It is fair to say that Sumer was the birth of all civilization, where the invention of writing took place, as well as maybe one of the first elaborate forms of religion. Some of the most important esoteric principles and practices were passed into Egypt, where they became associated with the Magical knowledge of the early Egyptians. This is how really started what we can call the Western Tradition which eventually spread in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
Birth of the Gold Chain" (the chain of the adepts)
The God Thot and the Goddesses Isis are the real founders of the hermetic and theurgic traditions. The “Sacred Mysteries” and the “Cult of Isis” became better known than the Theurgic and Hermetic Traditions that were derived from the teachings of Thoth. It is obvious that this part of the heritage constituted the roots of what has been called hundreds of years later “Theurgy,” the “divine work.”
Until the 5th century this fascinating tradition continues to develop in several steps that will be explained in more details on other parts of this website.
The first main aspect has been the development of the cult of Thoth in Hermopolis. Based on the founding story of the creation of the world, the priests elaborated rites and sacred mysteries. The same happened for the Goddess Isis who was also linked to magic.
During the Hellenistic period of Egypt known as Ptolemaic period from the name of its founder Ptolemy I, this very ancient tradition became associated to the Greek Mysteries. This is the time when philosophy and theurgy were taught in Alexandria. This period and place should be seen as the birth place of the tradition we are referring to
Egypt, birth place of the Western Tradition
The first famous figure to travel to Egypt in order to learn the secrets of this ancient religious and Magical Tradition, was Pythagoras, in the 5th century. He spent a long time there and obviously received the teachings and training that were available in the Temples of this country.
Just as Pythagoras had done, Plato travelled to Egypt in order to receive the teachings from priests who were part of the clergy of Heliopolis. Then back in Athens (Greece) after years of learning, he founded the Academy. Today scholars agree on the fact that this Academy maintained the organization of the Pythagorean School by the publication of books, and with oral and private teachings. It is startling to realize that this Academy was active from the 5th century BCE until 6th century CE, so for over 10 centuries!
Porphyry of Tyre (233-305 CE) who was the Scholarch (chief) of the Platonic Academy of Athens was one of the masters of Iamblichus. It is very likely that he passed on his philosophical heritage and initiations (from Plato and Pythagoras) to him. Iamblichus additionally learned all the platonic texts, enacted several ancient Mysteries and ultimately received what became a real revelation, the full revelation of the “Chaldaean Oracles.”
Iamblichus discovered the sacred science that was inherited from the Chaldeans and the Egyptians: Theurgy!
Of course, Magic existed prior to this period, but Iamblichus unified these different doctrines, all of which originated from Egypt and Chaldea, upon the theological and ritual foundation of the Chaldaean Oracles. It was really at this moment that this spiritual family found its axis and homeland. Iamblichus taught in Apamea throughout the entire first quarter of the 4th century.
The dark days
Meanwhile during the period when Iamblichus was teaching, Christianity was rising rapidly, imposing its absolute and intolerant view. Unfortunately, and as is very often true in the history of humanity, it was not the moderate participants who shaped this new religion…
The Ptolemaic dynasty ended in 30 BCE. The school of Alexandria continues to exist until the 5th century. Hypatia was savagely murdered by Christians while the library of Alexandria was destroyed by the rising rage of Christianity. Initiates, theurgists, philosophers, and scientists flew to other countries such as Italy, Greece, Syria, etc.
Keeping these elements in mind, it is possible to say that the Hermetic and Theurgic Tradition was maintained in Byzantium, Greece, and Italy. First of all, I would like to highlight the names of Leon the Mathematician, Michael Psellos, and Michael Italikos. All of these men respectfully learned the “Chaldaean oracles” and wrote extensively about these texts. Italikos was even named the “second Plato.” It is indubitably the case that Magic and even Theurgy were used by many scholars.
During the early days of the Christian religion, the Emperor Justinian declared that the Orthodox Nicene Christian faith was the official (and only permitted) religion that could be practiced in the Empire. The Emperor’s Codex contained two statutes which mandated the total destruction of all pagan practices, even in private life.
In 529 the Neoplatonic Academy of Athens was closed by order of the Emperor. From that day forward, Paganism was actively suppressed, as were all related pagan creative works (books, art, etc.) by fanatical monks, encouraged by the authorities of the Empire.
As a result of that decree, an uncounted number of male and female initiates were captured, tortured and killed in the name of “pure Christian love”. The secrecy of our Tradition and beliefs became an obligation, a simple matter of survival.
