Masters, secret chiefs, inner plane contacts
Masters, secret chiefs, inner plane contacts

Masters, secret chiefs, inner plane contacts

Contacts and Masters of Wisdom

CONTACTS and secret chiefs have been a mainstay of many different magic systems for ages. Most of my teachers have believed in them in one form or another. In my book Gathering the Magic, I suggested that their use was flawed. This was mostly based on my experience with the likes of Servants of the Light where contacts had a nasty habit of saying what the channeller was thinking, or had just read in a book.
Even the mighty Dion Fortune had some comedy moments with her contacts. Having read through the transcripts you can’t but be struck by the level of fantasy, self delusion, utter pomposity mixed with some good solid magical teaching. My favourite has to be when they asked how Dion’s Soya Bean business was going to do and being told by Lord Eldon that the “Soya bean will look after itself”. With such sage advice it is a wonder that Fortune never made it across the abyss before tea-time.
Sometimes Contacts do turn up with some good information, which the channeller did not know, so I was aware that the idea was not all pants. They had also turned up in my own meditations and, despite the fact I told them that I was not sure if I believed in them, they stuck around. The information I had was either good or total rubbish and unfortunately there was not a flag up which defined either.
Recently Perigrin on his excellent Blog claims that I have suffered all the effects of ‘contact abuse’ and that “such abuse, misuse and partial connections with the inner plane teachers and Masters does not in any way stop them existing and functioning.”
However here is my problem. If they function the way that schools teach then the universe is really a rubbish place to be. For those who are not familiar with the contact system let me explain.
When you have died and are suitably evolved you join a hierarchical structure of adepts who work in a medieval system where they serve a master. The more evolved you are the higher your master. These masters teach those below them and those on the occult path are draw to an appropriate master to whom they are expected to give the unreserved dedication.
These begins are supposed to be more than human and will use the dead shells of their previous lives to communicate with the great unwashed.
Those who follow the Master/contact system talk about their master as if he were loving and seem to be happy with the arrangement.
This is where I start to get a bit prickly. I don’t generally like the idea of too much hierarchy and think that if you are going to give your unreserved dedication it should be to God and not to another human however esteemed they might be.
The goal of the outer order is to become yourself, an individual. In my view it is not to find yet another father or mother figure to sacrifice yourself too.
In the future I will write about my ideas of re-incarnation, but for now let us say that the Masters are too complex a system to actually work, or need to work.
So what are they really? In my view they are symbols which we contact to help us remember what is really going on. Unfortunately, like any other symbols we misunderstand what they mean, and project information onto it. We read the symbols through the glass of our personal Yesod and make them into fathers, mothers, wise teachers etc. The symbols are real. They don’t need to be “characters” but it helps us to communicate with them.
So what of ‘incarnate masters’. Paul Foster Case claimed to have met with Master R, Sam Mathers also thought he had. But these stories read like those modern day UFO stories and have one thing in common – the actual meeting did not need to have taken place at all.
Case said his meeting with Master R told him that he had a choice between magic and a musical career. The Master said that if he did Magic he would never starve. This is the opposite advice that Mina Mathers had given him. It was information that Master R could have given Case without having to meet him in the flesh. In fact Master R was to give most of his communications to Case via a ring and a disk in the future.
Mathers was supposed to have gotten the 5=6 ritual from his Secret Chief although it looks like another Mathers/Westcott collaboration. Certainly the vault appears to be the work of Westcott who wrote up most of the paperwork to go with it. Other bits of the GD inner order come from the British Library which Mathers was supposed to have camped out in during his youth.
The online crowd tends to rattle off statements such as “are you saying Mathers/Westcott/Case LIED?” And I have to say, yes. It feels like a story. It might have had a thread of truth in it, but it is a story nevertheless. Occultism is full of stories and generally the higher up you go the more the stories get embellished. Alistar Crowley is one whose story and story telling ended up with him being a new Messiah.
So, my view on contacts is that they do not literally exist. They are symbols of something, but not something to worship or serve. They teach because that is what symbols do, they advise, they can be interacted with, but they are not something to give up anything for.
God calls us to be perfected lamps for the divine light. It does not want us to be servants to astral personae. However if I am wrong I will take down this post if a Master of Wisdom rings my doorbell. However if Master R, Q, or the Purple Adept really do ring doorbells I hope it is to tell me something a little more interesting.
Let the debate begin 🙂


  1. Hello Nick,

    Thanks for this post and your blog. You make many excellent points and essentially I am in agreement. Connection with Inner Plane contacts and/or Masters is interesting but not required in any one person’s practice of Magic or spirituality, despite what the Theosophical influenced pundits would have us believe. As I have said on my post, the function of contacts is the important point not the structure and metaphors in which we clothe them. Similarly you say inner contacts “are symbols which we contact to help us remember what is really going on.”

