- About The OAB: Introduction. By Fr. Pneuma.
- What is the OAB?
- What are the Purposes of the OAB?
- Idealistically, Where is the OAB Coming From?
- Who Have Influenced the OAB?
- What Does the OAB Believe?
- OAB Memberhip.
- General Comments About Membership in the OAB.
- Governance of the OAB.
- Comments Concerning the General Curriculum of the OAB.
- Affiliations: OAB Temples, Lodges, and Other Organizations Supported.
We would like to welcome you to this version of the new publication, "About the Society of The Astral Star." This publication is based on the 1992 pamphlet, "What is...The Society of The Astral Star?" In 1996 the Introductory Publication on the Order of The Astral Star was published by The Augurian Press in The Crux Mystica, the Official Journal of the Order as Volume #0, Issue #0 in an attempt to advise interested parties of the Order, its goals and its work. A number of publications have been re-written, enlarged, and re-formatted in anticipation of the Order celebrating its Silver Anniversary (25 Years). The work was reviewed and re-edited in March 2014 for the celebration of the Order's Emerald Anniversary (35 Years) on All Saints. November 01st, 2015.
In this introductory issue, we will try tell the reader what the OAB is, and attempt to answer the major questions that we have received over the years. All rights are reserved to the OAB, Inc., and shall be maintained by the Society¹s publishing house, The Augurian Press, Ltd. All persons are given the right to freely copy and distribute this work, provided that: 1) it be distributed freely, 2) no changes are made to it, and 3) this introduction be included in all copies. An additional Frequently Asked Questions has been published as a separate publication in order to answer the most commonly asked questions about the Order that we have received over the years. We hope that this will help you, the reader, become better aware of what our Society is, and what kind of work we are trying to do.
The most recent version of this publication shall be made available on the World Wide Web on the orders official Web site at:
For the most recent version of this publication, please review:
EDITOR¹S NOTE: IF YOU ARE READING THIS DOCUMENT HERE, YOU ARE READING THE MOST CURRENT VERSION OF THIS DOCUMENT.
Again, on behalf of the Society of The Astral Star (aka The Order of The Star of Bethlehem), I would like to once again thank you for your interest in our organization. I extend to each of you my warmest regards and best wishes in your esoteric studies and continued spiritual exploration. As always, I continue to remain most sincerely,
Yours in The Light,
Frater Pneuma Asteros, (Michael W. Humphrey)
Chief Adept, Imperator, & President,
Order of The Astral Star, Inc.
Georgetown, KY, USA
Vernal Equinox - March 21st, 2014
On-line Revision: Beltane - May 01st, 2015
WHAT IS THE OAB, Inc.?:
"The Society of Astral Star, Inc." (In the Outer). is also known as "The Order of The Star of Bethlehem," (In the Inner), and is identified with the abbreviation, OAB. Commonly called, "The Astral Star," for short, the OAB is a non-profit religious and fraternal organization with membership and Temples operating in several states in the United States and numerous FotO's (Friends Of The Order) in several countries.
The Order was founded on November 1st, 1980 in Georgetown, KY by a committee of five members. On All Hallows Eve, (October 31st) 1981 the Order elected its first Council of Officers, passed its first set of rules and regulations in the form of a Constitution, and set to writing it¹s general course curriculum of instruction. The Society was truly an Order, with members claiming membership in several different mainstream Christian religious (traditions) denominations. Over time, that view was to change, realizing how different our member's ideas, philosophy, theology, and understanding was with the mainstream. In 1992, on the Vernal Equinox, the general membership voted to re-write the Constitution and Bylaws, and incorporate the Order in Kentucky as both a Religious Society (i.e. a Church), and as a Fraternal Order. That goal was accomplished on the Vernal Equinox of 1993. The emphasis was placed on practicing and teaching Christian Mysticism and the techniques of High Ritual and Ceremonial Magick. Having formed and evolved separately apart from any other organization, we are considered a 'Suigenerous' Order. Although influenced by many, we remain independent from any other magickal or esoteric Order or organization regarding lineage. Additionally we are considered to be an 'Interdenominational' Order, with membership composed from all different Christian Religious Groups independent of the Order.
WHAT ARE THE PURPOSES OF THE OAB:
IDEALISTICALLY, WHERE IS THE OAB COMING FROM?:
The OAB has several purposes and goals. The first purpose is religious. The Society of The Astral Star strives to seek the presence of the Supreme Divine Being, which we call The Almighty. We seek to know this entity for worship and adoration. We seek to learn who and what we are, and what we are becoming. Towards this end, the Society further strives to explore and advance the Human Potential, by having it's members study and teach the occult arts and sciences. We do this in an atmosphere where we have refused to "throw the holy baby out of the holy bath water." We are, for the most part, comfortable with the spiritual content of Christianity. In our modern day culture, Christianity is the norm. There are sound occult and metaphysical reasons why we should choose to build on this particular Western Esoteric Tradition. We have all committed ourselves to the great work, "to become more than human," - not to become "gods," but to share in that spiritual inheritance that has been promised to us by the prophets and by the Lord himself. We are, in the words of a national talk show, "...dedicated to exploring phenomenon not neatly put into a box. Experiences that are seen just outside the field of vision. Something every bit as real as the air we breath, but don¹t see."
