With the White Lodge we refer to:
- what Rudolf Steiner called the Great White Lodge, White Lodge, or 'Masters of Wisdom and Harmony of Feelings';
- Beinsa Douno, Daskalos and Franz Bardon refer to as the 'White Brotherhood' (Daskalos) or the 'Brotherhood of Light' (Bardon);
- and a few decades before, Helena Blavatsky spoke of as the 'Masters of Ancient Wisdom', referred to in theosophy as the Mahatmas or Masters.
Many more references can be found, also of other less qualified sources. For example: there are Q&A to Edgar Cayce on the topic, and a similar concept of hierarchy, albeit different but maybe not incompatible, is found in Meher Baba's teachings on the 'Perfect Masters'. Dion Fortune discusses the 'Ascended Masters' or 'Greater Masters', as well as Alice Bailey.
The structure of the White Lodge consists of twelve Bodhisattvas (or Mahatmas) and their helpers. They are active on the budhi (and nirvana) planes, and guided and inspired directly by the Christ ('the thirteenth in the center'). The exact number of helpers of this group of twelve is unclear from the information available, but one can speak of a broader network of community of hundreds of helpers in some hierarchy of adept-grading (see Discussion area below).
The names of historical personalities (see FMC00.117 below) do not map to the twelve Bodhisattvas, because not all of them incarnate, and they most often work behind the scenes. Also their direct helpers act to bring the necessary world teachings, examples may be Hermes and Moses under the stream of Master Jesus (Zarathustra). As further examples: Bardon (in Frabato) positions himself to be among the first-ranked of the 72 helpers of the twelve, also Daskalos points out he works under Christian Rosenkreutz (John Evangelist).
Of the twelve Masters of the White Lodge, only seven incarnate and five are invisible. The seven can be mapped to the bodily components of Man that evolve in the consecutive cultural ages (physical, etheric, astral bodies, then the sentient, intellectual and consciousness soul, and then the integrated I), which would link them to the cultural age focus of the Bodhisattvas (see below). Rudolf Steiner mentioned that 'two are active in the east, two in the west, two in the center, one moves about'.
When a high individuality incarnates with the mission to inspire and lead a people in a cultural age, this individuality is linked to the karma of that people. There are patterns of 'preparation for a mission' that can be discerned in the incarnations of these high individualities (see examples in GA264, ao Manes-Parsifal).
- who - structure and individualities, advanced evolutionary,
- what - what do they do?
- guidance of Mankind, and development of Cosmic Plan, see Occult atom
- where and how do they do it?
- operate from Buddhi and Nirvana planes
- guidance mankind
- also teaching and influencing on other planes eg astral school
- .. did they get started? around the mid Lemurian epoch
- yearly meeting at the night of Christmas (see 1905-12-13-GA266/1 below)
- a form of representative of Christ/logoi + guidance needed,
- note there is also the black lodge, however also: no evil at higher planes (buddhi & nirvana)
FMC00.117 provides a reference table of incarnations of Boddhisatvas part of the White Lodge. The table makes the distinction between names listed as Bodhisattvas part of the twelve, or incarnations of historical figures that may link to these same individualities or their direct helpers. The table is non-exhaustive, eg Daskalos states Master Hilarion is Saint Paul (Saul of Tarsus).
FMC00.310 illustrates schematics provided by Rudolf Steiner regarding the twelve Bodhisattvas in the White Lodge
Lecture coverage and references
In Man: fragments of forgotten history (1885) the section on Occult Hierarchy states:
Hence is the necessity for the seven types of Adepts. Of these seven, five alone are ordinarily spoken of ; the last two are understood only by the higher Initiates. ..
.. The two highest Adepts, so far as is known, live in an oasis in the desert of Gobi, where only the Adepts of the higher order are permitted to visit them. Their nature and character are as little understood by the ordinary Initiates as those of the Adepts by the outside world. ..
.. There are nine grades of Adepts, each grade having seven sub-divisions. In the Brahmanical system, the nine grades are referred to as the nine jewels (nava nidhi).
1904-05-23-GA093 already makes the important distinction between movement and the (then theosophical) society
The clear consciousness, which only the spirit can set free, is what unites us in the Theosophical Society. Not the word alone, but the spirit gives it its meaning. The spirit which emanates from the great Masters, which flows through a few people only who are able to say: ‘I know they are there, the great Adepts, who are the founders of our spiritual movement — not our society — this spirit flows into our present civilisation and bestows on it the impulse for the future.
GA264 includes a chapter of some 25 pages by Hella Wiesberger grouping the available information. This includes the questions asked to Rudolf Steiner by members (info Alma von Brandis 1915-05-29 - see quote below, drawings Elise Wolfram). These sections of the Esoteric Lessons for members include statements such as
1904-07-09 .. an indication to state that through Rudolf Steiner it is the Masters who speak, and that he is only the medium through which the ideas of the Masters are expressed. Master Morya informs us ..
1904-07-14 .. today the Mahatmas will have something to say to us ..
1904-10-07-GA093 points to the fact that the leader of the sixth epoch is a 100% earthly-developed human being and this is not the case for at least some of the other members
It is only during the fifth epoch that the development is beginning to take place of such Manus as are akin to ourselves; who have risen, as it were, from the ranks of humanity. We have men, therefore, who are already great masters and advanced leaders of humanity, and we have those who are striving to become such. In the fifth epoch we have chelas and masters who have experienced all that can be undergone by human beings only since the middle of the Lemurian epoch.
One of these great masters who are leaders of the fifth epoch is predestined to take over the leadership of the sixth epoch. The sixth epoch will be the first great epoch to have as its Manu one who is a brother to earthly man.
The earlier masters, the Manus from other worlds, are handing over their leadership to a fellow human being.
.. the Masters, as a rule, are not personages known to history ..
1905-01-02 in a letter to a Member who was about to be accepted into the Esoteric School (SWCC)
.. behind the movement there are highly evolved beings whom we call Masters and who have already completed the path which the rest of humanity still has to tread. They are now active as the great teachers and are already engaged in work on higher planes to which the rest of mankind will evolve during the course of the next periods of development. They do their work on the physical plane through their “messengers”, the first of whom was H.P. Blavatsky. The Masters never found an outer Organisation of society, nor would they administer one. .. this is in its whole character and leadership purely and simply the work of men living on the earth.
If Lucifer alone had taken responsibility for evolution a battle would have arisen between him and the old Gods. Jehovah's aim was the perfection of form. Lucifer would have been able to develop in astral substance his passion for premature spirituality. The result would have been a violent battle between the Jehovah-spirits and the hosts of Lucifer. There was the danger that through Jehovah some human beings would become living statues and that others would be too quickly spiritualised through Lucifer. Means of bringing about equilibrium would have to be obtained elsewhere.
In order to annul the battle between Jehovah and Lucifer, the White Lodge, which was just in its beginning, had to obtain material from one of the other planets. This differed essentially from the astral substance that had come over from the Moon, from the astral-kamic animal substance. The possibility arose of leading over substance from other planets: new passions, less vehement but conceived on the basis of independence. The new material was brought over from Mars. Thus in the first half of our Earth evolution astral substance from Mars was introduced. A great advance was brought about through the introduction of this astral substance from Mars. External civilisation on the Earth arose through the fact that hardening on the one side and spiritualisation on the other side were prevented. Lucifer made use of what had been given by the Mars forces. The new state of the Earth was given the name of Mars.
Things continued in this way until the middle of the Atlantean Race. Then a new question arose. Man had absorbed wisdom, but in the future it would not be possible for wisdom alone to manifest in a form-creating way. One would have been able to build up the mineral kingdom through Lucifer, but Lucifer could not have given it life. Man could never have imparted life under the influence of the other powers. This was why a Sun God had to come, a higher being than Lucifer. There still existed what are known as the Solar Pitris. The most exalted among these is Christ. As Lucifer represents the Manas element, so the Buddhi element is represented by Christ.
The human astral bodies had still to receive a third impact. This was brought down from Mercury. Christ united his sovereignty with that of Lucifer. If one has the will to ascend the heights in order to find the way to the Gods one needs Mercury, the Divine Messenger. He is the one who prepared the path of Christ from the middle of the Atlantean Root-Race onwards in order later to enter into the astral bodies, which had received the mercurial element.
