Occult Orders

views updated

Occult Orders



792 W. Arrow Hwy.
Box 5003
Upland, CA 91785

Astara was formed in 1951 by Robert and Earlyne Chaney, both former Spiritualists. Robert Chaney had been active at Camp Chesterfield and instrumental in the founding of the Spiritualist Episcopal Church. While still a Spiritualist, he became interested in Theosophy and began to profess a belief in reincarnation, which was, in the 1940s, still a minority idea within Spiritualist circles and which met with strong disapproval at the camp. Earlyne, as a child clairvoyant, had held conversations with a being she called simply "Father." When she asked his name, he replied "Kut-Hu-Mi." When she later discovered Koot Hoomi in Theosophical literature, he revealed that he had chosen her for special hierarchical work—to write the teachings of the ancient wisdom for the new age. After resigning from their church in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, the Chaneys moved to Los Angeles, California, and began their independent endeavor.

Astara is one of the most eclectic of bodies. The eclecticism is a reflection of the varied strong influences on the Chaneys at points in their lives: Spiritualism, Theosophy, yoga, Christianity, as well as the expressed desire to allow Astara to be a center of all religions and philosophies. These various tendencies have found unity, however, in the teaching of Hermes Mercurious Trismegistus, the ancient Egyptian Ptoh said to have organized the mystery schools from which all others have derived. Astara conceives of itself as a mystery school in the Hermetic tradition. The name is from the Greek goddess of divine justice, Astraea, and was chosen as a sign of the renewal of the Golden Age.

Hermes taught of God, the cosmos, and man, each in relation to the others. God is the only uncreated who emanates his seven attributes and all that is. He also taught seven laws. Basic is the matical law of correspondence, "As above, so below." According to Hermes, our world is a microcosm of the macrocosm, the universe. This law is the basis of alchemy. The law of vibration says everything is in motion. Other laws deal with polarity, cycles, cause and effect, gender, and mind.

These laws encompass a number of practices. Lama Yoga is a consciousness-expanding method taught originally to Earlyne Chaney by the masters. The chanting of the holy name, "Om," is encompassed under the law of vibration. A natural food diet, preferably vegetarian, is encouraged. The arcane rhythm techniques include numerous yogic practices and breathing techniques.

For many years, the center for Astara was a congregation in Los Angeles where regular Sunday services were held. The real heart of Astara, however, has always been the correspondence lessons called the Book of Life. It is Astara's belief that written instructions by a mystery school can function as a guru in teaching the student. Astarians are led through ascending degrees of twenty-two lessons each. An active healing ministry is conducted by both Robert Chaney and his appointed representatives. In 1976 the headquarters were moved from Los Angeles to Upland, California. Chaney is also a seminar teacher and author, having published many books on varied mystical and esoteric subjects.

Membership: In 2001, there were approximately 25,000 Astara students worldwide.

Periodicals: Voice of Astara.


Chaney, Earlyne. Beyond Tomorrow. Upland, CA: Astara, 1985.

——. The Book of Beginning Again. Upland, CA: Astara, 1981.

——. Remembering. Los Angeles: Astara's Library of Mystical Classics, 1974.

——. Shining Moments of a Mystic. Upland, CA: Astara, 1976.

Chaney, Earlyne, and William L. Messick. Kundalini and the Third Eye. Upland, CA: Astara's Library of Mystical Classics, 1980.

Chaney, Robert. Mysticism, the Journey Within. Upland, CA: Astra's Library of Mystical Classics, 1979.

Chaney, Robert Galen. The Inner Way. Los Angeles, CA: DeVorss & Co., 1962.


Brotherhood of the White Temple

7830 Oak Way
Sedalia, CO 80135

The Brotherhood of the White Temple was formed in Denver in 1930 by Doreal, a long-time student of occultism and a "channel for bringing the ancient wisdom to the Western Student." Doreal claims contact with the Great White Lodge, the Elder Brothers of man (figures similar to the ascended masters, spirits who were once human and now teach humans about spiritual reality). Doreal is the agent for the coming Golden Age in which the brotherhood of man will be established on earth. Integral parts of the Brotherhood of the White Temple are the White Temple Church, which emphasizes the "Original Gnostic Teachings of Jesus," and the Shamballa Ashrama, a tract of 1,560 acres at Sedalia, Colorado, where a community of brotherhood members is housed and the headquarters are located. From the publishing plant the numerous booklets and lessons written by Doreal are printed and distributed. The booklets cover the whole range of occult topics.

