All books and tarots listed below are by Oliver St. John. Click on the images to view the cover art of the books at full size. We recommend that our students and subscribers buy our books direct by the links on this page. Thank you for supporting Ordo Astri.

Books on practical (or operational) Magick and Ritual
Including Rosicrucianism and Hermetic Studies, Astrology and Tarot Divination

For books on advanced metaphysical studies and Raja Yoga, scroll down or click the anchor here.

Hermetic Astrology
Revised and Extended Edition

Books: Hermetic AstrologyThe primary aim of this book is to explain astrology in a simple and concise way. The veriest beginner will quickly gain an understanding of their natal horoscope, while those already well-versed in the subject will find here magical applications for the art that do not appear in other books on astrology. This will be very welcome to those who wish to find a key to astrology and even occultism, without psychologisation or meaningless jargon. The intelligent enthusiast has no need for number-crunching arithmetic or reliance on computers for interpretation. Here in one small book is a complete ‘teach yourself’ course in astrology covering chart interpretation, the dignities of signs, houses and planets, aspects and astrological timing. Knowledge includes the Part of Fortune, the Dragon Stars or Nodes of the Moon and Sexual Magick, the Egyptian Ka or double, the Holy Guardian Angel, Evil Genius, Outer Gateways, use of Tarot cards and the natal chart as a Master Key of Life.

Hardbound edition: Linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. Order from the author’s website here.

Standard perfect bound paperback: view/order from the author’s website here.

Magical Theurgy—Rituals of the Tarot
Revised Edition

Magical Theurgy—Rituals of the TarotMagical Theurgy is a powerfully compelling grimoire of modern and traditional magick, and comprises a course in ritual magick and Tarot. The book gives the elemental mudras or Godforms and a meditation method, plus simple and advanced magical rituals. Hermetic Tantra-yoga serves as an excellent means of awakening power for those familiar with the Western Mystery Tradition, and who wish to take their knowledge further. The book includes a guide on how to make and charge talismans with illustrations of the Magic Squares (or Kameas) and sigils of planetary spirits. Everything needed by the magician is here placed under one cover including Solomonic magick and planetary hours. The tables of Qabalistic correspondences are inclusive of magical powers, potencies, colours, perfumes, magical weapons, plants, gems, legendary creatures and the vices and virtues. Tarot divination is the means of opening and extending lines of communication between the temporal and the supernatural worlds. A complete method is given here. The core of this book is the Grand Tarot Operation, a thirty-day theurgic operation.

The book’s cover art shown here is from the hardbound edition. The paperback edition has the same design but on a white background.

Hardbound edition (black cover): Linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. Order from the author’s website here.

Standard perfect bound paperback (white cover): Order from the author’s website here.

The Enterer of the Threshold
Revised Edition

Books: The Enterer of the Threshold (2024)This book serves as an introduction to the Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake. It is in every way a concise theoretical and practical guide. The aim of our work is to prepare for spiritual realisation. The first real or effective initiation involves psychic regeneration, but that must not be confused with the goal itself; it is only subsidiary to the goal—a further preparation. Full realisation involves final and permanent transformation of all human possibilities to the spiritual order of possibilities, which is entirely outside of and beyond the human domain or sphere of the individuality.

This revised edition includes our Ritual of the Gates of Babalon (a Gnostic variation on the well-known pentagram ritual) and a complete explanation of our Egyptian Yoga method and praxis. The book also includes Key Scale correspondence tables, expanded and corrected. As well as the primary Qabalistic Sephiroth, Gods and Angels, the tables cover everything needed by the practical magician: colours, magical powers, symbolic weapons, perfumes, precious stones, plants, animals and legendary creatures.

Format: trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”)
Order the book here.

Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete Course
Revised Edition

Hermetic Qabalah Foundation—Complete CourseHerein is the key to spiritual alchemy, magick and yoga: the Tree of Life is seeded in the astrosome of the magician so the rituals and practices are a gateway to true knowledge. Awakening the Serpent Power allows the development of possibilities required to transcend the perceptions of the mind and realise true knowledge. The Angel or supranatural power of divinity can assist in the conscious return to the Garden of Eden. The Qabalah is the basis for meditation, magick, astrology and tarot, including the art of gematria, talismans, invocation and evocation, the pentagram and hexagram and symbolic weapons. All this is seamlessly integrated with the one-year practical coursework through ritual meditation. Preliminary work includes the Wisdom of Breath, Ritual Sonics, Assumption of the Godform and a variant form of the Lesser Ritual of the Pentagram. The student then moves, step-by-step, towards creation of an astral double by which the individual possibilities are extended.

Format: trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”)
Order the book here.

Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and Snake
Revised Edition

Hermetic Order: Ritual Magick—Initiation of the Star and SnakeThe rituals and methods given in this book are drawn from the legacy of the Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake. It is a complete magical system of initiatic grades or degrees, brought to the highest level. Our ritual mandala objectifies the Cosmic Serpent. The winding snakes of the Caduceus are the dual expression of the Occult Force. The lunar and solar forces are invoked simultaneously to raise consciousness in the central column. We orient to the stellar North, the place of greatest power. It marks the ‘imperishable’ or immortal constellations that circle the Polar Axis. In the ritual circle, the North is a gateway for manifestation of the invoked forces of the operation. The sounding of eleven knocks or knells for us signifies the perfect harmonisation of the macrocosm, the ‘six’, and the microcosm, the ‘five’.

Subjects include the Eight Limbs of Yoga, the Circle of the Place, Mudras or signs of the grades, Ritual of the Gates of Babalon, formulation of the Magical Name, Opening and Closing the Temple, Star and Snake Tantra-yoga, (revised) Rituals of the Pentagram and Hexagram, Rising on the Planes, Skrying and Clairvoyance, Consecration of Talismans, the Egyptian Mass, Ritual for Psychic Self-defence, the Holy Guardian Angel, Ritual of the Rosy Cross, Consecration of the Magical Sword, Goetic Evocation, the Ceremony of the Watchtowers and Enochian Magick.

Format: trade paperback; perfect binding (6” x 9”); 284 pages in total.
Order the book here.

Books on Metaphysics and Raja Yoga (advanced studies)

Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Flower of Mind

Thunder Perfect Gnosis—Intellectual Fower of MindWe here follow up points of special interest on Gnostic and other texts, including the remarkable Thunder Perfect Mind. Yoga and a science of the mind is implicit in all of them. Our interest is in metaphysical and universal symbolism; we are not overly concerned with factual references, names, dates and places. The surviving fragments of these ancient texts, as with the Yoga-Sutras, have their true origins in times that were already ancient when the Christian Gospels were being composed. The evidence for a yoga practice and science of the mind in those texts will become clear from studying this book. The second part of the book comprises a careful, practical study of the Yoga Sutras attributed to Patanjali and Vyasa. There is no simplification or dilution of the yoga method; yet that method is clearly explained. The goal of yoga remains the same: union with God, immortality and even final liberation for those rare individuals that will renounce the world.

The book is hardbound, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 216 pages in all on white papers and is illustrated throughout.

Order the book from the author’s website here.

Read an article from this book here.

Thirty-two paths of Wisdom
Key to the Hermetic Qabalah: Commentary on the Shining Paths of the Sepher Yetzirah and the Paths of Evil.

