The Truth about the Cipher Manuscripts


The question of the lineage of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn when it was founded in 1888, hinges upon the source of origin of documents known as the "Cypher Manuscripts." The "Cypher Manuscripts" are a collection of 60 folios containing the structural outline of a series of magical initiation rituals that in 1888 became the first order of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (comprising the Neophyte (0-0), Zelator (1=10), Theroricus (2=9), Practicus (3=8) and Philosophus (4=7) grades).

Wynn Wescott claimed to have obtained these manuscripts from A.F.A. Woodford, who had found them in a secondhand bookstall on Wellington Road in London, and who gave them to his friend Westcott to be decoded. Wescott claimed to have found among these folios the name and address of a certain Anna Sprengel of Germany, a member of a Rosicrucian order in which she was known as Soror S.d.A. Wescott wrote to her and obtained charter for Isis-Urania temple no. 3 of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in London. During a later dispute, S.L. MacGregor Mathers claimed that the Anna Sprengel letters had been forged by Wescott. This led scholars Ellic Howe and R.A. Gilbert to claim that the Golden Dawn had been based on a forgery from the beginning.

Recent scholarship, however, has indicated that the Cypher Manuscripts were actually obtained by Wescott from the widow of Masonic scholar and Rosicrucian, Kenneth MacKenzie, who had received a Hermetic and Rosicrucian initiation and affiliation from Hungarian Count Apponyi in 1850, while MacKenzie was living in Austria. It now appears that the Cypher manuscripts were given to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi together with Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages, with which to found the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.

To understand why Wescott went to such lengths to obfuscate the true origins of the Cipher Manuscripts, one must also consider that Wescott was also the Supreme Magus of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia (S.R.I.A.), a Masonic Rosicrucian society founded by R.W. Little in 1867. It is today apparent that Wescott deliberately attempted to appropriate the Rosicrucian lineage of Kenneth MacKenzie destined for the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, instead for the S.R.I.A. Under Wescott's tenure as Supreme Magus of SRIA, roll books were forged to portray MacKenzie as a founder of S,.R.I.A. moving his name from number 114 to 0 and following MacKenzie's death rumors were circulated that he had communicated his Rosicrucian lineage to Little.

It is clear that the true lineage of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn derives from the Continental European order of Adepts represented by Count Apponyi, who initiated Kenneth MacKenzie and are the true source of origin of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. S.L. MacGregor Mathers claimed to have reestablished contact with representatives of this order in Paris in 1891, to whom Mathers referred as the "Secret Chiefs" (Geheime Oberen) and whom Mathers claimed gave him the rituals and curriculum for the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian Second Order, the R.R. et A.C. that Mathers founded in 1892 (comprising the Adeptus Minor (5=6), Adeptus Major (6=5) and Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) grades.

The European headquartered Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, reestablished contact with representatives of Mathers' "Secret Chiefs" in Paris in 2002, and were transmitted everything for the "Third Order" that had been envisioned for the Golden Dawn since its inception in 1888. These materials included the initiation rituals for the Golden Dawn's three highest grades (called "Magisteria"); Magister Templi (8-3), Magus (9=2) and Ipsissimus (10=1). This continental order of Hermetic alchemists, called the "Secret Chiefs" by Mathers, hold an unbroken Hermetic lineage that has been passed down from master to disciple since the birth of the Hermetic tradition in Alexandrian Egypt involving the spiritual techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy." Thus we see that the uniquely Western lineage of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, founded in 1888 is not merely a formal lineage as is the case with Freemasonry, but involves a spiritual transmission as well, as is the case with the lineages of Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in the East.

Lines of Transmission of Golden Dawn Lineage

The primary lines of transmission of the Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages of the Golden Dawn have been to Kenneth MacKenzie through Count Apponyi in 1850, and to S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1891, and Jean-Pascal Ruggiu, and David Griffin in 2002 through Fratres Lux E Tenebris. Important auxiliary lines of transmission have passed through Desmond Bourke, Countess Tamara Bourkoun, and Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko.

Count Apponyi

Count Apponyi of Hungary was a Rosicrucian, representing an extremely ancient and secretive Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists, to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers would later refer to as the "Secret Chiefs" (Geheime Oberen in German). Apponyi transmitted to MacKenzie certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with esoteric transmissions with which to found what in 1888 became the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in Britain. MacKenzie encrypted certain of these documents using a code from Trithemius' Polygraphiae, into "Cipher Manuscripts," with which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn was later founded.

