The Secret Chiefs Reviled!!!

For certain, the wordplay on the title of this blog post is meant to show that there has been no lack of controversy, nor hyperbole, when it comes to talking about the mysterious, magical Secret Chiefs who "live in the Light of their Perfect Justice", and who "journey as upon the Winds...strike where no man strikes...and slay where no man slays"!

In fact, in 1896, S.L. MacGregor Mathers said the following about his personal connection with the Secret Chiefs:

"Concerning the Secret Chiefs of the Order, to whom I make reference and from whom I have received the Wisdom of the Second Order which I have communicated to you, I can tell you nothing.

I do not even know them by their earthly names.

I know them only by certain secret mottoes.

I have but very rarely seen them in the physical body; and on such rare occasions the rendezvous was made astrally by them at the time and place which had been astrally appointed beforehand.

For my part I believe them to be human and living upon this earth; but possessing terrible superhuman powers…

The strain of such labour has been, as you can conceive, enormous...the nerve prostration after each reception being terrible from the strain of testing the correctness of every passage thus communicated; the nerve prostration alluded to being at times accompanied by profuse cold perspirations, and by severe loss of blood from the nose, mouth, and occasionally the ears."

Such claims seem to be too fantastical to be believed, yet there are Golden Dawn Orders in existence today who claim to have this connection with these Secret Chiefs.  So what exactly is to be believed?

As like everything in the Golden Dawn, a Middle Pillar approach of sober moderation is best.  Such claims should not be dismissed out of hand, nor should they be taken on blind faith.  Furthermore, we are taught to test every entity we encounter, by signs, symbols, names and letters.  If there are beings, human or otherwise, which claim to be Secret Chiefs, then they should be able to hold up to the same scrutiny, if not more so.  It is abundantly clear that Mathers conveniently forgot his own advice and did not do his due diligence when it came to Mr. Theo and Madame Horos in 1901.

But that is all history.  What is relevant right here and now is, have the Chiefs of current Golden Dawn Orders making their claims done their due diligence?  The only real way to answer that question is to do our own in the face of those claims.

At risk of sounding pedantic, there are two fundamental claims regarding the authenticity of Secret Chiefs.  One, that they are "Chiefs".  The other, that they are "Secret".

Regardless of modern cultural mindsets, secrecy has always been an important part of the Golden Dawn Tradition.  It is a fundamental exercise of self-restraint, more especially of the ego and, in my opinion, is even more important in today's instant gratification society.  So if the Secret Chiefs, who have remained private for centuries, suddenly decide to make themselves revealed to the public, what does that mean?  Are they simply coming forth into modern times?  The Rosicrucians actually had a process for that.  They called it a Reformation.  And if the Secret Chiefs decided to come out now, they are either 13 years too late or 99 years too early.  Besides, what do you call Secret Chiefs who have "outed themselves"?  The Chiefs-who-until-recently-were-Secret?  Do they say ecky-ecky-ecky-ecky-p'tang-whoop-boing?  And do we need to offer them a shrubbery?  Please pardon my sudden departure to snarky humor, but I hope you get my point.  If Secret Chiefs are no longer secret, then they are...well...something else, aren't they?

Regarding the claim to the Chiefly title, a member of the Third Order is going to be at very least a Magister Templi, or Master of the Temple.  S/he should have mastered the magical system of which s/he is a Chief.  S/he should have forgotten more about the First Order than you have learned, be able to give insight into the magical system that you could not have imagined, and continue to build on that tradition without abandoning its fundamentals.

So what is to be thought about Secret Chiefs who are disseminating a new ooh shiny type of magic for the not-so-new millenium?  Why would the guardians of a centuries-old magical tradition seemingly start from scratch and throw the magickal childe out with the bathwater?  Should not a Secret Chief be able to adapt to new information while keeping the tradition intact?  Nihil Sub Sole Novum.  Furthermore, if such a new magic is so special, so insightful, so powerful, then why would the Secret Chiefs make it public at their first opportunity and not keep it instead for their initiates?  Knowledge is power, and with power comes responsibility.  One should expect Secret Chiefs to be wise as well as knowledgeable, and if the knowledge they intentionally share is then purposefully abused by its recipients, is that the kind of poor judgment to be expected from Secret Chiefs?

Lastly, if Golden Dawn Adepts strive to be more than human, then I would hope that the Secret Chiefs would have reached that goal.  But being more than human is more than just about power.  If the Secret Chiefs possess superhuman power as Mathers had claimed, then I certainly would hope that they would possess superhuman virtue as well.  So when these Secret Chiefs hand down this arcane yet freshly modern occult knowledge, what is its effect on the world?  Does it make better people?  Does it further the Great Work?  Also, take a close look at the emissaries of the Secret Chiefs.  Are their teachings helping their ambassadors become wiser, more serene, more temperate, more humble, more virtuous?

Simply put, "by their fruits, you will know them."


Many thanks for your blog. It seems that the recent revival of the topic of the Secret Chiefs can at least be partially placed at the comments made by In August, 2010, the Supreme Magus of the Masonic SRICF, William Koon II, that the SRICF and the SRIA should be able to have the right to designate which Golden Dawn order is the "official" Golden Dawn - implying that Masonic Rosicrucians have governing authority over the Golden Dawn. The last part of the statement it seems to have upset a particular Secret Chief of a GD Order. Hence the recent spats on the blogsphere he has against other GD Orders.

Do you have any further information about these comments from Bro Koon, and the context that they were made. It would be interesting to know if anything substantial came of them,

June 15, 2012 at 7:20 AM  


I don't want to speak out of turn, mostly because I wasn't there. But here are some thoughts to consider.

From what little I've heard, Koon gave some sort of recognition to HOGD at a meeting of California College MSRICF. Personally, I do not see how or where a granting of recognition inflates into an assertion of authority. Also, consider that almost two years has passed since said event, and there have been no efforts nor actions by the SRICF to assert any authority over any GD order out there. Furthermore, I certainly have heard nothing at my College about this. The GD isn't even on most of the Fraters' radars.

My personal opinion? It's just a tempest in a teacup.

June 16, 2012 at 1:10 PM  


I have an inclination to agree with you. I suspect that the comments were an attempt to acknowledge that there were members in both organisation, and that there should be fraternal relations between them. How this became a statement of some sort of governance is beyond my capacity to make sense of it. If one feels persecuted by one's own sense of inferiority, then anything can become incorporated into that individual's paranoid delusional mind.

Now that they too have become a Secret Chief, we'll be subjected to their constant 'outpouring' of their type of Internal Alchemy. I encourage GD students to read that particular blog, not only for it's entertainment value, which is somewhat adolescent in style, but as a glowing example of what such advance teachings can do to one's mental stability. The smooth ashlar has somehow become rough with knobs and excrescences. Maybe it's smoother on the inside...


June 16, 2012 at 9:21 PM  

One modern esoteric order, little known but active, suggests that anyone who claims to be a Magisteter Templi or higher is automatically disqualified from actually being a member of the Supernal Grades.

It is also not without merit that I would claim that superhuman virtue is the basis for superhuman power.

An excellent essay. Worth reading, to be sure. This goes in my virtual "Ethics and Morality for Neophytes 101" folder!

June 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM  

"…it is impossible for the ordinary individual to understand those [grades] above the grade of Adeptus Minor, and individuals who lay claim openly to such exalted grades, by that very act place a gigantic question mark against the validity of their attainment. He that is exalted is humble." -- Israel Regardie

Thank you, Vick. You have given me an idea for my next blog entry!

June 18, 2012 at 9:55 PM  

This topic seems to come up frequently within esoteric society. Are the Secret Chiefs real? Do the communicate with Initiates? How do you recognize one?

Ultimately it is up to the Initiate to make the determination as to whether these Secret Chiefs exist or not. In some cases whole groups of Initiates must make that decision based upon their contact and connection with their particular Tradition.

I have to agree with you Eric, that if the Secret Chiefs are suddenly "public", they are no longer "Secret" and are something else entirely. If they have revealed "new" teachings, then they would reveal that to their Initiates and not publicly announce that as fact like some marketing group looking for a larger market share for a product line. Keeping training and teachings secret and knowing how to remain silent (as in Tacere - the forth power of the Sphinx) has always and continues to be an essential aspect of being an Initiate, whether from the rank Neophyte to highest exalted member of the Third Order.

Just my two centavos.


June 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM  

Well written!

In the late history of Rosicrucian organizations there have been a lot of power struggle and I think that these references to secret chiefs is a way to keep that power.

There is a large group of people, reincarnating on Earth, guiding mankind, and those spiritual active in Rosicrucian and like organizations are likely to be part of this group, and have been incarnating together with the group for thousand of years, so they would have been incarnating together with these "secret chiefs" before, know them, so it should not be necessary to make all that fuzz about it.

Have anything very interesting ever been revealed by these chiefs?

There are really no hidden secrets, everything is open and spread out before us, readable by everybody who loves truth higher than his own subjective truth, so these secret chiefs are really not needed.

June 22, 2012 at 1:01 AM  

Thank you, Kim.

From what I've experienced, from the secrets that get laid bare to the all-too-human individuals who go astray, it seems as if the Tradition takes care of itself.

Honestly, that's enough Secret Chief for me.

June 28, 2012 at 1:59 AM  

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