1905-11-10 or 11 includes the quote: 'Christian Rosenkreutz and his seven pupils .. ' 1906-06-26 states that
four masters work within the movement: Masters Morya (strength), Kut Hoomi (wisdom), Christian Rosenkreutz or Saint-Germain (we turn to him with our ordinary difficulties), and Master Jesus (the more intimate side of humankind's character)
1905-12-13-GA266/1 captures that Rudolf Steiner explained that ..
at Christmas the Sun stood at its lowest point in the year and on the 25th began to ascend, and that in this night the Masters of the White Lodge had a conference, in which they send out the power of the Sun of the coming year to those people who wanted entirely to devote themselves to them, to surrender entirely their personality and ask them for strength. If one celebrates Christmas this way, asks the Masters in this way, then they send their strength into these people on this December 25, so that the power of the Master works through them
1905-12-28-GA266/1 describes nine characteristics of the Masters, as given by Master Morya
1907-10-21-GA101 talks about the White Lodge and their work (own translation FMC project) - see also Occult atom
.. the development of such things stands in connection with the entire evolution of the earth, with the development of a planet as a whole. And we understand such things in the right way, when we have an idea of the facts, of how from one planet influence is exercised on its successor – how, namely, Old Moon influences the earth, and how, again, the earth influences its successor, Future Jupiter. You all know, that the Earth is led in a certain way by the so-called "white lodge", where several highly developed people – individuals – are united with individualities of a still higher kind.
What do they do there?
They work. They lead the earthly evolution. In the process of leading earthly evolution, they work on developing quite a particular plan. It is a fact, that during the each planet's development, the leading powers prepare a certain plan.
While the earth evolves, planning is carried out in order to prepare a most specific plan regarding how Future Jupiter must be. The whole plan will be developed in detail. It represents the blessing and the healing of the further evolution that will take place in harmony with this plan. Now, when the development of our planet comes to an end - when, namely, our earth reaches the end of its development - then the 'Masters of the wisdom and of the harmony of sensations' will also be "ready" with the plan which they have worked out for Future Jupiter.
And at the end of such development, something very unique happens. Through a certain procedure, this plan will be simultaneously made much smaller and endlessly multiplied, so that from this whole Jupiter plan, infinitely many plans, but quite miniatures thereof, are available. It was the same way on the Old Moon. The plan for the development of the Earth was there, multiplied infinitely many times, and reduced in size. And do you know, what it is, this reduced-size plan? do you know what is worked out there, in the spiritual realm? These are the real atoms, which are the basis for the earth, and the atoms, which will be the basis for Future Jupiter - they will be the plan reduced in size, which is prepared in the leading "white lodge" right now. This is an [occult] atom. All other talk about an atom is nothing. The one who first recognizes the atom of a planet, is the one who sees in it a minimized plan of the development of the planet.
If you want to get to know this atom, which lies at the basis of the earth, quite thoroughly, then the beings which will encounter you in the process of getting to know this atom will be exactly those who come from the great magicians of the world. Now, we can speak about these things only in outline, but we can at least get to know something, which gives us a concept of the matter.
The earth consists, in a certain way, of these atoms. Every being, [including] yourself, is made of these atoms, and you stand in connection with the development of the earth, through the fact that you carry in you the reduced-sized plan of earthly development. This earthly plan could be worked out in the earlier planetary condition of our earth – on the moon – only because owing to the influence of leading beings in harmony with the whole planetary development through Old Saturn, Old Sun, Old Moon.
But now, the important thing is, to give to the infinitely many atoms something, which will bring them into the correct relationships – into the right order.
The leading spirits of the moon could only give them that, if they led the earthly development along quite a certain path. When the Earth reappeared again after the evolution of Old Moon, it was not yet Earth alone, but Earth plus Sun plus Moon – a body which you would receive if you stirred the earth together with the Sun and the Moon and made a single body from it. Such was the earth at first. Then the Sun separated itself, and took with it all the forces which were too thin, too spiritual for Man, and under whose influence, the men would have been spiritualized too quickly. If Man had stood only under this influence of the forces which were contained in this Sun-Moon-Earth bodies, then Man would not have developed down to physical matter, and he would then not have been able to acquire that "I"-consciousness, which he had to acquire.
