Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Are you just a modern version of the original Stella Matutina Order?
A. Yes, a version of it, but not an exact replica. Our rituals and Knowledge Lectures are very similar to the original Order's rituals, but certain points here and there have been altered to fit our paradigm of the Universe — and, we hope, having been updated for our current age, are able to serve our members more effectively and efficiently.
Q. In what ways are your rituals different from the original Stella Matutina Order?
A. While the general structure, wording and implication are for the most part identical to the original, there are definitely places where we differ. One main difference is that some of the godforms we use vary from the original. In particular, our initiating Hierophant uses Ra-Hoor-Khuit, not Horus-the-Elder with Osiris. This is not a massive difference in that both the original Hierophant and the new Hierophant use godforms that are both forms of Horus at least while the officer is on the floor.
Osiris as a Hierophantic godform is still maintained with us as our Past Hierophant holds the Osiris godform for us. This is an important change and was inspired by the changes implemented by Sam Webster and his Order, which have influenced our Order's work in several respects. The main purpose of this important change in our godform allocation is that of respecting Aeonic Succession — namely that the principle initiating current or force of this Aeon in which WE live is that of Horus and not Osiris. The Osiris current of Initiation functioned sufficiently (although imperfectly) for the past 2000 years, but we are no longer in that time period.
Q. Why do you use different Godforms (than that used by the original Stella Matutina) in some of your rituals?
A. Most importantly, our Hierophant uses the godform of Ra-Hoor-Khuit. As from 1904, Ra-Hoor-Khuit was revealed as the Lord of the (current) Aeon — what this means is ,not that Osiris and the other gods are no longer important, but simply that the Initiating Current itself draws directly from the energy of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, and not, as it did in the last 2000 years, from Osiris. Ra-Hoor-Khuit is the Solar God par excellence. Osiris is still relevant and important in his own sphere — for instance as Lord of the Underworld (sub-conscious in Man) and as God of the generative and vegetative principle in Nature. He has His role to play, but He is no longer primary in our rituals, but happily takes a backseat position in relation to His Son, Horus, the driver.
The idea behind this is that, to initiate in this New Aeon of greater self-awareness and technological advancement, requires a particularly and specifically solar energy. Interestingly, this is an age when we have truly harnessed the power of the Sun for the first time in recorded history — in the form of Solar Power and, more and more as this age progresses, Nuclear Power which makes available the same kind of energy as that of the Sun its energy by nuclear fusion of hydrogen nuclei into helium (helium from helios, the Sun). The discovery of psychology as a separate and specialist subject of research and enquiry has produced a clearer comprehension of our inner Sun, our personal Sol or Soul — the Self. It is into the mysteries of this Self that we initiate.
In the traditional Order, on the other hand, the officer of Hiereus, the Hierophant's polar opposite, was also given a godform based on Horus. The Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn was the first to suggest the use of the Egyptian god Set here as an alternative to Horus - for one thing Horus (albeit in a different form) has alaredy been used for the Hierophant and for another, Horus is not particularly a god of the Western Horizon or of Darkness, unlike Set (note - it is likely that the word SunSet comes from Set, as he represents the faing light or the dark generally). In our UOMS mother lodge, we chose to adopt this OSOGD redaction within our Neophyte Ritual. We have also experimented with using the godform of Neith, warrior Goddess of the Night, for the Hiereus - this also seems to fit and work well. At UOMS we feel that using either Set or Neith as Hiereus allows us to more effectively emphasize a necessary polarity of forces - Ra-Hoor-Khuit as god of solar light & Set/Neith as god of the nighttime and darkness. Just like with an electrical circuit, where there is polarity, there is potential for current to flow. A polarity in temple creates magical current and where there is current, there is energy for change and transformation.
The godforms of the Stolistes and Dadouchos have also be changed so as to give godforms based on correct Egyptian forms. The original Stella Matutina used true Gods as the basis for its Godforms with the glaring exception of the Offices of Stolistes and Dadouchos, for which Mathers (or someone) appears to have created their own godforms out of a general composite idea. This makes the visualization of such godforms somewhat obscure as they have no known image. Using godforms based on Gods with a well-established image and character seems more useful and thus we have employed a godform of Bast for Dadouchos and Hapi for Stolistes. A study of the respective fiery and watery nature of these deities will reveal the reason why.
