The London Group was formed by previous members of two esoteric groups strongly linked with Dion Fortune -- the Society of the Inner Light and the Society of Western Mythologists.
The former of these two groups had changed its direction, teachings and practices, resulting in a number of members leaving to pursue avenues they believed were more appropriately aligned to serving the needs of the emerging Aquarian Age.
The latter had closed its working temple in the early 1970s due to the loss of its physical temple. It had been a working group founded by three previous members of the Society of the Inner Light, two of whom had lived in Queensborough Terrace. Like Basil Wilby, more well known as the author Gareth Knight, they had also left the Society of the Inner Light, feeling that new forms were needed for a New Age.
There was new work to be done, and new people were needed to do it.
To that end, following a prompt from the inner planes, a series of meetings were planned for Caxton Hall, Westminster, London. An initial exploratory event was held on 26th March 1975, with subsequent public lectures being given that April and May. The records show that between 20 and 30 people attended for each meeting, and, from these early gatherings, the London Group -- a practical working group of the Western Mysteries -- was born. The Group continued its lodge work for the next three and a half decades.
The lecturer for the Caxton Hall meeting was Alan Adams. He had previously been the Vice Warden of the Society of the Inner Light, founded by Dion Fortune. Some will know him through his writings as “Charles Fielding” (The Practical Qabalah, and the Story of Dion Fortune).
The following presents a summary of the group’s first ever public lecture. Details of the other lectures will be presented in future blogs. I hope you find them of interest.
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Occultism and life – some initial thoughts
Life can be considered purposive or intelligent energy. Originating in the source of all being (“God/Goddess”, if you prefer the term) it returns thereto through the machinery of Evolution. In the universe it is shown as the workings of nature; in humankind, through the workings of its “spirit” - however distorted in expression.
Occultism is the art of consciously expressing life in ways that cooperate with the evolution of humankind and nature.
The occultist is one who consciously expresses the One Life in evolution; thus, they serve that life. Likewise, they serve nature, for all created things form part of that Life.
Occultism is a powerful and intensely practical technique: but it is only a means to an end. That end is service. Mere intellectual interest is not enough.
Some people “take up occultism” to escape from life rather than to serve it. They may do this quite unconsciously. Failing to cope with the business of everyday living, not finding it easy to get on with their fellows, frustrated in some fundamental way and repelled by the sweat, toil, dirt and fears of an imperfect world, they seek an escape route; this cultism can all too easily offer. Reacting to the unpleasant realities of earth, such often turn away and try their luck on the “higher planes” instead. Such escapism further reduces their ability to cope with life's problems.
Some others appear to have a good grip on life, every part is filed away in its proper place. Categorisation is a compulsion and there is often an insatiable thirst for “facts”. All knowledge is organised into theories which provide, hopefully, an answer to everything. But knowledge without understanding is as sterile as theory without practise and merely another flight from life.
The avenues of escape from life are endless. Occultism is no way out of responsibility of any type on any level. Properly practised, the esoteric arts will so stimulate the spirit of a person that it will force them into ever closer contact with life and its intendent challenges and opportunities. This is the moment of choice between theory and practise; theory will give you many happy armchair hours, vague feelings of excitement and a few intellectual thrills; practise will give you a rich and fulfilled life.
Some Proposed Key Beliefs
A Mystery can be defined as “a truth which is above reason”. The Western Mystery Tradition, sometimes also called the Western Esoteric Tradition, is that great body of super reasonable truth which has been accumulated down the ages by Western societies.
Every esoteric and exoteric tradition has certain key beliefs. These are very briefly summarised below and will be considered in more detail in the following series of lectures.
1. Purposeful Evolution
There is an invisible reality behind appearances on the origins and destiny of humankind and the universe are purposeful, not random, demonstrating a planned evolution of matter, mind and spirit.
2. The Position of Humankind
In the evolutionary ladder of consciousness, incarnating humans occupy a middle position. In the Norse mythologies this is the place of Midgard. This implies that there are those as much “above” the average member of humankind as they are “above” the animals and minerals. However, care must be taken to not assume that this concept of “above” means the same as “having dominion over”. The concept of humankind or individuals having “dominion over” is one of the most destructive and unhelpful misunderstandings of the Abrahamic religions. This concepts also postulates that some more senior and experienced members of humankind have outgrown the need for physical bodies, but remain to guide and teach humankind. These are sometimes called “Masters” or Inner Plane Adepti”.
The process by which earth-based humans gain evolutionary experience is called reincarnation; the subtle aspects of an individual adopt a series of physical bodies as a vehicle of expression, experience and service and, what each is today, is the result of the actions and reactions of all their yesterday’s down through the ages.
4. Cause and Effect
Humankind evolves through the exemplification of ideals and the (often painful) reactions resulting from its own actions. Every individual is thus responsible for the condition in which they find themselves in. Sadly, some have misunderstood this, thinking it gives a carte blanche to ignore the pain and suffering of others. As an antidote to that position, consider John Donne’s poem, “No Man Is An Island”, which wonderfully highlights the interconnection between people. Importantly, the wider principles and practices of cause and effect do mean that individuals should practise giving, helping, compassion and love in their dealings with their fellow humans.
5. Accelerated Evolution
By conscious application of these principles, it is postulated that the Western Mysteries achieve an accelerated evolution so that initiates may better serve Humanity.
Thank you for attending tonight’s lecture and for your questions. If you are interested in finding out more, please come along to the following series of lectures running over the next two months here at Caxton Hall. We hope you can attend the whole series.
After this current series of lectures, those interested may apply for joining our training programme. This is a broadly based set of courses aimed at providing the serious enquirer with a simple yet comprehensive introduction to the Western Mysteries. The main aim for these training courses is to serve as preparation for entry into a practical esoteric fraternity to which the new London Group training programme provides an Outer Court.
The training module will comprise of four modules, the first three of which will cover a different aspect of the Tradition. The fourth will cater for those who have applied for entry into the fraternity and been accepted.
Those of you who are familiar with the works of Dion Fortune or the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, will have some idea of the sort of work we do.
We look forward to seeing you again shortly.
"The pearls of wisdom I bring are not my own.
Nothing is mine
but the string they are