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Alternatives to physical secret chiefs – the Theosophical system


No physical secret chiefs have knocked on my door.  The person who came to fix the satellite dish couldn’t remember the 7=4 passwords, and the person who delivered the cable modem had difficulty even remembering his own name let alone the password of the Aeon.  Over the next few days, depending on when I get time, lets look at look at what other people thought about secret chiefs.
Blavatsky
The Theosophical system is probably the most common idea of Secret Chiefs and it comes from the founder of the order, the hard swearing, psychic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky .   Her idea was inspired by the Buddhist idea of Bodhisattva.   It implied that after someone had achieved enlightenment they faced a choice.  They could escape the wheel of birth and death, or hang around and help other people escape the illusion.
In many ways the concept had similarities to the idea of Physical chiefs, which was no doubt influenced by the concept.  Where it differed was that the Inner Plane masters did not exist on the earth.  That is not to say that they couldn’t make the journey, but they rarely did so.  What was the point of going all the way down to physical reality when you could train a student to come and meet you halfway.
Being a secret chief means it is handy to have lots of arms
The secret chiefs, or Masters as they were known would take an aware student and train them.  They would also line up any physical plane meetings so that the student could learn.
A medium could, and did channel, these masters so that their ideas could be understood by the riff-raff. They could also be picked up by students from time to time, but more often by a guru who was an advanced student.
The week point of this system was that it depended a lot on the ability of the medium, who often could not pick up anything and was obliged to make it up. This caught Madam Blavastky herself and her movement was damaged by claims that she made up the letters from her Masters.
Leadbeater — beards and boys
One of her trusted lieutenants, Charles Webster Leadbeater did not fair much better.  He believed in having a beard you could nest several owls in and poking beautiful Indian boys.  Therefore it was no surprise to him when one of his masters said that one of the beautiful boys he fancied was going to be the Messiah.
Whatever the exponents for physical secret chiefs might say, it is almost certain that it was these sorts of experiences that Sam and Mina Mathers were referring to when they meant secret chiefs.  The language that Sam used to describe his experiences are couched in  identical language to the Theosophical works of the period.  The only thing he did was replace the words Masters with Secret Chiefs.
His biggest mistake was that be loved the book Zanoni by Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, which used a romantic idea of a physical secret chief.  Mathers had made a mistake before in thinking that the book was real and not a novel.  One of the reasons that he adopted the theosophical/ tantic teaching of Tattvahs into the Golden Dawn system, even though its elemental system broke the Western system, was because he believed that a scene where Zanoni removes poison from a drink was based on him using Tatvahs.  However all Mathers’ recorded experience with secret chiefs were using the Theosophical Model. Next we will look at developments of the Theosophical idea within modern magic.

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