Thirty-two paths of Wisdom front cover artThe first section of this book serves as an introduction to the Qabalah inclusive of the Hebraic tradition, from which the latter was developed, as well as the modern Hermetic tradition. There follows a new commentary on the Thirty-two paths of Wisdom from the most important Qabalistic source work, The Sepher Yetzirah or Book of Formation. ‘The Paths of Evil’ concerns the traditional Qliphoth of the first ten paths and those corresponding to the Zodiac. The last section, ‘The Tunnels of Set’, is a critical reappraisal of Kenneth Grant’s Nightside of Eden Part Two, revealing how Aleister Crowley and then Grant and others worked to invert symbolism, effectively removing all spiritual possibilities for those that would follow them. By placing this in the context of the neo-spiritualist and postmodern occult movement it is shown how the decline and intellectual collapse of an entire civilisation towards the final dissolution of our world is being supernaturally accelerated.

The book is hardbound, linen wrap, blue boards, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 128 pages in all on white papers.

Order the book from the author’s website here.

The Way of Knowledge in the Reign of Antichrist

Books: The Way of Knowledge front coverThis book includes five chapters on the Holy Guardian Angel and five chapters on yoga, as well as some unique observations on the True Self and other matters of vital concern to the practitioner. Here we pass beyond the syncretism of occultism to the synthesis of the metaphysical gnosis. The sequel to Nu Hermetica continues the story where the latter left off, but there is greater focus on practicality, as indicated by the title. The metaphysical gnosis is necessarily the view from the ‘centre’, something that may be shown geometrically, for example the three-dimensional cross or Cube of Space. This is also symbolised in various traditions by the ‘holy city’, the summit of a mountain or its centre. In the Age of Kali Yuga there was effected a withdrawal or hiding of knowledge and initiatic rites were thus placed in caves or labyrinths, either symbolically or literally. All true initiatic paths lead to the same goal and only differ from the point of view of the outsider who only sees the appearance. The outward differences of paths owe merely to cultural or other modifications, as necessary, and none of that is of any consequence to initiation at all.

As was stated in bold terms in Nu Hermetica, we must deal with the conditions of the world that we now find ourselves in. While we will not avoid the subject, as is clear by the full title of The Way of Knowledge, it is necessary to point out that the book is not a comment on social conditions or the more or less extraordinary phenomena that is all part of the ‘signs of the times’.

The book is hardbound, with endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 196 pages in all on white papers and is fully illustrated.

Order book from the author’s website here.

Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality

Books: The Way of Knowledge front coverThe voices of the Egyptian neteru are as loud and clear today as they were in ancient history for those who are still able to hear them amidst the noise and tumult of a civilisation that has lost all heart. Nu Hermetica addresses the difficulty of initiation in the twenty-first century—for the Way has not changed but the conditions we work under certainly have. Laws, news, facts and even history are updated, deleted, replaced and rewritten on a daily basis. So-called alternative movements, some of which even claim to be ‘spiritual’, only serve to reinforce profane, anti-spiritual notions. There is a need to pass on real knowledge to those few that are willing and able to receive it.

The book is hardbound, with blue linen boards, endpapers and gold folio stamp on the spine. It comprises 236 pages in all on white papers and is fully illustrated.

View/order book from the author’s website here.

Read an artice from this book here.

Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs
Second Edition (Revised)

Books: Babalon Unveiled! Thelemic Monographs Cover ArtSecond Edition Revised (8th April 2023): Here is the definitive work on Thelema, magick and the key role of the Shakti. ‘Lapis Philosophorum’ redefines Thelema, liberating it from the accretions of modern and postmodernist obfuscation.

‘Babalon Unveiled’ is the title piece of this collection and is one of seven related studies on the mystery of the Goddess in her various names and forms, including that of the Scarlet Woman. Each shows an aspect of her oracular voice as it has been heard and recorded down the ages. ‘Angels of Sacred Dance, Love and Whoredom’ examines how the divine feminine of pre-religious antiquity was demonised, resulting in the host of ‘fallen angels’ whose identity is yet preserved in traditional texts. The book is dedicated to the memory of Rose Edith Kelly, otherwise known as Rose Crowley or Ouarda the Seer. Rose was the medium for the transmission activated through the Stele of Revealing in the Cairo museum in 1904.