In the fifteenth century, the Theurgic Neoplatonic tradition (also called in modern times “Ogdoadic tradition”) reappeared. Gemistus Pletho (1355–1452) met Cosimo de Medici in Florence and influenced the latter's decision to create a new Platonic Academy there. Cosimo subsequently appointed Marsilio Ficino as head of the newly formed Academy. He proceeded to translate all Plato's works into Latin, including the Enneads of Plotinus, and various other Neoplatonic writings.
The group that met at the Villa Careggi perpetuated both the initiatic mysteries of the Neoplatonist tradition and the Theurgic initiation.
Besides this main philosophy, other parts of the western tradition were known by some members of the Academy. Giovanni Cavalcanti was an initiate of the “Fideli d’Amore” and Pico della Mirandola was a specialist of Qabalah. The tradition of the “Fideli” have been created by French troubadours of the Middle age, while Qabalah was coming from the Hebrew religion. Both were progressively incorporated to the main beliefs and tradition of the Academy. We have also to keep in mind that close contacts existed between other Academies in Italy, such as the academy of Venice and Naples (Academy of Secrets).
This group’s remarkable activities marked the rebirth of this ancient pagan tradition that changed the western world on many fundamental aspects including philosophy, theology, art, and many more
The period between the Italian Renaissance and the rebirth of the Order in 1897 has been well documented by the Grand Master Jean-Louis de Biasi in his book “Rediscover the Magick of the Gods and Goddesses,” Llewellyn Publications. We invite you to go deeper on the subject by reading the historic section of this book.
After the period of the Renaissance, the Theurgic Neoplatonic tradition continued to exist. We should mention an interesting group called “the Fratelli Obscuri” which was active in Italy during the 16th and 17th centuries. This secret organization concealed the laudable object of propagating the Sciences and the love of Virtue. The Fratelli Obscuri had been established in imitation of an older Society which had existed since before the fall of the Grecian Empire in the towns of Constantinople and Thessalonica. It was divided into three Grades.
Antonio Pizzalleti, Grand Officer of this organization came to London and installed the new Society under the name of “the Tavern of the Muses. A few years later William Sedley and Thomas Smith established two new Taverns, one at Oxford and the other at Cambridge.” Another tavern was opened at York and many more also opened at the time John Selden was head of the Fratelli Obscuri in England. Eventually, the Fratelli Obscuri in England transformed their society into the Tobaccological Society. The tobaccologist (named Priseurs or Nicotiates in France) were known as the “Children of Wisdom.” Remember that the Neoplatonicians were called “Friends of Wisdom,” and philosophers.
Freemasonry, and which seem related to this tradition. Perhaps the most significant is the “Academy of the Sublime Masters of the Luminous Ring” (Académie des Sublimes Maîtres de l’Anneau Lumineux).
According to the oral tradition of the Aurum Solis, an “Order of the Helmet” was established in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. This Order could have combined the Fideli d’Amore and Careggi successions. Francis Bacon, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe and many another notables were among its initiates. Deeply involved with the beginnings of this Order was the “Italiante” movement of the early years of Elizabeth’s reign. She herself had, during her sister’s reign, been tutored by a Platonist scholar and had avidly studied the works of Castiglione, an intimate of the Medici. Under her personal patronage were Giacomo Aconcio, an initiate of the Ogdoadic Guild Mysteries and Bernardino Ochino, a Sienese. Ochino, it may be mentioned, before traveling (by way of Geneva) to England, had narrowly escaped the trials of the Inquisition in Rome through the timely warning of another initiate, Cardinal Contarini.
Around the years 90s, it has been claimed that these heritages were organized by a group called the “Societas Rotae Fulgentis” previous to the official rebirth as Aurum Solis in 1897. After further historic investigation it appears that this claim was rooted on some books from the Renaissance, knowledge coming from the previous organizations already mentioned, and a rite called "Rota Fulgens Solis." As the official head of the “Antiquarian Society” in London stated in a personal communication with the grand Master: “I’ve never heard of a ‘Society of the Blazing Wheel’ or ‘Societas Rotae Fulgentis’. I have checked the main histories of the Society, which are ‘A History of the Society of Antiquaries’ by Joan Evans (1956) and ‘Visions of Antiquity’, edited by Susan Pearce (2007) and there is no reference to an inner body called this or any other name. […] Many people called themselves or were described as an antiquary but it didn’t necessarily mean they were a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.”
We will come back on another page of the website on this topic.
During the 20th century druidic and shamanic traditions were incorporated in the Aurum Solis under the name “Green flame of Albion.” It was also the time when the past Grand Masters Denning and Phillips created the expression “Ogdoadic Tradition” to talk about this hermetic and theurgic lineage that eventually became the Aurum Solis. Specific sections of this website provide more details about the various parts of this heritage.