The teachings of the brotherhood come from the central core of occult teachings, drawing heavily on Kabbalistic images. (The Kabbalah is a Jewish magical system.) God is conceived as the all-pervasive one, and man is a spark of the divine. The soul is incarnate for the purpose of overcoming negation and darkness and changing itself into order and light. The fall of man was caused by his being overwhelmed by inharmony after his creation. The teachings of the White Brotherhood emphasize methods of establishing harmony and cover various topics in the occult tradition (Atlantis, Lemuria, the Masters of Tibet and the Great Pyramid). In keeping with the occult tradition, an allegorical approach to the Bible is offered.

From the headquarters in Sedalia, booklets and lessons are offered by correspondence to members around the world. Lessons are divided into four neophyte grades and twelve temple grades. After completion (approximately four and one-half years), a member is invited into the inner work.

Membership: Not reported. Approximately 50 families live at the Ashrama, and corresponding students are located across the United States and around the world.

Periodicals: Light on the Path.


Doreal, M. Maitreya, Lord of the World. Sedalia, CO: Brotherhood of the White Temple, n.d.

——. Man and the Mystic Universe. Denver: Brotherhood of the White Temple, n.d.

——. Personal Experiences amongthe Masters and Great Adepts in Tibet. Sedalia, CO: Brotherhood of the White Temple, n.d.

——. Secret Teachings of the Himalayan Gurus. Denver: Brotherhood the White Temple, n.d.


Christian Fellowship Organization


Among the most outstanding of the occult-metaphysical teachers in Southern California in the decades immediately before and after World War II was Edward Lewis Hodges, a San Diego physician. He claimed to be the representative and earthly head of the Secret Order of the Christian Brotherhood and School of Christian Initiation. The order consists of those evolved beings who had in ages past spiritualized their body, perfected their wisdom and understanding, and had been given the keys to the Kingdom Universal to rule the earth (similar to what other groups term the Great White Brotherhood). Hodges, as an initiate of the order, was given its teachings and told to propagate them. He founded the Christian Fellowship Organization and in 1938 published the Teachings of the Secret Order of the Christian Brotherhood.

According to Hodges, the order taught how to achieve liberation from death through the restoration and spiritualization of the body. Knowledge of the spiritualization processes is as old as humanity, but is periodically almost forgotten. At one point Jesus, head of the order, appeared to teach that the great secret of life was God the Universal All expressed through the Christ which is simply the mortal body. The Christ within the human form is what saves. The first step on the path of initiation is realizing oneness with that Christ within.

New students of the Christian Fellowship Organization were invited to place themselves under the "cultural condition of the Christian Brotherhood," by invoking its presence. They were also taught a series of formulas, i.e. affirmations, to bring about health, prosperity, and eventually the spiritualization of the body. Hodges claimed that the use of the formulas would lead to a rejuvenation of the body and ultimately to a state in which the individual can take his/her body to the heaven worlds capable of returning to earth as situations warrant.

Hodges continued to publish into the early 1950s, but no evidence of the persistence of the Christian Fellowship Organization in recent years has been uncovered.


Hodges, Edward Lewis. Be Healed…A Remedy That Never Fails. San Diego: Christian Fellowship Organization, 1949.

——. Teachings of the Secret Order of the Christian Brotherhood. Santa Barbara, CA: J. F. Rowney Press, 1938.

——. Wealth and Riches by Divine Right. San Diego: Christian Fellowship Organization, 1945.


Church of Light

2341 Coral St.
Los Angeles, CA 90031

Alternate Address Alternative address is: Church of Light, Canada, 337 Bain Ave., Toronto, ON, Canada M4J 1B9.

The Church of Light was incorporated in 1932 in Los Angeles by Elbert Benjamine (also known by his pen name, C. C. Zain), but actually dates to 1876, when Emma Harding Britten (who the year previously had participated in the founding of the Theosophical Society) published the teachings of the occult Brotherhood of Light in her book, Art Magic. The Brotherhood of Light was, according to the Church of Light tradition, formed in 2400 B.C. by a group which separated from the theocracy of Egypt. It has existed since that time as a secret order and is called the source of the science upon which Western civilization rests. Its initiates are said to have included Thales, Pythagoras, and Plato. It has continued to exist on the inner planes as well as the outer. (The outer plane is the one people live on; the inner plane contains ghostly bodies and is visible only to psychics.)