Format: 6 x 9 hardcover, dustjacket; blue linen boards; gold foil stamp lettering on spine; white end papers, 168 pages in all.

Order book from the author’s website here.
Read an article from the Second Edition here.

Forthcoming Books and Tarot: Egyptian Tarot

Egyptian Tarot Book FrontA new publication of this book is expected early 2025. Egyptian Tarot will be available in a boxed set with the Egyptian Tarot deck early in 2025. An agreement has been signed with Crossed Crow Books (Chicago) for world wide distribution (Red Wheel Weiser). More details will follow as this is now a work in progress.

In every true act of divination, in every true act of magick, something of the soul is born into the world. This book focuses on the structure of the Tarot and the Qabalistic correspondences that transform it from a card game or fortune telling device into a vehicle of the highest order. The major arcana cards each have a chapter to describe them; a complete method of divination is provided. In creating the Egyptian Tarot, we have made full use of Ithell Colquhoun’s ingenius interpretation of the Golden Dawn colour correspondences.

Colquhoun, when explaining her Tarot, or TARO, eschewed the notion of divination. Her abstract Surrealist Tarot was designed purely as a yantra for meditation. As ours is a figurative and symbolic Tarot, it lends itself to meditation, ritual or divination. From the book:

The well-known occult association between the Tarot cards and ancient Egypt is by now commonly dismissed. This is because we live in a time where materialism now dominates the minds of the majority to such an extent that they no longer even think of themselves as materialists. All such arguments, based on ‘evidence’ and ‘fact’, miss the mark. It is irrelevant as to whether or not the ancient Egyptians might have used anything like playing cards or Tarot, whether for amusement, fortune telling or divination. The key to the knowledge is in the symbolism, which, even in the first deck printed from woodcuts, the Tarot of Marseille (late 15th or 16th century), is astonishing. Once it is known that Egypt was the source of all learning and civilisation, there is no longer any need to speculate on the origins of the Tarot. We are not speaking here of artefacts, we are speaking of symbolism that points to a timeless wisdom. This owes to a source far older than that even of the 1st Dynasty of Egypt.

About the Author

All books on this page other than Egyptian Tarot and book can be ordered direct from the author’s website at Lulu by following the links given here. Proceeds of the sales of our books help to fund Ordo Astri.

Subscribe to our monthly Journal, Metamorphosis here. The Journal is free of charge and is delivered by email. Books in preparation are often previewed and sometimes complete articles from our books are published there.

Oliver St. John YouTube Channel.

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Initiation and Counter-Initiation

The term ‘initiation’ is frequently used without qualification. It is used to describe various things, some of which are mutually contradictory. There is thus no common agreement on what initiation even means, so it is not then surprising that confusion exists around the subject. The etymology of the word simply means ‘to start something off’, and yet there is no consensus on even that, the broadest definition possible. In fact it is so broad a definition that it necessarily narrows and limits the meaning to an ordinary material action. A trumpet can be blown to announce the commencement of some game, act or play, none of which concerns us here.

Initiation: Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake (Ordo Astri)Path of the Arrow or Rainbow: The Hermetic Order of the Star and Snake includes three major grades or initiatic degrees. The Student (not a grade) must show an intellectual understanding of the work, and be prepared to study recommended texts. If they are accepted for practical work, and are duly prepared, they take the Oath of an Apprentice. Initiation is confirmed with entry to the Iº Neophyte grade.

A common error to be made concerning initiatic organisations is that initiation, or a rite of initiation, is no more than a means of induction into a particular group or body. That may be the case with some organisations, but those are not in any way initiatic, which is to say, their purpose is in no way to transmit a spiritual influence and consists only of social, political or other profane concerns. From this mistaken idea of induction into a social or other group comes forth even worse confusion, for example that initiation is no more than ‘psychological process’.