Today the Aurum Solis presents all these parts of its heritage in a clear and well-structured curriculum accessible to all serious student. Besides this main corpus of teachings and practices, several main components have been organized in organizations working under the auspices of the Aurum Solis. This is a way to offer to the public all the main aspect of our heritage.
Then, the amazing history of this tradition can continue to be well alive, providing ancient keys very adapted to the modern world.
Timeline of the Aurum Solis
To learn more, you can click on the links provided below.
You can also access the sections dedicated to the Grand Masters and the public archives.
THE GRAND MASTERS
THE GOLD CHAIN OF THE OGDOADIC TRADITION
THE CHAIN OF THE ADEPTS
These Masters were the true founders of the Aurum Solis tradition. Strongly connected to the Pythagorean, Platonist and Neoplatonist schools, these initiates constituted the Ogdoadic Mysteries. Many know the names of Plato, Iamblichus, Plotinus, Proclus. For our Order, paying due respect to the Masters who gave the light of this Tradition to our Order is of paramount importance.
May their memory, always and forever, be honored under the auspices of the Immortal Divinities!
ANTIQUITY in GREECE
Orpheus (6thcentury BCE) was the founder of Orphism, which constitutes a very important part of our Tradition. It was associated to the Egyptian tradition to evolve into the Hermetist tradition.
Aristaeos (son of Damophon)
Mnésarque (son of Pythagore)
Tydas of Crotone
Aresas of Lucanie
Diodore of Aspendie
Philolaos (teached Plato)
ANTIQUITY in EGYPT
Thot – founder of the Hermetist tradition
The names of the priests of Hermopolis and the other sacred places of this country have been largely lost. Some of their names are present in different books of our tradition, but one needs to remain aware of the difficulties of validating these references.
PLATONIC ACADEMY OF ATHENS
Here are the names of the chiefs of the Academy
Plato (427-348 before our era)
Speusippe , Plato's nephew (348/347-339/338) (Influence of Pythagorism)
Xenocrate (339/338-314/313) (Influence of Pythagorism. Real founder of Platonism)
Crates of Athens(276/275-274/273)
Second (or new) academy
Arcesilas of Pitane(268/264-241)
..... ? ...... We lost the other names.
Carneades of Cyrenia(167/166)
Carneades the young (son of Polemarcos)
Crates of Tarse
Philo of Larissa(110-85) (He takes refuge in Rome in 88 BCE. The institutional link of the Masters of the Academy of Plato was broken here.)
Antiochus of Ascalonia(85-69) (He opened its school in Athens -87- 84, under the name of "academy" in opposition to the Academy of Philo which exhibited sceptical tendency. Its school survived for a few years after its death. However he was never recognized as chief of the Platonic school.) The philosophical institutions did not survive the invasion of the city by Sylla in 87 BCE. They will reappear only into 176 CE, when Marcus Aurelius founded the four schools of philosophy: Platonician - Aristotelician - Stoicist - Epicurian.
During the 1st century CE.
Potamon (Father of eclectic Platonism. He followed the path of Philo of Alexandria.)
Plutarque of Cheronea (47-125)
Théo of Smyrna(2ndhalf of 2ndcentury CE)
Maximus of Tyr
Apuleus of Madaura
Numenius of Apamea
Alcinoos (He developed an exegesis of Plato using the teachings of Aristotle)
Rebirth of the platonism or the neoplatonism
Ammonius "Saccas" (175-243 CE) (Founder of the school of Alexandria in 232 CE. Students : Plotinus, Longinus, Herennius, Origen [not the christian one].)
Plotinus (204-270) (Borned in Lycopolis, he was the true founder of Neoplatonism. He founded a school in Rome, but its teaching were not perpetuated after its death)
Amelius (Continued the teaching in the school of Numenius in Apamée)
Porphyrus of Tyr(233-305) (he separated after 5 years from Plotinus, and moved to Sicily. He was however key in disseminating the teachings of Plotinus. He travelled a lot and teached Iamblichus. He also had an important influence in Rome on the rhetor Marius Victorinus. He became Christian and became the intermediary between Plotinus and Christian Neoplatonism that can be found in the texts of St Ambrose and St Augustine.)
SYRIAN SCHOOL OF APAMÉE
Iamblichus of Chalcis (+330) (Its teaching in Apamée continued during all the first quarter of the 4thcentury.
Aidesius (founder of a school in Bergama. It is there that the Emperor Julian made his contact with Neoplatonism in 351 CE, with disciples named Maximus, Chrysantes and Priscus)
Maximus teached in Ephesus (ancient Anatolia).