In the nineteenth century, one M. Theon was the head of the Brotherhood of Luxor in Europe. He was contacted by T. H. Burgoyne (1855-1894), a Scot, who originally contacted the brotherhood on the inner plane. He came to America in the 1880s. Joining him was Captain Norman Astley, a retired British army officer who married Genevieve Stebbins, a member of the Brotherhood in New York. Burgoyne, while living with the Astleys in Carmel, California, wrote an original series of lessons, Light of Egypt, Vol.I. With the help of Dr. Henry Wagner and Mrs. Belle M. Wagner, a branch of the Brotherhood, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Light was formed. The Hermetic Brotherhood was always governed by a scribe, an astrologer and a seer. Burgoyne was the original scribe. In 1909 when Minnie Higgins, the original astrologer, died, Elbert Benjamine was called to the home of a Mrs. Anderson, the seer, to become the council's astrologer.

The teaching of the Brotherhood was the ancient Religion of the Stars, and Benjamine was appointed to prepare a complete system of occult studies by which humankind could become conversant with the religion of the stars in the coming Aquarian Age. He was guided in this task by members on the inner plane, and wrote the twenty-one series of lessons covering three branches of occult science astrology, alchemy, and magic. In 1915, he began to hold classes, which were opened to the public in 1918. The lessons were completed in 1934. In 1913, the Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor was closed and its mission was turned over to Benjamine.

The Church of Light teaches that there are two orders of truth—religion and science—between which there can be no true antagonism. The only book infallible in interpreting the will of deity is the book of nature. There is but one religion, nature's laws. Astrology is stressed as a means of interpreting nature, though all occult arts are recognized. The main program of the church consists of twenty-one courses. The member is given a Hermeticism certificate upon completion of the 21 courses. Service to others is stressed as a means to evolution from man to angel. The life of service to others is the life of the Spirit. Reincarnation is not a belief of the church.

The Church of Light is headed by a president. Upon Benjamine's death in 1951, he was succeeded by Edward Doane. The present president is Paul M. Brewer. There are a vice-president and secretary-treasurer. An annual meeting of the church is held at the headquarters in Los Angeles. Ordained ministers may establish branch churches where interest warrants, and individual members taking correspondence courses are located across the United States.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: The Church of Light Quarterly.

Remarks: According to occult historian A. E. Waite, Thomas Burgoyne is a pseudonym adopted by one Thomas Henry Dalton, a convicted felon (on fraud charges) who actually came to America to escape a scandal concerning the Hermetic Brotherhood. M. Theon, also according to Waite, was a man named Peter Davidson, possibly identical with Norman Astley.


Astrological Research & Reference Encyclopedia. 2 vols. Los Angeles: Church of Light, 1972.

Burgoyne, Thomas H. The Light of Egypt. 2 vols. Albuquerque, NM: Sun Publishing Company, 1980.

Gibson, Christopher. "The Religion of the Stars: The Hermetic Philosophy of C. C. Zain." Gnosis 38 (Winter 1996): 58—63.

Godwin, Joscelyn, Christian Chanel, annd John P. Deveney. The Hermatic Brotherhood of Luxor. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1995.

Wagner, H. O., comp. A Treasure Chest of Wisdom. Denver, CO: H. O. Wagner, 1967.


Gnostic Association of Cultural and Anthropological Studies

Box 291488
Los Angeles, CA 90029

The Gnostic Association of Cultural and Anthropological Studies was formed in 1952 by Columbian native Samuel Aun Weor (d. 1977), described by his followers as the Kaiki Avatar of the Age of Aquarius. During his early years he studied with Dr. Arnold Krumm Heller, a German esotericist, and over the years as he continued his studies became a master of the esoteric realms in his own right. He began to prepare his own synthesis of esoteric teachings based upon his investigation of other planes of consciousness, out of which he authored a number of books. The basic teachings are embodied in a 1961 volume, The Perfect Matrimony. The association spread through South America and then to Europe, Japan, Ireland, Australia, France, Spain, Portugal, Africa, Canada, and the United States. The first American centers were opened in Los Angeles and New York in 1970.