Our Hegemon remains Maat. Our Kerux remains Anubis.
Q. Is the Morning Star or Stella Matutina a form of Religion?
A. No, not a religion, but something that does have aims and objectives compatible with religion. Religion is essentially, and certainly as many in the Western World view it, a dogmatic body of Teaching, based on a scriptural text that seeks to tell you how to live in relation to the command of some God, and the interpretation of that command often by an intermediary known as a Priest or Minister and demands from its adherents faith in its tenets.
The Work of our Order, however, does not require faith, but merely a will, that is a will “to work things out” via a complex, ongoing and properly scientific experiment called Initiation. A certain amount of faith in the ability of our system, our tradition, to have a suitable and positive effect on one's self may at times be useful, but it is never in any way required of them. Our candidates can enter our Order and proceed through our Rites of Initiation in a most sceptical state of mind and purely “just to see” what happens, if they so choose. To this extent we have removed the original clause that was a stated mandate, an absolute requirement, for entry into our fold, namely a professed belief in a “Supreme Being or Beings.” For us this is not necessary. Such a belief is, on the contrary, not something we seek to inculcate in any way at the beginning of the work, but, rather, one which it is our hope to see emerging in sync with the continual progress of one's ascension up the grades.
Our Order seeks to unite men and women to the Gods, but not to instill any kind of belief in dogma. That said, our system, not unlike Freemasonry, is as universal as it possible to be without loss of structure, cohesive unity and clarity. Our system is widely open to personal interpretation, and for a very good reason — namely we are NOT a religion but a system of spiritual and personal unfolding of one's own potential towards being a complete and total Human Being in the widest, highest and deepest sense of the word.
Q. If you are a universal system, why then do you use Thelemic Godforms and Thelemic teaching? Isn't Thelema a specific religious system?
A. We also use Jewish Kabalah, yet few of us are Jews, we also use Egyptian symbolism, but we do not describe ourselves as Egyptians, we dedicate the merit like Tibetan Buddhists but few of us are Tibetan or Buddhist and we use terms and stratagems borrowed from the Hellenic and Eleusinian Mystery tradition but few among us would describe ourselves as Eleusinian Hellenes. The point is simply this — we incorporate many elements of different religious/spiritual traditions but we don't necessarily identify ourselves with specifically any one of these traditions — we are simply being eclectic and universal — adopting what may be incorporated as a useful method or symbolic structure, and dropping that which we feel is not.
Q. What is the joining Fee?
A. This may vary from lodge to lodge, but in our UK Mother Lodge the fee is currently Â£10 per month, payable by direct debit.
Q. How often do I have to attend Lodge?
A. We aim to hold at least one lodge meeting each month. All members are expected to attend these, unless they have a reason preventing them from doing so. For our lodge, that is our temple work, to continue it is vital that we always have enough people present to perform the rituals, and for those not performing, it should be viewed as part of your training to regularly observe our rituals. Every time a particular ritual is performed it will be performed differently — this is because with all the best intention in the world, it is quite simply impossible to perform a ritual the same each time, there being so many unknown factors such as different officers present, the skills of the performing officers developing considerably with each subsequent performance and other factors such as choice of room, etc. On top of this, each time you watch a ritual, you will see more in it than you did before as your awareness and understanding of ritual develops over time. Therefore, to develop one's awareness within this system o our Order, one should make every effort to attend as many lodge meetings and observe as much ritual as possible.
Q. Do I need a special robe or special clothing that is expensive?
A. Everyone is asked to ether purchase or make a basic black robe. The robe should be ankle length and long-sleeved. Other robes may suffice, as a temporary measure, but are not ideal. On top of this we ask all members of the Order to wear red footwear (socks or shoes). This has a special symbolic meaning which, along with that of the black robe, will be explained to you after your admission.
You will also need to get a black sash with a triangle on it for your first Initiation. This will have “stripes” added to it as you progress through the outer order grades, but will be the same basic sash throughout.