It should be noted that at the time of MacKenzie's initiation, both the Gold und Rosenkreutz (Golden and Rosy Cross) order and the order of the Asiatic brethren were active in Austria and that the grade structure of the Gold und Rosenkreutz order found its way directly into the Golden Dawn. Moreover, the name that MacKenzie chose for the first phase of the Golden Dawn, Fratres Lucis, was actually a common name for the Asiatic Brethren. Further, the very name of the order, derives directly from the Frankfurt Jewish Masonic Lodge, "Loge zur aufgehenden Morgenrothe, "Chabrath Zereh Boqer Aour" in Hebrew, which may be rendered in English as Order of the Golden Dawn. Finally, it should additionally be noted that among the senior members of this lodge, were some of the most prominent figures of the Asiatic Brethren to be found.

Kenneth MacKenzie (1833 - 1886)

Kenneth MacKenzie was a noted Freemasonic Scholar and Rosicrucian, born in London in 1833. In 1844 his family moved to Vienna, where in approximately 1850 MacKenzie was initiated by Count Apponyi, receiving certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with the material for the Cypher Manuscripts with which the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn eventually was established. As the first phase of the Golden Dawn, MacKenzie founded a group known as the "Society of Eight" (or Fratres Lucis) with his own temple as Number one, followed by the Bristol temple of F.G. Irwin as Number two. Isis-Urania became Temple Number three when the Golden Dawn was "founded" in 1888.

Frater Lux E Tenebris (1891)

Frater Lux E Tenebris was a representative of the Contintental European secret alchemical society that had earlier initiated Kenneth MacKenzie. In 1891, Frater L.E.T. contacted S.L.MacGregor Mathers while the latter was in Paris. In one letter, Mathers states "I have been in much communication with Frater Lux E Tenebris. Frater L.E.T. initiated Mathers and transmitted to him certain Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages together with esoteric transmissions and skeletal initiation rituals with which to found the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian, "Second Order," the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.).

S.L. MacGregor Mathers (1854 - 1918)

Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers was a leading British occultist. His distant grandfather fought with great gallantry at the siege of Pondicherry, with Lally Tollendal, and received from Louis XIV the title of Count MacGregor de Glenstrae, afterwards confirmed by James II, a French title that he naturally did not use in England. Mathers became a Freemason and his mystical interests lead him to become a member of the Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia where he became is an associate of Kenneth Mackenzie, William Wynn Westcott, and William Robert Woodman, with the latter of whom Mathers "founded" the Golden Dawn following MacKenzie's death in 1888.

In 1891, Mathers visited Paris where on July 30 he was initiated by representatives the same Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists who had initiated Kenneth MacKenzie, to whom Mathers henceforth referred to as the "Secret Chiefs." From these "Secret Chiefs," Mathers received the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted earlier to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi, as well as an esoteric corpus and skeletal initiation rituals with which to create the Golden Dawn's Rosicrucian "Second Order," to be called the Ordo Rosae Rubeae et Aurae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.). At that historic meeting, Mathers additionally received certain teachings about spiritual sexuality, notably certain techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy" and "Alchemical Magic," which were intended for eventual inclusion in the Golden Dawn's projected Third Order.

Immediately upon having founded the R.R. et A.C., Mathers moved to Paris to remain in contact with his "Secret Chiefs." In 1906, Mathers founded the Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega as a superstructure for the Golden Dawn's projected entire 'three order' system, with the H.O.G.D as its first and the R.R. et A.C. as its second order. Unfortunately, Mathers passed away in 1918 before he fully mastered the techniques of "Hermetic Inner Alchemy" and "Alchemical Magic" well enough to manifest the Alpha et Omega's planned Third Order. Mathers nonetheless did communicate some of the more advanced teachings regarding spiritual sexuality to certain select students, like J.W. Brodie Innes.

Desmond Bourke (1918 - 2005)

Desmond Bourke was a key player in nearly every field of British esotericism. Bourke became a 7=4 of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an VIII Degree of A. E. Waite's Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, an Adeptus Maximus of Madelain Montalban's Order of the Morning Star, an Arch Druid of numerous Druidic Orders, a High Grade Freemason, IX degree of Societas Rosicruciana in Anglia, a Martinist (Sup_rieur Inconnu), Reaux-Crois, and Chief of the Sovereign Imperium of the Mysteries. Bourke also became a Gnostic Bishop (multiple affiliations), founded the Hermetic Martinist Order, and guided the merger of the Ancient and Archaological Order of Druids with the Literary and Archaological Order of Druids to form the Universal Druidic Order. (The intimate association between the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and Druidry that began with the mutual initiations of S.L. MacGregor Mathers and George Watson MacGregor Reid, continued and deepened under the leadership of Arch Druid and Golden Dawn Adept, Desmond Bourke.)

Bourke, who held multiple Golden Dawn and derivative lineages, served in the 1980's and 90's as Praemonstrator of the Serapis temple of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in London, England.