A second goal is to serve as a Fraternal Order. All members of the Order are considered comrades in arms - brothers (Fraters) and sisters (Sorors). The ways of Magick and Mysticism are very often difficult, and lonely paths to walk. The Order attempts to provide a form of social outlet, a grouping together of like minded individuals who share in their experiences and learn from each other. The members teach younger and/or newer members of the Order, passing on their experiences in an attempt to save their new found friends from wasting valuable time and effort. We use our numbers and talents to locate and obtain hard to find books, manuscripts, and other resources for the benefit of all members who are interested. For more specific information on our purposes, please refer to Article I and Article II of the Constitution of the Order of The Star of Bethlehem.
WHO/WHAT HAS INFLUENCED THE OAB THE MOST?:
Idealistically, the Astral Star believes that Mysticism involves One's Being, while Magick involves One's Becoming. This is a primary tenet of the Society. All of us explore Who and What we are, and ask the question, "Is this all that I am?" Most everybody has a sense of a Divine Being or Beings (GOD). We all wonder what our relationship is to this entity which we call "The Almighty".
White Magick (so-called) is, for all practical purposes, practical mysticism. It allows the student to explore who and what they are. They come to realize their own personal shortcomings, and through Magick, are afforded the opportunity to make changes in themselves for the better. After they become proficient, that is Adept, they can influence and change the world in which they live in to be a more positive place. This is what the curriculum of instruction and initiation is designed to do.
WHAT DOES THE OAB BELIEVE?:
The Astral Star owes a great debt to the legendary Mystics and Magicians of the past and present. We have been influenced by many of the classic Christian Mystics, including St. Theresa of Avilla, St. John of the Cross, St. Thomas A Kempis, Mathhew Fox, and Evelyn Underhill. All of these and many more have played a significant role in the studies and development of the Order. In the realm of Magick, we are primarily in the camp of The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn [HOGD] and The Fraternity of the Hidden Light. Writers including Dr. Francis Israel Regardie, Dion Fortune, William G. Gray, A.E. Waite, Aleister Crowley, S.L. MacGregor Mathers, Gareth Knight, H.P. Blavatsky and many such other classic writers have all had a profound influence on us. We additionally have been influenced by the work of Melita Denning and Osborne Phillips, Don Tyson, Tabitha and Chic Cicero, Pat and Chris Zalewski and Donald Michael Kraig. We can honestly state that during our course of instruction, the student is introduced to nearly ALL of the major "classical" works on the subjects of Magick and Mysticism.
The primary tenants of belief of The Order of The Astral Star are far to numerous to be fully explained or stated within this introductory work. Again, we encourage the reader to examine Article II of The Constitution of the OAB (Crux Mystica Volume #0, Issue #1) for further information in these regards. Some of these basic tenants and beliefs will be stated here to give the reader an idea or two as to where we are coming from. These beliefs are held by the Society as a whole, and by a significant number of our regular members. What the individual members believes and holds to be as true, are in the end, regulated to the individual members themselves!
1) We are true monotheists. We believe in the existence of one (and only one) Supreme, Divine Being, which the members refer to as "The Almighty." We hold to a doctrine that describes the Almighty as being like a flawless jewel - a Divine Gemstone. The Almighty has many facets - like a diamond. Mortal men and women, walk one or at best a couple of spiritual paths in their lifetime. Mortals each describe what they see and perceive of the Almighty from their perspectives and experiences. Religious debate centers around these divergent viewpoints. It has been our experience that when people stop looking at the differences, they can look within the stone itself, and determine that something¹s all religions hold equally to be true. This is especially true with regards to "morals" and "ethics". No one¹s "God" (except maybe some Satanists) would hold that it is right to steal, murder, rape, and commit other crimes against fellow mortals and Divinity. Our understanding of Divinity is rooted in the Kabbalah, and the Christian Mysticism that is our own unique experience. In short, the majority of us are modern day Monotheistic Christian Kabbalists and Esotericists. We welcome into our ranks a few who are more Gnostically, Hermetically, and/or Rosicrucian oriented.
2) Being true monotheists, we do not see the Almighty as a God, or as a Goddess. We see the Almighty as being both God and Goddess, and yet in another very real (mystical) sense - neither God nor Goddess. The language of mortals falls tremendously short when it comes to describing the attributes of the Almighty! The Almighty is beyond the abilities of mortals to understand in this life. Masculine and feminine energies and currents are present in the Almighty. It is not wrong to affiliate with that aspect of the Almighty as God or Goddess in and of itself that one perceives, or to separate God and Goddess energies for practical application. This is done in all of nature itself!
