This society of Freemasons supplies a series of grades and possesses rituals which illustrate the Old World Religions, and notably the mythologies of India, with side-lights from the cults of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. While the Rosicrucian Society illustrates the teachings of the Mystics of the Middle Ages of Europe, this Order gives a view of Oriental ideas of Theology and Cosmogony.

The rituals now in use are revisions by TH Pattinson and Dr BE Edwards of the original literature supplied by Maurice Vidal Portman, a learned student of oriental lore, an occultist and politician, who went to India in the train of the late Lord Lytton, when Viceroy of India in 1876. During his stay there, Brother Portman made himself familiar with the literature and ritual observances of Brahmans and other Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Muslims, and gained much curious lore from fakirs and religious devotees of all creeds, and for some years was a Governor in the Andaman Islands where he collected all sorts of quaint traditions and magical arts from the natives and strangers from many Asiatic lands.

The Order in its first form did not become widely known, and for some years was in abeyance.

The revisers of the ritual were chosen by Brother Portman and they were able, by a long study of oriental literature, and intercourse with many learned natives of India, who visited this country between 1875 and 1900, to recast the original rituals and to present a series of ceremonies and lectures which confer instruction in a convenient form, and contain in its series of grades and rituals many profound esoteric Universal Truths. The rituals of the Order were again revised in 2011 by Dr PG Maxwell-Stuart, President of Garuda Temple No. 1.

This “Order of Light” must not be confused with another society which was introduced about the year 1875 and was called the “Sat Bhai”; it consisted of a series of titles with Hindu names and passwords, caste marks and symbolic devices. It was introduced by military officers from India, the most prominent being Brothers Ridgway, Fitzgerald and Lawrence Archer.

The Order is open to all Master Masons of good standing in the English, Scottish and Irish Constitutions and other Constitutions recognised by the United Grand Lodge of England.

The Order welcomes its members to contribute to discussions, so that all knowledge and opinion on relative subjects can be pooled, and each member thus gain experience which he can apply for the good of Freemasonry and of the inhabited world.

The Order of Light is concerned with intellectual and spiritual illumination. In accordance with the desire for light, all candidates of the Order contribute to a charity administering eye surgery among poor and disadvantaged communities in the developing world.

The regalia worn by members of the Order is a robe and belt. In the first degree, brethren are invested with a breast jewel, while in the Second Degree, brethren receive a neck-jewel. Each piece of regalia is of special significance to the lessons of the Order.

Click here for an example of an old-style membership certificate of the Order.

A History of the Order by Andrew Stephenson
Maurice Vidal Portman - a biography