Mishkan ha-Echad

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

My Views on the "Secret Chiefs"

The Secret Chiefs are one of the most controversial topics within Golden Dawn circles today, and were the focus of much debate and furore in the original Order and its offshoots some 100 years ago. Mathers brought the term into the Golden Dawn when he established the Inner Order, claiming to have contacted the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order (thus giving him primary authority). However, it wasn't readily apparent whether these were actual people (whether incarnate "Masters" or not) or discarnate entities, although some of the language used to describe them (including their questionable ages) seems to intimate that they were allegorical constructs, like much of Rosicrucian teaching (and very similar to the fanciful tales of Christian Rosenkreutz himself). However, this did not stop many Golden Dawn members from looking for the Secret Chiefs in the flesh, most notable of which was Felkin, who, like the others, came back unsuccessful. It must be noted that Felkin also believed the Vault of Christian Rosenkreutz was a real construct, and also searched for that, so he can hardly be judged as the most critical of minds on such matters.

The way I consider the "Secret Chiefs" at present is that they (and other astral masters) are personifications of the Current of the group in question (in this case, the Golden Dawn). There is a definite "sentience" to a magical Current, which means that there is definitive Briatic consciousness, for want of a better term. However, we would project our own Yetziratic personae onto that Briatic consciousness, and the Current would actively facilitate this. Thus, the heart of the message is transmitted, but the vessel of it, the form it takes (including language choice and grammar) is dependent entirely on the receiver. This explains why grammatical errors of old English and the like show up in channelled works.

So, the Secret Chiefs are, in a sense, metaphorical. They are a way of describing what is a somewhat abstract form of contact with the Current, a kind of magical "collective consciousness", to borrow Jung's terminology. Indeed, I believe the older Rosicrucian groups originated the term "Secret Chiefs" (roughly in the 1700s, from the German unbekannte Oberen), and, like most elements of Rosicrucian teaching, it is meant to be allegorical, not literal. However, there is a reality behind the allegory - except it is much less fanciful, and anyone with a true connection and a receptive vessel can establish this contact with the Current - otherwise known in personified form as the "Secret Chiefs".
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