3) We believe in a real, historical Jesus Christ. We believe that Christ Jesus was and is the Son of The Divine. In short, we hold that there is truth in the mainstream Christian Religion with regards to the identity and purpose of Jesus. We claim to be Christian, and define a Christian as any person who believes that Jesus was born, was the Son of the Almighty, Died on the cross for the atonement of the sins (negative karma) of mankind and the created order, was buried, defeated death by his own resurrection, believes (in faith) that whosoever believes in Jesus as the Messiah shall be forgiven of their trespasses, be re-united with the Almighty and shall live forever, and shall live their lives on this earth in such ways as to demonstrate these beliefs. In short, we dare to believe on Christ Jesus, even if in unconventional ways in the eyes of mainstream society.
4) We perceive psychic energies and magickal abilities to be inherent to the nature of humankind, and a part of the natural created order. We further believe that psychic and magickal energies are a part of any true and valid "religious" experience.
5) We believe that absolute Truth, as a final reality, exists on it's own, whether or not mortals correctly perceive it as such or not. We further hold that thought and thought forms have formal reality in and of themselves. We believe that the Astral (world) is the underlining reality behind the physical (world).
6) We believe that we should hold all religious experiences as sacred. As one of our initiation rituals states, "...mock not how another chooses to worship the Divine." We believe that there is no one world religious faith that has perceived the Almighty in It¹s entirety correctly - nor the Will of the Almighty. All religious faiths have some spiritual truths that exist and are inherent within them. We further believe that it is the vanity of mortal humankind that has clung to different "world views." For example, The Hindus see the "problem" of the world as one of ignorance, with enlightenment as the solution. The Buddhists see the "problem" of the world as one of ending the nature of suffering. Ridding yourself of desire is the solution. Christians, Jews, and Moslems see the "problem" of the world as a separation from divinity as the nature (Sin) as the problem. Christians perceive Christ as the solution to unity; Jews perceive the Law of God (following Divine Will) as the solution; and the Moslems as submitting of Divine Will directly, as the solutions. Mortal humankind is so arrogant as to think that in the nature of mankind, there is only ONE problem that needs to be resolved prior to union with Divinity! Is it not possible, that we have more than one problem as a species, and are in need of development in more than one area collectively?
7) We believe that persons do not have things called "souls," but rather, it is more properly said that persons ARE souls.
8) With regards to gender, race, and national origin, We believe that persons (souls) ARE NOT EQUAL. For to believe that persons are equal is to state and imply that all persons are the same. This is NOT TRUE! All persons (souls) are unique! With regards to value, We believe that all persons (souls) ARE EQUIVALENT, i.e. are all of the same (priceless) value and no life is worth more or less than any other. All life is sacred, and none can be replaced. We further do not tolerate discrimination based upon gender, race, or national origin.
9) The open motto of the Order states another valuable premise: "ALL KNOWLEDGE COMES BY FAITH, ALL UNDERSTANDING COMES BY EXPERIENCE." Knowledge alone will not make one spiritual. Yet, knowledge is one of the major keys to spiritual growth. There is a vast difference between knowledge, belief, and faith. "All Knowledge comes by faith." This expression is that of the aspiring magician. The Aspirant has taken all initial information that they receive from others or by their own observation on faith. They do not know if what they see or hear or have been told is true or not. They receive it with OPEN MINDED SKEPTICISM. For example, one could see a chair on the other side of a room, and know that it is well built, know the material specifications, study the design and compare it to other chairs, etc. One could further believe that the same chair observed would be comfortable and safe to sit in. This alone, does not equal faith. In order to demonstrate your faith in the chair, it requires you to put your "tail" on the line. It requires an action. When you actually sit in the chair, you are demonstrating your faith. This is not the same thing as stating your believe or relating your knowledge of the chair. READING ALONE WILL NEVER MAKE A STUDENT SPIRITUAL. One must live the practices of instruction, and observe the disciplines attached. "All understanding comes by Experience." Once the student has sat in the chair, they can personally discuss the chair. They can tell how it feels, if the height and width is right for them. They can determine if the chair in question is best used for work or relaxation, or is best suited for firewood! In conclusion, personal experience is of the mystics. We place more importance on our own experiences than in the illuminated writers of the past. We test and prove all things.
10) Finally, we also believe that "Religious experience (mysticism) without magick is dead. While on the other hand, Magick without true Mysticism (religious experience) is just outright Dangerous!" This statement should be self explanatory!
A GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE OAB:
All esoteric Orders of magick and mysticism have "patterns" of instruction which delineate a specific frequency of energy and being. These "frequencies" are generally referred to by various initiates as a "current." For example, in the various Orders that espouse and embrace "Thelema" as its general foundation, the "current" is said to be Ninety-Three (93). This "frequency" or "current" was assigned by the founder of Thelema, Aleister Crowley to his Order as the primary principle of Thelema is to determine the Soul's True Will. The Motto of Thelema is "Do what thou Will shall be the whole of the Law, Love is the Law, Love under Will." In one form of Hebrew numerology called "Gematria", words are reduced to numbers. The numbers for the words, "Will", "Law", and "Love" are all equal to Ninety-Three, indicating (theoretically) that all of these words have some common esoteric link. Thus, Thelema is regarded as the Ninety-Third Current by initiates. The Order of the Astral Star is referred to as the Sixty-Nine (69) current. The Order of The Star Of Bethlehem has at its heart the life of Jesus, The Christ and takes its primary symbol from the Star that according to myth and legend led three wise men (called Magi - or Magicians) to the birth place of the Lord Christ. It is said that Christ was born in a Stable, lying in a manger. The word "Stable" and "Manger" reduces to the number Sixty-Nine (69) by means of Gematria. The rumor that the OAB is an organization that practices secret rites of sex magick (particularly making use of oral sex), is a complete falsehood. The Order of The Star Of Bethlehem has as its primary pattern of knowledge and instruction what has been called, "The Tree of Life", a symbol of a form of esoteric Jewish Mysticism called "Kabbalah". The word Kabbalah is spelled many different ways, including Qabala, Qabbalah, Kabala, Kabbalah, Cabala, etc., and means "tradition". The OAB uses the various spellings to indicate a particular philosophical influence. We use the spelling Qabalah to indicate the original "Jewish" Mystical tradition. We use the term Cabala to refer to the modified "Christian" perspective of the original Jewish Mysticism in order to indicate our own perspective on Christian Mysticism. We use the term Kabalah or Kabbalah to indicate various Mystical perspectives that derived from the original Jewish Mysticism including various Gnostic and Hermetic mystical expressions. The Society of The Astral Star adopted its knowledge lectures and pattern of initiation from the Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn - however, we are not the Golden Dawn. What makes the OAB different from the HOGD? There are several key differences. The primary differences are to be found within our theological and philosophical points of view. The Astral Star is primarily "Christian" whereas the Golden Dawn is "Hermetic". Both systems use some common symbols and texts, however they are utilized somewhat differently within the two different systems. Both systems strive to advance the human potential of it's members, however they start from different places on the cosmic map. Both systems are valid, and both systems (as well as other esoteric systems) have strengths and weaknesses. The OAB instructs and explores numerous hermetic and gnostic principles, teachings, and techniques within it¹s curriculum, however we generally do so within a more conventional Christian background. In terms of Grades/Initiatory Degrees of knowledge and skills, both systems are based upon the Tree of Life. However, The Astral Star basis its model of the universe to be composed of a total of four (4) Trees of Life - one on top of the other, with each Tree representing one of the four (4) Kabbalistical Worlds in ascending order (Assiah, Yetzirah, Briah, Atzilooth). The Lower two Trees of Life (Assiah and Yetzirah) are "fallen", whereas the Upper two are "perfected" within the Order of The Star Of Bethlehem. All instructions within the OAB focus upon the two lower kabbalistical worlds of Assiah and Yetzirah. The OAB teaches that mankind generally has no direct access to the upper two kabbalistical worlds and when they do obtain glimpses of these, they are either unintelligible to the human mind or are indescribable using human language. Theoretically speaking, the fourth and third kabbalistical worlds are reflections of each other, while the second and first kabbalstical worlds are reflections of each other. The fourth kabbalistical world of Assiah is the physical/material world, and the third kabbalstical world is the astral world.
SOME GENERAL COMMENTS:
The Membership of the OAB is very diverse. Within the general membership you will find people from all walks of life. Their careers vary from A to Z, and are found in every field of occupation and vocation. Our Siblings work in very high technology careers such as computer science, graphic art, engineering, medicine, and electronics. We have members in the academic communities of higher education both as college/university professors and as students. We have members in law and law enforcement, environmental science, the clergy, business and high finance. Members work in the "real" world, in blue collar positions at factories, trucking and shipping firms, restaurants, and many, many different service careers. Additionally, our membership has come from many different religious and magickal traditions and backgrounds. Most of our membership have come from primarily a "Christian" exoteric background.
The OAB has three classes of membership. These include Associate Members, Regular Members, and Honorary Members. Associate Members are composed of all persons who are in the Grade of Aspirant. The grade of Aspirant is the Zero (0ro) Degree of initiation. Regular Members make up the backbone of the Order. Regular Membership begins at the First (1st) degree of initiation. This first Grade is called Adelphon. Regular members are Christian Mystics in religious practice, who practice High Ritual and Ceremonial Magick as a means to practical mysticism. All Regular Members are regarded as Brothers and Sisters (Fraters and Sorors) within the Society. Regular Membership continues with the other grades of initiation. There are currently no members within the Order who have attained a grade higher than Adeptus Major. Our grade table is as follows:
Honorary Members are persons from other Religious/Magickal traditions who have been made members on the basis of their commitment to the ideals of the Order, and because of their continued service to the Society as a whole. Persons must be known by the Order personally for a minimum of three years prior to being nominated for honorary membership. They must further be able to accept Jesus Christ as a genuine, divine avatar. Honorary Members are considered "Step Brothers and Step Sisters," by members of the Order, and have all rights of Regular Members. Other Christian Mystics of other Christian/Magickal Orders may also be admitted as Honorary Members, admitted to a particular grade of initiation based on their abilities, reputation, and service to the General Society, or to the greater Christian and/or Magickal/Mystical/Metaphysical community at large. Honorary Members place the letters, "h.c." after their signed mottoes.
