of Revelation and all it entails: Orthodoxy. The ‘Western Esoteric Tradition’, as far as I can see, does not exist apart from such things, and is complementary to it. To the degree it becomes self conscious of its context and place in the greater scheme of things, it approaches Orthodoxy, and fulfills its task.

    I would agree with Guenon, Schuon, Evola et al. Taking such things out of their context is exactly what the ‘new age’, modernism and liberalism are best at. They lead to nothing, the LHP, or worse. The more they are practised properly, the more they approach the Fullness of the Truth: Orthodoxy. However, due to partial blindness or desire for ‘independence’, such bridges are rarely made.

    Ironically, the GD, OTO, etc, like all such groups, have tended to make their own imitation orthodoxies. Such things are inescapable because they are in the nature of things which attempt to mirror the Absolute. Hence, Orthodoxy. No speaking of God with inverted commas. No watering down, and referring to ‘the One’, without clear and precise ideas, to the extent it is possible. No placing of artifical boundaries, avoiding unconditional, yet consciously and freely chosen, submission to the truth.

    I’m not denying the necessary tension between eso and exo, between faiths, paths, multiplicity in unity. My point is that your ideas-which I very much enjoy reading-seem to move in that direction, despite the fact that most GD groups do not seem to acknowledge such things. Western Esoteric Tradition? What is it, who defines it, what is its organic and authoritative representatives, who gave them authority? All in all, I suspect the WET of simply being a vehicle of subversion of true tradition, for the obvious openings it refuses to relinquish, which allow a torrent of alien impulses to redefine, change and play with such things, as if anyone could or had the right to do so.

    Orthodoxy: bastion of those courageous enough to unconditionally affirm truth without giving in to every ‘wind of doctrine’ and human originated ‘innovation’. Your comments are strongly in that direction, so I applaud and enjoy them. 🙂

  4. Peregrin · April 6, 2008

    Hi Asher,

    thank you for these ideas and comments 🙂

    Well, yes I have to agree with you to a great extent; our work with the Golden Dawn and the Western Esoteric tradition is in some ways a bridge between the work and ideas of the Traditionalists and ‘magic;. – despite the fact that most of my students haven’t even heard of Schuon and the others. This is one of the reasons why our approach to the GD is at variance to others’ approaches. If i were to thrown down the traditionalist approach wholesale, without leading people to realise it themselves, I would lose them in the first lecture.

    However, I do not see the essence of Western Esoteric Tradition as separate from the traditional approach. For example, the GD, in its CORE manifestations, theology and cosmology and core teachings from the Inner is on the same page of Schuon et al.

    It is of course true that the Western tradition is very fragmented and the fragment that gave rise to the GD is very polluted with modern innovations, such as you describe. However, they are not the core. Further, this fragment – for want of a better term, let’s call it ‘magical’ – contains within it keys and principles for effective spiritual practice that are lacking in other aspects of the tradition. It is for this reason I feel it is important to reunite these aspects.

    The Western Esoteric tradition, as an entity in its own right has been studied, defined and explored by the likes of Antoine Faivre, if you are not already familiar with him. His work answers many of the questions you raise.

    Thanks again for your thoughts; I will probably Blog more about this topic soon 🙂


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  6. Jon Beard · April 18, 2008

    Hi, have read responses, be interested in hearing more from Asher Fryer, if its the same Asher from Perth, WA drop me an email, cheers, Jono.

  7. Pingback: The Re-Membering of the Western Tradition « Magic of the Ordinary
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