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Theos-World about Occult brotherhood of Luxor where Burgoyne was secretary

Jan 10, 2009 03:28 PM
by christinaleestemaker

The Occult Society
The Charter
The T. S. verses the H. B. of L.

The Occult Society

    "In 1870 (and not in 1884, as the Theosophists claimed), an adept 
of calm, of the ever-existing ancient Order of the H. B. of L., after 
having received the consent of his fellow-initiates, decided to 
choose in Great Britain a neophyte who would answer his designs. He 
landed in Great Britain in 1873. There he discovered a neophyte who 
satisfied his requirements and he gradually instructed him. Later, 
the actual neophyte received permission to establish the Exterior 
Circle of the H. B. of L." 

The adept in the above paragraph (from the introduction by Pascal 
Themanlys to the book Visions of the Eternal Present) is Max Theon, 
at the time a mere 22 years of age. I assume the disciple referred to 
is Peter Davidson (1842-1916), a Scottish philosopher. In London 
Theon was the Grand Master of the H. B. of L. - Exterior Circle of 
the Holy Brotherhood of Luxor, and Davidson, its visible head. One of 
Davidson's other teachers was the Rosicrucian external link Hargrave 
Jennings (c. 1817 - 1890). were joined in 1883 by Thomas H. Burgoyne 
(AKA Thomas Dalton, 1855-1895).

The function of this "Outer Circle" of the H. B. of L. was to offer a 
correspondence course on practical occultism; which set it apart from 
the Theosophical Society. Its curriculum included a number of 
selections from the writings of Hargrave Jennings and Paschal Beverly 

Theon and Davidson were heirs to an already established tradition, 
influences of which go back at least to Rosicrucian-Freemasonic ideas 
and movements of the eighteenth century. There are in fact a number 
of different, if related and overlapping, references here. As T Allen 
Greenfield points out, there seems to be

    "a parallel tradition running through the eighteenth century 
Fratres Lucis and Asiatic Brethren on the one hand, and Cagliostro's 
Egyptian Rite (androgynous) Freemasonry on the other. These fuse with 
primordial Egyptian traditions during the Napoleonic conquests in 
Egypt, passed on to Metamon, Theon, Levi, Randolph, Davidson and 
other nineteenth century luminaries, down to Papus, Reuss, Kellner 
and, eventually, Aleister Crowley and his successors and heirs within 

Thus Theon and Davidson and the H. B. of L. had an influence not only 
on Theosophy but also, directly and indirectly, with the OTO and 
hence Steiner (who was a member before the OTO became mostly 
thelemite), Crowley and most of modern occultism.

    "The interior Circle of the H. B. of L. was formed within a 
distinct Hermetic Order in consequence of a division that took place 
in the ranks of the Hermetic Initiates. This division was the outcome 
of the natural difference between the initiates belonging to the 
Sacerdotal Caste and those who were seriously tested and graduated in 
the schools of occultism." 

In the last decades of the 19th century, the Order of the The 
Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor had considerable influence in all the 
milieu of Western occultism. It was the only order of its time that 
taught practical occultism in the Western Mystery Tradition. This 
very secretive order, which counted among its members many of the 
well-known figures of late 19th-century occultism, spiritualism, and 
Theosophy. The researcher, G. Marvin Williams, wrote that Madam 
Blavalsky's claim of being involved with the H.B. of L. was just a 
creation of imagination designed to gain publicity. But, despite 
Marvin's scepticism, Madam Blavatsky was indeed a member of the Order.

In later years, Peter Davidson emigrated to the United States and 
there published several books. While in 1889 some the H.B. of L. 
material in the form of lessons by Burgoyne was published as The 
Light of Egypt, minus only the practical teachings

The Charter

The charter of the Ancient and Noble Order of H. B. of L. which was 
signed: "M. Theon, Grand Master pro temp of the Exterior Circle," 
contains high principles and important data:

"We recognize the eternal existence of the Great Cause of Light, the 
invisible center whose vibrating soul, gloriously radiant, is the 
living breath, the vital principle of all that exists and will ever 
exist. It is from this divine summit that goes forth the invisible 
Power which binds the vast universe in an harmonious whole."

"We teach that from this incomprehensible center of Divinity emanate 
sparks of the eternal Spirit,which,after accomplishing their orbit, 
the great cycle of Necessity, constitute the sole immortal element of 
the human soul. Accepting thus the universal brotherhood of humanity, 
we reject, nevertheless,the doctrine of universal quality."

"We have no personal preferences and no one makes progress in "the 
Order without having accomplished his assigned task thereby 
indicating aptitude for more advanced initiation."

"Remember, we teach freely, without reservation, anyone worthy of 

"The Order devotes its energies and resources to discover and apply 
the hidden laws and active forces in all fields of nature, and to 
subjugate them to the higher will of the human soul, whose power and 
attributes our Order strives to develop, in order to build up the 
immortal individuality so that the complete spirit can say I AM."

"The members engage themselves, to the best of their ability, in a 
life of moral purity and brotherly love, abstaining from the use of 
intoxicants except for medicinal purposes, working for the progress 
of all social reforms beneficial for humanity."

"Finally, the members have full freedom of thought and judgment. By 
no means may one member be disrespectful towards members of other 
religious beliefs or impose his own convictions on others."

"Each member of our ancient and noble Order has to maintain, human 
dignity by living as an example of purity, justice and goodwill. No 
matter what the circumstances may be, one can become a living center 
of goodness, radiating virtue, nobility and truth."

The T. S. verses the H. B. of L.