The General Synod has set firm policies and guidelines concerning membership into the OAB. No person shall be admitted into the Order as a regular member or as an honorary member, that is to the first degree [duly initiated and knighted] ADELPHON (0=11), SIGHT UNSEEN! This rule will be followed strictly, and enforced by the Order¹s Executive Council. We do not perform what some organizations call "Astral Initiations" as a basis for membership or advancement within the Astral Star. We prefer real life human contact with our members in lieu of strictly mail order and/or cyber groups on the Internet.
COMMENTS CONCERNING THE OAB CURRICULUM:THE GENERAL GRADES OF INSTRUCTION/INITIATION:
The Society of the Astral Star does not have a series of "Correspondence Courses" available for each degree, written by the Society. We feel that at least eighty-five percent (85%) of all occult "knowledge" has in fact been previously published. Most "occult" knowledge is in fact available to all who truly desire it - without joining any organization. The question could validly be asked, "Why then does the Order of The Star of Bethlehem exist at all?"
First of all, there are literally thousands upon thousands of "occult" books written by many, many different authors, much of which is repetitive and much is just outright fraudulent. If a serious student wanted to start his/her training with mere book learning alone, where should they start? The Order has developed a very sound curriculum, and placed the "knowledge" in a specific pattern. This organization of the main materials of outside writers is very important. There are now, steps in a good working order. We have chosen many of the "classic" works, and some of the most important modern day works for the curriculum. The curriculum is broken down into degrees of difficulty and "like principles." We do this in an atmosphere where one does not need to be concerned for "choosing" what many of us have referred to as a "Politics of Magick." There are so many groups (and occult authors) out there, wanting you to buy their materials and avoid other¹s materials - just for the sake of their own agendas and egotism. This is especially true on the Internet (world wide web). Our advise to students is to read everything you can get your hands on. We further encourage students to practice what interests them personally, but do so in a system where you are exposed to a vast variety of material and practices. Seek a balance in both your reading and your practices. Our curriculum does this, and much more. The key of any occult organization lies in it¹s pattern of 1) instruction of knowledge, 2) working of energy within principles, 3) initiatory preparedness, and 4) real world ability to provide a vehicle in a practical and working administration.
Furthermore, for the student of occultism who chooses to remain at least "nominally" Christian, if not outright Christian in belief, there are other difficulties. How does one reconcile their seeming conflicting beliefs and practices in light of the Christian experience? The Order has made attempts at resolving some of these difficult experiences. The Society of The Astral Star offers one system of Christian Magick for the Christian Practitioner - a unified system that has a solid track record of over twenty-five years and has been desperately sought after by individuals for many years.
In this same spirit, we have chosen to locate organizations that teach a particular system of instruction in a given area of expertise, and adopt those standards as the general rule of our own Order. For example, we recommend the same techniques and philosophies of the AFA, the American Federation of Astrologers, in all maters that pertain to the occult discipline of Astrology. We teach "side" lectures in Astrology, but by and large, we hold to the AFA's policies and guidelines when it comes to Astrological teaching and instruction. We recognize the AFA's system of classification of proficiency, and use it as our own. We do the same thing with regards to other occult disciplines. No one organization can be the authority in every facet of life. We choose to recognize the works of others in many different regards.Our Order is a teaching and initiatory organization. As such, we have started a journal, The Crux Mystica (located at: http://journal.astralstar.org/) which attempts to state and explain our Order's "curriculum," and also resolve issues concerning our tradition and our members. We additionally list a liturgical calendar, and a calendar of events. We further hope to provide a written forum where any number of members will be able to have a place of their own to discuss their views on various magical, mystical, esoteric, and metaphysical topics and have them published.
The first three grades of instruction and initiation of the OAB are called, "The General Grades," The Zero [0ro Degree] is called the Aspirant (0=0) grade. The first [1st Degree] is called the Adelphon (0=11) grade . The second [2nd Degree] is called the Neophyte (1=10) grade. In these three grades, the student covers the official order documents of governance, and completes a program to define terminology, and begin developing of psychic disciplines. Private ritual work is performed from middle of the grade of Aspirant. These grades prepare the student for the work that is to come in the "elemental" grades that follow. Some students from some previous Occult and Magickal schools or traditions may qualify to attempt to test and "clep" various knowledge lectures. Additionally, reading and work from outside the Order's Curriculum may be replaced by outside material that covers the same information, at the Executive Council¹s discretion, on a case by case basis. The minimum time in grade are strictly enforced however, within these general grades. The only grades of immediate concern will be Aspirant, and Adelphon. See the descriptions of each general grade below.
