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The A.˙.A.˙.

Worldviews A

The A.˙.A.˙. must rank as the most secretive secret society in the world. Perhaps nobody, not even the few writers who have discussed it, knows for sure when the  A.˙.A.˙. began, which group claiming to be the A∴A∴. at present is the real A.˙.A.˙.., or even what the symbols A∴A∴ stand for — although many claim to know all these things, of course.

The best documented form of this secret society dates from ca. 1906 and already claimed a long underground history. It advertised itself as a "magick" society for advanced adepts of the occult. (Magick, pronounced mage-ick, as in Magus or the Three Magi, deals with altering consciousness and enlarging perception, using chants, rituals, drugs, jewels, symbols such as the pentagram, and special exercises to strengthen will and imagination.) The leader, known only by the initials V.V.V.V.V., also claimed that the A∴A∴. held the rank of "higher order" above the G.'. .D.'. (Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn), then the most "advanced" Freemasonic or pseudo-Freemasonic order in England, at least in its own judgment. Thus, by claiming a higher rank, the A.˙.A.˙., guaranteed itself a curious audience, at least among those who really take occultism seriously. Just as the Golden Dawn had ten degrees, so did the A.'.A."., but you needed to have graduated from the tenth degree of the Golden Dawn to begin the first degree of the A.˙.A.˙..

Occult historians generally agree that V.V.V.V.V. signified Vi Veri Vniversum Vivus Vici ("By the force of truth I have conquered the universe"), one of the eleven magick mottoes of Aleister Crowley. It also appears that Crowley set the standards for admission to the A.˙.A.˙.. a bit too high—the candidate not only had to be an advanced Golden Dawn adept but also expert at the most difficult yoga postures to even qualify to take the examination for the first of the ten degrees—and therefore he got few recruits he considered worthy; Crowley therefore devoted most of his subsequent energies to promoting and managing the Ordo Templi Orientis, a somewhat less advanced occult lodge.

In the 1970s both Kenneth Grant and a person named Michael Mota insisted that the A.˙.A.˙.. still exists, although they differed on all else, especially on the "real" head of the order, each claiming that position for himself. The order currently on the Internet does not seem to recognize either Grant or Mota as its head.

John Symonds, a hostile critic of occultism in general and Crowley in particular, claimed to have evidence that A.˙.A.˙.. stands for "Atlantean Adepts"; Grant claimed it means Argentum Astrum ("Silver Star"), which he identifies with Sirius and the occult traditions about certain advanced adepts on this planet who allegedly communicate telepathically with even more advanced adepts in that double star system.

Right-wing Christian conspiriologists generally identify the A.˙.A.˙.. and Sirius with the Illuminati, and, usually, with Satanism. Curiously, the same years in which Crowley began promoting the A.˙.A.˙.. he also began using the title Epopt of the Illuminati and publishing a journal, The Equinox, which announced itself on the cover of each issue as a "Journal of Scientific Illuminism."

See also-; George I. Gurdjfeff, Sirius Mystery


Portable Darkness, ed. by Scott Michaelson, Harmony Books, New York, 1989

Cults of the Shadow, by Kenneth Grant, Samuel Weiser Books, New York, 1976

Light on Freemasonry, David Bernard, Vonnieda and Sowers, Washington, D.C., 1858