Chrysantes teached in Sardis.
Priscus Teached in Athens (establishing the link with the Neoplatonist tradition from Iamblichus).
SCHOOL OF ALEXANDRIA
Ammonius "Saccas" (Teacher of Plotinus)
Olympiodorus (who refused to convert to christianity)
Hypatia of Alexandria (v. 370 – 415 CE)mathematician and Greek philosopher. She directed the Neo-Platonist School of Alexandria. Her father Theon of Alexandria, was the last director of the Museum of Alexandria, editor and commentator of mathematical texts. He educated his daughter to the sciences of mathematics and philosophy. A women of extraordinary learning, she was brutally slaughtered by a mob of Christian fanatics.
SCHOOL OF ATHENS
(The Neoplatonician branch coming from Alexandria established a new school in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century CE)
Plutarch of Athens (350-430 CE) (Regarded as the founder of the Neoplatonician school of Athens, which he combined with Syrianus teaching. Hierocles was his student, he teached in Alexandria, then with Byzance).
Syrianus (Hermias was his student. He introduced in Alexandria the doctrines of the school of Athens).
Proclus (Chief of the school during 50 years)
The Emperor Justinian closed the school of Athens in 529 CE
Damascius and Simplicius(of Cilicia),
They requested asylum to Chosroës Nushirvan in Persia. Thanks to his powerful protection, they were able to securer from Justinian an authorization to return to their homeland in 533 CE. Athens was the place of their retirement. When he returned, Simplicius began to teach a small group of students:Emporius, Elamite, Priscian, Alcinous, Agathias, Hermias and Amonius,son ofHermias.They had their meetings in secrecy in the ruins of the temple of Demeter, close to the edges of the river Ilissus, and of another temple previously devoted to Athena.
Elamite(goes to Antiochus at the request of Simplicius)
Priscian(goes to Alexandria at the request of Simplicius)
Germanus(nephew of Justinian, a student of Simplicius. He was chief of "the Order" until he died in 550 CE)
Simplicius(continued to be the chief of the school during six months. His successor was Alcinous.)
Evagrius of Pontus
After the death of Simplicius and during 250 years, our tradition continue to exist in secrecy and with very few activities.
Leon Sophos (820- ?) (born around 820 CE. He became the archbishop of Thessaloniki. He founded a school connected to our Tradition around 840 CE. He went back to Byzantium after the death of Theophilus in 842 CE, remaining there 30 years.)
Worthy of notice is to the influence of the Emperor Constantine (867-886 CE) (grandson of Basileus who was accepted in the Magnaur Academy of at 22 years old.)
Michael Psellus (1018-1079) (He had number of students.)
John Italos (Follower of Psellus and also known as "the first of the philosophers". Under anathema in 1089.)
Michael of Ephesius (Follower of Psellus. He reopened the platonic studies in Byzantium in 1071 CE)
Eustratios of Nicaea (Follower of John Italos, he continued the work of the tradition but had to stop in 1117 CE his “visible activities")
Theodorus of Smyrna(Also follower of John Italos)
Michael Italikos (Secretary of Eustratios of Nicaea and known as "the second Plato". He was forced to leave Byzantium and escaped to Italy)
Nicephorus Brien (Successor of Psellus)
Emanuel Tornicus (Initiator ofNicetas Achominate)
Nicetas Achominate (Chief of the Order in 1191, he was forced to leave Byzantium in 1204, and went to Nicaea where he remained until his death.)
Manuel Taronites (Nicaea from 1204 to 1261 CE and then in Greece.)
The Order was protected by the Emperors Theodorus Lascaris (1206-1222 CE) and John Ducas (1222-1254 CE), who were both admitted before their coronation.
George Acropolites (1217-1282 CE) (successor of Manuel Taronites in 1248, and chief of the Order during 34 years)
7 Masters continued his work.
George Gemistos Plethon (1385-1452) (Chief of the Order around 1405)
Manuel Chrysoloras (1355-1415) (Nephew of an Emperor of the same name, was sent by Emperor Manuel II Paleologos (1391 à 1495) to meet theprinces of’ Occident. He remained in Italy.)
George Gemistos Plethon(he traveled to Italy, where he passed the tradition over to the New Academy of Firenze in Italy, starting the rebirth of the Hermetist and Neoplatonist tradition. He retired in 1441 in Mistra close to Sparta) Our tradition comes from a very ancient lineage of Masters and Initiates. All of them were a living link, passing over to us these initiatic Mysteries.