Those who know that the progress of mankind depends upon living apprehension of the mighty Event of Golgotha are they who as the “Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings” are united in the great Guiding Lodge of mankind. And as once the “tongues of fire” hovered down as a living symbol upon the company of the apostles, so does the “Holy Spirit” announced by Christ Himself reign as the Light over the Lodge of the Twelve. The Thirteenth is the Leader of the Lodge of the Twelve. The “Holy Spirit” is the mighty Teacher of those we name the “Masters of Wisdom and of the Harmony of Feelings”. It is through them that his voice and his wisdom flow down to mankind in this or that stream upon the earth. The treasures of wisdom gathered together by the spiritual scientific movement in order to understand the universe and the Spirits therein, how through the “Holy Spirit” into the Lodge of the Twelve; and that is what will ultimately lead mankind step by step to free, self-conscious understanding of Christ and of the Event of Golgotha. Thus to ‘cultivate’ spiritual science means to understand that the Spirit has been sent into the world by Christ; the pursuit of spiritual science is implicit in true Christianity.
this is also in 1909-09-21-GA114 (SWCC)
A Lodge of twelve Bodhisattvas is to be regarded as the Lodge directing all Earth evolution .. .. and from time to time sends one of the twelve Bodhisattvas to the Earth as a special emissary, as one of the great Teachers. The concept of ‘Teacher’ familiar to us at lower stages of existence can be applied, to these twelve Bodhisattvas. They are Teachers, the great Inspirers of one portion or another of what mankind has to acquire.
Whence do these Bodhisattvas receive what they have to proclaim from epoch to epoch? If you were able to look into the great Spirit-Lodge of the twelve Bodhisattvas you would find that in the midst of the Twelve there is a Thirteenth — one who cannot be called a ‘Teacher’ in the same sense as the Bodhisattvas, but of whom we must say: He is that Being from whom wisdom itself streams as very substance. It is therefore quite correct to speak of the twelve Bodhisattvas in the great Spirit-Lodge grouped around One who is their Centre; they are wrapt in contemplation of the sublime Being from whom there streams what they have then to inculcate into Earth evolution in fulfilment of their missions. Thus there streams from the Thirteenth what the others have to teach. They are the ‘Teachers’, the ‘Inspirers’; the Thirteenth is himself the Being of whom the others teach, whom they proclaim from epoch to epoch. This Thirteenth is He whom the ancient Rishis called Vishva Karman, whom Zarathustra called Ahura Mazdao, whom we call the Christ. He is the Leader and Guide of the great Lodge of the Bodhisattvas. Hence the content of the proclamation made through the whole choir of the Bodhisattvas is the teaching concerning Christ, once called Vishva Karman. The Bodhisattva who became Buddha five to six centuries before our era was endowed with the powers of Vishva Karman.
This mystery was portrayed in a symbol or in a picture wherever men had an inkling of the great secrets of evolution or acquired knowledge of them through Initiation. In the little known, enigmatic Trottic Mysteries of Northern Europe before the coming of Christianity, an earthly symbol of the spiritual reality of the Lodge of the twelve Bodhisattvas was created. Those who were Teachers were always associated with a community of twelve. It was for the Twelve to proclaim the message and there was a Thirteenth who did not teach but who through his very presence radiated the wisdom which the others received. This was the picture on Earth of a heavenly, spiritual reality. Again, in Goethe's poem Die Geheimnisse where the poet has given an indication of his Rosicrucian inspiration, we are reminded how Twelve sit around a Thirteenth who is not necessarily a great Teacher. Brother Mark, in his simplicity, is himself to be addressed by the Twelve as the Thirteenth — when the former Thirteenth shall have left them. He is to be the bringer, not of teaching, but of the spiritual substance itself. And it was the same wherever an inkling or actual knowledge of this lofty spiritual fact existed among men.
Note the twelve and Trottic mysteries are also covered in 1909-05-06-GA057
1909-04-18-GA110 sacrife and guidance of Mankind
Now we have seen that guiding Beings are everywhere. We have seen with the earth, how the higher spiritual Beings — Angels, Archangels, Archai — descended, and at a time when humanity could not as yet help itself, they guided it until it reached a certain height. These are the spiritual beings of the Hierarchies who had reached their maturity in earlier times; but when this height is reached, when those Beings who had descended from the heights reach their goal, then other Beings have to become the leaders and guides of the said nations.