The Jungians and other rationalists that for various reasons made it their business to comment on things of which they were, by their disposition, not qualified to speak of, have denounced elite initiatic organisations. They did this on the grounds that all such groups can achieve is the immersion of an individual in a collective mind or egregore—we use the latter word here in its conventional sense. It would be as though some souls, too weak to help themselves, need the safety net of a collective body until such a time as they are ready for what Jungians term as ‘individuation’. The word ‘egregore’ has been used to reduce and nullify all public knowledge of initiatic organisations through misunderstanding and confusion. Before this could be done the word had first to suffer a degraded meaning. The meaning has by now become so far removed from its original sense that the word ‘egregore’ is even used to describe the motivations, attitudes and opinions of a corporate body, for example.

Initiation or Egregore?

Originally, egregore, derived from the Greek egregoros, ‘wakeful’, was associated with ‘Watchers’, of the Enochian tradition.[1] Far from being any kind of collective mind (if such a thing can even exist), the Watchers hint at the central mystery of initiation, which is concerned with non-human, praeterhuman or ‘beyond human’ intelligence. The Polish author Count Jan Potocki (1761–1815) wrote The Saragossa Manuscript in the early 1800s. This features the term ‘egregores’ in relation to certain illustrious fallen angels—which is a reference to the book of Enoch and the brief mention in Genesis of descendants of the elder race called Nephilim. Eliphas Lévi, in The Great Mystery, 1868, identifies egregores with the Watchers, the fathers of the Nephilim, describing them as “terrible beings” that “crush us without pity because they are unaware of our existence.” The description is complete fantasy on the part of Lévi, based on what he had read in the Bible and Apocrypha, which was overwritten from the surviving fragments by scribes completely unaware of the real meaning of the narrative. The accounts are therefore fascinating but corrupt. We shall turn to René Guénon for a precise explanation of what initiation means in our present context.[2]

Initiation must have a non-human origin, for without this it can never attain its final end, which extends beyond the domain of individual possibilities. That is why truly initiatic rites cannot be attributed to human authors; in fact, we can no more know the authors than we can know the inventors of traditional symbols, and for the same reason, for these symbols are equally non-human in their origin and essence.

He goes on to mention that there are strong lines between rites and symbols. By ‘rites’ he does not mean something made up or created, obviously. The original meaning of a ‘rite’ is more in the way of divine ordination, and of setting things in order. Thus any scholarly enquiry into the ‘authenticity’ of rites through an examination of authorship or historical facts can tell us absolutely nothing of any real significance concerning this matter. The true origin of an effective rite is beyond the bounds of the corporeal world of time and space.

This leads us to the matter of individuals conferring initiation on another, or others. Such a person is a transmitter, for he does not act as an individual, which would render any real initiation impossible. A transmitter is a ‘link in the chain’, as it were, and the support of an influence—but that influence has nothing to do with the individual domain. He does not act in his own name but in the name of the principle that the initiatic organisation represents. For this reason the effectiveness of any rite, even a religious one as opposed to an initiatic one, does not in any way depend on the individual merit of the initiator. The accomplishment of the rite is then made possible not through individual or personal qualities, or even their ability or knowledge, but through the power invested in the initiator. Thus it is possible for the hierophant to close the proceedings under some circumstances without the requirements of ‘ceremony’, which sometimes forms an additional part of a rite, but through simply declaring the closure, “By the power invested in this sceptre”, for example. The sceptre is the symbol of the principle and so of spiritual authority, though never the authority of the individual person themselves.

The initiator, perhaps needless to say, cannot be ‘anybody’, but must be invested with the function of transmitter. The initiator must also ‘know the rules’ of the rite, and be able to perform it without error. Even if the members of such an organisation have only what Guénon terms as ‘virtual initiation’, a spiritual influence can be effectively transmitted so long as the traditional chain is unbroken and the organisation or body of initiates must be truly a repository of a spiritual influence, which it carries. By ‘virtual’ initiates, Guénon, writing in 1946, does not of course refer to digital technology. He is referring to an organisation where the members have, through deviation or necessity such as is brought about by the extremely unnatural conditions imposed by the modern world, forgotten the true meaning and purpose of the rites and teaching. These can nonetheless be transmitters of the initiatic current, even when they do not know it themselves.