Q. Are you in any way connected with Freemasonry?
A. The Founding members of our Order, in its initial incarnation as the Order of the Golden Dawn, were all high grade Freemasons and many (such as Dr. Westcott and Dr Woodman) were very active within Freemasonry their entire lives and often held important leadership and administration positions within the Masonic Order. However, not all our leading members are Freemasons or remained active Freemasons their entire life. The poet W.B. Yeats for instance was a lifelong member of the Stella Matutina, but never joined nor had any wish to join, any Masonic Orders. Neither did another famous member, Israel Regardie (although he did join the Masonic-offshoot the US-based SRIA). It should, however, be understood that our rituals have clearly and obviously been significantly influenced by Freemasonic rituals — and a comparatve study of both Orders' initiaion rituals will reveal many points in common, or which teach the same essential truths about the universe or the divine.
The main difference between the work of the Morning Star and that of FreeMasonry is that we emphasize magical development more. Whereas, masonry seeks to make better Men, we seek to make Magicians. Whereas masonry seeks to help people become more functional members of Society, we seek to make people more functional aspects of the Universe. One final difference between the Morning Star and Masonry, is that where the latter a basic Monotheistic paradigm is used, for the former a polytheistic construct is employed. Our rituals do not refer to the Supreme Reality as “God”, we work with a multitude of essential universal energies, which we called gods, while it is, for the most part, in our Order, left up to each of our initiates to find their own name for that underlying unifying Reality from which these energies, these gods, derive their essence, which is the source of Their power. Another difference is that Masonry is based on a 3-Degree system, whereas we are based on a 4-degree system — the regimen of the Elements.
Q. So would you describe yourself as a quasi-masonic Order then?
A. No, we are an Order in our own right, but as said above we have many points of similarity (as well as difference) from a Masonic Order.
The points of similarity — both Orders use Grips (Tokens), Steps and Signs, both use Dramatic Ceremony as a means of progression. Both work in lodges and temples, both use pillars and altars, both present sashes to the candidate with insignia to indicate progression through degrees. The differences are discussed above.
Q. I am a Freemason member, would your Order have me as a member?
Q. What does your Order offer me that Freemasonry does not provide?
A. Most importantly, a training in Magick, Invocation, use of Tarot, Astrology and Alchemy. We work with Egyptian Gods and specifically teach Qabalah. Our Order, unike Masonry, provides a specific methodology for ascending the Tree of Life from Malkuth to Kether - via the process of its 3 sub-Orders.
Wicca & Druidry
Q. Is Wicca or Druidry compatible with the Morning Star?
A. Yes, quite compatible. We, of course, do some things differently from Druidry or Wicca, the main difference being that we work on the inside of buildings rather than in the open air, but our spiritual philosophy is very similar to these systems. We use the principle of the 4 directions, the 4 elements in almost all our workings. We invoke the gods and goddesses. We teach a magical view of the universe. We help development of the individual through Ceremonies. Many of our members are also interested in Druidry or Wicca.
OTO, Thelema & AA
Q. I am in the OTO and/or Thelemic AA.. can I join UOMS?
A. Yes — unlike some of the traditional Golden Dawn-based Orders, we respect Thelema and have incorporated it into our system.
Q. What can UOMS give me that I can't get from OTO or AA?
A. While A. Crowley reformed OTO and formed the AA, he, hmself, received his magical training in the Order of the Golden Dawn (which is the same basic system as the Stella Matutina (Morning Star) — what we as an Order Teach. In fact our Outer Order (the Outer Order of the UOMS) is still, by us, referred to as “the Order of the Golden Dawn”. The only difference with us and the Order that Crowley went through in 1898 is that we have adjusted our system to align with the New Aeon, allowing the Hierophant to invoke Ra-Hoor-Khuit and not Osiris as the initiated Force and Fire.
Everything Crowley did throughout his magical life has references to what he learnt, and was initiated into, while a member of the Golden Dawn. What better way to get a handle on where Crowley was coming from and what shaped the work of the later OTO and AA than to be yourself initiated and trained in the very same system that Perdurabo was trained in? The Praemonstrator (Head Tutor) and founding member of the UOMS was initiated into the OTO system to 5th Degree Rose-Croix, so we, as an Order know something about this from personal experience. We have members who are also OTO members. Many of Crowley's statements that often appear obscure or highly cryptic to OTO members who have not been initiated into the Golden Dawn, are often reveal their clear meaning when viewed in a context of what the Golden Dawn taught.