When nations have to rise in a certain way still higher than their highest point, leading personalities have to give themselves up of their own free will to become the bearers of higher spiritual Beings; only then does it become possible to lead the nation a few stages beyond that which was originally planned for it.
But in such cases one thing must happen; those who descend into the beings who have to lead the nation to a still higher point of civilisation, must take upon themselves all the Karma which the nation has been accumulating. This is the important law as regards taking upon oneself the Karma of nations and of races. From a definite point of time the guiding personalities have themselves to bear all the Karma of those nations and races. That was the essential reason that such individualities as Hermes, for instance, had to take upon them — their nations Karma, which had accumulated up to then. On each planet, such things are the reflected images of great Cosmic processes.
At certain times nodal points form in spiritual worlds, when forces work into the worlds that lie directly above us. Such a time is here now. Great initiates can't bring these forces down from the highest worlds — only Christ can do this because he went through the Mystery of Golgotha. But Buddha, Pythagoras, Zarathustra and other great initiates gather round the Christ and let themselves be influenced by his forces, regardless of whether or not they're incarnated. And they work out of this spirit.
1915-05-29-GA264QA explains how always only seven of twelve bodhissatvas incarnate (includes a diagram and more context). This is a case instance of the Twelve as seven and five concept.
The various Master consitute 'parts', so to speak, of a single being so that this beings contains twelve different Masters, seven of which are physically incarnated and five remain in the spiritual world.
The seventh is the servant of the other six and is ruled by them. He also hold sway over the other five, that is to say, brings them into incarnation. There are always seven in incarnation. If the eight incarnates, the first becomes discarnate
Another less known source is the following. In 1930, the book 'Das Buch vom Buddha des Westens' (The Book of the Buddha of the West) by Hans Albert Müller was published. A short review by Richard Tschudi in 2010 states:
The book describes that some priests of Atlantis retreated to the Himalayan Mountains. .. Müller goes on saying that whenever the Aryan wisdom is endangered in the world, this brotherhood sends out a brother to restore this wisdom. In Central Asia this brotherhood is known under the name “The Blue Monks”, a name that stems from the fact that the brothers wear a monk-like royal blue colored cloak, a form of dress allegedly worn in Atlantis. The books says that Plato in his report about Atlantis writes that the priest of Atlantis wore dark-blue robes. The book also says that the custodian who represents the ancient Manu’s in the outer world is another great Manu with the name Mahum, allegedly well known among the Tibetan Bon people. .. The domicile of the Blue Monks is in the West-Himalayas .. . Allegedly in the last millennium exerted their influence in Europe through Christian Rosenkreuz who was living in Germany around the year 1300: the Rosicrucians were the renewers of the ageless wisdom within Christianity. The actual work of the Rosicrucian’s started around the year 1410. As I said all these are ideas and theories which are contained in the book: “Das Buch vom Buddha des Westens” by Hans Albert Müller.
Franz Bardon in Frabato (1958)
The Brotherhood of Light
- is a spiritual organization which consists of the highest initiates of our cosmic system.
- Only one who has mastered and is able to practice the first three leaves of the Book of Wisdom has access to this brotherhood.
- Since the beginning of human spiritual evolution, those who have achieved the highest state of magical perfection and have not yet consciously dissolved their individuality are to be found in this organization.
- assume responsibility for the well-being and development of humankind, though the task of maintaining that development may not always require physical incarnation.
- The Master and the twelve adepts form the Council of Elders and meet regularly or have special meetings to make important decisions concerning the fate of the peoples of the earth.
- Sometimes the twelve adepts, seventy-two wise men and the 360 masters are summoned to a general assembly. In case of special meetings, the Master sends for particular initiates.
the hierarchy has
- Master or Prime Initiator
- twelve subordinate adepts who have reached the highest spiritual perfection. These adepts take over the most difficult tasks, but they too are very seldom incarnate; therefore they usually do their work through the zone which girdles the earth. Some of these adepts are only incarnated once in a hundred or a thousand years.
