Nineteenth Century Lore shared this widely shared idea of a secret council of sages , a hallmark of 19th and early 20th century esotericism. dispensing wisdom and truth to the worthy is mentioned in a book by Arthur Edward Waite. A secret group of initiates is hinted at also. Aleister Crowley read this and wrote Waite who directed him to read Von Eckartshausen. Crowley eventually became a neophyte in The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. This group represented itseldf as the outer order of the Great White Brotherhood. This Order mentioned also its teachings were derived from the Secret Chiefs
- Leadbeater's 1825 book The Masters and The Path-The term Great White Brotherhood was used
- In some circles this is a generic term to refer to any concept of an enlightened community of adepts who with benevolence works for the spiritual evolution of the human race. A tradition developed with regard to the use of this cognomen without strict regard to names.
- Note the comment of Dion Fortune in using the name The Community of Living and Dead Adepts
- The Great White Lodge was used by the ritual traditions of the Western Tradition
- Inner Plane Adepti-description by Gareth Knight
- Note the reference to teaching Masters who stay behind to help younger initiates in their cyclic evolution on the planet
Ideas about this secret council of sages, under several names, were a widely
shared feature of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century esotericism. Arthur Edward Waite,
in his Book of Black Magic and of Pacts, hinted at the existence of a secret
group of initiates who dispense truth and wisdom to the worthy.
A young Aleister Crowley,
reading this, wrote Waite and was directed to read von Eckartshausen's book.
Crowley's search for this secret wisdom eventually led him to become a neophyte
in the Hermetic
Order of the Golden Dawn, which represented itself to be the visible and
earthly outer order of the Great White Brotherhood.
Within the Golden Dawn itself, its teachings claimed to be derived from a
similar body of initiates which in that tradition were called the Secret
actual phrase "Great White Brotherhood" was used extensively in Leadbeater's
1925 book The Masters and the Path.
Since the introduction of the phrase, the term "Great White Brotherhood" is in
some circles used generically to refer to any concept of an enlightened
community of adepts, on earth or in the hereafter, with benevolent aims toward
the spiritual development of the human race, and without strict regard to the
names used within the tradition. Dion
Fortune adopts the name to refer to the community of living and dead
The ritual magicians of the Western mystery
tradition sometimes refer to the Great White Brotherhood as the "Great White
Lodge", a name that appears to indicate that they imagine it constitutes an initiatory hierarchy
similar to Freemasonry. Gareth
Knight describes its members as the "Masters" or "Inner Plane Adepti", who
have "gained all the experience, and all the wisdom resulting from experience,
necessary for their spiritual evolution in the worlds of form." While some go on
to "higher evolution in other spheres", others become teaching Masters who stay
behind to help younger initiates in their "cyclic evolution on this planet".
Only a few of this community are known to the human race; these initiates are
the "teaching Masters."
The AMORC Rosicrucian order maintains
a difference between the "Great White Brotherhood" and the "Great White Lodge",
saying that the Great White Brotherhood is the "school or fraternity" of the
Great White Lodge, and that "every true student on the Path" aspires to
membership in this Brotherhood.
Some of Aleister Crowley's remarks appear to indicate that Crowley identified
the Great White Brotherhood with the A∴A∴, his magical