Once psychological explanations of initiation gained dominance, the Western world was subjected to a plethora of ‘self-help’ literature and even professional guidance for those with disposable income and time on their hands. This counterfeit initiatic movement emerged from incomprehension of spiritual traditions combined with the arrogant presumption typified by modernism. Initiation by therapy or ‘healing’ swiftly gained popularity over the last half century, forming a covert anti-tradition. By placing all emphasis on the individual it destroys all possibilities of initiatic transmission in those who adopt its mind-set, for initiation must by definition have its origin outside and beyond the human sphere. This element of counter-initiation is ‘covert’ in so far as even the few remaining cosmic mediators in the last generation were persuaded by the claims of Jung and his followers that psychoanalysis might in some way be helpful, even essential, in matters of initiation—or even worse, that a therapeutic approach to the subject is in some way a healthier alternative. It was a serious deviation—destructive to whole generations in so far as it has rendered them impervious to any possibility of real initiation. We will turn once more to Guénon:[3

Thus it is altogether erroneous to identify initiatic organisations with secret societies, as is commonly done. First of all, it is very evident that the two expressions cannot in any way coincide in their application, for in fact there are many kinds of secret societies that have nothing initiatic about them since they can be formed by mere individual initiative and for any goal whatsoever…

Guénon here discerns a difference between groups that are societies, which are by definition purely exterior organisations, whether ‘secret’ or not, and initiatic organisations. He does this because even those who profess knowledge, or profane scholars who profess to ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ commonly confuse the two things. He is prepared to concede, on the other hand, that genuinely initiatic organisations can sometimes take on the outward appearance of societies, in which case they automatically deviate in some ways from the original purpose of any initiatic organisation. He later qualifies the point further, by pointing out that in some circumstances, mainly those conditions that affect the modern Western world, this becomes inevitable. He therefore continues at some length describing in broad terms the different kinds of organisations that exist, for some of these are initiatic and some are not at all initiatic.

In all of the quarrels relating to secret societies, or to what are so called, either initiatic organisations are not involved, or at least it is not their initiatic character as such that is involved, something, moreover, that would be impossible for other profound reasons that the rest of our account will better explain.

Guénon alludes here to the disputes, frequently carried out in public, among members of various organisations claiming to be initiatic. This often revolves around ‘authenticity’, ‘lineage’ and so forth. As he has already made clear, none of that can have anything to do with a truly initiatic Order. Sometimes an organisation might be initiatic, or was once, but the members have lost sight of the true meaning and purpose of initiation through social or other aims. Guénon refers to this as ‘contamination’ or ‘deviation’.

Whether or not an organisation clothes itself in the particular and moreover wholly outward forms that permit it to be defined as a society, it can be qualified as secret in the widest sense of this word, and without attaching to it the least unfavourable intention…

Organisations are often accused of being secret societies once their presence, or at least their outer appearance, has become known. This rests purely on the fact of secrecy, as though that were objectionable in itself. There are two kinds of secret that an organisation may harbour. The first is that of initiation itself, which is incommunicable by profane means and completely ungraspable by the materialist—for even if such a person knew the rites from reading them in books (for example), they could not receive initiation, being impervious to any spiritual influence or transmission. The second kind is that of very ordinary secrets that are no more than outward signs, words or symbols conveyed to the members so they can recognise each other.