While accepting a basic theosophical framework for his teachings, Weor wrote about the practical synthesis of all religions, schools, orders, sects, lodges, and yogas. His findings, which he experienced directly, were presented in The Perfect Matrimony. The essence of the system is called "el sexo yoga" in Spanish and "sexual alchemy" in English. Weor taught that the redemption of humanity is in the transmutation of the sexual energies. (The practice taught by Weor draws heavily from Hindu Tantric and Chinese Taoist sources, and is to be sharply distinguished from the "sex magic" of Aleister Crowley and his followers in the Ordo Templi Orientis.)

Weor taught that God manifested as both Father (knowledge) and Mother (love). The "Perfect Matrimony" is the union of two persons who know how to love. With the fire of love, individuals can transform themselves into gods. The secret of the fire is discovered in the sexual act. During the sexual act, participants are charged with universal magnetism. True white magicians stop the act before any semen is spilled. To transmute the creative energies, so that orgasm does not occur and therefore the semen is not released, is equated with the commitment of the act of sexual magic. The kundalini, the latent energy believed by Hindu Tantrics to reside at the base of the spine, awakens and travels upward. Thereby the individual awakens consciousness.

After its arrival in the United States, the association opened centers in Spanish-speaking communities in several cities. Though most instruction is still in Spanish, there are several centers that now provide free lectures in English, and most of Weor's books have been translated. The first issues of the English-language periodical appeared in 1987. The first International Congress of the association was held in Montreal in 1986.

Membership: In 1988 the association reported 5,000 members in more than 20 centers in the United States and more than 10,000 members in 50 centers in Canada. Foreign centers were located in 25 countries worldwide.

Periodicals: The Gnostic Arhat.


Almarez, Anita Ford. Simple Introduction to the Ancient Science of Gnosis. Chicago: Gnostic Association, n.d.

Weor, Samuel Aun. The Awakening of Man. Chicago: Gnostic Association of Anthropological and Cultural Studies, n.d.

——. Fundamental Education. Los Angeles: Gnostic Association, 1987.

——. Manual of Practical Magic. Los Angeles: Gnostic Association, 1988.

——. Manual of Revolutionary Psychology. Los Angeles: Gnostic Association, 1987.

——. The Perfect Matrimony. New York: Adonai Editorial, 1980.

——. Zodiacal Course: Hermetic Astrology. Los Angeles: Gnostic Association, 1986.


Lemurian Fellowship

Box 397
Ramona, CA 92065

The Lemurian Fellowship was founded on September 16, 1936 by Dr. Robert D. Stelle, who claimed to be operating under the direction and guidance of the Lemurian Brotherhood, one of the original mystery schools of this human era. The Lemurian Fellowship considers itself the mundane channel of the Lemurian Brotherhood and is affiliated with no other group or organization.

The fellowship was first formed in Chicago, establishing its permanent headquarters on two properties in Ramona, California, in 1941. One property houses the headquarters of the Lemurian Fellowship. The other is the home of the Lemurian Order, the only student organization sponsored or recognized by the Lemurian Fellowship, the membership of which has passes through an extended study of the Lemurian Philosophy. Since its inception and incorporation as a California nonprofit religious corporation, the fellowship offered a course of balanced religious instruction called the Lemurian Philosophy. The philosophy is based on the teachings of Christ with its primary purpose that of helping people recognize, understand, and apply God's universal laws and principles.

The Lemurian Philosophy is released through a series of printed lessons. The main program of the fellowship is its correspondence school, through which individual instruction by printed word is geared to fit the needs and capabilities of the individual student. Background subjects include the origin of man, civilizations, human relationships, the life of Christ, and Cosmic or Universal Principles, including the laws of increase, cause and effect, transmutation, compensation, and precipitation (by which objects and conditions are brought into being). The study of twelve principal virtues emphasizes the need to work on self through attention to the needs of, and assistance to, others. The continuity of life is a basic precept of the Lemurian Philosophy.

Using the laws and principles established by God for the benefit of humanity, the goal is to purify one's thoughts and actions to the point where the individual gains control of his or her environment and destiny, and a commensurate ability to render significant help to others without circumventing their God-give right to self-determination.

These goals are accomplished through study, meditation, and working with such practical areas as health, finances, and the human associations encountered in family, marriage, work, and community. Through balancing the three sides of human nature (physical, mental, and spiritual), along with service to others, the Ego learns to fulfill the true purpose of human life. It is taught that the primary goal of a more noble character is learned and earned through opportunities that come through associations with other people.

Since the founder's death in 1952, the work of the Lemurian Fellowship has been carried on by a staff who live and work on fellowship property in Ramona. All responsibility for the administration and conduct of the Lemurian Fellowship rests with a Board of Governors. Lemurian Fellowship publications include Into the Sun, a brochure that introduces the Lemurian Philosophy, that The Sun Rises, which details the early developments of the Mukulian civilization. The fellowship also holds the copyright of An Earth Dweller's Return.

According to the fellowship, the Great Being, Christ, first taught humanity when he appeared as Melchizedek on the continent of Mu (Lemuria), now submerged in the Pacific Ocean. Christ, as Poseidonis, appeared for a second time many thousands of years later on Atlantis, once again to help humanity recognize its true purpose. A complete record of these and subsequent civilizations up to the present time is stored in the archives of the Lemurian Brotherhood. Only when correct use is made of the information that has thus far been released will the succeeding phase of the Brotherhood's plan be known.

The goal for which the fellowship strives is the eventual realization of the Kingdom of God on earth. While such a concept is common to many religions, the Lemurian Philosophy makes no predictions or prophecies about when such an advanced society may come into being. The Lemurian Fellowship stresses to its students that it will be a steady, sure effort at building more noble characters on the part of many that will enable mankind to eventually experience a better world.

The Internet address is http://www.lemurianfellowship.org.

Membership: Not reported.

Educational Facilities: St. Sava Seminary, Lake Villa, Illinois.

Periodicals: Lemurian View Point.


Dionisije, Bishop. Patriarch Gherman's Violations of the Holy Canons, Rules and Regulations of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Tito's Yugoslavia. Libertyville, IL: Serbian Orthodox Diocese in the U.S.A. and Canada (Free Serbian Orthodox Church in Free World), 1965.

Divine Liturgy, Prayers, Catechism. Libertyville, IL: St. Sava Seminary Fund, 1979.

Gracanica. Grayslake, IL: Serbian Orthodox Free Diocese of the United States and Canada, 1984.

A Time to Choose. Third Lake, IL: Monastery of the Most Holy Mother of God, 1981.

Todorovich, Jovan. Serbian Patran Saint, Krsna Slava. Merrilville, IN: The Author, 1978.

Velimirovich, Nicholai D. The Life of St. Sava. Libertyville, IL: Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese for the United States of America and Canada, 1951.


Mayan Order

Box 2710
San Antonio, TX 78299

The Mayan Order, it is claimed, was founded by people who had rediscovered the teachings of an ancient group of holy men (H'Men) who dominated Mayan culture and to whom the greatness of the civilization was due. These men possessed great knowledge of astrology, the calendar, medicine, mathematics and occult wisdom. Only a few H'Men survived the Spanish conquest, and only three copies of the ancient books have survived. What is known of the ancient wisdom is preserved today by the Mayan Order.

Mayan material is distributed in degree-lessons through correspondence. Early in the work, the student is taught a very simple code; in succeeding lessons, key words are printed in that code. Reincarnation is stressed within a framework of New Thought metaphysics, with the New Thought emphasis on light, mind, and the power of positive thinking. Psychokinesis in practiced by each student. Appropriate rituals are learned at each initiation; content is heavily biblical.

Like Astara, the Mayan Order has become known through its ads in various psychic periodicals. It is under the guidance of Rose Dawn, the registrar and supreme leader.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Daily Meditation.


Dawn, Rose. The Miracle Power. San Antonio, TX: Mayan Press, 1959.

——. The Search for Happiness. Mayan Order, 1966.


Philosophical Research Society

3910 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

The Philosophical Research Society was founded in 1934 by Manly Palmer Hall (1901-1990), the most prolific and widely-read occult writer of the twentieth century. He began as a young occult scholar and lecturer in the 1920s as a leader in the Church of the People in Los Angeles. During these years he began to publish his own books under the imprint of the Hall Publishing Company. The Philosophical Research Society was the culmination of a dream to establish a philosophical/religious institution modeled on the ancient philosopher/religious schools of Pythagoras, Plato, and the Serapeum of Alexander. Its goals include research, application of the occult heritage to modern problems, and the dissemination of the ancient wisdom by a variety of means.

Hall's basic position was closely related to an Eastern idealism. Life is eternal, it is an endless unfoldment towards the real. It has its beginnings in the immeasurable past and its ultimates in the immeasurable future. Man's present individual existence is but one episode of innumerable ones. Law brings us into life and is the purpose of living. The seven laws of life are evolution, cause and effect, polarity, reincarnation, harmony and rythym, generation, and vibration. Man may come into harmony with these but they are immutable. All of Hall's lecturing and writing has been an explication of this perspective. He has also published a number of historical studies of occultism and occultists.

The Philosophical Research Society is centered at its headquarters complex in Los Angeles. Included are a research library, bookstore and publishing facilities. Books, booklets, and lecture transcripts are distributed across the United States. Correspondence courses are offered in a wide variety of topics. Regular classes and Sunday morning services are offered weekly. Through his publications, Hall continues to make a significant impact on the psychic/occult community.

Membership: The PRS is not a membership organization.

Educational Facilities: University of Philosophical Research.

Periodicals: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Living.


Hall, Manly P. Growing Up with Grandmother. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1985.

——. Man, the Grand Symbol of the Mysteries. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Center, 1947.

——. The Mystical Christ. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1951.

——. Questions and Answers. Los Angeles: Philosophers Press, 1937.

——. Reincarnation, the Cycle of Necessity. Los Angeles: Philosophical Research Society, 1946.


Sabian Assembly

3221 Sheffield St.
Chicago, IL 60657

The Sabian Assembly evolved from a class in astrology led by Marc Edmund Jones in New York City as the culmination of a decade of work that included a "meeting with a master." The following year, he held a second class in Los Angeles, California. On October 17, 1923, with a group of his students who had found some direction in the occult truths and who wished to test them in their lives, he created the Sabian Assembly. His charter called for the group to be "experimental" in nature. The astrological emphasis broadened to a synthesis of philosophy, psychology, and religion against a background of occult insights. In 1925, Jones published Key Truths of Occult Philiosophy, which he revised and reissued in 1948 as Occult Philosophy. His Ritual of Living was published in 1930 and revised in 1957 as The Sabian Manual. From 1923 through 1943, Jones wrote 3,000 lessons which are circulated and studied weekly by members of the Sabian Assembly. The Sabian Assembly has continued as a group, oriented to the Philosophy of Concepts as enunciated by Jones. After World War II, it gradually spread with the increasing popularity of Jones' books and lectures. A free-lance writer and ordained Presbyterian pastor, who earned his doctorate in philosophy from Columbia University in 1948, Jones emerged as, intellectually, one of the strongest occultists in the eyes of the public.

The Sabian Assembly is an openly eclectic body. Jones acknowledged that he had drawn from New Thought, Theosophy, Kabbalism, and Spiritualism, as well as from Eastern and Western theological and philosophical traditions. This reformulation of the ancient wisdom is seen as a special way of understanding and self-dedication. The Sabian project is basically the application of Cabala, as Jones interpreted it, to all of life. Since the occult is easily warped into a structure of illusions, the group effort reinforces the student's need for verifiable experience in direct proportion to spiritual realization.

The Sabian Assembly is a solar group whose occult discipline derives its authority from within the self (as opposed to lunar groups who see authority as represented outwardly by a hierarchical system). Sabian students maintain individual "work in consciousness" with a consistent focus on spiritual healing.

Rituals were developed at the request of the sponsors, the invisible council of the assembly. Rituals are provided for healing, for the initiatory discipline, for the quarterly reviews of progress, and for specific occasions such as the dedication of a life (baptism), a departure (funeral), or a partnership, such as marriage.

The Sabian Assembly continues as a loosely organized fellowship of aspirants, each pursuing his or her own course of study in Jones' material, with the support of Sabian study groups where possible. Prime working principles of the fellowship are "respect for personality" and MYOB, or "mind your own business." Membership is open to any who wish to participate in this approach to the Solar Mysteries. After two years as a neophyte, a new student may choose to participate in the five-year acolyte discipline, which requires work in consciousness and a course of spiritual exercises as well as specific volunteer work for the assembly. Beyond that, students may continue with three years of legate studies, although the group gives no outward recognition of inward status.

