Servants of the Light (SOL)

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Servants of the Light (SOL)

The Servants of the Light is a contemporary ritual magic group founded by William E. Butler (1898-1978) in early 1965. Butler had studied with Dion Fortune and the Society of the Inner Light, which he founded and had gone on to establish his own direct contact with the higher magical planes. In the years following Dion Fortune's death, Butler wrote several basic magical textbooks, several of which became quite popular in occult circles for their clarity and readability: Magic: Its Ritual, Power, and Work (1952), The Magician: His Training and Work (1959), and Apprenticed to Magic (1962).

In 1965, along with fellow society member Gareth Knight, he left the society and founded the Helios Book Service and a new correspondence course of study in magic, the Helios Course, similar to that taught by Dion Fortune. In 1972, Knight departed and the following year founded a new magical group. Butler continued to offer the Helios Course, which evolved into the curriculum of the Servants of the Light School of Occult Science. He was joined in this endeavor by Michael and Delores Ashcroft-Nowicki. Together they built the school into an international training instrument with students in more than 20 countries.

Delores Ashcroft-Nowicki eventually came into direct contact with the same inner plane teacher that Butler had contacted. She decided to dedicate her life to the service of this inner plane adept. She was appointed to succeed Butler as the director of studies for the school and Michael was named the school's guardian. In the decades since assuming leadership of the school, as the school has expanded, Delores Ashcroft-Nowicki has emerged as a teacher in her own right and has authored a number of books, both beginning and advanced.

The Servants of the Light offers a 50-lesson correspondence course in magic (with each lesson taking approximately one month). The content of the course is drawn from the Kabbalah, the tarot, and the Arthurian myths. It supplies a basic understanding of the esoteric tradition and the fundamentals of magical practice. Students study in their own home but are assigned a personal teacher to whom they may direct questions and from whom they can receive guidance. The school is not sectarian and teaches a system of magic that is compatible with a variety of religious backgrounds.

As of the beginning of the new millennium, the school reports some 2,600 students in 23 countries. Contact may be made through the international headquarters at P.O. Box 215, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands, Great Britain JE4 9SD. An Internet site is found at


Ashcroft-Nowicki, Delores. First Steps in Ritual. Wellingsborough, Northamptonshire, UK: Aquarian Press, 1982.

. The Tree of Ecstasy. Wellingsborough, Northamptonshire, UK: Aquarian Press, 1991.

Butler, William E. Apprenticed to Magic. London: Aquarian Press, 1962.

. The Magician: His Training and Work. London: Aquarian Press, 1959.

Servants of the Light. May 16, 2000.