The History and Distinction of our Order
The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn is the Outer Order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega®, founded in Paris by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1906. The Alpha et Omega is presently distinguished as the only order offering physical initiation and instruction in the entire "three order" system originally conceived for the original Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, from the 0=0 grade of Neophyte all the way through the 10=1 grade of Ipsissimus.
Unlike other orders, students of the Alpha et Omega begin to practice magick immediately upon entering our First Order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, then work a secret, magickal and alchemical curriculum in our Second Order, the R.R. et A.C., derived entirely from unpublished Hermetic and Rosicrucian esoteric transmissions. Select students may then be invited into the Alpha et Omega's Third Order, which teaches and practices the sexual mysteries of Hermetic "Inner" Alchemy and Alchemical Theurgy, originally obtained by S.L. MacGregor Mathers from the "Secret Chiefs" in Paris.
Since the publication of salient aspects of our order's theurgical system by Aleister Crowley, our order's teachings have impacted nearly every aspect of the Western esoteric tradition. Crowley's treacherous publication of this secret material, although of benefit to the wider esoteric community, was a disaster for our Second Order, the R.R. et A.C. The Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega correctly recognized the gravity of the situation caused for its Second Order by Crowley's betrayal.
Thus, in 1999, the Alpha et Omega proclaimed the "Reformatio Fraternitatis Anno 1999," according to the ancient rule of the Rosicrucian fraternity, which requires a general reformation of the fraternity every one hundred and eleven (111) years. The previous general reformations had occurred in 1888 (year of the founding of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as well as of two other Rosicrucian orders in France), 1777 (the year of the general reformation of the Gold und Rosenkreutz order in Germany), 1666, etc.
In the 1999 reformation, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega moved all material that had been profaned by publication to our outer order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Next, using pre-Golden Dawn Hermetic and Rosicrucian esoteric transmissions, the Alpha et Omega prepared a completely traditional (yet secret and unprofaned) magickal and alchemical replacement curriculum for our Second Order, the R.R. et A.C. Thus, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega became the only Hermetic order with a fully magickal outer order and a truly secret, operative Rosicrucian Second Order.
In 1903, following a rebellion of Adepts of the original H.O.G.D. in England, founder S. L. MacGregor Mathers summarily closed the original H.O.G.D., later reopening the order in 1906 as the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega. In Mathers' Alpha et Omega, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was retained as the outer vehicle and courtyard to the rest of the order. This remains the case even today.
S.L. MacGregor Mathers, the driving force behind the original H.O.G.D., was in a unique position to make such a change as he was the only H.O.G.D. member to have ever been in contact with the mysterious "Secret Chiefs of the Third Order." This contact was established during a visit by MacGregor Mathers to Paris in 1891, when he met with an emissary of the Secret Chiefs known to him only as Frater Lux E Tenebris. After this meeting, Mathers returned to England with everything necessary to found, in 1892, the Second Order of the original H.O.G.D., the Rosicrucian fraternity called R.R. et A.C..
Much nonsense has been written about the Secret Chiefs and the Third Order due to the misconceived beliefs of former original H.O.G.D. members like Dr. R.W. Felkin and Dion Fortune. These individuals, following in the footsteps of Madame Blavatsky and her "Mahatmas on the Inner Planes," each claimed to have contact with some sort of "astral masters." Indeed, Mathers himself must bear partial responsibility for such nonsense, since he once said about the Secret Chiefs:
"I do not even know their earthly names. I know them only by certain mottoes. I have but rarely seen them in the physical body; and on such occasions the rendezvous was made astrally by them at the time astrally appointed beforehand. For my part, I believe them to be human and residing upon this earth; but possessing terrible superhuman powers."
One must bear in mind that when MacGregor Mathers made the above statements, he was attempting to quell a rebellion of misguided adepts in London. Why should MacGregor Mathers give these rebels any solid information at all about the real Secret Chiefs under such circumstances? One must also bear in mind that Mathers not only met physically with Frater Lux E Tenebris in Paris, but also returned from that meeting with everything necessary to found the R.R. et A.C..