Countess Tamara Bourkoun (ca 1911-1990)

Countess Bourkoun founded a derivative Golden Dawn order called Order of the Pyramid and the Sphinx. The O.P.+S. practiced Alpha et Omega ritual and worked Enochian magic, and had numerous connections with the Golden Dawn and its derivative orders. The cousin of the Cancellarius of the Alpha et Omega under Moina Mathers, Langford Garstin, also named Garstin, became a member of the Order of the Pyramid and the Sphinx. Ithell Colquhoun, who wrote "The Sword of Wisdom" (a biography of S.L. MacGregor Mathers) was also an initiate of the O.P.+S. Helen Rand, former Cancellaria gave the pillars of the Isis-Urania temple to Countess Bourkoun for use in the rituals of the O.P.+S. Miss Tranchell-Hayes, Imperatrix of Mathers' Alpha et Omega eventually transmitted the lineage and authorities of the Alpha et Omega to Countess Bourkoun. Bourkoun also became an active Gnostic; was ordained as a Sub-Deaconess of L'Eglise Universelle de la Nouvelle Alliance' by Roger Caro in 1973, made a Deaconess by H.L. Jacques Lacroix in 1975, and ordained a priest by Jean-Paul Charlet in 1977. Bourkoun was the official representative in Great Britain of the 'L'Eglise Universelle de la Nouvelle Alliance," directed by Roger Caro who was also the Imperator of the Frères Ainées de la Rose+Croix (F.A.R.+C., Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross).

Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko (1920-2001)

Marquis Nicolas Tereschenko's family was raised to nobility in the Ukraineby the former Czar of Russia. Marquis Tereschenko became Praemonstrator Ordinis of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Praemonstrator of the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in Paris, Chief Adept of the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.), and Archon Basileus of S.L. MacGregor Mathers' Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega. Tereschenko was also a High Grade Freemason, an Adeptus Maximus of Madeline Montalban's Order of the Morning Star, and an Arch Druid of the United Ancient Order of Druids. In 1992, Marquis Tereschenko, together with Jean Pascal Ruggiu, was advanced in London through the Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) Grade at the Serapis Temple, with Apollon Leontas serving as Imperator and Desmond Bourke as Praemonstrator. Charters were issued transmitting multiple lineages, including numerous derivative Golden Dawn lineages. Returning from England armed with these authorizations, Tereschenko and Ruggiu resurrected and reconsecrated the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in France, exactly 100 years after it had originally been founded by S.L. MacGregor Mathers in 1892.

Frater Lux Et Tenebris (2002


Frater Lux Et Tenebris is a modern representative of the Contintental European secret alchemical society that earlier initiated both Kenneth MacKenzie and S.L. MacGregor Mathers. As did his predecessor during Mathers' time, Frater L.E.T. today also uses the motto, Lux E Tenebris. The true identity of Frater L.E.T. remains a carefully guarded secret. As has so often been case with the lines of transmission of lineages of the Golden Dawn, however, the family of the present Frater L.E.T. is also that of old, high Continental European nobility.

In 2002, Frater L.E.T. contacted leaders of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn David Griffin (Lux ex Septentrionis), 7=4, and Jean-Pascal Ruggiu (Lux Aurore), 7=4, then initiated them in Paris. Griffin and Ruggiu received the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages that had been transmitted to MacKenzie and Mathers, together with esoteric transmissions and skeletal initiation rituals with which to found the "Third Order" that had since its inception in 1888 been intended to complete the Golden Dawn's "three order" system of grades.

These materials include the initiation rituals and complete curriculum for the Alpha et Omega's three highest grades (called "Magisteria"); Magister Templi (8-3), Magus (9=2) and Ipsissimus (10=1). Unlike the higher grades of R.W. Felkin's "Stella Matutina" or of A.E. Waite's "Fellowship of the Rosy Cross" these grades are not merely nominal or titular, but come with a vast esoteric corpus of extremely advanced teachings. This corpus includes not only the elementary sexual practices of Hermetic Inner Alchemy and Alchemical Magic given to Mathers in 1891 for the first Magisterium (Magister Templi), but also the continuation and culmination of these teachings for the second and third Magisteria (Magus and Ipsissimus) as well.

These techniques of Hermetic "Inner" Alchemy, which have nothing at all to do with Reuss, Crowley, or the O.T.O., comprise the highest wisdom and represent the capstone on the pyramid of the Western esoteric tradition. This alchemical practice uses the subtle fires of the body, including love and sexuality, to transmute the "lead" of the physical body (or "Prima Materia") into the "gold" of a solar body, into which the Adept projects his or her consciousness at the moment of death, thus becoming consciously immortal.

