Information on the August Order of Light – MV Portman


To the Grand and Deputy Grand Presiding Officers of the August Order of Light.



Brethren, to you, whom is committed the Charge of the August Order of Light in England, it is fitting that I should disclose the system of the Circle Universal of the Adepts in governing the various occult bodies of the world, and the construction, objects and branches of the Order of Light.

God the Supreme, is the head and ruler of all things, and unto him do we, and all seekers after truth and light, bow.

Those Ministers, emanations from Him, who rule the Universe, are our spiritual guides and instructors.

But as all spiritual Adepts are one with the great Centre, so are they equals, and not subordinates spiritually, of His Ministers, on Earth, the Highest in all Orders, and in all things not worldly. But either of the spiritual Centre, the Astral world sand the investigation of them, or in the branches which influence society, socially and politically, the Adepts of the Circle Universal rank highest.

Of these Adepts there are many classes and ranks, Appollonius of Tyana, Gutama (Gautama) Buddha, Tseng Kappa, Confucius, and Moses, were all Adepts; and yet how different.

I shall therefore not do more than point out to you some few of the circle, who at present exist, and point out some of the many Orders, which are under their governance.

His Holiness the Delia (Dalai) Lama, head of the Buddhist religion, Gem of Majesty, perpetual incarnation of a Pratyeka Buddha, Supreme Grand Hierophant, of all Buddhist and Theistic Orders, of which is the Order of Light.

His Holiness the Teshu Lama.

His Holiness the Taranath Lama of the Komboum.

His Holiness the Grand Kouren.

His Holiness the Grand Lama.

His Holiness the Chief Okhal.

His Holiness the Dharma Lama.

His Holiness the Lama Ferru (or Jurru).

His Holiness the Prince of Kether.

The above nine form the Grand Chapter in Light.

The Teshu Lama, is the Gem of learning, a perpetual reincarnation of the Aralokitesurara, Second in the Grand Chapter and presides over the Lamas.

The third and fourth (the Taranath Lama of the Komboum and the Grand Kouren) are Kings and preside over their own provinces.

The fifth (the Grand Lama) presides over mystic learning in the Buddhist cast.

The sixth (the Chief Okhal) presides over Persia, Lebanon, Russia both politically and occultly.

The seventh (the Dharma Lama) presides over East and North-eastern frontier of India.

The eighth (the Lama Ferru) presides over North and West frontier of India.

The ninth the Prince of Kether presides over the Order of Light in Europe and the Colonies, and is the Grand Master of the Order of the Sacred Crown.

There are many other Orders including:

The Chief Priest of the Taoists.

The Chief Priest of the Shintoists.

The Chief Guardian in Mexico.

The Chief Guardian in Peru.

The Grand Master of the Order of the Phoenix in Arabia.

The Principal Hierophant in Egypt.

The Chief of the Order of the Sacred Fire, known in the West as the Rosicrucians.

The High Priest of the Sun.

And various other Orders.

And besides all these are Adepts, who are recluses, and take no part in the administration of either the religious or mystical, and there are the political chiefs of whom I shall not speak.



We will now take the Governances of the Order of Light, and the teaching of the various degrees in the East, pointing out their modification in the West, also the various side degrees will be considered.

The Grand Chapter of Hierophants, have as a body, nothing to do directly with the Order in the West, as, until it has been worked in far higher Degrees, the Hierophants in charge of the Branch alone attends to it. The Hierophant is the Prince of Kether.

He has appointed in the West a Grand and Deputy Grand, Presiding Officers who are responsible for the Branch under their charge, to him alone.

In the East, the First and Second Degree members of the West, are not necessarily members of the Order.

They are admitted to the studies mentioned in my supplementary despatch, by teachers or priests, but are watched over by members of the Order in the Seventh Degree.

On becoming duly affiliated, which in the East does not happen until they have attained the Third Degree, they are under the supervision of the Presiding Officer, a member of the Seventh Degree, and the Priest of Light, a member of the Sixth Degree. In this degree they are instructed in various branches of the lower Mystical or Occult studies, and by close observance of them, their Presiding Officer is able to point out to them the path of study they should pursue.

They then become Members of either the Fourth or the Sixth Degree.

In the Fourth Degree they study the deep and hidden meaning of the Tantras and all Kabbalas.

In the Fifth Degree they rise higher, and are taught the great and hidden, although seemingly lost, mysteries of the world.

The Sixth Degree is entirely practical, of which nothing can be said now.

The Fourth Degree is governed by a Presiding Officer who must be a Hierophant, and three Officers who must be members of the Fifth Degree.

The Fifth Degree is governed by Hierophants alone.

In addition to the regular Degrees of the Order of Light, there are side degrees, as a reward for merit. The Orders of Constantine and Malta were ordered to be conferred, also the Order of the Sacred Crown.

The following Orders of Merit, etc., to which the higher members of the Order of Light are eligible:

The Order of Fire.

The Order of the Phoenix.

The Order of the Eagle and Crown.

The Order of the Starry Cross.