According to William Emmette Coleman

    In 1875 Mme. B. had claimed to be in communication with an 
Egyptian Lodge, called the Brotherhood of Luxor, composed of "Adepts" 
or "Brothers"; Masters in magical lore, and she also caused Olcott to 
believe that one or more of these "Brothers" had accepted him as a 
pupil, and that certain communications to him purporting to come from 
them, and received by the Colonel through her, were the veritable 
productions of these "Adepts." Olcott asserts that one of them once 
visited him in his room in a materialized astral form, and as proof 
of his objectivity left with him his headcovering, which the Colonel 
retains to this day. 

The indication here is that the Theosophical doctrine of Masters is 
directly based on the H. B. of L. Later however Blavatsky accused 
that magical order of swindling money from the gullible. The 
definition in the on-line Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary: defines 
the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor as "a spurious "esoteric" society 
started about 1884 in England, which later spread to America before 
it was exposed as a fraud in Yorkshire by theosophists around 1887," 
and that in August, 1887, Burgoyne "issued to the members a secret 
circular, the essence of which was that he had studied Chaldean 
Astrology for eighteen years, but could not communicate the 'lessons' 
in it and Occultism without a payment to him of $60; that his 
teachings had the full approval of the Masters...He was 28 years old 
at the time. He later published the same material in a book, external 
link The Light of Egypt, sold for $3.00."

We have seeen that the H. B. of L. was established in 1870, although 
perhaps it (as the O.T.O. historical documents suggest) only emerged 
publicly at the later date. Another minor point: if Burgoyne was born 
in 1855 than in 1887 he was 32, not 28. The reference to the 
"Masters" is interesting because it seems that the H. B. of L. is 
where Blavatsky originally developed the idea from. One wonders how 
much of this material is genuine, and how much slander. There was 
certainly an ideological difference (apart from her short-lived 
"Esoteric Section", Blavatsky was very much against teaching 
practical occultism, considering it too dangerous), and in Lodges of 
Magic Blavatsky warns members of Randolph and other love-philter 
sellers. This is evident in a number of letters abnd represents a 
long-running feud, at leats on Blavatsky's part. For example in a 
letter A. P. Sinnett, Blavatsky warns him of the "Hindu Brotherhood 
of Luxor with Davison in it and others working now in the U.S. 
against us."

It is interesting that most of the few hits on the Web for the 
Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor are Theosophical propaganda of this 
nature; this stemming perhaps from a number of factors: a falling out 
between Blavatsky and Theon, and also clearly the puritan 
theosophists dislike of the controversial sex-magician Randolph who 
seems to have been associated (rightly or wrongly) with the love-
philter con-artists and other quacks that would have been quite 
numerous at that time.

Web links 	Links and References 	Web links

Hermetic Brotherhood Of Luxor: Initiatic & Historical Documents Of An 
Order Of Occultism by Chanel, Christian et al (Eds.) Publisher: 
Samuel Weiser, Inc. - biography of founding and important members and 
presentation of documents; very important for the occulkt historian

T. Allen Greenfield, The Story of the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light, 
Looking Glass 1997 1st Ed Paperback vi + 194pp Illus - another book 
with of early documents from the H.B. of L.; a lot of material on 
Paschal Beverly Randolph

Web Page T Allen Greenfield, Hermetic Brotherhood Revisited - 
Thoughts on the Antiquity and Continuity of the Hermetic Brotherhood 
of Light

Web Page The Invisible Basilica: Paschal Beverly Randolph by T Allen 
Greenfield and Notes on P.B. Randolph and the Hermetic Brotherhood of 
Light - based on a talk by Allen Greenfield

The Letters of H. P. Blavatsky to A. P. Sinnett - Theosophical 
University Press Online Edition

Critical Historical Review of The Theosophical Society [An Expose of 
Madame Blavatsky] by William Emmette Coleman, Member American 
Oriental Society, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 
and Pali Text Society. [Originally published in The Religio-
Philosophical Journal, Chicago, Illinois, September 16, 1893, pp. 
264-266.] - Published by The Blavatsky Archives Online. Online 
Edition copyright 1999.

Lodges of Magic, by H. P. Blavatsky

Encyclopedic Theosophical Glossary Copyright 1999 by Theosophical 
University Press.

The Light of Egypt Or The Science of The Soul And The Stars by Henry 
O. Wagner/Belle M. Wagner/Thomas H. Burgoyne - free e-text versions 
of vol. 2 of the Light of Egypt


on-line essay The Influence of Egypt on the Modern Western Mystery 
Tradition: The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor by Samuel Scarborough. 
Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition No. 1, Autumnal Equinox 2001

blog Corpus Mmothra: La Tradition Cosmique- Via Antiquities of the 
Illuminati and Kheper blog by Jonathan Sellers (Monday, March 21, 
2005), includes interesting comments on Theon and the Tradition, and 

Web Page The Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor: Initiatic and Historical 
Documents of an Order of Practical Occultism, by Joscelyn Godwin, 
Christian Chanel and John P. Deveney. book review at The Second-Hand 

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page uploaded 4 October 2000 last modified 14 March 2006 

--- In, Augoeides-222@... wrote:
> Morten,
>   I got interested about this post because I have an 1898 edition 
of "The Light of Egypt", in it the author is signed with a Swastika 
(clockwise). Google reveales new editions of the work but they 
publich only Volume Two and Volume one is not found. However the 
original Author is revealed to have been one "Thomas H. Burgoyne" who 
in the new editions is called "Zanoni" on the Title Page. here are a 
few interesting links in regards to him below. BTW, none of the 
Contents headings match my 1898 version so I think I have Volume One 
which isn't found today.
> The Light of Egypt-Thomas H. Burgoyne- HBof L
> >>><<<
> His Astrological Chart and Biography
> >>><<<
> Thge Light of Egypt Museum with Burgoyne's Manuscript
> >>><<<
> New light on old topics for our Forum members
> Regards,
> John

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