The time has come to put an end to delusions, and the nonsense of "inner plane contacts" once and for all. The Secret Chiefs are not some imaginary "astral masters" residing on the "inner planes." They are real people. The truth is that in Continental Europe there exists an extremely secretive and ancient western mystery school. This most occult of all orders originated in Sumer, continued in Chaldea and Egypt, and was brought to Europe by the Greek and Roman empires.
Since then, this foremost guardian of the Sumerian, Chaldean, and Egyptian mystery traditions has discreetly shaped the entire history of western occultism from behind the scenes, by depositing parts of the ancient mysteries in one visible, external vehicle after the other. Indeed, evidence even indicates that the original Rosicrucian movement was but one such outer manifestation. Down through the centuries, esoteric movements and orders have come and gone, but safely shrouded behind a veil of silence, "They" have remained.
Frater Lux E Tenebris, who met with S. L MacGregor Mathers in Paris in 1891, was a representative of this most ancient order. The reason why Mathers moved permanently to Paris in 1892 was to remain in closer contact with these Secret Chiefs. In 1892, as a direct consequence of the esoteric transmissions received by S. L. MacGregor Mathers from these Chiefs, the Rosicrucian Second Order of the original H.O.G.D., the R.R. et A.C., was born as one manifestation of the most ancient mysteries.
Exactly one hundred eleven years after S. L. MacGregor Mathers' historic (1891) meeting with the Secret Chiefs in Paris, representatives of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega were invited once again to Paris to meet with a with a representative sent by them. Astoundingly, at this historic Paris meeting in 2002, the emissary of this secret order once again introduced himself as Frater Lux E Tenebris! ...And as the Secret Chiefs had done with Mathers before, they gave to us essential esoteric transmissions. In 1891, the Secret Chiefs gave Mathers everything necessary to formulate the Second Order of the original H.O.G.D. 111 years later, in 2002 (and once again in Paris), the Secret Chiefs gave the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega the initiation rituals and teachings that had been intended from the beginning for the Third Order of the original H.O.G.D.
As a direct consequence of the October, 2002, meeting in Paris with Frater Lux E Tenebris, for the first time in history a successor of the original H.O.G.D. now possesses the complete curriculum of the Third Order, including the sexual mysteries of Hermetic Inner Alchemy and Alchemical Theurgy once given by them to S.L. MacGregor Mathers himself. Thanks to the faith and trust placed in our order by the Secret Chiefs, the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega has finally completed the entire "three order" system that had been intended for the original H.O.G.D. from its inception, from the 0=0 grade of Neophyte all the way through the 10=1 grade of Ipssissimus.
Contrary to the speculations of Felkin, Fortune, and others, the true Third Order is not reserved exclusively for discarnate, astral masters, but comprises what has at all times been the highest teachings of both the Hermetic and Rosicrucian traditions. The initiatic authority of the Alpha et Omega no longer rests not merely on charters, affiliations, and trademarks (although we do have these things), but more importantly, the Alpha et Omega is a true vessel of the highest Hermetic and Rosicrucian mysteries entrusted to us by the Secret Chiefs of the Third Order.
On the other hand, there unfortunately exist numerous groups on the internet confusingly calling themselves "Golden Dawn", yet leading little or nowhere beyond well known material published by Crowley and Regardie. Certain of these groups have replaced physical initiation in real temples with the untraditional and inefective practices called "long distance" or "astral" initiation. Others have diluted original H.O.G.D. teachings by mixing them with outside traditions like Martinism or Thelema. Most of the Regardie-based groups do not have any Golden Dawn lineage and many are led by individuals who themseves have not been initiated or properly trained and have themselves not fully understood or mastered the system.
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, the outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega is very different. We are the only remaining direct lineal descendent of the original Golden Dawn founded in by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1888. In our order you will receive complete classical initiation and training in the entire three order Golden Dawn system. From beginning to end, from humble Neophyte to exalted Magus and beyond! Because of our Golden Dawn lineage and MacGregor Mathers' secret oral teachings, you will get a depth of authentic and advanced training no one else can offer. You are invited to visit our membership page for more information.
The HOGD/AO is the sole and exclusive owner of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn® trademark in the European Union (reg. 000063925). We additionally own the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn International® trademark in Canada (CIPO Reg. TMA510387). We operate in the United States by legal agreement adopted by the United States District Court as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, outer order of the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega.®