The August Order of Light

History and Origin

This Oriental Order is founded upon the literature supplied by a Dr. Maurice Vidal Portman, a learned student of Oriental lore, an occultist, Freemason and politician who spent a considerable time on the staff of the Diplomatie Corps in India and the Andaman Islands during the late 19 th century. He made himself familiar with the literature and ritual observances of the Eastern Indian cultures, whether Brahmins, Buddhists, Jains or Mohammedans, and gained much curious lore from religious devotees of all creeds. He also studied many quaint traditions and magical arts of learned people throughout Asia and the Middle East. The Order in its first form was not widely known and for some years was in
abeyance, but in time Bro. T. H. Pattison and Bro. B. E. J. Edwards were chosen (because of their extensive study of Oriental literature) to recast the original material into a series of degrees. Consequently in 1902 Bro. Pattison became the first Guardian of Light, he being succeeded by Bro. Edwards in the following year, and in token of their pre-eminence they became the first Arch Presidents of the Centre. The degrees as now worked are as follows:
1. First Degree
2. Passing Degree
3. Second Degree
The Garuda Temple No 1, as it is called, was initially based at Bradford, where for many years an elaborate chamber was especially maintained for the Order, but eventually it was found necessary to relocate the Temple firstly to York, and subsequently to Halifax. The Order gained limited popularity, and a further Temple (The Garuda Temple No 2) was subsequently founded in London in 1970.
At this time there are six temples, in England, Australia, the United States of America and India.

Structure and Qualification

Regular bodies of the Order are known as Temples and meetings are referred to as Ashayana.
Membership is open to invited Master Masons, but an important prerequisite is that every prospective candidate is required to present a paper before his application is seriously considered. The esoteric subject of the paper may be of his choosing, but may not be of a Masonic or political nature.

The Degrees

This society of Freemasons supplies a series of grades and possesses rituals that illustrate the old world religions, including the notable mythologies of India, with sidelights from the cults of ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. While this may appear to be a vast subject to encompass in a single order, the material is cast in such a manner as to present a series of ceremonies and lectures which confer instruction on the oriental ideas of theology and cosmogony in a most convenient form. A practice that is of special significance to the Order is the regular observance of the ceremonies of the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. In this Order members endeavour to grasp the inner meaning of Masonry and to focus the occult light on items of ritual that might otherwise be without meaning.
The rituals of the order were last revised in 2011.