ASPIRANT (0=0):ADELPHON (0=11):
The grade of Aspirant (0=0), the zero degree of the Order is a preparatory grade. The student is given the basic papers concerning the Order including, The Aspirant Course Curriculum, The Historical Knowledge Lecture, The Constitution and (if applicable) By-Laws of the general Society. Members of the Grade of Aspirant (0=0) are considered to be 'Associate Members' within the Society of The Astral Star (In the Outer). The curriculum includes various elective or supplemental courses designed to assist the student prepare themselves to excel in the curriculum and in life. Due to the enormous amount of reading that is required of any serious occult student we recommend completing both a very good speed reading course and a course to enhance the student¹s memory retention. The heart of the Course in this degree begins with an introductory examination of the various disciplines of extra sensory perception and experiential phenomenon. A course of instruction for development of the student¹s meditative exercises and disciplines are also presented. A very careful ritual and dream diary is kept by the student for presentation to the student¹s sponsor.
The general theme of this grade is of a student in the darkness (of ignorance) pledged to work in silence (secrecy) to grow towards the light. The Grade of Aspirant is a grade dedicated to the principles of earth of earth - the black quarter of the Sephiroth of Malkuth. Ritual participation may begin in the 3rd to 6th month by completing the first "vision." This vision is designed to make the Candidate think, and to prepare them for initiation as a full Aspirant. The student may be initiated into the grade of Aspirant after the 6th month. The minimum time in grade of Aspirant, that is from the date the Aspirant¹s pledge form is received, is one year. All Aspirants are considered "Associate Members" of the society, and are on probation as such. Aspirants pay NO dues. Fees for publications and documents may be charged - but ONLY "AT COST" of production and to cover shipping by postal mail. All Aspirants are required to purchase their own test books, note books, study and reference materials. The Order will assist locating the necessary textbooks and materials, and if need be, loan said materials to the Aspirant from the Order¹s library if resources permit. If accepted for regular membership, Aspirants are required to purchase the material for their membership robes and regalia. HOWEVER, WE AFFIRM THAT ON NO ACCOUNT, SHALL ANY PERSON BE REFUSED ADMITTANCE INTO THE SOCIETY ON THE CAUSE OF FINANCIAL RESTRAINTS.
Furthermore, it is not necessary that the Aspirant be a Christian. They shall be required to believe in the existence of a Divine Being or Beings, and take an earnest interest in Christian texts and symbolism. The Order accepts candidates who claim to be Ritual/Ceremonial Christian Magicians, ChristoPagans, Christian Witches, and other esoterically and magickally oriented 'Christian believers'. The Order chooses to refuse to admit persons who claim to be Satanists or Atheists, as we strongly feel that the ideologies of those persons are not conducive to the principles, ideals, and beliefs of The Society of The Astral Star.
The grade of Adelphon (0=11) is the first degree of the Order of Regular Membership within The Order of The Star of Bethlehem (In the Inner). All Regular Members have the right to vote in the Society's regular business affairs. ALL regular members of this grade and following are required to be at least nominally, Christian in belief. There are however, many different and divergent Christian views and perspectives that qualify. Most Regular Members adopt the "Combined Christian Creed" as a statement of faith, however that is not required. Adoption of the traditional Nicene Creed or the Apostle's Creed are not uncommon. In the Grade of Adelphon, the Course curriculum that was begun as an Aspirant is continued. Ritual work as individuals increase and group ritual is participated in. The principles of this grade are to be found in Christian Knighthood. The work centers on the blood of Christ that contains the Divine Light. This grade is dedicated to the principles of fire of earth, being the russet quarter of the Sephiroth of Malkuth. Psychic developmental exercises and meditative techniques begun in the grade of Aspirant are also completed. The Augurian Mass is the primary ceremony for Lodge and Temple sessions. A written test and a practical "skills" test must be successfully passed prior to being advanced to the next grade. The minimum time in grade to initiation into the grade of Neophyte is six months. Initiation may occur after a local Temple, or other qualified body of the Order, votes by majority decision of it¹s members the Aspirant for membership. Initiation is usually scheduled on or around the Equinoxes.
The monetary needs of the Order are met by all regular members. Dues are currently (2013 and following) fifty dollars ($50.00) per year. Aspirants and Honorary Members do not pay dues. Again, let it be clearly stated that persons unable to pay normal dues may request a waiver from the Executive Council. They may pay on a sliding scale, or be completely exempted. We operate the Society on a "shoe string" budget. Any organization will have some monetary expenses that must be met. Our major expenses have been correspondence related, including postage. Printing costs are bound to increase with the publication of our Journal, The Crux Mystica. We also support several organizations that we are affiliated with. Financially, all we seek to do is to break even every year, and to provide for a few select long term projects. We have been able to do this every year the Order has been in operation, primarily due to the generous, anonymous giving of several siblings.