Left-Hand Path groups
Q. I am a member of the Temple of Set and follow the Left-hand path, can I join UOMS?
A. Why not? more traditionalist Golden Dawn Orders took the opinion that Set is a negative or destructive deity. We at UOMS take the opposite view, as did our parent organisation the OSOGD, who, as we have mentioned above, installed the godform of Set for the role of Hiereus in the Neophyte Initiation (a practice we at UOMS adopted). As the Hiereus is the Spiritual guardian of the Temple on the inner (as the Sentinel is on the Outer) then this should give a clear indication of the reverence held for Set by the UOMS). The view of UOMS is that Set is a very powerful and positive archetype who can effect change in the candidate like few others. As Dr Michael Aquino of the Temple of Set has said: Set represents the unique individual consciousness that stands outside of all systems. Also, in this light, in the commentary to the Thelemic Book of the Law, Aleister Crowley points out that Hadit, our innermost sovereign Self - that is our True Self is in some sense the "Set within us" - meaning that Set is the archetypal deity of the individual Self. As we understand it, the teachings of the Temple of Set were to some greater or lesser extent (depending on your opinion) based on Golden Dawn and Thelemic teachings, and , while they emphasize the darker aspects of the mystery tradition, they nevertheless are not so divorced from what we teach at the UOMS that there would be necessarily be any serious conflict. The nature of true universal spirituality is that virtually all systems of religious thought can be to some greater or lesser extent, incorporated and integrated.
Theory & Practice
Q. Is Magick dangerous?
A. Not as we teach and train it. We use safeguards. Essentially, all life is magick, is Will. Is life dangerous? Can be! — if you don't take precautions and live wisely. Wisdom (Chokmah) is the correct application of Knowledge (gnosis) and is the highest divine attribute on the Tree of Life.
Q. How much theory do I have to study and are there examinations on theory?
A. We hold weekly classes to work each member though our Knowledge Lectures — of which there is one (Knowledge Lecture) per Grade (broken across many lessons). We pride ourselves on making the complex appear simple and easy to learn, so that everyone with a normal intelligence should be able to pass the Examination that is required to move to the next Level (the Next Grade).
Q. I have heard that some GD Orders have weak Inner Order Curriculums. Does this apply to the UOMS?
A. This is one area where UOMS is very big on — having a strong Inner Order. Our Order's Praemonstrator is currently working with Pat Zalewski to develop an Inner Order Curriculum, based on the most advanced form of the Stella Matutina — that of the New Zealand Whare Ra branch (later known as the Order of Smaragdum Thalasses), plus many innovative developments upon this foundation and in line with the tradition.
Application & Initiation
Q. How do I apply?
A. By contacting the acting Cancellarius of the Order or individual lodge and arranging an informal Telephone or, ideally, Skype Video call. This allows us to get to know you, your needs and interests, and for you to get to know us a little more personally. If the interview goes well, and you are impressed by what you hear, and if we ascertain that we are the right Order for you, then you fill in a basic application form and we arrange for you to take our Neophyte Ceremony, which is our Ceremony of Initiation into the Order.
Q. Is the skype call very intense, like a job interview.
A. No, not at all! — It is a friendly, informal chat. We don't put you on the spot! Just talk about your needs, interests and work out between us if the Order can help you, and of you can bring anything to the Order.
Q. What preparation, attire, etc. do need for initiation?
A. Red footwear (socks or shoes), a black Robe (preferably ankle length and long-sleeved, although we are not rigid about the exact type of black robe — ask if you have one already that you think may possibly be suitable). A Neophyte Sash (black with a white triangle) — you can have one made — ask us about sources, and you choose a magical name, to represent you in your Order work.
Q. Do I have to memorize tons of stuff to advance?
A. There is a reasonable amount of interesting material to learn and memorize, but we break it up into small sections and teach it via online teleclasses, skype calls, etc.