    The crux here is how we view and interact with “what is really going on”. As I think I have mentioned to you before and on my blog, I have never had personal experience of inner contacts behaving in the way you describe. They have never been anything other than wise, compassionate and very accommodating. They do not wish to be anyone’s father or mother figure, much less sacrificed to, even when people have attempted to position them into these roles. In fact they are very good at avoiding and rejecting such unhealthy relationships. And they certainly do not reflect the latest thoughts, ideas and foibles of the people who contact them. However, the key here is relationship.

    You write that inner contacts “do not literally exist”. I am unclear as to what exactly this means so please forgive my questioning here. You say they are symbols, and symbols exist – whole Orders have been founded on symbols, people have died and killed for symbols.

    If by literal existence you mean exist like we do, as flesh and blood, I would agree they do not (obviously). And yes, a contact’s inner plane presence – the astral forms or and mental structures it uses as vehicles – are transitory, coming and going as the medium connects with the contact, even within her/his ‘own mind’. But they do momentarily ‘exist’ and our own human astral forms and mental structures (which define who we are as people) are also ultimately transitory having no eternal existence.

    For me, Inner Plane contacts and other non incarnate beings exist as much as we humans do – as a transitory representation of the One which is was and ever shall be. All traditional magic and spiritual traditions, including the historical Golden Dawn, recognized and interacted with non incarnate beings. As you point out, sometimes they hang around even when people point out they don’t exist. 🙂 And I admit I wouldn’t pop out of existence if someone declared me non-existent, though I’d probably hang out elsewhere.

    But for me the most beautiful thing about inner beings is that I can control my interaction with them better than the annoying peddlers of religion or mobile phones that wander into my sphere. 🙂 Thanks.

  2. This reminds me the famous Koan “If you meet the Buddha, kill him.” Meditative practices can produce visions that are just projections of our current understanding of spiritual world. In my opinion this is why Secret Masters and other “contacts” tend to change their identities in time. Moreover, Masters of egocentric individuals often appear to be flamboyant characters with outlandish names 🙂 If we take them as definitive truths we stop our progress so we have to “kill” them and proceed with our Work. As for the soundness of their messages I think it is like the divination processes where one should test the response and not take everything for granted.

  3. Hi Nick,
    I agree with most of the things you are saying about contacts, as I know some of the people involved and or the magical societies that you have been mixing with. None the less I still rate Paul Foster Case even though some of what has happened with those who took up his banner is perplexing. Having seen some of the unpublished PFC material from the early years, his work on ritual is outstanding. I still don’t agree with some of the things he wrote, but that was his path. IMHO the information he received is reasonably sound and intelligent. Does it matter where it came from? The proof is in the eating of the pudding! Mind you, not a lot of first class adepts seem to have been produced from his school of thought?
    I also agree with you that most of what passes for received writings from contacts is not really worth the effort of reading let alone working with. It is important to remember that skepticism has an important place, especially in relation to the esoteric arts.
    I was taught during the 40 years that I have been practicing the magical arts to be conscious at all times of what is coming out of my mouth, take responsibility and own it. After all, it is all within us. Magic ritual just helps us to align to the forces of that time and to be more at one with the universal force of that particular field. I think of it as not so much working with God or angels or demons, as just the life force which flows through me at all times, a state of rapture, bliss and oneness with the cosmic consciousness, with fun and laughter. The self realization that we are the centre of our universe, our circle and that this is so for everyone else can be difficult to grasp. IMHO once that self realization takes place, the contact is there. I trust the life force knows what it is doing. Key 12 is a perfect example of the letting go. Or ‘From the exhaustless riches of its limitless substance I draw all things needful, both spiritual
    and material’.
    Sorry, this isn’t meant to be a lecture but many people over complicate magic and miss the simplicity of actually doing.

  4. I am inclined to agree that it does not matter where the information came from so long as it was good. The problem is that some of the information becomes too focused on the teacher, or the person spouting the wisdom, than it does the material. Paul Case is an example. He did come up with some good stuff, whether he got this from ‘Master R’ or his own does not matter. But as you pointed out, BOTA produced few adepts. My theory is that was because that it encouraged worship of its teachers – Case or Davies and not the individualism which is required from an Adept. Those who individualised had to go away and do it somewhere else.
    My own thinking on contacts is somewhat unclear in that I have experienced things that were like those that Perigrin describes. However, they are so far removed from the Theosophical system or the idea of secret chiefs that they almost don’t count. When I said that I felt they were symbols I meant they were ideas that our mind gives a personality. I certainly do not believe for a moment that the relationship between them is as master and slave or even teacher pupil. Neither do they have relationships, form schools, committees, courts or anything else that the theosophic system of Dion Fortune demands of them.
    Such hierarchical systems fit in a Zanoni style of occultism which I think humanity has evolved out of. Contacts might exist, but they need to be understood in a different way and certainly not in a system that glorifies the channeller.

  5. I’ve never worked with this system. However, there is always the double edge sword when doing something like this. Many things we receive psychically from spirits are not necessarily gonna be about spirits being talking encyclopedias. As much as I have tried to get info on people and things materially, a lot of it is geared towards me undertanding that particular thing in relation to myticism in general. And the higher level symbols are always easier to know than the denser, more material stuff.

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