Jean-Pascal Ruggiu (1954-)

Jean Pascal Ruggiu is the Cancellarius Ordinis of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (H.O.G.D.), Third Adept of the Rosae Rubeae et Aureae Crucis (R.R. et A.C.), and Third Adept of S.L. MacGregor Mathers' Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega (A.O.), which serves as a superstructure for the Golden Dawn's aforementioned First and Second Orders. Ruggiu also serves as Imperator of the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in Paris, founded by Mathers in 1892 and reawakened 100 years later in 1992 by Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko. Ruggiu is a High Grade Freemason (95th degree, Memphis and Mizraim Egyptian Rite of Freemasonry), a Gnostic Bishop (holding multiple lines of affiliation), Imperator of the Frères Ainées de la Rose Croix (F.A.R.+C., Elder Brothers of the Rose+Cross) a Martinist (Supérieur Inconnu), Reax-Croix (Elus Cohen), and an initiate of several Continental European esoteric societies whose names remain secret.

In 1980, Ruggiu was initiated in London by Countess Tamara Bourkoun into a Golden Dawn derivative order, the Order of the Pyramid and the Sphinx. Countess Bourkoun, who had received authorities for Mathers' Alpha et Omega from Miss Tranchell-Hayes, later authorized Ruggiu to found temples of the A.O. in France. In 1992, Ruggiu, together with Marquis Nicholas Tereschenko was advanced through the Adeptus Exemptus (7=4) Grade and chartered at the Serapis Temple in London, before resurrecting and reconsecrating the Ahathoor temple no. 7 in Paris.
In 2002, Ruggiu and Golden Dawn Imperator, David Griffin, met in Paris with Frater L.E.T., representing the same Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists who had initiated Kenneth MacKenzie and to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers referred to as the "Secret Chiefs." Ruggiu and Griffin received the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted earlier to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi and to Mathers by Lux E Tenebris, as well as the esoteric corpus and skeletal initiation rituals with which to create the "Third Order" that had since its inception been intended to complete the "three order" system of the Golden Dawn.

David Griffin (1955-)

David Griffin is Imperator Ordinis of the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, Chief Adept of the Golden Dawn's Second Order, the R.R. et A.C., and Archon Basileaus of S.L. MacGregor Mathers' Rosicrucian Order of Alpha et Omega, which serves as a superstructure for the Golden Dawn's three orders. Griffin is also a high grade Freemason (33 Degree Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis and Mizraim, IX Degree in the Swedish Rite, 32 Degree in the A.A.S.R., Knight Templer in the York Right, a member of the N.C.R.L. and C.F. Eckleff Research Lodges, and member of the S.R.I.C.F., the only legitimate branch of Societas Rosicruciana in the U.S.A), a Gnostic Bishop (holding multiple lines of affiliation), an initiate of the Frères Ainées de la Rose Croix (F.A.R.+C.), and of several other Continental European secret societies whose names remain secret. Griffin additionally holds a vast array of Rosicrucian initiatic transmissions, which include the Gold und Rosenkreutz Order, the Asiatic Brethren, the Societas Rosicruciana of Backstrom, Reaux Croix, and the Rose Cross of Egypt (Rose Croix d'Orient).

From 1992-1994, Cris Monnastre regularly initiated and advanced David Griffin into each of the Grades of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn at the Alpha et Omega II temple in Los Angeles, then into the Portal and Adeptus Minor grades of the R.R. et A.C.

In 1994, Cris Monnastre was involved in a schism. Griffin sided with Monnastre and became Imperator Ordinis of the Monnastre's Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. In 1998, Cris Monnastre retired from the Golden Dawn, leaving Griffin in charge. In 1999, Griffin was advanced through the 7=4 Grade of the Golden Dawn's Second Order (R.R. et A.C.) at the Ahathoor Temple No. 7 in Paris. The lineages descending from Desmond Bourke, Countess Bourkoun, and Marquis Tereschenko are transmitted to Griffin, who takes the initiatic name of Frater Lux Ex Septentrionis. Griffin's Golden Dawn order (formally Monnastre/Griffin's) was merged into the European headquartered, Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, henceforth presided over by Marquis, Tereschenko, Jean-Pascal Ruggiu, and David Griffin as its international Chiefs.

In 2002, Griffin and Ahathoor Temple No. 7 Imperator, Jean-Pascal Ruggiu, met in Paris with Frater L.E.T., representing the same Continental European order of Hermetic alchemists who had initiated Kenneth MacKenzie, to whom S.L. MacGregor Mathers referred to as the "Secret Chiefs." Griffin and Ruggiu receive the same Hermetic and Rosicrucian lineages transmitted earlier to MacKenzie by Count Apponyi and to Mathers by Lux E Tenebris, as well as an esoteric corpus and skeletal initiation rituals with which to create the "Third Order" that had since its inception been intended to complete the "three order" system of the Golden Dawn.

Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn