December 3rd, 2011

From"Decoded" The arrival



At this important point in the evolution of the Western Magical Tradition, it is becoming increasingly apparent that restrictive forms of gnosis based upon “grade systems” are becoming irrelevant for many who are attempting to perform the great work at this time; that is perhaps why you have read this far. Congregational illuminists operating on the principles of Scientific Illuminism find that, although some may have worked alone for extended periods, they may be living in a place on the Earth where they have no contact with others who may benefit from the sharing and developing research that could be usefully applied individually and collectively.

All congregational illuminists are dedicated to the furtherance of the Great Work, through themselves and through mutual aid and sharing.

The theory underlying congregational illuminist decentralism can be traced to anarcho-syndicalism, to certain Protestant Sects such as the Levelers and True Levelers in Britain at the time of the English Civil War, and denominations such as the Society of Friends on the one hand and the Congregationalist movement on the other.  As it has developed in the modern occult-metaphysical world, three interesting elements all went into the making of the present movement.

The basis of Congregational Illuminism is simple, and can fairly be summarized as:

1. Spiritual growth is incompatible with authoritarian structure.
2. Scientific Illuminism requires a non-dogmatic, experimental
3. A free society linked in free communion should be actualized.
4. We facilitate, we do not lead. We do the Work, we do not extract
oaths or dues, or require dogmatic beliefs.

But even theseare a matter of individual preference.  We are a free communion.  Some of us are energy Workers, Working with the "points chauds" (key power points in the human body) system, others are Gnostics, others are radical reinterpreters of freemasonic fraternal ideals,others engaged in more traditionalmystery play initiations without the bindings involved in hierarchy.

First and foremost, the 19th Century Gnostic Revival and coinciding independent Apostolic Lineages set loose at the very time of the occult revival introduced decentralized Apostolic and Gnostic successions of egregore, which overlapped by the early 20th Century directly into the occult community, through the exchange of Masonic Dignities with Ecclesiastical Offices.  Some centralist bodies took these successions to add legitimacy to their own agendas, but ad vitam egregoric transfers insured that no central authority could ever be definitive.  This process continues inside congregational illuminism and elsewhere to the present time. Egregore without central authority or agenda has proven a fertile field for spiritual development.

The development of the modern OTO, beginning with Grady McMurtry and the establishment of Thelema Lodge out of Agape Lodge in California "spun off" a good many experiments inside the Caliphate OTO in Northern California, including "heretical gnostic massess".  The increasing centralization of cOTO spun off two notable tendencies operating outside cOTO but still under the influence of Aleister Crowley's ideas, notably the Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis (EGnU). Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis (EGnU) was founded by a College of Bishops on the Fourth of July in the Year 2000 C.E. It has drawn together in a very non-hierarchical manner both Apostolic, Apostolic, Gnostic and Thelemic persons interested in a non-authoritarian approach to the magical-ecclesiastic egregore. A brief history is given on the EGnU site. If interested click here.

The EGnU has continued to develop as an ever-broadening coalition of those who choose to celebrate the mysteries as spirituality or religion, but of diverse interests from Thelemic Gnostic, Voudon Gnostic and Eastern Tantric sources. Congregational Illuminists in the USA and the Balkans are wrestling with a Gnostic ceremonial consistent with current sensibilities and the principle of Scientific Illuminism.

While having nominal "leadership" to the present day, the Neo-Thelemic Ordo QBLH founded in 1960 by the late W.W. Webb and others always had a loose-knit structure, and, after Bill Webb's death, administrative titles became almost totally symbolic and served as a direct precursor of Congregational Illuminism facilitated by Soror Tala and the late brilliant computer scientist T. Coutu.I was a resident member of this group's Lodge Babalon for quite some time.  It was here that Docteur Bertiaux's points chauds Voudon Gnosis Work was introduced, along with original ritual by Frater Achad and Enochian Workings.

Another more specifically Thelemic Gnostic non-authoritarian tendency is a direct antecedent of congregational illuminism per se.  The closest thing to a "founder" of this movement is the famous magician and illuminist Mort Shapiro who continues to Work the Liber XV Mass without cOTO control under the name "Congregational Thelema".  Brother Shapiro ("baal_kriah") has indicated his strong affinity for congregational illuminism.

