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A BRIEF HISTORY OF
THE OGDOADIC TRADITION




"The primary symbols of the Ogdoadic Tradition are the Fivefold Pattern of the House of Sacrifice and the Eightfold Star of Regeneration. The arcana of the House of Sacrifice are a key at once to the dynamism of the universe and to that pattern in the Divine Mind in accord within which human nature has come into being. This same key is also, therefore, that by which the faculties of the psyche are evoked in their true and potent order, and likewise it is that key by which the hidden powers of the universe can be understood, realized and attained. Above the image of the House of Sacrifice shines forth the glorious symbol which both fulfils and transcends it: The Eightfold Star of Regeneration. The Eightfold Star, which has been employed from ancient times to represent Life Divine, is the ensign of attainment and the emblem of an undying aspiration; and, supremely, it betokens that ultimate act of Regeneration whereby the Divine Mind calls back to its eternal selfhood, into the eternal Becoming which is both the essence and the act of the divine nature, everything which it has sent forth into space and time.


"These great emblems and the ancillary tokens of the Ogdoadic Tradition are to be found, widespread, at significant points in the art and architecture, and even in the literature, of Europe. They are the visible signature of a living Hermetic Gnosis, of a dynamic esoteric ferment, among whose initiates have been numbered some of the most profound luminaries in the shaping of Western aspiration. For one thousand years our brethren of the Glorious Star have proclaimed the Ogdoadic mysteries in symbol and in word; yet the uninitiated, lacking the keys, have perceived therein only a canon of design or a literary form. The tradition has in this wise repeatedly been revealed, even displayed to the public gaze, yet it has not been seen; our Mysteries have been proclaimed, yet remain inviolate.

"If we look beyond the cultures of the West, beyond the closely interwoven fabric of European through and history, we find, widespread through other cultures too, symbols which relate to the Ogdoadic Tradition and which, by their appropriate use, declare the knowledge and understanding of the initiate. We acknowledge and respect the schools of wisdom with which these symbols are associated, and we respect their special use and interpretation of those symbols. But while we say assuredly that the teachings of Aurum Solis would not exclude those interpretations, we respect also their customary secrecy and we do not seek to know or to elucidate further.

"Know, however, O Theourgos that in European lands the territory in which the Western Mysteries properly so called have developed and flourished - there are certain places in diverse regions where the mighty symbols of the Ogdoadic Tradition have been emplaced in centuries past, and even now remain established: and these places are held by us to be most sacred sites of our tradition, where the power of a revered antiquity is added to the unchanging and deeply magical potency established there by means of the signs and by the will of those who wrought them.

"The mysteries of the Ogdoadic Tradition were early transmitted to a number of the medieval Guilds, profoundly influencing their initiatory rites and disciplines. Thus ensued a high flowering of true Ogdoadic symbolism in art and architecture: enduring and sure tokens which bear witness to the mystical insight and elevated calling of the Guildsmen. Initiates of the Glorious Star in these latter times may look upon these Ogdoadic works, upon paintings and frescoes, upon delicate gems and great buildings, and say "Here were my brethren."

"Nobly, and with most mystical significance, was the Fivefold pattern of the House of Sacrifice employed in the initiatory working of our medieval brethren the Knights Templar. Therein did they most skillfully evoke and coordinate the function and faculties of the psyche. Nobly too did they bear, in scarlet upon their white mantles, the Eightfold Star of Regeneration.

"With arcane intent, for the creation of a sanctuary of power wherein supernal Light might focus upon earth, did Benedetto Gaetano, high initiate of the Glorious Star, ordain the emplacement of our symbol upon surrounding pillars of strength in Rome. For some six hundred years that mystic citadel has stood; set apart from its environs, seen but not perceived save by the initiate and the visionary, traversed but not entered save by those who hold the key of the Mysteries.

"Mighty was the mystical and secret Ismaili Order of the Faithful Ones of Love which, in Asia Minor, comparably with the Sufis and Dervishes, followed within the Islamic world the path of inner illumination and of devotion to the spiritual elevation of humanity. Mighty was its Ogdoadic power; mighty were its planetary workings.

"Mighty indeed was the Ogdoadic society of the Fideli d'Amore which, established in Italy at the end of the twelfth century, was a western formulation of the symbolism, mystique and practice of the Faithful Ones of Love, added to and enriched by the order of the Temple. Notable in the development of the Fideli d'Amore through many generations was the Florentine family of Cavalcanti, in which philosophy and independence of mind formed a proud heritage. Beyond their own lives and works, the Cavalcanti have added an undying luster to the whole Western Mystery Tradition by the great minds which they have apprised of the Fideli d'Amore and brought to initiation therein. Of these initiates, two especially are outstanding: Dante Alighieri, whom the poet Guido Cavalcanti introduced to the Fideli d'Amore in the thirteenth century, and Marsilio Ficino, the great Renaissance philosopher and mystic, who was brought to initiation in the fifteenth century by Giovanni Cavalcanti as Ficino's own Words attest.

"In the city of Florence, in the fifteenth century, the Ogdoadic society called the Careggi Circle was formed from the membership of the Platonic Academy, under the inspiring genius of Marsilio Ficino, Neoplatonist scholar as well as initiate of the Fideli d'Amore. Brief in earthly reckoning was its splendor but deathless its glory: none can recount the history of the making of Europe without telling of the awakening which was here wrought in the minds of men and women. The work of the Careggi Circle, in the very beginnings of the Renaissance, had effects which even yet reverberate throughout the Western world. Scholars, poets and philosophers traveled thither from afar, seeking initiation or at least the inspiration of converse with the group. Reuchlin, the pioneer German Qabalist, and Erasmus, the humanist who carried the spirit of Renaissance learning to his native Holland, were among those profoundly influenced by the initiates of Careggi. Founded initially through the philosophic and occult interests of Cosimo de Medici, Ficino's patron, it was developed brilliantly by Cosimo's grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent, who inherited from Cosimo the initiatory name of Pan. Ficino himself, as supreme adept of the Careggi Circle, took the name of Saturnus. Giuliano de Medici, Lorenzo's brother was Hippolytus. Pico della Mirandola, the brilliant young Qabalist, was Apollo. Angelo Poliziano, poet in three languages, was Hercules. Michelangelo Buonarotti, painter, sculptor and poet of heroic imagination, was also an initiate of this high gathering, the last before the death of Lorenzo, and the murder of several initiates of the inner ring, marked the onset of the savage persecution by religious fanatics and the dispersal of the society.

"High and most noble were the Ogdoadic works of the sixteenth century Order of the Helmet, whose emblem betokened silence and invisibility. Its initiates wrought in glorious words a world of wonder and of awe in which the mysteries would find an honored place. Through the centuries following, and even now, the writings of these initiates give wings of fire to the aspirations of those who hear or read them, and win their hearts to the Mysteries, to seek them out and find them in truth.

"These Orders and their initiates do we salute in the splendor of the Glorious Star. And so likewise do we honor their successor, the brethren of the eighteenth century Society of the Blazing Wheel, Societas Rotae Fulgentis, who guarded the tradition for future generations, laying the foundations and preserving the sphere of amity upon which, and within which, Aurum Solis came to be established.

"This, O Theourgos, is but a brief recounting of thy lineage; and herein thou mayest behold somewhat of the earthly manifestation of the High Company of the Glorious Star. Yet even were it possible to name all Orders and Initiates of the Ogdoadic Tradition, even thus would the Glorious Star appear not in its fullness."

(The Magical Philosophy Series, Denning & Phillips, Volume 1, pp. xxx-xxxv)

 EN GIRO TORTE SOL CICLOS ET ROTOR IGNE