A written test and a practical "skills" test must be successfully passed prior to being advanced to the next grade. The minimum time in grade to initiation into the grade of Neophyte is six months. For additional information on grade structure, we refer the serious student to the Constitution of the OAB and other pertinent documents. The Constitution and Bylaws of the Order were published in Volume #0, Issue #1. of The Crux Mystica
The grade of Neophyte (1=10) is the second degree of the Order of Regular Membership. The Course curriculum that was begun as an Adelphon is continued, and the general studies are completed. Ritual work as individuals continue to increase and group ritual participation continues. The principles of this grade are to be found light. The work centers on growth in the light. This grade is dedicated to the principles of water of earth, being the olive quarter of the Sephiroth of Malkuth. Psychic developmental exercises and meditative techniques begun in the grade of Aspirant and Adelphon are also continued and completed. Healing disciplines are studied. The Augurian Mass continues to remain as the primary ceremony for Temple sessions. A written test and a practical "skills" test must be successfully passed prior to being advanced to the next grade. The minimum time in grade to initiation into the grade of Zelator is six months. Initiation may occur after a local Temple, or other qualified body of the Order, votes by majority decision of it¹s members the Adelphon for advancement. Initiation is usually scheduled on or around either the Equinoxes or the Solstices.
For additional information on grade structure, we refer the serious student to the Constitution of the OAB and other pertinent documents. The Constitution and Bylaws of the Order are published in Volume #0, Issue #1. of The Crux Mystica
GOVERNANCE OF THE ORDER:
The OAB is governed by the general membership via an episcopacy. The combined State legislative houses, called "Curias," make up the "General Synod" of the whole of the Society. The General Synod is a senate that must approve all rules and major changes in the aims, goals, and methods of the Society. This body elects the National Board of Directors every five years. The National Board of Directors is the College of Cardinals, with the three "Chief Officers" being elected as "temporary cardinals" called, Cardinal Advocates. These three directors include:
- 1) The Supreme Cardinal Adept Magus, who serves as The Chief Adept (Imperator), and President which is the Chief Executive Officer of the Order;
- 2) The Senior Cardinal Adept Magus who serves as The Second Adept, (Praemonstrator), and Vice-President which serves as the Chief Operations Officer for the Order; and
- 3) The Junior Cardinal Adept Magus who serves as The Third Adept (Cancellerius) and Chancellor which is the Chief Administrative Officer for the Order.
- 4) Additionally, the General Synod may elect other Bishops as Cardinal Adept Magi, to assist in governing a large geographical area, such as a number of states or alternately supervises a major administrative area or project. These Cardinal Adept Magi serve for life or until they retire or resign in the capacity of a"Vice-Chancellor," and "Associate Cardinal" and may not be removed by future Order General Synods.
The Officers of the General Synod is called the Executive Council. The Executive Council is composed of the President, Vice President, Chancellor and any Vice-Chancellors who have been elected by the General Synod. Additionally, there are a number of Senior Adepti, who may or may not hold ordinations as Bishops, who serve in administrative offices for the good of the Society. These include a Secretary, Treasurer, Reporter, Librarian, Parliamentarian, Historian, Vizier (Chief Presbyter), Chaplain, and Marshal. Other Staff Officers may additionally be appointed. This body meets twice each year, and conducts the regular business of the General Synod.
The States, Commonwealths, and Territories are governed in a similar fashion - however - more locally. The General Membership elects a State Board of Regents. The combined Stellar Temples (S.T.'s) elect three temporary bishops to serve in this capacity from all persons who have attained the rank of High Priest or High Priestess, having served in the capacity as a Stellar Temple Hierophant/Hierophantria. These three Regents include: 1) The Arch Bishop. The Arch Bishop is called the State¹s Primate, and is the "Governor" and Senior Executive Officer of the Board of Regents for the State. The Second elected Bishop is called the Senior Prelate. The Senior Prelate serves as the "Lieutenant Governor," and is the Senior Operations Officer of the State. The Third elected Bishop is called the Junior Prelate. The Third Prelate serves as the "Secretary of State," and is the Senior Administrative Officer of the State. The membership may additionally elect to their board of Regents a qualified Adept who has served as a Bishop in the past, or who has been elected to the High Priesthood as an Itinerant Bishop. Itinerant Bishops serve for life, unless they permanently move out of their jurisdictional state that elected him/her. All elected Bishops compose the State Curia. The State Regents may appoint other Sibling in State offices for the good of the Order. The body of officers for a State Curia is called a High Council.
Stellar Temples are governed for the good of the Order directly by a Board of Trustees. This board is composed of all persons in a Temple who have attained at minimum the Grade of Adeptus Minor. From the Adepti, there is elected every two years A High Priest (High Priestess) to serve as that Stellar Temple¹s Hierophant (Hierophantria). A Second Adept is elected Senior Priest/ess, in the office of Hierius (Hieria). A Deacon (Deaconess) is elected to the rank of Hegamon (Hegamone). The other temple officers serve for a period of Six Months, in accordance with Order procedure and ceremonial working. Stellar Temples are ruled, "semi-autonomously." The Board of Trustees report all Temple activity including new members, members who have resigned or have been demitted, etc. to the State Board of Regents and/or to the Executive Council of the General Society.