Once the difference between a ‘secret society’ and an initiatic Order is understood, it becomes clear why it is that the member of a truly initiatic organisation can never leave it. It is easily possible to leave, or be expelled, from any profane society, for it is only governed by the same rules that govern any other purely exoteric body, and so the being is not in any way changed by this. Any ties forged or broken are entirely outward. In the case of an initiatic organisation, however, which transmits a spiritual influence, the person that has received an effective initiation is changed permanently—no merely formal or administrative means can alter the fact. Furthermore, whereas a society can be the target of attacks from outside—because it is itself ‘on the outside’—and can be removed by political or other means, an initiatic organisation, by its very nature, is not in any way affected. Guénon goes on to say that such an organisation exists so long as “even one single member remains alive”. An initiatic organisation cannot be attacked or dissolved from without, for such a body is invisible to the profane world. Even if no representative is still living, we should understand that the ending of the spiritual transmission was willed from within and not as a consequence of attacks from without, or from any exterior cause.

It is necessary to qualify the different kinds of organisations, both initiatic and non-initiatic. While some have remained purely initiatic, others have deviated, for example by introducing political or social ideals or agendas, but they remain initiatic at their core, even if the members or even the representatives do not understand this. Then there are pseudo-initiatic organisations, which are a counterfeit, for example those that have a purely ‘psychological’ basis. In addition, there are some organisations wholly opposed to all initiatic tradition whatsoever, and this can include merely conventional, non-initiatic or pseudo-initiatic bodies. The pseudo-initiatic organisations, as they are as profane as the declared anti-initiatic, are equally opposed to any true or genuine initiatic tradition, even those elements that have deviated yet retain an initiatic core.

There is a popular fantasy that confuses initiatic Orders with some political secret or covert project—the name of the Illuminati is often used, even though that was a real but profane organisation with a rationalist ideal. All this is conflated with ‘conspiracy theories’, which has nothing to do with either. It has lately been used as a political means of suppressing all dissent from the official line—it is only necessary to attack one that declares perfectly reasonable and quite ordinary facts to be a believer in ‘conspiracy theories’ and the public are ready to join in the condemnation, aiding and abetting the suppression of knowledge and reinforcing their subservience.

When a genuinely initiatic organisation holds a secret, that can only be a symbol or some outward token of the true initiatic secret, which of course can neither be disclosed or betrayed by any means available to the profane, for it is incommunicable. The outward ‘secret’ is then a purely secondary element, having no real value or significance in itself. No truly initiatic secret can be betrayed and no exterior force can betray any truly initiatic body.

Finally, there are, and have been for centuries, organisations that parody initiatic organisations, without concealing anything though they sometimes pretend to keep some secret. There are some such groups that emerged in Britain and America from the 18th century continuing to the present day. One obvious example is the ‘Hellfire Club’, which served no other purpose than to entertain the whims and excesses of English lords.[4]


1. The only authentic account of the Nephilim or ‘Watchers’ is preserved in the opening paragraphs of ‘The Sethian Gnosis’, Thrice Greatest Hermes, G.R.S. Mead.
2. Guénon, pp. 52–53, Perspectives on Initiation [1947—republished in 2001 by Sophia Perennis].
3. Guénon [ibid].
4. The first Hellfire Club was founded in London in 1718, by Philip, Duke of Wharton, but gained notoriety through the English club established by Sir Francis Dashwood (1749 to around 1760). The Club was later associated with Brooks’s (1764). Other Hellfire Clubs sprang up throughout the 18th century, most of them in Ireland after Wharton’s had been dissolved.

Initiation: Nu HermeticaThis article is abridged from Nu Hermetica—Initiation and Metaphysical Reality. Nu Hermetica addresses the difficulty of initiation in the twenty-first century—for the Way has not changed but the conditions we work under certainly have. Laws, news, facts and even history are updated, deleted, replaced and rewritten on a daily basis. So-called alternative movements, some of which even claim to be ‘spiritual’, only serve to reinforce profane, anti-spiritual notions. There is a need to pass on real knowledge to those few that are willing and able to receive it.

Related on this website:

Crisis of the Modern World Revisited (on René Guénon, in view of the present times)

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