Greetings Golden Dawnophiles!
Recently, I offered the rather curious revelation that the Golden Dawn Secret Chiefs are, in fact, the spirits, angels and archangels that we call upon in our tradition. You may have found it strange, too, that I went so far as to name one archangel in particular – Raphael – as the chief Secret Chief of the Order. Rather than simply tossing such an assertion out into cyberspace and expecting you to take it on faith, I think I should share with you an important gem on the subject from the Order’s written history.
As Golden Dawn historians will tell you, Mathers’ primary contact among the Secret Chiefs was known by the name Frater “Lux e Tenebris” – or “Light out of Darkness.” Now, everyone take out your copy of R.A. Gilbert’s The Golden Dawn Scrapbook, and open it to pages 37-39. There you will find the record of a vision had by one of the early adepts of the Order (and member of the S.R.I.A): T.H. Pattinson, or Frater Vota Vita Mea. Let me quote the pertinent portions of his vision for you:
Copy of Communication from the Inner Ring, made to Fra. Vota Vita Mea, given in his letter June 20, 1888 to Fra Sapere Aude:
The Crowned One gave to Fras. VVM and H [presumably F.D. Harrison] much information concerning the natural creation…
After this Fra. H was conducted by an Eagle-headed messenger into the presence of the Angel Raphael. [Mathers adds the marginal notation: "whom I, S'Rioghail Mo Dhream, know by the motto Lux e Tenebris."] He said:
“I wish to speak to you of the Golden Dawn. The prime mover of it must exercise the keenest possible care, and must not accept people into its secrets who are not Occult Students… otherwise much Evil Magic will be the result. [...] The idea in view must be not to establish an Order, but to gather together those men who are an Order unto themselves. Understand that the Golden Dawn is MY Order and that I am and must be accountable for it.“
Emphases in bold are mine. The vision goes on to other matters that are not vital to this discussion. Gilbert (p. 39) questions whether Westcott and Mathers would have approved of other adepts receiving messages from the Secret Chiefs. However, it must be noted that Mathers’ marginal notation clearly indicates that he did indeed accept this vision as valid, and that the entity in the vision was both the archangel Raphael and one and the same as his Secret Chief contact Frater Lux e Tenebris.
And it certainly makes sense, doesn’t it? The name “Golden Dawn” is a reference to the dawning sun rising in the east – the quarter governed by Raphael in the Order’s cosmology. It is the place where the visible chiefs of the Temple sit during all initiations. Raphael, too, is the archangel of Tiphareth – the solar sphere upon the Tree of Life and a major focus of the Order’s work. Besides, as a Rosicrucian organization, the Golden Dawn’s primary directive should be to “heal the sick, and that gratis.” And Raphael is no one less than the Physician of God, archangel of all healing and medicine.
If any archangel were to be charged with responsibility for the Order of the Golden Dawn, it seems that Raphael would be the best choice. And as Frater Lux e Tenebris is in fact the archangel Raphael himself, it tells us much about who the Secret Chiefs really are.
So there you have it – a bit of Golden Dawn obscura to brighten your day. Enjoy!