Any temple that is not working in a state where there is an established Curia comes under the organizational control of the Executive Council via the General Synod of the Society directly. Any member that is not working where there is an established Temple or Lodge comes under the organizational control of the State High Council directly. Any member that is working in an area where there is neither local Stellar Temple or State Curia shall come under the organizational control of the Executive Council directly, until such time as a temple comes into existence. The Executive Council may organize "training" temples called Colonial Lodges, until such group has the personnel and resources to apply for an independent charter on their own merits.
Additionally, new procedures have been established for the purposes of networking between individuals interested in exploring membership in the Order of The Star Of Bethlehem and/or other High Ceremonial (Magickal) Christians in general. The Order's growth has exceeded our ability to adequately handle all requests for consideration. Applicants are usually spread over significant geographical distances from each other and active OAB Members. For those individuals interested in exploring the curriculum and general system of The Order of The Star Of Bethlehem who have Internet access much networking can be done.
We suggest that potential candidates and other interested individuals take the opportunity to review the material that we have on our website and other on-line social media, including our Dictionary/Glossary of Terminology for Aspirants, The Bibliography for Aspirants, The Constitution and By-Laws and the many past issues of the Crux Mystica, The Official Journal of The Order of The Star Of Bethlehem since 1996. Another good idea for those interested in the Order is to consider communicating with any of OAB Officer or Member in real time on ICQ or on AOL's Instant Messenger that they are aware of. If you are using AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), or on AOL (America On-line) as your primary ISP (Internet Service Provider) the following screen names may be individuals you would like to type with when you see them on-line: SCMOASA, FrPneuma, SrAlethia, SrAdMajorem, SrTypus, & SilverTipBear. All of those individuals are Officers and/or Staff Members. Additionally, we offer an E-mail discussion list for Order members and Friends of The Order (FotO) on-line called "Asteros". If you are interested in joining our discussion list, feel free to write to email@example.com and request subscription to the appropriate list(s). Alternatively, feel free to check out our past discussions and subscribe at: http://asteros.astralstar.org/. We further make use of other Social Networking sites including FaceBook (look us up under: AstralStarInc) and Twitter (again at: @AstralStarInc).
The present plan of the Executive Council is to continue to collect a list of names of interested persons who wish to consider affiliating with the Order in the future and their general locations (Nation/State/City). We are assembling a "Map-Pin Board" with people who would like to work with us. This list will be used to arrange for networking between Members, Aspiring Members, and Candidates who live in close geographical proximity to others of like mind. Feel free to send us your current contact information including name, address, phone, e-mail, etc. We will contact you to get aquatinted over time.
The Order's Web Site is currently under re-development to better allow an individual Candidate, Aspirant, and even its active membership to access the Order's Course Curriculum on-line, and to work at their own pace within acceptable guidelines of the Order. The Order of The Star Of Bethlehem does not plan to become a mere "cyber order", however we do plan to use the Internet technologies to better serve our membership, and provide better access to training curriculum and command and administration.
The Society Of The Astral Star, Inc., does have a few affiliated Colonial Lodges and Stellar Temples, and study groups either meeting or in the process of 'forming'.. Feel free to locate a group near you by visiting us on-line at: http://affiliates.astralstar.org/ Or, if you are really interested in getting started, contact us to see if we can help you form a local group in you geographic vacinity.
In Conclusion, The Society of The Astral Star (aka The Order of The Star of Bethlehem) is an organization of High Ceremonial Magicians who observe various religious forms of Christian Mysticism. The Order is a legal incorporation with the status of a religious society (i.e. a church) and as a fraternal order. The first degree of initiation (Adelphon) is the most important grade within the Order. All members are considered as having the same worth, regardless of sex, age, ethnic and national origins. Thus, all members are considered equivalent - although unique individuals. The Astral Star is primarily governed as a democratic confederacy, with each State See and each Stellar Temple / Colonial Lodge being semi-autonomous. The Local Lodge/Temple runs its own daily affairs and the State See coordinates efforts between Lodges/Temples within it¹s administrative jurisdiction, and the General Society has precedence with regards to legality and instruction, and the overall preservation of the general system. The Order adopts the highest standards of principles, knowledge, and methodologies where ever they may be found, and are compatible with the aims and goals of the General Order At Large.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
For more information, an application for membership, and an Aspirant's (0=0) pledge form, send letters of requests with a large S.A.S.E. and personal information (including legal name, DOB, home address, phone number, etc.,) and a government issued photo ID (to ensure that you are at least 18 years of age) to:
P.O. Box 1482
Georgetown, KY 40324 USA
Please allow four weeks for delivery.
Or e-Mail requests to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or to: email@example.com
Or visit our website at: http://www.astralstar.org/
We additionally encourage interested parties to review our other introductory publication, The Frequently Asked Questions About The OAB. The Crux Mystica: Volume #0: Issue #0; Supplement #A. This publication answers general questions about the Society and was adapted from noted Witch and Author, Edain McCoy in her book, Inside A Witches' Coven [Publication: ISBN 1-56718-666-1, By Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul, MN 55164-0383; 1997]. We answer other questions which have been asked over the years as well.
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