The Order of the Holy Mountain.

The members of the Order of Light rank thus among themselves:

First                             Ninth Degree

Second                         Eighth Degree

Third                            Seventh and Fifth Degrees

Fourth                          Sixth and Fourth Degrees

Fifth                             Members of Third Degree

       Members of Second Degree

       Members of First Degree.

All members wear the robes of the highest degree they have attained, in whichever degree they happen to meet. With the exception of the two higher degrees all members must be subservient to the Presiding Officer of the degree in which they are meeting. No man can be a Presiding Officer unless he is a past officer over which he presides. Such officers to be members of the degree higher than the working degree.

A stranger entering the Lodge must sign the book, and his signature compared with the signature on his Diploma.

I cannot too strongly insist on the following points:

Absolute secrecy.

Implicit obedience.

The acknowledgement of the Universal Brotherhood of Man.

The necessity of living a pure and chaste life and on all matters being referred to the Chief of the Order.

All members must wear the robes and jewel of their Degree.

The Presiding Officer is not elected, but appointed by the Superiors.

Yours in Light,

(signed) M V Portman.

Grand Hierophant Presiding Officer in the West of the August Order of Light.



Special notes by Portman about the Order of Light.

Referring to the First Degree:

In formulating this degree I wish it to be distinctly borne in mind that it is a degree of ordinary education. I leave to you the power to introduce a lecture re-planning the degree. You may amplify the ceremonial to any extent bearing in mind the theistic and occult teachings of the Order. To a Westerner, it may be necessary to make the First Degree impressive.

To an Easterner it is as follows:

Youths having resolved, or being ordered by their parents, to devote themselves to the services of the Great Theistic and Occult Church, although possibly they may never rise beyond the Second and Third Degrees, are separated from the world, with such purely Eastern ceremonial as may be deemed necessary, and are kept immured in the Colleges, being instructed like your youths, in the ordinary branches of education. As all members of our Order in England are educated before admittance, this degree is therefore merely a formal one. Bear this in mind, and avoid, “Empty rituals and lost secrets”.

In the Second Degree the Aspirant having finished his education in ordinary branches of knowledge, is inducted into the Temple service of the religion of his country. This may be Hindustan, Buddhism, Christianity, (but not Roman Catholic). He must study first his own, then all root religions of the world, especially the esoteric and partially esoteric doctrines, and until the Aspirant is grounded generally in these points named, to the satisfaction of the Presiding Officer, he cannot be advanced to the Third Degree.

In the Second Degree lectures must be given on any of the religious and mystic subjects, but not on the Great Religious Mysteries of ancient times.



Editor’s Notes

This document is a copy of a typed document which was discovered in an envelope containing several copies of the ritual for the induction of an Arch President on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 by Michael Smithies (Secretary of Temple No 1).

There is no date either on the typed document or for the original letter by Maurice Vidal Portman (1861 – 1935), but the typed document is believed to be dated about the 1960’s. The date of Portman’s document is guestimated to be about 19??.

Words in italics to help clarify the original text have been added by M Smithies.




Appollonius of Tyana - was a Greek philosopher from the town of Tyana in the Roman province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor. Little is known about him. Being a 1st-century orator and philosopher around the time of Christ, he was compared to Jesus of Nazareth by Christians in the 4th century and by various popular writers in modern times.

Tseng Kappa - ???? (refer footnote 1)

Pratyeka Buddha - literally "a lone buddha", is one of three types of enlightened beings according to some schools of Buddhism. The other two types are the Śrāvaka Buddhas and Samyaksam Buddhas. Pratyeka Buddhas are said to achieve enlightenment on their own, without the use of teachers or guides.

Teshu Lama - Europeans referred to the Panchen Lama as the Tashi-Lama or spelled Tesho-Lama or Teshu-Lama.

Panchen Lama - is the highest ranking Lama after the Dalai Lama.

Grand Lama – Either of two traditionally reincarnating high lamas of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama or the Panchen Lama.

Chief Okhal – spiritual teacher of the Druzes.

Aralokitesurara - ???? (refer footnote 2)

Hierophant - is an interpreter of sacred mysteries and arcane principles.


The following notes were provided by Mr Mats J. Brandt, M.Div. (19-Oct-2012); having seen the information on this website, he wrote these observations for the general benefit of readers.

1. "Tseng Kappa" may be an alternative transliteration of the name "Je Tsongkhapa", the founder of the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

2. , "Aralokitesuara" seem to be an alternative transcription of "Avalokites´vara", the Sanskrit name of the compassionate bodhisattva known as "Guanyin" in Chinese Buddhism, as "Kannon" in Japanese Buddhism and as "Chenrenzig" or "Chenrezig" in Tibetan Buddhism.

Mr Brandt added, "Problem like these often occur when trying to represent technical terms and personal names from one alphabet to another, and was even more common a century ago, when transliteration was yet non-standardized. It still causes puzzlement among students trying to learn the difference between the Wade-Giles transcription and the Pinyin transcription, although the examples on your website are Sanskrit, not Mandarin."