Marc Edmund Jones served as chancellor of the Sabian Assembly until shortly before his death in March 1980. The work of the assembly continues, without a central headquarters or staff, on the basis of volunteer work coordinated by an unpaid administrator. New students receive copies of Sabian Manual and The Sabian Book, which is a collection of short essays characteristic of the Sabian approach. Sabian lesson materials are re-edited and distributed by students.

The assembly's Internet site is at http://www.sabian.org.

Membership: Not reported.

Periodicals: Sabian News Letter. • Sabiana Journal.


Jones, Marc Edmund. Occult Philosophy. Standwood, WA: Sabian Publishing Society, 1971.

——. The Ritual of Living. Los Angeles, CA: J. F. Rowny Press, 1930.

——. The Sabian Book. Stanwood, WA: Sabian Publishing Society, 1973.

——. The Sabian Manual. New York: Sabian Publishing Society, 1957.

——. The Scope of Astrological Prediction. Stanwood, WA: Sabian Publishing Society, 1969.


Soulcraft Enterprises, Inc.

PO Box 3579
Cottonwood, AZ 83626

William Dudley Pelley (1890-1965), the elucidator of the Liberation-Soulcraft philosophy, was a New England newspaperman in 1918 when he was sent by the Methodist Episcopal Church to the Far East to report on foreign missions. He also was commissioned at that time by the YMCA to venture into Siberia to report on the Russian Revolution. In the early 1920s, he gained a national reputation as a magazine writer. By the end of the decade, he had turned to Hollywood and produced several movie scenarios. One of his novels, Drag, was produced as one of the first sound movies.

It was during this time, in 1928, that he had an out-of-body experience (an experience of one's consciousness becoming separated from the body). He described the experience in an article for the popular American Magazine in the March 1929 issue. This unsought out-of-body experience led him into the world of extrasensory perception and the recording or "channeling" of remarkable messages from higher intelligences, called mentors. These messages form the basis of the Soulcraft philosophy: Every human spirit-soul is a part of the Godhead and, therefore, related to every other spirit-soul. Spirit-souls come to the classroom of Earth in physical form to become aware of themselves and their relationship to others and to God through many lives. The questions opened by this basic premise form the subject matter of the more than two dozen books written by Pelley. He also recorded messages from a source wishing to be called the Elder Brother, which are found in a book entitled The Golden Scripts (1941). Pelley refused to found a church on this philosophy for fear of its becoming crystalized and dogmatic and losing its open-endedness. Fellowship Press, Inc. served as the distributor of the Soulcraft books, thus keeping the philosophy alive.

After Pelley's death, his daughter, Adelaide Pelley Pearson, and son-in-law, Melford Pearson, continued to print and distribute his metaphysical books and also his book outlining the blueprint for a healthier and sounder economic system, No More Hunger. Fellowship Press is a corporation owned and operated by the Pearson's for the purpose of printing Pelley's books, but in August, 2001, they turned the responsibility for printing and distributing the Soulcraft books over to Soulcraft Enterprises, Inc..

Membership: Soulcraft is not a membership organization; rather, it serves as a center of dissemination for the Soulcraft teachings.

Remarks: During the 1930s, Pelley became well known in a second and even more controversial area of public life. During the 1930s he formed an organization he called the Silver Shirts. It was avowedly anti-Communist, anti-New Deal, and against what Pelley believed to be the undue Jewish influence in government, banking, and the media. His operation came under scrutiny of the government as Adolf Hitler rose to power and war clouds gathered in Europe. Remaining adamant in his beliefs, even after Pearl Harbor, he was arrested and tried for sedition in 1942. Convicted, he was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison, but was then immediately included with a number of other defendants in a "mass sedition trial" in Washington, D.C. That trial continued for a number of years. In the end it was thrown out by the Supreme Court which termed it a "travesty of justice." Meanwhile, Pelley served over seven years on his prior conviction. The last years of his life were spent on his metaphysical work.


The Golden Scripts. Noblesville, IN: Soulcraft Chapels, 1951. Pelley, William Dudley. The Door To Revelation. Asheville, North Carolina: Foundation Fellowship, 1936.

——. No More Hunger. Noblesville, IN: Aquila Press, 1961.

——. Seven Minutes in Eternity. Noblesville, IN: Soulcraft Chapels, 1954.

——. Star Guests. Noblesville, IN: Soulcraft Press, 1950.

Strong, Donald S. Organized Anti-Semitism in America. Washington, DC: American Council on Public Affairs, 1941.


Stelle Group

127 Sun St.
Stelle, IL 60919

The Stelle Group, named for Robert D. Stelle, founder of the Lemurian Fellowship, and its sister society, the Adelphi Organization, were founded by Richard Kieninger (b. 1927). As early as 1953, Kieninger had been associated with the Lemurian Fellowship, from whom he received his initial occult training, but in 1963 he broke from it and formed the Stelle Group. The same year the group was formed, The Ultimate Frontier, written by Kieninger under a pen-name, Eklal Kueshana, was released. It is an autobiography and discussion of the basic philosophy of the Stelle Group. In 1966, the Lemuria Builders was formed to acquaint the public with the group's philosophy and to recruit new members. Stelle School was opened in 1968. Originally the headquarters of the Group were in Kieninger's home in Chicago, but in 1973, with the official founding of the community of Stelle, Illinois, the offices shifted there.

Essential to an understanding of the Stelle Group is the reported experience of its leader. Kieninger claims his first contact with several mysterious beings was on his 12th birthday. The initial contact, a Dr. White, taught reincarnation, told Kieninger of his past lives, including ones as the biblical King David and Pharaoh Akhnaton, and began to explain Kieninger's mission to found a new nation. Later that year, he was given a secret name, permanently incised into his skin, and at the same time was taught of the 12 Brotherhoods (five greater and seven lesser). In 1945, Dr. White gave him the place of the ideal community—Stelle City. Stelle is a community near Kankakee, Illinois, to which the activity and life of the group gradually shifted over the 1970s. As an intentional community, it is seen as one preparatory model of the new society that will be formed in the next decades. From 1973 to 1982, the focus of the Stelle Group was upon the community of Stelle. However, in 1976, Kieninger formed a sister organization to the Stelle Group, the Adelphi Organization. It purchased 78 acres of land 35 miles east of Dallas, Texas, upon which a community open only to a dedicated core of disciples of Kieninger's teachings (i.e. members of either the Adelphi Organization or the Stelle Group) was being developed. Residents must have lived in the vicinity of either Stelle or Dallas to attend a weekly orientation for a year prior to their moving into the community. Then, in 1982, the headquarters of the Stelle group were moved to Dallas and the community of Stelle was opened to nonmembers who nevertheless wanted to participate in the experimental community life. The Stelle Community Association was chartered in 1982.

Kieninger wrote in The Ultimate Frontier that, at the end of the twentieth century, a massive natural catastrophe leading to a rearrangement of the land masses will be triggered by the alignment of the planets in this solar system on May 5, 2000 A.D. It will be preceded by an economic depression that was to begin after the 200th birthday of the United States, but prior to the 201st birthday, and by the Battle of Armageddon, an atomic war to end in 1999. The people of Stelle and Adelphi will be among the ten percent of the world's population to survive this catastrophe. After the worst is past, members of the brotherhood will rebuild a new Philadelphia.

The Stelle Group is now seen as a school offering basic training in the philosophy of the Brotherhoods. It leads individuals into the Adelphi Organization and the future community of Philadelphia.

Kieninger has not been associated with either the Stelle Group or the Adelphi Organizations since 1986. Both the Stelle Group and the Adelphi Organization have separately elected boards that manage their affairs. Both are orienting their activities around preparation for the troubles believed due at the end of the century and the development of resources and skills to rebuild the new society.

Membership: In 1988, the Stelle Group reported approximately 200 members nationally, with an additional 6,000 who follow the progress of the group. There were 47 residential units at Stelle City with slow growth proceeding.

Periodicals: The Stelle Group Newsletter. Send orders to Box 75, Quinlan, TX 75474. • The Philosopher's Stone. Send orders to Stelle Administration Building, Stelle, IL 60919.


Kieninger, Richard. The Hidden Christ. Dallas, TX: Paragon Press, 1989.

——. Observations. 4 vols. Chicago: Stelle Group, 1971-79.

——. Spiritual Seekers' Guidebook and Hidden Threats to Mental and Spiritual Freedom. Quinlan, TX: Stelle Group, 1986.

Kueshana, Eklal [Richard Kieninger, psued.] The Ultimate Frontier. Chicago: Stelle Group, 1963.

Valentine, Tom. The Great Pyramid: Man's Monument to Man. New York: Pinnacle Books, 1975.

About this article

Occult Orders

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article


Occult Orders