While in a state of transit out of centralized bodies of manifestation, I was invited to join EGnU's College of Bishops, a very diverse body with a minimum of structural authority and a maximum of egregoric association. This proved a decisive influence upon me personally as to the limits of any kind of "authority" in the presentation and transfer of the egregore of the authentic tradition.  I looked at Brother Shapiro's term "Congregational Thelema" and, mindful of the decentralist structure of the Congregationalist Churches, and of the diverse community of occultists that think that freedom is a more condusive atmosphere for spiritual development and illumination, modified Brother Shapiro's term to acknowledge those not self-defined as Thelemic.  As Wikipedia notes "Congregational churches are Protestant Christian churches practicing Congregationalist church governance, in which each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs.
"Many Congregational churches claim their descent from the original Congregational churches, a family of Protestant denominations formed on a theory of union published by the theologian Robert Browne in 1592. They arose from the Nonconformist religious movement in England during the Puritan reformation of the Church of England. In Great Britain, the early congregationalists were called separatists or independents to distinguish themselves from the similarly Calvinistic Presbyterians. Some congregationalists there still call themselves 'Independents'...Without higher courts to ensure doctrinal uniformity among the congregations, Congregationalists have been more diverse than other Reformed churches. Despite the efforts of Calvinists to maintain the dominance of their system, some Congregational churches, especially in the older settlements of New England, gradually developed leanings toward Arminianism, Unitarianism, Deism, and transcendentalism."

With these ideas and the idea that Scientific Illuminism can be applied without distinction to a wide diversity of approaches, I coined the term "congregational illuminist" anchored to the influences of Congregational Thelema, the democracy of Freemasonry as practiced in the USA, the decentralism of the egregore in the Gnostic community and the independent lines of Apostolic Succession, the ideas of the EGnU and building from the egregoric transfer granted me by Tau Michael Bertiaux through the Ecclesia Gnostica Spiritualis (Apostolic and Gnostic egregoric succession) and the Lodge of the Sons and Daughters of Aaron chartered by Bertiaux into a kind of occult and non-authoritarian version of Frank Herbert's concept of 'the Golden Path' of his Dune novels. As Wikipedia describes it, "The Golden Path is a term in Frank Herbert's fictional Dune universe for Leto Atreides II's strategy to prevent humanity's destruction..."

As applied here, it means to create many independent and diverse "power zones" (Lodges, Temples, Nodes, Individuals) fully empowered to "Work the egregore" as they see fit, ad vitam and without the possibility of revocation.  Free communion is just that - mutual sharing and support on a voluntary basis with others Working the Authentic Tradition each according to their own perceptions.  Once set in motion, this "golden path" is self-perpetuating and self-guiding, and has been reduced to the common denominators given on the Congregational Illuminist Facebook "Causes" site.

Congregational Illuminism as such is not a religion, and there are adhering Christians, Christian Gnostics, Thelemic Gnostics, Neopagans, Jews, Hindu and Muslim Congregational Illuminists, holding in common the above principles and a free communion of mutual support.

For those interested in forming a free illuminist body, the first thing to do is to see if there is already one nearby. Check here.

If there is not, forming one, though it takes time and some dedication, is not as difficult as it might first sound.

The NEXT STEP, may be that you want to set up your own centre of working. Free Illuminist bodies are just that – free to choose forms, write their own charters (samples are available as general ideas), be involved in such community organizing as a chartered lodge under the Rite Ancien et Primitif de Memphis-Misraim, or affiliated with the Ecclesia Gnostica Universalis (EGnU), which focuses on the spiritual form such as Celebratory Masses and Liturgical work, or being totally autonomous bodies or nodes in voluntary communion with other illuminist bodies to whatever extent a local body or node deems appropriate.

You can also reach out to thousands of people throgh Congregational Illuminism on Facebook at
Cause URL - click here

We in existing bodies do stand ready to answer questions,lend support and where needed, extend local charters as appropriate to your own path in The Great Work of Illumination.

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