- The twelve adepts have seventy-two wise men, or enlightened people under them (DL editor: so six per adept)
- These wise men again have 360 masters.
the Unpointed Sword is the symbol of our circle called 'Circles for the Research of Truth', we are part of wider circle called the 'White Brotherhood'
The brotherhood of the White Lodge
The White Lodge consists of the twelve Bodhisattvas but these are surrounded by helpers and a larger network or community.
Here are some sources:
- Bardon speaks of each of the twelve having 6 'wise men', 72 in total, and this being supplemented by 360 helpers. That totals 432+12=444.
- Steiner speaks of seven helpers for each of the twelve.
- 'Man: fragments of forgotten history' (downloadable on the Evolution page) speaks of nine grades and 7 subdivisions for 63 subgroupings of grades, but no numbers of actual helpers.
Some further info
Below follow some snippets of various collected information, without further qualification.
- Mani or Manes is said by Rudolf Steiner to be the highest individuality, with Buddha, Zarathustra and Skythianos being his pupils.
- Skythianos was a teacher in the Atlantean Mystery Schools
- Master Hilarion inspired Light on the Path (in 1884) and was/is from Greece. H. Blavatsky wrote about him in her letters. In the Magus of Strovolos, Daskalos is quoted in a story:
This information is also stated in Alice Bailey's 'Initiation human and solar' (1922).
The one I met is a great master .. he was Saint Paul, who in his present incarnation lives as Father Hilarion in the Sudan.
- Other Masters mentioned by some sources are:
- Master Serapis (Bey) only appears in Sinnett's letters and appears there to have a higher rank (letter by Master M. stating 'our beloved lord and chief whom you know under the name of S.'). Rudolf Steiner never mentions him by that name.'the venetian Master'
- Master Rakoczi (re Alice Bailey, who calls this an incarnation of Count Saint Germain)
- Alice Bailey also mentions Djwal Khul (but is the only one doing so)
- A case worth mentioning is the Mahavatar Babaji in India, a master of unknown age residing in the Himalayas. This is a high individuality of legendary status mentioned by ao Sri Yukteswar and Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogananda writes in his biography:
'Man - forgotten fragments' states two of the highest masters remain hidden, and that the Himalayas is one of the main locations where masters reside. Blavatsky's visits to and meetings with the Masters took place there. Bardon had a picture of a master he seemingly referred to as Mahum Tah-Ta (confirmed by his son Lumir Bardon to have been the teacher of Franz Bardon). See also the quote from the 1930 book by Müller above. All these sources point to Tibet and the Himalayas.
The Mahavatar is in constant communion with Christ; together they send out vibrations of redemption, and have planned the spiritual technique of salvation for this age.
- Speculation about the Individuality of Franz Bardon abounds. He was known by the name Master Arion, and had a definite link with a teacher or master in Tibet (source: a.o. his son Lumir Bardon, and one of his key students). Just an example by means of illustration; one source speculates as follows:
- Bardon signed letters by Master Arion or The Arion, and the latter translates freely as Hil-Arion.
- Blavatsky was told (seemingly, no exact reference given - but it may exist) by Master Koot Hoomi by the end of the 19th century, that a master adept named Hilarion who had received trainings in Tibet, would soon be ascending to the White Lodge.
- This last info is an interesting correlation that is linked to what is written by Bardon himself in the occult novel Frabato.
- Similar situation regarding speculation about the Individuality of Beinsa Douno, see more in the Discussion area on Beinsa Douno.
- In most cases the various speculative sources and snippets of available information contradict or seem to contradict eachother.
- The Michaelic stream
- Occult atom
- Christian Rosenkreutz
- Beinsa Douno
- Rudolf Steiner and the White Lodge
- Spiritual science
- Sources of spiritual science
References and further reading
- Edouard Schuré: The great initiates (1889)
- Ehrenfried Pfeiffer: The Spiritual Leadership of Mankind (notes from Lectures given in 1947)
- Background document on the Masters (in German): Extract from Europaer 2011-04
- For more info see ao the anthrowiki and theosophy.wiki resources, as well as in the resources listed on the Hermann Schmiechen page. On the paintings, see eg the deck 'Painting the masters' by Massimo Introvigne.